Lost Notes Season 3 – Music Documentary Podcast Presented By KCRW
KCRW announces today details of the third season of the critically acclaimed music documentary podcast Lost Notes. Season three, Lost Notes: 1980, explores the brilliant, awkward and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music. Hosted by celebrated poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, all episodes of Lost Notes: 1980 will be released simultaneously on Thursday, September 24.
In 1980, the horizon was bursting with possibility. The Voyager 1 had confirmed a new moon of Saturn. “The Miracle on Ice” saw the US beat the USSR at the Olympics and the country was still buzzing. “The Empire Strikes Back” and Pac Man were released on back-to-back days.
In the music world, the Sugarhill Gang were riding the success of “Rapper’s Delight” to release a debut album. Siouxsie and the Banshees were ascending to their creative peak, and Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and The Police all released landmark albums. Yet, 1980 also saw tremendous losses, revolutions, redefinitions and reformations. David Bowie got divorced. Lou Reed got married. Ian Curtis died before Joy Division got to touch down on a U.S. Tour. And by the end of the year, John Lennon’s death would signal the end of a rock n’ roll era.
Lost Notes: 1980 explores the uncovered corners of this storied year. Hosted by Hanif Abdurraqib, a nationally celebrated poet and essayist from Columbus, Ohio, each episode conjures new looks at familiar artists, examining their work and their life through a uniquely personal lens. Topics include: The first full-length album from the Sugarhill Gang which set the stakes for an entirely new genre of music; how record producers set out to bring Minnie Riperton back to life; how Stevie Wonder delivered on the comeback he was due; an Ian Curtis song that the fallen singer’s bandmates used to birth New Order; a reflection on the concert that the South African government never wanted Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to perform; how punk singer Darby Crash tried to rise to immortality, but was interrupted when John Lennon passed away the very next day; how Grace Jones rose from disco’s death rattle — reinforced and reimagined — into a new decade freshly obsessed with risk.
Every episode of Lost Notes: 1980 will be released simultaneously on Thursday, September 24, and will be available on all major podcast platforms.
Episode 1: Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder released seven albums from 1970 to 1976. It was an impenetrable run of albums and songs, one of the greatest in music history. Then in 1979 he faced his first defeat of the decade. Reviews for The Secret Life of Plants were harshly mixed. In 1980, Stevie was due for a comeback. Enter Hotter Than July.
Episode 2: The Sugarhill Gang
In 1979, the Sugarhill Gang released “Rapper’s Delight,” a rap song with the goal of pushing MCs to the forefront. Then, in the early months of 1980, they released the first full-length rap album. The debut self-titled record wasn’t received without controversy, and wasn’t received without skepticism. But, sometimes, legacy is not about the spark itself, but about the flame the spark causes.
Episode 3: Ian Curtis
In May of 1980, Joy Division lost its lead singer, Ian Curtis. The band decided that they would carry on, though not as Joy Division. New Order had great success throughout the 80s with soundtrack-ready songs and rapturous live performances. But the first single, Ceremony, came to life the most. One written by their departed bandmate.
Episode 4: Darby Crash & John Lennon
The punk singer Darby Crash had dreams of immortality. He sought a romantic end. But Darby Crash died on December 7, 1980. The next day, by the time news of his death started circulating and radio stations in Los Angeles began their marathon of Germs songs, John Lennon lay dying in New York. News and radio stations broke away to deliver what must have seemed like a larger, more urgent heartbreak.
Episode 5: Hugh Masekela & Miriam Makeba
In December of 1980, two exiled artists and freedom fighters attempted a return to their home in South Africa for a concert. This is the story of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba and the new, temporary home they made on a stage, within new borders, in Lesotho.
Episode 6: Minnie Riperton
Minnie Riperton fashioned her legacy with a single note in 1974, sung at the very peak of the song “Lovin’ You.” The posthumous album is a tricky business, but in 1980, record producers tried to bring her back to life.
Episode 7: Grace Jones
In 1980, anti-disco sentiment was at a high and Grace Jones was coming off a trilogy of disco albums. If she stayed stagnant, it felt like her career could be swept away. So out of disco’s death rattle – driven by the discomfort of white male tastemakers – Grace Jones rose, reinforced and reimagined in a new decade freshly obsessed with risk.