20 Songs Released in 1981 You Must Hear


My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

Here are my 20 chosen songs released in 1981.

Every Grain of Sand – Bob Dylan

Written by Bob Dylan, recorded in Los Angeles in the spring of 1981 and released in August of that year on Dylan’s album Shot of Love.

The love in “Every Grain of Sand,” though firmly rooted in Dylan’s conversion experience and his Bible studies, immediately and obviously reaches beyond its context to communicate a deeply felt devotional spirit based on universal experiences: pain of self-awareness, and sense of wonder or awe at the beauty of the natural world.
-Paul Williams (Bob Dylan, performing artist:The Middle Years )



In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet floods every newborn seed
There’s a dying voice within me reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger and the morals of despair




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Bob Dylan sings the Blues – A playlist

Bob Dylan sings the Blues – A Playlist

 

Blues is a genre and musical form that originated in African-American communities in the “Deep South” of the United States around the end of the 19th century. The genre is a fusion of traditional African music and European folk music, spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. Continue reading “Bob Dylan sings the Blues – A playlist”

Documentary: Eric Clapton – A Life in 12 Bars

Documentary charting the life of Eric Clapton, widely renowned as one of the greatest performers of all time. But behind the scenes lay restlessness and tragedy. The insatiable search to grow his artistic voice left fans surprised as he constantly quit successful bands, from the groundbreaking Yardbirds to 60s supergroup Cream. His isolated pursuit of his craft, and fear of selling out, served as a catalyst for his evolution as an artist. Continue reading “Documentary: Eric Clapton – A Life in 12 Bars”

November 27: Robert Johnson recorded “Cross Road Blues” in 1936

robert_johnson

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please”

Favorite album? I think the Robert Johnson album. I listen to that quite a bit still.
~Bob Dylan (Rockline Interview June 1985)

You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.
~Keith Richards (about Robert Johnson)

Wikipedia:

Cross Road Blues” is a blues song written and recorded by American blues artist Robert Johnson in 1936. It is a solo performance in the Delta blues-style with Johnson’s vocal accompanied by his acoustic slide guitar. Although its lyrics do not contain any specific references, the song has become part of the Robert Johnson mythology as referring to the place where he supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talents

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The Best Songs: Come On In My Kitchen by Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson by Robert Crumb

 

If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.

— Bob Dylan
Chronicles: Volume One

Wikipedia:

Come On in My Kitchen” is a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson recorded the song on November 23, 1936 at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas – his first recording session. The melody is based on the song cycle by the string band the Mississippi Sheiks, “Sitting on Top of the World” (1930)/Things About Coming My Way (1931)/I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (1932)/Hitting The Numbers (1934).

Johnson’s arrangement on slide guitar (in open tuning, commonly thought to be open G) is based on Tampa Red’s recording of the same tune with the title “Things ‘Bout Coming My Way”. Tampa Red had recorded an instrumental version in 1936, and the song had been recorded earlier by him in 1931, and by Kokomo Arnold in 1935 (Tampa Red may in fact have been the first to use the melody with his song “You Got To Reap What You Sow” (1929) based on Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell’s version).

Johnson’s recording was released on the Vocalion label (no. 03563) as a “race record” – cheap records for the black consumer market. The song was among those compiled on the King of the Delta Blues Singers LP in the 1960s. (A slower alternate take was also later found and released on CD collections; this version also has ten extra lines of lyrics.)

Come on in my kitchen by Robert Johnson:

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Classic concert: Muddy Waters & Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, November 22 1981

 

Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981 is a concert video and live album by American blues musician Muddy Waters and members of British rock band the Rolling Stones. In the middle their American tour, the Rolling Stones arrived in Chicago for a three-night run at the Rosemont HorizonOn their night off, several of the Stones hit Buddy Guy’s club, the Checkerboard Lounge, to see Muddy Waters and his band (which featured guitarist John Primer and harpist George “Mojo” Buford at the time). An impromptu blues jam ensued, and before the night was done, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ian Stewart, Lefty Dizz, Junior Wells, and Guy himself had all appeared on the stage with Waters and his band. (Allmusic)

It was recorded on November 22, 1981 by David Hewitt on the Record Plant Black Truck, mixed by Bob Clearmountain, and released on July 10, 2012.

The Checkerboard Lounge was a blues club in Bronzeville, on the South Side of Chicago, which was established in 1972 by Buddy Guy and L.C. Thurman. During the club’s existence, it frequently hosted musical acts including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Magic Slim, Vance Kelly, and Chuck Berry. Continue reading “Classic concert: Muddy Waters & Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, November 22 1981”