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Twelve Best Records from 1982

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A Dozen Years After the Breakup of The Beatles, Paul McCartney's Solo Album Was Among the Twelve Best


Several different items have come across social media listing the so-called best albums from 1982, which of course are turning forty at some point this year. Former Genesis leader Peter Gabriel's self-titled debut has made nearly every list, as has Duran Duran's first album Rio.

Neither of those, while admittedly good records, would suit my tastes enough to include with my own favorite selections. Here are my picks for the dozen best albums from 1982, some by well-known artists and others by obscure or long-forgotten bands.

1. Tug of War by Paul McCartney

Assistance from Carl Perkins and Eric Stewart of 10cc, as well as a duet with Stevie Wonder, makes tremendous this solo effort with “Dress Me Up as a Robber” and “Ballroom dancing.”

2. Self-Titled by Asia

With members from Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the supergroup made quite an entrance with hits like “Heat of the Moment,” “Only Time Will Tell” and “Sole Survivor.”

3. Time and Tide by Split Enz

Mixing traditional English folk and British New Wave, the Finn brothers peaked in 1982 with “Haul Away” and “History Never Repeats.”

4. Sweets from a Stranger by Squeeze

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook managed to complete their last good album together before a long hiatus, making fans thankful for tracks such as “I've Returned,” “Can't Hold On” and “Black Coffee in bed.”

5. All the Best Cowboys have Chinese Eyes by Pete Townshend

Its title gives a nod to Roy Rogers's Asian heritage, while the record is more of a gold mine than a cattle ranch because of nuggets such as “Uniforms,” “Slit Skirt” and “The Sea Refuses No River.”

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6. Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello

So many of the cuts shine that it is hard to find just one standout, be it “Beyond Belief” or “Little Savage” or “Man Out of Time” or “You Little Fool.'

7. Night and Day by Joe Jackson

“Steppin' Out” and “Breaking Us In Two” indicated a change in direction from the punk of Jackson's first three releases, yet the disc attracted a much bigger fan base from the videos on early MTV.

8. It's Hard by the Who

It starts off with “Athena,” one of the greatest Who songs of all time, and a few others are good enough to make you keep a soft spot for It's Hard.

9. The Nylon Curtain by Billy Joel

Inferior to The Stranger but better than its follow up 52nd Street, within the Nylon Curtain fans find the delightfully enigmatic love-hate piece called “Laura.”

10. H2O by Hall and Oates

A Maneater and a Family Man both made huge impressions on the best record in the pop duo's discography, but the softer hit “One on One” remains my favorite.

11. The Nightfly by Donald Fagen

Black and white videos accompanied the two singles from the album, “New Frontier” and “IGY,” but the Steely Dan co-founder also included a slick remake of “Ruby Baby.”

12. Last Safe Place by Leroux

They dropped the Louisiana from the front of their name while amping up their power pop sound, as evident in the title track, “Midnight Summer Dream” and a hip cover of Buffalo Springfield's “Rock and Roll Woman.”

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