Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer games

For the third in our series of charts featuring notorious summer hits of yore we go to 25th August 1984 and break out the very worst novelty disco record of them all. We sense from that description alone you can already guess what it will be.

40 Break Machine - Are You Ready
It was 1984, the breakdancing thing was still at its height in a way Diversity will never attain. Produced by the team behind the Village People too, which is why you can scoff whenever someone says Dizzee's choice of collaborators has overcommercialised urban music.

39 AC/DC - Nervous Shakedown
Between all the hits everyone knows and occasionally loves there's a lot of drag like this.

38 Nik Kershaw - I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
His first single, reissued as his third chart hit, and a Cold War satire as much as a man wearing fingerless gloves and snood can be a satirical figure.

37 The SOS Band - Just The Way You Like It
The band that did the Fatboy-bastardised Just Be Good To Me mark time.

36 David Sylvian - The Ink In The Well
For someone who often claimed to be uncomfortable with pop success in favour of heading down less likely avenues - this track alone features Can's Holger Czukay, Pentangle's Danny Thompson and jazz slide guitarist Phil Palmer - people would keep buying his records.

35 Lionel Richie - Stuck On You
Has never collaborated with any of Can or Pentangle.

34 Billy Idol - Eyes Without A Face
Mall rock'n'roll nonsense, so let's look beyond the 40 at some missed opportunities. Not just Edwyn Collins and Glasgow scenester Paul Quinn covering the Velvets' Pale Blue Eyes at 79; not just the Blue Nile at 96; not just the Associates' Waiting For The Love Boat at 81, which allows us to link to their fairly unlikely all told appearance on Number 73 (at 4:35, and we're fairly sure that's actual Oscar winner Andrea Arnold appearing just as Billy starts singing, confusing Professor Stanley Unwin as she goes - and there's a credit for 'Armourer'!); not just whatever the hell Mr Solitaire by Animal Nightlife is at 49. No, there's also Kraftwerk's Tour De France at 47 and the inevitable cover of Cliff's In The Country by Norwich Scene (there was such a thing) mainstays the Farmer's Boys. Most remarkably, at 57, Summer Holiday by Roland Rat's sidekick Kevin The Gerbil. We never knew this existed before now, and feel they may have gone a little overboard on the horns.

33 Blancmange - The Day Before You Came
The near enough modern equivalent of this would be if La Roux's next single was a cover of Electric Feel.

32 The Bluebells - Young At Heart
First go round, when it peaked at number eight, before heading back to the top in 1992 off the back of an advert for the VW Golf. The Golf gets more than its fair share of classic adverts, doesn't it? The Paula Hamilton abandon advert was for the Golf, as was the modern dancing Gene Kelly. Co-written by one of Bananarama.

31 Divine - You Think You're A Man
Do you see what he/she's done there?

30 Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
Keeping Lou Albano in work just that little bit longer.

29 The Pointer Sisters - I Need You
Their brief moment in the UK chart sun would begin in 1984, Slow Hand aside. Trust we're all aware of the urban myth except it's actually true about the I'm So Excited video? Good.

28 A Flock Of Seagulls - The More You Live, The More You Love
Darren Day's theme song.

27 Band Of Gold - Love Songs Are Back Again (Medley)
Four years later, the idea was still turning in their minds. Slightly less likely to fill disco floors, though. Before 1.30am or so, anyway.

26 Phil Fearon And Galaxy - Everybody's Laughing
Fearon the subject of some discussion on a previous old chart

25 Neil - Hole In My Shoe
If even John Peel isn't entirely sure how to pitch your act...'re probably doing something right, even if the stagecraft could do with some work. The Brits actually invented a comedy song award just so they could credit it.

24 Shakatak - Down On The Street
From their Wiki: "In January 2010 the group's keyboard player Bill Sharpe was interviewed by Mike Howard on internet jazz funk radio station Vinyl Morpher Radio." Worth knowing.

23 Spandau Ballet - I'll Fly For You
Start of the decline - only one more top ten single - proving man cannot live by sharp suit alone.

22 Tears For Fears - Mother's Talk

21 Windjammer - Tossing And Turning
We have no idea what this is, and we're not sure we want to know.

20 The Kane Gang - Closest Thing To Heaven
They were part of the blue eyed soul thing that enveloped northern UK around this time. They were mates with Prefab Sprout. It's said they wrote and performed the Ooh Gary Davies jingle. One of them wrote the Lighthouse Family's Lifted. Another was called David Brewis, which makes you wonder if he'll ever meet the prolific TV and film comedy music writer Peter Brewis and form an XTC-influenced sophisticated indie band out of spite.

19 Rod Stewart - Some Guys Have All The Luck
Not entirely something you can relate to when Rod's concerned.

18 Tracey Ullman - Sunglasses
Problem with this chart is it's all the right people with all the wrong songs. We'd love to use this bit to discuss Kirsty Maccoll, or Neil Kinnock, or David Copperfield, or Matt Groening, or hairbrushes, but they're all anomolous to this song.

17 Queen - It's A Hard Life
A video apparently the source of some facepalm amusement among Queen fans for what Brian May once called Freddie's "amorous prawn look".

16 Miami Sound Machine - Dr Beat
Estefan in excelsis, of course, an overworked metaphor eventually picked up by the long lost Mylo to unamusing effect.

15 Elton John - Passengers
"Wanna get off!"

14 Prince - When Doves Cry
If the internet is over at least his notoriously picky people won't read this.

13 Jeffrey Osborne - On The Wings Of Love
He's a funk singer who's on We Are The World, and that's about the limit of interesting things about him.

12 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax
"Well, I certainly wasn't in a position to ban anything..."

11 Iron Maiden - 2 Minutes To Midnight
Coming in five minutes behind Wah! Heat.

10 Grandmaster And Melle Mel - White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)
So using the double negative, do do it? Grandmaster isn't actually Grandmaster Flash, he'd left Sugar Hill already and the credit was to confuse people. Duran Duran's career never recovered from their cover.

9 Trevor Walters - Stuck On You
Great rock'n'roll name. It was in fact a reggae Lionel Richie cover, if you can credit such a thought.

8 Tina Turner - What's Love Got To Do With It
Her third solo single, her US breakthrough, the title of her official biopic. Already 45 years old, thus already a glamorous granny in pop terms.

7 Hazell Dean - Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)
Important, not for the never likely to be more than passing interest singer but because it was Stock Aitken & Waterman's first top ten single as producers or writers. Band Aid II would be only five years away.

6 Laura Branigan - Self Control
Not Gloria, the one most people remember because Pulp ripped it off on Disco 2000, but some grandstanding hi-NRG.

5 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes
Patrick Allen makes far better use of his stentorian vocal cords then E4 ever managed, while Holly, Paul and The Lads make the best of nuclear panic. Chernenko lived for less than a year after his part in the video wrestling match.

4 Howard Jones - Like To Get To Know You Well
"One of the big names to emerge in '84 is going to be Howard Jones" Peter Powell confidently predicted on the Top Of The Pops Christmas show after his two big hits of 1983. Thus of course this was his only other top five single. He's playing Bestival this year, preceded on the day by festival regular DJ Hojo Hits, a man playing nothing but Jones' work (and a front for a leading UK music blogger - not us, we said 'leading') who has long campaigned for the man himself to play the event. They've also booked Level 42, though, which must be just pixieishness on Rob da Bank's part. Jones, we learn, is also of the same Buddhist sect as Kevin Eldon.

3 Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You
A new entry, soon to be number one for six weeks. The sort of schlock that put people off the very idea of his Glastonbury set, and at the time hammered into the ground by means of The Late Late Breakfast Show's obsession with the supposed appearance of a piece of floating toast in the video. Heady days for Noel.

2 Black Lace - Agadoo
How does one 'grind coffee' exactly? And what is a hula melody? It was a French song of origin, picked up by Alan Barton and Colin Gibb as they had the previous year's top 10 debut Superman. This sold a million worldwide and gave the duo carte blanche to sneak onto the end of the Band Aid line-up on Christmas Top Of The Pops. Still going. Of course.

1 George Michael - Careless Whisper
Found dead with chocolate stains around his arse - initial police reports are that he died of a careless WisSTOP THAT RIGHT THERE. (Especially as we've just found the same joke online with Stephen Gateley's name used instead. Yeah, that works, using an entirely different person's song) Co-written by Andrew Ridgeley, the first Michael/Ridgeley single since Club Tropicana, and released while Wham! still existed. They've got to lose that sax solo.

1 comment:

Steve Williams said...

Talking about Like To Get To Know You Well and not even mentioning him performing it at Bristol Temple Meads station on Top of the Pops? For shame!

In fact, rather brilliantly that whole programme, which includes The Smiths with Morrissey's "MARRY ME", Bucks Fizz's best record being interrupted (and they invited them back the following week to make up for it) and Norris McWhirter's only ever appearance on Top of the Pops, is actually available online too...