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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1984 (Volume 15, Number 10)

In a decade when synth pop and hair metal were dominating the airwaves and record sales, the readers of Creem made their preference clear in the 1983 Readers’ Poll. Def Leppard dominated the major categories, including Best Album (“Pyromania”), Best Group, Best Live Group, and placing second in the Best Singles Category with “Photograph” being bested by Quiet Riot’s cover of “Cum On Feel the Noize.” Other acts that could be find in the Best Group or Live Group categories included Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Loverboy, AC/DC, Rainbow, Cheap Trick, Journey, Kiss, and Ozzy Osbourne. The Police were perpetual silver medalists, placing second in Best Album (“Synchronicity”), Best Group, and Best Live Group categories. Sting did win the can of Boy Howdy! as Best Songwriter. Best reader comment, “I wrote this ballot with a Hello Kitty grape-scented pen, but my brother is eating a tuna sandwich so I apologize for the funny smell.” 

One of the letters in this issue was penned by future music publicist and my long time Facebook friend Anne Leighton.  Hi, Anne! 


“No Ordinary Whipper Snappers: Soft Cell’s Soft Sell,” by John Mendelssohn 

“If Queen Won’t, Brian May,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Cum On, Top the Chartz: A Quiet Riot Goin’ On,” by John Kordosh

“Breaking Rules with Huey Lewis,” by Laura Fissinger 

“Gang of Four: Hard Men in Good Cars,” by RJ Smith 

“Twisted Sister: Local Heroes in Warpaint Make Good,” by Toby Goldstein


John Mendelssohn interviewed Marc Almond of Soft Cell, who spoke of his appreciation for the darker side of life (“I find cocaine fascinating”). Soft Cell had already planned their breakup when this interview was published and did so later that year. However, few forces in nature can stop reunion tours.  

Brian May chatted with Sylvie Simmons to push his solo effort “Star Fleet Project,” which I didn’t remember either. May did this project during a hiatus from Queen and he wasn’t shy about discussing his disappointment about the “Hot Space” album, which veered from traditional rock music toward synth-pop R&B. 

John Kordosh caught Quiet Riot at the peak of their Slade driven fifteen minutes of fame. Kevin DuBrow was enjoying his moment in the sun, as he should have. 

Huey Lewis sounded exactly like Huey Lewis (you know, the self-effacing, low key, rock star next door) in his interview with Laura Fissinger. 

RJ Smith interviewed Jon King of Gang of Four about the 1983 “Hard” album, which seemed to have more in common with New Order than punk rock. After this commercial failure, the band dissolved for the rest of the decade.  

Twisted Sister was on the verge of mainstream success with their anti-authority anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” After years of slogging through the NE club circuit, Dee Snider was both excited by his newfound fame and feeling pressure from it (“My kid is 13 months old and I’ve seen him four months”). 

Quotable Quotes:   

John Lydon on how the name Sid Vicious came to be, “We called him after a pet hamster I had.” 

Marc Almond, “The whole of contemporary music is self-indulgent. Anyone who’s his own boss is self-indulgent.” 

Brian May, “I wouldn’t agree with you that Queen are pretentious, but I know what you mean.” 

May on the dynamics within Queen, “It’s a continual fight, because we all have very definite ideas of what direction we want to go in, and none of them are the same. It’s a continual battle and it’s very democratic and it’s very painful.” 

Kevin DuBrow, “We never really were a heavy metal group. We still aren’t, really.” 

Huey Lewis, “Any good song is better than its video.” 

Lewis on his singing, “It’s the best that I can do. It’s a strange feeling to hear the song and know that Stevie Wonder could just tear it up. Well, it’s as good as I can do.” 

Jon King of Gang of Four, “My favorite record, almost, is ‘We Are Family,’ which is by Sister Sledge but which is really a Chic song.” 

Dee Snider on being rejected by record labels, “’Your image is ridiculous, it’ll never sell in Dubuque. Well, when we played Dubuque, it was a hit! So FUCK YOU, we knew we could sell in Dubuque.” 

Rick Johnson on Adam Ant’s “Strip” album, “Sitting still through one side is almost enough an ordeal to call in to work sick. Listening to both sides is enough to call in PROTOPLASM.” 

Summary: Fine writing about generally uninspiring music. 

Grade: B 

Latest price on eBay: $14.63 to “Buy It Now.” 

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