Sunday, December 12, 2010

The only chart that counted: 1988

40 Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra - Minnie The Moocher
Because that's just what you'd buy for Christmas, a light drum machine-backed reggae version of a Cab Calloway song. By the way a hardy perennial of festive radio classics, Chris Rea's Driving Home For Christmas, is at 53, which was as high as it got until cracking the 40 for the first time in the great download surge of 2007.

39 Boy Meets Girl - Waiting For A Star To Fall
The reverberations from the rival dance-cheese versions - one sampled, one re-recorded vocals - are still being felt.

38 Humanoid - Stakker Humanoid
They called it acieeed, we gather. Future Future Sound of London members break out the 303.

37 The Beach Boys - Kokomo
Right then. Written by Mike 'not war' Love, John 'Papa' Phillips, Scott 'Flowers In Your Hair' MacKenzie and Terry 'it's unlikely you would've, but he produced the Byrds, introduced Brian to Van Dyke Parks and was reputedly the Manson family's actual target when they killed Sharon Tate - oh, and he was Doris Day's son' Melcher. It was their first Billboard number one in 22 years, and Carl Wilson, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston are on it, but now we're well past the critical evaluation you tend not to see it mentioned much. For, oh, some reason.

36 Hithouse - Jack To The Sound Of The Underground
Music to make lightly satirical, studenty early 90s comedy to. That show, there, contains a sketch about Mark Gardener.

35 Alexander O'Neal - Christmas Song/Thank You For A Good Year
Don't mention it.

34 Natalie Cole - I Live For Your Love

33 Pet Shop Boys - Left To My Own Devices
Big heroic The Big Country-style orchestra, especially on the MGM ending, does battle with Lowe on Europop setting and Tennant on the joys of being alone. Probably an allegory.

32 Gloria Estefan And Miami Sound Machine - Rhythm Is Gonna Get You
The song that started the 1989 Brit Awards ceremony. And yes, it's all still there.

31 Traveling Wilburys - Handle With Care
Harrison, Dylan, Orbison, Petty and Jeff Lynne get a title from a box in Bob's garage and decide the results are too good to fester on George's B-side. The box set (of two albums) reached number one as recently as three years ago. And they say it's predictable in the modern charts.

30 Chris De Burgh - Missing You
Is Bill Bailey still writing jokes about him?

29 Bon Jovi - Born To Be My Baby

28 Annie Lennox And Al Green - Put A Little Love In Your Heart
Apart from it being Green's first secular release for a decade, it's a blast of the 80s practice of getting whichever adult contemporary solo star had time spare in their release schedule to duet with a soul legend in the hope of contracting something.

27 Tiffany - Radio Romance
From an album with the odd for its type title Hold An Old Friend's Hand, the last track of which is an acoustic guitar instrumental. No, not of Tiffany's playing, and as she wasn't a songwriter it has nothing to do with her at all.

26 Bomb The Bass Featuring Maureen - Say A Little Prayer
Maureen! The glamour of it all. She sings Aretha mostly over just a breakbeat, and acid jazz as one pokes its head up.

25 INXS - Need You Tonight
The best guitar riff Prince never played sullied forever by Professor Green, we fear.

24 Bananarama - Nathan Jones
Lauded at the time as the first video to include vogueing, more than a year before Madonna caught on. But as this was SAW Bananarama doing a little known Supremes song, nobody cared.

23 Shakin' Stevens - True Love
"The others said he was old enough to shake himself"

22 Robin Beck - First Time
Holidays are coming.

21 A Tribe Of Toffs - John Kettley (Is A Weatherman)
And so is Michael Fish. Sunderland's big contribution to pop pre-Kenickie, assuming you don't count Dave Stewart as he hightailed it in his teens. They got their deal by sending a tape to Andy Crane - who, you'll recall, has no brain. He seems to have taken it well. One of them was later in a band with Matt 'Aqualung' Hales. Mark Morano? Borano? What?

20 Enya - Evening Falls

19 Londonbeat - 9AM (The Comfort Zone)
*pause* No, no, that was the London Boys. Londonbeat were a poor man's Pasadenas. How come, by the way, nobody's recently attempted to give a priority launch to a modern day Temptations?

18 A-ha - You Are The One
Don't recall this one. Seems to have a passing resemblance to Boys Of Summer.

17 New Order - Fine Time
Their Balearic phase kicks off with something that in comparison to most Ibiza house seems all over the place. Much like Barney was on TOTP, in fact.

16 Rick Astley - Take Me To Your Heart
Still supporting Peter Kay, although his material must seem fresher.

15 Freiheit - Keeping The Dream Alive
Münchener Freiheit to everyone but the UK. A Christmas song, in that it appears on festive compilations, that isn't related to Christmas in any way, shape or form, not even musically - French horn yes, bells no.

14 Kim Wilde - Four Letter Word
Kim's last visit to the top ten, and probably coincidentally her last single written by dad and brother. Apparently now a creator of American anthems, says X Factor.

13 Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal
Single number seven of eight from Bad - what did Just Good Friends and Speed Demon do so wrong? - became one of the most iconic due to The Hat and The Lean. Who'd like to see the technology patent behind The Lean?

12 U2 - Angel Of Harlem
They really did think they were a blues-soul band.

11 Petula Clark - Downtown '88
Back in his Broom Cupboard days Philip Schofield ran a feature entitled Downtown, where Pet's hit would be played under photos of viewers and their friends around 'town'. Schofield lobbied for a re-release which was unsuccessful sales-wise, but a year or two later a Dutch DJ put a beat under it and here we were.

10 Phil Collins - Two Hearts
From Great Train Robbery-as-comedy (only not about the glamorous one from the gang) film Buster. "It opened the radio station BBC Hereford and Worcester, appropriate in that the station was based in two different places." Lateral, BBC, lateral.

9 The Four Tops - Loco In Acapulco
This following Kokomo - this really wasn't a good time, so posterity says, for veteran heroes. This was also from Buster, and a Collins co-write. Never forget his late 80s malignancy.

8 Bros - Cat Among The Pigeons/Silent Night
Matt's just done his Rat Pack-inspired show at the Royal Albert Hall after a residency at Caesar's Palace, a show that apparently includes the first of these. Those sort of facts do kind of leave you bereft of ironic notion about 80s nostalgia, except to think that yes of course a member of Bros wanting to be taken seriously, something that wasn't in short supply at the time - look, they're covering Silent Night! - would do a swing set with reworkings of his old songs.

7 Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance
Actually quite aged in pretty much every way - the colours in the video, Neneh's dollar sign pendant, that not even Kate Nash took time out to go "what is 'e like?" Still, all sorts of groundbreaking at the time and still the high water mark, both commercially and intrinsically, for all urbanite British females.

6 Inner City - Good Life
"It is often remembered for being played at dance clubs and on the radio" says its Wiki entry. Helpful.

5 Status Quo - Burning Bridges (On And Off And On Again)
The song they rewrote for Come On You Reds six years later, bringing in a new era of football song where we were shown it couldn't just be game squads bellowing together.

4 Angry Anderson - Suddenly
Wedding Theme From Neighbours, of course, Scott and Charlene soundtracked by a stocky formerly rock bald man. Not to be confused with Dame Edna Everage's Theme From Neighbours, which was at 98. Whose idea was that?

3 Erasure - Crackers International EP
Stop! the lead track for the perennial Chart Show indie chart invaders.

2 Kylie And Jason - Especially For You
Them again. Minogue and Donovan always denied being in a relationship at the time, and would do for years afterwards, then some time in the late 90s it suddenly became an accepted fact all along.

1 Cliff Richard - Mistletoe And Wine
And so the Cliffmas industry really kicked in. After his aforementioned Little Town near miss Please Don't Fall In Love went top ten in 1983, but from here on in until 2007 there'd be an end of year release more often than not. Originally written as an ironic counterpoint in a musical version of The Little Matchgirl, Cliff had it rewritten as more religiously inclined and brought in kiddy choirs akimbo to help strike gold and get backing singers on TOTP into jumpers. Everybody!

NEXT WEEK: Scooter are accidentally invented, megamixes become the new rock'n'roll and Christina Ricci discovers the dark side of her profession.


Steve Williams said...

Numbers seventeen and forty are absolutely the sound of Christmas 1988 for me, because we had a school trip to the pictures to see Santa Claus The Movie (a poor choice of Christmas film, as it was premiering on telly that Christmas) and it was preceded by a selecion of pop videos, branded as a special edition of C4's pop show Wired, of which two of the three were Minnie The Moocher and Fine Time. I also remember the Reggae Philarmonic Orchestra perfoming that on Motormouth on Christmas Eve.

When we went to WH Smith to but John Kettley Is A Weatherman, they'd never even heard of it. I do know Andy Crane said he was looking forward to introducing them on Pops the week after Christmas, when he was hosting, but they went down the charts. On Completely Different Records, fact fans.

23 Daves said...

I saw that "Wire" special in the cinema as well, Steve, although I'd totally forgotten all about it until you just mentioned it! My older brother had taken me out for a treat, then got pissed off that I was more excited about the fact that pop videos were on the big screen and on the loud dolby sound system than I was about the film itself (whatever the hell that was - I can't remember). To this day, I still think a cinema matinee special of classic pop videos on the big screen wouldn't be such a terrible idea, but I'm probably alone in that thought.

Of course, Kylie and Jason were also Chart Show indie chart invaders until the point where Video Visuals changed chart compilers and PWL releases never seemed to raise their brow above the number 11 position of their independent sales chart.