The 25 best indie songs of 1982

15 June 2024, 18:30

Releasing tracks in 1982: Depeche Mode, The Cure and Fun Boy Three
Releasing tracks in 1982: Depeche Mode, The Cure and Fun Boy Three. Picture: Fin Costello/David Corio/Redferns/BSR Agency/Gentle Look via Getty Images

1982: while the charts was embracing the New Romantic style and synth sounds, the indie world was developing from the post-punk days to the world of psychedelia and "New Pop"... Radio X picks the best songs of the year.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...
Radio X

By Radio X

  1. XTC - Senses Working Overtime: release date 8th January 1982

    Andy Partridge wrote this song for XTC's fifth album, English Settlement. It would be their biggest hit, peaking at Number 10 in the UK.

    XTC - Senses Working Overtime (Official Video)

  2. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Maid Of Orleans (The Waltz Joan Of Arc): release date 15th January 1982

    Taken from Andy McCluskey and Paul Humprheys' 1981 album Architecture & Morality, this was the second OMD song to concern the patron saint of France; the previous one, Joan Of Arc, made Number 5, while Maid Of Orleans went one better in February of 1982.

    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Maid Of Orleans

  3. Fun Boy Three with Bananarama - It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It): release date 29th January 1982

    The trio of Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Golding were former members of The Specials who teamed up with the girl group Bananarama for this fun singles. Both this tune and its follow-up, Really Saying Something, went Top 5 in 1982.

    Fun Boy Three - It Ain't What You Do It's The Way That You Do It (Official Music Video)

  4. The Jam - Town Called Malice: release date 29th January 1982

    One of the mod trio's final singles, Town Called Malice was backed with the funky Precious and went straight to Number 1, where it stayed for three weeks. Despite this success, the band would play their final show together in December 1982.

    The Jam - Town Called Malice

  5. Associates - Party Fears Two: 26th February 1982

    The duo of Billy Mackenzie and Alan Rankine were one of the most creative duos of the early 1980s. Party Fears Two would be their first single to break the charts, peaking at Number 9.

    The Associates - Party Fears Two (With Lyrics) (1982) (HD) RIP Alan Rankine 1958 - 2023

  6. Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle: release date 2nd April 1982

    The first single from the Scottish band's album New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84) was also their first hit, peaking at Number 13.

    Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle

  7. U2 – A Celebration: release date 2nd April 1982

    Between the albums October and War, U2 issued this standalone single, which while not becoming a huge hit, remains one of their most underrated songs.

    U2 - A Celebration (Official Music Video)

  8. Talk Talk - Talk Talk: release date 2nd April 1982

    Mark Hollis and co's theme song, which was included on their debut LP The Party's Over. Their sound was still early 80s synth-pop, but Talk Talk would develop into what would become post-rock by the end of the decade.

    Talk Talk - Talk Talk (Official Video)

  9. Gang Of Four - I Love A Man In Uniform: release date 30th April 1982

    The acclaimed Leeds post-punk band found this single banned because it coincided with the Falklands conflict. Not surprisingly, the track stuggled to get into the Top 40, but became a hit on the American club scene.

    Gang Of Four - Man In Uniform

  10. Echo And The Bunnymen - The Back of Love: release date 14th May 1982

    The Liverpool band reached Number 19 with this classic track, which was included on their 1983 album Porcupine.

    Echo And The Bunnymen - The Back Of Love

  11. New Order - Temptation: release date 21st May 1982

    The death of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in 1980 had seen the surviving members reconvene under the name New Order. After a disappointing debut album called Movement was releaased in November 1981, the band began to embrace electronica and found a new sound. One of the first examples was this standalone single, a track that was to become a live favourite.

    New Order - Temptation (Official Music Video) [HD Upgrade]

  12. Soft Cell - Torch: release date 21st May 1982

    Marc Almond's tribute to torch song singers featured American club superstar Cindy Ecstasy and was one of the Leed's duo's biggest hits, peaking at Number 2.

    Soft Cell - Torch

  13. The Clash - Rock The Casbah: release date 11th June 1982

    Originating with a piano riff written by Clash drummer Topper Headon, Joe Strummer added a lyric that concerns the Middle East's attitude to Western Culture. Included on the band's Combat Rock album, Rock The Casbah only reached the surprisingly low number of 30 in the UK charts on its initial release.

    The Clash - Rock the Casbah (Official Video)

  14. The Psychedelic Furs - Love My Way: release date 2nd July 1982

    The follow-up to the classic single Pretty In Pink was the first single from the band's album Forever Now and peaked just outside the Top 40.

    The Psychedelic Furs - Love My Way (Official Video)

  15. Yazoo - Don't Go: release date 9th July 1982

    After leaving Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke formed this synth-pop duo with singer Alison Moyet, then known as "Alf". Their debut single Only You made Number 2 in March 1982, while the follow-up peakled at Number 3 and became a club classic.

    Yazoo - Don't Go (Official HD Video)

  16. The Stranglers - Strange Little Girl: release date 9th July 1982

    The punk quartet bade farewell to their label EMI by giving them one of the songs that they'd written as a demo back in 1974. Ironically, the label had rejected the track, but when issued as a single in the summer of 1982, Strange Little Girl peaked at Number 7!

    The Stranglers - Strange Little Girl

  17. Depeche Mode - Leave In Silence: release date 16th August 1982

    The third single from the Mode's second album A Broken Frame was written by Martin Gore, who'd taken over from the departing Vince Clarke. The track reached Number 18 in the UK charts.

    Depeche Mode - Leave in Silence (Official Video)

  18. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Slowdive: release date 24th September 1982

    The Banshees began to push the limits of their post-punk sound on their album A Kiss In The Dreamhouse, embracing strings and psychedelia. The first single from the album gave its name to the Reading shoegaze band at the turn of the 90s.

    Siouxsie And The Banshees - Slowdive (Official Music Video)

  19. Tears for Fears - Mad World: release date 24th September 1982

    The duo of Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith had their first hit with this song from their debut album The Hurting. Michael Andrews and Gary Jules later covered the track for the soundtrack to the film Donnie Darko.

    Tears For Fears - Mad World (Official Music Video)

  20. Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust: release date 1st October 1982

    The pioneering goth band paid tribute to their stylistic and musical hero David Bowie with a perfect cover of the title track to the man's 1972 album The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars.

    Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust HD

  21. Blancmange - Living On The Ceiling: release date 29th October 1982

    The synth-pop duo of Stephen Luscombe and Laurence Stevens had their first Top 10 hit with this club favourite, taken from their debut album Happy Families.

    Blancmange - Living On The Ceiling (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

  22. A Flock Of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You): release date 29th October 1982

    One of the great synth=pop hits of the era, featuring the sharp haircut of frontman Mike Score. The track made Number 10 in the UK and was also a success in the States.

    A Flock Of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (Video)

  23. The Human League - Mirror Man: release date 19th November 1982

    Reportedly written about 80s pop star Adam Ant, this was a standalone single intending to bridge the gap between the hugely successful album Dare and its follow-up. In the event, fans had to wait another two years for a full studio album from The Human League, but their popularity was strong enough to push this single to Number 2.

    The Human League - Mirror Man

  24. The Cure - Let's Go To Bed: release date 26th November 1982

    At the end of 1982, The Cure was now down to the core of singer Robert Smith and former drummer, now keyboardist Lol Tolhurst. They kicked against the doomy music of their last album Pornography with this daft pop song that was the beginning of the band's successful chart run across the rest of the decade.

    The Cure - Let's Go To Bed

  25. Wah! - The Story of the Blues: release date 26th November 1982

    Wah! (also known as Wah! Heat or The Mighty Wah!) was the brainchild of Liverpool musician Pete Wylie, who had his biggest hit with The Story Of The Blues, which made Numebr 3 in the early weeks of 1983.

    Wah! - The Story Of The Blues (Part 1) (With Lyrics) (1982) (HD)