Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015 Archives...musically

I did a post just like this on the 2014 Archives. It was fun for me to put together, and I got some decent response. So what the hell - let's do it again.

As you know, Topps Archives this year is only three years - 1957, 1976 & 1983. As I did in the past, let's look at those years in the music scene. Now, I know there are insert sets that honor 1968 and 1990 - I'm ignoring those. We are simply looking at the three main sets used for base. Also, this is not an opinion on the design, how true it is to the original or any of that. More than enough blogs have looked into those factors far more eloquently than I ever will. We are only hitting the airwaves with the three card designs.


Topps reached way back for the first year, hitting a design only 8 years into it's run. The radio in 1957 had been getting competition from television with many stars of the radio getting comedy shows on the tube. Rock and roll was still in diapers, so it was common to find so older music on the radio while the adults of the decade dealt with this hoodlums. Pat Boone was still a heart throb, Andy Williams was 5 years from having a show on television, Mel Tormè was singing Irish tunes, and Dick Haymes was....well, being Dick Haymes. Frank Sinatra had a classic from a movie soundtrack, Nat King Cole was still releasing hit after hit and Johnny Mathis was getting some recognition from his sophomore effort.

There was plenty of other good stuff to be found on the AM dial. Little Richard was confusing the masses, Chuck Berry recorded a classic in Chicago in May and Elvis went to prison (on the silver screen). Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong had a 2nd successful partnership on vinyl while Patsy Cline sung sorrowfully on the country charts. The biggest deal for 1957 may be some of the music super stars that debuted that year. You have Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Ricky Nelson and the smooth voice of Sam Cooke. But probably the biggest star to put out his first album in this year was the man in black, Johnny Cash.


The radio in 1976 was a mess. Rock and roll was a shell of itself after morphing out of the psychedelic phase into ....whatever the early 70's were. Disco was coming on strong as well. So we were stuck listening to stuff like solo Diana Ross, a dancing Leo Sayer and former bath house musician Barry Manilow. I am also putting the 2nd release from this jagoff in the crap pile because he is a right wing nutjob and I frankly don't like him, even if a couple of his songs are not too bad.

Thankfully, other stuff saved the airwaves. Peter Frampton asked how we felt from the biggest selling live album while Boston said it was more than just a feeling. My home city of Chicago got some props on the dial with releases from Styx, REO Speedwagon and Chicago. The Eagles were staying in Hotel California while Thin Lizzy was trying to be anywhere but where they were. Queen was into bondage, KISS was vocal about something and Rose Royce just wanted to clean your car. The fantastic 2112 album from Rush came out in 1976. And say what you want about these two groups, but I have a secret love of ABBA and the wonderful voice of The Carpenters. Artists that had their first albums released in 1976 include Heart, Tom Petty and the pioneers, The Ramones. And as amazing as The Ramones are, I am going to give the video posting the the great Stevie Wonder, who released his super album Songs In the Key of Life with this huge hit and personal favorite.


Hey - 1983. It's the year I graduated high school. What you kids call "alternative" was "new wave" when I was a teenager. FM radio was hitting it's stride. That's not to say '83 was great. Still had to deal with Spandau Ballet, and debuts from Wham! and Kajagoogoo. Know who else debuted in 1983? The queen of "look at me - no, look at ME", Madonna. Plus Night Ranger tagged themselves with a song they probably wished they never recorded.

But 1983 was a good year tune wise. As I mentioned new wave, you had Eurythmics and their dreams, Oingo Boingo waking them up and The Fixx saying they were both connected somehow. Donna Summer needed money, and may have used a body part ZZ Top appreciated to obtain it. It was a Big Country, and even bigger when the wall fell down around John Cougar Mellencamp. Huey Lewis wanted a different way to alter his mind. David Bowie wanted to get down, but Re-Flex tried to make it political. Duran Duran indirectly supported David, or the other side. The newest music stars to release their first album in 1983 ranged from the Violent Femmes to Weird Al. College radio favorite R.E.M also released their first album (or cassette). And before they passed the mantle of rock gods to U2, The Police left the industry with easily the greatest album ever made. It's one of the three discs I would want with me on a deserted island.

So there you have it. I am sure I missed a lot of songs, but you can't link to everything.


  1. My music tastes have always leaned towards the late 70's myself. REO, Boston, Styx, Cheap Trick, Foreigner - that whole AOR/Arena Rock scene

  2. Can't say I like much of what was going in in '76, so thank God the Ramones were there to save all that. Can't believe I didn't realize that two of my favorite bands (Violent Femmes and R.E.M.) put out their first albums in the same year.

  3. I could list songs from 1983 for three days.

  4. My wife and I met in 1976 and we got married in 1983, so there's that.

  5. There is a magic number of alcoholic beverages (I've never been able to pin down exactly how many) that inevitably leads to my buddy Jason putting on Chicago's Greatest Hits way too loud. And then there is another magic number of additional drinks that leads to us singing every word.

    I'm not too proud to admit it: Chicago rules.

  6. 1983 gets bonus points for the awesome White Sox season that occurred that year