Friday, June 17, 1983

The Police's Synchronicity Released: June 17, 1983

Originally posted on 6/17/2011. Updated 3/9/2013.


Released: 17 June 1983
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Synchronicity I 2. Walking in Your Footsteps 3. O My God 4. Mother 5. Miss Gradenko 6. Synchronicity II (7/16/83, #16 US, #17 UK, #9 AR) 7. Every Breath You Take (5/28/83, #1 US, #1 UK, #5 AC, #1 AR, sales: 1.0 m, air: 8.0 m) 8. King of Pain (7/9/83, #3 US, #17 UK, #1 AR, #33 AC) 9. Wrapped Around Your Finger (7/9/83, #8 US, #7 UK, #9 AR, #13 AC, air: 1.0 m) 10. Tea in the Sahara 11. Murder by Numbers

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.3 UK, 16.5 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 117 US, 12 UK

Rating:


Review: June 17, 1983: The Police released Synchronicity. In The Review’s 2001 feature on “The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time”, Clarke Speicher called it “the most compelling work of [their] career and one of the signature albums of the ‘80s.” Amazon.com’s Al Massa calls it “a benchmark album from a tremendously influential band [that] will stand the test of time as a genuine classic.”

The album was loosely built around Carl Jung’s synchronicity concept which suggested an interconnectedness amongst seemingly non-related occurrences. The only songs to expressly reference this idea are “Synchronicity I” and “Synchronicity II.” The latter was a top 20 single in the U.S. and U.K. and lyrically told an odd story of suburban life in juxtaposition with the Loch Ness monster creeping from its lake.

However, the songs were loosely tied by their thematic lyrics. As Rolling Stone’s Stephen Holden said, “paranoia, cynicism and excruciating loneliness run rampant” throughout. Ironically, such an agenda didn’t slow the album’s success. The first single, “Every Breath You Take”, was a dark tale of a stalker which has often been misinterpreted as a love song. It was #1 for 8 weeks in the U.S. and rates in the top 10 in the book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.

Every Breath You Take

The album’s staying power, however, was due to its depth. “King of Pain”, a less than joyous look at despair and abandonment, climbed to #3 on the U.S. charts. “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, a study of the suffocating aspects of marriage, was also a top 10 hit in the U.S. and U.K.

Wrapped Around Your Finger

Other standouts include “Murder by Numbers”, an ironically bouncy number about a contract killer, and “Tea in the Sahara”, which Holden calls the album’s “moodiest, most tantalizing song.” The song relays a story inspired by Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky novel. Three siblings wait in the desert for a mysterious stranger with whom they’ve made a deal, but he never returns. Holden says the song could be interpreted as “England dreaming of its lost empire, mankind longing for God, and Sting himself pining for an oasis of romantic peace.”

Of course, the album was far from peaceful and the band was not at peace either. The tension of their working relationship in the studio and a lengthy world tour drove wedges between them. Sting would venture out for a solo career and an attempt to reunite in 1986 was short-lived.


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Monday, June 13, 1983

June 13, 1983: Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut album, Texas Flood, released

Originally posted October 4, 2010. Last updated September 7, 2018.

Texas Flood

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Released: June 13, 1983


Sales (in millions):
US: 2.0
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 2.0


Peak:
US: 38
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: “This album is the kind of raw double shot of blues and rock that made Vaughan one of the 1980s’ best in-concert performers.” – Ted Drozdowski, Amazon.com


Genre: blues rock


Album Tracks:

  1. Love Struck Baby
  2. Pride and Joy (8/13/83, #20 AR)
  3. Texas Flood
  4. Tell Me
  5. Testify
  6. Rude Mood
  7. Mary Had a Little Lamb
  8. Dirty Pool
  9. I’m Cryin’
  10. Lenny

Notes: A reissue adds an interview (SRV Speaks) as well “Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place in Town),” and live version of “Testify,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and “Wham!”


Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

While he became “the fallen torchbearer of the ‘80s-‘90s blues revival,” TD2 “Stevie Ray Vaughan was already an underground hero in blues circles and had begun earning national attention for his hard-edged-but-tasteful playing on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album” TD1 when “this legendary 1983 debut” TD2 arrived. “Blues was no longer hip, the way it was in the ‘60s. Texas Flood changed all that, climbing into the Top 40 and spending over half a year on the charts, which was practically unheard of for a blues recording. Vaughan became a genuine star and, in doing so, sparked a revitalization of the blues.” STE

“Produced by legendary talent scout John Hammond,” TD1 Texas Flood “captures the rising guitar star” TD1 “as rockin’ blues purist, paying tribute in his inspired six-string diction to his influences Larry Davis (who wrote the title track), Buddy Guy, Albert King, and Jimi Hendrix.” TD2 In fact, “critics claimed that, no matter how prodigious Vaughan’s instrumental talents were, he didn’t forge a distinctive voice; instead, he wore his influences on his sleeve, whether it was Albert King’s pinched yet muscular soloing or Larry Davis’ emotive singing.” STE “That was sort of the point of Texas Flood. Vaughan didn’t hide his influences; he celebrated them, pumping fresh blood into a familiar genre.” STE

However, “Vaughan's true achievement was finding something personal and emotional by fusing different elements of his idols. Sometimes the borrowing was overt, and other times subtle, but it all blended together into a style that recalled the past while seizing the excitement and essence of the present.” STE

“This album is the kind of raw double shot of blues and rock that made Vaughan one of the 1980s’ best in-concert performers.” TD1 When Vaughan and his band “cut the album over the course of three days in 1982, he had already played his set lists countless times; he knew how to turn this material inside out or goose it up for maximum impact. The album is paced like a club show, kicking off with Vaughan’s two best self-penned songs, Love Struck Baby and Pride and Joy, then settling into a pair of covers, the slow-burning title track and an exciting reading of Howlin’ Wolf’s Tell Me, before building to the climax of Dirty Pool and I’m Crying.” STE

“Vaughan caps the entire thing with” STE “his own contemplative Lenny, a tribute to his wife at the time, … [which] suggests a jazz-fueled complexity that would infuse his later work.” TD2

“Vaughan’s guitar and vocals are a bit brighter and more present” TD2 and “sounds even more dramatic in its remixed and expanded edition.” TD2 “And the newly included bonus numbers (an incendiary studio version of the slow blues Tin Pan Alley that was left off the original release, and live takes of Testify, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and the instrumental Wham! from a 1983 Hollywood concert) illuminate the raw soul and passion that propelled his artistry even when he was under the spell of drug addiction.” TD2


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