Some days, it terrifies me to realise just how anal I was as a teenager. But not today. Because it means I can tell you with absolute certainty that I spent December 14th-15th 1982 recording my first ever Pick Of The Year compilation. (It's written in biro on the cassette sleeves, along with the detail that it was recorded on an Amstrad 7090, the ghetto blaster that I'd bought earlier that year.)
Did I imagine at the time that THIRTY-FIVE YEARS later, I'd still be making these compilations? Probably not. Still, here we are. And with that 35th anniversary fast approaching, let's mark it by transferring all of my Picks Of The Year to date onto a new medium: streaming Spotify playlists. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting them up here, decade by decade.
Of course, in much the same style as their YouTube equivalents, these playlists aren't going to be complete: not every song in the world is available on Spotify. But I'll highlight what the missing tracks are for each year, and there'll be links to the full track listing and description as well. So with that caveat in mind, welcome to my favourite songs of the Eighties, with the other decades to follow shortly. Don't judge me.
There are a few completely unavailable tracks here, from Graham Parker, Moving Hearts and Not The Nine O'Clock News. In addition, I've had to make a couple of substitutions: the version of The Look Of Love isn't the deranged 12" remix assembled by an early incarnation of The Art Of Noise, and I've had to go for Status Quo's 1977 live version of Bye Bye Johnny rather than the 1982 one. I do appreciate there's probably not that much difference between the two.
1983: Post-Apollonian, Pre-Dionysian.
The most regrettable absence is Cruella de Ville's Gypsy Girl, because that's where the title comes from. Also unavailable are tracks from The Durutti Column, Peter Gabriel, Wah! and Moving Hearts (the latter being a politically dodgy unreleased song that I'd taped off the telly).
1984: No Chicago Urban Blues.
Missing out on Mark Knopfler, Red Guitars, The Flying Lizards, Yip Yip Coyote, New Order, and a John Peel session from 3 Mustaphas 3.
1985: Deadhead Sticker On A Cadillac.
Gaps on here thanks to the non-Spotification of Godley and Creme, Peter Gabriel (again), Artists United Against Apartheid and my live bootleg of The Flying Pickets.
1986: Girls, Boys, Art, Pleasure.
Omitting tracks from Joe Strummer, Rory McLeod, Jerry Dammers, Black Britain and Marianne Faithfull.
1987: Put It On 8-Track, Put It On Cassette.
Big old gaps courtesy of Beastie Boys, Trouble Funk, The Redskins, Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, Mary Coughlan, and the Trevor Jones/Courtney Pine soundtrack to Angel Heart.
1988: A Londoner Rich With Complaint.
Missing a couple of distinctive twelve-inch mixes from Stump and The Blow Monkeys, plus Anna Stesia from Prince's Lovesexy - an album which is available on Spotify, but only as a single gargantuan 45 minute track. Boooo, Prince! Boooooo! (To be fair, it's the superior live version that I wanted anyway.)
1989: Tie You Down, Pretend You're Madonna.
Last one for this decade, just missing De La Soul and Peter Gabriel. He really doesn't like streaming, does he?