1986

Hurrah! It was the year indie hit back....

Hurrah! It was the year indie hit back. NME‘s own ‘C-86’ compilation collected the new wave of lo-fi pop kittens, inspired by the success of The Smiths and classic punk bands like The Buzzcocks. Among their ranks was a fledgling Primal Scream. They were feted by an underground fanzine network concerned as much with recipes for chocolate picnic cake as punk rock. For their own part, The Smiths released ‘The Queen Is Dead’, their masterpiece.

Gone: New Age Music. Genetically engineered muzak for yuppie dinner parties. Floaty, pastoral, vaguely cosmic and utterly evil. Still, who remembers Michael Hedges and Kitaro now, eh?

Album of the year: The Smiths: ‘The Queen Is Dead’

Single of the year: The Shop Assistants: ‘Safety Net’

Artist of the year: Madonna

1986 belonged to: The new wave of guitar pop.

Event of the year: The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine explodes. As if the threat of nuclear war wasn’t depressing enough. Back in the real world, Madonna just got better, releasing ‘True Blue’, although rather depressingly, the biggest album of the year was Paul Simon‘s ‘Gracelands’, recorded in Apartheid South Africa. Run DMC, meanwhile, changed music forever when they teamed up with hoary old rockers Aerosmith for ‘Walk This Way’. So now you know who to blame for Limp Bizkit.

A-ha finally toppled Duran Duran from their teen idol perch, while grown ups rather fell for Bon Jovi. So, it wasn’t all good news.

In one last attempt to rid the world of Margaret Thatcher, Billy Bragg instigated Red Wedge, a collection of Labour-inclined pop people that included The Communards, Morrissey and Paul Weller. Bizarrely, it didn’t do the trick.