Five awesome but underrated albums from 1980s

Here are five albums you might have missed, been unaware of or just forgotten from the 1980s.

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Fine Young Cannibals - Fine Young Cannibals

This is a debut album that is underrated in comparison to their second. It was just as good, perhaps even better. But didn’t get the same recognition or sales and awards as their follow-up.

Fine Young Cannibals was released as a self-titled debut album in December 1985. This was a trio formed by two ex-members of The Beat, David Steele and Andy Cox who did a fabulous job in a long search to find a singer. They selected Roland Gift, which turned out to be a masterstroke. 

The album had a couple of singles on it which were both top 40 UK hits. “Johnny Come Home” and “Suspicious Minds”, the latter probably being better than the original version by Elvis Presley. That’s quite a statement to make, but Gift’s voice is superb. Add in some backing vocals by Jimi Somerville (of Bronski Beat and Communards fame), with the rhythm from the guitars and tight drum beat and it all makes for a great cover song. 

Gift’s vocal talents are displayed throughout the album.  He and Steele did a lot of the writing, Cox added in on some too. They combined to bring a mix of Motown and soul, with perhaps a bit of The Beat in there too. It makes for a brilliant set of original songs alongside that Elvis cover. 

The album was successful, striking gold in the UK and a number 11 chart position. Their second album, The Raw & The Cooked, made number one in both the UK and the US, it also was awarded multiple platinum status and a bunch of awards. That overshadowed their debut album, which tends to get overlooked by the two singles, but for me, having bought and loved it from its release, it’s my go-to album for this fine trio.

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