The tabloids had a new obsession – gender benders. Boy George was both hero and villain with his ethnic frocks, quick wit and easy appropriation of reggae.
The synthetic glitz of Futurism gave way to the funkier glitz of Wham who sung about living the high-life on the dole and struck a chord with the new breed of casuals. Any chance of a revolution was scuppered. UB40 kept it political with their defiant ‘If It Happens Again I’m Leaving’ about the prospect of another Tory election victory. Sadly it did happen again. Even sadder, UB40 didn’t leave and continued to put the cause of reggae back years.
Gone: Marilyn. Perhaps hoping for some fame and fortune on the back of old chum Boy George’s success. Even the taste-free pop-buying public wasn’t so stupid as to fall for the chancing clothes horse. He’s probably back checking coats again.
Album of the year: New Order: ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’
Single of the year: This Mortal Coil: ‘Song To The Siren’
Band/artist of the year: Michael Jackson
1983 belonged to: Wham! The zenith of hollow escapism.
Key event of the year: The first ever ‘Now! That’s What I Call Music’ album was released, signaling the start of a decade of chart dominance until compilations were excluded. And so began the slow death of the singles chart. Michael Jackson was born as a global megastar. ‘Thriller’ slowly but surely became the biggest album of all time and the descent into madness began. David Bowie released his last decent album -.
Signs of a musical revival became apparent with the emergence of hip hop as a major force. Grandmaster and Melle Mel hit the charts with ‘White Lines’ and Run DMC released the first hip hop album. Four slightly dour lads from Manchester arrived touting a poetic alternative to superficial pop. Even the name The Smiths was intended as a slap in the face.