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The early 80's brought Poland a multitude of new rock bands and styles. All this happened despite overall low availability of records on the market, difficulties with releasing records and obtaining professional instruments, and most of all, the overall political turmoil (martial law was declared on December 13, 1981, resulting in severe restrictions on everyday life until 1983). The overall attitude toward rock changed for the better, with the Opole festival allowing true rock artists from 1980 on, and the creation of the main Polish rock festival of the decade - the Jarocin festival. The latter one, first held in 1980, was the Polish equivalent of Woodstock, with many top bands making their debut there. In fact, Jarocin was sort of a credibility indicator for rock artists in Poland - reception at the festival was one of the keys to popularity.

The first punk / new wave bands in Poland were Kryzys and Deadlock. Both operated in the underground and did not last long enough to enjoy success, but were an inspiration for many followers. Another pioneer was John Porter; hailing from Wales, after a brief period in Maanam he formed his own band; the first LP by Porter Band ("Helicopters", released 1980), with English lyrics, is widely regarded as one of the first new wave albums in Poland. Among the most prominent Polish new wave artists in the early 80's were Brygada Kryzys (formed from the ashes of Kryzys), early Maanam, Republika, Klaus Mitffoch and the more experimental Aya RL. Polish punk rock found its representatives above all in Dezerter, KSU and Siekiera (the latter, dubbed 'the most extreme band in Poland', later changed lineup and went more in the cold wave direction). Later in the decade new bands and solo artists came into the picture, like Madame, T.Love, Tilt, Lech Janerka (formerly of Klaus Mitffoch), Kult, 1984, Variete, One Million Bulgarians, Rendez-Vous, Moskwa, Armia and Bielizna - all having their own style, but rooted in new wave and punk. Some of them, although already successful in the 80's, would have to wait till the next decade to show their full potential on record (Armia is a good example).

Mainstream rock and pop rock was also developing. The biggest stars were Perfect, Lady Pank, Budka Suflera (their 80's albums are quite different from the progressive works of the 70's), Rezerwat, Lombard, Bajm, Banda i Wanda, Oddział Zamknięty and later in the decade also Sztywny Pal Azji, Obywatel G.C. (alias for Grzegorz Ciechowski, former leader of Republika), Róże Europy and Kobranocka. More electronic approach to pop was represented by Kombi, Klincz, Kapitan Nemo, the more dance-oriented Papa Dance and female singers Urszula and Izabela Trojanowska who both collaborated with Budka Suflera in the early 80's.

Other styles explored included blues rock and Southern rock (Dżem, Tadeusz Nalepa of Breakout, Krzak, Kasa Chorych, Martyna Jakubowicz, Recydywa, Obstawa Prezydenta), reggae (Izrael, Daab), hard rock and metal (Azyl P, Fatum, Hammer, Kat, TSA, Turbo, Wolf Spider), progressive rock (Exodus, RSC) and electronic instrumental music (Marek Biliński, Władysław Komendarek). There were, of course, some artists that could not be easily classified into a genre; a good example is Voo Voo.

The eighties were an incredibly creative period in Polish popular music, impossible to cover at once in a short article. Ironically, when at the end of the decade Poland became a democratic country, this was not reflected in the improved quality of Polish music. It opened, however, new possibilities of development for the artists and the music market.

(thanks to Alex Prządka for extending this chapter and adding the album list)

Some significant LPs of the decade (excluding compilations, split by musical style):

Note: Many important songs appeared on vinyl singles only (later eventually on CD compilations). Thus, in many cases LPs are not completely representative of the artists' signature work.

New Wave / Punk

Brygada Kryzys - Brygada Kryzys (1982, dubbed "Black Album" because of the cover)
Porter Band - Helicopters (1980)
Maanam - Maanam (1980), Nocny patrol (1983)
Republika - Nowe sytuacje (1983), Nieustanne tango (1984)
Klaus Mitffoch - Klaus Mitffoch (1984)
Aya RL - Aya RL (1986, dubbed "Red Album" because of the cover)
Dezerter - Underground Out Of Poland (1987), Dezerter / Kolaboracja (1988)
KSU - Pod prąd (1989)
Siekiera - Nowa Aleksandria (1986, the 'cold wave' album), Na wszystkich frontach świata (2008, CD reissue of demo & live recordings of the band's punk incarnation from 1984)
Lech Janerka - Historia podwodna (1986)
Kult - Posłuchaj to do ciebie (1987), Spokojnie (1988)
T. Love - Wychowanie (1989)
Tilt - Czad Kommando Tilt (1989)

Mainstream Rock / Pop Rock / Pop

Perfect - Perfect (1982), UNU (1983), Live (1983)
Lady Pank - Lady Pank (1983), Ohyda (1984), Tacy sami (1988)
Budka Suflera - Za ostatni grosz (1981), Czas czekania - czas olśnienia (1983)
Rezerwat - Rezerwat (1983), Serce (1987)
Lombard - Śmierć dyskotece (1982), Live (1983), Wolne od cła (1984), Szara maść (1984), Anatomia (1985)
Bajm - Bajm (1984), Martwa woda (1985), Chroń mnie (1986)
Banda i Wanda - Banda i Wanda (1984)
Oddział Zamknięty - Oddział Zamknięty (1984), Reda nocą (1985)
Morawski, Waglewski, Nowicki, Hołdys - Świnie (1985)
Sztywny Pal Azji - Europa i Azja (1987)
Obywatel G.C. - Obywatel G.C. (1987), Tak, Tak (1988)
Róże Europy - Stańcie przed lustrami (1988)
Kobranocka - Sztuka jest skarpetką kulawego (1988)
Kombi - Nowy rozdział (1984), Kombi 4 (1985)
Klincz - Jak lodu bryła (1985)
Kapitan Nemo - Kapitan Nemo (1986)
Papa Dance - Papa Dance (1985), Poniżej krytyki (1986)
Urszula - Urszula (1983), Malinowy król (1984)
Izabela Trojanowska - Iza (1981)

Other styles

Dżem - Cegła (1985), Absolutely Live (1986), Zemsta nietoperzy (1987), Najemnik (1989)
Tadeusz Nalepa - Sen szaleńca (1987)
Krzak - Paczka (1983)
Martyna Jakubowicz - Maquillage (1983), Bardzo groźna księżniczka i ja (1986)
Izrael - Biada, biada, biada (1984), Nabij faję (1985)
Daab - Daab (1986)
Azyl P - Live (1984)
Kat - 666 (1986), 38 Minutes of Life (1987)
TSA - Live (1982), TSA (1982), Heavy Metal World (1984)
Turbo - Dorosłe dzieci (1983), Kawaleria szatana (1986)
Wolf Spider - Kingdom of Paranoia (1989)
Exodus - The Most Beautiful Day (1980), Supernova (1982)
RSC - RSC (aka Flyrock, 1983)
Marek Biliński - Ogród króla świtu (1983), E=mc2 (1984)
Voo Voo - Voo Voo (1986), Sno-powiązałka (1987)

 



 

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