Richard “Groove” Holmes – “Red Onion” (1973)
Hell yes. No tears here, just sweetness. Bernard “Pretty” Purdie slamming the funky drums, a tight bass-flute-percussion combo, lean guitar lines and well-tempered brass, and Holmes rolling his Hammond: this is a track to make even the Meters and the JBs weak in the knees.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Electricity” (1979)
OMD would soon achieve a much more sleek and sophisticated sound, creating some of my favorite music in 1981. But the plucky amateurism and youthful energy (cover art notwithstanding) of their first single is undeniably infectious. Helicopter synth-rhythm, jumpy bass, grandmother’s organ, and a xylophone hook acquit the DIY spirit of ’79 nicely, from a time when “post-punk” didn’t yet stand in the serious, monolithic sound that their Factory labelmate would lature embody against which New Pop/New Wave would react.