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Top 50 12″s of the 80s

The 12" A Short History

Legendary US record producer Tom Moulton was probably one of the prime movers in developing 12-inch releases, he had discovered that the 12-inch had vastly superior sound quality, producing grooves perfect for the discotheque. It was music for hedonistic dancers – for metronomic beats, fewer vocals, stripped back instrumentation, slow-fading echo effects, sustains, slow builds in pace and intensity to maximum peaks.

Top 50 12″s of the 80s

I personally first became fascinated with them back in my late pre-teens, having been an avid record collector from the age of 4 (Thanks Bay City Rollers…) I believe one of my first was probably the 12″ of Tainted Love/Where did Your Love Go, also being a budding DJ during the early 80s and the 90s my appreciation grew for these time extended, more danceable spinners.

Originally intended to give the DJ a chance to go for a pee during long hours at night clubs like the (in)famous Studio 54 during the Disco phase of the 70s, their stature grew and grew. The mid-late 80s saw possibly the apogee of the Art of the 12″ with multiple releases of Trevor Horn et al’s record label ZTT with tracks from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Propoganda etc being released on several formats, with some 12″ records extending out to 16 minute mixes (Relax anybody?) and even 20 minute mixes on cassette (Propoganda’s Duel). It got to the stage that in the late 80s the Record Charts had to change their entry criteria to cope.

Anyway, enough of the history. What Have I Done to Deserve This drivel I hear you ask? Well, partly inspired by all these Facebook posts about “Show your top 10 albums, but don’t bother saying anything about them” (and partly by being bored because of all the Covid stuff) I thought I would expand a bit, and actually show my top (insert figure) records, together with (if available) a video of the track, and actually give some background and cohesion to them. If the idea bores you, please go elsewhere and amuse yourself, but if it’s exciting enough for you, please stick around for my list. I won’t promise to update it daily, but will do my best to get at least 5 videos a week.

The Chart

Rules of Engagement

  • I’ve made some rules which I will endeavour to stick to (but again, it’s my party, so I can break the rules as well)…

  • 1. Specific tracks/remixes will be specified. This is important as often different mixes for the same song vary in both quality and importance.

  • 2. Only tracks from the 1980s are eligible

  • 3. The tracks should have been originally released on a 12″ Vinyl Single (not necessarily the “lead” track)

  • 4. If I can I will post a video of the exact original mix. If I can’t find it on YouTube I might have to get creative.