Saturday, May 14, 2011

But if you want to see some more...

The third and last of this week's top 40s with Eurovision hits atop, and before the listing starts here's a clip on the history of our sceptred isle's success from a 2008 German TV documentary:

This one comes from 18th April 1981, a chart that featured the coming force of Stars On 45 at, erm, 45, the Exploited at 63 and somewhere in the middle (48) My Mum Is One In A Million by Children Of Tansley School. Truly an eclectic age.

40 Department S - Is Vic There?
The mood is mellow? Superior careening new wave with sideways mike holding frontman Vaughan Toulouse, which is really going the long way round in search of the pun.

39 Quincy Jones - Ai No Corrida
Disco soul evergreen co-written and originally recorded by Chas Jankel during one of the periods when he took a break from being Ian Dury's sounding board/punchbag.

38 Dire Straits - Skateaway
A song about watching a girl rollerskate down the road. And that's it. Nobody said serious rock had to be about anything.

37 Echo & The Bunnymen - Crocodiles
The future Electrafixion get to the section labelled 'cool psychedelia (fast)'.

36 David Bowie - Up The Hill Backwards
That difficult moment when Bowie came out the other end of Scary Monsters and had to face up to what his 80s promised.

35 Light Of The World - I'm So Happy/Time
You'd think for all the world this was some religious thing, wouldn't you? Instead it's jazz funk plus a pretend Love Unlimited Orchestra.

34 Roxy Music - Jealous Guy
Mackay and Manzanera were still around but it's hard not to hear this vaguely opportunistic whistle solo-granted emotional sledgehammer and wonder if Bryan hadn't long decided to take it only in his image.

33 Girlschool - Hit And Run
The only top 40 appearance for the post-Leather Tuscadero female element of NWOBHM, they're said to be given their Motorhead connections, though here they appear to be channelling the Go-Gos fronted by Joan Jett.

32 Shalamar - Make That Move
Bodypopping Soul Train disco famous not for the moonwalk, because you have to keep being told Jeffrey Daniel invented that (eh, Jarvis 'I love Michael Jackson really, he invented the moonwalk so he can't be that bad' Cocker?), but for Howard Hewett being the subject of an unprovoked assault.

31 Adam & The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier
A quick reissue of their flop post-reformation debut to fill a six month gap between Young Parisians and that whole highwayman thing. This way round it makes more sense, though, as once you've established Antmusic the ant people and their attendant ambitions would follow.

30 John Lennon - Watching The Wheels
Still dead - in fact, this is the song Mark Chapman was recorded singing while in custody. It didn't get higher than this either, suggesting as much as the legend lives on the record buyers sharply move away.

29 Whitesnake - Don't Break My Heart Again
Coverdale assumes the position.

28 Eddy Grant - Can't Get Enough Of You
Before his socio-political phase, and well before remixers and yoghurt corrupted that bit too.

27 Kool And The Gang - Jones Vs Jones/Summer Madness/Funky Stuff
Some dispute in the camp, we feel.

26 Barry Manilow - Bermuda Triangle
Try to see it from his angle. The Bermuda triangle is one of those legendary things that people always used to talk about as a classic old wives' tale, but we bet kids of today have never come across it. In any case the last such mythologised disappearance happened in 1963 and that was outside the zone.

25 Keith Marshall - Only Crying
Formerly of glam also-rans Hello, now attempting a Cliff Richard goes wet glam schtick.

24 Public Image Limited - Flowers Of Romance
Whether through post-Pistols residuals or a craving for really dark awkwardness PiL stuck around in chart contention for a couple of years. Flowers Of Romance is also the title of a Pistols obscurity and a 1976-77 band Sid Vicious, Keith Levene, Marco Pirroni and two of the Slits had variously been in.

23 Duran Duran - Planet Earth
No sooner had a nation gone "oh, hard Rs?" then guyliner and big frilly shirts were becoming the in thing.

22 Coast To Coast - (Do) The Hucklebuck
Novelty rockabilly revival, that's what 2012 needs. These changed their singer between recording and promotion.

21 Visage - Mind Of A Toy
Second of five charting singles, not bad for a blown up cloakroom boy. Dave Formula, also of Magazine, is on synths, which we mention because we love the glam-bluntness of that name. Dave Formula.

20 Gillan - New Orleans

19 Saxon - And The Band Played On
Much bigger than you'd thought, the whole NWOBHM thing.

18 Spandau Ballet - Musclebound
No, homoeroticism hadn't been invented yet and the Spands were too suave-manly for that anyway. Between To Cut A Long Story Short and Chant No.1 this often gets overlooked but that rhythm track just reeks of gulag.

17 Tony Capstick And The Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band - Capstick Comes Home/The Sheffield Grinder
Surely Capstick can't have been first to take the piss out of the Hovis adverts, but he was the only one to take it - produced, incidentally, by John Leonard, now producer of Radcliffe & Maconie - to number three. Number three! Imagine if he'd released it a bit later and it'd been vying in the charts to sum up the mood of the nation with Ghost Town.

16 Toyah - Four From Toyah EP
Bluntly titled. It's the one with It's A Mystery on.

15 Bad Manners - Just A Feeling
Actually, for two of Ghost Town's summer-of-riots three weeks at number one immediately below it were Stars On 45 and Bad Manners' Can Can, so it wouldn't have been that out of place at all. This is the usual skanking'n'shouting.

14 The Nolans - Attention To Me
For some reason, as nobody's ever really demanded a Nolans reunion, the four of them have a joint autobiography out. The extracts we've found are an extraordinary hodge-podge of self-regarding carefully smoothed out aimless anecdotage. One story is based around touring South Africa in 1977 with Rolf Harris and the man Bernie calls Stu 'Stewpot' Francis - no, Bernie, that's Ed Stewart - in which the apartheid blockade is given half a sentence of consideration in passing amid descriptions of the scenery and meeting Tom Jones. Why, given most of them have had books out already, would you ever read this? Much as This Morning would give them the soft soap, we managed pretty well without them for two decades.

13 Dave Stewart With Colin Blunstone - What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
No, the It's My Party Dave Stewart. You should have guessed from the cover material.

12 Hazel O'Connor - D-Days
Supposedly about meeting "bizarre" looking people in a nightclub. By later this same year that would be the norm.

11 Kim Wilde - Kids In America
Kim Smith takes the family stage name, gets a pout going and makes her name first time out. Much covered, never bettering the original, not even when Kim did it herself in 2006 with frankly superfluous co-vocals by Charlotte Hatherley. It's vertical stripes that make a woman look thinner, isn't it?

10 Linx - Intuition
A typically British early 80s funk band, that is to say one white bloke looking askance at the back and a lead member in glasses. In the latter case it was David Grant, later to marry a woman called Carrie without thinking through the implications.

9 The Whispers - It's A Love Thing
The wristy guitar lick type of soul crossover, the sort of thing that clearly influenced the likes of Linx and survived right until Boyz II Men beat it to death with shovels.

8 The Jacksons - Can You Feel It
And their magic dust will heal humanity the world over. God's sake, don't give Michael ideas. Ollie E. Brown, the Clem Cattini of soul, is on this.

7 Sugar Minott - Good Thing Going
Former roots selector gives in to the lovers rock dollar and ends up being covered by Sid Owen. It's alright, Sid Owen has probably forgotten he tried a solo career.

6 Graham Bonnet - Night Games
None more regional ITV news named former Rainbow member goes against the metal grain with some unsubtle grandstanding, aided by Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Cozy Powell and Jon Lord in his band. If you've heard this oversung production number in the last fifteen years it's in passing on a TV advertised, phone order only drivetime rock compilation just before Survivor's Burning Heart.

5 Landscape - Einstein A-Go-Go
Electric flute attack! What a bizarre record this is, even by 1981 standards. It's the band scenes in the video after they get out of the laboratory that reveal its full oddity hand.

4 Ennio Morricone - Chi Mai (Theme From 'Life And Times Of David Lloyd George')
You'd never get a series called Life And Times Of David Lloyd George on BBC1 now, much less one starring someone like Philip Madoc, who you'll know as the U-boat captain Pike is ordered not to give his name to. This you've probably heard on an advert of some description.

3 Stevie Wonder - Lately
The first of Stevie's really big piano ballads, a path that could only lead to singing into telephones.

2 Shakin' Stevens - This Ole House
Not many of his big hits were originals, you know. This one had been around since 1954 and Americans would know the Rosemary Clooney version. As long as he had the opportunity to jump off something in the video, that's all.

1 Bucks Fizz - Making Your Mind Up
And would it have been up there, chat show anecdotage aside, without the velcro fun? It's the Eurovision winner with the fewest number of douze points ever, though that does mean everyone else voted for it somewhere for once. Second was Germany's entry, about a blind boy taunted by his young peers who becomes a popular singer-songwriter encouraging others to overcome their problems. Meanwhile Norway's entry was produced and arranged by Benny Andersson with Agnetha and Anni-Frid on backing vocals. It received nul points. They don't mention that on all those ITV documentaries. There is actually a video for Making Your Mind Up, but like that Save Your Kisses For Me clip that was on a BBC4 TOTP recently it only fitfully remembers there's supposed to be a song involved somewhere.

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