The Essential Soundtrack to Pop's Greatest (and Gayest) Year


By Aaron Hicklin

A Musical Primer to 1983 (if there was a better year for music, we'd like to hear it).

“Beat Box,” by the newly formed Art of Noise, finds fame as one of the earliest and most influential hip-hop songs, hitting number 1 on the American dance chart in February 1984. Incredibly inventive, the song harnesses the Fairlight synthesizer — the instrument du jour — to spectacular effect.

The Pretenders’s “2,000 Miles” proves there is such a thing as a good Christmas song.

Epilogue: The second British Invasion would endure well into 1984, but a year later, the tide had turned definitively back in the opposite direction as Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Prince dominated the charts. “There’s was hunger for change, and that was a good thing and a bad thing,” says Orzabal of the rise of British synthpop. “It’s the tide that sweeps you in and it’s the tide that rapidly sweeps you back out again.”

Tags: Music