No results

1
Sure Shot
Tracy Weber
07:17
2
The Twilight Clone
Herbie Hancock
08:17
3
Sixty-Nine
Brooklyn Express
08:46
4
This is Radio Clash
The Clash
04:12
5
Rapture
Blondie
04:59
6
Controversy
Prince
07:15
7
Kids In America
Kim Wilde
03:25
8
Don't You Want Me
The Human League
03:56
9
Cherchez le garçon
Taxi Girl
04:11
10
Memorabilia - Single Version
Soft Cell
04:48
11
Megatron Man
Patrick Cowley
09:06
12
Bustin' Out
Material, Nona Hendryx
06:42
13
The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash On the Wheels of Steel - Extended Mix
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
07:06
14
Moody
ESG
02:49
15
Fade To Grey
Visage
03:59
16
Heartbeat
COLORED MUSIC
06:44
17
Southern Freeez
Freeez
05:43
18
Shari Vari - Original Mix
A Number Of Names
05:37
19
Numbers - 2009 Remaster
Kraftwerk
03:20
20
Everything's Gone Green - 7" Version; 2015 Remaster
New Order
04:19
21
Charlotte Sometimes
The Cure
04:13
22
Pull Up To The Bumper
Grace Jones
04:33
23
Heartbeat
Taana Gardner
09:53
24
Witness The Change/I Don't Know What Love Is
Pete Shelley
08:23
25
O Superman
Laurie Anderson
08:25

A Night in 1981

1981 bookmarked the transition into a new world. Listen to the future's foreshadowing while immersing yourself in the Dionysian sweat of a discotheque for a wild ride.

It was 1981. And there was this one night...

Art was imitating life. 

Disco might have disappeared from the charts but it was still well represented in the new night clubs; clubs which were offering a refuge for the creatures of the night: junkies, trans and queer folk, Black people and Latinos. It’s there that the DJs – the new producers – would invent house music, somewhere in between the smoke, the lights, and the sweat.

Just a few blocks away were those who were so far outside that they couldn’t even get into the clubs, who would eventually slice up funk, inventing hip-hop.These two musical revolutions had arrived – house and hip-hop – twins birthed at night only a few lengths of cable apart.

And after the demands are made, the time for emancipation comes.

To contextualise, there hadn’t been a revolution for musicians since the electric guitar arrived in the ‘60s. The studios had become monsters of technology, but the instruments themselves were waiting for a new breath of life.

Not far away, Fairlight, Roland, Atari, and Akaï were already prototyping what would become samplers and sequencers. The revolution was beginning, and she had her own soundtrack. On 1st August 1981, MTV was launched. The channel would benefit enormously from this musical revolution and would forever change the rules surrounding promotion. Record companies would then become major players. The IBM PC was launched in August and he first CD was publicly demonstrated on the BBC TV show Tomorrow's World . Fun enough, the presenter Kieran Prendiville was then sceptical "whether there's a market for this kind of disc"... 1981 is also the year when the Computer Science Network (CSNET) was created. It helped introduce what would fast becoming the Internet to universities around the world. In addition, the first signs of AIDS were emerging, the first alert coming that same summer of ‘81 from Atlanta. The clubs – full of addiction and sexual liberation – would enable the spread of the disease. For some time it was known as ‘Bath Disease’ referring to a gay club and sauna The Continental Baths, whose cliental were particularly affected. 

That night would leave a bitter taste in the mouth, where hedonism and ego drowned in the din of speakers and cocktails of drugs.

This nighttime playlist begins with proto-disco and Tracy Webster’s sweet sound of deep funk, followed by Herbie (not quite Rockit but still good electro) and the dancefloor hit by Tee Scott and Brooklyn Express. The train’s running…

We follow with the biggest hits from The Clash, Blondie, and Prince. The ‘80s were off to a good start!

Then comes a UFO, the hit of ‘81 from Kim Wilde. It’s got everything – the nonchalance of punk, the energy of rock, the omnipresence of electro, the cult of youth, of the USA, of leather and desire...

We continue with the beginnings of new wave – Taxi Girl, Soft Cell’s hommage to ecstasy, and the drug-fuel marathon of Patrick Crowley from the clubs of San Francisco. Acid House is on it’s way too…

Next, it’s hip-hop. Material, produced by Bill Laswell, the godfather Grandmaster Flash, and the black sisters of white funk, ESG. "Fade To Grey" is also one of the undisputed greatest hits of ‘81, even if it is a carbon copy of Human League’s "Being Boiled" who would have their revenge by exploding the charts with "Don’t You Want Me".

Finally, house music is taking shape in the beats of COLORED MUSIC and Freeez, and is almost techno in the enigmatic "Shari Vari". Techno comes in the form of Kraftwerk and New Order, like the new wave of The Cure and Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks, beautifully joined by Grace Jones, which brings us back to disco. O SuperYear!

The year was 1981, and nothing would ever be the same again.

Share