15CLASSICEARLYEIGHTIESYNTHPOPALBUMS

1. GARY NUMAN – TELEKON (BEGGARS BANQUET) 1980


The album was the end of Gary Numan’s Machine Music Trilogy this was the follow-up to The Pleasure Principle which had spawned classics such as the single “Cars” and the album track “Metal” . This album was colder darker and but took the sound further than before. Telekon spawned there singles I Die You Die, We Are Glass & This Wreckage in the UK. Telekon became Gay Numan’s third UK No.1 album. Stand out album tracks apart from the singles already on it were “I Dream of Wires”, “I’m An Agent”, “The Joy Circuit”, “Sleep by Windows”. What makes Telekon so wonderful is the perfect combination of powerful analogue Synthesizers, chopping Guitar riffs and classical Strings, which all blended perfectly to create a timeless masterpiece.

2. JOHN FOXX – METAMATIC (VIRGIN) 1980

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John Foxx had been the Singer of The Band Ultravox! Who had delivered the brilliant “Systems of Romance” album in 1978. Metamatic was far more experimental and purely electronic in focus. Album tracks like “The Plaza”, “New Kind Of Man” and “Touch and Go” capture this. The Metamatic Period gave rise to the Singles “Underpass”, “20th Century”, “Burning Car” & “Miles Away”. Underpass became a Top 40 Hit along with Burning Car in the UK, both songs were far before their time.

3. VISAGE – VISAGE (POLYDOR) 1980

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Visage was the Brainchild of Soho DJ Rusty Egan who was also a Drummer for The Skids and a member of The Rich Kids. From the Club Scene Rusty took the best elements and put it all into an Album, and captured an entire new Movement. He brought in Midge Ure (Ultravox), Billy Curry (Ultravox) and the Magazine Guitarist John McGeoch. Rusty then added a front man Steve Strange, who was the face of emerging New Romantic Club Scene known as the Blitz Kidz. Visage the Album spawned the singles “Tar”, “Mind of a Toy, “Visage” and the huge International hit “Fade to Grey”. This was the first New Romantic album the world had heard or seen.

4. ULTRAVOX – VIENNA (CHRYSALIS) 1980


With the New Singer Midge Ure (Rich Kids/Visage) at the helm and Billy Currie with his Arp Odyssey this Band could do no wrong. Ultravox Vienna was the first Ultravox album after John Foxx’s departure for a Solo Career. Stand out tracks on this album are “New Europeans”, “Mr X” and the instrumental “Astradyne”. The singles were “Passing Strangers”, “Sleepwalk”, “We All Stood Still” and “Vienna”. Vienna became a huge hit and broke Ultravox to a world stage in 1980.

5. OMD – ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK (DINDISK) 1980

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This was a self-Produced and Recorded Debut Album, from the Liverpool Duo Andy McCluskey & Paul Humphreys. They did not have a huge Recording Budget so built their own home recording studio, and due to their naivety, they had one of the most expensive Record Covers ever printed. Stand out Album tracks from this album are The Messerschmidt Twins, Julia’s Song, Bunker Soldiers. The album spawned some classic singles for OMD such as “Electricity”, “Messages”, and “Red Frame/White Light”.

6. HEAVEN 17 – PENTHOUSE AND PAVEMENT (VIRGIN) 1981

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Former members of The Human League Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh finally found a new Vocalist called Glen Gregory. He was the ideal partner who could take their bleak vision of the sounds of industrial decline in Sheffield to a World Stage. Penthouse and Pavement was partly an Electro Funk album on one side of the LP, and the other a dark Electropop album. Standout album tracks from this album include “Lets Go Make a Bomb” a song for the Apocalypse and a “Song with No Name”. Singles from the Penthouse and Pavement album were: “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”, “Play to Win”, “At the Height of the Fighting” and “I’m Your Money”. Heaven 17 made there mark with this album and a very bold and unique one.

7. THE HUMAN LEAGUE – DARE (VIRGIN) 1981

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Dare was the first commercial Human League Album, and a genre defining Synthpop Album. The sound was very well crafted but minimal in a way which perfectly worked. It boasted the following singles: “Don’t You Want Me”, “The Sound Of The Crowd”, “Love Action (I Believe In Love)”, “Open Your Heart, Boys & Girls”, and “The Things That Dreams Are Made Of”. Dare was an international success for The Human League and one of the first Synthpop albums with mainstream appeal.

8. DEPECHE MODE – SPEAK AND SPELL (MUTE) 1981

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This was Depeche Modes début Synthpop Album. Depeche Mode got a lot of stick from the Music Press similar to Gary Numan. The established Music Press in Britain, was very hostile to Electronic Music at the time. Vince Clarke really made this an accessible first album with sing along Melodies. Stand out album tracks on Speak and Spell are “Tora, Tora, Tora”, “Puppets” and “Any Second Now”. The Speak and Spell album period spawned the following singles: “Dreaming of Me”, “New life”, “Just Can’t Get Enough”.

9. SOFT CELL – NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET (SOME BIZARRE) 1981

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This duo added Northern Soul to sleazy Synthpop for their début Album. Marc Almond and Dave Ball brought the less glamorous side of life through their music to the mainstream. The sound of sex on synthesizer proved to be a success. Stand out Album tracks were: “Chips on My Shoulder”, “Entertain Me” and the classic anthem “Sex Dwarf”. The album spawned several hits including the Gloria Jones cover “Tainted Love”. “Bedsitter” and the timeless ballad “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”

10. CHRIS & COSEY – HEARTBEAT (ROUGHTRADE) 1981

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Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti were former members of the pioneering Industrial Band Throbbing Gristle. Heartbeat is a classic progressive experimental album. Stand out tracks are “Put Yourself in Los Angeles”, “Useless Information” and “Just like You” and “Heartbeat”. Chris & Cosey were heavily over looked by the mainstream, but Heartbeat was an album years ahead of its time. The album spawned no singles but was a testament to the future.

11. BILL NELSON – THE LOVE THAT WHIRLS (MERCURY) 1982

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Bill Nelson was already an established Act in the 1970’s with his band Be Bop Deluxe. Nelson dropped his Guitar for the Synthesizer and produced quite a remarkable album. Stand out tracks from this album were “Empire of the Senses”, “Hope for the Heartbeat”, “October Man”. The album spawned the singles “Eros Arriving” and the classic “Flaming Desire”.

12. ZAINE GRIFF – FIGURES (POLYDOR) 1982

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Zaine Griff was a train performer and powerfull Vocalist. Figures was Zaine Griff’s second album. Even though released in 1982, the album could of have been released in 1985. The legendary producer Hans Zimmer produced Figures. Stand out album tracks on Figures include “The Vanishing Men”, “The Stranger”, “Passionate Reply” (Ultravox Cover), “Hot” and “Fahrenheit 451”. There were two singles released of the album; “Figures” and “Flowers” (Featuring Kate Bush).

13. BLANCMANGE – HAPPY FAMILIES (LONDON RECORDS) 1982

Happy Families
Blancmange were one of the most modest Synthpop Bands of the Eighties. Blancmange started of with a bang. The stand out song on this album is “I’ve Seen the World”. “Living on a Ceiling”, the first single became an International Hit. Other singles of this album were “Waves”, “Feel Me” and “Gods Kitchen”.

14. YAZOO – UPSTAIRS AT ERICS (MUTE) 1982

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Vince Clarke previously the Keyboardist and Programmer of Depeche Mode teamed up with Alison Moyet to record a Synthpop Album. Alison’s powerful Soul vocals gave birth to something quite amazing. Classic album tracks include “Goodbye 70’s”,“ Tuesday”, “Situation”. Prior to the albums, release “Only You” and “Don’t Go” the Singles both became Top 10 hits for Yazoo in the UK.

15. TALK TALK ‎– THE PARTY’S OVER (EMI) 1982

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The debut Talk Talk album stand out tracks are “Hate”, “It’s so Serious” and “Another Word”. Singles from this album were the hits “Mirror Man”, “Talk Talk” and “Today”. Mark Hollis’s vocals complimented the powerful chorus’s and sing along melodies. The Party’s Over was one of the strongest debut albums for a Band, in the early eighties.