Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends. It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie. Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.
This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned. Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music. Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.
I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video. I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents. I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it. A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band. I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved. I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for! Great album, all in all.
This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.
Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years. This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.
Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out). Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits). Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.
Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:
- McRad – “Weakness”
- Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
- Descendents – “Coolidge”
- Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
- Devo – “That’s Good”
- Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
- Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
- Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
- Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
- Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
- The Stupids – “Skid Row”
- Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
- Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
- Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
- Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
- Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
- Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”
- The Cult – “Wildflower”
- The Damned – “Love Song”
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
- Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
- Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
- GBH – “Too Much”
- Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
- Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
- The Stranglers – “Peaches”
- Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
- Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
- Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
- Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
- Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
- Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
- The Skids – “Into the Valley”
- Fugazi – “Blueprint”
Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years. There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.
Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials. I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.
And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling. Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…