Best of 1985- The Album List

The year 1985 was the year of big charity concerts and records. Following up on the release of "Do They Know It’s Christmas Time" from 1984, the big Live Aid concert was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. The event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, UK, and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, US. Also inspired by Band Aid, USA for Africa band project released "We Are the World", a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. 
Among the best selling albums this year was Dire Straits’ album Brothers in Arms which at the same time was the first ever album to be released on CD. Jennifer Rush had the best selling single in the UK with "The Power of Love" while in the USA, Madonna and George Michael both solo and with Wham! ruled the charts. 
With 1985 New Wave completely faded, knocked out by guitar-driven rock most notably by the Jangle rock which in this period of time was popularized as College rock with R.E.M. and The Smiths paving the way. On the other hand, Electronic music was transforming into new rhythms with the emerging Chicago house and Detroit techno that would give hits in the years to come.

The following Top 25 represents the result of the 'Best of 1985 - The Album list' from 2015 together with our in-house votes. 
Updated: 08/2020

01. New Order -Low Life [Factory Records]
 Low-Life is the third studio album by New Order released in May 1985 by Factory Records. The album is considered to be among New Order's best work, displaying the moment in which the band completed its transformation from post-punk hold-overs to synth pop. The album shows New Order's increased incorporation of synthesizers and samplers, while still preserving the post punk aspects of their earlier work. The album included the hit singles "The Perfect Kiss" and "Sub-culture". In 2000, Q magazine placed Low-Life at number 97 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. The album, alongside New Order's 1989 album Technique, was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was re-released and remastered in 2015.

02. The Jesus and Mary Chain- Psychocandy [Blanco y Negro Records]
Psychocandy is the debut studio album by Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. It was released in November 1985 on Blanco y Negro Records. The album is considered a landmark recording: its combination of guitar feedback with traditional pop song structures proved influential on the forthcoming shoegaze and alternative rock in general. The album includes the singles "Never Understand", "You Trip Me Up" and "Just Like Honey". Psychocandy has frequently appeared in "best ever" album lists, such as Q magazine's "100 Greatest British Albums Ever", where it placed at No. 88. In 2006, the album was remastered and released in Dual Disc format without "Some Candy Talking" to conform with the original playlist. In 2011, it was re-released by Edsel in collaboration with Rhino as a two-CD set with extra tracks.

03. The Smiths- Meat is Murder [Rough Trade Records]
Meat is Murder is the second studio album by the Smiths. It was released on 11 February 1985 by Rough Trade Records. This is the band's only album that reached number one in the UK charts and stayed on the charts for thirteen weeks. Meat is Murder was more strident and political than its predecessor. Morrissey also brought a political stance to many of his interviews, courting further controversy. Among his targets were the Thatcher administration, the monarchy, and his musical contemporaries. In 2003, Meat is Murder was ranked number 296 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 'The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time'.The album was also included in the book '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die'.

04. Kate Bush- Hounds of Love [EMI]
Hounds of Love is the fifth studio album by the English singer-songwriter and musician Kate Bush, released by EMI Records on 16 September 1985. It was Bush's second album to top the UK Albums Chart and her best-selling studio album which included the singles "Running Up That Hill", "Cloudbusting", "Hounds of Love", and "The Big Sky". Hounds of Love received critical acclaim and it is considered by many fans and music critics to be Bush's best album, and has been regularly voted one of the greatest albums of all time. It was nominated at the 1986 BRIT Awards for Best Album, where Bush was also nominated for the awards for Best Producer, Best Female Artist, and for Best Single ("Running Up That Hill").

05. The Cure- The Head on the Door [Polydor]
The Head on the Door is the sixth studio album by The Cure, released in August 1985 on record label Polydor. With its variety of styles, it allowed the group to reach a wider audience in both Europe and North America. In the United Kingdom, it quickly became their most successful album to date. It featured the hit singles "Close to Me" and "In Between Days". This is the first Cure album where all the songs are composed by singer and guitarist Robert Smith only. In 2006, the album was re-released by Universal on their Fiction Records/Polydor Records labels, digitally remastered with various demos and live tracks from the era.

06. Propaganda- A Secret Wish [ZTT]
A Secret Wish was the 1985 debut album of Propaganda, released by ZTT Records and produced by Stephen Lipson under the supervision of label boss Trevor Horn. The album featured the band's biggest hits "Dr Mabuse", "Duel" and "P-Machinery". The album was followed up quickly in November 1985 by the 'Wishful Thinking' companion remix album. A Secret Wish has been reissued a number of times through the years – including as a deluxe 20th anniversary edition and as a multi-channel SACD. The most recent re-release is the 2010 double CD deluxe edition which marks the album's 25th anniversary.

07. A-ha- Hunting High and Low [Warner Bros]
Hunting High and Low is the debut studio album by Norwegian new wave band A-ha, released on 1 June 1985 by Warner Bros. Records. The album was a huge commercial success selling more than 7.8 million units worldwide and featured the hit singles "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", "Train of Thought" and "Hunting High and Low" and of course their biggest selling single "Take on Me".The group was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards in 1986, making A-ha the first Norwegian band to be nominated for a Grammy. As part of a re-release of their first two albums, Hunting High and Low was expanded and remastered in 2010.

08. Prefab Sprout- Steve McQueen [Kitchenware]
Steve McQueen was the second studio album by Prefab Sprout, released in June 1985. The album was released in the United States as Two Wheels Good due to a legal conflict with the estate of American actor Steve McQueen. The album peaked at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart and number 180 on the US Billboard 200. The album was produced by Thomas Dolby and released on Kitchenware label. Steve McQueen has subsequently featured in a number of all-time lists of greatest albums, including The Times, Mojo and The Guardian.

09. Clan of Xymox- Clan of Xymox [4AD]
Clan of Xymox is Clan of Xymox's first album, released in 1985 on the 4AD label. The album was produced by the 4AD co-founder Ivo Watts-Russell and recorded at Palladium Studios in Edinburgh.The album drew comparisons to Joy Division and The Cure and created a buzz in clubs.  In the same year, Sounds called the album "a strange and wonderful debut from 4AD's first signing since Dead Can Dance. Particular favourite is "A Day" which suggests so many places, colours feelings and despairs that it is totally awe inspiring".

10. Bryan Ferry - Boys and Girls [E.G. Records]
Boys and Girls is the sixth album release for Bryan Ferry released in June 1985 through E.G. Records. This is the first album for Bryan Ferry after the split with Roxy Music and his first solo work in seven years. It featured the hit singles "Slave to Love" and "Don't Stop the Dance" certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. The album featured some famous guitarists including Neil Hubbard, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour and Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers. Boys and Girls was remastered and re-released in 2000, and was also re-released on the SACD format in 2005.

11. Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair [Mercury]
12. The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always [Merciful Release / WEA]
13. The Killing Joke - Night Time [E'G]
14. Scritti Politti - Cupid and Psyche 85 [Virgin / Warner Bros]
15. The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace [Beggars Banquet / PVC]
16. Dead Can Dance - Spleen and Ideal [4AD]
17. Fine Young Cannibals - Fine Young Cannibals [London / I.R.S.]
18. The Chameleons - What Does Anything Mean, Basically? [Statik]
19. Grace Jones - Slave to the Rhythm [Manhattan]
20. Howard Jones - Dream Into Action [WEA / Elektra]
21. Arcadia - So Red Rose [Capitol]
22. The Wake - Here Comes Everybody [Factory]
23. The Pale Fountains -  ... From Across The Kitchen Table [Virgin]
24. R.E.M - Fables of the Reconstruction [I.R.S]
25. Cabaret Voltaire - The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord [Virgin]