Dec 08

Popular ’80

FT + Popular/311 comments • 11,933 views

I give every song on Popular a mark out of 10. This is your opportunity to pick any that YOU would have given 6 or more to from 1980 – and you can talk about the year in general in the comments box.

Number One Hits of 1980: Which would you have given 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 301
    Lazarus on 10 Dec 2015 #

    Will comment tomorrow, but just wanted to say I enjoyed the Specials’ Christmas jumper bonanza. Somewhat ahead of their time there!

  2. 302
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Dec 2015 #

    The end of 1980 sees the Swede finally snatching the pebble from the old man’s hand. I hope the other regular TOTP commentators continue to lend their might and that the mantle is also picked up by a younger generation of posters as we move through the decade (this is assuming that the Beeb continues with it). As a matter of interest, I was quite rightly “moderated” by Popular Management for a completely manic comment (even by my exacting standards) about St Winnies but quite frankly it was time to give way in any case. It’s been great fun. I’m not going away completely, simply confining myself to the odd comment when I think I’ve got something worthwhile to say.

    Little and Large. I too remember “Rock Steady” with the blatant Mungo Jerry “sample”. It’s funny how your memory plays tricks with you. By the end of 1980, I had been working for over two years in Whitehall and correspondingly no longer had any interest in kids shows. Yet I distinctly remember these two Pressie stalwarts plugging this risible offering on Crackerjack. When the kiddies claimed their prizes, “Syd and Eddie’s record” was always part of the selection box. Lucky kids, say I. Astonishingly they are both still alive today. Though it’s not really much of a life being chained to the large wooden castle on the crazy golf course.

    The Gals’ tribute to John was indeed both respectful and gentle. Jimmy the Swede can drool over them as much as he likes but at the end of the day they are six wonderfully talented dancers. And I extend that same tribute to them.

  3. 303
    Lazarus on 12 Dec 2015 #

    And on that bombshell I offer a few thoughts on the late show … Simon Bates with girls in T shirts. Stray Cats in the background.

    The Beat – I had virtually forgotten this one but remembered it instantly when it started up. Yes one of their best. But their time at the top table was all too fleeting.

    St Wins – only on the long show, post watershed stuff clearly.

    Barron Knights – ditto. Another one I’d quite properly dismissed from my memory. The odd thing is that the songs lampooned were all at least a year old. The ‘comedy’ continues with Little and Large. We’ve been promised that this format won’t continue much longer, so let’s not lose hope …

    The Specials – as I mentioned, in a move that wouldn’t look out of place today the band are all festooned in splendid Christmas jumpers. Looks like their old mate Rico s back as well, though without label credit this time. This was a double A side with ‘Maggie’s Farm’ by the way. Another band with not much left in the tank.

    Gary Numan – Swede favourite with another one that has slipped out of memory. I don’t mind the main riff, but that voice … it suits the material of course, but I couldn’t hear too much of it. Seems to go on a bit too.

    Robert Palmer, and again there’s a nod to 2015 with the heavily bearded drummer. Sung in what sounds like a falsetto throughout. Nice xylophone solo, not that we heard much of it. Simes plugs the Xmas day show. Chart 30-19.

    Chas and Dave – two things to mention about this. Firstly, why would someone who’s prone to ‘excessive talking’ need to get something off their chest? Surely that’s what they’re already doing to excess. Also, speaking with authority from my humble job at the supply point, some branches of JS do still stock (diced) rabbit. Anyway, Prestatyn, obvs.

    Chart 17-11. Status Quo, Eddy Grant, Kenny Rogers – a real mixed bag. I feel so sorry for today’s youngsters whose Top 40 seems to be comprised 95% of the garbage that apparently goes by the term ‘commercial dance.’ We often have to suffer Capital at work and it is sheer living hell. Roger Scott and Kenny Everett are well out of it.

    Nolans – harmless fluff, but they have a much better one in the pipeline. Top 10. The Boomtown Rats falling from 5 to 7 is hardly a ‘surprise plummet’ – they had also fallen two the week before.

    Jona Lewie – perennial Yuletide favourite now in the Top 3. Not very famous celebs accompany.

    John Lennon – a Legs routine for the number one, and thoughtfully they recorded a new one. 21 to 1 must have been one of the biggest jumps to the top at that point.

    Sorry to see the exit of the Swede, is it too much to hope that some of the other regs (Speedwell, Lineman etc) will be offering their thoughts on 1981? It was a very good year (Sinatra 100th birthday reference).

    Toodle pip!

  4. 304
    speedwell54 on 13 Dec 2015 #

    Simon hosts and seems generally chronologically confused without a script on the first two clumsy links.

    The Beat – a couple of them pay a trip to Mr Benn’s shop before the show. A classic.

    St Wins- I remember -having seen the choir -wondering why they chose that particular girl to take the lead, but that is unkind. I have many issues with this record but I’ll just pick one. “Before it’s bedtime on her knee to us a book she’ll read” Ignoring the forced sentence construction I’m wondering why Granny has to be down on her knee (not both knees mind) to read. Is she about to propose?

    The Barron Knights – truly getting punished for watching on iplayer. Moving on.

    Little and Large pop up to advertise stuff. Specials -‘Do Nothing’ twktc

    This Wreckage – Gary Numan – doesn’t seem that long since he said he was learning to fly (in a plane) on this very programme and today we hear he has his pilot’s licence. Kicks off in a very familiar way but then gets rather un single like.

    The second coolest dressed man in pop with a great track. Simon mentions his previous single “Johnny and Mary” which in re written version of history was when I first got into him. It was actually years later when it was an extra track on Riptide single.

    Chas n Dave- Rabbit- Chart countdown some more.

    Nolans – matching jeans but different tops. Not without merit.

    The top ten countdown. In the Police video Stewart doesn’t drum on something that isn’t a drum, that must be a first.

    Jona Lewie- I’m always curious as to the royalties from these sort of records, and how much income they provide each year.

    John Lennon. Legs do their stuff and it’s okay.

    This was back in the day when they only had 51 charts in the year and a week at Christmas was just a repeat of the previous week. This possibly cost John a fourth number one with Happy Xmas (War Is Over ) narrowly missing out.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Lazarus – cheers for the namecheck, and alongside the Lineman indeed. Coincidentally we were in the same place at the same time in real life, -with Hardtogethits- last Thursday night in Wakefield.

    Swede – please don’t go away for too long; I’ll have no excuse to write ‘Swedeheaven’, and that’s definitely a thing.

  5. 305
    Mark M on 13 Dec 2015 #

    Re304: We were discussing the question of Christmas hit royalties in the office and then the office party this week. According to the estimates here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/10510135/Slade-earn-500000-every-Christmas-in-royalties.html – Noddy and Jim, presuming they had and kept a decent publishing deal, do have a decent annual income off their Christmas offering alone. Stop The Cavalry, on the other hand, generates £13,000, so a nice top-up to Jona’s pension but hardly bathing-in-champers money. That’s just UK, though – he’ll be getting some US royalties too.

  6. 306
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2015 #

    JimSwede, that L&L single came out much earlier, 1972 or thereabouts. I do have one in the pic sleeve, its ok really. When ska came back in it got reissued (I think) but got nowhere (again).

  7. 307
    wichitalineman on 14 Dec 2015 #

    Simes. Slimes.

    The Beat – just realised that whenever I see Jez on Peep Show I’m reminded of their singer (should know his name but can’t remember). I remember being rather shocked that this monotone single got to no.7 in Jan ’81 after an initially slow ascent in December… Xmas record voucher sales I’d guess. Mine that year went on OMD’s Organisation.

    St Wins – The granny photo, the frankly weird lead singer – this is a put on, isn’t it? Memorable tune, that much can’t be denied.

    Barron Knights – They’re smiling, but their eyes are crying out for help. This got pulled from Xmas TOTP2 last year due to its ‘fairy’ lines. Hard to believe it was ever considered for digging up.

    L&L – Good lord. Sheena Easton will be larking around with Prince rather than these assholes in a few years.

    Specials – this is beautiful. Everything about it.

    Gary Numan – most unlikely opening line for a Top 20 hit ever. Amid the Batesy banter, in a row, two of the bleakest lyrics ever sung on TOTP.

    Robert Palmer – this show is incredible! Batley’s response to early Prince. Never heard it played out but I’m guessing this was a big Hoxton record in the late 90s. Dalston beard on drums. Only Robert’s horrid jacket and tie give away its true vintage.

    Chas & Dave – err… the Top 20 really isn’t as varied these days is it et cet… Where’s the Caramel bunny?! “COW SON!!”

    Nolans – weird Bates intro, possible inspiration for Denim’s The Osmonds. I remember this single being punchier, proto new pop, but maybe the BBC orch are killing the buzz.

    Top 10 countdown – Bates spots “a surprise slip” for the Boomtown Rats, who had also slipped two places the week before.

    Jona Lewie – hard to be objective on this one, which seems to get more plays than Slade or Wizzard in 2015. Still, an anti-war song et cet. And £13,000 per annum’s not too shabby.

    John Lennon – if this was a track on Son Of Schmilsson I’d love it, and that’s my own personal way of getting into (Just Like) Starting Over. But it’s not the Stray Cats.

  8. 308
    Lazarus on 14 Dec 2015 #

    Re: modern chart music (and the enforced listening) the one song I don’t mind hearing atm is ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by someone called Grace feat G-Eazy, because the vocal doesn’t differ much from Lesley Gore’s original. But when you find yourself hoping for another spin of Adele or Coldplay just to break up all the bpm, it can make for a very long day.

  9. 309
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Dec 2015 #

    Lazarus #304 – As I mentioned, I’m not disappearing entirely. Simply toning down a bit. I’ll certainly continue to watch TOTP and if anything tickles the Swede’s fancy, I’ll be straight in there. Frank and Sally remain on stand-by. And the cat remains watchful.

    Mark #306 – Thanks for that. As Columbo always said: “That explains it!” I just couldn’t work our why or indeed how I could have still been watching Crackerjack as a twenty year-old. Earlier on in the seventies fits much better. Perhaps they should release “Rock Steady” again. Third time lucky mayhap!

    Good to see the Lineman giving it large again. I’m finally inching towards the end of “YYY”, a truly mighty and extraordinary volume which I’ve found both captivating and enjoyable. I normally have more than one book set aside for bedtime reading (when I’m not writing) and thus it has taken me about as long to read it as it did Bob to write it. I say bravo to him. It’s a wonderful effort.

  10. 310
    Steve Williams on 14 Dec 2015 #

    As mentioned up there, you’ll be delighted to know that the interrogation of Little and Large was the final interview we’ll be seeing on Top of the Pops, but they certainly went out with a bang. Eddie’s jokes might not have been very funny, but they were certainly topical, you can see why the kids loved them.

    That’s also the final episode with one of this show’s worst ideas, the seated audience. Somewhere on the internet there’s a snippet of an interview with Phil Bishop, one of the Pops’ regular producers at the time (under the aegis of Michael Hurll as executive producer) who said they’d installed seats because the audience didn’t dance anymore. From January they realise the way to solve that is to force them to dance.

    Of course, we won’t be seeing either of the Christmas shows Bates promoted for obvious reasons but, to make up for it, on Christmas Day for the first time BBC4 are showing Christmas 1975. Unfortunately, it’s awful.

  11. 311
    Lazarus on 25 Dec 2015 #

    I’m watching that 1975 show right now. There’ll be some dross later no doubt but with Pilot, Johnny Nash, Art Garfunkel, Ralph McTell and the Tymes in the first half it’s far from ‘awful’ in my view. All depends on what you like, though.

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