Sep 09

Popular ’84

FT + Popular/39 comments • 2,679 views

I give every record on Popular a mark out of 10 (and if you’re registered, so can you). Here’s where, by the magic of polling, we look at the year as a whole. Tick any and all records you’d personally give 6 or more out of 10 to, and then we can use the comments box to discuss 1984 from various perspectives.

Which Of These Number One Singles Of 1984 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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My highest mark of the year was a 10 for “Two Tribes”: my lowest a (perhaps generous) 3 for Stevie W.


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  1. 26
    punctum on 30 Mar 2014 #

    TPL opens its 1984 account, but don’t tell anybody: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/eurythmics-touch.html

  2. 27
    punctum on 13 Apr 2014 #

    TPL update: the Big Music, the North’s proud and defiant response, as Scotland refuses to let pop, or rock, lie down and die: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/simple-minds-sparkle-in-rain.html

  3. 28
    punctum on 14 Apr 2014 #

    Yet another TPL update: yes, I even found something of merit (and newness) here – http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-thompson-twins-into-gap.html

  4. 29
    punctum on 15 Apr 2014 #

    TPL examines a road not very well travelled: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/howard-jones-humans-lib.html

  5. 30
    punctum on 27 Apr 2014 #

    “Oh, will you quench me when I’m thirsty?”: TPL reaches Jamaica: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/bob-marley-and-wailers-legend-best-of.html

  6. 31
    punctum on 4 May 2014 #

    TPL reaches its 300th post; whoopee! But pop music is never just a matter of life and death. It’s much more important than that (where have I heard THAT before?): http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/various-artists-now-thats-what-i-call_4.html

  7. 32
    punctum on 6 May 2014 #

    The worst number one album to (1984) date? Worse than Star Sound, 101 Strings and the Minstrels? TPL uncovers an album with no redeeming features whatsoever. Who the hell bought the damn thing?

  8. 33
    punctum on 25 May 2014 #

    TPL on Big Country, Scotland and my relationship with both: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/big-country-steeltown.html

  9. 34
    iconoclast on 26 May 2014 #

    Beautifully written as ever, Marcello; as a fellow Scot I know exactly where you’re coming from.

  10. 35
    punctum on 26 May 2014 #

    Another TPL update, and yes, this might actually be a worse record than Tonight.

  11. 36
    punctum on 10 Jun 2014 #

    TPL update; end of 1984 days.

  12. 37
    Paulito on 9 Jun 2017 #

    On to TOTP ’84. 5th Jan, 20th anniversary edition with Peel and the Kid at the controls.

    And it’s off to a roaring start with Frankie and a pre-ban “Relax”, in at #35. Tremendous excitement in the audience and no wonder – nothing like this had been seen or heard before. And it still sounds incredible.

    Back down to earth with Rod Stewart’s “Surrender”. Harmless but dull.

    “Fluff” Freeman appears briefly for a segue into a selection of clips from surviving ’60s/early ’70s episodes.

    Quo – “Margarita Time”. Country-inflected MOR rock, almost Eagles-lite. Not a bad song – and a variation from their usual formula, at least – but spoilt. by nasty and tacky production values. Rick does an amusing pratfall across the drum kit, sending both he and the drummer to the floor.

    More oldie clips, 70s-early 80s.

    Charts 40-26.

    Frank Kelly (later famous as Jack on ‘Fr. Ted’) performs “Christmas Countdown”. Not bad as such things go, but a real oddity for the UK charts.

    Charts 25-11.

    Video chart:
    – Howard Jones – “What Is Love”. Still great synth pop.
    – Macca – “Pipes of Peace”. Much maligned, but I like it.
    – Thompson Twins, Kenny & Dolly, Billy Joel. Nowt wrong with any o’ them toons.
    – Quo again.
    – Culture Club – “Victims”. Decent,but a bit overwrought.
    – Paul Young – “Love of the Common People”. Probably his finest hour.

    Back to the studio and it’s Slade stuck at #2 with “My Oh My”. A singalong soft-rock ballad, badly dated by inelegant 80s-at-their-worst production “techniques”. A nostalgic early ’70s-styled approach would have suited the song far better and might even have helped it become something of a standard. Instead it’s utterly forgotten.

    Flying Pickets (on video) still at #1. Hard to begrudge them, but the novelty wears off after a couple of listens. Purportedly acapella, but there’s a fair bit of synth in the background and lots of effect-heavy overdubs (some of which almost sound autotuned). Contrast with the simplicity and purity of sound in “Caravan of Love” by the Housemartins.

    FGTH the only standout (but what a standout!) in an otherwise forgettable show.

  13. 38
    Lazarus on 15 Jun 2017 #

    Always a bit of a shame I think when an episode goes by unreported, so I’ll step in for last Friday’s (as there’s no show tonight) … originally aired on 12/1/84, it’s Read and Wright (geddit???!!!) The calypso kid is channelling Jacko with one white glove and, for some reason, dark glasses.

    Icicle Works – if memory serves (and I’m going to avoid looking loads of stuff up here) they were from Liverpool, and this was their only Top 20 hit. I bought the one that came out the previous summer, whose title escapes me – but I think it had brackets in it. Has quite a big sound, this. Bit of a Pete Wylie feel to it. Decent start.

    Howard Jones – now at #2 – his biggest hit. On VT this time. Still gets a fair few plays on the likes of Magic, Smooth and radio 2. He was featured, inevitably bracketed with Nik Kershaw, on the recent ’84 overview. Good album, as I may have said before.

    Shaky and Bonnie – a Welsh duo with ‘a song from the fifties’ that I doubt if many would have recognised at the time. Familiar territory for Shaky, but Bonnie is slightly out of her comfort zone here – this is a long way from ‘Total Eclipse.’ Harmless fun.

    Roland Rat – I thought we’d missed this. Utter vermin. Pass.

    Snowy White – I think he’d been in Thin Lizzy at one point? Pleasant power ballad. Prestatyn-bound though, natch. (if we’re still doing that)

    Mike Read invites us to vote for our favourite video of ’83. Then the chart. ‘Sweet Surrender’ by Rod Stewart, anyone? Not the Bread song, presumably.

    Lionel Richie – rocking it up a bit for his follow-up to ‘All Night Long’ – it’s not bad. But a megaroonie is just around the corner.

    Read now has a hat on. Chart 20-11.

    Joe Fagin – not the bloke who broke into the Queen’s bedroom, hur hur – but a Jeremy Beadle lookalike who sings the theme from ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ (getting the title into the lyric) surrounded by balloons. Again, it’s harmless, if not particularly PC.

    Top 10. And Paul McCartney, a new number one (Flying Pickets having plummeted to #10) – and as well as all the combos mentioned, he also hit #1 as part of a five-piece (the Beatles with Billy Preston!). Video already seen of course – Macca wasn’t coming into the studio by this time. Holds up well though I reckon.

    Billy Joel sees us out. And while trying to write on here I’ve been interrupted at least ten times by pop-ups which change the page – anyone else getting this? Perhaps the long-absent host could sort it out at some point.

    Laters – hopefully …

  14. 39
    speedwell54 on 22 Jun 2017 #

    19/01/1894 Top of the Pops

    Powell and Bates host and we kick off with Whitesnake who had a fair few line ups; Coverdale the only ever present member at every reunion. In my memory they always had such mundane titles, or titles that were similar to other songs. Case in point, this is called “Give Me More Time” but he actually sings “give me just a little more time” The opening guitar riff sounds a bit Brian May, but I can’t place it. The guitar solo is not delivered at breakneck speed and the chorus is pure pop.His voice is much heavier than the song. Not awful but predictable.

    Shall we get something new from Big Country? Well it’s not off The Crossing but could have been. Wonderland -On video and outside on location in – I’m guessing -Scotland. With snow underfoot Stuart braves it in a jumper, whilst the rest wimp out with thick coats.

    Fiction Factory -(Feels Like) Heaven – total classic, but take it all in guys as this was it unfortunately. “High high new entry” says Peter, not that “high high” at 28 with four higher.

    China Crisis- Would argue another classic if not a little more subtle. In 2017 appearing with Paul Young and Toyah, but not calling in at Prestatyn.
    Part of a small group of acts where their biggest hit is the one where the usual lead vocalist took a back seat.

    Charts – notable for the first appearance of Madonna at 40 with Holiday.

    Gloria Gaynor – “I Am What I Am” -from the Tony Award winning score the La Cage Aux Folles. Too much eye shadow and eyeliner on Glors but it doesn’t matter anyway. Anthem with many fans.

    Charts again. John Lennon – Nobody Told Me – on video (really) another archive clips edited production. Pipes of Peace- Paul McCartney. I know there’s not much love for this one and it has it shortcomings, but it is undoubtedly well crafted and put together. It has the alternate tune like Uncle Albert and Live and Let Die. These two back to back tonight and I don’t know if John and Paul are so far apart. John out of his mind about the future and questioning what kind of world we have to look forward to, and Paul begging for people to stick together. (pre Heather obvs)

    Out to King of Pain- No video from the Police for this one and after a 32 to 17 climb last week it took a dive to 21 and that was it. We were denied seeing Stewart drumming some furniture too.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.
    Wiki says there was a vid for King Of Pain. No memory of this. You Tube suggests it may not have been available Jan 1984. Pass.

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