‘Brassneck’ by The Wedding Present
‘I Wanna Be Adored’ by The Stone Roses
‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ by Pixies*
And what song have I chosen to represent the final year of the 1980s? Jive sodding Bunny’s ‘Swing the Mood’. That’s what.
Allow me to explain.
In 1995, a song was released which, I think it’s fair to say, permanently changed my life. That one song is responsible for my obsession with music. It helped me work out the person I was and wanted to be. It opened my eyes to a colourful world of popular culture which seemed to be a million miles away from everything I’d known before.
But that life re-arranging event was six years away from the 365-day period under discussion today.
In 1989, I had a similar – if not so seismic – musical experience through hearing Jive Bunny’s ‘Swing the Mood’. For those fortunate enough to have avoided the phenomenon (I’m avoiding it even as I type by listening to Nirvana’s Bleach), Jive Bunny were an outfit who produced medleys of swing and early rock ‘n’ roll hits against a regular beat.
Listening back to it now, it seems very amateurish compared with the sorts of mash-up mixes we’re used to courtesy of The Avalanches or Soulwax’s 2 Many DJs exploits. But back then, it seemed simply brilliant to my nine-year-old ears.
Round about this time, my parents would have been playing Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Hooked on Classics which sought to create mega-mixes of classical err…classics (Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Sibelius’ Karelia Suite all mixed up in a bowl of strings, woodwinds and brass).
Jive Bunny sought to do the same thing (albeit with a lot less skill); only where Clark & the RPO were playing around with Mozart, Bizet and Grieg, Jive Bunny were doing it with the likes of The Everly Brothers, Bill Haley and his Comets and Little Richard.
But what I loved about ‘Swing the Mood’ was the opening part: Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood’. This was responsible for a love affair with his music that last pretty much until I had that next (and rather cooler) musical epiphany in 1995.
From ‘Swing the Mood’, it was but a short step to discovering the rest of Miller’s swinging catalogue of ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo’, ‘Pennsylvania 6-500’ and ‘Tuxedo Junction’.
I rarely listen to any of this stuff these days. But I found ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo’ on Youtube a year or so ago and my toddler daughter loved it. So did I. Much better, on reflection, than that Jive Bunny nonsense.