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1989 a number, another summer…

Submitted by on January 12, 2010 – 6:07 pmNo Comment

Hard to believe that twenty years have passed since we stood in the Stretford End cheering head the ball, Michael Knighton doing keep ups and slotting the ball into the net. His takeover turned out to be fantasy of course but we were so desperate to be rid of The Edwards we applauded the loon. That year sticks out in the memory for plenty of other reasons. Salman Rushdie, Hillsborough (the football focus special this April brought back some sickening memories from that day), Sky Tv began broadcasting (these horrible fuckers are charging my local £1800 a month to show football, with most lads round here unable to afford going the game and pubs shutting left right and centre this is despicable), The Guildford 4 had their sentences quashed and the seminal Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing was released. 1989 is best remembered though for the music that was produced that year. Anyone who has walked in a record shop or read a paper over the last few months will be aware it’s the twentieth anniversary of The Stone Roses debut, and much as we loved it at the time, I for one am sick of hearing about it (though not sick of hearing it) and so will focus on the other equally classic albums from that year.

I was a 13 year old school boy in South Manchester, Finton Stack was a 19 year old record shop worker in Wigan. Here are our favourites.

CO: NWA: Straight Outta Compton. Spotify Link
(Alright this was released in America in 1988 but I got it from Spin Inn in 89). I had been listening to Public Enemy for the few years leading up to this and through the lyrics of Chuck D had realised the dissatisfaction of young black Americans. Public Enemy had expressed controversial opinions but always as intelligent anti racist messages that led to comparisons with The Clash. Then came NWA. No Subtlety here, just in your face fuck you mother fucker disregard for society. Indeed one track is simply entitled ‘Fuck the Police’ it is the title track though that just blew me away from the first hearing and still has the same affect now. Has there ever been as exciting a minute in musical history as Eazy E’s verse? Not for me there hasn’t. Hip Hop, or music had NEVER sounded like this before. Breathtaking. Twenty years on and in truth not much of the album still stands up but the initial influence will live on.
Buy/Download/Steal: Express Yourself, Straight Outta Compton

One album that has undoubtedly stood the test of time is De La Soul: Three Feet High and Rising (album not on Spotify). Hip Hop’s boasting and obsession with material items, violence and sexism had begun to grate, so much that it was sent up in spoof film ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka’ . De La Soul completely turned this on its head with this album, the title inspired by Johnny Cash’s Five Feet High and Rising. De La Soul had formed only two years earlier in New York and wanted to release a record that showed how against the macho image hip hop usually portrayed they were. The cover in luminous yellows and pinks with daisies and CND symbols was iconic and immediately made the statement the band wished to. As did the video for the first single ‘Me Myself and I’ which placed the three band members as outcasts in a ‘rap class’ where all the other students were draped in gold. The messages of peace and anti capitalism had added humour so didn’t feel preachy and on the excellent ‘Jenifa Taught Me’ here was a rap group writing about a first love, a brave move. De La Soul clearly realise this album sounds as good as ever as they recently performed it in its entirety at our very own Ritz
Buy/Download/Steal: The Magic Number, Jenifa Taught Me, Eye Know, Say No Go, Me Myself and I

BDP: Ghetto Music, The BluePrint of Hip Hop Spotify Link
Boogie Down Productions (Named after the Boogie Down Bronx, origin of the group, and they say, the genre) released this, their second album in 1989. KRS ONE (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) was as concerned about the direction rap music was taking as De La Soul were. His politics though were more in line with those of Chuck D. On ‘Who Protects us from you’ he questions the police although not quite as vehemently as NWA did. KRS regarded himself and other members as teachers, trying to positively influence Bronx youth whilst making sure they stayed aware of their history. “Boogie Down Productions is made up of teachers,” he announced over the scratch ‘n’ slam of “My Philosophy.” “The lecture is conducted from the mike to the speaker.

Buy/Download/Steal: Jack of Spades, Breath Control, The Style you haven’t done yet

New Order: Technique Spotify Link
I’ve saved the best until last. Technique wasn’t just part of the Madchester movement it (together with the Roses debut) kicked off the whole thing. So many acts tried to match the mood, sound and attitude of this album around the time with only Pills and Thrills and Screamadelica coming anywhere near. Both classics, but without Technique they wouldn’t have existed. A truly great dance/indie crossover, Technique was equally for those gurning in clubs and those of us at home listening for the guitars (I was 13 remember!) Technique is also remembered as the last great New Order album as despite plodding on for years after they never produced anything anywhere close in subsequent years.

Buy/Download/Steal: Fine Time, Round & Round, Run

Singles from 1989:
808 State: Pacific State
Big Daddy Kane: The Wrath of Kane
Ruthless Rap Assassins The Drone Session EP
Hijack- The Badman is Robbin

Finton takes over…“Got my first real six string….bought it at the 5 & 9…played it till my fingers bled….was the summer of 69.” Swap guitars for ecstacy, the 5 & 9 for “Our Price Records” then fast forward twenty years and I’ll guarantee the Summer I had pissed all over the pox marked Canadian’s from a very great height!!

The dream had started the autumn before. I was having what would now be termed a “gap year” ( because kids from council estates can fail exams just as well as the posh kids ) and had landed my dream gig at Our price in Wigan. I was living the dream – nineteen years old and being paid, albeit poorly, to play music. With the courage of conviction only a teenage lad can possess, I embarked on a one man crusade to free Wigan from the tyrannical grip of Jive Bunny, SAW, Gloria Estefan and, bizarrely for a town so resolutely heterosexual, Erasure. I failed dismally. However, it wasn’t all doom & gloom. I saw Morrissey walking past Debenhams on a summer evening, brewed up for ginger Scouse songstress Sonia ( wouldn’t ) and took Edwin Starr some egg butties at the St Helens Show. Furthermore, I discovered the joys of MDMA, witnessed the birth of “Madchester” & learnt how to fiddle chart returns but that’s small potatoes compared to meeting Sonia.

I also heard a few half decent albums. Like these :

Tom Petty – “Full Moon FeverSpotify : Was turned on to Petty by a colleague called Tim, a top bloke who worked in Penny Lane Records when Holly Johnson was the Saturday lad. Like so many from the wrong end of the Lancs, Tim had an inexplicable love of Beefheart and Zappa but he was bang into his American pop too. He put this on the turntable as soon as it got released in April & it stayed there pretty much for the rest of the year alongside Aerosmith’s “Pump” & Don Henley’s “End Of The Innocence”. Standout track has to be “Free Falling”.

Beastie Boys – “Paul’s BoutiqueSpotify: Taking time off from tipping mongs out of wheelchairs & encouraging the nation’s youth to deface Volkswagens, the trio managed to deliver a piece of music that, quite simply, sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. Indeed, it’s since been labelled “The Dark Side Of The Moon of Hip Hop”. I don’t know about that but some bird wailing like she’s got the painters in must be the only sample they’ve left out!! They may well have been rich American white kids but by Christ, they knew their way round Hip Hop’s back catalogue. Standout track probably the magnificent “Shake Your Rump”.

Soul II Soul – “Club Classics Volume OneSpotify : Now we’re talking. Before I disappeared up my own arse musically in the early 90’s, I had one final stab at the soulful side of things with this stunner from that bloke with the pineapple on his head ( who wasn’t Jason Lee ). Mainly a Southern thing, us Northerners remained blissfully unaware until it crashed into the charts in April that year & knocked us flat on our collective arses. Standout track has got to be “Keep On Moving” which, alongside Kariya’s “Baby let me love you” & The Cure’s “Lullaby” provided the backdrop for many a Sunday morning come down during that second ( or was it third? I’ve lost count… ) Summer Of Love. Work of genius & one of the best UK soul albums of all time”

And finally another hugely relevant even from that year, it was the beginning of the end for one Margaret Hilda Thatcher. Sensing trouble ahead, she re-shuffled her cabinet, as Nigel Lawson resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer – replacing him with John Major and moving Douglas Hurd to Foreign Secretary. In December, she defeated Anthony Meyer in a leadership election, but the end was nigh – within 12 months she was gone. Here’s hoping in 12 months of you reading this, she’ll be gone for ever, and we can party like it’s 1989.

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