40 Records in 40 Years (6/40 – 1979)

In the army now. In these days you had to spent 15 month of your life in the German army even if your refusal don’t using any guns was accepted or you were the third son in the family and two other brothers served in the army. First thing I remember on cold day in January when I arrived in the barrack was, that all rookies were sent to the hairdresser to get us army-style haircut. That’s when I first saw the grinning faces of the noncommissioned officers I have to see the next months.
The hardest thing I had to accept was, that a lot of people could instruct me and give me orders I have to follow that never in my civil life would have a chance to talk to me. By the next months I learned to accept that any kind of rebellion would bring me any afford. The only way to stop treating me with foolish orders was to beat them with their own weapons.

After my basic military education I also had to make an additional training as an air space reconnaissance. We have to sat in a truck and we received from our comrades in a tank flight co-ordinates. and we had to explain the flight course optically on a Perspex board for our generals.

Later this year I checked out the written rules in the army and then to find an article in the unfair decisions can be revoked.I did this for two times in the time I stayed in the army and both was successful in that way that my officers stopped torture me. Therefor I had to do some things that really don’t belong to a regular soldier like working in the kitchen, serving coffee, beer and wine to the generals or rebuilding sleeping rooms. But these was just the right things to do because less people give me instructions and I could nearly do what I want.

During this period we used to sit around in the local pub in the barracks spending our time on drinking in the evening. Some day we got a chance to rebuilt a bigger room in our lodging.to use it at our own club. So after a few weeks we could finish our work and we had a little club  on our own with a big refrigerator for cold drinks, a good sound system and tables, chairs and sofas enough to have relaxed evenings there. And indeed – we had a lot of fantastic evenings there playing nearly every kind of music we got. So after all the year passed very fast and wasn’t that bad I suggested.

What a great record – Debbie Harry was sensational
Famous all over the world with a tragedy background
The Cure made their first steps in successful business.
Back from the past (or should I say from the grave?) Marianne Faithful with a version of Shel Silversteen’s song probaly known in the version by Dr. Hook and the Medeicne Show.

M – One hit wonder

Heavy Metal meets Comic

Skinheads go Ska; made me open my ears to this sound

Another new band – another new sound. A record we could agree while I was in the army.

One of the best kitchen sink songs ever.

Records that was released in 1979 and are still worth listen to:

Joe Jackson – Look sharp: First record from Mr. Jackson where he showed us that New Wave and classical songwriting and ballads could work together on one record.

Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material: The title says it all

The Fall – Live at the Witch Trials: Mark E. Smith appears to me and will not go away for years

The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys: Also a love that never died. 

Nick Lowe – Labour of Lust: Former member of Brinsley Schwarz back with a record under his own name and full of pop gems

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures: Ian Curtis showed us the real suffering people

The B-52’s – The B-52’s: The return of the Rickenbacker with great songs with a sound between dance and surf music.

Talking Heads – Fear of Music: Another great band appears and combine funk and New Wave

XTC – Drums and Wires: Another eponymous record that showed me how arty music can be.

The Slits – Cut: Genius mixture of reggae rhythms, scratchy guitars, anger and mischief. Great record sleeve btw.

Gang of Four – Entertainment: Another great band formed in Leeds that brought us a stripped-down mix of punk rock, funk music and dub reggae added with political lyrics.

Public Image Ltd – Metal Box: John Lyndon and Jah Wobble showed us how dub reggae and post punk could be combined to a new sound. 

The Clash – London Calling: A monster of a record.

Pink Floyd – The Wall: Fantastic return of the dinosaurs.

Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance: A little jazz’n’ funky masterpiece with excellent horns

What came up on the movies in 1979 and stood the test of time:

Apocalypse Now: Francis Ford Coppola showed us the other side of the Vietnam war with all that weired characters (remember Robert Duval when he spoke ‘I love the smell of napalm in the early morning’)

Alien: Sigourney Weaver and her first fight against them

The China Syndrome: Dramatic – they showed us the dark side of atomic energy

Escape from Alcatraz: Silent movie with a great Clint Eastwood

The Warriors: Gang styled action thriller with a great soundtrack

Life of Brian: Monty Python at their best with a later hit single ‘Always looking at the bright side of life’

What was interesting in the world this year:

The regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia collapse and the Khmer Rouge were bound to retreat; Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran flees Iran with his family towards Egypt; Khomeini seizes power in Iran; the premiers of Israel and Egypt Sadat and Begin signs a peace treaty; Tanzanian troops take Kampala the capital of Uganda and the killer Idi Amin flees; Margaret Thatcher gets the first female prime minister in Great Britain; Iraqi gets a new President – Saddam Hussein; Iranian hostage crisis starts; the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan; Nicaraguan dictator Somoza resigns and flees to Miami and Sandinista assume power; pope John Paul II arrives in his native Poland for nine days – the start of the Polish  people rise against communism; the first Sony walkman was sold.

Hamburger SV was the champion in the German Bundesliga with their two legendary strikers Kevin Keegan and Horst Hrubesch and defenders Ivan Buljan and Manfred Kaltz.

In 1979 so many eponymous records was released that it was really hard to decide, which one I should take on my list. But after I will take the Specials with their first record because they gave me the opinion to check out what ska means in music. The Specials were one of the heads of the English 2 Tone ska revival and they combine a danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude. In their lyrics they were very political. Also their outfit was fantastic. They wore mod-style rude boy outfits like pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits and loafers. The record was produced by Elvis Costello (another evidence of his musical distinction) and was on heavy rotation this year. I love their cover of Dandy Livingstone’s ‘A message to you, Rudy’ as well ‘Too much, too young’ and it makes me feel good when one of their songs appear on shuffle on my player. The greatest gift The Specials gave to me was to show me all the good songs from Prince Buster, Toots and the Maytals and the Skatelites.

Enjoy and have fun.

The Specials – A message to you, Rudy
The Specials – Doesn’t make it alright
The Specials – Too hot
The Specials – Stupid marriage
The Specials – Too much too young
The Specials – You’re wondering now


6 thoughts on “40 Records in 40 Years (6/40 – 1979)

  1. More tales from your time in the military please. The almost-former-maths teacher in me wants to more about the time you spent in tanks explaining flights. Some of your time sounds very mundane and ordinary. Some excellent albums mentioned in your list.

  2. George, I could tell you a lot of tales about my army but I think no will wants to listen. But be sure that you'll get some more news about My army times. Cheers to you.

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