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 (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.

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).

About the Album:

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

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

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.

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.

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“Chelsea Monday”

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 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

“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 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.”

Review Sources:

First posted 3/10/2011; updated 6/12/2021.

3/14/1983: “Script for a Jester’s Tear” opened Marillion’s debut album

First posted 3/13/2020.

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: -- US (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


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

Awards:

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.” CR

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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Monday, March 7, 1983

Tears for Fears The Hurting released

The Hurting

Tears for Fears


Released: March 7, 1983


Peak: 73 US, 11 UK, 7 CN, 15 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.3 UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: new wave/synth pop


Tracks:

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

  1. The Hurting [4:17]
  2. Mad World [3:46] (9/20/82, 2 CO, 3 UK, 12 AU)
  3. Pale Shelter [4:24] (3/31/82, 4 CO, 5 UK, 12 CN)
  4. Ideas as Opiates [3:46]
  5. Memories Fade [5:05]
  6. Suffer the Children [3:52] (11/2/81, 39 CL, 20 CO, 52 UK)
  7. Watch Me Bleed [4:19]
  8. Change [4:14] (1/24/83, 73 US, 22 AR, 6 CO, 4 UK, 23 CN, 29 AU)
  9. The Prisoner [2:55]
  10. Start of the Breakdown [5:01]

All songs written by Roland Orzabal.


Total Running Time: 41:39


The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, guitar, keyboards, rhythm programming)
  • Curt Smith (vocals, bass, keyboards)
  • Manny Elias (drums, rhythm programming)
  • Ian Stanley (keyboards and computer programming)

Rating:

4.007 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


Quotable: “Absolutely essential for fans of the darker side of new wave.” – Eric Aaron, OpenUpAndSay.com


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Tears For Fears developed on the periphery of the early '80s electro-pop phenomenon; their Bath base isolating them from the confidence and cool of their Sheffield compatriots – the Human League, ABC and Heaven 17--and the urban sleaze of Soft Cell. The Hurting is nevertheless an assured debut; Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith weaving contemporary technology with traditional arrangements in a fashion that would soon…dominate '80s mainstream pop.” HE

Tears for Fears stood “out among the…crop of identikit synth-pop groups by virtue of their resourceful, stylish songwriting and fetching rhythmic sway.” DF There is a “desire to create something important.” AD “Awash in dark synth–pop textures, this harrowing album smartly resolves the group's renowned soulful pop tendencies with a new–wave, post–punk vibe reminiscent of early Depeche Mode.” EA “The keyboard programming, the keyboard and drum arrangements in general, are…very innovative sounding even…twenty years later.” AD “The oft–underrated result is as profound and emotional as 1980s pop ever was.” EA

The Hurting “bursts with inspired pop melodies, not least with the schoolgirl la-las of Suffer the ChildrenHE and “the rolling and thumping alterna-soul of Change.” EO Its “breathless core riff and nervous percussion accelerate the song's strong disco pulse,” DF making for an “energetic, infectiously danceable” EA song that “rolls along very nicely. It has an anxiety and energy as well as a huge pop hook in the chorus [and] very nice…vocals.” AD

“The menacing Mad WorldJL is “an indelible song with odd, syncopated percussion, moody synths and Smith’s haunted vocals on precociously wise, perceptive lyrics.” EO It “features top notch drum patterns and keyboard work, as well as a perfectly placed vocal [and] great lyrics.” AD As proof of the song’s staying power, British songwriter Gary Jules took his piano-driven cover of the song to #1 in the UK twenty years later when it was featured on the soundtrack to cult film Donnie Darko.

On both ‘Mad World’ and “the moody” EA Pale Shelter, beguiling hooks and panoramic guitar effects suck the listener into dizzy whirlpools of cleverly synthesized orchestration.” DF The latter, awash in a “sweeping synth-and-acoustic guitar-based [sound is] one of the best-sounding songs of the entire new wave era with Smith’s soaring vocal reaching ethereal heights above the instrumental swirl.” EO

The album was virtually ignored in the US, but in their native England, Tears for Fears “Change,” “Mad World,” and “Pale Shelter” were top 5 hits. These singles “still sound remarkably fresh today wrapped up in melancholic keyboard textures and depressing sixth-form poetry.” JL

“Album tracks such as…Memories Fade have also stood the test of time well.” EA Its emotive wailing backed by a heartbeat-like percussive pounding give the song a “stark yearning.” EA

“Angst and catharsis are persistent forces, evident in Orzabal's howl, the crashes of ‘Memories Fade,’ and the claustrophobia of…Start of the BreakdownHE and “the sculpted sonic abrasion of The Prisoner.” EA The former “is a successful venture into artier territory, a macabre play-by-play of emotional collapse that's heightened by the stark contrast of exotic percussion flourishes and a bleak, descending keyboard motif.” DF

“This magnificent collection of polished pop-rock is absolutely essential for fans of the darker side of new wave.” EA This “is not a light or easy listen;” EA “the adolescent angst and bleak, pained romanticism…sometimes come off as an adequate imitation of Joy Division, at best,” DF but while they “may be too concerned with their own petty traumas…it is a testimony to their refined pop instincts that they manage to produce this much pleasure from the pain.” DF “It is an unforgettable experience, gripping you on first listen and never letting go.” EA


Notes: A 1999 reissue adds alternate versions of “Pale Shelter,” “Mad World,” and “Change,” as well as another version of “The Way You Are,” which was a single released in between The Hurting and follow-up album Songs from the Big Chair.

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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/28/2021.

New Order released “Blue Monday”

Blue Monday

New Order

Writer(s): Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Bernard Sumner (see lyrics here)


Released: March 7, 1983


First Charted: March 19, 1983


Peak: 68 US, 75 CB, 1 CO, 3 UK, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.37 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 115.0 video, 309.17 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris were first in the band Joy Division with Ian Curtis. After his suicide and the immense popularity of the posthumous single “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” the three surviving members regrouped as New Order. In 1981, they released three singles and their debut album Movement, all of which were met with only moderate success. However, the band’s fate changed with the release of “Blue Monday.”

It “helped New Order escape from the shadow of Joy Division and stand on their own.” RH It was “a dance record that also exhibited influences from the New York club scene.” WK It was “arguably the first British dance record to crossover to the New York club scene.” SF BBC Radio 2 once called the song “a crucial link between Seventies disco and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the Eighties.” RH

The song has been said to be about “drug addiction, child abuse, or a failed relationships.” SF The title, which is never mentioned in the song, was taken from Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. An illustration in the book refers to the invention of the washing machine as improving housewives’ lives with the caption “Goodbye Blue Monday.” SF

The song first reached #12 in the UK in 1983, but recharted that same year and got to #9. It spent a phenomenal 186 weeks on the UK Independent Singles Chart, second only to Joy Division’s 195 weeks for “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” WK It is the best-selling 12” single of all time in Britain. SF In 1988, a remix went to #3 in the UK and topped the dance chart in the United States. In 1995, yet another remix propelled the song back into the top 20 on the UK charts for a fourth time. In 1998, the band Orgy covered the song and reached #4 on Billboard’s modern rock chart in the U.S.


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First posted 10/7/2021.