Sunday, December 14, 2008

The only chart that counted: 1983

40 Aztec Camera - Oblivious
Roddy Frame's ear for a classy melody has one of its perennial battles with 80s production brainwaves.

39 Santa Claus And The Christmas Trees - Singalong-A-Santa Again
God knows what this was, so let's mention right here that Keith Harris and Orville's Come To My Party was at 63, while at 45 were Klaxons. That's The Klaxons, the Austrian accordion-led oompah band you read right - whose The Clap Clap Sound curiously does turn up on rarity lists of the other Klaxons occasionally. They should cover it. Accordion-led oompah, you say?

38 Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon
When we come to round up the decade this time next year we'll have to look and wonder exactly how Ozzy and Sharon achieved such a level of fame for so many years built on that much sand. Kelly and Jack, the people who prove that privelege and serfdom is not dead, are still giving it a go, bless 'em.

37 Jingle Belles - Christmas Spectre
As you'd guess from the none too subtle allusion, it's a choral medley of songs from A Christmas Gift To You done in the same style. No word on whether someone does a spoken word bit over the end.

36 Elvis Presley - I Can Help
Still going?

35 Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
Co-written by one of Sailor.

34 Frank Kelly - Christmas Countdown
That's the same Frank Kelly who went on to play Father Jack Hackett, here speculating on what damage might be wrought if his true love actually did give him all the gifts in the 12 Days Of Christmas. Feck, arse etc.

33 Elton John - Cold As Christmas
Points off for not starting "welcome to my other Christmas song..."

32 Rod Stewart - Sweet Surrender

31 Simple Minds - Waterfront
The burden of making interesting experimental music cast off, Jim Kerr heads four square for the stadiums. Somewhere Snow Patrol are making notes.

30 The Assembly - Never Never
One-off Feargal Sharkey and Vince Clarke collaboration that was on the first Now! album. No sign of that on the Denise van Outen fronted thing on ITV, obviously.

29 Tears For Fears - The Way You Are

28 Eurythmics - Right By Your Side

27 Roland Rat Superstar! - Rat Rapping (Brilliant Isn't It)
He'd only made his TV-AM debut in May but took off during the summer when Greg Dyke perceptively noted that nobody else was doing summer holiday programming for kids so they might as well. It pretty much sounds like you'd imagine a breakfast TV puppet taking on hip hop in its very early Rocksteady Crew-aided days.

26 Dennis Waterman & George Cole - What Are We Gonna Get For 'Er Indoors?
It's no Arthur Daley (E's Alright).

25 Paul McCartney And Michael Jackson - Say Say Say
The Girl Is Mine actually peaked lower than this number one, but that has the full and frank exchange of views at the end and so is far more celebrated than this neither one thing nor the other follow-up. B-Side: Ode To A Koala Bear.

24 Shakin' Stevens - Cry Just A Little Bit

23 Marilyn - Calling Your Name
You can't tell the boys from the girls now. He couldn't either.

22 Paul McCartney - Pipes Of Peace
Play the pipe of Pringles, as a private joke of ours has it. Actually Fab Wacky Thumbs Aloft's only solo number one, and of course the video 'did' the Christmas 1914 truce.

21 Wham! - Club Fantastic Megamix
When we hear the word megamix we reach for our Browning.

20 Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody
Top 40 reissue three of five, a record Fairytale Of New York is set to break this year. That's why they call it a pension plan.

19 Kool And The Gang - Straight Ahead
Very much past JT and that's imperial phase. Next single Joanna made number two, but who remembers that?

18 Genesis - That's All
Just every so often in the 80s Phil Collins would be involved, almost by osmosis, in a decent record. Recent attempts to reinvent self as a self-deprecating talking head raconteur failed miserably.

17 Barry Manilow - Read 'Em And Weep
Self-deprecating raconteurism surely well beyond his reach.

16 UB40 - Many Rivers To Cross
The transformation from 2 Tone-connected socially aware miscreants to wine bar covers merchants had been well sealed by Labour Of Love, making this Jimmy Cliff cover somewhat superfluous. Maxi Priest is in them now.

15 The Pretenders - 2000 Miles
And very next up the band whose singer discovered UB40 at a pub gig and gave them a support tour break. We reckon there's a solid claim for saying that with Fairytale now mainstream this is the great underplayed credible Christmas song, by a big enough band not to be dismissed as obscurity for its own sake but not a record that Scott Mills spins too often come Yule.

14 Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
Not particularly musically dignified effort on its way down from a lengthy and high-profile number one stay, surely aided by choreography and Brinkley.

13 Michael Jackson - Thriller
Right, what to obligatorily mention? The dance, Vincent Price (officially credited as a rap, if you can imagine Price putting such a thing to tape), "I'm not like other guys", the Filipino prisoners, Lenny Henry's spoof, all written by a bloke from Cleethorpes. The most iconic record of the decade? Perhaps.

12 Tracey Ullman - Move Over Darling
Very much over the brow of the hill of her short but sweet recording career, hairbruses and the peerless They Don't Know gone, Kinnock-squiring My Guy's Mad At Me and Give My Regards To Broad Street on the way. To no fanfare over here she's just started a new series on Showtime in America. If her impression of David Beckham is anything to go by it's probably best we don't find out.

11 Howard Jones - What Is Love
On that 1983 Top Of The Pops we linked to the other week it's confidently predicted by Peter Powell that he'll be an enormous name in 1984 following New Song and this. Inevitably he had one more top 5 single.

10 Cliff Richard - Please Don't Fall In Love
Children singing Christian rhymes still five years away.

9 Tina Turner - Let's Stay Together
Ah, now here hangs a tale tricky to get hold of if you weren't there at the time. Turner's last hit had been Nutbush City Limits in 1973, and apart from a role in Tommy she'd been variously releasing flop albums, fruitlessly touring the world and running away from Ike. Then British Electric Foundation, a side project of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh of Heaven 17, approached her to contribute a vocal to their album. That was Ball Of Confusion, and so impressed were BEF that they also recorded this Al Green cover with her. Cue somewhat surprise hit, followed by two decades of granny-of-pop power balladeering.

8 Kenny Rogers And Dolly Parton - Islands In The Stream
Internet joke of two years ago and - take note, Price - actual shrewd operator drawing attention to airhead funbagged blonde so as to go about her impressive writing credits with greater ease do Bee Gees song to no great artistic effect.

7 Billy Joel - Tell Her About It
Big old soul stomper, almost as if Joel was embarrassed by the AOR stomp of his proper big hit.

6 The Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now
Music to play a xylophone as if one were swatting flies to.

5 Status Quo - Marguerita Time
Semi-chicken in a basket cabaret number which precipitated founder member Alan Lancaster walking out because he didn't like it. Wonder if he ever heard In The Army Now or that new one they've done with Scooter. Rick Parfitt famously walked into the kit at the end of the TOTP performance, something he claims was deliberate. Yeah, remembering their drinking/pharmaceutical reputation at the time, deliberate you say now.

4 Paul Young - Love Of The Common People
Plus his backing singers The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts. It was 1983, clearly.

3 Culture Club - Victims
Follow-up to Karma Chameleon, marking the passage of Boy George from cross-dressing tabloid pariah to urbane Saturday evening favourite. Nobody knew about him and Jon Moss then.

2 Slade - My Oh My
Big old stadium balladeering that threatened to break them in America and now gets overlooked because it's got whitewashed guitars and is spelt correctly.

1 The Flying Pickets - Only You
Eyelinered, pop-eyed, sideburned fringe theatre bred acapella lefties have Christmas number one with cover of electropop hit. The Express wouldn't allow that now. Thatcher claimed to be a fan. See, it's not just recently that politicians have tried and failed to get hip with modern music.


James said...

I have watched the clap clap song clip, it's really amazing. Everybody should get enjoy to listen this song.

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