Media release: Back to the 80s! National Album Day to celebrate the UK’s ‘favourite music decade’


NATIONAL Album Day will return for its third edition on Saturday 10 October, with the perfect antidote to lockdown blues – a celebration of arguably music’s greatest decade, the Eighties!

This year’s 80s theme is a first in a series of musical themes for National Album Day that will be rolled out annually, and coincides with the current resurgence of 80s popular culture that is loved by audiences both young and old. 80s culture and music is all around us; on our TV’s, on our music streaming services, and in fashion and in classic film remakes.

The Weeknd, Dua Lipa and The 1975 all know it. The Eighties really were a special time, long voted the UK’s favourite music decade that has inspired future generations. Now National Album Day – the annual celebration of the art and creativity of the album – will focus on an era that it’s hard to believe began 40
years ago!

It was the decade that gave us Madonna, Eurythmics, Culture Club, Kylie and Wham!, but where Depeche Mode, Sade, The Cure, Run DMC and New Order also came to the fore. It saw the advent of the CD, and, through Live Aid, showed us the compelling power of music.

National Album Day will celebrate all this, with record labels and music retailers joining in the fun with the release of a series of new albums, boxsets and classic reissues including: Duran Duran ‘Duran Duran’, Paul Simon ‘Graceland’, ‘The Stone Roses ‘Stone Roses’, Blues Brothers ‘Blues Brothers’, Smash Hits 80s and more.

In traditional National Music Day style, there will be a series of official National Album Day Ambassadors to be our guides to a musically-rich decade that witnessed exciting new genres such as new wave, hip hop, electronica and indie come to the fore and shape our musical heritage to this day.

National Album Day is delighted to announce its first wave of 2020 ambassadors – global soul legend Billy Ocean, Manchester’s indie pop finest Blossoms, ‘Bulletproof’ chanteuse La Roux, post-punk icons The Psychedelic Furs and post-punk singer and actress, Toyah Willcox. Further artist ambassadors will be announced in due course.

Billy Ocean, who achieved global stardom with 1985 film soundtrack to ‘The Jewel in the Nile’, said: “As bodies of work, albums allow us to tell stories, express deep emotions, and take people on imaginary journeys over the course of a number of individual songs that are connected to each other.

“In my opinion, some of the greatest albums ever made were concept albums, such as Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by The Beatles – how would it be
possible to bring those ideas to life without crafting them into a whole album? The enduring popularity of those albums, and their continued influence on newer artists of today, truly is testament to how important the album is.”

Stockport band, Blossoms, who were inspired by 80s indie, said: “We’re very proud to have been invited to be ambassadors for National Album Day. The album is really important to us, not just as a band but as full-time music obsessives.

“Through our parents we’ve grown up listening to so many great albums, most of our parents were
teenagers in the 1980s so we were exposed to so many great albums from that era. The Smiths, in particular, for the fact they made four albums in four years; that’s very inspiring as a songwriter. The video game, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, had a brilliant 80s soundtrack, which had so many great songs on it, it made you then go back and discover great albums like The Human League’s ‘Dare’ and Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much’.

“The album really has been the main influence in the way that we work and the kind of work we look to produce, it gives us so much scope for ideas and experimentation. I tend to write about my life and normally what’s happened over the previous 12/18 months. It’s not easy putting all that into just one song so that’s another thing I personally love about making albums.”

La Roux, who has cited the 80s as a major influence, said: “The album is changing but will never lose its power, it is still the best way to get to know an artist. The Eighties was such an incredible period for the album and birthed a lot of sonically-seminal albums, it’s been a very inspiring period for me because of

Post-punk icons, The Psychedelic Furs, who performed the iconic title track for 1986 movie, ‘Pretty in Pink’, said: “We love the album because it pushes you to listen to songs which you might not otherwise hear, and which may be even better than the radio-friendly songs that brought you there.

“It gives you a chance to more deeply explore the artists’ world and what they have to say besides the sometimes rather simple single lyrics. An album often has a flow and a cohesion that may have had a
lot of thought and effort put into it.”

Toyah Willcox, who emerged from post-punk to become one of the defining voices of the 80s, said: “I am supporting National Album Day because it is important that future generations do not miss out on the fantastic experience of listening to a whole album of songs… A culture could be lost if listeners never experience how life changing it is to discover a hidden gem not deemed worthy of being a single by
a record company, ie Bowie’s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ on Aladdin Sane. When I heard this song I felt the artist was speaking directly to me.

“Listening to an entire album is enriching and allows the listener precious time to connect with creativity… Albums are akin to a great book, a great party, a brilliant day in the park… they are the
whole meal.”

National Album Day is organised jointly by record labels body the BPI (The BRIT Awards and Hyundai Mercury Prize) and the Entertainment Retailers Association (Record Store Day), and is supported across the BBC with highlights available to listen to on BBC Sounds, along with the UK’s recorded music industry, including AIM and other trade associations, retailers and digital/streaming platforms, and
partners including Classic Albums Sunday – who this October celebrate their tenth


Artist – Album – Format

Paul Simon – Graceland – Clear Vinyl

The Stone Roses – Stone Roses – Clear Vinyl

Smash Hits 80s – Smash Hits 80s – 2LP, 180g Red

Duran Duran – Duran Duran – 2LP, 180g White

Talk Talk – It’s My Life – 1LP, 180g Purple

Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels – 1LP, 180g Red

Blues Brothers – Blues Brothers – 1LP, 180g Transparent Blue

Simply Red – Picture Book – 1LP, 180g Black

Ice T – Rhyme Pays – 1LP, 140g Yellow

The Lost Boys – The Lost Boys Soundtrack – 1LP, 140g Red

ZZ Top – Eliminator – 1LP, 140g Yellow

Rod Stewart – Greatest Hits Vol 1 – 1LP, 140g White

Alphaville – Forever Young – 1LP 180g Orange

Roxette – Look Sharp! – 1LP, 180g Clear

Howard Jones – Cross That Line – Deluxe 3CD / 1DVD reissue

Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Flaunt It – Deluxe 4CD boxset

Various – Rocky IV – Picture Disc

The Psychedelic Furs – Made of Rain – White coloured LP

With the album already at the fore of the UK music calendar, following the shortlist announcement of the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ and in anticipation of the forthcoming Record Store Day Drops, National Album Day creates another opportunity to engage with the much-loved format.

Based on Official Charts data 154 million albums or their equivalent were purchased, downloaded or streamed in 2019 – up 7.7 per cent on the previous year, and even during the first six months of a Covid-hit 2020, album equivalent sales have risen by 6.8 per cent.

The format does particularly well on vinyl – with over 4.3 million LP sales in 2019 following 12 years of consecutive growth – and even the humble cassette, the quintessential 80s format, is now finding favour again, with over 130,000 projected sales for this year – the highest sales since 2003.

In the past two years, National Album Day has been supported by a diverse range of artists and musicians including Lewis Capaldi, Mark Ronson, Elbow, Paloma Faith, Alice Cooper, Novelist, Tom Odell, Mahalia and Orbital among many others, and has hosted a variety of events and activities, including Classic Album Sunday and Tape Notes events, in-store artist appearances, record store promotions, and two Network Rail exhibitions in major cities across the UK.

Keep track of the National Album Day website for more news, events and exclusive Album Day activities to be announced in the coming weeks. Much more to come!


For more information please contact:

Kate Etteridge 020 3327 7111

Jordan Shepley 020 327 7180

Amy Allen 0203 327 7177

Notes for editors:

About National Album Day –

Following a successful inaugural year, National Album Day is set to return for its third annual edition on Saturday, 10th October. Organised jointly by record labels, body the BPI and ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), representing the nation’s music retailers and digital/streaming platforms, and with the active participation of AIM (Association of Independent Music), National Album Day has the
backing and input of the wider music community.

This year taking the 1980s as its inspiration, the music and artist community will come together with the support of BBC Sounds and partners such as Classic Album Sundays for a series of events and activities in the lead up to 10th October that will celebrate the UK’s love for the album and the craft that goes into making this culturally significant body of work.

About the Artist Ambassadors:

Billy Ocean

Chart-topping Trinidadian-British music legend Billy Ocean enjoyed huge global success in the 1980s with hits including No 1 singles ‘When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going’ and ‘Get Outta My Dreams (Get Into My Car), and ‘Caribbean Queen.’ With ten studio albums released to date (including one Platinum album and two double-Platinum) and an 11th due for release next month, Billy has sold more than 30 million albums, and received many awards and accolades including a Grammy, Ivor Novello, Billboard Music Awards, and an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Westminster, as well as becoming a Companion of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2011, presented to him by Paul McCartney. This year, as well as turning 70, Billy was appointed to MBE for his services to music in the New Year’s Honours.


Stockport’ indie-pop export, Blossoms, have enjoyed roaring success since they first emerged onto the scene in 2015. With two No. 1 albums under their belt (their self-titled debut in 2016 and their third album, Foolish Loving Spaces, early this year), the band, whose singles include ‘Charlemagne’ and ‘I Can’t Stand It’, were shortlisted for the prestigious Hyundai Mercury Prize in 2017 as well as nominated
for British Breakthrough Act at that year’s BRITs. The band are set to release a new double album, Blossoms: Live from the Plaza Theatre, Stockport / Blossoms: In Isolation, on 23 October.

La Roux

Grammy award-winning synth-pop act, La Roux, became a household name with chart-topping hits, such as ‘In For The Kill’ and ‘Bulletproof’. La Roux’s self-titled debut album went to No. 2 on release in 2009, with 2014 follow-up, Trouble in Paradise, going top ten. La Roux’s most recent album, Supervision (released in February 2020 on her own label Supercolour Records), has been described as “1980’s pop muted through Elly Jackson’s idiosyncratic unique sound palette”.

The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs were founded in 1977 by brothers, Richard and Tim Butler, originating out of the post-punk movement and helping define the subsequent new wave scene. Their debut album was released in 1980, with several subsequent albums released over the 80s and 90s, with their 1981 single, ‘Pretty in Pink’, famously taken by director, John Hughes, to name his movie five years later. Earlier this
month, their eighth studio album Made of Rain – and first since 1991 – entered the Top 20 in the UK Album Chart, their fifth Top 20 album in the UK and the second-highest UK chart placing of the band’s career. A new limited edition white coloured LP will be released especially for National Album Day.

Toyah Willcox

Musician, songwriter, producer, author and actor, Toyah Willcox, has achieved eight Top 40 singles and released 25 albums in her musical career to date; with 1981’s Anthem and 1982’s The Changeling going to No. 2 and No. 6 in the UK Album Chart respectively. A punk and new wave icon, her inimitable style and creativity won her numerous accolades, including nominations for BRIT Awards. Last year, Toyah was back in the UK charts with a reissue of her 2008 album, In The Court of the Crimson Queen,
marking her first chart appearance since her 1985 album, Minx.

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