Saturday, March 26, 1983

Modern English “I Melt with You” released

I Melt with You

Modern English

Writer(s): Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Richard Brown, Michael Conroy, Stephen Walker (see lyrics here)


Released: August 1982


First Charted: March 26, 1983


Peak: 76 US, 7 AR, 1 CO, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, 0.08 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 6.0 radio, 52.5 video, 112.08 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The British new wave band Modern English formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979. They released an independent single that year, followed by two more, before their 1981 debut album, Mesh & Lace. That album showed a Joy Division influence, but the follow-up, 1982’s After the Snow had a keyboard influence more in the vein of Simple Minds or Duran Duran.

The album’s second single, “I Melt with You,” proved to be the band’s pinnacle. It took awhile to catch on in the United States, but gathered momentum at radio stations as an import single. It then gained popularity in dance clubs and on MTV. It was also featured in the 1983 teenage rom-com, Valley Girl. While it only reached the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100, it was a top-10 album rock hit and ranks amongst the top 500 songs ever played on U.S. radio. WK

A Billboard review described te song as a “dreamy, acoustic-edged rocker.” WK The Chicago Tribune’s Chrissie Dickinson cited the song’s “irresistible guitar melody, danceable beat, and heartfelt call and response vocals.” WKAll Music Guide’s Tom Demalon called it “one of the most enduring songs of the new wave era.” WK

The lyrics came in just minutes via a stream-of-consciousness style while he sat on the floor of a flat in London. SF While it is a love song, it comes from a bleak place, depicting a couple making love during the dropping of an atomic bomb. The lead singer, Robbie Grey, said, “The last thing we wanted was to write a song where boy meets girl, they go to the cinema and make love, and that’s the end of it.” WK He also explained, “I don’t think many people realized it was about a couple making love as the bomb dropped. As they made love, they become one and melt together.” SF


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First posted 9/27/2022.

Monday, March 21, 1983

U2 released “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

Sunday Bloody Sunday

U2

Writer(s): U2 (see lyrics here)


Released: March 21, 1983


First Charted: April 16, 1983


Peak: 7 AR, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 78.9 video, 205.71 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Irish rock band U2 started building their following in the early ‘80s with songs like “I Will Follow” and “Gloria” from their Boy and October albums respectively. Their third album, War, cemented the band’s place amongst college radio with “New Year’s Day,” “Two Hearts Beat As One,” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

The latter was one of the band’s most overtly political songs, shining a light on the horror of the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident in Derry, North Ireland where unarmed civil rights protesters were shot and killed by British troops. There was also a Bloody Sunday in 1920 when troops fired into a crowd at a Dublin football match, but this song refers more to the 1972 incident. SF

Of the song, drummer Larry Mullen said, “People are dying every single day through bitterness and hate, and we’re saying why? What’s the point?” WK An early version of the song started with the lyric, “Don’t talk to me about the rights of the IRA, UDA” but was replaced with “I can’t believe the news today.” Bassist Adam Clayton said the band opted to remove the line because it was so politically charged and the “viewpoint became very human and non-sectarian…which is the only responsible position.” WK

A video shot at a performance on June 5, 1983, at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado helped build the band’s reputation as a live act because of the energy and lead singer Bono’s charisma and stage presence in leading the audience in chanting “no more” and waving a white flag. He opens the song saying, “This song is not a rebel song. This song is ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday.’” All Music Guide’s JT Griffith considers it a strange comment because, “though it does not advocate violence, it is one of the most famous and moving rebel songs ever written.” AMG Time magazine expressed a similar sentiment in naming it one of the top 10 protest songs of all time. WK Bono, however, has explained that he introduced the song that way as a means of emphasizing the band’s non-partisan intentions. WK It has become a staple in U2’s live show and one of their signature tunes.


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First posted 8/13/2021; last updated 9/26/2022.

Pink Floyd The Final Cut released

The Final Cut

Pink Floyd


Released: March 21, 1983


Peak: 6 US, 12 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.1 UK, 7.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The Post War Dream [3:02]
  2. Your Possible Pasts [4:22] (4/2/83, 8 AR)
  3. One of the Few [1:23]
  4. The Hero’s Return [2:56] (4/30/83, 31 AR)
  5. The Gunner’s Dream [5:07]
  6. Paranoid Eyes [3:40]
  7. Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert [1:19]
  8. The Fletcher Memorial Home [4:11]
  9. Southampton Dock [2:13]
  10. The Final Cut [4:46]
  11. Not Now John [5:01] (4/2/83, 7 AR, 30 UK)
  12. Two Suns in the Sunset [5:14]

All songs written by Roger Waters.


Total Running Time: 43:14


The Players:

  • Roger Waters (vocals, bass)
  • David Gilmour (vocals, guitar)
  • Nick Mason (drums, percussion)

Rating:

3.555 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)

About the Album:

The Final Cut extends the autobiography of The Wall, concentrating on Roger Waters’ pain when his father died in World War II. Waters spins this off into a treatise on the futility of war, concentrating on the Falkland Islands, setting his blistering condemnations and scathing anger to impossibly subdued music that demands full attention. This is more like a novel than a record, requiring total concentration since shifts in dynamics, orchestration, and instrumentation are used as effect.” AMG

“This means that while this has the texture of classic Pink Floyd, somewhere between the brooding sections of The Wall and the monolithic menace of Animals, there are no songs or hooks to make these radio favorites. The even bent of the arrangements, where the music is used as texture, not music, means that The Final Cut purposely alienates all but the dedicated listener.” AMG

“Several of those listeners maintain that this is among Pink Floyd’s finest efforts, and it certainly is an achievement of some kind – there’s not only no other Floyd album quite like it, it has no close comparisons to anybody else’s work (apart from Waters’ own The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, yet that had a stronger musical core). That doesn’t make this easier to embrace, of course, and it’s damn near impenetrable in many respects, but with its anger, emphasis on lyrics, and sonic textures, it’s clear that it's the album that Waters intended it to be.” AMG

“It’s equally clear that Pink Floyd couldn’t have continued in this direction – Waters had no interest in a group setting anymore, as this record, which is hardly a Floyd album in many respects, illustrates. Distinctive, to be sure, but not easy to love and, depending on your view, not even that easy to admire.” AMG


Notes: The 2004 reissue “added When the Tigers Broke Free – originally heard in the soundtrack to The Wall, but its moody, war-obsessed soundscape is better suited for The Final Cut – as the fourth track, inserted between One of the Few and The Hero’s Return, where it fits nicely into the album’s narrative.” AMG

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First posted 3/22/2008; last updated 9/1/2021.

Monday, March 14, 1983

Marillion released debut album, Script for a Jester’s Tear

Script for a Jester’s Tear

Marillion


Released: March 14, 1983


Peak: 175 US, 7 UK, 51 CN


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


Genre: neo-progressive rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Script for a Jester’s Tear [8:42]
  2. He Knows You Know [5:07] (1/31/83, 21 AR, 35 UK)
  3. The Web [9:10]
  4. Garden Party [7:17] (6/6/83, 16 UK)
  5. Chelsea Monday [8:17]
  6. Forgotten Sons [8:22]

Lyrics by Derek Dick (Fish). Music by Marillion (Dick/ Kelly/ Mosley/ Rothery/ Trewavas).


Total Running Time: 46:45


The Players:

  • Derek Dick, aka Fish (vocals)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mick Pointer (drums)

Rating:

3.902 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

The Band’s Origins:

Marillion formed in 1979 in Aylesbury, Buckinhamshire, England. By the time of the neo-progressive rock band’s first officially released recordings in 1982, only drummer Mick Pointer and guitarist Steve Rothery remained from the original lineup. Fish had joined as the leader singer and lyricist, Mark Kelly as keyboardist, and Pete Trewavas as bassist. This lineup released the October 1982 single “Market Square Heroes” in October 1982 and, in March 1983, Script for a Jester’s Tear, “a landmark debut album that would give prog a much-needed shot in the arm.” DE

At the Neo-Progressive Rock Forefront

The myth that punk rock killed prog has been overstated; the genre “was doing a job of killing itself. Its founding fathers had either imploded (Yes, ELP), streamlined their sound so much as to be virtually unrecognizable (Genesis, Rush), or faded into commercial irrelevance (Caravan, Camel).” DE Marillion was “regarded as the pre-eminent force of this neo prog movement,” MD a banner Fish wasn’t excited to hoist. “I never saw us as being champions of anything…We were just doing what we did.” DE As Trewavas said, “We weren’t necessarily a rock band, we certainly weren’t a pop band. But we were selling out clubs like the Marquee, and we had quite a fan base.” DE They weren’t the first of their kind, “but they were certainly the most successful, and arguably the most important.” DE

Detractors have accused Marillion of copying early Genesis when they were fronted by Peter Gabriel, a comparison not without merit considering both band’s tendencies toward complicated imagery and dramatic flair, not to mention the theatrical stage presences of their frontmen.

Regarding the musical similarities, Fish said, “I look back on it now and a lot of those criticisms were justified. I mean, ‘Grendel’ [the 17-minute epic featured on the ‘Market Square Heroes’] was ‘Supper’s Ready’ [a nearly 23-minute song from Genesis’ 1972 Foxtrot album]. We were holding onto the skirts of our influences, trying to find the confidence to break away from it.” DE “Mark Kelly’s keyboard textures and Steve Rothery’s restless guitar work” DE also “paid lip service to their influences.” sup>DE Even so, “this was new music for a new decade” DE as Marillion reignited interest in progressive rock.

About the Album

In Jon Collins’ book Separated Out, he describes the album as “ambitious, varied, moody, dramatic, lyrical, accomplished.” JC-39 The songs “recounted a series of stories relating to a character in a particular situation…Though never mentioned explicitly, the character was the jester, representing the hedonistic alter-ego of Derek Dick,” JC-39 i.e. Fish. The character of the crying jester would serve as the inspiration for the album title and its artwork.

A large part of the band’s appeal was due to Fish, who Rothery called “a very forceful frontperson.” DE The songs on the album completely satisfy as Fish’s poetic and introspective lyrics require repeat listening to completely absorb. Fish always has something to say and is never at a loss for a clever way to do so.

Musically, it sounds like the rest of the band shuffled through instrumental bits and pieces until they found suitable background noise to accommodate whatever Fish retrieved from what one guesses is a vast collection of journals and diaries. That isn’t to say that the music doesn’t adequately complement the lyrics (the title track exemplifies how the music can enhance the drama of the vocals), just that neither appears to have been crafted with the other in mind.

“Script for a Jester’s Tear”

Every song on the album except the title cut had existed in some form for at least a year. Fish wrote the song about his first serious relationship and, as he said, “all the questions and issues that brought with it. There was a lot of introspection going on in the lyrics.” DE “Introspectiion gives way to anger, and frustration boils over as the band soar into a showpiece of Marillion musicianship.” JC-39

Musically, it “started with a piano-led lamentation that then transitioned into a playful, Medieval-styled mid-section that conjured an image of a bustling king’s court. The mood then turned gloomy and dark with marked flourishes of distorted guitar along side lush organ, then bleeding into an epilogue of anthemic guitar ad-lib as well as glassy chimes and bells.” CR

The song owed its origins to “The Crying Jester,” the first song Fish ever wrote. That was “a total rip-off of a Jon Anderson song…written on the night that Keith Moon died: he was…the crying jester.” JC-39

“He Knows You Know”

This “rockin’ stomper” CR was the first single and the only cut on the album to come in under seven minutes. Lyrically, it “sweated junkie paranoia from its every pore” DE while musically it was “vibing off something more sinister and metallic, courtesy of the scathing guitar as well as punchy bassline.” CR

Fish explained that the song was “about someone who went from nervous exhaustion, through depression then full-scale drug abuse.” JC-39 It was inspired by his own excesses as well as a friend’s. JC-39

“The Web”

On this “nine-minute, textured epic,” CR “Fish’s lyrics veered between rage, frustration, and heartbreak.” DE “With its spider-like guitar plucks, keyboard melodies, and heat-of-the-moment guitar interlude” CR this “was a prog bedsit anthem.” DE

The song was one of the band’s oldest, starting life as an instrumental. Fish took some of the lyrical inspiration from Penelope, wife of Odysseus. She said she’d choose a new husband after finishing a death shroud for Odysseus. To stall, she would undo her work each night. JC-39

“Garden Party”

The second single from the album “showcases Marillion at the peak of its powers.” JF Fish lashes out at the cultural elite with phrases like “smiles polluted with false charm” and “social climbers polish ladders, wayward sons again have fathers.” “It was the anti-Brideshead Revisited; a furious, sarcastic class-war anthem that punched and jabbed like a Muirhouse street fighter.” DE

“Here, the influence of Rush was very apparent, especially in Fish’s vocal timbre and phrasing that recalled that of Geddy Lee, as well as the rhythm section’s symphonic shots and overall structure.” CR Fish once commented, “it’s our most Genesis-y song!” JC-40

“Chelsea Monday”

This “was initially a bit bluesy and starry, then breaking into a stellar mid-song guitar-led instrumental interlude, and ending in a piano coda.” CR

Fish was inspired to write this “tale of a doomed rich girl” DE because of a newspaper headline he read on “one of the amphetamine-fuelled early morning walks through London he had taken to going on.” DE He said it was about “a female character drowning in romanticism, unable to cope with reality.” JC-40

“Forgotten Sons”

This song “concludes the opus magnificently.” JF Fish attacks warmongers “who order desecration, mutilation, verbal masturbation in their guarded bureaucratic wombs.” It “was ostensibly a protest song about the situation in Northern Ireland, though it could be read as a furious critique of the Thatcher government.” DE Fish said it was “about government manipulation” and how his cousin got injured during a riot. JC-40

Musically, it displays “vestiges of the band’s Punk and Post-Punk beginnings; then proceeded to the mid-section in a gracefully flowing rhythm; and ultimately, wrapped up the entire jester’s show with the majestic Yes/ELP/Styx-reminiscent, horn-adorned denouement.” CR


Notes:

A reissue includes a second disc with a demo of “He Knows You Know,” an alternate version of “Chelsea Monday,” and non-album tracks “Market Square Heroes” (two versions), “Three Boats Down from the Candy,” “Grendel,” and “Charting the Single.”

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First posted 3/10/2011; last updated 3/1/2022.

"Script for a Jester’s Tear” opened Marillion’s debut album

Script for a Jester’s Tear

Marillion

Writer(s): Fish, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Mick Pointer, Mark Kelly (see lyrics here)


Released: March 14, 1983 (album cut)


First Charted: --


Peak: -1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 4.2 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Script for a Jester’s Tear” is the lead track from Marillion’s debut album of the same name. The song was the newest amongst the batch of songs which otherwise had been around for a year or more. Lead singer Derek Dick, better known as Fish, said the song was inspired by his turbulent love life. “I was getting involved in my first serious – and I mean really serious – relationship and all the questions and issues that brought with it. There was a lot of introspection going on in the lyrics. If I look back, it was put across in a very na├»ve way.” DE

Of the “poignant title track,” JF AllMusic.com’s John Franck said, “Fish leads his band of merry men on a brokenhearted tour de force that culminates with the singer decrying that ‘the game is over.’” JF The song starts “with a piano-led lamentation that then transitioned into a playful Medieval-sttyled mid-seciton that conjured an image of a bustling king’s court. The mood then turned gloomy and dark with marked flourishes of distorted guitar along side lush organ, then bleeding into an epilogue of anthemic guitar ad-lib as well as glassy chimes and bells.” TC

The title song not only served as the album’s focal point, but the inspiration for the accompanying artwork. The artist, Mark Wilkinson, said Fish wanted to portray a struggling writer who looked like a jester. “I then…set him in a bedsit surrounded by lots of objects to portray that sort of existence,” MD such as sheet music, records on the floor, an ashtray, an empty coffee cup, and crumpled paper.

While it was the first song on their first album, “Script” wasn’t the world’s first exposure to Marillion. The neo-progressive rock group formed in 1979 in Aylesbury, Buckinhamshire, England. By the time of their first officially released recordings in 1982, only drummer Mick Pointer and guitarist Steve Rothery remained from the original lineup. Fish had joined as the leader singer and lyricist, Mark Kelly as keyboardist, and Pete Trewavas as bassist. This lineup released the October 1982 single “Market Square Heroes,” which included “Three Boats Down from the Candy” and the 17-minute epic “Grendel;” all three appeared on the 25th anniversary reissue of the Script album. Then, in support of the debut album, two singles were released – “He Knows You Know” in January 1983 and “Garden Party” in June 1983.


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First posted 3/13/2020; last updated 8/5/2022.