This one gets us into the 80s to when I was a student, regularly buying albums (often second hand from a market stall). However, I bought this one brand new and it's by a band I have seen live three times - Big Country. I saw them first touring the debut album The Crossing, later supporting Queen at Knebworth, and finally acoustic in Morecambe a couple of years ago. They were a band that were immediately recognisable in their sound, and their songs had an edge to them - with plenty of social comment. It's probably one of the best protest albums of the 80s.
Steeltown made no. 1 in the UK, but wasn't a massive success commercially worldwide - partly because songs about 80s UK industrial decline and Thatcher's Britain didn't have great traction in the US market. However, it's a fine legacy for the late Stuart Adamson to have left us.