What is balearic music, you ask? It can be a lot of things but essentially it is music that was played by DJ's like Alfredo and Jose Padilla in Ibiza in the 80's and early 90's. Their style was wildly eclectic and helped pioneer downtempo and house music. A lot of balearic music is usually fairly slow, with rolling drum patterns and deep bass lines, with some nice guitar and piano over the top. But it really can be anything that fits a certain mood. Somewhat trippy, poppy, mellow, and funky. Most of these tracks have radio versions and extended versions. Always get the extended mixes if possible. So here are 11 of my favorite classics from the 80's. They have all featured pretty heavily in my DJ sets at one point or another. Click on the title to listen to the song and make sure you hear them through some decent speakers at an appropriate volume.
1. Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
This is simply one of the best songs ever. It has the classic balearic beat, heavy lyrics, cool chanting, and an amazing guitar riff. Unbeatable.
2. Art of Noise - Moments in Love
This tune is much mellower than a lot of Art of Noise's other work. There are a lot of different versions out there, I included the long 10 minute version that is the centerpiece of their classic album Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise?
3. The Cure - Lullaby
I'm sure you know this tune. So dark and so beautiful. Supposedly it's about being sick from heroin. This is the far superior extended version from the underrated Mixed Up album. Warren says to check out the video and that he lost his virginity to this tune.
4. Flash and the Pan - Midnight Man
I first heard this on a Rub N Tug mix a few years back and it took me a while to track it down on vinyl. Flash and the Pan are two Australian guys that were in the Easybeats, and then produced AC/DC. Angus Young is one of the guys little brother. They made interesting new wave pop in the late 70's and 80's. They have a lot of classic songs like Waiting For A Train and Walking In The Rain. This is the 12" mix of Midnight Man.
5. Tullio De Piscopo - Stop Bajon(Primavera)
This is a party jam. Every time I play this out people start smiling and grooving. There really isn't anything else out there like this. He is an Italian drummer and singer and thats about all I know.
6. Carly Simon - Why
The music is by Chic. You can tell by the skronked out electro groove and the super funky bass. Lyrics and singing by Carly Simon. Its an unusual style for Carly. The B side has an instrumental that is just credited to Chic. The version I posted here is the radio version, not the extended mix that is an Ibiza sunset classic.
7. Chris Rea - On The Beach
Chris Rea is an English songwriter and this was a hit for him in 86. The version I included is Tangoterje(aka Todd Terje)'s Megamix re-edit. He took three different versions and cut them up and put them together. He took out most of the words because the radio version is kind of corny. He vastly improved on the original to make one this one of the Ketamine Brothers favorite records of the past few years.
8. Tina Turner - Whats Love Got To Do With It?
I dont know. I love this song. Super groovy in a very subtle way. The key is to turn the bass way up so you can hear how deep this B line is. Incredibly soulful singing and lyrics from Tina.
9. Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay - Hold On To Your Dreams
Francois K produced and wrote this music with Sid Vicious' best friend and bass legand Jah Wobble, U2's The Edge, and Stockhausen student Holger Czukay from Can.
I first heard it when Juan Nunez gave me the amazing 12" re-edit he did on his label Freestyle.
This is the original version from 1983.
10. Kongo Band - Afrikan Man
This is more Italian Disco than anything. The dub version, included here, has some really nice acoustic guitar soloing and tripped out singing. Kongo Band have style. Here is the incredible video for the vocal version. !!!
11. Sade - Hang On To Your Love
Sade has lots of balearic hits like Paradise, Make Some Room, and this one off the classic Diamond Life album. So smooth.