Monday, December 05, 2005

The only Christmas chart that counts (1/6)

You know we love a good chart here on STN, so between now and the 25th, as well as everything else that's going on - please, tell your friends/visitors to come here, or else it feels like we're shouting down a quarry - we'll be revisiting six classic Christmas top 40s of the last 25 years. To start, as Band Aid 20's somehow re-entered the top 75 this week, let's look at Bob'n'Midge starting it all off in 1984:

1 Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas
B-side Feed The World turned up on an mp3 blog the other week, and if there's any interest we'll stick it up on YSI for everyone to share in the stupid laughing, Big Country, Bob leaving a space for Johnny Fingers and how it's left to Jon Moss - Jon Moss! - to be first to remind us of the serious message.

2 Wham! - Last Christmas
Before Bob decided to catch the news one night the stage was essentially set for the big Frankie/Wham! playoff, which in the end was comprehensively won by the biggest selling single never to top the chart, although, George, there's an idea for next year now you're floating the idea that Wham! weren't so bad after all. So if she gave away his heart the day after she opened it, what sort of Boxing Day party was she at?

3 Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus - We All Stand Together
It's a bloody kids' song! And not all that unattractive either, from the same year's Rupert And The Frog Song film, the accompanying feature to Give My Regards To Broad Street, which he apparently recorded the soundtrack for five years earlier. Bear in mind, incidentally, that in September he'd got to number two with No More Lonely Nights, and the previous year Pipes Of Peace had been in Crimble contention following his brace of Michael Jackson duets, so for this to sell wasn't that much of an aberration. As an extra bonus, nobody in pub quizzes remembers the title.

4 Madonna - Like A Virgin
Doesn't seem like a Christmas record, does it? In fact it hit its peak in January, her third top 40 single. Worth the fingers from anyone's gloves.

5 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love
Course, any band whose first three singles don't go to number one now gets dropped immediately, moan grumble moan. Every schoolkid in the country could name the first three, of which this made Frankie the second three weeks previously.

6 The Toy Dolls - Nellie The Elephant
"It was a more commercial arrangement with a key change etc, but it didn’t have the guts of the first version. I thought the tempo was too fast also." Some people are never satisfied. Annoyingly voiced Geordie Oi! veterans chance it and score well. Still going. Of course they're still going.

7 Gary Glitter - Another Rock'n'Roll Christmas
Another Christmas rock'n'roll. His final top 40 hit, and [CENSORED]

8 Nik Kershaw - The Riddle
Tree, river, hole, you know. Snood!

9 Paul Young - Everything Must Change
Isthmian League balladry from the... hold on, let's just check up... ah yes, gravelly voiced white soul man. Climbed to this position this week, and stayed there for another four weeks. He must have been pulling his hair out by the end.

10 Black Lace - Do The Conga
Fairly Route One follow-up to Agadoo featuring a video shot in Blackpool on the most overcast day they could manage. Their last album was called What A Party!, which you'd expect, and featured Tubthumping, which you wouldn't. What a discussion must have taken place in Chumbawamba's squat the day that letter came through.

11 Shakin' Stevens - Teardrops
Shaky dons the jacket and pulls at the heartstrings. Phillip from The X Factor makes careful notes.

12 Kool and the Gang - Fresh
Lest we forget, Ronald 'Kool' Bell was the bass player, and didn't even write most of the songs. No wonder vocalist JT Taylor pissed off shortly afterwards.

13 Tears For Fears - Shout
Lennon talked about it, Curt and Roland made a six minute record about it. Made for shouting into strong wind.

14 Murray Head - One Night In Bangkok
Tim Rice gets a song into his own book with Benny and Bjorn's help and some frankly remarkable lyrics. If there is another song that namechecks Somerset Maugham (we do know there's one that mentions Yul Brynner, before you say), we've yet to hear - no, experience it.

15 Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters
Coming to a Radio 1 Ten Hour Takeover near you soon.

16 Alvin Stardust - I Won't Run Away
Very much into his Christian phase at this point, although the TV-AM Sunday morning series was still a couple of years away.

17 Eurythmics - Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty Four)
Ahoy, Fairlight! B-sides: For The Love Of Big Brother, Julia, Doubleplusgood. We can't help feeling Dave had thought of a theme.

18 Jim Diamond - I Should Have Known Better
Caution: Scottish lover's soul ahead. The number one before Frankie, which puts Bob Geldof's quote about the impact of Band Aid being shown by Diamond wanting people to buy that record and thus knock his off the top into perspective.

19 Spandau Ballet - Round And Round
No memory of this, although there weren't many hits left.

20 Thompson Twins - Lay Your Hands On Me
Proving a band can never have too many percussionists.

21 Chaka Khan - I Feel For You
We all know how this starts, but our mind always segues this into Go West's We Close Our Eyes.

22 Queen - Thank God It's Christmas
Well tonight thank God it's Christmas instead of you?

23 Alison Moyet - Invisible
24 Human League - Louise

25 Slade - All Join Hands
Not only on the new Very Best Of, but track one of disc 2, not far away from Myzsterious Mizster Jones, a title which perhaps suggests trying too hard to rekindle the old days. Only the mighty Radio Wall Of Sound, which we remember them doing on Saturday morning telly before the cult of Noddy had got underway at all, was left.

26 Foreigner - I Want To Know What Love Is
Come 19th January this blustery overkill of a new entry would knock Band Aid off number one. The next Darkness record will sound like this.

27 Limahl - The Never Ending Story
Always used to be fascinated by the way he went "stor-EEEEEE!" Knowingly wears a wig on stage these days. Apparently he appeared on CITV at Christmas 1998 to perform this ahead of a showing of the titular film, which can only have been for the production team's benefit.

28 Kane Gang - Respect Yourself
29 Chicago - Hard Habit To Break
30 Dazz Band - Let It All Blow
31 Temptations - Treat Her Like A Lady

32 Duran Duran - Wild Boys
You'll get pneumonia.

33 Bronski Beat - It Ain't Necessarily So
George Gershwin and Peter Tatchell to a disco beat. Richard Coles met Jimi sessioning on this track, and intriguingly is now training to become a CoE priest. No more series of that Sunday night Feedback-style slot on 5 Live in the pipeline, then.

34 Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You
How many weddings in June did he go to, then?

35 Tina Turner - Private Dancer
Forever tainted in our minds by Little and Large's reworking, a good six or seven years after the event.

36 Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
That's Wizzard Featuring Vocal Backing By The Suedettes Plus The Stockland Green Bilateral School First Year Choir With Additional Noises By Miss Snob And Class 3C to you. Originally released in 1973, it's only actually been reissued twice, this being the second time. No, we're not counting the Roy Wood Big Band version (no. 54, 1995) or I Wish It Could Be A Wombling Merry Christmas Every Day (no. 22, 2000), although the latter was the most successful release on Mike Batt's label until he popped by the Brits school one day and wondered who the girl over there with the winsome look and acoustic guitar was.

37 Council Collective - Soul Deep (Part 1)
You'd have thought Paul Weller (and to a lesser extent Mick Talbot) would have done better with his pro-miners benefit then to saddle it with a name that sounds like a rubbish collection service, but then you'd have thought he'd have done better then make a deep funk record with Jimmy Ruffin, Junior Giscombe, Heaven 17's Martyn Ware and loads off other people you've never heard of to state their case. There wasn't a part 2, no.

38 Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen

39 Alvin Stardust - So Near To Christmas
Well, yes, Shane, it is. Release schedules, eh?

40 Big Country - Where The Rose Is Sown
Mmm. A week later and we'd have got Smiley Culture's Police Officer. Next time: Anthrax, the Hooters and The Best Christmas Song Ever (TM).

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