Sep 09

Popular ’84

FT + Popular/46 comments • 3,186 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?

View Results

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.


  1. 1
    TomLane on 6 Sep 2009 #

    It’s not a bad list of #1’s. The only ones I didn’t vote for are Stevie, McCartney and Jim Diamond and “Power of Love”.

  2. 2
    lonepilgrim on 6 Sep 2009 #

    Seven for me – although one or two only just made the cut. This was Frankie’s year for me. I’ll dig out my old copy of The Face later to see what they rated.

    BTW – could there be a permanent link to all the year end polls in the ‘Links for popular’ section to the right?
    I don’t know when they started but I’d like to go back through previous years’ polls at some time – and I imagine other late comers may wish to do the same.

  3. 3
    Billy Smart on 6 Sep 2009 #

    Ten for me, though perhaps missing out ‘Hello’ is a little mean of me. I don’t think that its just because I was 12 at the time, but this does strike me as being one of the most memorable year’s songs. Only Pipes Of Peace and I Should Have Known better seem to have faded into relative obscurity.

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 6 Sep 2009 #

    The NME critics list for 1984 doesn’t include all that many bona fide chart hits;

    1. Love Wars – Womack & Womack
    2. I Wanna Be Loved – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    3. Free Nelson Mandela – The Special AKA
    4. Don’t Look Any Further – Dennis Edwards
    5. Slippery People – The Staple Singers
    6. Yah Mo Be There – James Ingram
    7. What Difference Does It Make? – The Smiths
    8. Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen
    9. When Doves Cry – Prince
    10. Jump – Van Halen
    11. I Feel For You – Chaka Khan
    12. No Sell Out/Malcolm X – Malcolm X
    13. Hey DJ – World’s Famous Supreme Team
    14. War Is In The Dance – Frankie Paul
    15. And I Don’t Love You – Smoky Robinson
    16. Love Has Finally Come At Last – Bobby Womack & Patti Labelle
    17. Bachelor Kisses – The Go Betweens
    18. Keep On Keeping On – The Redskins
    19. Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown
    20. We Need Money – Chuck Brown
    21. You’re The Best Thing – The Style Council
    22. Venceremos (We Will Win) – Working Week
    23. Taxi – J Blackfoot
    24. Madam Butterfly – Malcolm Mclaren
    25. Track Three – Scott Walker
    26. What Presence? – Orange Juice
    27. Tinsel Town In The Rain – The Blue Nile
    28. Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
    29. Calamity Crush – Foetus Art Terrorism
    30. Small Town Boy – Bronski Beat
    31. What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend – The Special AKA
    32. In The Ghetto – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    33. Dark Streets Of London – The Pogues
    34. Sensoria – Cabaret Voltaire
    35. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
    36. Don’t Go Lose It Baby – Hugh Masekela
    37. Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
    38. Peace In Our Time – The Imposter
    39. It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World – The Residents
    40. Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2
    41. Ain’t Nobody – Rufus & Chuka Khan
    42. I Bloodbrother Be – Shock Headed Peters
    43. Do The Square Thing – The Three Johns
    44. The Big Music – The Waterboys
    45. The Killing Moon – Echo & The Bunnymen
    46. Michael Caine – Madness
    47. Abele Dance – Manu Dibango
    48. Honey At The Core – Friends Again
    49. Each & Every One – Everything But The Girl
    50. Out Of The Flesh – Chakk

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 6 Sep 2009 #

    The Melody Maker critics list is perhaps a bit more in tune with what general pop consumers of 1984 were actually listening to;

    1. Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Two Tribes
    2. Womack & Womack: Love Wars
    3. Echo & The Bunnymen: The Killing Moon
    4. U2: Pride (In The Name Of Love)
    5 The Special AKA: Nelson Mandela
    6. ZZ Top: Gimme All Your Loving
    7. Orange Juice: What Presence ?!
    8. Bronski Beat: Smalltown Boy
    9. The SOS Band: Just Be Good To Me
    10. The Human League: The Lebanon

  6. 6
    Rory on 6 Sep 2009 #

    Seven of this year’s UK number ones went on to reach the top in Australia (counting Nena’s “99 Red Balloons/Luftballons” as the same song), which was only the second time that that had happened. (The other was 1967. I’ve made a spreadsheet. Sad, eh.) Australia only saw five of them in 1984 itself, so some of the impact was felt the following year for us, but whichever way you slice it, the international chart impact of the UK at this moment was huge. From 1981 through 1984, 70-80% of UK number ones each year were by UK acts, and most of them went on to chart success elsewhere, reaching if not number one then close to it in Australia, New Zealand, and often the U.S. and Canada as well. It was a second British Invasion, with Band Aid its crowning moment; and, in hindsight, its endpoint. UK chart dominance diminishes noticeably from here on, and although there will be other years when the Australian and UK charts have as many number ones in common, they won’t often be British exports.

    This also marks a reasonable endpoint for my own obsession with the charts, and its softening to mere interest. Throughout 1984 I had been exposed to many other musical influences than Countdown and AM radio, and late in the year a friend gave me a C90 that took me off in a whole new direction: one labelled “White Album”. I still watched Countdown, though, and followed the charts for several years yet, so our relationship wasn’t over. We were just seeing other people…

  7. 7
    Tom on 6 Sep 2009 #

    11/14 – one of my favourite years, though of course that’s partly my age. But I’m a sucker for Event Pop and there was plenty of that.

    No FGTH in the NME list! Was this a fear of nepotism, or a “fuck you” to Morley? :) (or of course maybe they just didn’t like the records…)

  8. 8
    Jonathan Bogart (but as they say logged out innit) on 7 Sep 2009 #

    Point of reference: would “Dancing In The Dark,” “When Doves Cry,” “Jump,” and Cyndi Lauper not count as bona fide chart hits in Britain? Because they’re the definition of the thing in US84.

    A relatively low-scoring year for me, even though I voted for all but two of the songs I’ve heard; this may be the most unfamiliar year of the 80s yet for the average American listener.

  9. 9
    taDOW on 7 Sep 2009 #

    usa #1’s 1984

    paul mccartney & michael jackson – say say say (2 weeks)
    yes – owner of a lonely heart (2 weeks)
    culture club – karma chameleon (3 weeks)
    van halen – jump (5 weeks)
    kenny loggins – footloose (3 weeks)
    phil collins – against all odds (take a look at me now) (3 weeks)
    lionel richie – hello (2 weeks)
    deniece williams – let’s hear it for the boy (2 weeks)
    cyndi lauper – time after time (2 weeks)
    duran duran – the reflex (2 weeks)
    prince & the revolution – when doves cry (5 weeks)
    ray parker jr – ghostbusters (3 weeks)
    tina turner – what’s love got to do with it (3 weeks)
    john waite – missing you (1 week)
    prince & the revolution – let’s go crazy (2 weeks)
    stevie wonder – i just called to say i love you (3 weeks)
    billy ocean – caribbean queen (no more love on the run) (2 weeks)
    wham! – wake me up before you go-go (3 weeks)
    hall & oates – out of touch (3 weeks)
    madonna – like a virgin (2 weeks)

    except for wham! and stevie i’d go 6 or higher for all of them, 8 or higher for 7 of them (voted 6 for 6 or higher on uk list, would go 8 or higher for 3 – nena, chaka, frankie says relax).

  10. 10
    taDOW on 7 Sep 2009 #

    that phil-lionel stretch is right in the heart of prom season btw

  11. 11
    Tom on 7 Sep 2009 #

    #8 yup, they were all smashes here too, top 5 except for Van Halen, which was top 10.

    #7 and of course there is Frankie in that list. I assume both Billy and I could look no further than Foetus Art Terrorism.

    Why did the NME so wildly rate “I Wanna Be Loved”?

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 7 Sep 2009 #

    Was Mark voting by this stage? He should be able to tell us.

    Personally, I reckon that the NME’s love for ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ is a combination of several factors; the excellence of the song and the interpretation, the scarcity value of Costello singing something so emotionally direct and unembellished with puns and trickery (especially in the context of the album ‘Goodbye Cruel World’, where you rather suspect that even Costello didn’t understand what he was singing about anymore), but also because it fits in with a critical agenda, an authentic rock/soul fusion.

    I think that its a wonderful single. I rather fear that “A foolish man, for a lot of my life” would be my ideal epitaph.

    I’ve never heard the original, though. Is it as good?

  13. 13
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 7 Sep 2009 #

    My first music-related feature wasn’t till 86: I’m sure I didn’t get a vote before then. I don’t know the answer to the Frankie question: my guess is conflict of interest — certainly there were pro-Frankie writers, the LP got a good-ish write-up (as event-pop) from R.D.Cook.

  14. 14
    Erithian on 7 Sep 2009 #

    The Radio 1 top thirty best-sellers of the year:

    1 Do They Know It’s Christmas?
    2 I Just Called To Say I Love You
    3 Relax
    4 Two Tribes
    5 Careless Whisper
    6 Hello
    7 Agadoo – Black Lace (2)
    8 Freedom
    9 Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr (2)
    10 Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
    11 Last Christmas / Everything She Wants – Wham! (2)
    12 I Feel For You
    13 White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) – Grandmaster & Melle Mel (7)
    14 99 Red Balloons
    15 The Reflex
    16 Take A Look At Me Now (Against All Odds) – Phil Collins (2)
    17 What’s Love Got To Do With It? – Tina Turner (3)
    18 I Want To Break Free – Queen (3)
    19 Hole In My Shoe – neil (2)
    20 No More Lonely Nights – Paul McCartney (2)
    21 The Power of Love
    22 I Should Have Known Better
    23 Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper (3)
    24 Radio Ga Ga – Queen (2)
    25 Together in Electric Dreams – Giorgio Moroder & Phil Oakey (3)
    26 When Doves Cry – Prince (4)
    27 Doctor! Doctor! – Thompson Twins (3)
    28 Self Control – Laura Branagan (5)
    29 Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper (2)
    30 The War Song – Culture Club (2)

    Again, the cut-off point before Christmas means that a Christmas hit isn’t properly ranked in the list, although this time it affects the number 2 hit. “Last Christmas/Everything She Wants” is the 26th best-selling single in the UK in the period from 1952-2002, and the biggest selling number 2 hit ever. Note that George Michael sings on five of the top 11 singles of the year.

    1984 is one of only two years (the other being 1997) to have seven entries in that all-time top 100: “Ghostbusters” (92), “Careless Whisper” (34), “Last Christmas” (26), “Two Tribes” (22), “I Just Called To Say I Love You” (13), “Relax” (7) and of course “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (2).

  15. 15
    lonepilgrim on 7 Sep 2009 #

    The Face’s Top 60 singles for 1984:
    01. Free Nelson Mandela – The Special AKA
    02. When Doves Cry – Prince
    03. I feel for you – Chaka Khan
    04. No sell out – Malcolm X
    05. Cockney Translation – Smiley Culture
    06. Ain’t nobody – Chaka Khan
    07. Venceremos – Working Week
    08. Breakin’ Down – Sugar Samba
    09. Wood beez – Scritti Politti
    10. What difference would it make – The Smiths
    11. Somebody else’s guy – Jocelyn Brown
    12. Small town boy – Bronski Beat
    13. Don’t look any further – Dennis Edwards
    14. Two Tribes – FGTH
    =15. Dr Mabuse – Propaganda
    =15. Automatic – Pointer Sisters
    =15. What Presence – Orange Juice
    18. We need money – Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers
    =19. I wanna be loved – Elvis Costello
    =19. Caught you in a lie – Louisa Marks
    21. Change of Heart – Change
    =22. You’re the best thing that ever happened – Style Council
    =22. The Glamorous Life – Sheila E
    24. Stay with me tonight – Jeffery Osbourne
    =25. Renegades of Funk – Afrika Bambaataa
    =25. Todos Menina Bahiana – Gilberto Gil
    27. Love Resurrection – Alison Moyet
    28. Love Wars – Womack and Womack
    29. Rockbox – Run DMC
    30. The Medicine Song – Stephanie Mills
    31. Don’t go loose it baby – Hugh Masekela
    32. The Girl from Ipanema – Astrud Gilberto
    =33. Why? – Bronski Beat
    =33. Small Town Creed -Kane Gang
    =33. Ave Maria – The West India Company
    36. Room 123 (She’s so strange) – Cameo
    =37. Long enough – The Last Poets
    =37. It’s raining men – The Weather Girls
    39. Lip Service – Beatmaster
    40. (Return to the valley of) Out come the Freaks – Was not was
    =41. Hello – Lionel Richie
    =41. Diorella de Fontaine – Lightnin’ Rod
    =41. Re-Ron – Gil Scott-Heron
    44. Give me tonight – Shannon
    45. You think you’re a man – Divine
    46. Hand in Glove – The Smiths
    47. Let’s stay together – Tina Turner
    48. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths
    49. Perfect Skin – LLoyd Cole & the Commotions
    50. Let it Blow – The Dazz Band
    51. Smooth Operator – Sade
    52. Your love is King – Sade
    53. Menergy – Sylvester
    54. The Reflex – Duran Duran
    55. Master and servant – Depeche Mode
    56. The Day before you came – Blancmange
    57. Me God, Me King – Papa Levi
    58. Slippery People – The Staple Singers
    59. Strike – The Enemy Within
    60. Praxis – Bill Laswell

    It’s an interesting list with a strong soul/dance emphasis. Looking at how many of these records in this list (and the NME one too) I either owned or at least had a strong opinion on makes me realise how significant the year was to me musically and the extent to which The Face shaped my tastes.
    It’s good to remember some forgotten (by me) gems like ‘The medicine song’ which is part of a long line of innuendo laden R&B/Soul/Dance hits.

  16. 16
    Billy Smart on 7 Sep 2009 #

    Aha! Further researches reveal that the original ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ was written by Farnell Jenkins and performed by Teacher’s Edition, and released on Hi in 1973; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u9KRErL-BA

  17. 17
    LondonLee on 8 Sep 2009 #

    The video of ‘I Wanna Be Loved” helped it connect with me, wasn’t too keen on it at first but that pushed its emotional directness (still preferred the b-side ‘Turning The Town Red’ though)

    Nice to see ‘What Presence?’ on so many of those lists, that might be my favourite OJ single.

  18. 18
    punctum on 8 Sep 2009 #

    #13 – it’s possible that music writers in general might have felt a bit Frankied-out by the end of ’84; also I recall at the time of the readers’ poll in early ’85 Danny Kelly saying shamefacedly that Pleasuredome would probably have topped the NME album poll (it came joint top with Born In The USA with the readers) if it hadn’t gone to press before the thing came out (see also Zen Arcade and the first Run-DMC album). Then he started slagging off the readers for not voting in sufficient numbers in the Best Soul Act and Best Reggae Act categories, which wasn’t really a wise thing to do.

  19. 19
    LondonLee on 8 Sep 2009 #

    I do remember being surprised at the NME making ‘Love Wars’ single of the year (didn’t the album top that chart too?) I mean, it’s a terrific record and all but not sure if it was the best of the year, especially the album. Have the writers of a pop paper ever been further away from the tastes of their readers?

  20. 20
    punctum on 8 Sep 2009 #

    Close – NME’s album of the year was Poet II by Bobby Womack, the first three tracks of which redefined deep soul for the eighties, while the remainder is very fine but scarcely album of the year material. Then again, my own choice would have been Treasure by the Cocteau Twins so what do I know?

  21. 21
    mike on 8 Sep 2009 #

    The Face’s end of year list is well-nigh immaculate, and (any number of belting Hi-NRG floor fillers excepted) bang in line with my own listening pleasures of 1984.

    This was my own Top 20 at the time:

    1. relax – frankie goes to hollywood
    2. rocket to your heart – lisa
    3. two tribes – frankie goes to hollywood
    4. why? – bronski beat
    5. strike – the enemy within
    6. beat box / diversions 1-4 / moments in love – art of noise
    7. i feel for you – chaka khan
    8. rock box – run dmc
    9. lost in music (1984 remix) – sister sledge
    10. holiday – madonna
    11. let the music play – shannon
    12. william, it was really nothing / how soon is now? – the smiths
    13. somebody else’s guy – jocelyn brown
    14. song to the siren – this mortal coil
    15. unity – afrika bambaataa & james brown
    16. slippery people – the staple singers
    17. hip hop bommi bop – the incredible t.h. scratchers starring freddie love
    18. give me tonight – shannon
    19. you think you’re a man – divine
    20. cockney translation – smiley culture

  22. 22
    punctum on 9 Sep 2009 #

    “Hip Hop Bommi Bop”! “Dumbkopfs. DUMB-kopfs! You guys must be from Dusseldorf!” Somebody reissue that on CD please.

  23. 23
    punctum on 9 Sep 2009 #

    Oh, and a word for the elephant in the 1984 singles living room: “Upside Down” by the Jesus and Mary Chain.

  24. 24
    DV on 17 Sep 2009 #

    There are some good songs here, but a lot of duffers. Looking back, this may have been the year I started thinking that there had to be more to life than chart music.

  25. 25
    Billy Smart on 24 Sep 2009 #

    NME Readers’ Poll 1984. Best single;

    1. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
    2. The Special AKA – Nelson Mandela
    3. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
    4. U2 – Pride
    5. Cocteau Twins – Pearly Dewdrop Drops
    6. The Redskins – Keep On Keepin’ On
    7. Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
    8. The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make?
    9. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
    10. The Style Council – You’re The Best Thing
    11. New Order – Thieves Like Us
    12. The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
    13. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Wanna Be Loved
    14. The Men They Couldn’t Hang – The Green Fields Of France
    15. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark
    16. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
    17. The Smiths – William It was really Nothing
    18. Loyd Cole & The Commotions – Forset Fire
    19. Wah! – Come Back
    20. This Mortal Coil – Song To The Siren

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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?

  33. 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

  34. 34
    iconoclast on 26 May 2014 #

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

  35. 35
    punctum on 26 May 2014 #

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

  36. 36
    punctum on 10 Jun 2014 #

    TPL update; end of 1984 days.

  37. 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.

  38. 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 …

  39. 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.

  40. 40
    Mark G on 29 Jun 2017 #

    In the midst of life, we are in nostalgia. Or, at least, what we get confronted with along with the fast-forward button.. Its TOTP, a Peel and Jensen one..

    Musical Yout’ have a hit but not many left I’m guessing. They do the cute meet, and sing along with Jody Watley about being 16, its OK but.

    Here comes the video for Radio Gaga. I’d forgotten the montage section in the middle. So, all these years later, did radio have its finest hour after this? Has it had it yet? Or is it all YouTube Gaga now? Ummmmmm

    Here’s a 1983 video montage. Best Video? Madness, Bowie, Eurythmics, Police, AdamAnt or .. Rod Stewart? Really? That’s the best? Pffff. I vote Madness but yes woah.

    Fiction Factory do that modern pop with deep vocals and a falsetto bit. Brrrrmb. Umumumum….. Next.

    And now maybe the best bid of 1984! Hyperactive. Dolby. Sort of cheaper than ‘Sledge Hammer’ but that’s OK too. Oh, and the girl singer is not who you think it is..

    Thompson Twins Doctor x2. Also burning up.

    Charts, then an edit into more charts, then a Duran vid for New Moon on Monday. Is that Prague? Thought I recognised it..

    Top ten, then no number one because banned! Ironic, now its just TOTP presenters that are banned. Oh, and two pop stars too.

    So, in closing, I shall say; Nothing.

  41. 41
    speedwell54 on 1 Jul 2017 #

    2/2/84 – John and the Kid host. We’ve skipped a week due to Smitty so missed the Smiths and Joe Fagin; that’s a dictionary definition of swings and roundabouts.

    Kid introduces Musical Youth with”Sixteen” as a toe tapper- move over Grandad. The song’s not awful, but the instruments sound terrible. Plinky plunk.

    Queen Radio Ga Ga- on video. I first heard this down the phone, on a Sunday in a phone box on Wakefield Road. Waiting for a lift to some freezing cross country run. I don’t know if this was a thing for a while and don’t remember where I got the number from, but I was quite excited. My other memory of this was Gary Davies comparing the cost of this video to that of the Weather Girls “Its Raining Men” and basically bashing Queen a bit. Anyway we all enjoyed the Weather Girls at Live Aid so all’s well.

    Matthew Wilder -short career, big hit, twktc. – John Deacon and Matthew Wilder same haircut. A plug for the British Rock and Pop Awards with Kid hosting.

    Fiction Factory (Feels Like) Heaven -back again. The Manics covered this quite recently.

    Thomas Dolby on video. Entertaining video and no doubt a bit of main stream leap back then. Thompson Twins – Doctor Doctor- nmcot.

    Duran Duran- first viewing on video. I like this song but the chorus lets it down a little. Video not their finest, luckily we don’t get to see them dancing at the end.

    No FGTH obvs. Both John and Kid were playing them well before Relax came out.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  42. 42
    speedwell54 on 2 Jul 2017 #

    16/02/1984 -Simon Bates and DJ Powell tonight.

    Slade- Run Runaway, taking a leaf from Big Country, and they sound like they’re from over the border with the guitar bagpipe sound. Second hit from a second mini revival. With the last days of disco behind them, they had a brief return with We’ll Bring the House Down a few years earlier and this followed on quickly from My Oh My.
    This was their biggest and only top 30 hit in America.

    Thompson Twins – and their record- “Doctor Doctor” on video still nmcot.

    The Style Council- My Ever Changing Moods – I first heard this when I was 17, and I was 27 when I first listened to the album version -which is just piano and vocals. I was rather stunned by it, less is more for me in this instance, a really impressive song. Found it a bit weird I knew nothing about it as well. I wonder how this version would have charted? 72 singles into his career and twenty five year later in 2009, Paul missed the top 100 for the first time.
    This was their biggest and only top 30 hit in America.

    Charts then Matt Bianco- Get Out Your Lazy Bed- this is a record I’ve got. Your musical taste can often be questioned and they weren’t cool to like. I was quiet keen on Basia too, who had a couple of decent singles. Charts.

    Nena – 99 Red Balloons- Captain Kirk gets his first name check on a number single. We have back to back artists tonight who name makes you think it’s the lead singer rather than the band name. Where’s Toyah when you need her for a hat trick. Nena and Toyah both being both at times. And guess what; this was their biggest and only top 30 hit in America. Pretty predictable I know.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  43. 43
    speedwell54 on 10 Jul 2017 #

    23/02/1984 Janice and Michael introduce the action tonight on TOTP.
    Hot Chocolate – I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I) – Mike informs us that it’s their thirtieth hit. So they’re no amateurs, but with that jinx from Read they had no more new hits after this.

    Rockwell – on video – he references the shower scene from Psycho. Michael Jackson gets credited (on the album at least) for vocals on this track. I don’t know how much that got pushed at the time.

    Back in the studio for Marilyn- Cry and Be Free- was surprised when I found out he wrote this, was convinced it was a cover. I don’t know if it is that good but if you’re soft like me, to summarise it sounds like his version of “I’m just a girl standing in front…”

    Joanna – Kool and the Gang- his new thing in the video is a leather shirt -which can’t be comfortable. Nmcot but made No2 here, and the States.

    Nik Kershaw- in the studio and cut with the video for the pretty long instrumental bit. Sporting a matching lime green snood.

    Charts and then Carmel- More More More – the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Carmel the name of a lead singer and the band – didn’t know that last week – or I would have mentioned it.

    Howard Jones – Hide and Seek- rather a strange choice for a single; much slower than previous hits. Did ok mind.

    Charts top ten run down and uneven length clips- we get almost a minute of the Style Council and Thompson Twins. Janice mentions Jacko’s input on “Somebody’s Watching Me” so scrub that bit earlier. Nena at No2 and a week in the language lab and 99 Luftballoons became 99 Red Balloons. No Relax and out to the Politics of Dancing- lead singer has a Pat Sharpe wig, keyboard player has a Nick Beggs wig. We’re all finished here.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  44. 44
    Lazarus on 12 Jul 2017 #

    Some observations:

    Rockwell – I think pretty much everyone knew MJ was singing on this as soon as it came out – his voice is not easily mistaken after all. Rockwell himself was the son (or at least a near relative) of Berry Gordy IIRC, so clearly no nepotism at all there. I doubt if listeners in the UK were struck dumb with terror at the mention of the IRS, mind.

    Kool and the Gang – Joanna turns out to be a comfortably built middle-aged cafeteria waitress prone to a wistful, faraway gaze – Sister Sledge with ‘Frankie’ would pretty much do this in reverse a year later.

    Howard Jones – Yewtree permitting, we should be getting a live version of this shortly. I’ve said so before I’m sure, but the album is well worth a listen. Bound to be on Youtube.

  45. 45
    speedwell54 on 23 Jul 2017 #

    1/3/84. Jensen/Peel in yellow tartan jackets and they both have a bit of a topical go at the French; football, drivers and farmers.

    Matt Bianco return- She’s still taller than him. A fair few of the crowd are wearing black trilbys; what’s to come? Sax player didn’t turn up and we get a brief clip crowbarred in at the appropriate solo.

    Van Halen- Jump. The keyboard bit of the video was such an after thought and we only get a clip for the solo despite its constant presence. The drummer’s got more drums than you can shake a stick at. I briefly shared a house with a guy who wanted to be Dave Lee Roth including trying to sound American which makes me ffwd this stuff still. You can judge a book by the cover.

    Alexei Style with “Ullo John! Gotta New Motor” The tight suited Marxist-Leninist with his biggest hit. Still performing on Radio 4 now, a little less political and a little less angry, which is a good thing.

    Soft Cell- “Down in the Subway” On video. A more soulful cover of the original by Jack Hammer who we lost last year, goodnight Jack.

    Street Dance- nmcot. And lightning stuck twice when they re recorded this but called it Break Dance Party for another top 10. Chart countdown and they sneak a couple of lines from the still banned Relax into their banter. Elbow Bones and the Racketeers fail to make it five weeks at no 33.

    Dance Hall Days- Wang Chung- the lead singer couldn’t look anymore German. The lyric sounds clumsy enough to be a translation but no, all British. It’s ok. Countdown.

    Slade at 10 on video- They make a fun video which is very un-American with Noddy gurning thoughout but it must have gone down well.

    Top 10 countdown and Billy Joel at No8 still fails to get an appearance.

    Out to Nena and 99 Red Balloons climbing to Number 1.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  46. 46
    speedwell54 on 24 Jul 2017 #

    8/3/84 Richard Skinner – dressed as a darts player, and Gary Davies all in white host tonight.

    What Do I Do? – a bit of profile creep from Phil going on here. Originally billed as “Galaxy”, then “Galaxy featuring Phil Fearon”, then “Phil Fearon and Galaxy” (which is the correct one for this track), then just “Phil Fearon”. Skinner introduces them/him as “Phil Fearon Galaxy” which has never been used, but after the performance goes for just”Galaxy”. The track didn’t quite reach the highest heights, checking out at no5. Everything flows but nmcot.

    Kool and the Gang – “direct from the USA” says Richard. With that I thought they might be in the studio but no. They’re on video again – calico coloured leather shirt and trousers! In the diner, extra cheese please.

    The Weather Girls-“It’s Raining Men” nmcot. Martha Wash went on to sing on some Black Box singles and also Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).

    Tracey Ullman- My Guy’s Mad At Me. Good song, good version, good video, thought it should have been top ten but ended up some place else. Shame

    Sade- Your Love is King. Or Slade as they were billed on the chart countdown. In the days before autocorrect some ol’ duffer must have thought Sade was a typo. Classic track still sounds great. She has more time off than Kate Bush. Gaps between albums 1,3,4,8,10 years so 2022 for the next one?

    Bananarama- Robert De Niro’s Waiting.. Their biggest hit so far and still is although equalled. Before chart restrictions limited different versions this came out in multiple 7″ picture disc and 12″ coloured vinyl, at least 9 versions.

    Howard Jones – sings and plays live. This record didn’t climb after this performance. “Pearl in the Shell” made No7 if it had made No8 he would have had 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16, in his first 9 hits. Ifs and buts.

    Billy Joel still at no8 and still not a sniff – no video, I wonder why? Top 10 in US too.

    Nena at No1 and we get a repeat from last week. Out to Mel Brooks and this is where U2 got the Acthung Baby title?

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

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