Few remember but 1983 was a year of pop carnage. Bands that were going to dominate the 1980s nosedived in to the ground like the Hindenburg. Most shocking was the decision by Fun Boy Three to go their separate ways when it seemed they’d only left The Specials yesterday morning. I wrote Neville Staple’s biography and for him, the phone call from Terry Hall was a bit of a surprise. But that was just the start of the year’s musical bloodshed.
ABBA’s demise was not so surprising – many of their later songs seemed to be about their divorce court proceedings in heavy code. And thank God the Bay City Rollers pulled down the shutters – how on earth did they survive punk, let alone the 1970s? But Roxy Music – revitalized by Avalon we thought and yet off they popped.
The Human League wobbled throughout 1983 eventually gestating ‘Lebanon’ which I’m not sure was worth the long wait. Scritti Politti had been hailed as the future in 1982 but became the past in 1983. Off went Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Wah! – two bands I thought would have a longer lifespan.
Mercifully, Altered Images called it a day. In fact, I remember seeing Clare Grogan hanging round the Cambridge pub in Liverpool one day but I didn’t buy her a drink.
Yazoo – gone in May, 1983.
In heavy metal land, the giant mane and growling voice of Gillan was silenced as he killed himself off for a while.