Oct 08

Popular ’79

FT + Popular/243 comments • 8,074 views

’79 ends up as one of the best years, according to my marks anyhow – but which of its tracks would you have handed six or higher to? Pick as many as you want, then discuss the year in the comments boxes if you like.

Which of these Number One hits of 1979 would you have given 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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My highest marks were 9s for Buggles, Dury, Blondie – lowest 2s for Lena M and the Rats.


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  1. 226
    Mark G on 29 Sep 2014 #

    What amazing eyesight you have..

    Peter, chart rundown, and a song that everyone will remember, sho nuff, but who by? Oh no. Aargh. Until the questionmaster says Frantique and we all go “I wouldn’t have got that one if I had a week”

    The Ruts do a minor hit and even though its barely memorable its still pretty great. What would these dudes be doing if they had started now, I wonder. Something else entirely I guess.

    Randy Van Warmer. I looked it up and no he was not a presenter of Bang Bus. Some kids programme I think. Anyway, what to do with a performer that has almost no stage presence? I sort of remember this, mainly because my mate Andy said “He’s like if you were on TOTP’ and I could see his point. I remember him being much more wobbly vocally and stuff, but apart from an “Oh yeah” on one of the last lines there’s nothing that marks him as being massively nervous.My theory is that the Legs were added on later, with their tribute to Les Bubb.

    Madness, I remember John Peel saying something about how he’d give it all up if he could only dance like Chas Smash. He goes from straight skanking to sort of becoming an early version of a Transformer!

    Roxy Music do Angel Eyes, probably the last time they had dissonant chords in their song like the old days. This is a very good thing, of course.

    Crusaders, and an early appearance for Randy Crawford. Tis great.

    Don’t bring me down, Grüß.

    The legs demonstrate ballroom techniques with teddy bears, and some people sit on tables with empty champagne bottles. Is that Martin Carr over there? Probably not. Oh, and the Belly Brothers play unobtrusively.

    Racey. Have they done yet? No, its still their early days so no. Another one of those where they had to wait for their new song from the writers, and when they got it they said Thank you oh so very much for nothing.

    Bill Lovelady does a convincing pop reggae. I remember an interview with himself where he claimed that this was actually some heavy social comment, based on the references to Lady Jane, and how she’ll bring herself down to the lower classes for the reggae. If you say so..

    Boney M do another alright single.

    And Cliff does that no talking anymore. He sings it with conviction but what does he know about it really?

    And the show is over and the best things in life are free……

    Anyway, been pondering: Is a 3 month suspended sentence going to let DLT off the naughty step in time for the Flying Lizards’ appearance to be shown? Well think of it this way, if he had got that sentence for that, at this point in 1979, would he still have a job at wunnerful Radio 1? I would guess not.

    Ok and now over to you……..

  2. 227
    Steve Williams on 30 Sep 2014 #

    According to Sue from Legs & Co (somewhere else on the internet, I don’t know her), 1980 has already got the green light and they’ve made the documentary to launch it.

  3. 228
    Mark G on 2 Oct 2014 #


  4. 229
    Jimmy the Swede on 4 Oct 2014 #

    We limp on with Mike Read. Only a few of us seem to care anymore. And it doesn’t start well as we have to suffer bloody Racey over the rundown. Surely enough’s enough now.

    Starjets – Straight to Prestatyn for a severely watered down Undertones. Pretty grim, really.

    Kate – Them Heavy People. She was really bonkers by now and utterly gorgeous. I don’t know who the two sinister-looking herberts were. And never mind “rolling the ball”, with that bare light-bulb swinging away, I was expecting Edward Woodward to pop up after it had blown.

    Madness. Prince Buster. Swedeostrasse.

    Mike caresses a willing young pretty and we get the whole Belly Bros thing again.

    Tourists – Early outling for Annie with one which hardly troubled the scorers. Sweet song. Perhaps just too sweet.

    Police – Sending out an S.O.S on the way to the top, of course. Cut and paste footage, which I found slightly annoying. Fabulous track, though. And the Swede saw them play the Nashville, a pub in West Ken, not long before this took off.

    Sad Cafe – I loved this. It’s a wooden performance but the song’s a belter and they stayed awhile before the campers claimed them. Forever.

    Rainbow – Since You’ve Been Gone. Now we’re cooking. “Der-Der-Der UGH! Der-Der…” Fabulous.

    ELO – Bruce. The Gals seem to be playing Celebrity Squares. A clear improvement from the privations of last week but far too much smoke. Also Pauline’s missing.

    Gary Numan is number one. Not for me, I’m afraid.

    Out to Bill Lovelady. Lots of deja vu this week.

  5. 230
    Lazarus on 5 Oct 2014 #

    I’m watching the long ‘un from last night … Mike Read in a stripey suit. Racey – don’t remember it at all. Their time’s almost up.

    Starjets – long haired wannabe punks. I was a few years past ‘Valiant’ by this time, but nice to hear mention of Captain Hurricane.

    Kate Bush – I think this was the one Pamela Stephenson had in mind when she did ‘England My Leotard’ on NTNO’CN.

    Madness – repeat of their first performance? Little did we all know the wonderful career they had ahead of them.

    Bellamy Brothers – two hit wonders, and ‘Let Your Love Flow’ was way better. A one-joke song, and it wasn’t that funny to start with. Ffwd.

    The Jags – now this more like it. Singer’s a Costello wannabe, sure, but the song is fine, and still sounds good on the radio today – guitar solo is tops. High point of the show so far.

    Tourists – first time on the Pops for Dave and Annie, I presume. I only vaguely recall this, but it’s not bad. They have bigger hits around the corner.

    The Police – perhaps a touch over-familiar, it probably gets played every day on Absolute, but good to see the video again. Bring on the Eighties!

    Sad Cafe – an absolute blinder, I loved this then and still do. They’d been around a while, I was always seeing their albums in Our Price. Singer Paul Young is going to have obvious problems in starting a solo career, but will find future success as a Mechanic.

    Rainbow – good show this, here’s a classic Russ Ballard song previously done by Clout and now sung by Graham Bonnet. Their breakthrough hit, and another one still often played. An angsty performance.

    ELO/Legs – gals in outfits you’d expect to see on Hot Gossip gyrate to Lynne’s tubthumper.

    Gary Numan – number one. I don’t mind this, but his appeal waned pretty quickly didn’t it.

    Read reminds us of ’275/285′ and we’re played out by Bill Lovelady. Pretty good show distinctly short of minibus material.

  6. 231
    speedwell54 on 5 Oct 2014 #

    Well at least we don’t have to see Racey this week as they accompany the countdown.

    Starjets – not a great name and the quality sounds like it was recorded live, but for all that, it’s not bad. Lead singer went on to write and sing on the most played song on Radio 1 in 1988.*

    Mike Read- so facts will be coming up at regular intervals. What’s he turned up in tonight! Bit of a Weller haircut too.

    Kate – love her, I mean this. Can’t really do wrong for me, even the Max Bygraves impression.

    Madness – The Prince – repeat.

    Bellamy Brothers again , this time no Legs and Co which is a shame.

    Jags – Back Of My Hand. A real classic and sounds great still. Couldn’t repeat the trick unfortunately.

    Tourists – This must have quite a brave release. Though from different albums I wonder if the more obvious single “I Only Want To Be With” had been recorded by then.

    The Police – quite timeless. Surprised me no end when I found out this didn’t make it in the US when it sounds made for them, and it was a big hit in Canada. Walking on the Moon did nothing either. Still, didn’t have too long to wait.

    Sad Cafe- I can’t keep writing a classic but it seems that sort of show. Not something I would buy/play but really top notch stuff.

    Rainbow -Since You’ve Been Gone – see above

    ELO – Legs and Co ignore health and safety regulations and dance all over the scaffolding. No hard hats either. Tut tut. Subtitles last week said ‘Bruce” this week it’s “Grroosss”

    Gary Numan -Cars. A number one with a tambourine solo.

    *the Adventures -Broken Land
    Not my favourite, but a jolly good show!

  7. 232
    Mark G on 10 Oct 2014 #

    Its Kid with a suitable non-mullet hairstyle, and the chart rundown is Madness. It sounds a little odd compared to the two appearances so far (not repeats, by the way up there) but bear in mind it was a demo released as-is..

    XTC do Nigel, their first performance of it, still great.
    Blondie do the Dreaming video, often seen yes.
    Matumbi do that one you don’t remember until they play it. Reggae with Tuxedo Junction undertones. Its fine stuff but it makes you wonder why this can’t get played as much as Nigel on good old MOR radio. Then again, maybe it does, how would I know I don’t listen to it, so hey.
    Buggles, you remember obviously, I remember this was knocking round for ages before it finally charted. Its the future again clearly.
    Sad Cafe do the ballad one, the stones copy is later. Nice enough but.
    Squeeze do a version of the Stone Roses’ “Begging You” oh wait.. See everyone raved about them when they got all Beatley and faux-country, but this is the stuff I like more. The song is the plot of the first bit of the “Quadrophenia” movie, isn’t it? Yes.

    Legs & co do Kate Bush’s “Them heavy people” in nighties. Nuff Said.

    Rainbow do “Since you been gone” in terrible sound quality, but it didn’t matter we all had ropey tellies back then.

    The Jags are here with Elvis Costello’s voice.. Trevor Horn is all over this one as well, by the way. There’s a guitar solo that the band never even heard until the single came out. VoxPhantom 12 string? On Video Tape. No its in the studio but the joke doesn’t work otherwise.

    Lena Martell. Run away! I blame Kris Kristofferson! And fast forward.

    Sting scratches his chin and sings the line “Message in a bottle” to Stewart. We all found that bit hilarious and used it as a greeting for months afterwards. Still, its a great record and now they were unstoppable.

    Andy Peebles gets introduced to us all. And he’s presenting next week, we can all be sure of that oh yes. Nick Lowe and oot.

  8. 233
    Steve Williams on 10 Oct 2014 #

    We’re on a run of fantastic episodes at the moment and part of the excitement for me is remembering that they were being watched by some eighteen million people because of the ITV strike. Eighteen million people listening to XTC and Matumbi! You’d have to go on an Olympics opening ceremony to get that kind of exposure now. In fact the next episode with Andy Peebles is the highest rated episode ever with 18.9 million viewers, though a fat lot of good that did Peebles as he then didn’t appear again for three years. Can’t wait to see it, and after the excitement of his unveiling we now have to wait an extra week because of The Sky at Night.

    I wonder if Lena Martell getting to number one is related to the ITV strike as a couple of million older viewers were watching Pops for presumably the first time.

  9. 234
    punctum on 10 Oct 2014 #

    Martell was largely down to the Scottish vote.

    Ah yes, Andy “Me Andy Peebles” Peebles, or Andy “I often wonder whether the unemployed really try to find work” Peebles. No thank you.

  10. 235
    Lazarus on 12 Oct 2014 #

    Da Kid introduces what looks to be a good show.

    XTC – I guess these days it’s Nigel who’s making the plans. Sung by floppy-haired Colin Moulding rather than Andy Partridge whose distinctive Wiltshire vowels gave the band the sound of a new wave Wurzels. Not their Pops debut in fact, that was ‘Life Begins at the Hop’ but I think that was Yewtreed.

    Blondie – just a few short months from ‘Sunday Girl’ they’re back with the first single from the new album. It’s OK. Debs gorgeous as ever.

    Matumbi – I didn’t know this one, smooth reggae with ‘Tuxedo Junction’ style horns. Nice.

    Buggles – another of those ‘modern pop starts here’ moments. Did they ever round up the little girl for one of those retro programmes? That’s quite a claim to fame I reckon.

    Sad Cafe – an Eric Stewart production, Kid informs us. Paul ‘the other one’ Young, soberly suited to fit the song. Bit of a classic.

    Squeeze – what a top show this is. Lots of hats being worn this week. Glenn on keyboard duties for a change.

    Kate Bush/Legs & Co – Whitehouse worriers in flimsy nightwear. A Swede-pleasing routine. No Lulu this week.

    Rainbow – video, repeat. Another good ‘un.

    The Jags – repeat (I think). Also the nickname of Partick Thistle FC. I recall Jensen used to claim to be a supporter of St Mirren. Doubt if he got to that many games somehow.

    Len Martell – “there’s a lot of variety in the chart” says Kid, by way of explanation for this being here. Some very young fans gather at her feet – I’m guessing the God-bothering Lena now does Sunday evening service in the chapel at Prestatyn, right?

    Police – second week at the top with the album just out. It’s all good.

    Kid introduces us to Andy Peebles, the man in beige, and it’s out to Nick Lowe. Above average show which even the Martell woman couldn’t put a damper on.

  11. 236
    speedwell54 on 13 Oct 2014 #

    It’s Kid.

    Madness over the countdown. (you’re right and well spotted about the two appearances so far Mark G- having just watched them back I won’t beat myself up about it though, pretty similar)

    Kicks off with XTC – Plans for Nigel – I do like this. Robbie Williams did an awful cover of this early doors just after leaving Take That. I think ‘Life Begins at the Hop’ was Yewtreed, but it snuck on to one of the iplayer versions.
    Claudia Winkleman fringe for Colin.

    Blondie -Dreaming – the fans on the bleachers look a lot more excited than most to the TOTP crowd do.

    Matumbi- good fact about the 18 million viewers. Conversion rate must be low for this one!

    The Buggles – VKTRS – Nicki (explicit) Minaj first big hit – “Check It Out” lifts the ‘ooh wah ooh’s nearly all the way through.

    Sad Cafe – again

    Squeeze – Slap and Tickle – Chris wearing white gloves years before Jackson. I do love the album Cool for Cats, every track is a winner and could have been a single.

    Music from Kate, and Legs and Co dancing, doesn’t get much better -Swedeheaven.

    Since You’ve Been Gone – vid repeat

    Jags – Back of My Hand – again

    Lena -One Day At A Time – well it takes all sorts.

    Police Message in A Bottle – Nice bow tie. Not exactly blowing the budget with the video.

    Is Andy Pebbles wearing a magnolia suit?
    Out to Nick Lowe – Cruel to be Kind. Some proper good tracks tonight.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  12. 237
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Oct 2014 #

    Swede review in two parts this week. Sometimes I have to do some work!

    Bi Hi from Keed. Let’s just clear up his footy preferences according to what I personally remember. He first nailed his colours to the mast of QPR, mainly because of Loftus Road being close to the Beeb but switched to Palace when Rangers started using their plastic pitch. I cannot ever recall anything about St Mirren but stand to be corrected.

    Madness over the titles.

    XTC – Highly memorable great fun, which you would swear was a monster but only hit 17. It’s cut off before its hilarious finish.

    Blondie – Dreaming. Restaurant. Debutante. She is panting and sweatily ravashing. And looks stoned. Nobody cared. The Swede was glued.

    Matumbi – A minor hit which deserved better, lightweight though it be. The guy in the suit was a ringer for a young Lance Gibbs.

    Buggles – On the number one site for VKTRS, I explained why this record means so much to me. In a sentence, I underwent two rites of passage for a young man during the one week that this was top. Waldo will explain for anyone who gives a toss.

    Sad Cafe – Wonderful song with great harmonies. One of the chorus singers looks like Rod Temperton. They tried to get back to Manchester but the driver veered off west onto the M56. “Rod” has now got an act with a giant squirrel.

    Squeeze – Another young person poem of which they were such specialists. A very attractive ex colleague of mine called Kerry used to have two cats caled Slap and Tickle. I don’t suppose they knew.

    End of Part One.

  13. 238
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Oct 2014 #

    Part Two.

    Kate rolls the ball again, this time to the Gals. And for the fiest time in ages, yon Swede reaches for his emergency button, as our lovelies in one-piece undies treat us to an uber-leggy feast. The Eternal Mistress leads but gorgeous Pauline is not far behind. In fact they’re all at it. Thrusts, botties and high kicks galore. Swedeheaven indeed, Speedwell. It’s bloody magnificent, man!

    Rainbow – We actually see him putting on his shoes right on cue to the lyric. How rock and roll is that? Brilliant!

    Jags – A firm Swede favourite with its clear Elvis C influences. Should have gone much higher. It’s been Good Morning, Campers ever since, alas.

    Lena Martell – 1979s major WTF moment to be sure. The kids looked bewildered as soon will the nation as ODAAT leaves everything in its wake (“Who the hell is buying this record?” snarled a surprisingly restained Geldof whilst guessting on Swop Shop/Superstore back in the day). “Scotland” appears to be the answer. In fact, I had no idea that Lena was Scottish. Swore she was a Septic. There is another Waldo anecdote on this train wreck’s number one thread for any of you with nothing better to do. It underpins just how angry this record made some people. Violence and crime indeed. Lazarus is quite right as to what mumsy Martell is doing now. Cliff will be joining her if the sky falls in on him.

    The Old Bill. Message in a wotnot. Number one, as quite rightly it should. Andy Peebles is introduced. Didn’t he shoot John Lennon or summat?

    Nick Lowe out with the excellent Cruel to be Kind.

    Bumper do this week.

  14. 239
    glue_factory on 16 Oct 2014 #

    The online St.Mirren forum claims the Kid as one of them, and even goes so far to say he was seen at Love Street at least once


    Squeeze and The Buggles on the same show. Desperately trying to watch this one before it drops off the iplayer but real-life keeps intervening

  15. 240
    enitharmon on 16 Oct 2014 #

    @239 Lingered long there, no doubt. Did he show his disdain for the Paisley Lions?

  16. 241
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Oct 2014 #

    # 240 – Nice one, Rosie.

    Er…just in case you missed it, Popular Pals…


  17. 242
    Mark G on 16 Oct 2014 #

    You *have* been busy!

  18. 243
    Steve Williams on 17 Oct 2014 #

    That seminal tome, The Roxy Book (which for a while was in every single charity shop I ever visited, the print run must have been about a million) has chapter and verse on Kid’s footballing allegiances. He says that he used to support Notts County when he was on Radio Trent then when he moved to London he followed QPR, but stopped following them because of the plastic pitch. As for St Mirren, his auntie lived next door to the ground, apparently, and I remember someone writing into Q saying he only seemed to start mentioning that when St Mirren won the Scottish Cup. Then he was invited to a Palace match and enjoyed the atmosphere and liked the fans and started following them, and he’s certainly a fully paid-up loyal Eagle now, what with him being part of the consortium that brought them out of administration a few years back.

    As for other DJs’ footballing allegiances, the one I most remember is when Granada did a football quiz in the early nineties called Go For Goal, where every team in Granadaland was represented by two players and a “celebrity” “fan”. Bruno Brookes was drafted in to represent Crewe but, as you can see here, he doesn’t appear to have been a particularly rabid Railwayman – http://www.knowhere.co.uk/Crewe/Cheshire/Northern-England/info/celebs

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