Where to begin with this, the greatest of all years, IMO? There is just an abundance of riches, both well-known and unknown. I'll try to shine a light on some of the unknown wonders of this magical year, focusing on some different genres.
Of course, I'll start with synth funk - what else?!
From Prince to The Gap Band to Zapp, there was a lot of goodies to spare. There are a lot of hidden gems, too, though:
Prince's former bandmate André Cymone released his debut album that year, and among other treats, it has the synthy ballad with its photon beats Baby Don't Go
, the number one song on Saturn in 2187, I'm sure, as well as the irresistibly catchy Kelly's Eyes
. Other purple proteges also were on fire in 1982, including The Time with their most beloved song 777-9311
(the drumming is INSANE), dance craze The Walk
featuring their trademark humor, and Gigolos Get Lonely Too
taking the photon balladry even further into space with a rare bit of self-reflection from Morris. Of course, Vanity 6 debuted in 1982, with strip club classic Nasty Girl
being the most notorious, while If a Girl Answers (Don't Hang Up)
is hilarious as Prince plays the role of a trashy new girlfriend getting into a verbal spat with Vanity and Brenda for the affections of some anonymous Jimmy and Drive Me Wild
showcases sparse drum machines and warped synths to great effect.
UK band Imagination launched their career in 1981 but really took off in 1982 thanks to the evergreen Just an Illusion
. On the other side of the spectrum, Prince Charles & the City Beat Band never seemed to get the popular following he deserved, with 3 synth funk album delights in the early 80s. 1982 saw what is likely his most well-known song, the ever-cool Cash Cash Money
Even well-established funk legends got in on the synth fun. Try on the tasty Take a Lickin' and Keep on Kickin'
by Bootsy Collins for size. Of course, George Clinton's massive "Atomic Dog" was a huge hit, but the Computer Games
has a lot more to offer, from the freight train mania that is the title track
in which George Clinton plays the role of an insane computer game with bizarre synth effects and references to Dracula and various Looney Tunes, as well as the disgustingly funky Man's Best Friend
with a synth bass that will make your face twist in ecstasy. P-Funk acolytes Xavier released the wonderful album Point of Pleasure
, which featured syrupy synth bass grooves like Rock Me, Sock Me
Some artists released little else in their career, and the quality of these songs makes me wonder what went wrong, as they are awesome. For instance, how on Earth did Colourbox only release a few singles and an album? The relentless Breakdown
shows a group with all the goods! Likewise with Gary Davis, whose album untitled
is consistently great, highlighted by the murky, furtive groove of The Professor Here
. High Fashion had 2 very nice LPs in the early 80s, starting with 1982's Feelin' Lucky
and the spacy, disco-tinged jubilation that is You're the Winner
. Peech Boys dropped an absolute BOMB with Larry Levan favorite Don't Make Me Wait
Some one-single wonders also brought it DOWN in 1982. Some of my favorites are Chemise's delicious She Can't Love You
and Komiko's thrilling Feel Alright
- once that shimmering synth line kicks in, your senses will be tickled in all the right ways. They may have had only one song, but what a song it is!
Other funky delights were bountiful. Carl Carlton (he of "She's a Bad Mama Jama" fame had a delightful song Swing That Sexy Thing
, which is sexy indeed. Boogie queen Evelyn "Champagne" King released likely her best album in 1982, with delights like the eternal Love Come Down
and the rhythmically hypnotic Get Loose
. She wasn't the only boogie diva to have a banner year in 1982, however. Sharon Redd's blistering album Redd Hott
is exactly that, with songs like the shimmering post-disco anthem In the Name of Love
and the bopping groover Never Gonna Give You Up
, Grace Jones released the very good Living My Life
album in 1982, including the irresistible groover Nipple to the Bottle
And speaking of the big guns, while they are well-celebrated here with some of their more renowned classics, there are more gems to mine. For Prince, the gritty outtakes Extraloveable
and Lust U Always
are likely to stay in the vault due to their dark sexual content, though the experimental mission statement Purple Music
seems destined to be unearthed as a "lost classic" and hyperactive Turn It Up
may as well. The Gap Band are now rightfully getting acclaim for the incredible "You Dropped a Bomb on Me", but their album Gap Band IV
has plenty more to offer, including their biggest US hit Early in the Morning
which features the same swagger and relentless testosterone-laden drive, while Outstanding
is a more laid-back groove well worthy of your attention. Zapp may be more well known for "More Bounce to the Ounce" in 1980, but 1982's Dance Floor
is another epic floor-filler.