The fifteen most under rated British bands of the 80s – The Claim, The Monochrome Set, Furniture and more

Ashley Music 13 Comments

A few weeks ago I wrote a list of the most under rated British bands of the 90s as nominated by some charming musicians, bloggers and chancers  that I hang about with on social media sites. It got huge traffic, so, not wishing to change a winning formula, I asked the same group to come up with the most under rated bands of the 80s, and here’s the list.

Obviously the key here is defining the phrase ‘under rated’. There are some 80s bands; Felt, The Soft Boys and Gang Of Four spring to mind, who didn’t  trouble the charts a great deal  in their prime but thanks to being championed by more recent bands are now heralded as makers of some of the finest music of that decade. So we didn’t include them. I also added a few bands who were huge at the time, but these days never seem to be played on the radio or mentioned at all.

In a totally serendipitous way as I was putting the list together Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music decided to make the first two weeks of the year ‘lost 80s bands’ week, playing some completely forgotten tunes like Westworld’s Sonic Boom Boy. So Steve, how about playing a few of these?

Thanks then to everyone who added their twopennyworth.

And can someone please release the lost album recorded by the number one band. Ta. Any we have missed in the comments please. If you do your own list shout and I’ll post a link here too.

There’s a selection of tracks on the Spotify play list below

4 The Times

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I bandy the term pop genius around way too often, but when it comes to one Edward Ball that epithet is entirely approrpriate. Throughout the 80s Ball, for he pretty much was The Times, issued a series of albums that spanned The Creation/Who type power pop at the start of the decade through to baggy beats at its finale. And pretty much everything The Times recorded still sounds fresh, exciting and vital today. For me it is the first two albums that have me jumping round the room. Go With The Times and Pop Goes Art are the sound of a band who seem to have conveniently forgotten that the world has moved on a bit since 1966. Crashing guitars, squeaky keyboards, cheeky swinging London lyrics and in I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape the most perfect Prisoner pastiche ever. And then nearly a decade later he penned Manchester - the perfect paen to the northern city which was then exploding to the sounds of Acid House and Baggy. A complete national treasure Ball then spent the 90s playing keyboards with The Boo Radleys and helping his pal Alan McGee run Creation Records. Most of The Times' 80s albums are on Spotify.