1. The Dream Academy - "Life In A Northern Town"
I'm not sure what another Dream Academy song sounds like, but I doubt it would be this awesome mix of pop, folk and African inspired deliciousness. It's said this song was meant as an homage to 70's folk legend Nick Drake, while there are no direct references Nick Laird-Clowes was quoted as saying his favourite album at the time he co-wrote the song was Drake's Bryter Layter.
2. Love & Rockets - "So Alive"
This was one of my June Tunes and yes it kind of inspired this list. Love & Rockets emerged from the ashes of British goth rock band Bauhaus. Their biggest hit came to them in 1989 in the form of "So Alive" reaching #3.
3. Wall Of Voodoo - "Mexican Radio"
Audiences weren't quite sure what to make of Wall Of Voodoo when they arrived in 1982. Their biggest hit was "Mexican Radio" a song inspired by border blaster AM stations originating in Mexico in the 60's and 70's. The song featured peculiar imagery, a bizarre video with an even more bizarre lead man. The song was decent but perhaps it was all the oddities that prevented Wall Of Voodoo to attract mainstream attention and kept them a one hitter.
4. Johnny Hates Jazz - "Shattered Dreams"
Though they had another song that was moderately successful ("I Don't Want To Be A Hero") Johnny Hates Jazz were an English trio known mainly for "Shattered Dreams". This song hit #2 in the US and #5 in the UK. Ironically, the band (who named themselves Johnny Hates Jazz for the 3 members' shared hatred of jazz) were initially discovered at a Jazz club.
5. Martika - "Toy Soldiers"
Another hit song in 1989, Martika was born to Cuban parents who left their home during a revolution. She aspired to be an actress but was quickly noticed for her singing ability, "Toy Soldiers" came off her debut album and was a massive success. The song gained new life in 2004 when it was sample by Eminem for his song "Like Toy Soldiers".
6. John Waite - "Missing You"
Waite sings the thoughts and feelings of many people in this melodramatic hit from 1984. While he never had another hit song, John Waite captured the emotions after someone goes through a breakup wonderfully. Trying to put on a brave face while silently missing someone. Listen for the line at the very end of the song "I can lie to myself..." Brilliant
7. Cutting Crew - "(I Just) Died In Your Arms"
Song names that begin in parenthesis are strange, aren't they? Hmmm maybe another list is in order. Or songs with parenthesis in their title period. Are there any with multiple parenthesises..ss? I got some work to do here I think. Oh yeah, Cutting Crew....they were cool.
8. Living Colour - "Cult Of Personality"
This song has one of the most coolest-ass guitar riffs ever. Living Colour were a heavy metal band from New York, who fused their music with funk, jazz and hip-hop. "Cult Of Personality" was their biggest hit and uses quotes from some famous speeches from Malcolm X and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
9. Quarterflash - "Harden My Heart"
Quarterflash enjoyed a flash of success in the early 80's mainly with the help of "Harden My Heart" also it was unique at the time (and still is actually) for the lead saxophone parts to be played by the female lead singer. That stuck in people's heads, much like this song's rhythm.
10. Q Lazzarus - "Goodbye Horses"
Another song from the Q file! "Goodbye Horses" was sung by Q Lazzarus in 1988. She is not known for many other songs and was a taxi driver in NYC before being discovered. The song's writer was inspired by Hindu philosophy and describes the 'horses' as a person's five senses and the singer is transcending their Earthly limits. This song has since taken on a new association since it was used during an infamous scene in the 1991 film Silence Of The Lambs.
Thanks again all!