Another Entry for the March 1990 Blog and the Next Podcast, an All Time Rave


Castlist 005 Ep. 2, All Time Rave and Music Therapy for the Masses

I think this is my favorite episode so far. Lots of laugh and definitely emotional for me. We start by exploring Guster, past and present (and some meows for good measure) and then move into some of my favorite songs of all time. One of those I only discovered this past fall and I tear up also every time I hear it.

And what episode would be complete without a crazy series of seeming coincidences. Jeff found a lot he liked, and I got to challenge him on the twang factor. Along with a few great stories in the mix, we end with the busiest man alive.

Some of the other artists we discuss include Live, Counting Crows, Screaming Trees, Travis Tritt, Lily Allen, The Glorious Sons and one of my Mom’s favorites, The Carpenters.


A new retro chart for the week of April 29, 2000 is coming in the next few days. 


March 24. 1990

Part 6, When Alternative Becomes Mainstream and the Underground Fabulousness of the UK

Depeche Mode/Dangerous (11)/Enjoy The Silence (21)/Personal Jesus (23)

There were a number of alternative bands that saw commercial breakthroughs in 1989 and 1990. Depeche Mode had been a huge success in the UK and on the Dance and Modern Rock charts since their debut in 1981. They had Pop chart impact in 1984 with the song “People Are People”, which peaked at #13 on the Hot 100. A smattering of other songs had limited Hot 100 impact, but it was not until “Personal Jesus” that they would make the Top 40 again.

The song was released in August 1989, well in advance of their smash album “Violator” which hit the shelves on March 19, 1990. The song, which used guitar as the main instrument, was a departure from their synth-centric sound. The melody line was inescapable however, an insistent bluesy progression that is the undercurrent of the entire song. It reached the top 5 in the UK and #28 on the Hot 100. It has made the lists of greatest songs of all time in Rolling Stone (368) and Q (top 100) magazines.

The song was inspired by the Priscilla Presley book, “Elvis And Me” and speaks to the idea of a personal mentor. Remakes include a stripped-down version in 2002 by Johnny Cash, who saw it as a gospel song (a major line in the song is “Reach out and touch faith”), Marilyn Manson’s heavy metal take in 2004 and Sammy Hagar, taking it in a blues rock direction in 2013. Also, at that time it became the best-selling 12 inch single in their record company’s history.

As I was writing this I got sidetracked and listened to a podcast called “Switched On Pop” (highly recommended). There was a newer episode featuring 5 Seconds Of Summer and their new song “Wildflower”. I had heard it the prior week and was intrigued. On the episode they cited many influences, including Depeche Mode and Johnny Cash, a strange coincidence, though if you listen to my podcasts or read my blog entries, this happens to me quite often. BTW, I’m in love with “Wildflower” now.

The song “Dangerous” was the B-side of the original ‘Jesus’ single and more in line with their darker-edged electro songs. At the time it connected with me more than ‘Jesus’. The band had reached my top 40 songs of the year 4 times between 1985 and 1988, twice in the top 10 (“Shake The Disease” #7 in 85 and “Never Let Me Down Again” #9 in 88). This song, even though a B-side, got Modern Rock airplay and Dance chart action.

About a month before the album release, “Enjoy The Silence” hit the airwaves and catapulted them in the Hot 100 top 10, though it was the only time.  It was also chosen as the best single of the year at the 1991 Brit Awards. The album, whose title was meant to be a joke (they conjured up the most heavy metal title they could think of), it became their first top and first million seller in the U.S. (eventually going triple platinum), and placed at #17 on Billboard’s year-end album chart. Rolling Stone also includes the album in their top 500 of all time (342).

‘Silence’ certainly had a poppier sound and like so many pop tunes, had a juxtaposition between the lyrics and melody (“words like violence, break the silence”, “words are very unnecessary
they can only do harm”). Paraphrasing a review of the album, it was described as the meeting of “pop music and something more sinister”. Funny thing about the videos for ‘Jesus’ and ‘Silence’. In the former Dave Gahan was a cowboy and, in the latter, he was a king wandering the countryside with a deck chair in hand.

The companion Spotify playlist has all the songs discussed in the blog.

Find the rest here.

By: Radio Tim 
Apr 23, 2020