A collection of the greatest music stories never told. This season the poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib explores a single year: 1980 - the brilliant, awkward and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music.
In 1980, anti-disco sentiment was at a high and Grace Jones was coming off a trilogy of disco albums. If she stayed stagnant, it felt like her career could be swept away. And so out of disco’s death rattle – driven by the discomfort of white...
Most know Minnie Riperton because of one part in one song. “Lovin’ You” was Riperton’s biggest hit, and she doesn’t sing that magic, piercing note until around the 3-minute mark. Cancer took Riperton away tragically in 1979, and the next...
Hugh Masekela & Miriam Makeba
In December of 1980, two exiled artists and freedom fighters attempted return to their home in South Africa for a concert. Jazz musician Hugh Masekela and singer Miriam Makeba were briefly married, but they had a robust collaborative relationship...
John Lennon & Darby Crash
Punk singer Darby Crash dreamed of immortality. The single full-length Germs album was to become a holy grail of music history, and his passing might’ve made him a legend, but Darby Crash died on December 7 th , 1980. By the time the news of his...
In May of 1980, Joy Division lost its lead singer, Ian Curtis. The band decided that they would carry on with a different name. From the cutting room floor, a song with Ian Curtis haphazardly slurring the words he’d written became the first single...
The Sugarhill Gang
In 1979, "Rapper’s Delight" was released and went on to become the first Top 40 hip-hop single. Sugarhill Gang almost had no choice but to follow the single up with a full-length. So in the early months of 1980, a six song, nearly forty minute...
Customer ReviewsSee All
Each episode is smart, witty, entertaining and educational. The podcasters clearly love music and history and take such care in telling individual’s stories. I am so grateful to have been introduced to the legacy of Aisha Ali and have learned so much from all the other episodes too.
Love it 🥰
Episode on Ian Curtis... have been waiting forever to listen to it because I have been afraid it may not have been done with the reverence I believe it deserves. However it was done with that and more. My life from the 80s and beyond was filled with Ian Curtis and joy division. Then 10 years ago I began suffering from epilepsy and I deeply understood how impossible it would have been for Ian to have played under the influence of epilepsy medicine and strobe lights. Thank you for caring enough to show the world the beautiful, yet tragic back story of Ian Curtis 💗
I love the idea of this podcast. I detest the execution.
I was very much interested in the Grace Jones episode as those post-disco years bring back wonderful memories. But the narrator's voice, together with the (at times) unnecessary granularity with which he tells the story, made me lose interest approx. 1/3 of the way in. Pity.