Dec 08

Popular ’80

FT + Popular/311 comments • 11,400 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?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 9 Dec 2008 #

    A 17-7 victory for the songs I like, though I seem to have accidentally not ticked The Specials’ box. Probably fewer exceptional songs than in 1979, though.

  2. 2
    Tom on 9 Dec 2008 #

    14-10 here – a lot of 5s and 6s though, and a couple of sticky patches.

    I think this is the first year I’ve used the 10 and the 1.

  3. 3
    SteveM on 9 Dec 2008 #

    16 cor – v generous to a couple but slightly harsh on one or two others

  4. 4
    LondonLee on 9 Dec 2008 #

    Only 8 from me, not the greatest year for number ones but a brilliant one for the rest of the charts.

  5. 5
    vinylscot on 9 Dec 2008 #

    Only 8 from me too (and almost all of them from the first half of the year); a real disappointment after 1979’s excellent set of #1s!

  6. 6
    lonepilgrim on 9 Dec 2008 #

    11 for me which is more than I expected – I fell out with Call Me and it missed the cut. There were some great songs that year – can anyone supply the NME poll charts as a reminder?

  7. 7
    Erithian on 9 Dec 2008 #

    15-9 for me, after a late decision to allow Fern Kinney into the corral because I’m feeling mellow.

  8. 8
    Billy Smart on 10 Dec 2008 #

    NME Critics’ poll for 1980;

    1. Love will tear us apart – Joy Division
    2. Going underground – The Jam
    3. Mirror in the bathroom – The Beat
    4. Atmosphere – Joy Division
    5. Ashes to ashes – David Bowie
    6. Your cassette pet – Bow Wow Wow
    7. Private life – Grace Jones
    8. Fashion – David Bowie
    9. C30 C60 C90 go – Bow Wow Wow
    10. Master blaster – Steve Wonder
    11. Treason – Teardrop Explodes
    12. Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners
    13. Start! – The Jam
    14. Food for thought/King – UB40
    15. New Amsterdam EP – Elvis Costello
    16. Shack up – A Certain Ratio
    17. Rescue – Echo & The Bunnymen
    18. My way of thinking – UB40
    19. The breaks – Kurtis Blow
    20. Stand down Margaret/Best friend – The Beat
    21. I can’t stand up for falling down – Elvis Costello
    22. Drug train – The Cramps
    23. Fiery jack – The Fall
    24. Dance stance – Dexys Midnight Runners
    25. Johnny & Mary – Robert Palmer
    26. Hands off .. she’s mine – The Beat
    27. My flamingo – The Subterraneans
    28. A song from under the floorboards – Magazine
    29. Independence day – Comsat Angels
    30. My perfect cousin – The Undertones
    31. Runaway boys – The Stray Cats
    32. At last I am free – Robert Wyatt
    33. Looking for clues – Robert Palmer
    34. There, there my dear – Dexys Midnight Runners
    35. My girl – Madness
    36. Another nail in my heart – Squeeze
    37. Flight – A Certain Ratio
    38. Diet/It’s obvious – The Au Pairs
    39. Funkin’ for Jamaica – Tom Browne
    40. Seconds to late – Cabaret Voltaire
    41. I’m coming out – Diana Ross
    42. Hi-Fidelity – Elvis Costello
    43. Warrior charge – Aswad
    44. Love comes in spurts – Richard Hell
    45. Edward fox – Smack
    46. Don’t stand so close to me – The Police
    47. Hello I’m your heart – Bette Bright
    48. Rise and shine – Linx
    49. Happy house – Siouxsie & the Banshees
    50. Dog eat dog – Adam & The Ants

  9. 9
    Billy Smart on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Sounds’ critics poll for 1980 (Melody Maker had no time for singles of the year);

    1. C30 C60 C90 Go! – Bow Wow Wow
    2. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
    3. Going Underground – The Jam
    4. Biko – Peter Gabriel
    5. Talk Of The Town – The Pretenders
    6. Can’t Stand up For Falling Down – Elvis Costello
    7. Holiday In Cambodia – Dead Kennedys
    8. King/Food For Thought – UB40
    9. You Better Scream – Wah! Heat
    10. Staring At The Rude Boys – The Ruts
    11. To Cut A Long Story Short – Spandau Ballet
    12. Two Pints Of Lager – Splodgenessabounds
    13. 747 (strangers In The Night) – Saxon
    14. Circus Games – The Skids
    15. West One (Shine On Me) – The Ruts
    16. My Number – Girl
    17. Seven Minutes To Midnight – Wah! Heat
    18. A Forest – The Cure
    19. Commercial Single – The Residents
    20. Lights – Styx
    21. Heyday – The Sound
    22. Games Without Frontiers – Peter Gabriel
    23. Give Me Back My Man – B52s
    24. Mirror In The bathroom – The Beat
    25. Dark Companion – Tuxedo Moon
    26. Girls Talk – Dave Edmunds
    27. Simply Thrilled Honey – Orange Juice
    28. Totally Wired – The Fall
    29. Dog Eat Dog – Adam And The Ants
    30. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

  10. 10

    notes on nme 1980 list (which is i think a pretty good list): the subterraneans = nme writer nick kent’s band, so presence on this list is PURE nepotism

    however wtf = 45. Edward fox – Smack????

  11. 11

    interesting how sludgy the MM LP list looks to me, even though it features largely the same artists as the NME singles list: it was an era of singles, really — industry protocols required LPs be made but i wish more folks had taken the bow wow wow/PiL route and looked at and thought about other formats

  12. 12
    Mark G on 10 Dec 2008 #

    nicked off wiki:

    The post-punk band Smack released the single “Edward Fox” in the early 1980s. The song set a newspaper biography concerning Edward Fox to a musical score. The biography was published in New Manchester Review, and the single was produced by Rowland Jones at Drone Studios in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, owned by the late Paul Roberts.

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Those Beat singles were/are fantastic – as was Private Life by Grace Jones (and the flipside She’s lost control) – – heard her new single: ‘Williams blood’ today and it sounds absolutely wonderful

  14. 14

    except for the ub40 stuff — i always found his voice superwhiney and avoided them — i have everything on that list, not least because i consciously collected stuff, ticking it off (it was HOMEWORK: i wanted to write for nme and by 1983 did so), so why has it taken me 28 years to spot that i didn’t spot one entry on the list, or know anything about them

    it’s like when buffy came down to breakfast one day and had a teenage sister who’d always been there that no one had noticed before

  15. 15
    Mark G on 10 Dec 2008 #

    I saw “Food for Thought” on TOTP2, and remembered UB40 were good once. Just the once though.

  16. 16
    Erithian on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Plenty of opportunity for that case study in, ooh, 2½ years’ time.

  17. 17
    Billy Smart on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Here are the same charts seen upside down – ie the records that peaked at number 40 (“the anchor position” Dale Winton) in 1980

    26 Jan Wonderland – The Commodores – 1 week
    9 Feb Dance Stance – Dexy’s Midnight Runners – 1
    16 Feb Maybe Tomorrow – The Chords – 1
    26 Apr All For Lenya – Billy Joel – 1
    31 May Body Language – The Detroit Spinners – 1
    25 Oct Don’t Say I Told You So – The Tourists – 1
    29 Nov Girls Can Get It – Dr. Hook – 1
    6 Dec The Call Up – The Clash – 1

    Dance Stance and The Call Up both considerably better than almost every number one of this year.

  18. 18
    will on 10 Dec 2008 #

    I voted for 17 out of the 24. I doubt that number will be as high again.

    In terms of pop, 1980 is probably my favourite year. It was certainly the year that what was previously a mere interest blossomed into the full blown obsession. By November I had bought myself a transistor radio and began what became a night time ritual of listening to what was on offer (John Peel, Luxembourg, Capital Radio etc) until my lids felt heavy and I dropped off to sleep.

  19. 19
    richard thompson on 10 Dec 2008 #

    According to Record Mirror which I read at the time the Police were voted the naff act of the year,followed closely by Bad Manners, it was the era of Tiswas.

  20. 20
    AndyPandy on 10 Dec 2008 #

    I think it was a pretty good year for music in general in 1980 stuff by Spandau Ballet, Roxy Music, Visage, Adam and the Ants,Madness,Kate Bush,Steely Dan, Joy Division ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’,Oddyssey ‘If You’re Looking For a Way Out’,Azymuth ‘Jazz Carnival’, Mystic Merlin ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’, Change ‘Lover’s Holiday’ Mass Production ‘Shante’etc etc but I’m struggling to find any besides Abba ‘Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Geno’ to give 6 to out of this lot here – I’d say easily my worst year for No1’s so far by far

  21. 21
    LondonLee on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Re: #8 I only very very vaguely remember that Subterraneans single but I’m sure I thought it was rather good at the time.

    The NME list is amazing, out of 50 records there’s only about 3 I can say I don’t care for. So I’m sticking to my guns that 1980 was better than 1979 overall.

  22. 22
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 10 Dec 2008 #

    lee it is pretty good but it’s not really top 50 good

  23. 23
    LondonLee on 10 Dec 2008 #

    It occurred to me that I was 18 in 1980 so do I have a warped sense of how good pop music should be? Being that age in a year like that?

  24. 24
    lonepilgrim on 11 Dec 2008 #

    there seems to have been a big fan of wah!heat at sounds

    it’s good to be reminded of Robert Palmer’s work with Gary Numan – I thought it was a dumb move at the time but it now seems quite far sighted
    There was a lot of great music coming out of Compass Point studios that year what with Grace Jones, Talking Heads -and (apparantly) AC/DCs Back in Black

  25. 25
    Conrad on 16 Dec 2008 #

    that nme list, while it contains some great songs, is typically too cool for school, the same problem that blights all rock press lists – journalists chosing tracks/albums that they think they should be championing (or showing appreciation of)*

    I mean, A Certain Ratio. Really, this kind of non-rhythmic take on funk was only ever viable in the minds of a select coterie of writers.

    * plenty of genuine choices too no doubt.

  26. 26
    a logged-out pˆnk s lord whatnot on 16 Dec 2008 #

    well, it is a critic’s poll! that’s kind of the point of them — to point out stuff that isn’t (yet) popular, or being paid proper attention, not just replicate the reader’s poll

  27. 27
    Conrad on 16 Dec 2008 #

    I see that, I just think there’s a tendency for writers to be a bit disingenuous in the compilation of such lists.

  28. 28
    Pete Baran on 16 Dec 2008 #

    A bit? To be fair to the readers, I’m pretty sure they spread the disingenuity around too.

  29. 29
    Mark M on 16 Dec 2008 #

    Re 25: I’m not sure about that at all. I’ve known plenty of critics in my time, and I think a lot of them were people who would listen to ACR for fun (or settle down for a thrilling weekend of films set in Turkish villages without the slightest sense of duty). For one thing, those are the kind of people (men) who tend to become critics in the first place, and secondly, you’ve moved into circles where people will say “The Pop Group are Pop!” and mean it. The more time you spend with them, the more your baseline can shift – until and unless you flip back the other way and cry “Let me listen to some number one singles!” As totally inexplicable as I find that idea that anyone could have ever enjoyed the music of Tortoise, for instance, my assumption is that if they say they do, they do.

  30. 30
    Billy Smart on 16 Dec 2008 #

    Here are the phantom number ones of 1980 that got to the top of the NME chart, but not the Guinness one; My Girl, Dance Yourself Dizzy, No Doubt About It, Funktown, Upside Down, One Day I’ll Fly Away, Stop The Cavalry.

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