The runaway success of Beastie Boys’ 1986 debut album Licensed To Ill marked the point at which rap and hip-hop truly went overground, becoming a mainstream phenomenon for the very first time. Along with Run D.M.C.’s similarly classic Raising Hell just a few months previously, it represented a watershed moment for the genre, finding a home on MTV when previously it was confined to the underground and those in the
New Order had little left to prove with ‘Brotherhood’, but their fourth album shows that their songwriting was getting sharper all the time.
by Ed Biggs Although they hailed from the comparatively affluent neighbourhood of Hollis in Queens, the trio Run-D.M.C., consisting of rappers Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and music Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell were arguably the most respected and authentic voices back in the mid-1980s of the then-embryonic genre now known as hip-hop.
by Ed Biggs By 1986, nearly three years of quality singles and equally great albums and compilations had established The Smiths as one of the most consistently brilliant and distinctive guitar bands of the eighties, but they had yet to make an undisputed masterpiece – one of those instant, all-time classics that cement an artist’s place in pop history. 1984’s sepia-tinged, self-titled debut had established their trademark sound – jangly guitar
by Ed Biggs Behind the production desk, Steve Albini is one of the most celebrated creative forces in alternative music, with a reputation for helping craft music as harsh and uncompromising as his own attitudes towards what he regards as bullshit, or too mainstream. As a man who has repeatedly turned down major labels and artists unless he shares some kind of artistic simpatico with them, Nirvana’s In Utero and PJ
by Ed Biggs Although it quickly earned itself a reputation as being one of the most outrageously loud guitar debuts in pop history, it’s impossible to understand the last 30 years of British rock without an appreciation of Psychocandy, the first album by The Jesus & Mary Chain. Before, ‘noise’ wasn’t really a distinct concept in pop music, simply a function of the volume at which guitars were played.
by Ed Biggs These kinds of stories just don’t happen anymore. The universal acclaim and critical attention given to their previous album Let It Be the year before allowed The Replacements, one of the most volatile, unpredictable and legendarily drunk bands in American history, to make the step up to the big time in 1985. Just like their cross-town Minneapolis rivals Hüsker Dü, they left their indie label Twin/Tone and signed
by Ed Biggs If you were to compile and average out all of those articles that you see from time to time that profess to list the greatest records ever, it’s quite possible that Kate Bush’s fifth album Hounds Of Love would end up as the highest-ranking record by a British female solo artist. As well as containing some of Bush’s most memorable and highest-charting singles, it very quickly came to
by Ed Biggs After beginning life after Joy Division with a slightly shaky start in the form of Movement (1981), an understandably downcast and introverted record, New Order began to spread their wings and capture the public’s imagination with 1983’s Power, Corruption & Lies, which is one of those peculiar records that is not only admired in spite of its flaws, but precisely because of them.
by Ed Biggs If Rough Trade had got their act together sooner, The Smiths’ chart positions might have reflected the true extent of their popularity. If you didn’t know anything about them and looked at the commercial performances of their singles and albums, you’d never guess that it was the body of work by the most significant British guitar act arguably since The Beatles. Just two of their 18 singles