John taught me a thing or three about music while I was rooming with him. One band he definitely turned me on to was the Smiths—their compilation of UK singles and B-sides, Louder Than Bombs, is one of my favorite late 80s disks, and 85’s The Queen Is Dead is also quite fab. It’s a bit surprising to look back and see I’ve not featured anything from Morrissey, Marr, and Co. here on the blog. Hopefully someday soon…
Among more commercial enterprises, two of John’s favorites were Billy Idol and Prince, both of whom reached high on the charts in the fall of 87. Idol was just about to hit the show with the live, chart-topping “Mony Mony” (much better than his studio version), while the Purple One was already at #15 with “U Got the Look (it’d hit #2 four weeks later). I remember seeing videos for these songs so many times in the apartment on Elm St.
I was never a super big Prince fan, though I enjoyed a number of his songs and definitely paid attention to much of his work—his talent pretty much demanded it. If I had to venture a list of my five favorites from his 80s hits, it’d be fairly unadventurous and go something like: #5 1999; #4 U Got the Look; #3 Raspberry Beret; #2 Pop Life; #1 Let’s Go Crazy. Please, feel free to tell me how lame this is!
Looking back, it feels odd that Sheena Easton didn’t receive label credit for her contributions to “U Got the Look” (and maybe Sheila E, too—love it when she bounces and catches the drumstick in the vid). That’d never happen now, what with all the “featuring” fever of today’s hits.