Friday, December 16, 2005

The only chart that counts (4/6)

We continue going back through the halcyon days of Christmas top forties before record companies seemed to know there was such a thing, namely 1982:

1 Renee and Renato - Save Your Love
"Very, very few performers now before the public today can touch Renato. He is a gifted singer with a lush, expressive and robust voice like a powerful, majestic instrument that resounds and fills every inch of a theatre." That may be so, but when you're now best known for being Ron Atkinson's mate it's not going to stand you in much stead. You know, when Pete and Dud both died all the news obituaries featured the Bloody Greta Garbo Dagenham Dialogue, when we lost Ronnie Barker we were reminded of Four Candles, and while we only wish him the best of health we can't help thinking Eddie Large's life will be illustrated by his slightly less celebrated take on this "#1 music video on the BBC's 'Top of the Charts'".

2 Shakin' Stevens - The Shakin' Stevens EP
Blue Christmas, Que Sera Sera, Josephine and Lawdy Miss Clawdy. Not doing down those 50s throwback jibes just yet, then. Why name an EP after yourself this far into your career?

3 David Bowie and Bing Crosby - Peace On Earth-Little Drummer Boy
Sir Percival lets David use his piano if he's not around. The idiot.

4 Culture Club - Time (Clock Of The Heart)
Their second hit, which means dads across the land hadn't worked out that singer's gender yet. Two years later Jon Moss would be the first proper voice you heard on Band Aid B-side Feed The World.

5 Madness - Our House
"There's always something happening and it's usually quite loud" Suggs reckoned over a record that somehow made number 7 in the Billboard chart the following August.

6 Phil Collins - You Can't Hurry Love
There's always been a Motown side to Genesis' music, of course. Triple Phils in Blues Brothers gear in what at the time was an irregular solo outing.

7 David Essex - A Winter's Tale
On a worldwide scale, indeed. Pre-The River, if you're keeping notes.

8 Modern Romance - Best Years Of Our Lives
Everybody still salsaing, then, to trumpet sporting beloafered Latin quarter bandwagon creators featuring Geoff Deane on vocals prior to his co-writing Birds Of A Feather and the like. Says he hasn't worked in comedy since Babes In The Wood, which proves there is a god. Did they really have a single in 1982 called Queen Of The Rapping Scene? Is that like Reggae Like It Used To Be by Paul Nicholas?

9 Lionel Richie - Truly
You can probably guess how it goes from the title, to be honest.

10 The Jam - Beat Surrender
Quickly on the way down, and that's just about that for Weller as angry young Keats for twelve years or so. Personally, we hated this for years, heard it on the radio a few months ago and found it to be fantastic, which proves both something and nothing simultaneously.

11 Cliff Richard - Little Town
As in Of Bethlehem, yes, but presumably he was keeping that quiet for now. Pop fact: if you discount Band Aid 20 as copyists, Saviour's Day is the last Christmas related Christmas number one.

12 Human League - Mirror Man
Soul moves from imperial phase Phil and the now permanently aggreived girls, surely overdue a critical reappraisal. If the Chalets are reading...

13 Wham! - Young Guns (Go For It)
Andrew pops up on George's latest self-aggrandising documentary film to explain just what he was doing there, leading to tentative tabloid thoughts about a reunion. Yeah, that's going to happen.

14 Dionne Warwick - All The Love In The World
A Bee Gees song, it says here. Again, you could write and score this yourselves.

15 Shalamar - Friends
Surely everyone was bored of Jeffrey Daniel's bodypopping showpiece by now, and indeed they were gone from the top 40 after 1983, leaving that clip of an American interviewer accidentally smacking Howard Hewett on the nose with the mike in their wake.

16 Ultravox - Hymn
In which Midge hears The Mighty Wah! and decides they'd only be improved by self-important lyricism.

17 Dexys Midnight Runners - Let's Get This Straight (From The Start)
Not that Kevin Rowland was ever really not earnest - c.f. full page music press manifestos, forcing Kevin Archer to change his name to Al so there was only one Kevin in the band - but this is where he started to slip properly into it with this brand new track as Emerald Express era started its slow movement towards Ivy League suits, Don't Stand Me Down and heroin.

18 Malcolm McLaren And The World's Famous Supreme Team - Buffalo Gals
While Lynne Truss exits crying, we should note Herbie Hancock credits this as the influence for Rockit, the Supreme Team's chief wordsmith was called MC Hamlet and McLaren is still banging on about teenage Chinese girls playing chipped Gameboys being the future of music.

19 Santa Claus And The Christmas Trees - Singalong-A-Santa
God knows what this was - a medley, we'd guess - but it seems not to be related to Santa Sings. Amazon report customers also investing in Tony Christie. Cabin Crew's Star To Fall, Crazy Frog and, um, Jem.

20 Bucks Fizz - If You Can't Stand The Heat
Jay Aston was by this point living her whole life in outfits made from diaphanous slips and buckles.

21 Duran Duran - Rio
Only ever reached number nine but it's the one everyone recalls for the very festive video. Doesn't sound any better in retrospect from The Bravery.

22 Blancmange - Living On The Ceiling

23 Donna Summer - I Feel Love
None darker than Moroder. This was actually a remix of the 1977 number one and an extended one at that, barely plausible given the original lasts several days as it is.

24 A Flock Of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)
They only ever had four charting singles, of which this was the biggest by a good sixteen places. You never hear jokes about Peter Murphy from Bauhaus' hair, do you?

25 Yazoo - The Other Side Of Love
I hear Vince Clarke is buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and is throwing his computer out the window because he wants to make something real.

26 Abba - Under Attack
The penultimate single, and even in those days before Paul Morley and excitable popist blogs it attracted attention for seemingly having goths acting as stand-in lyricists. Q once described this as the meeting point between Bucks Fizz and Joy Division, which seems fair enough.

27 Soft Cell - Where The Heart Is
28 Incantation - Cacharpaya (Andes Pumpsa Daesi)

29 Kid Creole And The Coconuts - Dear Addy
Lest we forget Augustus Darnell and his carnival ready girls were on Ze Records, now regarded as the house label for the No Wave scene, as well as providing a home for Was (Not Was)' early experiments and occasionally Suicide, and indeed Darnell/Creole was an in-house producer. The man who sang Annie I'm Not Your Daddy worked with sax-squawking punk-funk hardman James Chance!

30 Eddy Grant - I Don't Wanna Dance
This had been the third successive reggae number one following Pass The Dutchie and Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, which is something to think about now we're past the NME's Summer Of Ska. Comet-shilling Electric Avenue was a month away.

31 Supertramp - It's Raining Again

32 Kool And The Gang - Hi De Hi, Hi De Ho
Paul Shane not pictured.

33 Keith Harris and Orville - Orville's Song
The reason why nobody takes Public Enemy seriously any more. This was actually a new entry this week, so clearly novelty hit marketing worked very differently then.

34 John Williams - Theme From ET
This was the last in a run of five years or so when a chart wasn't a chart without some sort of symphony orchestra film theme. Worth mentioning the next time it happened, when in February 1984 the top 40 contained both Main Theme From The Thornbirds and Love Theme From The Thornbirds. And who remembers The Thornbirds now? Exactly.

35 Talk Talk - Talk Talk
Following this, their next two hits were in 1986 and 1990. Any more and Mark Hollis would probably have emigrated.

36 Barry Manilow - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

37 Marvin Gaye - (Sexual) Healing
Those brackets are important. On its way out having been number four, although Marvin was probably too whacked out on the floor of a Belgian hotel cloakroom to care.

38 Musical Youth - Youth Of Today
In fact they had six top 40 singles, this Michael Manley-quoting anti-inflation spiel peaking outside the top ten, as something described like that is always bound to do. And Pass The Dutchie isn't actually about spliffs at all, of course, so shut up, Channel 4 ironists.

39 Maisonettes - Heartache Avenue
Evolved from City Boy (5705? No, alright then), bringing 60s soul to an early 80s mixing desk. Later eski.

40 Japan - Night Porter
The David Sylvian critical reappraisal, that's overdue too.

2 comments:

Neil B said...

Geoff Dean didn't sing on "Best Years Of Our Lives". He'd already left Modern Romance by then.

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