Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Golden year

So you like the retro charts, and we know this due to surveyance. A retro chart from five years ago, surely, then? This is the world this blog were born into:

1 Tony Christie Ft Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
2 Elvis Presley - Way Down
3 Bodyrockers - I Like The Way
4 Will Smith - Switch
5 Razorlight - Somewhere Else
6 Ciara Ft. Missy Elliott - 1, 2 Step
7 Nine Inch Nails - The Hand That Feeds
8 Caesars - Jerk It Out
9 Mario - Let Me Love You
10 50 Cent - Candy Shop

Nine Inch Nails? Really? Don't remember that. And that Elvis track was part of a sequential reissue of all his UK number ones which threatened to boil over for the first four months of the year or so. Anyway, even for us five years isn't enough chart-based nostalgia, so let's pick an interesting chart from this week. Say, that officially issued on 30th April 1988:

40 All About Eve - Every Angel
Deemed goth at the time, and best remembered for the Top Of The Pops miming disaster (the follow-up, indeed), but listening to this again, doesn't it sound like more like a prototype for Belly?

39 Star Turn On 45 (Pints) - Pump Up The Bitter
You might well ask.

38 T'Pau - Sex Talk (Live)
A very Eighties concept, a live version of something that hadn't previously been a hit becoming a single. In fact, live singles have died off altogether now, unless you really want to count the Brits mixes.

37 Def Leppard - Armageddon It
They'd doubtless been waiting years to come up with a song to fit that title.

36 The Housemartins - There Is Always Something There To Remind Me
Their last single, and not a cover. Now Heaton's off on his own and The New Beautiful South are dragging on maybe it's time the Housemartins were given their proper due.

35 The Adventures - Broken Land
Irish band who had been big hypes a couple of years earlier and in this had Radio 1's most played song of 1988, none of which lifted it beyond number 20 or gave them a second hit.

34 Deacon Blue - When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)
"I am the girl from Deacon Blue/Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo"

33 The Christians - Born Again
Shades-sporting harmonic smooth soul brothers-and-cousin with New Wave background, currently trading with only one of the three Christian brothers. Alright, one of them's dead, but it's still a dereliction of nominature duty.

32 The Mission - Beyond The Pale
Interesting chart times, these. I Should Be So Lucky had only this week left us, while Somewhere In My Heart was on a slow climb eventually taking it to number 3. Prefab Sprout's poisoned chalice The King Of Rock 'N' Roll was waiting to pounce at 49, REM's Finest Worksong became their biggest hit to date at 50 (Orange Crush in June 1989 finally took them over the precipice, megaphone, Simon Potter link and all), and someone having their biggest hit of all at 80 were flag bearers of the extraordinary the Cardiacs, with Is This The Life. At 94, meanwhile, we find the alarming Clarence Carter And Gary Coleman's Strokin'/Watch Where You Stroke. Despite the title namecheck connection, though, this isn't Gary Coleman of Willis sense-questioning fame but a briefly lauded bluesman.

31 Aswad - Don't Turn Around
Former number one from one of the many attempts at a UK summer of reggae.

30 Narada - Divine Emotions

29 Joyce Sims - Walk Away

28 Luther Vandross - I Gave It Up (When I Fell In Love)

27 Sinitta - Cross My Broken Heart
More famous now, or at least a year or two ago, than she has been for twenty years. This revivalism surely has its limits.

26 The Primitives - Out Of Reach
Reformed, currently touring, playing Indietracks. Latterly down as a one hit wonder, but every single seemed to be on Wogan at the time.

25 Eighth Wonder - I'm Not Scared
Patsy Kensit's band, in a Scarlet Division rather than She & Him sense, and their Pet Shop Boys written and produced not actually sole hit despite what everyone thinks (Cross My Heart made number 13). Surprisingly breathy.

24 Rob Base And DJ E-Z Rock - It Takes Two
Early hip hop gold, not to mention most famed source of the "Yeah! Woo!" sample that cast its shadow over half the chart by 1992.

23 Brenda Russell - Piano In The Dark
How could you tell where middle C is?

22 Glen Goldsmith - Dreaming
We suspect he wrote his Wiki page himself, or at least his manager did. Although we'd have left off the bit about fronting a Kool & the Gang tribute band.

21 Tiffany - Could've Been
To the malls!

20 Bros - Drop The Boy
The video played at the end of the 1989 Brits when it underran because, well, because the whole show was screwed up, but more precisely because they lost a special video message from Michael Jackson and there were only so many reprises Randy Newman could have done. Muergghhh!

19 Taylor Dayne - Prove Your Love
18 Jellybean Featuring Adele Bertei - Just A Mirage
The year of Hi-NRG.

17 Patrick Swayze Featuring Wendy Fraser - She's Like The Wind
Possibly chasing the Bruce Willis dollar from the previous year, a full eight months after Dirty Dancing, on which it features, was released.

16 Will Downing - A Love Supreme

15 Pat and Mick - Let's All Chant
Remember them doing this on the last The Roxy, which seemed an abuse of privileges given Pat Sharp was hosting it. The other was fellow Capital DJ Mick Brown, not that us in the provinces knew who the hell he was.

14 James Brown - The Payback Mix (Part One)
Essentially a JB back catalogue cut and paste by an uncredited Coldcut, loosely based around also-ran track The Payback.

13 Jermaine Stewart - Get Lucky

12 Fairground Attraction - Perfect
A song to drift down a canal under umbrellas to. Chief musical Attraction Mark E Nevin - and yes, we hope the use of the middle initial was a deliberate nod - went on to write with Morrissey.

11 Pebbles - Girlfriend
Post-Debbie Gibson dance-pop from the woman who went on to found and manage TLC.

10 Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere
From Tango In The Night, the first time the band had had consistent singles chart success since the late 60s and their biggest seller bar Rumours. Lindsay Buckingham, of course, chose this moment to leave.

9 Michael Jackson With The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back '88
Not that mid-Bad campaign labels were keen to get any MJ on the shelves.

8 George Michael - One More Try

7 Climie Fisher - Love Changes (Everything)
"In the spring of 1995 Climie did an interview for Mixed Aggregate magazine, in which he criticised his ex-partner for not giving him the credit he felt he deserved during their days of chart stardom."

6 Natalie Cole - Pink Cadillac
In 1988 you could get away with promoting an artist as the offspring of someone famous, no questions asked. It's actually a movement-as-sex metaphor song by Springsteen, which puts a different take on Cole's candy coloured version.

5 Bananarama - I Want You Back
From the SAW (thus inferior) years, their first single with Jacquie O'Sullivan, who even now they're a Keren/Sara duo probably qualifies as 'the new one'. Did they really start out singing backing vocals for The Monochrome Set?

4 Hazell Dean - Who's Leaving Who
More hi-NRG, more SAW, and we challenge anyone to come up with anything more interesting.

3 Danny Wilson - Mary's Prayer
We know all too well there was nobody called Danny Wilson in the band, it's the law (named after a Sinatra film, in fact) Released about several hundred times before becoming a hit, drivetime AOPop never seemed so shiftless, although our thoughts are more taken by The Second Summer Of Love, their 1989 reaction against both rave and acid rain.

2 Pet Shop Boys - Heart
Fourth and last number one for Neil'n'Chris (written for Hazell Dean, actually), consistent givers of great interview and pop theorists on a Morley scale. Not a great by their scale, though.

1 S'Express - Theme From S'Express
We were still getting used to the modern language of dance music, with only Steve 'Silk' Hurley and MARRS going atop before Mark Moore stepped in with his own sampledelica, introducing acid house to the equation. Moore's cohort Pascal Gabriel had previously helped out on Bomb The Bass' Beat Dis, making him some sort of uncrowned king of this sort of thing. To prove it's a long shift when you don't do the press, he co-wrote and produced three tracks on Marina and the Diamonds' album. Anyway, it's still an exciting record and proof that, despite the Avalanches and Dan Deacon, sampling was much more inventive before the 1991 copyright test case. And yes, they could look awkward miming on keytars and Rolands in boxes with the best of them.


23 Daves said...

I've managed to live my entire life so far without once hearing "Pump Up The Bitter", and now I finally have, I'm totally bemused. How was it ever a hit? Is there a joke I'm missing here? Was Steve Wright in some way to blame?

Simon said...

Maybe it was a Northern thing along the lines of the sleeper success of Chubby Brown's cover of the cover of Living Next Door To Alice? Certainly Google's giving no clues, apart from that it was the brainchild of the singer from an early 70s prog band called The Greatest Show On Earth which also featured future Blockhead Norman Watt-Roy, a suggestion that they later covered Take Me Out, and a torrent called Worst 80s Novelty Songs... Ever!, which as well as its contradictory title includes the not exactly Star Trekkin'-esque I've Never Met A Nice South African.

Steve Williams said...

It was Simon Parkin, of coure, with that memorable REM link, Simon Potter was his equally unmemorable CBBC chum. I love that Eighth Wonder clip because clearly the other people in the band were resigned to the fact nobody gave a toss about them and so didn't bother turning up. If only Blondie had that much common sense.

I remember an interview with Star Turn On 45 Pints in the first issue of Smash Hits I ever bought, which was about two weeks after this chart. Sadly I can't remember anything about who they were and what they wanted of us. But good to remember what a broad church Ver Hits was.

Chris Brown said...

I definitely remember Star Turn releasing a double A-side of 'Parklife' and 'Roll With It' circa 1996. I think the album was called "Maybe Definitely the Best Star Turn Album Ever" or somesuch.

I actually did remember seeing 'Pump Up The Bitter' on TotP and when I looked it up for a post on my blog I discovered that there's a lot of Star Turn on YouTube. Check out the B-side of their first single, if you will.