Lost Notes: 1980

To experience this award-winning series in full, including a transcript and listening instructions, click here.


1980 was a monumental year in popular music. It had immense losses, revolutions, redefinitions, and reformations. The decade stumbled into its own brilliance as time went on. But the third season of Lost Notes will spend time looking at its first year; it’s brilliant, awkward, and sometimes heartbreaking opening.

For Lost Notes: 1980, host Hanif Abdurraqib looks at how the first full-length album from the Sugarhill Gang set the stakes for an entirely new genre of music, how record producers set out to bring Minnie Riperton back to life and how Stevie Wonder delivered on the comeback he was due. Abdurraqib shares an Ian Curtis song that the fallen singer’s bandmates used to birth New Order plus a reflection on the concert that the South African government never wanted Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to perform. You’ll learn how punk singer Darby Crash tried to rise to immortality but was interrupted when John Lennon passed away the very next day and how, in 1980, Grace Jones rose from disco’s death rattle — reinforced and reimagined — into a new decade freshly obsessed with risk.

This work was originally featured in the 2021 Web Showcase, a new way of celebrating all eleven Third Coast/RHDF Competition winners with in-depth materials, including comments from the judges. Plus, our first-ever list of finalists in each category.

Full Credits

Lost Notes: 1980 was written and hosted by Hanif Abdurraqib, with senior producer Myke Dodge Weiskopf and production support from Victoria Alejandro. The creator, editor, and executive producer of Lost Notes is Nick White.

produced by

Myke Dodge Weiskopf

Myke Dodge Weiskopf (@mykedotme) is a senior producer at KCRW, and a freelance editor, field recordist, and musician based in Los Angeles.

Victoria Alejandro

Victoria Alejandro is an audio producer and writer with an M.A. from USC in arts journalism.

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