Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The 1985 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll

Albums

1. Talking Heads: Little Creatures (Sire) 1078 (99)
2. The Replacements: Tim (Sire) 865 (82)
3. John Cougar Mellencamp: Scarecrow (Riva) 637 (53)
4. Tom Waits: Rain Dogs (Island) 607 (59)
5. Artists United Against Apartheid: Sun City (Manhattan) 569 (43)
6. Hüsker Dü: Flip Your Wig (SST) 535 (51)
7. R.E.M.: Fables of the Reconstruction (I.R.S.) 526 (52)
8. Hüsker Dü: New Day Rising (SST) 457 (43)
9. Aretha Franklin: Who's Zoomin' Who? (Arista) 407 (41)
10. John Fogerty: Centerfield (Warner Bros.) 392 (37)
11. Sam Cooke: Live at the Harlem Square Club (RCA Victor) 391 (34)
12. The Velvet Underground: VU (Verve) 370 (31)
13. Richard Thompson: Across a Crowded Room (Polydor) 321 (13)
14. Sade: Diamond Life (Portrait) 283 (30) *
15. Go Go Crankin' (4th & B'Way) 264 (29)
16. Bob Dylan: Biograph (Columbia) 263 (22)
17. Lost in the Stars: the Music of Kurt Weill (A&M) 252 (22)
18. Kate Bush: Hounds of Love (EMI America) 236 (24)
19. The Blasters: Hard Line (Slash) 235 (25)
20. Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms (Warner Bros.) 223 (23)
21. Sting: The Dream of the Blue Turtles (A&M) 223 (22)
22. Jason and the Nashville Scorchers: Lost and Found (EMI America) 212 (23)
23. Meat Puppets: Up on the Sun (SST) 186 (20)
24. Lone Justice: Lone Justice (Geffen) 186 (17)
25. The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy (Blanco y Negro import) 175 (15)
26. The Mekons: Fear and Whiskey (Sin import) 168 (16)
27. The Golden Palominos: Visions of Excess (Celluloid) 165 (16)
28. Prefab Sprout: Two Wheels Good (Epic) 162 (17)
29. Don Henley: Building the Perfect Beast (Geffen) 161 (14)
30. Luther Vandross: The Night I Fell in Love (Epic) 161 (13)
31. Bryan Ferry: Boys and Girls (Warner Bros.) 154 (14)
32. Run-D.M.C.: King of Rock (Profile) 151 (15)
33. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians: Fegmania (Slash) 150 (18)
34. Ruben Blades y Seis del Solar: Escenas (Elektra) 149 (15)
35. Marshall Crenshaw: Downtown (Warner Bros.) 148 (16)
36. Professor Longhair: Rock 'n' Roll Gumbo (Dancing Cat) 134 (13)
37. L.L. Cool J: Radio (Def Jam) 132 (12)
38. Marti Jones: Unsophisticated Time (A&M) 131 (15)
39. Suzanne Vega: Suzanne Vega (A&M) 130 (14)
40. The Minutemen: 3-Way Tie (For Last) (SST) 130 (11)

This poll compiles ballots from 238 critics, each of whom divided 100 points among 10 1985 LPs. Maximum points per album: 30. Minimum: 5. Points determined placements, with total mentions (indicated in parentheses) used to break ties.

*Includes 1984 votes: Sade 51 (5) (as an import); Henly 51 (5).

Singles

1. Artists United Against Apartheid: "Sun City" (Manhattan) 101
2. Aretha Franklin: "Freeway of Love" (Arista) 59
3. John Fogerty: "The Old Man Down the Road"/"Big Train (From Memphis)" (Warner Bros.) 51 *
4. Hüsker Dü: "Makes No Sense at All"/"Love Is All Around" (SST) 44
5. Ramones: "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" (Beggars Banquet import) 43 **
6. Don Henley: "The Boys of Summer"/"A Month of Sundays" (Geffen)
7. Eurythmics: "Would I Lie to You?" (RCA Victor) 35
8. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam With Full Force: "I Wonder If I Take You Home" (Columbia) 35
9. Doug E. Fresh & the Get Fresh Crew: "The Show"/"La-Di-Da-Di" (Reality) 34
10. Kate Bush: "Running Up That Hill" (EMI America) 32
11. Madonna: "Into the Groove" (Sire) 29
12. Dire Straits: "Money for Nothing" (Warner Bros.) 28
13. John Fogerty: "Rock & Roll Girls"/"Centerfield" (Warner Bros.) 23
Katrina and the Waves: "Walking on Sunshine" (Capitol) 23
Paul Young: "Every Time You Go Away" (Capitol) 23
16. Talking Heads: "And She Was" (Sire) 22
17. Rockin' Sidney: "My Toot Toot" (Maison de Soul) 21
The Smiths: "How Soon Is Now?" (Rough Trade import) 21 *
USA for Africa: "We Are the World" (Columbia) 21
20. Prince & the Revolution: "Raspberry Beret" (Paisley Park) 20
R.E.M.: "Can't Get There From Here" (I.R.S.) 20
22. Run-D.M.C.: "King of Rock" (Profile) 19
23. The Commodores: "Nightshift" (Motown) 18
John Cougar Mellencamp: "Small Town" (MCA) 17
25. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: "Don't Come Around Here No More" (MCA) 17
Sade: "Smooth Operator" (Portrait) 17
Tears for Fears: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" (Mercury) 17

*Includes 1984 votes: Fogerty 32; Henley 12; Smiths 9.

**Includes EP votes: 3.

Note: Henley vote omitted in print. What is it? Numbers 7 and 8 look like they should be combined, since they have the same vote total, but were ranked separately in print.

EPs

1. Alex Chilton: Feudalist Tarts (Big Time) 32
2. Minutemen: Project: Mersh (SST) 28
3. Fishbone: Fishbone (Columbia) 24
4. UB40: Little Baggariddim (A&M) 20
U2: Wide Awake In America (Island) 20
6. Big Black: Racer-X (Homestead) 16
7. Dwight Yoakam: Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. (Oak) 15
8. Butthole Surfers: Cream Corn From the Sockets of Davis (Touch & Go) 12
Lifeboat: Lifeboat (Dolphin) 12
10. Full Time Men: Full Time Men (Coyote) 10
Roky Erickson: Clear Night for Love (New Rose import) 10

*An EP by acclamation, although because its six cuts run over 25 minutes, it falls outside our definition. Also received six album votes, not included here.

Videos

1. Artists United Against Apartheid: "Sun City" (Jonathan Demme/Godley & Creme) 68
2. Dire Straits: "Money for Nothing" (Steve Barron) 32
3. Talking Heads: "The Road to Nowhere" (David Byrne/Steve Johnson) 31
4. A-Ha: "Take on Me" (Steve Barron) 29
5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: "Don't Come Around Here No More" (Jeff Stein) 24
6. Don Henley: "The Boys of Summer" (Jean Baptiste Mondino) 21
7. Talking Heads: "And She Was" (Jim Blashfield) 20
8. David Lee Roth: "Just a Gigolo" (Peter Angelis/David Lee Roth) 16
9. Godley & Creme: "Cry" (Godley & Creme) 15
10. Eurythmics: "Would I Lie to You?" (Mary Lambert) 14

Village Voice, Feb. 18, 1986


1984 Essay | Dean's List 1986