A History of Pop Music – Albums 1981

Featured Album:

Duran Duran – Duran Duran

This is a series of articles looking at albums from 1960 to whatever year we end up in.

I will select a featured album for each year and the link for the whole album, Plus list the songs on it.

As before, it is not just about the songs and tunes, it is very much about memories, and good ones, I hope.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

In 1981, I was walking around the barracks flashing my posting order to Gibraltar.  At the time only 33 Royal Engineers were based there.  Only problem was, I wanted my future wife to be with me, so we had to be married to get married quarters.  My divorce was coming through, but in order to get travel for all sorted, I had to go to court to get the divorce nisi to absolute narrowed form the standard 6 weeks to 4. Married at the first weekend after, then I went and a week later joined by my wife and first child.  I love that place.  Weather is super, job was relatively easy and fun.  Great year for me and mine.  Charles & lady Di were married and visited Gibraltar, they actually made everyone move the cars from the high street and had a team scrubbing the road the night before!

If you look at the top 10 sellers for 1981 below, worst year so far in my view with the one notable exception of Queen of course.  I had that album plus Adam Ant and Human league.  We did dance a lot to Stars on 45, still a good listen.

More writings on this album here: Duran Duran

Duran Duran is the debut studio album by English new wave band Duran Duran. It was released on 15 June 1981 by EMI.

The album reached number three on the UK Albums Chart and remained in the UK top 100 for 118 weeks, achieving platinum status by December 1982.

Track listing

Original 1981 release

All tracks are written by Duran Duran.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. Girls on Film 3:32
2. Planet Earth 3:57
3. “Anyone Out There” 4:03
4. “To the Shore” 3:50
5. Careless Memories 3:56
Side two
No. Title Length
6. “Night Boat” 5:26
7. “Sound of Thunder” 4:07
8. “Friends of Mine” 5:46
9. “Tel Aviv” 5:22

Duran Duran

So, on we go with 1981:

The Top 10 Albums with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Albums of 1981
   1 Adam & The Ants Kings Of The Wild Frontier
   2 Queen Queen’s Greatest Hits
   3 Phil Collins Face Value
   4 Shakin’ Stevens Shaky
   5 The Police Ghost In The Machine
   6 Cliff Richard Love Songs
   7 The Human League Dare
   8 John Lennon Double Fantasy
   9 Neil Diamond Jazz Singer
   10 Star Sound Stars On 45

I was struggling again to find some albums for this year, so I looked through the list and these are the ones I bought.

Squeeze – East Side Story – Super band.

Stray Cats – Stray Cats – Love roackabilly

Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret – It has Tainted Love.  A little bit ghey, but acceptable for a Friday.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark – Architecture & Morality – Love “Joan of Arc”, superb and talented group this.

10cc – Ten Out of 10 – Not their best in my view, but awesome band.

Kris Kristofferson – To the Bone – I can listen to Kris all day long.  Not pop music as such.  This one is good as there are a few songs where Jerry Lee is duetting.

Overall, I think one of the worst years to date, with just those few exceptions above.


As you know I like to review your “tunes” that you post.

*Note. Anyone scoring a Morrissey (lowest score possible) will be reported and blocked.

Hat tips to:

https://www.albumoftheyear.org/ratings/8-all-music-highest-rated/1981/1 these give the top 100 selling charts for each year.

http://www.everyhit.com/chart1.html   these give the top 10 songs for each year.

https://www.youtube.com/  you know them.

Next Time: 1982.  Will it get better?  Forecast: (Again, not really)

Featured image: “Duran Duran at the Apollo – New York City” by Andreas Komodromos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

© Phil the ex test manager 2021