MIXTAPE: 21 SONGS FROM 10 YEARS (1975-1985) is a journey through one of the most exciting eras of popular music. Featuring in-depth research, critical assessment, and the occasional dose of snark, each chapter covers a song originally released between 1975 and 1985. Some of these 21 songs will be familiar, others less so, but all of them have fascinating stories to tell. MIXTAPE is a great read for fans of music and popular culture, and for anyone who wants to revisit the sounds of that exhilarating decade.

MIXTAPE: 21 SONGS FROM 10 YEARS (1975-1985) is published by New Haven Publishing and is available in print and eBook editions.

BUY IT from your local independent bookshop, using ISBN number 978-1912587704, or from:

and most regional Amazon sites


I Can Do It – Rubettes

Love Is the Drug – Roxy Music

Kid Charlemagne – Steely Dan

Love Is Alive – Gary Wright

Be Good To Yourself – Frankie Miller

I Knew the Bride – Dave Edmunds

Trans Europe Express – Kraftwerk

Burning Down The House – Talking Heads

Ain’t Living Long Like This – Rodney Crowell

I Love The Nightlife – Alicia Bridges

Too Bad – Doug and the Slugs

Romeo And Juliet – Dire Straits

Johnny and Mary – Robert Palmer

It Must Be Love – Madness

Der Kommissar – Falco

Come Back And Stay – Paul Young

Owner of A Lonely Heart – Yes

One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head

The Whole Of The Moon – The Waterboys

Just A Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody – David Lee Roth

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush


“Through 21 songs, from The Rubettes’ ‘I Can Do It’ to ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness, Fiona McQuarrie offers delicious deep dives into the stories behind some of pop’s most loved hits from the era of Walkmans and tape decks, when “home recording was killing music” and a mixtape could cement a friendship or declare undying love.”

  • Greg Healey, author of Not In Front of the Children: Hidden Histories in Kids’ TV

“A burning enthusiasm for the music leaps from every page. This world is a level playing field in which Steely Dan, Talking Heads and Roxy Music rub shoulders with The Rubettes, and David Lee Roth at his goofiest receives as much consideration as Kate Bush at her most cerebral. Here are the revelatory histories of songs which are so vividly realised that they play in your head, at gratifying volume, as you’re reading.”

  • Marco Rossi, writer for Shindig! magazine and Record Collector magazine


Fiona McQuarrie has been writing about music for more than 30 years. She is a contributing writer for Shindig! magazine, Record Collector magazine, and the PopMatters website. Previously, she was a music critic at two Canadian daily newspapers, and a freelance music writer. She is also the author of Song Book: 21 Songs From 10 Years (1964-1974), released by New Haven Publishing in 2018.