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Fifteen Albums Turning Forty This Year

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TP and the Pump Busters Had a Great Follow Up To Damn the Torpedoes


As my fortieth high school reunion comes around, I cannot help but recall my favorite album from my senior year. It was titled Face Dances, and it was the Who's first record after the death of drummer Keith Moon.

Earlier this year I discussed the lasting impact of that album, an article that can be located at

While that unforgettable album was the best of 1981, that year also gave birth to others worthy of being honored as they turn forty. Here are fifteen of those records, including several debuts.

1. Trust by Elvis Costello

Fans of rock's master of puns start off in “Clubland” and end up in the Hammersmith Hotel, while in between there are memorable musical stops in “Luxembourg” and the Nashville-tinged “Different Finger.”

2. Healing by Todd Rundgren

Helped by a video featuring Salvador Dali's “A Passage of Time,” Rundgren scored a huge MTV hit with “Time Heals.”

3. Difficult To Cure by Rainbow

Clips of traffic jams and space exploration and buildings being demolished comprise the video for “Can't Happen Here,” the album's second best cut behind opener “I Surrender.”

4. Mondo Bongo by Boomtown Rats

Bob Geldolf sounds very much like Elvis Costello on this effort, especially on the singles “Banana Republic” and “The Elephant's Graveyard.”

5. There Goes the Neighborhood by Joe Walsh

Fresh off of the breakup of the Eagles, Walsh hit the charts with “A Life of Illusion” while also providing lesser-known gems such as “Down on the Farm.”

6. Waiata by Split Enz

“One Step Ahead” gave the New Wave group yet another hit, accompanied by album mates like “History Never Repeats” and “Hard Act To Follow.”

7. Hard Promises by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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Stevie Nicks joins TP for “Insider”, but the record is better known for “The Waiting” and “A Woman In Love.”

8. East Side Story by Squeeze

British pal Elvis Costello produced this masterpiece, leaving his mark on tunes like “Woman's World”, “Piccadilly” and the country-flavored “Labelled with Love.”

9. Long Distance Voyager by Moody Blues

“Won't you take me back to school?” Justin Hayward asks to open the album, a question I found most appropriate as I began my first year of college singing tunes such as “Gemini Dream” and “Meanwhile.”

10. Bella Donna by Stevie Nicks

Tom Petty returns the favor on “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” and Don Henley does likewise for “Leather and Lace,” while Nicks works alone on the classic “Edge of Seventeen.”

11. Private Eyes by Hall and Oates

“Looking for a Good Sign” could very well have joined in the Top Ten the record's other three singles, “Can't Go For That”, “Did It in a Minute” and the title track.

12. Freeze Frame by J. Geils Band

Everyone was singing “Centerfold” forty years ago, the highlight of this album that marked a change in direction for what was once a blues-rock ensemble.

13. Round Trip by the Knack

Its two predecessors were far more popular, but the quartet made its best record here with “Art War”, “Another Lousy Day in Paradise” and “Lil Cal's Big Mistake.”

14. Business As Usual by Men At Work

Colin Hay and gang made their debut here, quickly earning fame with hits such as “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now?”

15. Ten Out of Ten by 10cc

Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart were the only two founding members remaining, so this cleverly ttitled album would be their last. Although not quite as edgy as their earlier stuff, fans still get some memorable tracks like “Tomorrow's World Today” and “Overdraft in Overdrive.”

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