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Wang Chung Pick the Best Party Jams of the ’80s (Not By Wang Chung)

Wang Chung
XYQ Management

In 1986, the world hardly needed an invitation to party — hair was big, greed was good and the bomb was going to fall at any second and wipe us all out — but Wang Chung gave us one anyway. “Everybody have fun tonight / Everybody Wang Chung tonight,” the U.K. hitmakers sang on ‘Everybody Have Fun,’ delivering one of the more memorable lines of the decade, if not the century (if not the millennium).

Wang Chung are back in action, promoting the 2012 album ‘Tazer Up!’ (check out their latest video here) and touring this summer with fellow New Wave greats the Fixx, A Flock of Seagulls and Animotion, and that got us jonesing to hear some choice ’80s jams. Who better than Wang Chung multi-instrumentalist Nick Feldman — he who co-wrote the ’80s party jam — to make us a playlist of his go-to Reagan-era house-rockers? Feldman was only supposed to give us 20, but he broke us off with 21 — a little bonus to ensure maximum Wang Chunging all summer long. Scroll down to read Feldman’s thoughts on each song — as well as his anecdotes about getting drunk with the Beastie Boys, booking gigs for the Clash and hanging out with Prince!


'Thriller'

Michael Jackson
 
 

What a bassline and a groove and lyric and a video and so on and so on. Rod Temperton wrote this tune, and he was a big fan of our 'To Live and Die In L.A.'  soundtrack album. He invited me over to his home studio when he was working with Seidah Garret who had sung on our 'Mosaic' album. Lovely man who I totally respect.

 

'Funky Town'

Lipps, Inc.
 
 

An iconic dance anthem with an influential electronic sound. Love the way it works the funky guitar in half way through. Completely infectious and hits all the right spots.

 

'You Shook Me All Night Long'

AC/DC
 
 

AC/DC are quite simply the dogs bollocks (as we say in the U.K.). Their feel is second to none. A wonder to behold.

 

'Rappers Delight'

Sugarhill Gang
 
 

I'm a huge fan of Chic and of Bernard Edwards' bass lines. This is one of his best and brilliantly used on this seminal and influential rap track.

 

'Road to Nowhere'

Talking Heads
 
 

A kind of negative party track that paradoxically makes you feel good. Always loved the Talking Heads and this is a great track. Love the military type drum pattern and the accordion part.

 

'Celebration'

Kool and the Gang
 
 

Kool Bell  is one of my favourite bass players, ever and their songs are often equally effective as his wonderfully economic and funky bass playing is. This tune achieves exactly what it sets out to do, and what its subject matter is about.

 

'Super Freak'

Rick James
 
 

What a bass line and what a track. Can't blame MC Hammer for using it for 'U Can't Touch This!!!'

 

'Tainted Love'

Soft Cell
 
 

A northern soul classic, brilliantly synthed up by Soft Cell. I used to hang around with their label owner and manager, Stevo, but I just about managed to live to tell the tale!!

 

'Rock the Casbah'

The Clash
 
 

My old friend and colleague Jon Moss actually was drummer for the Clash for a few months before eventually  ending up in Culture Club. I also used to be an agent in London for about a year in the very early days of punk. I remember getting them a gig for the princely sum of £10, before they were famous. 'Rock the Casbah' is so infectious, and I love the piano part.

 

'1999'

Prince
 
 

When Wang Chung were playing Minneapolis on tour in the '80s, Prince invited us to his club for the first-ever performance of 'Purple Rain,' pre-release. That was a gig!! We were already big fans after '1999.' My fave Prince album is 'Sign o' the Times.'

 

'I Feel For You'

Chaka Khan
 
 

I'm a massive fan of Rufus and Chaka. Loved this tune, which was written by, of course, Prince.

 

'Relax'

Frankie Goes to Hollywood
 
 

This was mind blowing, especially from the production point of view. A monster bass line and loads of attitude. Steve Lipson, one of the producers of the track, also worked with us subsequently on our single 'Wait.'

 

'Walk Like an Egyptian'

The Bangles
 
 

'Everybody Have Fun Tonight' was neck and neck all the way up the Billboard charts with this tune in 1987. The lyric is nearly as silly as ours. That's gotta be a good thing.

 

'Walk This Way'

Run-DMC and Aerosmith
 
 

I never really knew much about Aerosmith at the time as they weren't that big in the U.K. then. I loved the hybrid of rap and rock with this Run-DMC version. A real mash-up of the best elements of both acts and genres. Great vid, too!! By the way, we are currently collaborating with Jason Nevins (of 'It's Like That/ Jason Nevins vs Run DMC' fame) on a reboot of 'Everybody have Fun Tonight' ....watch this space!

 

'(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)'

The Beastie Boys
 
 

I feel the same about this tune as the Run-DMC 'Walk this Way.' In the '80s, we bumped into the Beasties in Milwaukee when we were both on our separate tours. They came to our show and exhorted the audience to leave (they didn't leave)! We then hung with them out in the bar of the hotel we were both staying in, and they were really friendly.

 

'Love Shack'

The B-52s
 
 

Love the feel of this track. It's pretty hard not to feel good when you hear it

 

'Word Up'

Cameo
 
 

Just love the groove and the vocal on this. Great to dance to, and I don't really dance!! A really sexy tune! We played with them a few years ago on the TV show 'Hit Me Baby One More Time.' They loved our cover of Nelly's 'Hot in Herre.'

 

'Wild Thing'

Tone Loc
 
 

Love the down and dirty feel and the down and dirty vocal.

 

'Let's Dance'

David Bowie
 
 

Big fan of Bowie and big fan of Nike Rogers of Chic, who produced it. 'Nough said!!

 

'Into the Groove'

Madonna
 
 

This felt really fresh when it came out. Great feel.

 

'Don't You Want Me'

The Human League
 
 

Loved their 'Dare' album and its eccentric mix of pop, dance and synth electronica. We toured with them just as that album was coming out.

 

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