The B-52's and a Virtual Lobster Party
This self-titled 1979 debut album of The B-52's sets the tone for their quirky sound with the "Planet Claire" opener and doesn't let up through the rest of Side 1 with "52 Girls," "Dance This Mess Around" and their iconic party favorite "Rock Lobster," which were the featured tunes in a winning high school air band contest in which I was lucky enough to drum-sync to Keith Strickland's beats. Other good ones here are "Lava" and a cover of Petula Clark's "Downtown." (Fun (and sad) fact: John Lennon called The B-52's his favorite band, citing "Rock Lobster" as the inspiration for his tragically shortened comeback to the music scene in 1980 with his Double Fantasy album.)
Driving With the Cars
For some reason, every teenage dude needed to have this album but the beauty is more than skin deep with some fun driving tunes like "Let's Go," "It's All I Can Do," "Double Life," "The Dangerous Type" and the quirky title track. Their second album from the summer of '79, this one helped establish the Cars' signature sound before 1984's best-selling multi-hit Heartbeat City. (Fun fact: The cover model is actress Candy Moore who played Lucille Ball's daughter on The Lucy Show in the '60s.)
Cyndi Lauper In Unusual Times
Cyndi Lauper's perfectly-titled debut album She's So Unusual sums up her look and unique vocals style. This one stormed the scene with six hit singles released from late 1983 through early 1985 to accompany my transition from high school college with "Money Changes Everything," "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," "Time After Time," "She Bop, " "All Through The Night" and a cover of Prince's "When You Were Mine," which made Lauper the first female singer to have four top 5 singles on the Hot 100 from one album.
Let's Dance Distantly With David Bowie
While certainly a commercial pop departure from his earlier legendary work, David Bowie's best-selling Let's Dance was an indelible part of my high school soundtrack and my SBHS buds will remember our talent night class skit spoof of Star Trek where I got to play my hero Captain Kirk ("Capt. Jerk") and lip-synced "Modern Love" into my communicator for the boys' dance routine. Other fun facts here: Bowie co-wrote "China Girl" with Iggy Pop in 1977 and a young pre-fame Stevie Ray Vaughn played guitar on this album that also features the ripping rocker "Cat People." Scotty, drop the needle on this one and beam us the hell out of here.
We Can Get Some Jimmy Cliff If We Really Want
There's been a lot of Dad in these posts but this one's all Mom. I can't even tell you how many times we played this album in the morning over breakfast before I headed off to school and lord knows we could all use some Jimmy Cliff now in these strange days. I mean, the guy can make a sad song about the Vietnam war sound light and bouncy. This live collection of hits also includes "You Can Get It If You Really Want," "The Harder They Come," "Many Rivers To Cross," "Struggling Man," "Sitting In Limbo," "Wonderful World, Beautiful People," and a soulfully ska cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" to make a great escape from the evening news. Thanks Mom.