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BBC Radio 2's Sounds Of The 80s - Review

BBC Radio 2's Sounds Of The 80s

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IF YOU’VE enjoyed listening to the Live Lounge series of BBC Radio recordings, then BBC Radio 2’s Sounds Of The 80s is another must to add to this year’s shopping list.

The LP offers a unique collection celebrating music’s most flamboyant (and often polarising) decade as recorded by some of today’s most popular contemporary acts.

Hence, the likes of Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, London Grammar, Olly Murs and Kylie Minogue take on classics by the likes of, respectively, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Isaak, Earth Wind & Fire and Kim Carnes.

And of the 37 tracks that ensue, there are very few duds. Rather, this rejuvenates and reinterprets a lot of classic songs, while putting a sometimes different spin on proceedings – even if some, like Sam Smith’s take on Houston’s How Will I Know aren’t entirely successful. In this instance, the slower pacing and piano backing sometimes take away from the initial fun of the original and it’s an odd starting point for the LP as a whole.

But Sheeran’s take on The Boss’s Atlantic City is very well realised and is followed by a brilliant cover of seminal Cars track Drive by The Script. In fact, in the case of some artists, you could almost argue that their best ever work is present here – such as Boyzone’s lively version of The Waterboys’ The Whole of the Moon or Kian Egan’s rock ‘n’ roll version of Bryan Adams’ Run To You.

There are some good surprises, too, such as a really good version of Rolling Stones’ classic Start Me Up by The Manic Street Preachers, or Millers Daughters’ version of Tears For Fears’ Head Over Heels.

And then there are the tracks that the reliables capably pull off. We never doubted the Kaiser Chiefs would do a good job of The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go, or that London Grammar would deliver a winning take on Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. The Pierces, meanwhile, deliver a beautiful version of Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, while even Si Cranstoun supplies a crowd-pleasing version of Billy Joel’s Tell Her About It.

Heck, there’s even a slick, smart, sassy version of Genesis number That’s All by the sweet-voiced Gabrielle Aplin.

Hence, BBC Radio 2’s Sounds Of The 80s is an album that offers huge amounts of enjoyment as well as a really nice trip down memory lane for those old enough to remember all of the tracks included. It consistently surprises in a good way too. So, like we said… a worthy addition to any record collection!

Track listing:
Disc: 1

  1. Sam Smith – How Will I Know (Whitney Houston)
  2. Ed Sheeran – Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen)
  3. The Script – Drive (The Cars)
  4. Christina Perri – If I Could Turn Back Time (Cher)
  5. Passenger – Romeo & Juliet (Dire Straits)
  6. Birdy – Lucky Star (Madonna)
  7. Rumer – Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do) (Christopher Cross)
  8. Chrissie Hynde – Every Day Is Like Sunday (Morrissey)
  9. Dido – Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat)
  10. Katie Melua – Wonderful Life (Black)
  11. Amy MacDonald – Waiting For A Star To Fall (Boy Meets Girl)
  12. Caro Emerald – Walk Like An Egyptian (The Bangles)
  13. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Caravan of Love (Isley Jasper Isley/ The Housemartins)
  14. The Shires – Islands In the Stream (Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton)
  15. Train – Holding Back the Years (Simply Red)
  16. Level 42 – Need You Tonight (INXS)
  17. Kaiser Chiefs – Should I Stay Or Should I Go (The Clash)
  18. Manic Street Preachers – Start Me Up (The Rolling Stones)

Disc: 2

  1. Olly Murs – Let’s Groove (Earth Wind & Fire)
  2. Kylie Minogue – Bette Davis Eyes (Kim Carnes)
  3. Dolly Parton Feat Richie Sambora – Lay Your Hands On Me (Bon Jovi)
  4. James Blunt – I Guess That’s Why they Call It the Blues (Elton John)
  5. London Grammar – Wicked Game (Chris Isaak)
  6. Will Young – Teardrops (Womack & Womack)
  7. Shane Filan – True Colours (Cyndi Lauper)
  8. Texas – Don’t Talk To Me About Love (Altered Images)
  9. Millers Daughter – Head Over Heels (Tears For Fears)
  10. The Pierces – Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush)
  11. Ward Thomas – Man In The Mirror (Michael Jackson)
  12. Boyzone – The Whole of the Moon (The Waterboys)
  13. Kian Egan – Run To You (Bryan Adams)
  14. Jermain Jackman – I Want To Know What Love Is (Foreigner)
  15. Si Cranstoun – Tell Her About It (Billy Joel)
  16. The Overtones – Wake Me Up Before You Go
  17. Lisa Stansfield – You’re the Best Thing (The Style Council)
  18. Gabrielle Aplin – That’s All (Genesis)
  19. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – True Faith (New Order)