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Best music of 1984


This list first appeared in the Daily Aztec of San Diego State University in December 1984.

When one compiles a list of the best of the year, one is limited by the amount of exposure one has to the various artists. In 1984, I listened to perhaps 100 new releases out of thousands, and saw fewer than 50 concerts – out of hundreds.

Anyway, here are some of the more memorable moments of the year, in no particular order:

BEST ALBUMS

AlchemyAlchemy – Dire Straits

My favorite group doing my favorite songs live. This album contains no overdubs or re-recordings, and is the finest live album since Foghat's.


Heartbreak CityHeartbreak City – The Cars

The band returned to better form than at any time since their debut album eight years ago, thus establishing themselves alongside Van Halen as the current kings of the charts.


Milk and HoneyMilk and Honey – John Lennon and Yoko Ono

While a bit disappointing, it was still his last effort. If one took all John's songs from "Milk and Honey" and "Double Fantasy," while tossing all Yoko's crap out, one would have a great album.


ValotteValotte – Julian Lennon

John's son was the most pleasant surprise of the year. His biting lyrics are as much his father's as is his singing voice. Look for more of him down the road.


Perfect StrangersPerfect Strangers – Deep Purple

The reunion of one of rock's greatest bands provided a perfect opportunity to try and capture past glories. To their credit, Ritchie Blackmore and Co. resisted and turned out material on which to build for the future.


All the RageAll the Rage – General Public

After splitting off the English Beat, General Public came to the rescue with some of the best new wave dance music this year. So, whatever happened to the Beat?


The Deed is DoneThe Deed is Done – Molly Hatchet

This is the only real southern rock since Skynyrd bought it.


The Honey DrippersThe Honeydrippers, Vol. 1 – The Honeydrippers

With Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, this EP features five classic songs redone by some of the best rock musicians around today.


NightflightNightflight – Fenton Robinson

Robinson is one of the most original and talented blues guitarists playing today, and this album is a must for anyone who loves the blues.


Slide It InSlide It In – Whitesnake

One-time Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale's group broke from their heavy blues style on perhaps the strongest heavy metal album ever. The only disappointment was seeing them live. [2005 note: Did I really write that? This album has not worn well through the years.]


TOP 3 SINGLES

"Curly Shuffle" – Jump 'N the Saddle Band. Okay, so it isn't real music. But it sure was fun. [2006 note: It was also probably the last real novelty record by anyone not named Weird Al to become a hit.]

"Panama" – Van Halen. This song blew "Jump" away. For once, Eddie Van Halen's skills on guitar are placed ahead of the juvenile antics of David Lee Roth.

"Drive" – The Cars. The best slow song of the year by a long shot.

BEST LIVE SHOW

King Crimson at the Open Air Theatre. Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew traded riffs the way Bob Hope and Bing Crosby used to trade jokes.