80s Music In The Rage of Sheep

Michelle, what's with all that 80s music in your novel, The Rage of Sheep? Who are all those people?

I'm glad you asked . . .

80s music in The Rage of Sheep Culture Club had some catchy songs, but their fame was mostly due to their colourful lead singer, Boy George. He really did claim to prefer a cup of tea to sex, but I was shocked (SHOCKED, I tell you) to read his autobiography years later and find out that he had quite a lot of sex during the 80s - often with Jon Moss, the cute drummer from the band.

I wasn't a huge fan of The Cure's music, but lead singer Robert Smith's wild hair and clumsy make-up was certainly eye-catching.

Elton John had a string of hit singles in the 80s, but was better known for wearing oversized sunglasses and buying a football club. He really did marry a woman on Valentine's Day, 1984, although they divorced four years later.

Queen also had many (well-deserved) hit singles during the 80s. Bohemian Rhapsody was my favourite. Despite Freddie Mercury's flamboyance, the band was never the subject of homophobic insults at my school. Maybe this was because the boys couldn't get through any kind of sporting event without singing We Are The Champions. Or We Will Rock You. Or another one of Queen's many stadium rock anthems.

80s music in The Rage of Sheep Duran Duran were a New Romantic band who were on the radio ALL THE TIME when I was a teenager, to my annoyance. They seemed to spend most of the 80s swanning around on yachts with supermodels.

Marilyn, a friend of Boy George's, had a hit single in 1984, then disappeared back into obscurity.

The Style Council was what Paul Weller did after The Jam ended. Teenage boys made a point of hating The Style Council, claiming Paul Weller had 'sold out'. They just couldn't cope with the fact that Paul was now wearing natty suits and getting lots of female attention.

Split Enz had the strange distinction of making Dolly magazine's Top Five Bands lists in both the overseas and Australian categories. Originally from New Zealand, but based in Melbourne in the 80s, they were theatrical, melodic, funny, clever and invariably interesting. Neil Finn and Paul Hester later went on to form the wonderful Crowded House.

Annie Lennox, the better-looking half of Eurythmics, had an amazing voice and gave the impression she wouldn't put up with rubbish from anyone. She later had a successful solo career.

I don't know much about Dead Can Dance. I just liked their name.

80s music in The Rage of Sheep I'd planned to use XTC's Dear God in The Rage of Sheep - the lyrics would have been perfect for the final chapter. Alas, it wasn't written until 1987. I ended up using Senses Working Overtime instead. It amuses me to imagine Hastings High's Class of 84 trying to dance to it at their farewell.

Lionel Richie sang soppy, romantic ballads - the sort of songs people would play at weddings. Ugh.

Emo didn't exist in 1984, but if it had, emo kids would have been listening to Echo & the Bunnymen. Their biggest hit, The Killing Moon, featured in the opening scene of that excellent movie, Donnie Darko.

Bronski Beat were one of the first out and proud gay bands. The pink triangle on their first album cover recalls the insignia that homosexual men were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.

Rose Tattoo were a scary Australian pub rock band.

The Angry Rams were a New York punk rock band, whose lead singer was notorious for ... no, I'm kidding. I made them up.