1981: My Top 100 (At The Time)

As 1981 wound down, I began thinking about how to go about ranking the pop hits of the year, not only from the AT40s I’d been recording, but also based on my own charts. We’ll get to the real thing and my predictions for it in a few days; it’s all about personal opinion today.

My charts, which ostensibly reported how I felt about fifty songs each week, had just one hard-and-fast rule: all the songs in the previous week’s Top 40 had to be included. There tended to be a distinct rise-and-fall to any given song’s ride on the Harris Charts (TM pending)–no songs debuting in or falling off the chart from the top 10, and relatively few non-#1 songs spending fewer than two weeks at their peak position. I’d gone to school on years of listening to Casey.

I’d employed a points system back in 1978 (described here) to try and predict that year’s Top 100, and now, three years later, I circled back to refine it. The main change was giving 10 points’ credit for each week (so on my charts, the song at #50 got 1 + 10 = 11 points, #41 got 10 + 10 = 20 points, #3 got 48 + 10 = 58 points, etc.). I also awarded some bonus points for longevity at #1, distributed in a symmetric, stair-step fashion: for example, “I Love You,” which stayed at the top for seven straight weeks, received 60, 62, 64, 66, 64, 62, and 60 points over that period.

Anyway, on to the results. My chart year was the calendar year: 1/3 through 12/26. It appears that, in case of ties, the first tiebreaker was chart longevity, with peak position as the second tiebreaker.

It was pretty darn close at the top, with three songs running away from the rest. (Did I come up with the #1 bonus points just so the Climax Blues Band wound up first? I don’t think so, but who can say now?) It’s interesting to me that none of the four songs that finished between #5-#8 spent any time at #1. “Jessie’s Girl,” in fact, peaked at #6–the rule that kept it around as long as it stayed on the real Top 40 benefited it greatly.

Not surprisingly, favorites from the very beginning or very end of the year got hosed to a decent degree. “Suddenly” was at #5 to start the year and soon climbed to #1 for a couple of weeks, but missed out on 219 points from 1980 charts–those would have made it a contender for the year’s top 10. On the other end, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” #1 for two weeks in mid-December, didn’t get 197 points from its 1982 chart action; “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the year’s final #1 song, fell 25 points short of even appearing here.

This being pre-personal computer days, all the compilation was lovingly done by hand, with three more pages like this. The others include plenty of songs that didn’t make the cut–I did what I could to leave no plausible song unscored.

I do have a complete set of Harris Chart data for 1982, though I never tabulated a year-end summary for it. Maybe I can write a program to help me compute scores quickly? Regardless, I’m setting a goal right now to provide the results at this time next year.

Stereo Review In Review: December 1980

It wasn’t done on purpose, but I think this is the fifth time this year I picked an issue with a review of a George Benson album; the best has been saved for last. And I suppose it’s only fair that since Garfunkel has gotten two Best of the Month nods recently that Simon receives some positive recognition. Onward–let’s see what else is in this issue from forty-one years ago.

Music for Christmas, by Richard Thompson and James Goodfriend
It’s a little late for this year, I realize, but the titles recommended include recordings by the Boston Camerata, the Boston Pops, the Carpenters, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, John Denver & the Muppets, Percy Faith, Johnny Mathis, and Andy Williams. One wonders what they might have selected forty years later…

Our reviewers this month are Chris Albertson, Irv Cohn, Noel Coppage, Phyl Garland, Paul Kresh, Peter Reilly, Steve Simels, and Joel Vance.

Best of the Month
–George Benson, Give Me the Night (PG) “Instead of succumbing to the strident and repetitious excesses of pop funk (in the manner of, say, Herbie Hancock), he has applied his own standard of excellence to popular music, bringing it up to his artistic level.”
Cornelia Street: The Songwriters Exchange (NC) “But (folkie singer-songwriters) are still out there, those troubadours with their simple acoustic backing, and Stash Records has made a beautiful little album with some of them…” Coppage cites Rod MacDonald as the best of this bunch. The name was new to me, but he went to become one of the founders of the long-running Greenwich Village Folk Festival. The one artist appearing on the disk that I’ve heard of is Lucy Kaplansky.
–Paul Simon, One-Trick Pony (PR) “One song after another demonstrates Simon’s gift for seizing and holding up to the light those almost reflexive emotional conclusions about a person, a time, a place, or a relationship that any poetry, even on the pop level, must offer if it is going to communicate anything at all.”

Recordings of Special Merit
–Herb Alpert, Beyond (PR) “This is not an album for purists or musical weight-watchers, but it’s a lot of fun for us self-indulgent types.”
–Dexter Gordon, Landslide (CA) “…most intriguing because they are demonstrations of the influence the immediate musical environment can have on a seasoned player.”
–David Grisman, Quintet ’80 (NC) “A small, extremely agile combo using bluegrass instruments…plays little tunes that take the dangdest turns and jumps you ever heard.”
Honeysuckle Rose Soundtrack (NC) “…Nelson does dominate it, and he doesn’t just throw his reputation out there—he performs.”
–Ben E. King, Music Trance (PG) “Ben E. King is like a shot of aged bourbon; mellow in bouquet but still packing a mighty punch.”
–Donald Lambert, Harlem Stride Classics (CA) “The program is straight out of the repertoires of Fats Waller and James P. Johnson, two masters Lambert greatly admired…”
–Junie Morrison, Bread Alone (PG) “Morrison’s musical style is tastefully eclectic, with a cupful of funk, a jigger of pop, and just a dash of rhythmic and harmonic experimentation. At his best, he vaguely reminds me of the early Sly Stone…”
–John Otway, Deep Thought (SS) “It’s not for all tastes, to be sure, but if you’re the kind of weirdo who thought the Bonzo Dog Band was just too commercial, Otway may be your man.”
–Teddy Pendergrass, TP (PG) “Not since the days of the late Otis Redding has a male singer been capable of dredging up such delightfully uncontrollable gut responses.”
–Minnie Riperton, Love Lives Forever (PG) “…a bittersweet reminder of the treasure we lost with Riperton’s death.”
–Sam Rivers, Contrasts (CA) “This set will not disappoint the venturesome, but you don’t have to be that to enjoy it. It is a stunning rainbow of musical inclinations.”

Featured Reviews
–The B-52’s, Wild Planet (SS) “No, the punk theoreticians are right: America’s glory, her true Culture, is what we throw away, and so, to look for Significance in Wild Planet, to try to make either more or less than what it is, is completely to miss the point—which is, of course, simply ‘Which way to the drive-in?’”
–Chevy Chase, S/T (SS) “…this disc is unlikely to catch on with the Cheech and Chong crowd. But if there’s any justice, it will at least wind up as a cult favorite.”
–The Charlie Daniels Band, Full Moon (NC). “Since chauvinism seems to be as inevitable as death and politics, I guess we’re lucky to have a fellow as nice as Charlie working it into songs.”
–Cecil McBee, Compassion (CA) “The music is adventurous enough to satisfy any aural daredevil who has not completely lost his or her sense of beauty, yet all the basic jazz values have been preserved with due reverence.”
–Mabel Mercer, Echoes of My Life (William Livingstone) “The twenty-five songs included here are so well matched to her very special interpretative gifts that they sound as though she had written them herself, recollecting in tranquility some of the events from a rich and varied past.”
–Split Enz, True Colours (JV) “Their songs will etch themselves in your memory with or without laser technology.” (The vinyl contained laser-etched patterns.)
–Al Stewart, 24 Carrots (NC) “But all the songs here bear repeated listening, and, like Brueghel paintings, keep showing you little things you didn’t notice before.”
Times Square Soundtrack (SS) “Even if the soundtrack sells, it’s unlikely to be influential for the simple reason that it’s not a particularly exciting package; mainstream rock seems quite interesting by comparison.”

Other Discs Reviewed
–Pat Benatar, Crimes of Passion (NC) “Pat Benatar is more than just one kind of singer, however, even if this album repeatedly suggests she has more as a vocalist than she shows.”
–Rick James, Garden of Love (IC) “There’s a lot in these high-stepping cuts to please his established fans and plenty of very accessible music to appeal to new ones.”
–Ramsey Lewis, Routes (PR) “If Ramsey Lewis weren’t as gifted an instrumentalist as he is…he’d be hard put to survive the flashy chaos of this album.”
–Bob Marley and the Wailers, Uprising (PG) “…though everything on this new album sounds rather familiar, it is no less a pleasure to hear.”
–Martha and the Muffins, Metro Music (SS) “…what results when you take a bunch of bright, likable kids and lock them in a room with Roxy Music records for the duration of their adolescence.”
–The Statler Brothers, 10th Anniversary (NC) “It has a sort of retrospective quality despite its all-new material, for it puts together various examples of what the Statlers do.”
–Barbra Streisand, Guilty (PR) “Her Majesty is feeling playful this month and has decided it would be nice for subjects to hear her in a lighter mood than is her usual wont.”

Love the title track to this album, and this cut has much of the same joyous feel.
I need to go back and give 24 Carrots more attention.
Coppage called this Rod MacDonald track “the best new song I’ve heard in many moons.”
Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack helped finish this track after Riperton’s death.

Over the last two years I’ve examined in varying degrees twenty-four of the 143 issues of SR between November 1976 and September 1988. Strolling through my past in this fashion is immensely enjoyable—I’ve even bought a couple of issues off eBay for old times’ sake. There are plans to keep thumbing through the archives over at worldradiohistory.com, but my guess right now is that SRIR will become more of an occasional, rather than monthly, feature here going forward.

Later this week: we jump forward twelve months in time to begin a tour of three year-end charts from forty years ago.

Christmas/Holiday Cheer: Christmas (W)rappin’

Today it’s a couple of classics that date back to my high school years, though it was much later before I paid either of them much mind.

“Christmas Wrapping” over the last decade or so has become one of my very favorite Christmas songs. There have been a wealth of online articles about it in recent years; at this point, the song’s writer and leader of the Waitresses, Chris Butler, must know to expect interview requests as the year winds down. This one, published Tuesday at Yahoo! to mark 40 years since the song first made waves, finds Butler expansive and reflective on the legacy of “Christmas Wrapping.” It includes more from him than I recall seeing previously about the hard life and times of the group’s late vocalist, Patty Donahue, who died from lung cancer in December 1996. Reading this piece only served to reinforce what I’ve been feeling hearing “Christmas Wrapping” this year: a bit of sadness that Donahue didn’t get to know just how deeply her voice, her talent has ingrained itself into the culture, especially at this time of year.

Butler has regularly given credit in these articles to Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin'” as an inspiration for his similarly-titled composition. When the 40th anniversary for “Christmas Rappin'” arrived two years ago, Smithsonian Magazine published a detailed account of how it came to be the first hip-hop song released by a major label in 1979. That turned out to be a landmark moment for the music industry, and life-changing for many of the folks involved.

It sure is a fun track, too.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, enjoyable holiday season, that you’re able to unwind and do it right this time.

Christmas/Holiday Cheer: Every Ornament Tells A Story

We still get a live tree every December. It always resides in the basement, though its location down there has varied from year to year. Most of the time, it’s been just inside the doors leading out to the back yard. Last year, however, it was placed more toward the center of the room, where the recliner usually is–a concession to our aging dog and his need to avoid going down the deck stairs in the dark. I guess we liked that arrangement well enough, as we elected to put the 2021 tree in the same spot.

The 2021 tree is smaller and lighter than what we usually get, in part because prices are higher, in part because we didn’t want to shop around all that much. This meant when it came time to decorate, we had to be more selective about which ornaments made the cut–sentimentality and weight (due to fewer hardy branches) were both factors. As the tree filled up, I couldn’t help but think about the stories behind many of the ornaments. I know the same holds true for those of you who decorate Christmas trees at home; I appreciate your indulgence as I share some of mine.

One December while my father was the minister at Stanford Christian Church–which means it was between 1968 and 1971–my sister and I received glass ornaments as gifts from a family in the church. A mouse for Amy and a musketeer for me, both about 7″ tall. It was a bit of a moment when it came time to hang them on the tree each year as we grew up. Even so, neither Amy nor I thought to claim them from our parents after we moved out–it would take until 2015, when I discovered them anew cleaning out my folks’ townhouse. I wound up with the box they had come in.

My most recent visit to Stanford Christian was in the early fall of 2017; only a few people in attendance that Sunday remembered my father and his tenure there. One of them, a man in his 60s, had a name that sounded familiar. Three months later, I realized why: his parents had been the ones to give Amy and me the ornaments (their names are written on the top of the box I kept).

One more thing: The man had mentioned he had a nephew who’d attended where I teach back around the turn of the century. I’d had the nephew in a few classes–if only I’d realized at the time, I could have told him about the ornament his grandparents had given me.

Nothing says the 1970s to me quite the same way this variegated yarn does. I made the God’s Eye at church in Walton somewhere around 1973.

Thirty-five or so years later, Ben got into Perler bead art for several months. A number of his creations became ornaments; this is likely my favorite of the bunch. Arranging it on the tree so that there’s a light behind it makes for a decent effect.

I moved into my first house in early December 1993, my second year on the job. A couple of my colleagues arranged a small end-of-semester party at school for our majors that also served as a house-warming event for me. A few students gave me ornaments, some with a math-related theme. (That’s another of Ben’s efforts, a Lego snowman, in the lower right.)

Every year since 2005, I’ve bought a personalized ornament for the tree. Until recently I got them from a kiosk at the mall in Lexington–you know, you choose an ornament and as you pay, you tell the cashier what you want written on it, and where. I’m thinking that 2014 was the year the young woman charged with fulfilling the request insisted that I needed to include an apostrophe somehow, somewhere in “The Harrises.” Even though I obviously prevailed in the end, I left pretty certain I’d failed to convince her she was wrong.

While Ben was growing up, Martha would often conspire with him to surprise me at Christmas. The same year I was getting bad grammar lessons at the mall, she came across a kit to capture your pet’s print in plaster. This was a little more than a year after Buddy had entered our lives. She and Ben corralled Buddy one afternoon while I was still at school and forced his cooperation in the project (I understand he was not pleased). We couldn’t forego getting this one out, even if it’s too big, too much for the 2021 tree–we’ve hung it on a knob for one of our cabinet doors. I knew last year he was almost certainly spending his final Christmas with us, but that doesn’t make it easier.

That’s plenty enough. Wishing you fond recollections, whether it’s spurred by Christmas ornaments or something else near and dear to you.

From the post’s title you could guess who’s providing the musical entertainment, no?

Get Dressed Up and Messed Up

This has been Go-Go’s Week on SiriusXM’s 1st Wave channel. They’ve been playing songs from the recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers every hour, and later this afternoon they’re premiering a new concert of the band playing at one of their old haunts, the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. This fall has also marked the 40th anniversary of the release of their landmark debut album Beauty and the Beat, the first by an all-female band to reach #1 on the LP chart. It’s all made me decide to revisit a piece I started a couple of years ago in which I provide a personal ranking of BatB’s tracks.

I was a senior in HS when the Go-Go’s broke out; they broke up (the first time) before I got out of college. To a decent degree, theirs was a classic case of a band not knowing what to do once success came their way: neither of their other 80s albums, Vacation and Talk Show, came close to matching Beauty (though “Vacation” may be my single favorite song of theirs).

This week I discovered I wanted to shuffle the original order made two years ago, mostly among the songs ranked #4-#7. Here’s where they fall today.

#11. “Can’t Stop the World.” There are a few albums I’ve fallen in love with over the years for which the last two or three tracks just aren’t quite up to the same quality as the rest. Beauty is one of those (a couple others are The Stranger and Marshall Crenshaw); so, guess which three tracks we’re seeing first? The last song on side two is Kathy Valentine’s sole songwriting credit.

#10. “You Can’t Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep).” Like the Fifth Dimension’s “I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All,” this song is an ode to a Unisom failing to do its duty, except that it’s written in second-person sympathy rather than first-person anguish.

#9. “Skidmarks on My Heart.” The only track on the album that has a Carlisle co-writing credit. Full marks for extending a metaphor seamlessly (and amusingly) throughout the whole piece (as well as for the retro guitar solo).

#8.  “We Got the Beat.” Time to stir the pot a bit. I was not nearly as much of a fan of “We Got the Beat” in real time as I had been of “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Don’t get me wrong—it’s a plenty good song, deserving of being a (big) hit.

Its success on the chart, reaching #2 as a second single, had a parallel from almost three years earlier in Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.” In the end, the Go-Go’s wound up with greater fame and acclaim, of course, but at the time it felt to me like both of those songs—each group’s biggest hit—scaled their heights partially out of building momentum.

#7. “Lust to Love.” A worthy entry in the “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” genre of song. The album’s first side is just so good.

#6. “This Town.” Echoes of the sixties abound in this sarcasm-drenched take on the joys of living in L.A.  Like “Lust to Love,” there’s musical interest in the repeated shifts in tempo between verse and chorus.

#5. “Automatic.” I didn’t buy this album until three or four years after its release. My first exposure to the non-singles came soon after I went to college in the fall of 1982. I walked over to the women’s dorm one Friday afternoon early in the semester to visit a classmate who grew up close to where I did—I was giving her a ride home for the weekend. Her roommate was playing side two when I got there. This one, along with “Fading Fast,” made an immediate, positive impression. The minimalist lyrics and the metronome-y beat still work some magic.

#4. “How Much More.” In listening again to BatB this week, I’m picking up on how often Gina Schock goes the rapid drum fill route. Perhaps my friend Warren, who’s worked his share of gigs behind a kit and knows much more about the history of rock drumming than I do, can tell me how much she’s trying to evoke the past on this record.

#3. “Fading Fast.” A great kiss-off tune. I like the way we don’t get the reason for the breakup until the end of the second verse. It’s a simple line that Charlotte Caffey is playing on keyboards in the chorus, yet it may be as responsible as anything for making me want to own this record.

#2. “Tonite.” A brilliant portrait of the band’s hard-partying days (okay, nights) before they made it big; I am sorely, sorely tempted to rank it first. Peter Case, then a denizen of the same scene as a member of the Plimsouls, has a co-writing credit.

#1. “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Maybe a little boring/predictable to go with one of the hits at the top, but this is a truly landmark piece, still plenty fresh. I loved it from the start—it made #1 on my own chart in January of 1982. (I hinted in this post from almost two years ago it would rank a lot higher than “We Go the Beat.”)

For the video feature, though, let’s go with “Tonite.” Here’s hoping it’s part of their show at the Whiskey. The clip is from a show they gave at a high school on 12/4/81, just as things were starting to break for them.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 12/11/76: The Bar-Kays, “Shake Your Rump to the Funk”

One of AT40‘s many charms for me when I began listening in 1976 was Casey Kasem’s storytelling. I know now that he (or maybe more accurately, his staff) didn’t always get the facts straight. However, I was both a sucker and a sponge for what he dished out, and I didn’t mind relaying what I learned (?) from the show on to anyone who would listen, be they family members, classmates, etc. Forty-plus years will make one forget far more than what has been retained, but occasionally something pops up on these re-broadcasts that I remember hearing way back when.

Such is the case on this weekend’s 70s show, two weekends before Christmas 1976, right before the #32 song is spun. Casey noted that nine years ago this very week, Otis Redding and most of the members of the Bar-Kays–his back-up band–were killed when Redding’s small plane crashed into Lake Monona as it sought to land in bad weather at the Madison, WI airport. The only survivor was Bar-Kay trumpeter Ben Cauley (Casey mistakenly says his last name is Curley, I’m guessing due to bad transcription somewhere along the way). Another member of the band, bassist James Alexander, had stayed behind to take a later flight in part due to lack of space on the plane. Kasem then relayed that not long after the tragedy, Alexander assembled a new version of the Bar-Kays, and years of hard work were paying off as they returned to the charts with “Shake Your Rump to the Funk.”

The AT40 crew and Wikipedia are at odds about one detail: Casey says that Cauley didn’t take part in the re-constituted group, while that crowd-sourced compendium of knowledge claims he remained a Bar-Kay until 1971. Regardless, Cauley continued playing trumpet, including as a session musician (despite health issues along the way), until his death in 2015. I surmise that’s he we’re hearing prominently on their crazy good 1967 #17 instrumental hit “Soul Finger.”

It’s certainly strong enough to have charted on its own, but I did wonder at the time if “Shake Your Rump to the Funk” (which topped out at #23 in January) got a boost because of its title’s more-than-passing similarity to that of a certain recent #1 hit from K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

Modern Rock Tracks, 12/7/91

The American Contract Bridge League has just wrapped up its first in-person National tournament in two years (they usually hold them three times annually, in March, July, and November–host cities vary from tourney to tourney). My friend Mark L jetted off to Austin on Thanksgiving Day and quickly garnered a third-place finish in a big team event–congrats, Mark! I’ve never been good enough at the game to attend any and all Nationals, but I’ve often showed up for a few days when they’re geographically close.

That was the case in late November 1991, when the Fall Nationals landed in Indianapolis–fortunately for me, the midpoint between grad school and home. I played both weekends, on either side of Turkey Day (yes, one could spend the holiday at the card table if one so chose). On the first weekend, my friend Chris and I drove over from Champaign to play in a multi-day pairs event for non-Life Masters. We survived the first-day cut, and were in contention for a high finish going into the last session. For a brief moment that evening, it felt like we might have a shot at glory, but it was not to be.

As for the world of modern music from thirty years ago, it’s the usual mix of bands from the UK making their mark, along with a few tasty American entries. Let’s see what had us licking our chops.

28. Top, “Number One Dominator”
Please let me know if you know anything about this British troupe. Their sound is very much of the times—almost to the point of being derivative, already—but they seem to have disappeared without a trace after releasing Emotion Lotion.

25. Ian McCulloch, “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”
A cut from the Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan. My recollection is that R.E.M.’s version of “First We Take Manhattan” got the most notice.

22. Dire Straits, “Heavy Fuel”
Don’t want to be a snob, but it feels a little strange to see Mark Knopfler and company on this chart. The song was at #1 on the Album Rock Tracks chart this week.

21. The Pixies, “Letter to Memphis”
Somehow, I don’t remember hearing anything from Trompe le Monde when it came out. This is a nifty little tune.

20. Texas, “In My Heart”
Lead single from their second LP. I bought Mothers Heaven because I’d enjoyed Southside so much, but it never clicked with me the same way. That said, I’ll be playing this song on my radio show this Thursday.

19. Enya, “Caribbean Blue”
Much more lilting than “Orinoco Flow,”though not nearly as immediately arresting.

17. Curve, “Coast Is Clear”
Hypnotic beat, brutal lyrics. I’m a big fan—it made a mixtape that I wrote up a couple of years ago.

16. This Picture, “Naked Rain”
Last December when the Irish band An Emotional Fish appeared in this series, I commented on the similarity between their sound and that of U2. In response, my friend Greg emailed me with the following: 

“Now if you want complete U2 wannabe poseurdom, you need to listen to Energy Orchard (“Belfast” 1990) or This Picture (1989-1995). Now there are two bands completely devoid of independent creativity.”

Based on “Naked Rain,” I think Greg was being too harsh on This Picture (it’s probable he was being a little over-the-top, too). I like its intensity.

15. Teenage Fanclub, “Star Sign”
Not that these guys aren’t good (they are), but apparently choosing to channel Big Star can garner your band positive critical reception.

14. The Smithereens, “Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong”
I knocked Blow Up last go-round; this brief song feels much more like classic Smithereens fare.

12. Blur, “There’s No Other Way”
Did Blur garner its moderate 90s success only because of chameleon-like changes in style as musical fashions evolved? I dunno, but their singles still rock my world from time to time.

11. Kate Bush, “Rocket Man”
Another tribute album out at the time was Two Rooms, meant to suggest the method by which Bernie Taupin and Elton John collaborated. Kate sure made this her own.

8. Dramarama, “Haven’t Got a Clue”
We’re getting to the tail end of the era where 12” album covers dominated the scene inside record stores. From this countdown alone, I can remember seeing those for current releases from the Pixies, Teenage Fanclub, Blur, This Picture, U2, and Dramarama in various spots around Record Service in Champaign at the end of 1991. Dramarama’s new one was even called Vinyl, of all things.

7. The Ocean Blue, “Ballerina Out of Control”
The top comment on this video proclaims The Ocean Blue as “the best British band to ever come out of Pennsylvania.” They deserved more attention than they ever received.

9. U2, “The Fly”
1. U2, “Mysterious Ways”

I’m an unrepentant fan of Achtung Baby, and I’ll even go so far to say that I’d rather listen to it than The Joshua Tree these days. They’re absolutely glomming on to sounds emanating from the UK, but to these ears it’s a brilliant synthesis rather than blatant copycatting.