More chartage. It got overshadowed by the Joy Division Oven Gloves farrago, but there was a rival and fantastically petty effort to get Ultravox's Vienna to somehow right twenty-nine years' wrong and send it to number one for some reason. As you may know it wasn't entirely successful, but it gives us an opportunity to dip into the relevant top 40 of 21st February 1981:
40 Adam & The Ants - Cartrouble
39 Adam & The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier
We're right on the edge of the zenith of that odd period when a man singing about flamboyancy and imagined social takeover over Burundi derived drums and big glam guitars was the biggest thing in teen pop. As Miranda Sawyer once observed, two decades later the same age group was being pitched Westlife. The latter was the new single and set to become the start of a name making run of top 3 singles, the former a pleasingly jagged/jangly early single reissued by the old label, as old labels used to do, from before Talcy Malcy (RIP) stole most of the Ants for Bow Wow Wow.
38 Kelly Marie - Hot Love
No strutting sailors, no disco boo-boo, no future.
37 Barry Manilow - I Made It Through The Rain
Yeah. Plenty of passing interest just outside the 40, not least the Teardrop Explodes' unlickable Reward at 41 and the prosaically titled Four From Toyah EP at 42. The Freshies are at 54, and as Dale Winton says that was as high as they ever got, with I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk, notable for two reasons, a) last we knew it was the longest unbracketed song title ever to chart, and b) singer Chris Sievey created a character, played by himself, as the band's biggest fan and went on to concentrate on being that character full time on stage and record. You know he is. He really is.
Holly Willoughby included, how many people in that studio do you think genuinely know who he is?
36 Barbara Jones - Just When I Needed You Most
A few names here have headed down the collective memory plughole. Jones was a one small hit wonder reggae singer.
35 Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime
And a few haven't. None of it was his, apparently.
34 Beggar And Co - Somebody (Help Me Out)
"Beggar and Co (also written Beggar & Co) are a UK male vocal/instrumental group" Wikipedia, seemingly via the Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles. They were a funk brass section who worked with Spandau Ballet. 15 weeks on chart.
33 Gillan - Mutually Assured Destruction
Ian Gillan. Meanwhile at 55 was an entry for Star by Kiki Dee, which as we all know went on to be the theme to Bob Says Opportunity Knocks. Rosser & Davies, we hardly knew ye.
32 The Boomtown Rats - The Elephant's Graveyard (Guilty)
Never one for politicising subtlety, Bob. As we would find out.
31 The Look - I Am The Beat
Mod revival also rans most famous for the locked groove at the end of this record which repeated the last word until you had to get up and take it off, or the stylus wore out.
30 Diana Ross - It's My Turn
Kids In America made its top 75 debut this week, at 62. Now that Gethin Jones has the Holland & Barrett constituency and gardening has moved away from prime time Kim Wilde is forever touring continental Europe and in 2006 released an album mostly of poor reworkings of her old songs, bar a circle-squaring recording of Kids In America with Charlotte Hatherley that was, future biographers take note, the first mp3 we ever uploaded for the blog.
29 The Gap Band - Burn Rubber On Me
Duran Duran's Planet Earth debuted too, at 67. Meanwhile, the funk.
28 Passions - I'm In Love With A German Film Star
Echoey, hairspray-friendly one hit wonder covered to no great effect by Sam Taylor-Wood a couple of years ago, because nobody said the Pet Shop Boys' radar was always perfect. Cicero, for example.
27 Heatwave - Gangsters Of The Groove
26 The Jam - That's Entertainment
Famously only on import, and an example of how compilers can get it so wrong when Snap! featured only a then-rare full band version that couldn't miss the point more.
25 Susan Fassbender - Twilight Cafe
Does anyone know her? The facts, such as they are, seem to get quite repetitive there.
24 Spandau Ballet - The Freeze
23 Freeez - Southern Freeez
Must have been something in the air. (Yeah, that works)
22 Adam & The Ants - Young Parisians
An even older song reissued by an even older label.
21 Roxy Music - Jealous Guy
New entry. Remember what had happened two months previously.
20 Cliff Richard - A Little In Love
19 Yarbrough & Peoples - Don't Stop The Music
Peoples! That really is a copout as far as naming your backing band goes.
18 Adam & The Ants - Antmusic
Don't worry, we've had a couple of generations since and ants treading on you has come no closer to realisation.
17 John Lennon - Imagine
No red wine round theirs.
16 XTC - Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me)
Andy Partridge's least favourite of anything he's recorded, and given how many volumes of Fuzzy Warbles he put out that's some claim.
15 Motorhead & Girlschool - St Valentine's Day Massacre EP
A lot of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal in the lower reaches, but a drop of the old stuff made it to the top five. We would write more, but we've just seen the sentence "The EP was recorded while Motörhead's drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor was recovering from a neck injury sustained playing "who can lift each other up the highest" with a large Irishman" and may be incapacitated in a very different way for some time.
14 Coast To Coast - (Do) The Hucklebuck
In the early 80, see, many were reviving the 50s.
13 Blondie - Rapture
Or making new stuff. Given nobody knew what rap was, Debbie could get away with rhyming like that then.
12 Visage - Fade To Grey
It's not an actual snake.
11 The Pretenders - Message Of Love
10 Slade - We'll Bring The House Down
First top ten single in five years, a period which it says here included a single called Sign O' The Times. "In Wolverhampton a hairy man died of a big disease with a little name..."
9 The Stray Cats - Rock This Town
No Stray Cat Strut, as longtime readers will know, but somehow cooler than, say, Matchbox.
8 Dire Straits - Romeo And Juliet
Lasts about three days, but gives us a chance to post something else Dire Straits related and brilliant in its own altruistic way. IATV's Peter Cook fronted punk-friendly music show Revolver gave ver Straits their TV debut with no warning as to what sort of music was to come. Down the front in the pit for Knopfler, now!
7 Madness - The Return Of The Los Palmas Seven
Dinner jazz oddity with one word lyric, printed in full in inside sleeve of Complete Madness compilation. Highly orchestrated TOTP appearance? But of course.
6 Fred Wedlock - The Oldest Swinger In Town
Last time we got to write about Keith Michell's Captain Beaky, now it's Fred Wedlock. The Music Magazine called us "slightly ahead of the zeitgeist", and we're repaying that one in spades. Bristol folkie Wedlock was in fact only 38 at the time, although if you count Madonna, Kylie and Steven Tyler as more gyrators it could still be true.
5 Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight
Paint pot, drowning, chocolate, you know all this by now.
4 Rainbow - I Surrender
Bigger than FM drivetime TV advertised compilation staple Since You've Been Gone, and somehow much more proof that everything's not AOR.
3 John Lennon - Woman
Knocked off the top, which is a fairly brutal way of the nation declaring that was enough mourning.
2 Ultravox - Vienna
Vic Reeves' version is of course the superior, given it junks all the lyrics bar the first line and chorus.
1 Joe Dolce Music Theatre - Shaddup You Face
Right, so Dolce was born in Ohio with Italian grandparents, moving to Melbourne in the late 70s, where he formed the Music Theatre as a touring musical production of folk, blues and general amusement. He applied for a grant to record it and was given enough for a test segment, for which he chose this. It got picked up by a local DJ, went national, then Polygram shoved it out to stop an in-character re-recording by Andrew Sachs. Can't help thinking that had that been the hit we wouldn't have looked so harshly on Brand and Ross. Perhaps knowing his audience, Dolce follow-ups included Pizza Pizza and You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face. None of them charted.