Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1986

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Pop music '86: The old guard rocks on


Richard Cromelin

The win, place and show positions in the Times' pop-music writers' 1986 album poll signify a sweep for the old guard.

The music they're making these days might be fresh and adventurous, but you'd need a calculator to total the years of experience under the belts of Gabriel, Simon and — a relative newcomer — Costello. That's a sharp contrast to the '85 voting, which crowned Tim by the young Minnesota upstarts the Replacements (who didn't release an album in '86).

Even fourth-place R.E.M., a spearhead of the American independent rock movement, is getting a bit long in the tooth now. Peter Case, at No. 6, is the highest-ranking debut album, but he put in a lot of time performing and recording with the Plimsouls, so the real rookie-of-the-year honors go to the BoDeans, followed closely by the Jesus and Mary Chain, Steve Earle and the Pogues.

The balloting bypasses the big commercial albums of '86, including Lionel Richie, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Billy Ocean and Van Halen. And some veterans who can usually count on a nod or two — Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Bob Seger — were entirely shut out.

But there were other conspicuous absences among artists whose past work invariably figured in the Top 15, like Talking Heads, Eurythmics and Prince. John Fogerty's follow-up to his big '85 comeback LP (No. 9 last year) didn't register at all, and several one-time acts-to-watch (Big Country, Katrina & the Waves, Cyndi Lauper) dropped from sight.

Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. in 1984 was the last album to enjoy critical and commercial unanimity as No. 1, and the fact that the Boss' live album made only seven of the 18 ballots is the most surprising result of this year's poll.

The only country act to make the list is Steve Earle, as the critics went neither for the established Nashville sellers (George Strait, the Judds) nor for the new blood (Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam). Speaking of new blood, several ballyhooed young rock and pop acts also received minimal support, including the Smithereens, David & David, the Woodentops and Timbuk 3.

The biggest black album of '86 (in fact, the year's biggest album of any category) was Whitney Houston's debut. It was released in '85, but it didn't make last year's consensus either. Of this year's other major black albums, the Times writers went only for Janet Jackson, Anita Baker and Run-D.M.C., omitting both veteran stars (Patti LaBelle, James Brown, Tina Turner) and so-called cutting-edge types (Jesse Johnson).

One reason for black music's poor showing may be that it's still a singles-oriented area of pop. The same goes for rap music. It might have made big commercial strides, but on an LP level, only Run-D.M.C. has emerged as a critics' choice.

The '86 results also mark a halt in the increasing representation of independent rock labels like Torrance's SST and Minneapolis' Twin/Tone. All of this year's finishers are on major labels.

And in part because the big three — X, the Blasters and Los Lobos — were idle this year, L.A.'s grass-roots rock came up short. Peter Case is the only member of the Top 15 associated with that scene. Other L.A. performers receiving scattered votes: the Bangles, Phil Alvin, Stan Ridgway, Thelonious Monster, T.S.O.L. and the Minutemen.

That shuts out such acts as Lone Justice (whose debut album came in at No. 6 last year), Fishbone, Blood on the Saddle, Saccharine Trust, Dream Syndicate, the Descendents, Agent Orange and the Pontiac Brothers, among others.

Copyright 1986 Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times, October 12, 1986


The pop-music writers' Consensus Top 15 includes King Of America (3) and Blood & Chocolate (15).


The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy & The Lash, produced by EC, finishes 12.





Consensus Top 15


The Times' pop-music writers

Albums are awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for second, etc. Right-hand column shows the number of times an LP was named on one of the 18 reviewers' lists.

             Points   No. of Lists

1 — So, Peter Gabriel (Geffen)   88   11
2 — Graceland, Paul Simon (Warner Bros.)   79   11
3 — King of America, Elvis Costello (Columbia)   61   9
4 — (tie) Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. (I.R.S.)   54   9
   Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)   54   7
6 — Peter Case, Peter Case (Geffen)   36   7
7 — Control, Janet Jackson (A&M)   33   4
8 — Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. (Profile)   29   6
9 — Rapture, Anita Baker (Elektra)   28   3
10 — Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, BoDeans (Slash) 24   5
11 — Psychocandy, Jesus and Mary Chain (Reprise)   20   3
12 — (tie) Guitar Town, Steve Earle (MCA)   19   5
    Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, Pogues (MCA)   19   3
14 — Candy Apple Grey, Husker Du (Warner Bros.)   18   3
15 — Blood & Chocolate, Elvis Costello (Columbia)   16   4


Terry Atkinson: 1--Victorialand, Cocteau Twins (4AD import). 2--Fruit Tree, Nick Drake (Hannibal). 3--Standing on a Beach: the Singles (cassette version), the Cure (Elektra). 4--So, Peter Gabriel (Geffen). 5--Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, various artists (4AD import). 6--Voices, Claire Hamill (Coda/Jem). 7--The Moon and the Melodies, Harold Budd, Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie, Simon Raymonde (4AD import). 8--WOMAD Talking Book Volume Three: Introduction to Europe, various artists (WOMAD import). 9--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. (I.R.S.). 10--Brotherhood, New Order (Qwest).


Richard Cromelin: 1--Psychocandy, the Jesus and Mary Chain (Reprise). 2--Candy Apple Grey, Husker Du (Warner Bros.). 3--King of America, Elvis Costello (Columbia). 4--Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, Pogues (MCA). 5--The Big Heat, Stan Ridgway (I.R.S.). 6--Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, BoDeans (Slash). 7--So, Peter Gabriel. 8--Guitar Town, Steve Earle (MCA). 9--Un'Sung Stories,' Phil Alvin (Slash). 10--Three-Way Tie (for Last), Minutemen (SST).


Patrick Goldstein: 1--So, Peter Gabriel. 2--King of America, Elvis Costello. 3--Guitar Town, Steve Earle. 4--Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, BoDeans 5--Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. (Profile). 6--12 Jealous Roses, Dancing Hoods (Relativity). 7--Baby . . . You're Bumming My Life Out in a Supreme Fashion. Thelonious Monster (Suite Beat). 8--Graceland, Paul Simon (Warner Bros.). 9--Peter Case, Peter Case (Geffen). 10--Licensed to Ill, Beastie Boys (Def Jam).


Paul Grein: 1--Rapture, Anita Baker (Elektra). 2--Picture Book, Simply Red (Elektra). 3--Give Me the Reason, Luther Vandross (Epic). 4--Control, Janet Jackson (A&M). 5--The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby & the Range (RCA). 6--Graceland, Paul Simon. 7--Different Light, Bangles (Columbia). 8--The Art of Excellence, Tony Bennett (Columbia). 9--Can't Hold Back, Eddie Money (Columbia). 10--Stand by Me sound track, various artists (Atlantic).


Robert Hilburn: 1--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 2--Graceland, Paul Simon. 3--So, Peter Gabriel. 4--Blood & Chocolate, Elvis Costello & the Attractions (Columbia). 5--Psychocandy, the Jesus and Mary Chain (Reprise). 6--Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, BoDeans. 7--Guitar Town, Steve Earle. 8--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 9--Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. 10--Licensed to Ill, Beastie Boys.


Dennis Hunt: 1--Control, Janet Jackson. 2--Rapture, Anita Baker. 3--Radio L.L. Cool J (Def Jam). 4--Tutu, Miles Davis (Warner Bros.). 5--Licensed to Ill, Beastie Boys. 6--Disco, Pet Shop Boys (EMI-America). 7--Word Up, Cameo (Atlanta Artists). 8--For Sentimental Reasons, Linda Ronstadt (Asylum). 9--Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. 10--Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi (Mercury).


Steve Hochman: 1--Peter Case, Peter Case. 2--So, Peter Gabriel. 3--Manic Pop Thrill, That Petrol Emotion (Demon import). 4--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 5--Especially for You, Smithereens (Enigma). 6--Blue Tomorrow, Swimming Pool Q's (A&M). 7--Graceland, Paul Simon. 8--Daring Adventures, Richard Thompson (PolyGram) 9--King of America, Elvis Costello. 10--Filigree and Shadow, This Mortal Coil (4AD import).


Connie Johnson: 1--Control, Janet Jackson. 2--Rapture, Anita Baker. 3--Word Up, Cameo. 4--R&B Skeletons in the Closet, George Clinton (Capitol). 5--30 Greatest Hits, Aretha Franklin (Atlantic). 6--Spontaneous Inventions, Bobby McFerrin (Blue Note). 7--Radio, L.L. Cool J. 8--Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. 9--Strong Persuader Robert Cray (Mercury/HighTone). 10--Back in the High Life, Steve Winwood (Island).


Craig Lee: 1--Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. 2--Sounds of Soweto Vol. 2, various artists (Shanachie). 3--Filigree and Shadow, This Mortal Coil. 4--Atomizer, Big Black (Homestead). 5--Control, Janet Jackson. 6--Bouncing Off the Satellites, B-52's (Warner Bros.). 7--Holy Money, Swans (Jem/PVC). 8--Gun Shy, Screaming Blue Messiahs (Elektra). 9--Evol, Sonic Youth (SST). 10--Master of Puppets, Metallica (Elektra).


Randy Lewis: 1--So, Peter Gabriel. 2--Graceland, Paul Simon. 3--King of America, Elvis Costello. 4--Peter Case, Peter Case. 5--Greetings from Timbuk 3, Timbuk 3 (I.R.S.). 6--Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, BoDeans. 7--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. 8--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 9--Guitar Town, Steve Earle. 10--Revenge, T.S.O.L. (Enigma).


Jon Matsumoto: 1--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. 2--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 3--So, Peter Gabriel. 4--Candy Apple Grey, Husker Du. 5--3-Way Tie (for Last), Minutemen. 6--Blood & Chocolate, Elvis Costello & the Attractions. 7--Psychocandy, the Jesus and Mary Chain. 8--Master of Puppets, Metallica. 9--I Against I, Bad Brains (SST). 10--Contenders, Easterhouse (Columbia).


Kristine McKenna: 1--Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, Pogues. 2--Graceland, Paul Simon. 3--Rembrandt . . ., BH Surfers (Touch and Go). 4--Kicking . . ., Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (Homestead). 5--German Afternoons, John Prine (Oh Boy). 6--The Good Earth, Feelies (Big Time). 7--Out My Way, Meat Puppets (SST). 8--Treacherous: the History of the Neville Brothers (1955-1984), Neville Brothers (Rhino). 9--13, Emmylou Harris (Warner Bros.). 10--Blue Velvet: the Sound Track From the Movie, various artists (Varese Sarabande).


Lori E. Pike: 1--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. 2--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 3--So, Peter Gabriel. 4--Graceland, Paul Simon. 5--King of America, Elvis Costello. 6--Especially for You, Smithereens. 7--London 0 Hull 4, Housemartins (Elektra). 8--Reconciled, the Call (Elektra). 9--Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, Pogues. 10--Blood & Chocolate, Elvis Costello & the Attractions.


Steve Pond: 1--Graceland, Paul Simon. 2--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. 3--Strong Persuader Robert Cray. 4--So, Peter Gabriel. 5--Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C. 6--T-Bone Burnett, T-Bone Burnett (Dot). 7--Peter Case, Peter Case. 8--Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, Billy Bragg (Elektra). 9--Guitar Town, Steve Earle. 10--King of America, Elvis Costello.


Don Snowden: 1--Song X, Ornette Coleman/Pat Metheny (Geffen). 2--Graceland, Paul Simon. 3--Mardi Gras at Montreux, Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Rounder). 4--Get Right With the Swan Silvertones, Swan Silvertones (Archives Alive/Rhino). 5--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 6--Rat in the Kitchen, UB40 (A&M). 7--Blue City sound track, Ry Cooder (Warner Bros.). 8--Strong Persuader, Robert Cray. 9--Breakthrough, Don Pullen-George Adams Quartet (Blue Note). 10--Un'Sung Stories,' Phil Alvin.


Duncan Strauss: 1--Graceland, Paul Simon. 2--So,Peter Gabriel. 3--King of America, Elvis Costello. 4--Peter Case, Peter Case. 5--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 6--Greetings From Timbuk 3, Timbuk 3. 7--Gun Shy, Screaming Blue Messiahs. 8--Un'Sung Stories,' Phil Alvin. 9--Candy Apple Grey, Husker Du. 10--Monster Walks the Winter Lake, David Thomas (Twin/Tone).


Don Waller: 1--King of America, Elvis Costello. 2--Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. 3--True Stories, Talking Heads (Sire). 4--Different Light, Bangles. 5--Eat 'Em and Smile, David Lee Roth (Warner Bros.). 6--Un'Sung Stories,' Phil Alvin. 7--Peter Case, Peter Case. 8--Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, Billy Bragg. 9--Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, BoDeans. 10--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.


Chris Willman: 1--Live/1975-85, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. 2--King of America, Elvis Costello. 3--So, Peter Gabriel. 4--The Big Heat, Stan Ridgway. 5--Romeo Unchained, Tonio K. (What?/A&M). 6--Reconciled, the Call. 7--Graceland, Paul Simon. 8--Blood & Chocolate, Elvis Costello & the Attractions. 9--Peter Case, Peter Case. 10--Match Game, Marti Jones (A&M).

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