A History of Pop Music – Albums 1983

Featured Album:

UB40 – Labour of Love

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 1983, a most pleasant year, did 6 weeks in Cyprus on a jolly, spent a week out in the field acting as enemy for everyone else, then pretty much 5 weeks off, site seeing and skiing in the Trudos mountains mainly.  Happy days.  No 1 daughter came along, so 3 now.  Really started feeling the pinch money wise.  Expensive business bringing kids up!

Maggie had a landslide win over that other tramp, Michael Foot.  I bought a VHS recorder, what a revolution that was.  The first film I rented from the man who came round with a van was Porkies. Quality was not that great; I was not convinced at the time it was a proper one, most likely a pirate.  Anyway, I watched it last night, still as funny as ever.

This is going to be a controversial choice due to their politics, and they are no better now than they were then. However, like many in the music and acting profession, they have to be union members., maybe one day that will go away.

The album consists of cover versions of ten of the group’s favourite songs by reggae artists from the period 1969 to 1972.

The group were apparently unaware during recording that the most famous track on the record had not originally been a reggae song. Ali Campbell said, “Nobody was as shocked as we were to find out that Neil Diamond wrote ‘Red Red Wine.

Track listing

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
1. “Cherry Oh Baby” Eric Donaldson Eric Donaldson 3:18
2. “Keep on Moving” Lee “Scratch” PerryCurtis Mayfield The Impressions; modelled after the reggae cover by The Wailers 4:37
3. Please Don’t Make Me Cry Winston Tucker Winston Tucker 3:26
4. “Sweet Sensation” Leslie Kong The Melodians 3:42
5. “Johnny Too Bad” Roy Beckford, Winston “Shadow” Bailey, Delroy Wilson, Derrick Crooks The Slickers 4:57
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
6. Red Red Wine Neil Diamond Neil Diamond; modelled after the reggae cover by Tony Tribe 5:21
7. “Guilty” Isaac Hayes Tiger 3:16
8. “She Caught the Train” Joe Monsano Ray Martell 3:17
9. “Version Girl” Boy Friday Boy Friday 3:27
10. Many Rivers to Cross Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 4:31



·         James Brown – drums, syncussion

·         Ali Campbell – vocals, guitar

·         Robin Campbell – guitar, vocals, lead vocals on “Sweet Sensation”

·         Earl Falconer – bass

·         Norman Hassan – percussion, vocals, lead vocals on “Johnny Too Bad” and “Guilty”

·         Brian Travers – saxophones

·         Michael Virtue – keyboards

·         Astro – toasting, rhyming, percussion

More writings on this album here: Labour of Love

So, on we go with 1983:

The top 10 sellers for 1983 are below, not the best of years, but it will get a little better shortly.

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

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Albums of 1983
   1 Michael Jackson Thriller
   2 David Bowie Let’s Dance
   3 Culture Club Colour By Numbers
   4 Paul Young No Parlez
   5 Spandau Ballet 1
   6 Wham! Fantastic
   7 Men At Work Business As Usual
   8 The Police Synchronicity
   9 Genesis Genesis
   10 The Eurythmics Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

Michael Jackson was playing all the time on the radio and telly.  Bowie with Let’s Dance could easily be the featured album, but I have already had him.  Liked Paul Young a lot, same as Spandau, Men at Work was good, but only that one track. Never got the Police that much, quite listenable, but I found them boring.  Eurythmics always a favourite of mine with that wonderful voice from Annie.  Not my fault Wham and Genesis happened to be n the top 10 sellers.

Struggling again to find some albums for the year, however, those I found I like:

Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain – A truly superb album.

Madonna – Madonna – Holiday anyone?

REM – Murmur – Some good tracks on this.

Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money – I think I shall always love disco, even though my dancing days are over due to severe embarrassment.

Elton John – Too Low for Zero – He’s still standing.

Bananarama – Deep Sea Skiving – I like them.

UB40 – Labour of Love

Culture Club – Colour by Numbers – I cannot help it.  Never liked him as a person or persona but the music was good.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Album – The anthemic “I love Rock ‘n’ Roll, superb.

Again, I really could not find many albums I rated for the year.


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: 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: 1984.  Will it get better?  Forecast: (A tiny bit)

Featured image: Egghead06, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the ex test manager 2021