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Mad World: An oral history of New Wave artists and songs that defined the '80s

A copy of the book,
A copy of the book, "Mad World."

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In Lori Majewski's new book, "Mad World: An oral history of New Wave artists and songs that defined the 1980s," she uses first hand accounts from artists that were part of the New Wave scene to paint a picture of what it was like during the time.

One of the things she covers is the origin of New Wave. Majewski recently spoke with A Martinez on Take Two about the topic: "New wave came after punk. So, punk was a time where it was very dark, it was a lot of spitting and safety pins... and it gave way to these artists who were playing three chords and they got sick of it. They said, you know we actually want to be pop stars... punk gave them the DIY spirit to go after what they wanted."

One band that embodies the '80s is Duran Duran, said Majewski on Take Two.

"Out of the box Duran Duran were born to be big."

Unlike bands like the Rolling Stones, she says, they had found their sound right away, and were able to rocket to the top of the charts.

While it originated in the United Kingdom, Los Angeles actually played a roll in the New Wave scene as well, particularly for women.

"L.A. is... a very glamorous place. And I think that's why women ruled there," said Majewski.

"When you look to England — the women there — you had Annie Lennox in drag... but in L.A. everything was about style, fashion, glamour, and that's why I think women ruled the roost there."

By the '80s, music had gone from the political activism of the '60s to the disco revolution of the '70s, and it seemed like maybe music and causes didn't really mix, until Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" 

Do They Know It's Christmas?

It was a song that brought together superstar artists like Bono, Sting and Nick Rhodes to sing about the famine in Africa. "You have to remember when Bob Geldof sought to get all of these artists together for Band Aid, they had no idea what was going on," said Majewski. "I mean, it was really just reported that there was a famine going on in Africa... and they all realized what was going on and they were like wow, music really can change the world."

It wasn't without controversy though.

"Bono was wondering if Bob Geldoff was going too far with one of the lyrics - tonight, thank god it's them instead of you - he said, wait, what do you mean by that. I don't know if I should be recording that. And Bob talked him into it and it probably is the most famous line to come out of that song," she said.

The record actually set Bono on the road to activism.

"If not for Band Aid, he really may not have gone in that direction.

If you want to meet Lori and hear her read an excerpt from her book,  she'll be at Book Soup in West Hollywood on April 23rd.