I had to be fairly strict with this decade, as it spans my age of 5-14, and therefore quite significant for me in terms of awareness and developing my personal taste. It’s probably a blessing that it wasn’t until the latter part of the decade that I started to form a more complex interest in what I listened to, as this might be more than a two-parter otherwise.
The first few years were largely spent listening to Patsy Biscoe (a very wholesome children’s singer), and soft pop/rock. However, as I mentioned in the 70′s posts, Cold Chisel featured fairly consistently, and it was singer Jimmy Barnes’ album Barnestorming that was ultimately to become my first Australian LP purchase in 1988.
It was 1985 when I formed my first obsession with a song, and by virtue the band. Unfortunately, the more I’ve delved into the old songs I want to show, the more I find Sony doesn’t want anyone watching these clips anywhere except at YouTube, so if you want to see Wa Wa Nee and their song Sugar Free in all its 10-year old heart-capturing glory, you’ll have to click this link.
Around 1987 I began taking music a little more seriously. In the beginning this meant developing fandoms for certain artists, though I was never they type that put posters of people on the wall – I was much more likely to put lyrics up instead. Initially, still very much favouring pop music, Kylie Minogue was just the most awesome thing in the world to me for a little while. I won’t bother putting up any of her clips though, as I’m sure most people would have heard something by her at one point or another.
Sometime during ’88-’89, some unknown factor triggered the complete rejection of most pop music and instead I formed a pretty hardcore dedication to almost anything that could be remotely described as metal – some of which if you attempted to call it metal now would likely see you laughed at quite a lot. I can’t say it was typical teenage rebellion, as it actually brought my music taste closer to my mother’s. Also, when I say unknown factor, if I think about it with the benefit of hindsight, it meant I – as a young teen – found a distinct appeal in bands that were singing about other aspects of that subject teens are quite keen on, namely love, and presenting a decidely less wholesome image while doing so. ( Don’t know what that says about me, really. Probably absolutely nothing).
In terms of Australian music, it started with the four strapping young lads from a band named Pseudo Echo, and suffice to say I adored them. Their song Over Tomorrow was kind of a step between the pop I had formerly liked, to the hair metal that became my obsession for a couple of years. Oddly enough, I wasn’t so keen on their biggest hit (a cover of Funky Town), but I went mad for this, in the way only 13 year old girls can… (The three guitarists totally hog the limelight in this clip, so I can understand why the drummer decided to have his shirt off the entire time).
Not long after, I started buying a now defunct Australian magazine called Hot Metal, and secretly stole my older brother’s skater magazines, reading them under cover of darkness and learning about Australia’s punk music scene (which I deftly covered up by treating his music taste with severe derision). My first real taste of Australian metal was a band called Mortal Sin, and the thrash metal song Mayhemic Destruction (from their ’86 debut of the same name, so while it pre-dates the Pseudo Echo song, it was a couple of years after that I cottoned on to it).
This was a pretty important song just in terms of my own history. I heard this and actually wondered why I liked it so much. It was unlike anything that had appealed to me before, and most of the other similar bands that one was ‘supposed’ to like didn’t do much for me. That makes it the first time I realised music can reach you on a level beyond (and outside of) the pre-set parameters one tends to impose on oneself (or at least back then, I did have pretty specific ideas about what I should and shouldn’t like).
I still have that on vinyl somewhere, worn out to the point of only being good for sentimental value.