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Old Young Album Would Have Crushed Competition Had It Been Released the Year It was Recorded


Devo Was One Of The Acts Whipping Up Music When Neil Young Recorded His Just-Released Album


Once again, the Young of “Old Man” is in the news. Last month he made headlines by selling a chunk of his back catalog for $150 million, and here he is again after that gold rush.

Neil Young has climbed aboard a time machine to release an album he recorded in 1982, when he was busy on many other projects. Originally titled Islands in the Sun, Young for its new release has changed it to Johnny's Island.

Instead of releasing the album after it had been completed, Young opted to go with a much different record he made that same year. Called Trans, its contents centered on electronic music, such as on the single “Transformer man.”

The synthesizer approach baffled many fans at the time, so Trans pretty much fizzled. It barely cracked the top twenty on the album charts, leaving us to wonder how much better it might have been for Young had he released Islands instead of Trans.

Judging by the other popular albums dominating the charts back in 1982, it would be safe to assume that Young's Islands record would have at least cracked the Top Ten. Here are some of the albums that would have been in direct competition with him back then, aside from debut solo albums by ex-Eagles Don Henley (I Can't Stand Still) and Glenn Frey (No Fun Aloud).

1. Success Hasn't Spoiled Me yet by Rick Springfield

By lusting after his friend “Jesse's Girl”, the General Hospital actor rode this album into pop stardom2. Tug of War by Paul McCartney

This potpourri of genre-spanning tunes is McCartney's sharpest album, propelled to the number one slot with help from artists from Stevie Wonder to Carl Perkins to 10cc's Eric Stewart.

3. The Golden Age of Wireless by Thomas Dolby

Because she had blinded him with science, Dolby was inspired to create a catchy hit song and groundbreaking video for the first single from this record.

4. Toto IV

Names of continents and charismatic women, specifically Africa and Rosanna, made the supergoup's 1982 album their most popular ever.

5. Rio by Duran Duran

MTV really helped this album cruise, mainly through short films of the title track and “Hungry Like the Wolf.”

6. Hot Space by Queen

Panned by most fans because of its focus on disco, this disc did give us the unforgettable David Bowie collaboration “Under Pressure.”

7. Combat Rock by the Clash

Not knowing whether to stay put or flee brought one hit from this record, another coming from a directive to “Rock the Casbah.”

8. Sweets from a Stranger by Squeeze

Comrade Elvis Costello helped out on “Black Coffee in Bed,” the most enduring track from the new wave group's fifth album.

9. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

Sly Stallone's third Rocky film, which introduced Mr T, aided the title track.

10. All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes by Pete Townshend

His third solo album was his strongest, thanks to great tracks like “Slit Skirt” and “Uniforms.”

11. The Lexicon of Love by ABC

“Poison Arrow” and “The Look of Love”, both good songs transformed into great videos, made this record the band's most successful.

12. Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project

Several hits had already been released by this conglomerate, but none were as popular as the title track.

13. Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello

Keyboardist Steve Nieve, always an audible delight of the Attractions, really shines on an album with catchy melodies like “Little Savage” and “You Little Fool.”

14. Too Ry Ay-by Dexy's Midnight Runners

Again it was a video that pushed a song's success, and on this album it was “Come On Eileen.”

15. The Nylon Curtain by Billy Joel

“Pressure” upped the Piano Man's commitment to synthesizer music, as also evident in the successive single “Allentown.”

16. Forever Now by the Psychedelic Furs

Before they peaked with the soundtrack from Pretty In Pink, this British quartet scored with “Love My Way” from this album.

17. Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen

The Boss decided on an acoustic album in '82, when he charted with “Atlantic City.”

18. Kissing To Be Clever by the Culture Club

Gender-bending Boy George made his debut with this LP, which has acquired immortality due to hits like “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” and “I'll Tumble For You.”

19. Long After Dark by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Topping Damn the Torpedoes and Hard Promises proved impossible, as this effort offered little more than “You Got Lucky.”

20. Oh No It's Devo

Hiring Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker probably helped this album, but even his studio mastery could not save a collection of songs completely bereft of guitars and drums and any other traditional music instrument.