Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now just look at me as I'm looking down on you

So we've seen what Dexys did pretty much single-handedly, and single-mindedly, to become both commercial successes and cult greats, but what was actually in their chart radar? Presenting the top 40 of 4th May 1980:

40 Liquid Gold - Dance Yourself Dizzy
Steve Lamacq recalls the dedication to their job of whoever got the job of typing out the lyrics to this in Smash Hits, beginning "D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dizzy!"

39 Junior Murvin - Police And Thieves
The Clash version had been around for three years but there's suggestion, any if anyone knows better do tell, that it took until now for Island to realise and officially put this out in the UK, leading to his somewhat unorthodox TOTP choreography. Watch him when the TOTP2 caption appears.

Junior Murvin - Police And Thieves -1977
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38 BA Robertson - Kool In The Kaftan
Seemingly a song about how everyone else in pop is doing it wrong. History has not borne him out.

37 Selecter - Missing Words
It was no Shed Of Dread.

36 The Four Bucketeers - The Bucket Of Water Song
The Tiswas spin-off single! Written by John Gorman, who of course knew about all this from The Scaffold, and produced by Nicky Graham, whose magnificently eclectic CV includes being Bowie's Spiders From Mars keyboard player, signing the Clash to CBS and producing Let Loose. Video, to surely nobody's great surprise, prominently features Sally James in leather getting covered in water.

35 Crown Heights Affair - You Gave Me Love
You know it's a turn of the 80s disco-funk group from New York just from the name, don't you?

34 Smokie - Take Good Care Of My Baby

33 Bad Manners - Ne-Ne-Na-Na-Na-Na-Nu-Nu
Our first taste of Buster and his merry band of horn section beer hounds, one that never saw the need for words when it had a laughing saxophone.

32 The Cure - A Forest
And speaking of laughing boys, this was the second week ever on the top 40 for Cap'n Bob Smith and brooding friends of the moment. Existential.

31 New Musik - This World Of Water
Runt of the electropop litter. That's just the moon, isn't it?

30 Mystic Merlin - Just Can't Give You Up
Really hoped this would be someone's real name; that they turn out to be a run of the mill soul outfit, even one that started out with a magic sideline, seems a letdown.

29 Madness - Work Rest And Play EP
Led by Night Boat to Cairo, its video perhaps not shot on location if you ever see it.

28 The Average White Band - Let's Go Round Again
A stab at populist disco, which we suppose worked given Louise covered it, and a final top 40 single for the surprisingly actually Scottish funkateers.

27 The Ruts - Staring At The Rude Boys
A tribute to 2-Tone, apparently. God knows what the Gallows/Bizzle cover was a tribute to. The burning desire for noise abatement?

26 Kate Bush - Breathing
A spooked piano ballad about a baby being born into a post-nuclear fallout world. That this doesn't seem unusual for Kate Bush is telling.

25 Michael Jackson - She's Out Of My Life
"S Club 7 performed the song on their S Club Party Live Tour in 2001". PARTY ON.

24 Sad Cafe - My Oh My
"Got ten out of ten in Jockey Slut!"

23 Cockney Rejects - The Greatest Cockney Rip Off
Could Oi! have ever been said to have had an imperial phase, or is that putting too much faith in it as a sustainable genre? For the unaware Oi! was the scrag end of punk, only more Cockney then you could ever fear, coined by Garry Bushell and marvellously said by Wikipedia to have originated among "non-aligned working class youths sometimes called herberts" as if this were a mid-70s ITV sitcom. Its biggest hit, this, was a pisstake of Sham 69. And then it went underground and re-emerged in subterranean clubs in America, as all these things tend to do.

22 The Pretenders - Talk Of The Town

21 Whitesnake - Fool For Your Loving
Good old school northern hard rock. No duetting with members of the Saturdays for them.

20 Saxon - Wheels Of Steel
See above. Saxon. That's a name that just oozes 1980 Yorkshire hard rock even if you didn't already know.

19 Leon Haywood - Don't Push It, Don't Force It
What can you say that would be repeatable?

18 The Detroit Spinners - Working My Way Back To You
You know that the English trad folkies forced them to add the Detroit to their name for the UK? And that a cover of this staple of TV-advertised Not Available In Shops timelocked compilations was Boyzone's first single, which failed to chart in the UK? What? Oh.

17 The Beat - Mirror In The Bathroom
Perennially touring the UK in a version that contains two original members, though Ranking Roger still has the energy of the four or five left behind, or in Dave Wakeling's case fronting his own Beat with even fewer original members in America.

16 Dr Hook - Sexy Eyes
Which isn't something you could say of Ray Sawyer.

15 The Nolans - Don't Make Waves
Before Colleen became the most famous woman in Britain.

14 Jimmy Ruffin - Hold On To My Love
Completely forgotten now, by and large, but the soul singer had six top 10 singles, two admittedly the same, over fourteen years. That's memorability for you.

13 UB40 - King/Food For Thought
Our introduction to what was then a sociologically hard hitting proper reggae outfit before all the covers nonsense. Seek out Signing Off, it's better than you'd imagine after twenty five years plus of attempting to turn Jamaica into the world's biggest wine bar.

12 Bobby Thurston - Check Out The Groove
He's not even on Wikipedia! How are we meant to cope?

11 Narada Michael Walden - I Shoulda Loved Ya
Rather marvellously, a former Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer, by now making servicably bendy jazz-funk. Went on to write hits for Whitney, Mariah and Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, so he doesn't get away with a free pass.

10 The Undertones - My Perfect Cousin
Odd thing is, the Human League of synthesizer advice fame were at 72 this week with the Holiday 80 EP, and that was their second ever week in the top 75 (though Being Boiled and Empire State Human had already failed to chart). That's a hell of a reputation to build in such a short space of time that charting larrikins can be taking the piss before you've had any commercial prestige.

9 Hot Chocolate - No Doubt About It
A song about witnessing a UFO. And that's it. No amusing kidnapping, no new perspective, just the act of witnessing a UFO. That's not how to develop a story lyric.

8 Motorhead - Golden Years EP
Something telling here - Motorhead had three top ten singles, of which one was split with Girlschool and the other two were live EPs. The lead track Leaving Here was, of all things, a Holland-Dozier-Holland song that Eddie Holland himself had a small Billboard hit with, which the Who covered at some stage. Not much of HDH's original intent is left standing.

7 Rodney Franklin - The Groove
You know jazz-funk's problem, apart from that Jay Kay likes it? Too long for its own good. Too much US cop show weedy horns as exposition. Doubtless a Radio 2 DJ has once used this as intro bed music.

6 Sky - Toccata
Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, also Vanessa-Mae's theme when she was hanging around in diaphonous slips during the first summer of pop-classical glamour crossover. When 'they' say punk killed prog 'they' forget John Williams was still up to this sort of thing to great success.

5 David Essex - Silver Dream Machine
From a film called Silver Dream Racer, a motorbiking action pic that proves why Britain never made its own Vanishing Point.

4 Blondie - Call Me
We think we might have mentioned this before, actually, but, remembering the briefly popular 'Blondie Is A Band' slogan, have you noticed the currently popular band in a similar if more straight up pop-punk idiom have popularised the T-shirt 'Paramore Is A Band'?

3 Paul McCartney - Coming Up
The slightly ridiculous balsawood funk record which Paul plays all the instruments on and, legend says, inspired John Lennon to come out of retirement. And that (embedding disabled) video! Fuck you, Bohemian Rhapsody, this should be on all the Greatest Video Ever polls as the token retro entry. Fab Wacky Macca Thumbs Aloft dressed as Ritchie Blackmore, Mick Fleetwood and Ron Mael!

2 Johnny Logan - What's Another Year
Grandstanding Eurovision winner for the only man to have won the thing twice, and he's written three more Irish entries. It must be all the canapes and opportunity for whoopee during backstage filming that drags him in so often. If you must know Love Enough For Two by Prima Donna, a sextet featuring Kate Robbins, came third.

1 Dexys Midnight Runners - Geno
Actually its second of two weeks atop, it's just this chart was better to write about. We wrote in the last post about how Washington had been encouraged to retake the stage in the wake of this being a hit, when it fact it turns out he was busy training to become... a hypnotist. A hypnotist! And these days he includes it in his act! He should have toured with Mystic Merlin.

And if that chart wasn't good enough, or you thought it was shit and demand another, you should see what was around when Come On Eileen was topping the singles chart... we'll tell you next post.

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