Here are my favourite 80`s synth and also the new wave sound, here are my top 10 songs, i loved this era in music, loved that synth sound.
10.. A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS – WISHING (IF I HAD A PHOTOGRAPH OF YOU) 1982 – “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” is a 1982 song by A Flock of Seagulls, the opening song and only hit single from their second album Listen. The song exemplifies “synth-pop’s spaced-out loneliness” and yearning for imagined absent lovers, and is noted for its Wall of Sound-styled layer of synthesizer padding–a “multi-layered, hypnotic song”, according to AllMusic.
Unlike the band’s 1982 hit “I Ran (So Far Away)“, largely a United States and Australian hit, “Wishing” performed strongly in Great Britain and reached the Top 10; in the US it reached the top 40 on the U.S. Billboard charts in summer 1983. In South Africa, it was enormously popular, reaching the no. 8 position.
09.. YAZOO – NOBODY`S DIARY 1983 – “Nobody’s Diary” is a song recorded by British synthpop band Yazoo. It was released in May 1983 as the first and only single from their second and last album, You and Me Both. The song was written by Yazoo vocalist Alison Moyet and produced by the band and Eric Radcliffe.
The 12-inch single was released with different B-sides in the UK and U.S. Mute Records released the song in the UK with “Situation” on the flip side. “Situation” appears on the U.S. version of the band’s previous albumUpstairs at Eric’s (although it was added to the UK track list in later pressings). The single peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart.
Sire Records released “Nobody’s Diary” in the United States with You and Me Both album track “State Farm” as a double A-side. “State Farm” was not included on the UK version of You and Me Both. The double A-side hit number one on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart in July 1983.
08.. ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK – MAID OF ORLEANS 1981 – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are a British new wave group formed in 1978, whose founding members, Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals), are originally from Wirral, England. While steadily eschewing pop star status, the band cultivated a fanbase in the United Kingdom from 1978–1980. They gained popularity throughout Europe with the hugely successful 1980 single “Enola Gay“, and achieved broader recognition via seminal album Architecture & Morality (1981) and its singles. OMD also garnered acclaim for their experimental recordings, consistently producing music of greater intellectual depth than that of their peers.
Although retrospectively lauded, the sonically challenging Dazzle Ships (1983) eroded European consumer interest during the mid 1980s; Junk Culture (1984) marked a shift toward more pop-oriented songwriting. Concurrently, OMD reached their peak in the United States and had a major hit with 1986’s “If You Leave“, written for the film Pretty in Pink. Humphreys departed in 1989 with Martin Cooper (various instruments) andMalcolm Holmes (drums) to form The Listening Pool, leaving McCluskey to lead the outfit; Sugar Tax (1991) and its initial singles were sizeable hits in Europe. By the mid 1990s, however, synthpop had become unfashionable amid the guitar oriented musical climate, and McCluskey dissolved the band in 1996.
07.. THE HUMAN LEAGUE – LOVE ACTION (I BELIEVE IN LOVE) 1981 – “Love Action (I Believe in Love)” is a song by the British synthpop group The Human League, released as a single in the UK in July 1981. It became the band’s first Top 10 success, peaking at number three in the UK Singles Chart.
The song was written jointly by lead singer Philip Oakey and keyboard player Ian Burden. It features lead vocal by Oakey, female backing vocals by Susanne Sulley (now Susan Ann Sulley) and Joanne Catherall, and analogue synthesizers by Jo Callis, Philip Adrian Wright and Ian Burden. Drum machines, sequencing and programming were provided by producer Martin Rushent and his then Engineer and Programmer David M. Allen. One of the most notable synth sounds on the recording makes use of the pitch-to-voltage converter and envelope shaper on the Roland System 700 modular synth. Jo Callis’ guitar strumming was fed into the synth and used to shape and trigger the sounds, producing an unusual choppy, strumming synth patch. Some copies of the single were mispressed, with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark‘s “Souvenir” as the A-side.
06.. THE SMITHS – WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? 1984 – “What Difference Does It Make?” is a 1984 single by British band The Smiths. The single version can be found on the band’s self-titled debut album The Smiths. A different version recorded for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio One is featured on the compilation album Hatful of Hollow.
Morrissey has stated that “What Difference Does It Make?” is among his least favourite Smiths songs. However, it became one of the band’s first significant chart hits, peaking at No. 12 in the UK. The song is recognised by the opening riff by guitarist Johnny Marr and the falsetto by Morrissey towards the end of the song.
05.. EURYTHMICS – LOVE IS A STRANGER 1982 – “Love Is a Stranger” is the fifth single by the British rock/pop duo Eurythmics. Originally released in late 1982, the single was commercially unsuccessful, but it was rereleased in 1983 when it became a hit, reaching the UK Top Ten. The single was re-released again in 1991, to promote Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits album. It was produced by David A. Stewart and Adam Williams and was self-financed at Eurythmics’ 8-track facility in Chalk Farm.
The song has a fairly sparse, up-tempo arrangement. It uses the rare Movement Systems Drum Computer and various synthesizers (providing bass, melody lines and sound effects), including the Suzuki Omnichord, combined with Lennox’s strident multi-tracked vocal harmonies. The song is also punctuated with vocal grunts from Stewart.
The single was released on Chrysalis Records on 15 January 1981, and is notable for spending 4 consecutive weeks at #2 in the UK singles chart without ever getting to #1. “Vienna” was kept off the UK #1 slot by John Lennon‘s “Woman” for a week, and then by Joe Dolce’s novelty hit, “Shaddap You Face“, for a further 3 weeks, although “Vienna” did sell more copies than either of these records and ranked as the 5th best selling UK single for 1981.
It also won “Single of the Year” at the 1981 Brit Awards. To date, it remains Ultravox’s signature song, being their most commercially successful release and is often played live by Midge Ure in solo performances, as well as being voted Britain’s favourite single to ever peak at number two in the charts in a 2012 poll run by BBC Radio 2 and the Official Charts Company. It was awarded an honorary number one by the OCC.
Ure said of the track: “We wanted to take the song and make it incredibly pompous in the middle, leaving it very sparse before and after, but finishing with a typically over-the top classical ending.”
03.. TUBEWAY ARMY – ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC? 1979 – I just gotta include this classic, i know its 1979 but its gotta be in this list. “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” features three different sections: a recurring “verse” with a synth riff in C and B flat, a recurring section with spoken word over slow arpeggiated seventh chords, and an instrumental break in F. The instrumentation is quite minimal: there is a conventional drum and bass guitar backing track, some additional heavily flanged guitar (particularly in the instrumental break), subdued vocals and, most prominently, a Minimoogsynthesizer. These synth parts include a slow-paced sawtooth bass riff, and some soaring portamento background lines.
Numan stumbled upon synthesizers by accident. While intending to record a punk album, he noticed a Minimoog synthesizer that had been left in the studio. The keyboard’s massive sound became the inspiration for the Replicas album, and is the dominant sound for this song.
Writing for Smash Hits in 1979, Cliff White described the song as “a dark, threatening wall of synthesized sound” which “throbbed ominously behind a gloomy song of paranoia and loneliness”. White went on to say it was “gripping stuff, but cheerful it isn’t”. It was released as a single in May 1979 and reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, staying there for four weeks. It was written and produced by Gary Numan, the band’s frontman and lead vocalist.
02.. VISAGE – FADE TO GREY 1981 – “Fade to Grey” is the second single by the British group Visage, released on Polydor Records in 1980. The song was the band’s most successful single. It entered the singles charts in late 1980, peaking at no. 8 in the UK Singles Chart and reaching no. 1 in both Germany and Switzerland.
The song features the same lyrics in two different languages, English and French. The English are sung, the French (“devenir gris” means fade to grey) spoken by a female voice.
01.. JOY DIVISION – ATMOSPHERE 1980 – “Atmosphere” is a song by the band Joy Division. It was originally released on 18 March 1980 as a France-only single under the title Licht und Blindheit (“Light and Blindness”). It was limited to 1578 copies and had “Dead Souls” as the B-side.
Following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis in May 1980, “Atmosphere” was released as a double A-sided single with “She’s Lost Control“. “Atmosphere” was the A-side for the UK release but the B-side for the US release. “She’s Lost Control” is an alternate version from the one that appears on the debut album Unknown Pleasures.
The single peaked at number 1 in New Zealand in August 1981, and it would later re-chart there in July 1984 (number 17) and when it was reissued in August 1988 (number 5). “Atmosphere” also hit number 34 in the UK Singles Chart during June 1988.