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from KCRW

In 1980, the horizon was bursting with possibility. The Voyager 1 had confirmed a new moon of Saturn. "The Miracle on Ice" had happened and the country was still buzzing. The Empire Strikes Back and Pac-Man were released on back-to-back days. 


In the music world, Sugarhill Gang were riding the success of “Rapper’s Delight” to release a debut album. Siouxsie and the Banshees were ascending to their creative peak.


Yet, is it ever that simple? 


David Bowie got divorced. Lou Reed got married. Ian Curtis died before Joy Division got to touch down on a U.S. Tour. And by the end of the year, John Lennon’s death would signal the end of a rock ‘n’ roll era. 


1980 was a monumental year in popular music. It had immense losses, revolutions, redefinitions, and reformations. The decade stumbled into its own brilliance as time went on. But the third season of Lost Notes will spend time looking at its first year; it’s brilliant, awkward, and sometimes heartbreaking opening. 


Your host is Hanif Abdurraqib. He’s a nationally celebrated poet and essayist from Columbus, Ohio. His critically-acclaimed book Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest was a New York Times bestseller. He’s released several collections of poetry and essays including They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us and A Fortune For Your Disaster


For Lost Notes: 1980, Abdurraqib looks at how the first full-length album from the Sugarhill Gang set the stakes for an entirely new genre of music, how record producers set out to bring Minnie Riperton back to life and how Stevie Wonder delivered on the comeback he was due. Abdurraqib shares an Ian Curtis song that the fallen singer’s bandmates used to birth New Order plus a reflection on the concert that the South African government never wanted Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to perform. You’ll learn how punk singer Darby Crash tried to rise to immortality but was interrupted when John Lennon passed away the very next day and how, in 1980, Grace Jones rose from disco’s death rattle — reinforced and reimagined — into a new decade freshly obsessed with risk. — The producers

LOST Notes: 1980


Listen & Transcript

Lost Notes: 1980, Episode 1: Stevie Wonder
00:00 / 28:16

Listening Instructions

  • Listen however you like!

  • But allow time after each episode to reflect.

  • Not to be binged. 


Host & Writer: Hanif Abdurraqib

Senior Producer: Myke Dodge Weiskopf

Production Support: Victoria Alejandro
Creator, Editor & Executive Producer: Nick White

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