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Subject: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: Henk on 06/08/08 at 1:23 pm

THIS IS PART TWO OF A TWO PART TOPIC.

Looking for Part One...? You can find it right here.



What started out with one simple question…



Here's a few questions for you, Henk-

-I realize everyone else may know, but from the things I've seen, I'm assuming you're Dutch?

-I am looking to expand my knowledge of European pop & rock groups. Any groups you'd suggest I start with?

-Do you know of a Swedish artist named Stakka Bo? If so, I'd like you to check something out for me. He released his 3rd album in 2001, but only in Europe, apparently. It's called "jr." Could you see if there's a possibility of dredging up a copy? I would deeply appeciate the info.

-What beverages do you enjoy consuming?


…turned into a quest of months. Because indeed: where to start? “Try 1980’s“, Wayne suggested. Sounds easy enough… but it still took me months. I’ve been plowing through books (“Top 40 Hitdossier 1965 - 2005”  and “OOR’s Pop Encylopedie, 9th edition”) and scoured the internet (“All Music Guide” and Wikipedia, most notably) for information. Finally, I compiled a list of over 150 bands/groups (well, maybe not all bands, strictly speaking), and here’s part two.

I hope you enjoy this as much as you enjoyed Part One. :)


Name of band/group | Country of origin | Genre/style | Years active | Video (if any)

Karat | Germany | rock | 75 - present | Der Albatros
Killer | Belgium | heavy metal | 80s - 2000s | Wall Of Sound
Killing Joke | UK | new wave / alt. rock | 78 - present | Eighties
Kino | Russia | pop-rock / acid folk | 81 - 90 | Stuk
Kreator | Germany | heavy metal / speed metal / thrash | 84 - present | Pleasure To Kill

Laibach | Slovenia | avant-garde  /alt. rock | 79 - present | Life Is Life
Latin Quarter | UK | alt. pop | 83 - 90s | Swimming Against The Stream
Lords Of The New Church | UK | new wave  / goth rock | 81 - 88 | Russian Roulette
Love And Rockets | UK | alt. rock / goth rock / psychedelia | 84 - 99 |  Yin And Yang And The Flowerpot Man

Mary Goes Round | France | new wave | 80 - 90 | Mary’s Garden
Matchbox | UK | rockabilly | 71 - 80s | Midnite Dynamos
Matia Bazar | Italy | euro pop / rock | 75 - present | Ti Sento
Matt Bianco | UK | jazz pop | 82 - present | Yeh Yeh
Mecano | Spain | new wave  / synth pop | 81 - 93 / 98 | Hijo De La Luna
Mercyful Fate | Denmark | heavy metal / thrash | 80s - 90s
Meteors, The | Netherlands | new wave / rock | 77 - 82
Mezzoforte | Iceland | jazz-funk | 80s - present | Garden Party
Mo | Netherlands | synth pop / new wave | 79 - 85 | Fred Astaire (Just a Summer Love Affair)
Mobiles | UK | new wave  / new romantic | 80s | Drowning In Berlin

Nacht Und Nebel | Belgium | synth-oriented pop | 80s | Beats Of Love
Nancy Works on Payday | Netherlands | pop / soul / funk | 86 - 99
New Adventures | Netherlands | blues rock | 78-85 / 94-99 / 02-pres. | Midnight Magic Maniac
New Model Army | UK | alt. rock | 80 - present | 51st State
Newz | Netherlands | funk / disco | 77 - 83
Nits, The | Netherlands | new wave / alt. pop/rock | 74 - present | Nescio
Noir Desir | France | new wave / rock | 85 - present | La Rage
Nomads, The 1) | Sweden | garage rock / alt. pop | 80 - present | Where The Wolfbane Blooms
Normaal | Netherlands | rock | 75 - present | Hiekikkowokan
Novo Band | Netherlands | disco / funk | 77 - 90 | You're Gonna Be Mine

Orchestre Rouge | France | new wave | 80s |

Pale Fountains | UK | indie pop | 81 - 86 | Thank You
Pendragon | UK | prog rock | 83 - present | Fly High, Fall Far
Pestilence | Netherlands | death metal / heavy metal / thrash | 85 - 93 | Out Of The Body
Pingüino En Mi Ascensor, Un 2) | Spain | alt. synth pop | 87 - present | Ikea
Pogues, The | Ireland | alt. folk / rock | 82 - 96 | If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Powerplay | Netherlands | rock | 80 - present | Love Can Break Your Heart
President, The | Netherlands | rock | 83 - 85
Psihomodo Pop (Psychomodo Pop) | Croatia | punk / rock / pop | 82 - present? | Osjecam Se Haj
Ptôse | France | rock / alt. | 80s - present | Ecraser La Vermine

Radio Futura | Spain | pop rock | 79 - 92 | Annabel Lee
Rainbirds | Germany | rock | 80s | Blueprint
Roman Holliday | UK | swing pop | 80s | Motormania

Satellites, Les | France | alt. rock | 85 - 94 | Minie Moog
Scabs | Belgium | rock | 82 - 96  /  07 - pres.
Scritti Politti | UK | new wave / dance pop | 78 - 90 | Absolute
Secret Service | Sweden | euro pop / synth pop | 79 - 87 | Flash In The Night
Sielun Veljet (AKA l'Amourder) | Finland | post-punk | 83 - 91 | Peltirumpu
Slagerij Van Kampen | Netherlands | percussion | 82 - present | Sign Language (For The Blind)
Sleeze Beez | Netherlands | hard rock / heavy metal | 86 - 94 | Stranger Than Paradise
Spargo | Netherlands | pop / funk | 75 - 85 / 97 - present | You And Me
Specials, The | UK | ska | 77 - 85 | Too Much Too Young
Stranglers, The | UK | new wave / punk | 74 - present | No Mercy
Strannye Igry | Russia | ska | 80s | Metamorfozy (incomplete)
Style Council, The | UK | new wave  / synth pop | 83 - 90 | Shout To The Top
Subhumans | UK | punk | 80-87 / 98 / 04-present | From The Cradle To The Grave

Talk Talk | UK | new wave  / synth pop | 81 - 91 | Such a Shame
Tant Strul | Sweden | punk rock | 81 - 84 |
Then Jerico |UK | rock | 84 - 90 | The Motive
Time Bandits | Netherlands | disco / funk | 80 - 87 / 94 - present | I'm Only Shooting Love
Toreros Muertos, Los | Spain | new wave / latin pop / ska | 85 - 92 | Yo No Me Llame Javier
Trio | Germany | new wave / pop | 79 - 84 | Ja Ja Ja

Urban Dance Squad | Netherlands | alt. rap-rock / hip hop | 86 - 99 | A Deeper Shade of Soul
Urban Heroes | Netherlands | rock / new wave | 80 - 95 | Habadabariwikidi

Vandenberg | Netherlands | hard rock / heavy metal | 80s | Burning Heart
Vengeance | Netherlands | hard rock | 83-93 / 97-00 / 06-pres. |
Visitor, The | Netherlands | new wave | 80 - 88 |
Vitesse | Netherlands | rock | 70s - 80s | Rosalyn

Wang Chung / Huang Chung | UK | new wave  / pop-rock | 79 - 91 | China
Warlock | Germany | hard rock / heavy metal | 83 - 88 | Fight For Rock
Won Ton Ton  3) | Belgium | new wave pop | 87 - present | I Lie And I Cheat

XTC | UK | new wave  / alt. pop | 76 - present | All You Pretty Girls
Xymox / Clan of Xymox | Netherlands | alt. pop/rock / goth rock / dance | 83 - present | A Day

Yello | Switzerland | synth pop / electro pop / alt. pop | 79 - present | Vicious Games

Zinatra | Netherlands | hard rock | 87 - 92 | Love Or Loneliness
Zvuki Mu | Russia | exp. rock | 81 - present | Postovoi


1) Not to be confused with a French multi-cultural dance act of the same name, that operated in the 1990s - present (most notable song: Yakalelo)
2) Well, how could I NOT mention a band with a name like that?
3) Inactive for years, but never officially disbanded. Lead singer Bea Van der Maat is also an actress.



Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: whistledog on 06/08/08 at 2:10 pm

A majority of these I didn't recognize, but I like, especially that Secret Service song

Wang Chung were lesser known in their native UK, but became major stars in North America: Between 1984 and 1987, they had a handful of US and Canadian Top 40 hits, the biggest of which was 'Everybody Have Fun Tonight' from 1986

Love and Rockets went totally unknown in their native UK and never broke the US chart until 1989's 'So Alive'.  Here in Canada, they gained success right from the start with their 1985 cover of the classic 'Ball of Confusion'

Lords of the New Church are definately obscure.  They were one hit wonders in Canada with the fantastic song 'Open Your Eyes'

Nacht Und Nebel had one hit in Canada with 'Ready to Dance' which reached the Top 50

XTC were cult stars in America, but they never had a major hit single there.  They had several popular hits in their native UK and even Canada.  'Making Plans For Nigel' still gets alot of radio play in Canada on stations that play classic hits

Matt Bianco didn't take off in America, but they did have a near Top 40 hit in Canada with 'Yeh Yeh'

I'm Only Shooting Love by Time Bandits was a popular dance club favourite here in Canada.  It's a song I have always loved :)

Thank You by Pale Fountains is also awesome.  I first heard it on a cheapie 80s CD that I bought at HMV.  It's one of the best ballads of the 80s

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: cinnabon on 06/08/08 at 4:40 pm

Here are a couple more suggestions if you want to add them to your list:

The Teardrop Explodes (featuring Julian Cope as lead singer)
The Wild Swans (Paul Simpson was the keyboardist for The Teardrop Explodes, then went on to sing lead for this group)

both of these bands are from Liverpool England

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part T

Written By: Foo Bar on 06/09/08 at 12:28 am


Laibach | Slovenia | avant-garde  /alt. rock | 79 - present | 


And in addition to some of the most off-the-wall covers of Sympathy for the Devil ever cut onto wax, they also did the entire Beatles' album Let It Be, the whole soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar, and then topped everything by bringing everyone from Holst's Mars, Bringer of War to Edwin Starr's War into the 21st century with NATO.  I've probably got the discography in the wrong order, but they do some incredible stuff.


Lords Of The New Church | UK | new wave  / goth rock | 81 - 88 |


And their cover of Madonna's Like a Virgin that was so far out there it was more of a parody than a cover.

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: SpaceHog on 06/09/08 at 9:32 am

Q-feel-

Dancing in Heaven-1982
Heroes never die-1984

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part T

Written By: Henk on 06/09/08 at 3:57 pm


And in addition to some of the most off-the-wall covers of Sympathy for the Devil ever cut onto wax, they also did the entire Beatles' album Let It Be, the whole soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar, and then topped everything by bringing everyone from Holst's Mars, Bringer of War to Edwin Starr's War into the 21st century with NATO.  I've probably got the discography in the wrong order, but they do some incredible stuff.


Laibach are the kings of off-the-wall, over-the-top covers. I couldn't find "Get Back", else I would've used that song.

They also were a big inspiration for bands like Rammstein.

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part T

Written By: Foo Bar on 06/09/08 at 10:42 pm


Laibach are the kings of off-the-wall, over-the-top covers. I couldn't find "Get Back", else I would've used that song.


Yeah, absolutely nuts. My favorite from that album, however, was One After 909. The combination of the guttural vocals with the bowwa-chikka-wow-wow breakbeat/loop from Bomb the Bass' Beat Dis gave it my vote by a hair.

I wasn't able to find the source (well, it's obviously in the Bomb the Bass track, but where'd they get it?) of the beat/loop that I'm talking about, but I did find out that Bomb the Bass is going to have a new release out sometime this year, so at least my search wasn't a total loss!

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: Henk on 06/12/08 at 4:21 pm

Odd... I seem to recall a lot of people looking forward to this Part Two. :-\\




And where's Wayne?

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: cinnabon on 06/12/08 at 5:44 pm

I heard another good band on my digital cable Retroactive music channel this morning - Transvision Vamp out of England probably best known for their 1988 single
"Tell that Girl to Shut Up"

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: Henk on 06/13/08 at 12:04 am


I heard another good band on my digital cable Retroactive music channel this morning - Transvision Vamp out of England probably best known for their 1988 single
"Tell that Girl to Shut Up"


I know Transvision Vamp, but not because of that particular song. The only time they hit Top 40 over here was with "I Want Your Love".

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: Henk on 06/17/08 at 12:13 am

Bumping this one too...just in case.

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: cinnabon on 06/18/08 at 5:05 am

Have you heard of the alt 80s British band The Wonder Stuff?

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part T

Written By: Gis on 06/18/08 at 8:33 am


I know Transvision Vamp, but not because of that particular song. The only time they hit Top 40 over here was with "I Want Your Love".
Baby I Don't Care was another huge hit here in the U.K. Wendy James was pin up girl of the late 80's early 90's here too.

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part T

Written By: NoPosers on 07/04/08 at 5:10 am

I'm not sure what's considered obscure in Europe, but here in the states these bands were practically unheard of: Japan, Ultravox, Visage, Kraftwerk, Blancmange... Nice List.

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: midnite on 07/29/08 at 11:05 pm

Good list.  Most of these bands I do not know.  I do know a few though.

Latin Quater - I prefer the reggae stylings of Radio Africa   
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF79sN_8g3E

Love And Rockets - So Alive was their only real hit in US. 
     I like No New Tale To Tell   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AFb3TUoxfo

Matia Bazar and Mecano - Great songs mentioned above.  Ti Siento is amazing. 
    Mecano has alot of hits in Spain / Latin America.

Scritti Politti - I like their (his, lol) entire Cupid and Psyche 85 CD.  Hits including Absolute, Perfect Way, Wood Beez, Hypnotise.
    Wood Beez.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMdf1onDkxA

The Specials - Your link is broken. However, I love Ghost Town! 
    Ghost Town.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTo7VHFvu6o

Stranglers - another great band.  I also enjoy Golden Brown and Get A Grip On Yourself
    Golden Brown.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIHBUGvAUMo

Talk Talk - one of my favorite 80s bands.  Most people only know "It's My Life" but their whole catalog is smooth and amazing.
    Give It Up.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_KK3-0HbBQ

You mentioned Nits before and introduced Nescio.  Good song and interesting band.   A couple other songs above that I never knew were Novo and Won Ton Ton.  I like these songs.   Ptose was kinda scary though.


Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: gumbypiz on 07/30/08 at 1:17 am

Nice list.

Here are a few (from the UK) I didn't see listed but were pretty obscure (at least I thought I was the only one listening to them).

The Mighty Lemon Drops - I believe their biggest hit was "Like An Angel" in the UK. Their Happy Head album has got to be a good example of indie inspired, power-jangle rock of the mid 80's.

The Woodentops - "Giant" was a great album of the mid '80's, defies easy description. Folksy, oddball pop, perfect foil for the lot of 80's music at the time. They had some brief success with "Stop This Car" from Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway, but then they faded away.

That Petrol Emotion - had a small UK hit with "Big Decision". Their albums were all over the place, but had a lot of power to them. To be fair the members of the band were also from all over the place, Ireland, US and UK. I think they've just rejoined to tour...

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part T

Written By: Foo Bar on 07/30/08 at 10:04 pm

Probably belongs in Part 1, but I'm gonna go with

Dave Howard Singers - Yon Yonson (1987), aka Yon Yonson meets Dr. R-R-Ruth

According to the website, it looks like my version was the one on this release, which matches up with something called Yon Yonson III.

So it's been 20 freaking years and I just today realized that I've probably never heard the original or first round of remixes.  (I can't imagine what it'd sound like with samples from radio personality and on-air sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and I'm not sure whether to be relieved or terrified...)

Subject: Re: Lesser Known/Obscure European Bands From The 1980's (or thereabout) - Part Two

Written By: Henk on 05/12/15 at 6:11 am

And obviously I had to bump part two as well! ::) :D ;)

The initial post has the same issues as in Part One: most links don't work anymore. Maybe I'll fix them, maybe I won't...

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