Dean Owen

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Mixed Tape

Mixed TapeDean's Mixed Tape

Jenny, Natalie, Ashley

I was a teenager once. And like you guys, music was an essential part of my growing up. Back then we’d listen to the radio, be sure to watch the weekly episode of Top of the Pops, and guard our precious vinyl collection with tenderness. We’d also compile a mixed tape by manually recording our favourite songs as they played on the radio. I guess you call them playlists these days. It’s all quite easy now to create your playlists with a thing called a mouse. But in the eighties we had bulky radio cassette recorders and it was all rather clumsy. We’d often make a mixed tape of about 10 songs or so, and give it to our crush as a birthday present. I remember making a mixed tape for a young Scottish lass with flaming red hair called Lee Skara Baxter. That was way before I met your mom. 

With this post I’d like to recreate the experience and give you a virtual mixed tape. These are songs that we raved over. I guess it would quite similar to the tape I made thirty plus years back.

If you feel so inclined, create a playlist with these songs … the songs your father loved in his youth.

Track 1 – 99 Red Balloons, Nena. This German pop singer was little known in England until she decided to do one of her German hits, “99 Luftballons” in English. It soon topped the UK charts and this young German lass with infamously famous hairy armpits was propelled to international fame and glory. Not too sure what happened to her.

Track 2 – Come on Eileen, Dexys Midnight Runners, a brilliant song with a celtic flavour that topped our charts beating out Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”.

Track 3 – Another Brick in the Wall, Pink Floyd. Having spent my teenage years in what we thought back then was an oppressive UK public school system, this song with it’s “We don’t need no education” struck a chord in our school as we plotted anarchism to the tune of our favourite comedy show, The Young Ones. It would be years before we understood that those were the best days of our lives….

Track 4 – Take on Me by a-ha. The video may look dated, but this was mindblowing stuff back then and what a great tune from our European brethren.

Track 5 – Walk Like an Egyptian, The Bangles. Written by music producer Liam Sternberg and originally offered to Toni Basil who turned it down, this song topped the US charts for four weeks. Typical of the politically correct era in which we now live, this song was included in a BBC list of “records to be avoided” during the Gulf War. Great song, and we all loved the eyes! Incidently The Bangles did another song that you may know, Eternal Flame, that was written by Billy Steinberg, a music producer whom, Jenny and Natalie, your mother and I hosted on a visit to Tokyo in the 90’s. He gave us a mixed tape of many of his and Tom Kelly’s biggest hits, which included Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”.

Track 6 – Smalltown Boy, Bronski Beat. Individualism was born in the 1980’s. The era allowed for unassuming characters who would typically be the brunt of bullying at school for being gay to achieve fame and riches. Great beat and incredible vocals.

Track 7 – Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel. Originally the front man for the band Genesis, he hit it big again after going solo with this song. Another mindblowing video of the time.

Track 8 – Red Red Wine, UB40. One of the odd occasions where the cover version is better than the original, UB40 turned a very mediocre Neil Diamond song into a chart topper by adding a reggae vibe.

Track 9 – Don’t You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds. Theme tune for the 1980’s cult movie, The Breakfast Club.

Track 10 – Every Breath You Take, The Police. Well what can I say? While I’m sick of listening to Hotel California, this song has stood the test of time. This was Sting at his best and before he got all Balified new-age.

Track 11 – The Power of Love, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Power lyrics, power song from a Liverpudlian band of misfits.

Track 12 – Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders. Very often the groups that got most playtime in my nifty little runabout Renault 5 back then were Prince and The Pretenders.

I was your age once.


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🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #15

Awesome playlist Dean San I knew half the tracks. The songs Red red wine, Radio star, Take on me and Police were played at every almost every Christmas dance I went to with my Mom and Dad. After many years I went for the dance last Christmas and the band played The Police for one of the slow dance numbers. It's great to bring out these memories. I remember how people jumped off their seats for the red red wine song. Classics to be treasured. Adding the new ones to my playlist 🤗🤗🤗

Dean Owen

4 years ago #14

I loved that movie. Have the CD in my car. What a power voice that big guy had....

Dean Owen

4 years ago #13

My youngest daughter is also 5. Amazing how well they adapt to technology. She knows what all the buttons do on the remote....

Dean Owen

4 years ago #12

Oh yes, The Buggles one hit wonder blew us away. Too many one hit wonders. I'll always remember watching the Thriller video for the first time. Those special effects were incredible then, but rewatching it now and it all looks extremely dated. In Japan we were fortunate enough to watch Captain EO, another Michael Jackson video but in 4D that was shown in Disneyland Tokyo.

Dean Owen

4 years ago #11

Yep, iPod gave us 1,ooo songs in our pocket, but perhaps less is more. Fond memories....

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #10

Dean, Wonderful trip through another time and place! It brought to mind a favorite movie called "The Commitments" which, I hear has gained cult status. Although it came out in 1991 it was based on a book published in 1987 about the late 80's.

Neil Smith

4 years ago #9

I was trying, and struggling to explain tapes to my five year old daughter just last week. I would hardly describe Jimmy Somerville of Bronski Beat as I'm assuming however. For a physically small guy he didn't half fill a room.

;-)) Thanks Dean Owen fantastic

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #7

Great music. I LOVE IT

Pedro 🐝 Casanova

4 years ago #6

Yeah...I remember how happy I got when they started making those dual cassete tape recorder Boxes. So I was able to duplicate my beloved recording. One tape was kept better than Fort Knox the other got all the airplay.

Dean Owen

4 years ago #5

Yeah, I think I can picture what tracks you'd have on yours. Marrilion, AC/DC and Led Zep?

Dean Owen

4 years ago #4

Fond memories of splicing the tape and using a BIC pen to wind it back and forth. Was always jealous at how perfect the Asians girls wrote the album names on their mixed tapes. Compared to natives, their English handwriting is unbelievable.

Dean Owen

4 years ago #3

Is it an age thing or is the music of this decade just really bad? One day your daughter will look back on her time in the car listening to your music with fond memories. I certainly do when I think about the Dean Martin 8 track my father played over and over in the Caddy.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #2

Some good ones there I was listening to those guys on the radio, my mixed tapes were somewhat different music wise :-). LP's transfer to K7 was an art in itself. Bronski Beat was a defining moment really Dean Owen

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #1

Dean Owen Those were the music days! Your collection brings many fond memories. Encore!

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