Origin: The Fixx was a British new wave band formed in 1980 by a group of college buddies.
Band Members: Cy Curin (vocals), Jamie West-Oram (guitar), Rupert Greenall (keyboards), Adam Woods (drums), Dan K. Brown (bass)
Next Best Album: “Shuttered Room” (1982)
Best Song: “Red Skies”
Second Best Song: “Saved by Zero”
Third Best Song: “One Thing Leads to Another”
Why They Should Have Made It: The Fixx made some excellent pop music with that 1980s alternative sound. They were on the cusp of making it big with “Reach the Beach,” which hit number 12 on the
Why They Remain Underrated: The Fixx had a couple of minuses and one of them was lead singer Cy Curin’s lack of charisma. In the heyday of MTV, the Fixx’s videos were long and boring and Cy’s flowing blond locks on top of his skinny body looked… well, strange. Their 1984 album “Phantoms” also took the band into a more esoteric artistic direction with oddly named songs such as “
Where Are They Now?: The band – minus bassist Dan K. Brown – is back together and preparing a world tour.
Origin: A three-piece alternative that was formed in
Band Members: Gordon Gano (guitar, lead vocals), Brian Ritchie (bass), Victor DeLorenzo (drums)
Best Album: “Violent Femmes” (1982)
Next Best Album: “The Blind Leading the Naked” (1986)
Best Song: “Kiss Off”
Second Best Song: “Add It Up”
Third Best Song: “Gone Daddy Gone”
Why They Should Have Made It: The Violent Femmes first album is a classic punk-infused alternative album. It’s gritty, angry, and possesses a wry streak. It’s also confident and brimming with angst.
Why They Remain Underrated: They Violent Femmes were never able to capture lightning in a bottle again. Each subsequent album got worse and the music never had the same smarmy energy of the first one.
Where Are They Now?: Gano released a solo album in 2002 and has had minor success as an actor. Brian Ritchie lives in
Origin: A rock band formed in
Best Album: “Crazy Rhythms” (1980)
Next Best Album: “Only Life” (1988)
Best Song: “Away”
Second Best Song: “Too Far Gone”
Third Best Song: “Crazy Rhythms”
Why They Should Have Made It: The Feelies were music critics darlings in 1980 after their first album. The Village Voice named “Crazy Rhythms” the 17th best album of 1980 and Rolling Stone has it ranked number 49 among its best albums of the 1980s. The Feelies mixed driving guitars – rattling out at a machine gun like intensity with improvised percussion for a sound like no other.
Why They Remain Underrated: Egos got in the way – along with side projects. The band went through a revolving door of members and didn’t produce their second album until six years after the first – the disappointing “The Good Earth” (1986). They roared back with the very underrated “Only Life” in 1988, but by then it was just too late.
Where Are They Now?: The band broke up in 1992 and the members have scattered into other bands and side projects.
Origin: The band was formed in Rhyl,
Band Members: Mike Peters (vocals, guitars, harmonica), Dave Sharp (lead guitar), Eddie MacDonald (bass), Nigel Twist (drums)
Best Album: “Declaration” (1984)
Next Best Album: “Strength” (1985)
Best Song: “The Stand”
Second Best Song: “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?”
Third Best Song: “Rain in the Summertime”
Why They Should Have Made It: The Alarm was a punk-infused rock band that wrote some anthem like standards that got heavy rotation on college radio stations in the early to mid 1980s. They toured with U2 and were often compared to them.
Why They Remain Underrated: The Alarm seemed to rebel against the U2 comparisons and left their politically infused alt-rock anthems behind and tried to make it as a straight rock band. They started wearing leather and lost their raw edgy sound. It just didn’t catch on.
Where Are They Now?: Mike Peters has been diagnosed with cancer, but seems to be recovering. He has launched a new version of the Alarm and is working on an EP.
Origin: Formed from the remains of several bands in
Best Album: “Stoneage Romeos” (1984)
Next Best Album: “Mars Needs Guitars!” (1985)
Best Song: “I Want You Back”
Second Best Song: “Lelani”
Third Best Song: “Bittersweet”
Why They Should Have Made It: The Hoodoo Gurus were fun. Their pop infused tunes mixed punk, alternative, surf, and New Wave into joyful songs ready for dancing or driving fast. They were the hits of the college radio in the early to mid-1980s.
Why They Remain Underrated: The band may have been too talented. Their music was all over the map and they experimented with different styles and sounds. Listeners are notoriously impatient with bands like the Hoodoo Gurus.
Where Are They Now?: After breaking up in 1998, the band is back together again. They went back into the studio to record “That’s My Team,” a takeoff on “That’s My Scene” for the National Rugby League in