About the website

Prefab Sprout

Prefab Sprout

Named after one of my favourite songs of the ’80s, this website 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 doesn’t only focus on stuff that I love – it also looks at the decade’s fascinating musical misfires and the veterans who, against all the odds, produced some material of worth. I 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.

Scritti Politti

Scritti Politti

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.

Paula and Jools, The Tube

Paula and Jools, The Tube

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.

Some articles may contains affiliate links to products. Unless otherwise indicated, articles are not written to promote these products although I may earn a small commission if a reader makes a purchase.

You may also see ads on this site, and you may object to some — for example, ads for political causes or products you oppose. I do not endorse the content of any ad, nor do I select the ads. They are generated by WordPress’s software.


© Matt Phillips 2015-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used – in fact are encouraged – provided that full and clear credit is given to Matt Phillips/movingtheriver.com with appropriate and specific links back to the original content. Copyright is not claimed for images of album covers.

7 thoughts on “About the website

  1. Jeez. I feel old.
    I only know about half of your list.

    I was in America for the eighties though.
    Not sure you’d be as positive about the decade from there. For me it was Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty…


  2. Just figured I’d post this rather odd, minimal, moment in Costello’s catalog, originally released on 45 as The Imposter, and see if this stripped down approach appeals more to your sensibilities. I’ve always had a particular fondness for this cut.


    • Wow. That’s a very spooky song. Thanks for the tip-off. Great understated vocal. There’s another Costello track that I love, possibly from the early ’80s but I’m not sure, called ‘Beaten By The Clock’ I think. I can never seem to find it though. In general I found that his heart-on-sleeve style wasn’t really suited to the decade (with the obvious exception of the brilliant ‘Shipbuilding’ of course), though I need to check out the stuff he co-wrote with McCartney, I’ve heard good things about that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s