Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Michelle Shocked - Anchorage

It's hard to imagine a more extreme transition than from Accept to Michelle Shocked, and it underscores the diversity of eighties music.  [I'm not sure how many readers will actually listen to the two songs, but they are both good ... in very different ways.]

Michelle Shocked (given name:  Karen Michelle Johnston) is an indy folk artist who became a musician almost accidentally.  Her first album (The Texas Campfire Tapes) was a bootleg recording of her made on a Sony Walkman performing an impromptu set at 1986 Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.  The recording (released without her permission) became a hit in the UK and led to a recording contract.

Her next album, 1988's Short Sharp Shocked reached #73 on the album charts, while "Anchorage" hit #66 on the singles chart, making her a bona fide indy folk star.  Shocked followed this up with a 40's style swing album (1989's Captain Swing) and a folk / old time country album (1992's Arkansas Traveler).  When she recorded a gospel album next, her exasperated label dropped her, and she has continued to record interesting music in a variety of genres (mostly folk based) since then.

"Anchorage" is a pretty, slightly sad song sung as if it were a letter.  While the lyrics are straightforward, there is a beauty to them -- and more than a hint of feminism and nostalgia.  As with many great songs, it is open-ended enough to allow many interpretations.  Both the song and the album would be on my list of best 1980's folk music.


  1. And That's What's Great About This Site
    Accept Then Michelle Shocked
    The 80's Where All Over The Place
    Just A Great Site To Remember That
    What's Next? Just Like Watching Early 80's MTV

  2. Both the song and the album would be on my list of best 1980's folk music.


  3. I don't have much to add to what you have written except I completely agree with you. I really liked this tune and went searching for it and found this site. That song kind of brought a tear to my eye and made me think of times gone bye, bye.

  4. Thanks for the kind words. Folks who are finding this (or linking to it) should click the title to explore other Eighties Rare Videos, and can like us on Facebook for an update (with trivia) whenever we update the site (around 3x per week).

  5. Hey, were do you have your video and Michelle Shocked singing posted, all my Michelle Shocked videos on my 'GShots' TV channel are gone, persumable pulled for some reason, I believe by Michelle Shocked herself, and other vids which should contain her voice are quite S-I-L-E-N-T.
    How Shocking!
    Gary J. Mondfrans,
    Chief Videographer,
    'GShotsTV' on YouTUBE

    1. Sorry about the typos, there is no edit feature.

    2. Thanks for stopping by -- the video is on blogger, I think, but I don't remember where it originally came from.

  6. love this song

  7. there is a live version of this song cant find it any where :-((

  8. Unforgettable song from waaaaay back. Lovely, haunting. Kacey Musgraves now flying a similar musical flag, thanks be.