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Matt Backer, a very British American.

80sHog : October 22, 2013 10:10 pm : Headline, Hog's 80s Blog

It was a great privilege that I recently got to chat with highly respected guitarist, singer songwriter Matt Backer. His list of recording credits includes Visage, Elton John, Swing Out Sister, Ton Hadley and Sinead O’Connor. Matt very kindly made himself available after rehearsals and just before a very busy schedule which included a video shoot for a documentary with Julian Lennon and a trip to Singapore to perform with Bananarama and Belinda Carlisle.

Matt Backer 1

The festival season is a busy time for Matt who has been performing with ABC, including a recent gig at Rochester Castle, then taking a well deserved Holiday in August after 80′s Rewind. I asked Matt if he was surprised at the level of interest in 80′s music, “It’s old fashioned and full of anthems, with honest performers” he mentioned I went on to ask if it was the loyal fan base of “a certain age” that made up most audiences. “The age range is getting wider, we thought that all the kids would go to see Ed Sheeran on another stage but many came along to see us” Matt has recorded and performed live with some of the biggest names in Rock and Pop, I asked if there were any artists with which he would like to have worked with given the opportunity. “David Bowie” was the first name on the list which included Steely Dan, Little Feet and the late great Miles Davis.

Matt Backer 2

Matt was born in New Orleans and has settled into the British way of life.. ” I have a British Wife, British Kids and a British Mortgage” he exclaimed although he does visit his native America as often as possible.  I have always said that social media of today has given us access to those that we would not have had a hope in speaking to in the 80′s. It is artists like Matt, that make themselves available, that keep the interest in the 80′s very much alive. Matt also assured us that ABC, Tony Hadley and Co will be performing as long as they are able to do so… roll on  80′s Rewind 2014.

A Massive thanks to Matt for taking the time to speak to me.

We both concluded that Live Performances are such an important part of Music…

You can catch Matt at two of his own gigs at the following venues

25th October – The Colour House Theatre London SW 19

13th November – Dublin Castle in Camden, London

Photographs courtesy of Six Degrees Entertainment

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A Ton of 80′s Goodness

80sHog : October 19, 2013 11:56 pm : Hog's 80s Blog

Here are the next 50 of those 80′s tracks to listen to before you die taking up to a ton of great tracks. Please feel free to comment. Please don’t forget that these great tracks are not in any order of preference.

51.  Song for Whoever – The Beautiful South (1989)

52.  Thriller – Michael Jackson (1983)

53.  The Lost Weekend – Lloyd Cole and The Commotions (1985)

54.  A New England – Kirsty MacColl (1984)

55.  Too Shy – Kajagogoo (1983)

56.  That’s Entertainment – The Jam (1981)

57.  Rip It Up – Orange Juice (1983)

58.  Secret Garden – T’Pau (1988)

T'pausecretgardensingle - Courtesy Wikipedia

59.  True – Spandau Ballet (1983)

60.  If I Was – Midge Ure (1985)

61.  Runaway Boys – Stray Cats (1980)

62.  Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac (1987)

63.  Fast Car – Tracy Chapman (1988)

64.  Dream Kitchen – Frazier Chorus (1988)

65.  Need You Tonight – INXS (1987)

66.  Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics (1984)

67.  Ghost Town – The Specials (1981)

The_Specials-Ghost_Town-UK_single - Couresy Wikipedia

68.  Victims – Culture Club (1983)

69.  Pretty in Pink – The Psychedelic Furs (1981)

70.  Blue Monday – New Order (1983)

71.  E=MC2 – Big Audio Dynamite (1985)

72.  The Day Before You Came – Blancmange (1984)

73.  Run To The Hills – Iron Maiden (1982)

74. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N Roses (1988)

75. The Race – Yello (1988)

76. You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC (1980)

77. Senses Working Overtime – XTC  (1982)

78. Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes (1983)

Owner45 - Courtesy Wikipedia

79. Master Blaster (Jammin’) – Stevie Wonder (1980)

80. Eternal Flame – The Bangles (1989)

81. Don’t Look Any Further – Dennis Edwards (1984)

82. Games Without Frontiers – Peter Gabriel (1980)

Games_Without_Frontiers - Courtesy Wikipedia

83. Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes (1981)

84. The Other Side of Love – Yazoo (1982)

85. Echo Beach – Martha and The Muffins (1980)

86. The Whole of The Moon – The Waterboys (1985)

87. Reward – The Teardrop Explodes (1981)

88. Don’t Dream it’s Over – Crowded House (1986)

89. My Favourite Waste of Time – Owen Paul (1986)

90. Do You Feel My Love – Eddy Grant (1980)

91. Big Area – Then Jericho (1989)

92. There She Goes – The La’s (1989)

93. Cars (E Reg Model) – Gary Numan (1987)

94. The Word Girl – Scritti Politti (1985)

95. The Politics of Dancing – Re-Flex (1984)

96. Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder (1984)

97. One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head (1984)

Murray_head-one_night_in_bangkok_s.jpeg - Courtesy Wikipedia

98. It’s Raining Again – Supertramp (1982)

99. Everyday I Write The Book – Elvis Costello (1983)

100. The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby and The Range


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The first of those must listen to 80′s Tracks

80sHog : September 12, 2013 10:42 pm : Hog's 80s Blog

Those that follow us on Twitter may have noticed that we are sharing, what we believe to be, (in our humble opinion) the 1001 80′s tracks to listen to before you die. They are in no particular order as we are of the opinion they all deserve to have a fair hearing. Here we go then on a journey into 80′s Greatness with the first (not top) 50 of 1001.

Of course we appreciate any comments


1. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division (1980)

2. 1999 – Prince (1982)

3. Hands to Heaven – Breathe (1987)

4. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths (1984)

Heavenknowssmiths - Courtesy Wikipedia

5. Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie (1980)

6. Atomic – Blondie (1980)

7. Beds are Burning – Midnight Oil (1987)

8. Dog Eat Dog – Adam and The Ants (1980)

9. Close To Me – The Cure (1985)

10. Save a Prayer – Duran Duran (1982)

Save_A_Prayer -Courtesy Wikipedia

11. Wonderful Life – Black (1986)

12. Mary’s Prayer – Danny Wilson (1988)

13. Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode (1984)

14. Life in a Northern Town – The Dream Academy (1985)

15. Sonic Boom Boy – Westworld (1987)

16. Vienna – Ultravox (1981)

Ultravox-Vienna_single - Courtesy Wikipedia

17. Looking for Linda – Hue and Cry (1989)

18. Don’t Stand So Close to Me – The Police (1980)

19. Father Figure – George Michael (1988)

Father_Figure - Courtesy Wikipedia

20. O Superman – Laurie Anderson (1981)

21. Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)

22. Fade to Grey – Visage (1980)

23. Promised You A Miracle – Simple Minds (1982)

24. 19 – Paul Hardcastle (1985)

19_single - Courtesy Wikipedia

25. Live It Up – Mental as Anything (1987)

26. Will You – Hazel O’Connor (1981)

27. Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune) – It’s Immaterial (1986)

28. Cloudbusting – Kate Bush (1985)

Cloudbusting - Courtesy Wikipedia

29. Left to My Own Devices – Pet Shop Boys (1988)

30. Clouds Across The Moon – RAH Band (1985)

31. Golden Brown – The Stranglers (1982)

32. Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones (1981)

33. It Must Be Love – Madness (1981)

34. With or Without You – U2 (1987)

35. Kayleigh – Marillion (1985)

36. (I Just) Died In Your Arms – Cutting Crew (1986)

37. Dance Hall Days – Wang Chung (1984)

DanceHallDays_cover - Courtesy Wikipedia

38. Sinful – Pete Wylie (1986)

39. Our Lips are Sealed – Fun Boy Three (1983)

40. You’ll Always Find Me in The Kitchen at Parties – Jona Lewie (1980)

41. I Found Lovin’ – Fat Back Band (1984,87)

42. You Take Me Up – Thompson Twins (1984)

43. You’re History – Shakespears Sister (1989)

44. Orange Crush – R.E.M. (1989)

R.E.M._-_Orange_Crush - Courtesy Wikipedia

45. Things Can Only Get Better – Howard Jones (1985)

46. I’m Not The Man I Used To Be – Fine Young Cannibals (1989)

47. The First Picture Of You – The Lotus Eaters (1983)

48. I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock of Seagulls (1982)

I_Ran_-_A_Flock_of_Seagulls - Courtesy Wikipedia

49. Christian – China Crisis (1982)

50. Something About You – Level 42 (1985)




Skinhead, Rocker, Mod or Punk?

80sHog : July 29, 2013 10:09 pm : Hog's 80s Blog

As I have matured (grown old) it has become easier to accept the wide range of music available on our diverse planet. The school days of scoffing at the menu of tunes enjoyed by others have long since disappeared down Acceptance Lane, which is a real shame. Mods,Rockers, Punks, Goths, Skinheads, Rockabillys  and New Romantics were part of everyday life in the 80′s, adding colour, noise and sometimes conflict into our book browsing years of learning. The legends that were sent home from school for wearing Dr Martens onto the hallowed grounds or even those punished for daring to wear earrings (I went to an all boys Grammar and believe me that was groundbreaking stuff) were held in high regard. Perhaps the greatest show of individuality was at one School PrizeGiving evening, which of course required full uniform, best behavior and certainly no farting. Through the sea of black blazers and straight (sensible length) ties walked someone straight out of Magnum PI,  a Hawaiian shirt to die for, yellow mixed with black, attire requiring a volume  button to soften the impact. To top it off the guy was wearing sunglasses, what a legend.

The Music of the 80′s (particularly the early years) allowed those individuals, that felt the need to do so, to express themselves. The groups mentioned previously (Rockers, Mods etc) were spawned from the affiliation to a particular style of music. I’m not saying that everyone took this on board and dressed accordingly, but the option was there. It allowed the most timid to be part of a “gang” if they wanted to  be. Some would attach themselves to certain groups because their friends were involved and weren’t really interested in music at all.  As for Hawaiian shirt boy, his drive came from the disquiet felt by school leavers in the early 80′s, the anarchistic late 70′s (where The Punk movement took hold) giving the youth of the next decade a torch to carry, encouraging them to express themselves and fight “the system”

Many however didn’t feel the need to become part of a gang and just enjoyed the music of the time, I fell into that category until I discovered RUSH. I could then be seen regularly wearing a denim jacket covered in patches carrying the name of my favourite band.

As time dragged its heels towards the last day of school, the big wide world beckoned, many would soon discover that having little or no hair did for their job prospects what Maggie Thatcher did for the Coal Miners. Those that had rebelled in the later years of their education would need to start towing the line, gainful employment was hard to find. We still had our music though but even this was about to change. Those that were shaking clenched fists in the air promising anarchy, were now smartly dressed City workers drinking fancy lager and dancing to WHAM! The 80′s music scene changed with the political tide and the Thatcher years encouraged everyone to make money while they could.

The 80′s changed us all, let us know how the early part of the decade influenced you. Please leave a comment.



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How did we ever cope?

80sHog : July 4, 2013 12:48 am : Hog's 80s Blog

I have often thought about the great times of the innocent 80′s years and pondered on how we ever coped without the trappings of modern life that are available today.

For starters commuting was much quieter, not filled with the ramblings of those on their mobile phones boasting about the previous evenings exploits, the disgruntled girl explaining to her best friend (often loudly while trying to hold back tears) on how her boyfriend dumped her or shagged her sister. The Top 5 lines spoken into a mobile device on a packed train, that really wind me up (in reverse order) are:

” I’m on the train love, put the tea on I’ll be home in 30 minutes”

” I’m in the next carriage.”

“My boss is a tosser.” (Tell him or her to their face you coward)

“Hello, Hello!!! Yes, I’m just going through a tunnel (voice getting louder) Hello!!! Hello!!!”

“Of course I love you, (blows kiss down the phone)”

Let’s face it,  however you choose to travel these days, bus, train, car, boat or by foot you can’t escape these individuals. At least on most flights the use of mobiles is banned, I wish I could fly into town.


Arranging a night out with friends  in the 80′s normally took one conversation, today it seems to take an invite in triplicate, facebook, twitter and a text message. Modern communication also makes it easy to turn up late or not at all to these thrice arranged events. One timely text message and your excuse can be relayed without the need for uncomfortable face to face fibs. Such actions as a late show in the 80′s would have meant a forfeit in the form of a very expensive round of drinks  and/or picking up the tab for the taxi home. Not turning up would have been resolved by a simple phone call the next day, this call would also be the forum for negotiation re the pending forfeit. A no show today and you almost certainly will be named and shamed on hundreds (maybe thousands) of mobile devices and laptops covering a vast area, even people who don’t give two hoots and have never met you will know. It could result in plenty of blocking and unfollowing, not to mention being the subject of a loud, unwanted phone conversation on a train.


Sat Nav – we used a map… enough said.

C64c_system - Courtesy Wikipedia


Remember the days of when leaving the workplace, meant leaving the workplace?  Imagine having to take a Commodore 64 (pictured above) from the office, onto to the train and having to reply to emails, write you next presentation or just do anything really…… it just didn’t happen. Thankfully in the 80′s that annoying beast, laptop man, just didn’t exist. Leave your work at work, always the best way or of course FINISH BEFORE YOU LEAVE.

The Commodore 64 became the biggest selling Computer model of all time, selling more than 17 million units but didn’t have the memory to store one modern day digital photo. (I love that 80′s fact)


We may not have had mobile phones in the 80′s but for a while we had a form of communication that we thought was just the best thing ever…. C.B. Radio. On reflection it was a forum for, shall we say, a very varied cross section of our society.  As far as I remember there was a very specific code of practice and C.B. speak was full of numbers and shortened words, a little like the text culture of today that didn’t quite cut it on the geographical coverage front. It was fun at the time and I’m trying desperately trying to remember some of the amusing “handles” (C.B. nicknames) What I do remember is the sad exchanging of calling cards when you were “eyeballed” by another regular visitor to the C.B. circus.


To bring part 1 of my look at “80′s life, without the digital age” to a conclusion I must mention that I hold no grudge against progress and change for good. Mobile phones have saved many lives and helped oil the wheels of commerce. On the flip side we seem to have lost the art of verbal communication, the routine shortening of words sent via text has crept like a specter into the spoken word. I shudder when I hear “lol”, “omg” or “wtf”.


The Hog







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