40 Records In 40 Years (16/40 – 1989)

1989: A year full of changes, joy and grief. It started slowly and normal for most of the one I knew. Each one lived their regular life in business and sports partly following the politics. The first change came from Iran when ayatollah Khomeni when he put out a reward of 3 million USD for killing the writer Salman Rushdi just because he let his mind flew about Mohammed in his Satanic Verses. Year after year me and my football mates took a weekend off in the mountains. In this year we listened in the radio in what horrible way the Bejing student protest ended. After the Chines government declared martial law they send troops and tanks to the Tienanmen Square to massacre a lot of young people. This was the second time when a tragedy happened when we was on our annual vacation (the first was the Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Tschernobyl) and I decided for myself not to join these vacations any more. It might be superstition but I decided anyway.

The next big thing was the fall of the Berlin wall through the Germans. It started when over 7000 East Germans moved with a refugee train into the Germane embassy in Prague. Finally they all were allowed to move to the West. After that the Leipzig Monday protest started. Formed in church more and more people came there to demonstrate for the demand of political change (legalization of opposition groups, democratic reforms and the right to travel where ever they want). An what no one suggested – they were successful. Got a new leader of the Communist Party with Egon Krenz (not knowing that he will be the last) and being surprised what happened on November 9th. Günter Schabowski accidentally states in live broadcast press conference that new rules for traveling from East to West Germany will be put in effect ‘immediately’. East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel freely to West Germany for first time in decades. That it happened was a joke in history, because Schabowski had no plan from which time this declaration should be valid. I remember very well these day when we followed what happens over in Berlin on the television and felt proud that there was a peaceful revolution over in East Germany.

My personal change happened a few weeks later in December when I visited some friends in the Dortmund era. On the way back I was invited to visit a woman in Cologne that I met in my hometown as she visited a good friend of mine. As she introduced me to her closest girlfriend, I never thought that Kerstin would be my wife. More next time.

This year was another great year in music. A lot of albums was released and a few I would like to announce especially:

A.R. Kane – I: Criminally under-recognized band of these era. Mostly danceable sound with dub influences and ingredients what later wold be called acid house and trip hop. This record contains one of the best remixed songs ever – A love from outer space (yes – that one)
Neil Young – Freedom: Mr. Young is rocking in the free world and great ballads
Lou Reed – New York: Back on the block with a monument of a record
Edwyn Collins – Hope and Despair: His first record after Orange Juice – beautiful
The Cure – Disintegration: Back on the dark side with the fantastic ‘Pictures of you’
Elvis Costello – Spike: Another memorable record from Mr. MacManus
Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever: Just a perfect record to drive a long road
The Stone Roses – same: Fine album from a lot of more Madchester music
John Lee Hooker – The Healer: The great Bluesman with a bunch of different artists – fantastic
Quincy Jones – Back on the Block: Perfect record from the producing legend including fantastic songs

Checked out what was in the charts and what else should be remembered as singles in this year:

Dead Poets Society: ‘If you dare, appeal to me as Captain, my Captain’
My Left Foot: Great performance from Daniel Day Lewis
The Fabulous Baker Boys: Great romantic love story filled up with jazz sounds by Dave Gruisin and Michelle Pfeiffer is singing not too bad
Black Rain: Another good movie with Michael Douglas introducing the Yakuza
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover: Romantic crime drama by Peter Greenaway – superb
When Harry Met Sally …: All ladies movie of the year

In the opening I told about political things – but there was more:

The emperor of Japan, Hirohito dies // Ted Bundy, an American serial killer, was executed in Florida // Satellite television service SKY Television plc is launched in Europe // Union Carbide agree to pay nearly 500 million USD to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster // Iranian leader Khomeni encourages Muslims to kill Salman Rushdi // Kosovo: protests continue over the alleged intimidation of the Serb minority – a bloody war is in sight // Exxon Valdez oil spill near Alaska // Hillsborough disaster: 96 Liverpool supporters die in the FA-cup semi final in Sheffield against Nottingham Forrest // Student protests at the Tiananmeng Square in Beijing started and ended in a massacre – Chines government called it a counter revolution // Nearly 7.000 East Germans which escaped to Prague are allowed to leave for the West // Protests starts in Leipzig to demand the legalization of opposition groups and democratic reforms // Erich Honecker is forced to step back as the leader of the East German Communist party an was replaced by Egon Krenz // The Berlin Wall a cold war monument was teared down // Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausecu and his wife Elena are executed by military troops after being found guilty of crimes agains humanity

I could have chosen Lou Reed or A.R. Kane as my closest record this year but I turn into the Neville Brothers and Yellow Moon. It was one of the few good records that many people could agree to this year. Even it was a very successful record it means more to me. First I love the voices of them embedded in great songs. The second is that they made me feel like I am down south close to New Orleans with gumbo food and the way they play their music. For me it is a message from New Orleans people to the world. Let’s have fun and accept the pain you went through. A very optimistic record after all. Enjoy the songs I give to you.

Neville Brothers – Fire and Brimstone
Neville Brothers – My Blood
Neville Brothers – With God On Our Side
Neville Brothers – Yellow Moon

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3 thoughts on “40 Records In 40 Years (16/40 – 1989)

  1. I can't imagine what it must have been like at the fall of the wall. Did you consider that Germany was one country artificially divided? Or that they were actually two separate countries? Maybe it depends on your age how it was viewed. And for more personal reasons 1989 was obviously a very big year in your life. Just listening to the Neville brothers, I'm not familiar with their music.
    George

  2. Thank you for your comment George. It might be a real German thing. We were divided into two countries after World War II. A lot of people were divided from their families and couldn't get in real contact to them. That's what told us during my school days. All people from East Germany are Germans too and I am still glad that we are in one country right now. Our major aim in our law was that we should unite someday. And it happened when we didn't expected it. We were just lucky and drunken about the peaceful revolution that happened in East Germany.

    And you are right, these year was a turnaround in my life. Sadly recognize that you can't agree with NB. But it's okay. It is just the way I think about these days and no one has to agree with my feelings.

    Have a good time George.
    Walter

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