movingtheriver.com, named after one of my favourite songs of the ’80s, is a celebration of the decade’s music. It came about because I found that there wasn’t much ‘serious’ online writing about the artists who were made for the ’80s such as Prefab Sprout, Scritti Politti, Steve Vai, David Sylvian, David Torn, Level 42, Propaganda, Courtney Pine, Prince, Thomas Dolby, XTC, Stump, Steps Ahead, Loose Tubes, Love and Money, Danny Wilson, Wynton Marsalis and Mary Margaret O’Hara.
But this website won’t just focus on stuff that I love – it’ll look at the decade’s fascinating musical misfires and the veterans who, against all the odds, produced some material of worth. I’ll also foreground some of the decade’s unsung figures: key musicians, producers and scenesters.
On the right side of every page, you will find a list of recent posts and different categories, by year, artist and music genre. You can also search for your favourite artist/album/musician in the Search box on each page. For best results, listen to this website LOUD. Please support my featured artists (and me!) by purchasing their music – click on the album cover images for details or follow the links in the post.
We’re always hearing about the ’80s being ‘the decade that taste forgot’ – in fact it was musically vibrant, inclusive, exciting, fun and full of intriguing artists, against-the-odds successes and glorious failures.
Many of the best artists who emerged in the ‘80s took the DIY punk ethos and ran with it. Of the ‘old guard’ who emerged in the ‘60s and ‘70s and before, people like Stanley Clarke, Bill Bruford, Bobby Womack, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, John Martyn, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Robbie Robertson, Peter Gabriel, Weather Report, Frank Zappa, Bowie and George Benson, some floundered, a few found unexpected career milestones, none were boring.
So this is not an exhaustive directory of ‘80s music but a personal account featuring artists who were on my musical radar during the decade or whom I’ve discovered since. I’ll also try to feature some music that was possibly neglected by the great pillars of ‘80s music journalism – NME, The Wire, Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Q, Smash Hits, Sounds – and give new takes on artists who were critics’ favourites.
I hope the website is an enjoyable, informative, eclectic music mix touching on rock, pop, prog, funk, jazz, soul and all points in-between. Also I hope it chimes with other music fans of my generation who grew up watching The Tube religiously every Friday evening, hanging out at places like The Wag, Dingwalls, Hammersmith Odeon and Town and Country Club and buying Smash Hits, Q, NME, Melody Maker and The Wire.