Primal Alt Rock Favorites

Friday December 21, 2018 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | music

I love teh 80s
“I ♥ 80s” by Kwintin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’ve been listening to a lot of 80s alt rock and 1st Wave alt rock lately and I decided to create a list of my favorite early alt rock bands or songs. Some of these bands were basically one hit wonders and some of them turned into superstars, and some are still actively making new music and touring. I’ve seen other similar lists with other bands, but those other bands simply never struck a chord with me. There might even be a few on here you haven’t heard.

I ended up with 67. Why 67? Well, this is how many I found that met my criteria, of being considered alt rock by someone or on a band comparison to someone else on this list, was before 1995 and wasn’t obviously conventional pop. Some of these songs border on pop or more conventional rock. It was hard to differentiate where to draw the line. Many of these bands have multiple songs that I dig, but I just picked one that I really love by that band. The first on this list is a perfect example.

This is not representative of all of the music I listened to back then. I love metal and straight up rock as well as some bluegrass and some country music, but it is very representative of great alternative rock music from that era. There is some incredible alternative music being made today, but these bands set the stage of what would follow, and it is a pretty diverse set. All of these songs are awesome! Links provided for a YouTube song. There are lots of versions for most of these songs.

U2 – Stories for Boys – I found a really old version of this maybe their first video

Album version is better

R.E.M. – Begin the Begin

The Smiths – How Soon is Now?

The Cure – In Between Days

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Cities in Dust

Pet Shop Boys – Two divided by Zero

The Clash – Rock the Casbah

Echo and the Bunnymen – The Cutter

Violent Femmes -Blister in the Sun

The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom

Eurythmics – Missionary Man

Culture Club – Karma Chameleon

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax

Still makes me want to get up and dance!

OMD – If You Leave

The The – Infected

Modern English – I Melt with You

DEVO – Whip It

Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party

Psychodelic Furs – Love My Way

Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

New Order – Blue Monday

The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me

Talk Talk – It’s My Life

The Call – The Walls Came Down

The B-52s – Private Idaho

Naked Eyes – Always Something There to Remind Me

Kajagoogoo – Too Shy

Heaven 17 – Let Me Go

ABC – Poison Arrow

Spandau Ballet – True

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground

Billy Idol – White Wedding

Duran Duran – Rio

The Godfathers – Birth School Work Death

Berlin – Masquerade

General Public – Tenderness

Yaz (Yazoo in Britain) – Situation

They Might Be Giants – Don’t Let’s Start

Simple Minds – Don’t You

Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning

Hoodoo Gurus – Miss Freelove ’69

Split Enz – I Got You

Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran

Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me with Science

The Alarm – Strength

A-ha -Take on Me

The Pursuit of Happiness – Hard to Laugh

The Human League – Don’t You Want Me?

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Grey Cell Green

Gary Numan – Cars

Soft Cell – Tainted Love

Big Country – In a Big Country

Haircut 100 – Love Plus One

The Tubes – She’s a Beauty

Missing Persons – Words

INXS – The One Thing

Howard Jones – What is Love?

Thompson Twins – Lies

Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

Animotion – Obsession

Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight

Gene Loves Jezebel – 20 Killer Hurts

After the Fire -Der Kommissar

Real Life – Send Me an Angel


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