Chart Music Through The Years: 1977

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

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Duh duh duh duhhh/daaah/do do do dooooh/doooh/do do do dooooh/doood/duh duh da duuuh! That’s right, it’s the year of Figrin D’an, Doctor Cornelius Evazan, Jek Tono Porkins and all their buddies from memorable Space Saga Star Warriors! Everyone was humming along to the theme tune by John Williams and quoting their favourite quotes – ‘Luke, put down that Ewok and get over here and EAT YOUR PEAS’ is of course the one everyone remembers to this day. Unfortunately, I was seemingly neither alive nor conceived in 1977, and as such my memories of the year are entirely fabricated or borrowed. Did it even happen? We may never know.

As I can’t possibly comment on what I was doing in 1977 without creating a confusing paradox that not even Year 2977 version of me would understand, I’ll have to rely on other avenues to share with you what was happening in the year between 1978 and that other one. According to websites, 1977 was one of the most important years of computer development, seeing both the Commodore PET being unleashed and fruit based overlords Apple Computers being ‘incorporated’. Roots reminded us that slavery was wrong, Morph began his squishy stop-motion animation antics, the Tenerife disaster seeing two airplanes colliding became the worst disaster in aviation history, and Spain put Franco behind them. In the music world it was a year of massive highs and lows; Elvis died, along with three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marc Bolan, Bing Crosby, and Charlie Chaplin. The Bee Gees released the biggest selling album of all time up to that point in Saturday Night Fever, Led Zeppelin embarked on a farewell US Tour, The Sex Pistols released their only studio album, and Studio 54 opened its doors. But what of the charts? Let your eyes slip out of their sockets and down the screen if you wish to see my thoughts.

1. David Soul: Silver Lady

Looking at this top 10, there are only four entries I recognise, including a twist on the duh duh duh duuuhh duuuh! David Soul is mostly remembered by me for sliding over car bonnets and killing vampires. He seems to have had a singing career too. Lets have a listen. A groovy introduction. Disco was of course hitting its peak around this time, so everyone wanted a slice, even Vampire Slayers. There’s also a country and rock and motown twist, so it’s all a little unusual. Soul’s vocal talents fall apart in the chorus as the backing singers drown him out entirely. I like the verses though, interesting lyrics and a whole bunch of instruments thrown in – nice changes in melodies too, going back and forth between major and minor. A decent song I’ve never heard before.

2. La Belle Epoque: Black Is Black

I’ll assume this has nothing to do with Public Enemy. Ah right, it’s Black is Black, not Black is Back. Disco throbbing. Like farts in a bath. Actually, more like lowering your ass into the water in the toilet, and then farting. Multi voices. Unnecessary ‘wooo!’. Fast paced and funky, but it sounds like pretty generic Disco stuff. Still, it’s not bad. It is cheesy and horribly dated, mostly due to the vocals. Bizarre drum and synth breakdown in the middle. Quite a long one this. Apparently it’s a cover. Disastrous spoken part. Maybe the original is good as there are good moments here, hidden under a series of unfortunate decisions.

3. Baccarra: Yes Sir I Can Boogie

Right, three disco songs in a row? This is serious. It was truly a plague and as much as Punk was trying to make an impact, it was never going to seriously impact the charts. Anyway, I know this one, doesn’t everyone? It opens like some simpering ballad, turns into a breathy orgasm, leading into verses with ‘ha ha, listen to their accents’ singing. I never noticed the accents before, I thought they were just putting it on in the chorus, not that I’d paid any attention. It’s a strange one, with talky verses, and a catchy chorus. The lyrics are a complete nonsense. I’d always just assumed this one was okay, but it’s actually pretty bad. I mean the chorus is fine, but it’s so ridiculous and cheesy that I’m almost embarrassed for it. Don’t point at it, just tell it to go away.

4. Rod Stewart: You’re In My Heart

Rodney Stewart – rock music for women who neither understand nor like rock music. I didn’t recognise this from the name, but I have heard it before. It’s your typical light ballad aimed at dropping pants as much as making moneys, but it doesn’t come alive until the chorus. It hardly stretches Rodney’s vocals, and it doesn’t stretch anyone’s intelligence. It does have some weird violin stuff going on and the chorus is fine, but there’s an awful lot of crap in there too.

5. Danny Mirror: I Remember Elvis Presley.

There’s obvious cash-ins, and then there’s this. Elvis, one of the most famous people to have ever lived, was only dead a matter of moments before this catastrophe was shat onto the airwaves. What a stupid fucking title. Who the hell is Danny Mirror? He appears to be doing an impression of Elvis, and I can’t quite tell if this some sick joke or an extremely misguided dedication. Written to sound like a half-assed Elvis ballad, it’s lyrics are a mixture of Elvis name-checks and the sort of thing you say at a funeral for the pet budgie. I cannot fathom how this was ever allowed to be, never mind how it made it into the charts. People are morons. That is the only reason for this mistake’s existence. It may have made more sense five or ten years later, but only marginally.

6. The Emotions: Best Of My Life

Aah right. I know this one. Yes it’s more Disco, but this seems to have more of a touch of class to it. The vocals are vastly superior to anything else we’ve heard on today’s list, but the verses are directionless. Famous chorus though, it’s good, but not great. It’s short and to the point too.

7. Meco: Star Wars Theme

Right, I’ve been dreading this. Star Wars is one of my favourite movie series ever, and has some of my favourite music ever. Someone had the bright idea of going ‘this thing is popular, and this thing over here is popular too, so maybe if they fuck, there will be born an uber-popular!’ They were right, but they were also so so wrong. If you’ve heard literally any Disco song, and if you’ve heard the Star Wars theme, then you don’t need to listen to this as it’s exactly as you’re imagining now. Except it has added blaster noises.

8. The Stranglers: No More Heroes

Another one that I recognised immediately from looking at the list, this one manages to merge punk with some strange not-Disco synth noises. Good song, nifty solo in the middle, and as much as the synth does its hardest to distract and take over, it all blends together well. That post-solo rambling reminds me of similar work by The Doors, but even more manic.

9. Ram Jam: Black Betty

Of course I knew this from seeing the name, it’s one that still got regular plays at the rock clubs I used to frequent. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I still liked it – just not as much as most others seemed to. In that sense it hasn’t really aged, still has a timeless classic rock feel to it, and will continue to get revellers on their feet thanks to the incessant beat. It’s funky, catchy, and has plenty of interesting breakdowns. I believe most of the time this was played in clubs though, much of the guitar solo and weird drums parts were edited out leaving basically only ‘woah black betty, bam a lam’ for two minutes.

10. Elvis Presley: Way Down

With my rant above you’d maybe assume I’m some big Elvis geek. I’m not – at the time of writing I’ve never heard a single Elvis album, and I only know the obvious big hits. I’ve never gone out of my way to listen to anything else by him. I don’t recognise the name of this song, but I may know it once I hit play. Apparently this was the last song he released before his death. It starts out with a Disco flavour, and a little bit of Country guitar and honkey-tonk going on – basically an Elvis song influenced by Disco. We get Gospel backing vocals in the chorus. There’s some way down vocals going on too. Nothing too exciting for me here, but an okay foot-tapper.

A fairly accurate representation of 1977 then – Disco, Elvis, a little bit of punk, and more Disco. There are other genres not represented here of course, and there were a whole host of classic albums released in 1977 which have little in common with anything on this list – Low (David Bowie), Animals (Pink Floyd), Rumours (Fleetwood Mac),  The Idiot and Lust For Life (Iggy Pop), The Clash, Exodus (Bob Marley And The Wailers), Motorhead, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols, Bat Out of Hell (Meat Loaf), and more. With that in mind, I now present my stunning list of an alternative Top 10 songs from 1977 which you should probably listen to. Now.

1. Dogs – Pink Floyd

2. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

3. White Riot – The Clash

4. My God – Alice Cooper

5. Jamming – Bob Marley And The Wailers

6. Lust For Life – Iggy Pop

7. ‘Heroes’ – David Bowie

8. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth

9. God Save The Queen – The Sex Pistols

10. Spread Your Wings – Queen

What are your memories of 1977, music based or otherwise? Were you there? Do you wish you were? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman Listens To Bon Jovi – Destination Anywhere!

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Greetings, Glancers! We continue our mini-detour from Bon Jovi’s main releases to see what their front man was getting up to in his spare time. Last time around we listened to Jon strap on his boots and go bareback through the South, living out his Wild West fantasies. With 1997’s Destination Anywhere, the musical landscape had changed and the main band had matured. Will his second solo effort also highlight these changes or will it be a self-serving piece of masturbation? I definitely know (and like) a couple of these songs already, and hopefully there are some new ones which I’ll get into.

‘Queen Of New Orleans’ – Good intro, a clearly late 90s rock sound. Oddly deep vocals. Verse is plain, the chorus is too tame and the vocals don’t work. Mostly boring but a different pace and approach from what we know, it does veer way too close to a lot of those soft rock bands of the era who each had one hit then disappeared.

‘Janie, Don’t You Take Your Love To Town’ – This is one I’ve always liked. It feels like a Bon Jovi song, but it has that mid-late 90s drum sound. Unlike the first track, this one has good verses and a crowd-pleasing chorus. It may be formulaic, but we don’t come into an album like this expecting it to break ground. I’d never actually heard the full version of this before – the single works just as well.

‘Midnight In Chelsea’ – There’s that beat again, except this time it sounds like some RnB fluff. I’m not sure what audience Jon was going after with these songs – it would alienate his core crowd and the people who listen to generic chart fluff aren’t going to be interested in hearing some old white guy do it. Still, this is better than the first song, lyrics seem okay, and the chorus has potential. It doesn’t quite paint the picture of America that he wants it to, but it’s fine – the chorus is a grower, but it goes on for a minute too long.

‘Ugly’ – Hmm, that riff seems familiar. Maybe I have heard this one before. Yeah, it’s one of those songs. We’re all ugly sometimes, except some of us are more often than others. And we’re all in different environments which mean different outcomes to feeling or being u-g-l-y. Still, it’s fine, average or slightly better.

‘Staring At Your Window With A Suitcase In My Hand’ – Experimental country. I like the verses. They are nothing new, we’ve heard this stuff by Bon Jovi and other bands before. As you know by know, I’m a sucker for those atmospheric, shadowy songs – this doesn’t quite fall into that category, but it’s close. Again it’s just okay – nothing bad, nothing really good, just ordinary.

‘Every Word Was A Piece Of My Heart’ – Odd vocals. Gruff but low. Ordinary verse, decent bridge and chorus, but lacking those extra pieces to push it over into the good song territory. These songs are simply too samey and forgettable at the moment. Weird middle vocals and solo.

‘It’s Just Me’ – Madonna drums. More weird vocals. Ordinary verses, reflective lyrics, decent bridge, average chorus. You know the drill by now, and unless the album picks up in the second half it’s going to be a very forgettable experience. Hmm, this one just keeps going doesn’t it? Solo flapping to end.

‘Destination Anywhere’ – A more respectable one all around this is. It has the same weird not quite country sound as other songs on the album. The verses are fine but luckily the chorus does the trick, even if it does come from nowhere and doesn’t connect well with any other part of the song.

‘Learning How To Fall’ – More drum loops. This all seems ill-advised. More low. Some harmonica. Plain verse. Brief bridge. Plain chorus. Next.

‘Naked’ – Funky. This one at least is different. I imagine this is more like the sound he wanted to go with for the album, but it still feels like a lot of those other one-hit wonders of the era. ‘You can’t fake it when you’re naked?’ I don’t know about that…

‘Little City’ – More drum bits and bobs. Better guitar. Better vocals. It has the atmosphere and the shadows. Verses are okay, if it can pull off a good chorus then this could be a hidden gem. Eventually we reach a ‘sha la la la’ piece. It almost makes it but stays tantalizingly out of reach of true goodness. Ah well. Then it tacks on a minute of crap to the end.

‘August 7 4.15’ – Hmm, this seems more like it. Faster tempo, Springsteen vocals, catchy bits. Verses and bridges better than the chorus. Still, that’s two better songs near the end, but still not enough to save this from being a sleepy time record for sleepy sleep sleeps.

‘Cold Hard Heart’ – Closing with a ballad then. Or, something slower at least as this seems too downbeat to be a ballad. This is actually much better than almost anything else on the album, that is obvious from the opening minute. Good verses and great chorus. Three good songs to close – add a couple of the singles and you would have a pretty good EP.

That’s that then. An unfulfilling bore in all honesty. Points for trying to be different, but points removed for not fully committing to it and making something interesting. There are maybe only 4-5 decent songs here, the rest are filler and belong as B-Sides or on the studio floor. Tell me I’m wrong in the comments! Next up, the boys reunite and unleash Crush!

Nightman Listens To – Joy Division – Closer (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

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Greetings, Glancers! Once again I embark on a voyage through time to expose my brain to the supposed classic albums of the past. Today we look at one of the most revered cult bands ever in Joy Division, and their album Closer. I’ll let you in on a secret; come Closer; in my younger, more songwritingy and singingy days I was compared favourably to Ian Curtis, though I’m not sure why. I sound more like Michael Jackson when I sing, and while my lyrics tended to fall on the darker side of the human condition there was also plenty of humour and nonsense and childlike wonder. I think people thought I looked a bit like him too. I have probably heard many parts of this album but never paid it much attention. While on paper Joy Division always sounded like exactly the sort of band I would listen to, what I’ve heard over the years never enamoured them to me, as well as the fact that I’m not much of a New Order fan or of all the stuff which came out of Manchester in the aftermath. Moving on.

What Do I Know About Joy Division: Led by Ian Curtis, an enigmatic front man who killed himself at 23 after suffering from increasing bouts of depression and epilepsy. The remaining members went on to form New Order. Every time there is some new Indie resurgence, new bands point to Joy Division as an influence. Famed for a gloomy sound blending post-punk, pre-grunge, and synth sounds.

What Do I Know About Closer: The band’s second and final album.

Atrocity Exhibition: Drums. Funky bass. Scary noises. Morrison vocals and poetry. Scratchy guitars and the odd tin drum blast. Lots of distortion of noise and throbbing. This is the way. This is the end? There is an emptiness or coldness to the sound. Reminds me a lot of In Utero. There’s a repetitive quieter thirty seconds in there which isn’t really necessary.

Isolation: Faster, odd synth noises. This one seems familiar but those synth sounds are quite silly. Bass prominent again as expected, but something annoying about it. Sounds more upbeat musically but I suspect the lyrics are not. I don’t like the effects on the vocals. Heavier drums now. Sudden end. Then comes back. Then ends.

Passover: Funky drums. Solo descending notes. Riff. Bass. There’s so much space and emptiness in the verses. There’s a sinister tone with this one thanks to the relentless beat, near spoken vocals, and eerie guitar. It’s the first song where the guitar feels prominent.

Colony: Drums and bass and guitar chugging together. I’m not convinced that the vocals work as well here, or maybe it’s that strange effect on them. The guitar begins playing something different from the drums and bass which sounds bizarre, clashing but not sounding 100% out of place.

A Means To An End: Another thumping, monotonous beat, more jagged guitar, this one sounding more like a traditional riff. I appreciate the vocals, but I do find them getting on my nerve – too plain and cold and emotionless – it works for me on one off listens, but a succession of songs with no variance in the delivery make everything feel too similar. On the flip side, it all adds up to a more potent, chilling whole album.

Heart And Soul: Funky bass and nice drums. Emerging synth. Like a low chant. Of course now they throw in a different effect on the vocals. Sounds more like Morrison. Still the style and delivery is the same. Mesmeric middle. Sudden heavier drum. More words. More sound. End.

Twenty Four Hours: Nice guitar tone. Chattering sounds. Unusual beat. Very Holy Bible. Slower. I still say these songs would sound even better with a less dry vocal delivery. Best song so far, superb stuff. Little shift at the end for a final surprise.

The Eternal: Hissing hisses. Stalking bass. Funeral march piano. More great stuff. Not typing, too busy listening. Sad. Inevitable. Vocals waver slightly into being off key which I assume was on purpose, adding to a sense of futility. Guitar flickery bits. Garden sprinkler ending. Piano mistake.

Decades: More percussive pieces to give lifeless industrial feel. Sudden comedy synth. I wanna die in your arms tonight. Later more 80s drums and synth come in. Beat and rhythm constantly changing. Blasts of backing organ synth stuff. The ‘where have they been’ section is the warmest stuff musically on the album.

What Did I Learn: I wouldn’t say I’ve learned anything, but I definitely appreciate them now that I have listened to them. I like the coldness and intelligence and approach and originality, but I don’t think there is enough variance musically or emotionally to convert me to being some die hard fan. There is great stuff here though and I can see why so many love it and love Curtis. I’ll definitely listen to it again.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: I’ll have to say yes, although it’s plain to see that this will alienate many people and it’s clearly something that select groups of people will want to listen to. The style is cold and otherwordly, definitely not the stuff of charts past, present or future. As well as the obvious influences on New Order and everything which came from there, the band (I’m not sure if it was this album specifically though) continues to influence new artists and those on the fringe. Teens, kids, and the placeless and questioning will continue to uncover this album for decades to come.

What are your thoughts of Joy Division and Closer? Let us know in the comments!

#Thisisyourfilm 1999 – 2007

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1999:

Top Grossing Film: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

My Favourite Film: Bangkok Dangerous.

Quite a few good films and big films this year – The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, and Fight Club are all obvious choices. My pick though is one so very few have seen – there’s no excuse, it’s fucking glorious. Plenty of cult classics this year too.

Biggest Selling Song: Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

My Favourite Song: Unintended by Muse

I almost went for the title track, but then remembered how Unintended grabbed me. I’d heard some of their earlier EP from one of those old radio sampler cds, but it was their ballad that convinced me they would be huge.

Biggest Selling Album: Millennium by Backstreet Boys

My Favourite Album: Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Not too many huge releases this year that I could have gone for, really between this, Muse, and Lene Marlin. Californication is a beast though, a massive return to form and a huge commercial and critical success.

My Favourite Book:  Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

2000:

Top Grossing Film: Mission Impossible 2

My Favourite Film: Battle Royale.

A lot of strong foreign movies this year, aside from my winner. When I first saw Battle Royale I proclaimed it as the most important film of the new millennium. I still stand by that. Pick a better film from 2000, I dare you. 

Biggest Selling Song: Music by Madonna

My Favourite Song: Bumblebee by JJ72

The studio version is quite lovely in its torment, but seeing it live is an entirely different beast – it transforms into a destructive, euphoric masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Album: No Strings Attached by NSYNC

My Favourite Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

I don’t think there was a better album this year, a year which also included Rated R, JJ72,  Lost Souls, Brave New World, Kid A, Wishmaster, and more.

My Favourite Book: A Storm Of Swords by George R R Martin.

2001:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

My Favourite Film: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Plenty of worthy picks this year, but come on, LOTR wins every damn time.

Biggest Selling Song: It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy

My Favourite Song: Hurricane by Natalie Imbruglia

Biggest Selling Album: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

My Favourite Album: Origin Of Symmetry. 

White Lillies Island, Toxicity, Amnesiac, Blackwater Park, and a whole host of euro and american metal and rock coming back into the mainstream. Muse raised their game and easily bypassed any and all expectations for their second album.

My Favourite Book: Black House by Stephen King

I feel like I should apologize for how limited by reading appears on these lists. At this point in my life I was reading 2-3 books a week, mostly for University. Those books were almost exclusively old – pre-20th Century, or pre-1983 at least. What spare time I had was going on King’s latest releases. He had two this year, and Black House (which I stupidly read before The Talisman) is the better of the two. Looking at what else was released in 2001, I think my choice stands.

2002:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

See above.

Biggest Selling Song: Anything is possible/Evergreen by Will Young.

My Favourite Song: Under The Ice by Blind Guardian

Biggest Selling Album: The Eminem Show by Eminem

My Favourite Album: Century Child by Nightwish

Night On My Side, A Night At The Opera, Highly Evolved, I To Sky, Deliverance, and plenty more personal favourites.

My Favourite Book: Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

Some of King’s finest short stories collected here, including Little Sisters Of Eluria and the award winning The Man In The Black Suit.

2003:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

See above. Again.

Biggest Selling Song: Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas

My Favourite Song: No More Lies by Iron Maiden

Biggest Selling Album: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ by 50 Cent

My Favourite Album: Another Day by Lene Marlin

The Music, Damnation, Dance Of Death, Absolution, Souvenirs… probably others.

My Favourite Book: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Not to be an asshole, but I was on the hype train for this before anyone else. I even started an IMDB thread about a potential movie on the book before the book was even released. Anyway, it’s great.

2004:

Top Grossing Film: Shrek 2

My Favourite Film: Dawn Of The Dead

This wasn’t a great year personally for standout films. There were some very good sequels and plenty of films I enjoyed – not many that leap out as a strong favourite. My two obvious picks involved zombies. I’ve gone for the one most would not pick.

Biggest Selling Song: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Various

My Favourite Song: Ghost Love Score by Nightwish

Biggest Selling Album: Confessions by Usher

My Favourite Album: Welcome To The North by The Music

Faded Seaside Glamour, Once, Until The End, Leviathan, Lifeblood, and more. But my album of the year is also the album of the decade and one of the best ever.

My Favourite Book: The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Well, I had to, didn’t I?

2005:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

My Favourite Film: Batman Begins

Plenty of worthy comedies and dramas, but Batman wins it.

Biggest Selling Song: Is This The Way To Amarillo by Peter Kay and Tony Christie

My Favourite Song: Something In The Way by Gemma Hayes

Biggest Selling Album: The Emancipation of Mimi by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Ghost Reveries by Opeth

Counting down The Days, Dirty Diamonds, The Roads Don’t Love You and not a lot else. A pretty crappy year.

My Favourite Book: Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Cats. Cats everywhere.

2006:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

My Favourite Film: Casino Royale

A terrific year for movies and at least five I could just as easily call my favourite. I’m going to go with what might not be the best out of my favourites, but I think it just about cinches it for ‘rewatchability’.

Biggest Selling Song: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.

My Favourite Song: Waking Hour by The Gathering

Biggest Selling Album: The High School Musical Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: A Matter Of Life And Death by Iron Maiden

Inhuman Rampage, Black Holes And Revelations, Blood Mountain, Home. Iron Maiden’s return to form culminates in their epic war-based monster.

My Favourite Book: Cell by Stephen King

I know I know, but it’s good!

2007:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

My Favourite Film: Enchanted

A bit of a crap year, actually. Even all the films which did well at The Oscars which most non-Oscars people like, I felt were a bit meh.

Biggest Selling Song: Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis

My Favourite Song: Bouncing Off Clouds by Tori Amos

Biggest Selling Album: Noel by Josh Groban

My Favourite Album: Send Away The Tigers by Manic Street Preachers

As you can tell, the number of quality releases drastically shrinks with each year this decade, so by this point there is’t much worth mentioning – naturally there’s a tonne I haven’t heard so there’s bound to be plenty of great albums and songs I’ve missed. I narrowed by albums down to three, but none of them are even great choices.

My Favourite Book: Unknown

You know, I don’t think I’ve read a single book published in 2007. I mean, I probably have but I can’t think of any which likely means any I did read I didn’t particularly enjoy.

Next time I’ll squeeze the remaining years into one post and I’ll probably remove the books section as there haven’t really been too many books in recent years that I’ve loved outside of the usual suspects. Maybe that’s what happens when you get old(er).

#Thisisyourfilm 1991 – 1998

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1991:

Top Grossing Film: T2

My Favourite Film: T2

What. A. Year. The top 3 highest grossing movies in the US among my top favourite movies, with T2 maybe being my favourite movie of all time and Beauty And The Beast being my favourite Disney movie ever. There’s a bunch of other classics this year too but Arnie, Eddie, Linda, Robert and co are never going to be topped.

Biggest Selling Song: Everything I Do By Bryan Adams

My Favourite Song: November Rain by Guns N Roses

As cheesy as it is, I do love Everything I Do – especially the long version. I should pick something else though so lets go with Axl’s epic.

Biggest Selling Album: Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Nevermind By Nirvana

What. A. Year. My winner could have been either of the Use Your Illusions, Metallica’s Black Album, Dangerous, Hey Stoopid, and several others come close. But my winner has to be Nevermind – the so called album of a generation ‘nevermind’ the album of the year.

My Favourite Book: Ringu by Koji Suzuki

It’s a different kind of horror from the one on screen, but clinically delivered.

1992:

Top Grossing Film: Aladdin. 

My Favourite Film: Fire Walk With Me

Unlike most years in this era there isn’t one film which leaps out as my absolute favourite – there are four or five which I could choose between, followed by a larger group of almosts. There are a lot of interesting horror movies this year, plenty of comedies and action hits, but for now I’ll go with Lynch’s masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Song: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Winter by Tori Amos

It’s perfect.

Biggest Selling Album: Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus

My Favourite Album: Generation Terrorists by Manic Street Preachers

Well, we also had Little Earthquakes, Dirt, and a few other near shots.

My Favourite Book: Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

1993:

Top Grossing Film: Jurassic Park

My Favourite Film: Jurassic Park

Another terrific year for action movies, with a host that I hold dear, but those dinosaurs stand tall above them all. There are a few close runners so stay tuned for when I eventually reach the 90s in my Oscars posts.

Biggest Selling Song: I’d Do Anything For Love by Meat Loaf

My Favourite Song: Life Becoming A Landslide by Manic Street Preachers

My favourite Manics song is obviously my favourite song of the year.

Biggest Selling Album: The Bodyguard soundtrack

My Favourite Album: In Utero by Nirvana

Also efforts from Radiohead, Manics, and others but In Utero stands alone in it’s bleak rage.

My Favourite Book: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides.

My most easily recalled memory of this is that I read most of it on the toilet.

1994:

Top Grossing Film: The Lion King

My Favourite Film: Dumb And Dumber

One of my favourite years in the history of cinema, there is any number of personal favourites I could choose from as winner. Comedy has been a bit light in my choices so far though, so I’ll go with The Farrelly Brother’s finest film.

Biggest Selling Song: Streets Of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Lost For Words by Pink Floyd

There’s a bunch I could choose from any of the albums below, and a host of other singles, but I thought I’d mix it up a little with Floyd’s last great song.

Biggest Selling Album: The Lion King soundtrack

My Favourite Album: The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers

Classics from Portishead, Nirvana, Oasis, Jeff Buckley and others but they all hold their heads in shame as they bow to the terrible majesty of The Holy Bible

My Favourite Book: Insomnia by Stephen King

1995:

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story

My Favourite Film: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

It was almost going to be Goldeneye but then I remembered Denver came out in 1995 and not 1996. It’s a perfect movie.

Biggest Selling Song: Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio

My Favourite Song: In Motion # 2 by The Gathering

I could have picked something from Jagged Little Pill but in the end I’ve gone for this Anneke era Gathering special.

Biggest Selling Album: Cracked Read View by Hootie And The Blowfish

My Favourite Album: The Bends by Radiohead

Brit-pop, general Indie music, and pop-punk albums were hitting their commercial and critical stride, while metal was roaring back to power in Europe. Only one winner here though. Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette also sold a few copies of their respective albums.

My Favourite Book: Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

1996:

Top Grossing Film: Independence Day

My Favourite Film: Scream

A few standouts and personal favourites this year, but Stabby Joe and co remains a landmark in horror.

Biggest Selling Song: Macarena by Los Del Rio

My Favourite Song: Darling One by Susannah Hoffs

Lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

My Favourite Album: Everything Must Go by Manic Street Preachers

Not a lot to choose from this year, actually.

My Favourite Book: Desperation by Stephen King

1997:

Top Grossing Film: Titanic

My Favourite Film: The Fifth Element

Not a great year for huge personal favorites but a few make the grade with Luc Besson’s genre collapsing tale taking the top spot.

Biggest Selling Song: Candle In The Wind by Elton John

My Favourite Song: Sonnet by The Verve

Lovely lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Spice by The Spice Girls

My Favourite Album: OK Computer by Radiohead

My Favourite Book: In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

1998:

Top Grossing Film: Armageddon

My Favourite Film: Ring

A pretty crappy year for personal favourites, but there are a bunch of smaller, forgotten movies that I love. Japan’s Ring is peerless though.

Biggest Selling Song: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

My Favourite Song: Ready For Drowning by Manic Street Preachers

Another one of my absolute favourite Manics songs.

Biggest Selling Album: Titanic Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: How To Measure A Planet?

Only a few possibilities for me this year, but with one sure winner. How To Measure A Planet? is album everyone should, nay, must hear.

My Favourite Book: Loop by Koji Suzuki

Next time around I’ll let you in on my picks from the new decade/year/millennium! Down boy!

 

#Thisisyourfilm: 1983 – 1990

1m0x86

Greetings, Glancers. So, if you’ve been lurking around blogs or tweets in the last few weeks, you may have noticed this hastag doing the rounds. It’s nothing exciting, but the brevity and transparency of the medium allows you to jot down your choices and share with the world in a matter of moments. What’s it all aboot? Thanks for asking. Basically, cryou pick your favourite film from every year that you have been plaguing Mother Earth with your presence. Me being me, most of the time, I have decided to branch out a little further so y’all can get to know and hate me a little more.

My branches will cover music and literature too. So, for every year I’ve (officially) been alive – starting in 1983 – I’ll pick my favourite movie, my favourite book, my favourite album, and my favourite song. There’s a caveat on the musical choices as I’m going to pick a song which is not from my favourite album, just to mix things up a little. On top of that, I’m not doing the music in any great detail – more of an afterthought so I’ll probably miss some songs I like more than the ones I give. The ‘official’ info may also be balls. From a film point of view, you’ll get an idea for what my future Oscars posts will look like when I get around to writing them and catch up to the 80s and beyond. As a final twist, I’ll give the top-grossing movie and best selling album/song of the year too, and see if there is any comparison. Today, it’s 1983 – 1990!

1983

Top Grossing Film: Return Of The Jedi.

My Favourite Film: Return Of The Jedi.

My favourite film from my favourite trilogy (yeah, suck it Empire fans), Jedi has all the adventure of the first movie, all the emotion of the second, tops off the series with a great ending, and has one of the most bad-ass fights sequences ever. The year also saw good efforts from Tony Scott, Coppola, Luc Besson, Cronenberg, Scorsese, Brian De Palma,

My Favourite Album: Piece Of Mind by Iron Maiden

Not too many great albums this year, but it did have possibly my favourite Maiden album.

Best Selling Album: Thriller by Michael Jackson (bit of a cheat as it was released in 82, but anyway..)

My Favourite Song: The Four Horsemen by Metallica

Or No Remorse or Seek And Destroy. All chugging, frantic epics showcasing the young band’s ability to play fast and hard, while changing it up throughout the song so that each is filled with ambition and vitality.

Best Selling Song: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

My Favourite Book: The Witches, by Roald Dahl.

I have been reading this to my eldest daughter recently, and remembering just how creepy it actually is – Dahl beckoning the children to trust him with his promises of knowledge to protect you from the REAL WITCHES that grown-ups deny or don’t believe exist. I loved it when I was young, and now I pass it on. Also, for the books I didn’t bother going into research mode too much so I’m picking more or less off the top of my head – this means you’re going to see a lot of repetition of authors. Runner up?

1984:

Top Grossing Film: Beverly Hills Cop

My Favourite Film: The Terminator

Three films from this year feature in my top ten favourite films ever. The Terminator is probably my favourite film of all time, with A Nightmare On Elm Street being my favourite horror movie. But what about Police Academy? I know.. I know. The problem is you don’t know. You don’t know how hilarious this film is, you’ve been swayed by your smart-ass friends. It’s ok, you don’t have to tell them you watched it and laughed till your face fell off – just watch it and enjoy it on your own.

My Favourite Album: Ride The Lightning by Metallica

Losing a little of the youthful energy of their debut, this sees Metallica maturing and further bridging the gap between heavy music and commercial prowess.

Best Selling Album: Yep, Thriller again…

My Favourite Song: Summer Of ’69 by Bryan Adams

Why the hell not?

Best Selling Song: Careless Whisper by George Michael

My Favourite Book: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. King and Straub’s first joint effort is an instant classic – an adventure across worlds with a young boy as the major character. Featuring obvious parallels with The Dark Tower it stands on its own feet admirably and has a wealth of charm and magic.

1985:

Top Grossing Film: Back To The Future

My Favourite Film: Commando

It’s difficult to argue against Back To The Future but 1985 was a terrific year for now classic adventure and action film – many of which also featured in the top grossing list. 85 may well be the ‘most 80s year’ of the decade. It’s another Arnie winner for me, and one of the most watchable and fun and quotable pure action movies you’ll ever see. The plot is simply A to B, but necks are snapped, Sullys are dropped, buildings are blasted to bits, and steam is most definitely let off.

My Favourite Album: Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits

Actually a pretty crap year as far as I can tell, so I’m picking an album I haven’t even heard since my childhood and hoping it’s still good.

Best Selling Album: Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Into The Groove by Madonna

There was any number of Madonna songs and good pop hits by other artists this year… but lets just go for this one.

Best Selling Song: Shout by Tears For Fears

My Favourite Book: Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, by Haruki Murakami. Probably still my favourite Murakami book, this one saw his one chapter per plot style perfected – with two central characters spread over two worlds drawing closer with every page. The inherent strangeness in the novel is downplayed by the semi-passive characters, and all the Murakami trademarks are there – music, food, sex, detachment, free will and fate etc. Throw in the converging plots and a clashing of realism with fantasy and we have a classic.

1986:

Top Grossing FilmTop Gun

My Favourite Film: Aliens

Even though there’s a vast number of personal favourites this year, nothing really comes close. Even the Arnie movie is crap. But imagine if Arnie had been in Aliens…. holy shit, just imagine.

My Favourite Album: Master of Puppets by Metallica

Metallica hit the big time with this one, belting out classic after classic while honing their craft and striving for ever more complex compositions.

Best Selling Album: Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Angel Of Death by Slayer

Listen. Just listen. As mind-blowing today as it has ever been – absolutely ferocious.

Best Selling Song: Rock Me Amadeus by Falco

My Favourite Book: IT, by Stephen King. Another year, another epic by the Master. It is longer than it needs to be and does ramble on and the start for too many pages. But beyond that, this is a terrifying tale with a large cast of characters which covers a group of friends on the cusp of adolescence and later, on the cusp of middle age. You all know the clown, but there is a lot more to fear here – bullies, psychos, sociopaths and more, and once you get over the slow start it flies to the finish like an arrow to the eye.

1987:

Top Grossing FilmThree Men And A Baby

My Favourite Film: Robocop

This was always going to be a tough year, given that Robocop and Predator both feature in my personal top 5 movies ever. So either one wins. Or both. Robocop is probably the better film but in my eyes they are both perfect.

My Favourite Album: Bad by Michael Jackson

Bad and Appetite For Destruction are arguably the two most important albums of my life, coming along before my later love of Nirvana and Manics. I can’t choose between them and they’re both flawless in my eyes. Bad does however have Just Good Friends which I have to skip EVERY TIME.

Best Selling Album: Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi

My Favourite Song: Think About You by Guns N Roses

A great year and a toss-up between anything from Appetite or Bad for my favourite song. I went for Bad for my favourite album so I’ve gone for G’n’R here – with a song no-one ever talks about.

Best Selling Song: Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi

My Favourite Book: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. The Japanese maestro’s most famous work, a nostalgic coming of age story about love and loss – naturally it’s much more than that. Runner Up? Clive Barker’s Weaveworld or James Elroy’s Black Dahlia or Stephen King’s The Drawing of The Three.

1988:

Top Grossing Film: Rain Man

My Favourite Film: Beetlejuice

I don’t think there were as many classics this year, or at least personal favourites. Burton was on the rise though, and Beetlejuice is still great.

My Favourite Album: … And Justice For All by Metallica

I didn’t plan to have all these Metallica albums listed, but that is how it has turned out. Production issues aside, this is the high point of the band – the creativity and intensity coming together to create one of metal’s finest moments.

Best Selling Album: Faith by George Michael

My Favourite Song: Eternal Flame by The Bangles

One of my favourite songs of all time and one which cemented my obsession with Susannah Hoffs.

Best Selling Song: A Groovy Kind Of Love by Phil Collins.

My Favourite Book: Queen Of The Damned by Anne Rice. My favourite thing about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles has always been the large cast of characters and their collective and individual histories. With Queen Of The Damned she perfected this focus while maintaining a pulsating plot and a vast scope – we fly through past millennia in this story which acts as both an origin and an end to the first era of her novels – the books which follow seem minute in comparison. Runner up? Clive Barker’s Cabal or Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. 

1989:

Top Grossing Film: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

My Favourite Film: Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure

There are a few films here i could just as easily have gone with, from blockbusters to cult hits, to indie dramas with fresh faces, but Bill & Ted has probably stayed with me the longest out of all of those with its nonsensical slacker humour and quotable script.

My Favourite Album: Like A Prayer by Madonna

Yeah, after only recently listening to it in full, it’s clear what a fantastic album it is.

Best Selling Album: Don’t Be Cruel by Bobby Brown

My Favourite Song: Patience by Guns N Roses

This had been chucked about by the band in previous years but saw an official release here – one of my favourites by them.

Best Selling Song: Like A Prayer by Madonna

My Favourite Book: The Great And Secret Show by Clive Barker. Barker finally gets in there. It’s another epic as the man continued to move out of the realms of overt horror and into fantasy. Runner Up? Banana Yoshimoto’s Goodbye Tsugumi.

1990:

Top Grossing Film: Ghost

My Favourite Film: Edward Scissorhands

Some great entries this year – some terrific standalones and sequels from around the globe, including many of my favourite comedies, but there’s only one winner for me.

My Favourite Album: Facelift by Alice In Chains

Slim pickings this year with metal already collapsing with inferior releases by the big bands (Rust In Peace and Seasons In The Abyss are still good) and with grunge bands not quite hitting the big time yet. Facelift is a fine debut though.

Best Selling Album: Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson

My Favourite Song: Man Of Golden Words by Mother Love Bone

I couldn’t be arsed looking through for one-off singles so I just went for a great song from a hit/miss album.

Best Selling Song: Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor

My Favourite Book: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. No stranger to science fiction, and a writer who convinces the uninitiated of the possibility of such science leaving the realms of fiction (like Richard Matheson before him), Crichton never forgets that it’s a book about people too. And dinosaurs. Most importantly dinosaurs.

Let us know in the comments what your favourite movies are for each year of your life so far, or alternatively get in on the action and write a blog post or tweet about it. The you can be cool too!