My 80s Playlist: DJ Graeme Park chooses his favourite 80s tunes from Joy Division to Madonna

Virgin Radio

26 May 2023, 08:45

Graeme Park

Credit: Rex

Top house DJ Graeme Park stopped by Virgin Radio 80s Plus to dish the details on his favourite tunes of the decade on My 80s Playlist. 

Graeme is perhaps best known for being one of the original founders of the UK rave and club scene, and was a notable figure at the Hacidenda Club in Manchester. 

Starting off in small clubs in Nottingham and Sheffield, Graeme was then invited to play at the infamous nightclub venue from 1987 until it closed in 1997. 

He own music career picked up in the early 80s in the acid house scene, and while on Virgin Radio 80s Plus with Steve Denyer, Graeme went through all the tracks that made his experience of the era unforgettable. 

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division was released in 1980 as a non-album track, but became an era-defining release for the rockers. 

Guitarist Bernard Sumner and bassist Peter Hook had a massive role to play in the history of the Hacienda Club, which is why Graeme was keen to pay tribute on his 80s Playlist. 

He shared: “You’ve got to pick Joy Division when you're talking about Factory Records because basically, Joy Division and latterly New Order, basically funded the club. They were often in the club and on a Friday night, you’d quite often hear a knock at the DJ box door and it'd be Hooky [Peter Hook] or Bernard [Sumner] and they'd come in and hang out. They enjoyed coming down and I think they didn't enjoy looking at their annual accounts to see how much money they spent.”

New Order - Blue Monday 

Following closely behind is Hook and Sumnber’s next project, New Order, and their hit 1983 track, Blue Monday. 

The synth pop single reached the top 10 in numerous countries and became the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. 

Sharing what inspired the iconic track, Graeme explained: “They were staying in New York, recording in New York and going to clubs in New York. They were influenced by the music of New York. It just meant that in the studio, they were trying to recreate what they heard in the club. That's why they wanted to open a club, like the clubs in New York, in Manchester. 

“Up until acid house came along, it didn't really work. But if it wasn't for New Order, going to New York, and recording in New York, they wouldn't have made Blue Monday, and they wouldn't have decided to attempt to open a nightclub. So Blue Monday is a very, very important song.”

Madonna - Holiday

Released in 1983, Holiday was the third single Madonna released from her eponymous debut album. 

The Hacienda in Manchester was the first venue to host a young Madonna in the UK, performing the very track Graeme picked. 

Factory Records founder and manager of the Hacienda, Tony Wilson, had been the one to sort out her first foray into the UK, and it's a particularly fun memory for Graeme. 

He said: “The late Tony Wilson always used to say that he was at an award ceremony, a big dinner and Madonna was there and he went up to I said, ‘oh, hi, I'm Tony Wilson. You played your first ever live show in the UK at my club, the Hacienda Manchester. The story goes that she just says, ‘oh, I'm sorry I have no recollection’ and just moved on.”

Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love 

In 1978, Buzzocks released their anthemic tune Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve). 

Originally from Bolton, Buzzcocks were a massive part of the Manchester music scene, and found themselves as a feature in the 2002 biographical comedy drama, 24 Hour Party People. 

Focusing on founder Tony Wilson and the likes of Joy Division and Happy Mondays, 24 Hour Party People mixed truth with some urban legends, but is an “honest snapshot” of the Manchester club scene at the time, according to Graeme.

“The casting on that film is brilliant,” Graeme told Steve. “All the actors who play the main characters like your Bez, and your Shaun Ryders and your Peter Hooks and Bernard Sumner and Tony Wilson. Even Keith Allen's in it playing the guy from London Records towards the end when they wanted to try to do a deal with Factory Records. They are really good that the characters and each individual that they're playing really comes across well. It's a great film.”

Steve Hurley - Jack Your Body 

House music hit Jack Your Body by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley was released in 1986 and was ultra-popular in the Chicago house scene. 

Jack Your Body was the UK's first number one house track and paved the way for the acid house sound made popular in the decade. 

Describing what it was like to put the track on in the club, Graeme explained: “Loads of arms in the air, loads of wide eyes and lots of smiles and people hugging each other. The thing about Hacienda was, people take inclusiveness for granted now, hopefully and generally they do depending on where you go, but this was the first time you saw bricklayers dancing next to barristers, dancing next to nurses, dancing next to teachers, dancing next to people who empty the bins and football hooligans, because they all took this little magic pill. It was all about peace and love and unity.”

A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray

Voodoo Ray was the very first single by Gerald Simpson, otherwise known as A Guy Called Ray. 

The single, released in 1988, spent a whopping 12 weeks in the UK charts, and was recognised as being the best-selling independent single of that year. 

The sound and name were incredibly unique to Gerald, as explained by Graeme. He said: “It’s an amazing record. It sounded like nothing heard before. His influences were, he’d come to the hacienda, he’d hear these really raw, stripped back house tracks from Chicago and Detroit. Then he went with his cheap equipment, and do his own version of it. He originally gave a cassette of it to the late [radio DJ] Stu Allen. 

“He had a dance show on Piccadilly Radio, he played that cassette of Voodoo Ray on Piccadilly Radio, but Gerald hadn't said what the name of the artist was. So he then said, Oh, that's Voodoo Ray from A Guy Called Gerald…and the name stuck.”

Stone Roses - Fools Gold 

Fools Gold, released in 1989, turned out to be the Stone Roses’ most commercially successful track, and marked their first top 10 hit. 

The dance-rock/funk-rock track was the ultimate hype song, according to Graeme. He told host Steve: “It's great. It's a really funky vibe. Because sometimes I wouldn't be there or Mike wouldn’t be there. So if I did the night on my own,  you would play from when the doors opened until the club closed, and the first hour will be kind of be warming up for yourself and warming up the crowd and Fool's Gold was the perfect tune to transition from warm up."

Sub Sub - Ain’t No Love 

1993 dance classic Ain’t No Love by Sub Sub was the group’s biggest single, finding a home at number three in the UK. 

Featuring the vocals of Melanie Williams, the tune was one of many dance singles to cross over into mainstream popularity, and reminded Graeme of the final moments of the Hacidena club before it closed down for good. 

He shared: “Tony Wilson decided to announce randomly out of the blue that he was going to close the Hacienda because he couldn't guarantee the safety of the staff or the punters. Of course, that was a genius stroke because by voluntarily closing, it stopped getting an order served that we had to close, then we closed for three months.

“1997 is when it closed. Nobody knew who was going to go. I had stopped doing it weekly by that point because, by the time I got to the late 90s, Mike had gone on to great success with M people and I was turning down so many lucrative offers to play other clubs in the UK and to play around the world. So I was doing it monthly by '97. Sadly it’s just the way the cookie crumbles. The last night at the hacienda, nobody knew was the last night and I wasn't there.”

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