Oct 09

Popular ’85

FT + Popular/116 comments • 6,007 views

I give every entry on Popular a mark out of 10, and at the end of each year’s worth of entries you get the chance to vote for any YOU would have given 6 or more out of 10 to.

My highest rated tracks were Madonna and Dead Or Alive, with 9 each. Shakin’ Stevens, Midge Ure and UB40 all got 2s.

Which Of These Number One Singles Of 1985 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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Use the comments box to discuss the year in general, critics and readers polls at the time, etc etc. (Hopefully you’ll find plenty to talk about cos the next entry won’t be up until a week on Monday!)


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  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 24 Oct 2009 #

    Four out of nineteen for me! Surely the worst year for number ones ever.

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 24 Oct 2009 #

    Here are the phantom number ones of 1985 that got to the top of the NME chart, but not the Gallup one;

    Wham! – Everything She Wants/ Last Christmas (1 week)
    King – Love & Pride (1)
    Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome (1)
    Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World (3)
    Madonna – Crazy For You (1)
    A-Ha – Take On Me (1)
    Elton John – Nikita (1)

  3. 3
    Billy Smart on 24 Oct 2009 #

    NME Critics poll for 1985 singles;

    1. Never Understand – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    2. Just Like Honey – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    3. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
    4. How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths
    5. Tupelo – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    6. You Trip Me Up – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    7. Yesterday’s Men – Madness
    8. Single Life – Cameo
    9. A Pair Of Brown Eyes – The Pouges
    10. Death Valley ’69 – Sonic Youth & Lynda Lunch
    11. Death Of A European – The Three Johns
    12. Here I Come – Barrington Levy
    13. Nightshift – The Commodores
    14. Caravan Of Love – Isley, Jasper, Isley
    15. Back In Stride – Maze
    16. Johnny Come Home – Fine Young Cannibals
    17. Boys Of Summer – Don Henley
    18. Into The Groove – Madonna
    19. Status Quo – Donald Banks
    20. Blue – Fine Young Cannibals
    21. All Fall Down – Primal Scream
    22. Sho’ Nuff Bumpin’ – Eu
    23. Makes No Scence At All – Husker Du
    24. Bonzo Goes To Bitburg – The Ramones
    25. Jumping Into Love – Champion Doug Veitch
    26. Cruiser’s Creek/LA – The Fall
    27. Still Smokin’ – Troublefunk
    28. The Wind Of Change – Robert Wyatt & The Swapo Singers
    29. Time After Time – Miles Davis
    30. Up The Hill Down The Slope – The Loft
    31. Under Me Sleng Teng – Wayne Smith
    32. Born In The USA – Bruce Springsteen
    33. Lover Girl – Teena Marie
    34. Let My People Go – The Winans
    35. King Of Rock – Run DMC
    36. Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads
    37. Motor Slug – Wiseblood
    38. Let Them Eat Bogshed – Bogshed
    39. Turn It Up – Conway Brothers
    40. Raspberry Beret – Prince
    41. Move Closer – Phyllis Nelson
    42. How Will The Wolf Survive?/Don’t Worry Baby – Los Lobos
    43. Raping A Slave – The Swans
    44. Set It Off – Strafe
    45. Fields Of Glass – The Triffids
    46. Movin’ ‘N’ Groovin’ – Redds & The Boys
    47. Ironmasters – The Men They Couldn’t Hang
    48. Uncle Sam – Madness
    49. Birthday Girl – Microdisney
    50. Yu Gung – Einsturzende Neubauten

  4. 4
    Jungman Jansson on 24 Oct 2009 #

    8/19 for me, sticking fairly close to Tom’s official party line but substituting Foreigner and Jennifer Rush for Phyllis Nelson and Phil & Phil. Madonna and Dead or Alive at the top, and Shaky, Sharkey and Bowie/Jagger at the bottom, I think. Not that bad a year, but Madonna and DoA are the only ones I would give more than a 7.

    SwedenWatch end-of-year round up – sales charts #1’s:

    Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
    Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is
    USA for Africa – We Are the World
    Opus – Live is Life
    Paul Hardcastle – 19
    Duran Duran – A View to a Kill
    Sandra – (I’ll Never Be) Maria Magdalena
    Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
    a-ha – Take on Me

    And #1’s from the listener voted public service radio show Tracks’ chart, for good measure:

    Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is
    Cyndi Lauper – All Through the Night
    Howard Jones – Things Can Only Get Better
    REO Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling
    USA for Africa – We Are the World
    Narada Michael Walden with Patti Austen – Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
    Nolan Thomas – Yo Little Brother
    +1 – Nevermore
    Duran Duran – A View to a Kill
    Scotch – Delirio Mind
    Go West – Call Me
    Eurythmics – There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)
    Sandra – (I’ll Never Be) Maria Magdalena
    Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
    Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
    John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)
    Bryan Adams – Heaven
    Tone Norum – Can’t You Stay
    Thompson Twins – King for a Day
    Starship – We Built This City

    That amounts to a grand total of TWO Swedish acts – the largely forgotten +1 and Tone Norum (sister of John Norum from Europe, whose material was also written and produced by Joey Tempest of the same band). None of whom actually performed in Swedish. So you can see why the British and American charts are about as pertinent to me as the local ones.

    The Tracks chart seems unusually volatile compared to later years; maybe a result of the show being a fairly recent invention without a large, established voter base. It also sticks curiously close to the Billboard chart, occasionally flipping over into Italo disco/europop. And you may spot a particular Austrian entry that I shan’t say any more about.

  5. 5
    TomLane on 24 Oct 2009 #

    These were the #1’s in the U.S. for 1985:
    First to last:
    Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
    Wham – Careless Whisper
    REO Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling
    Phil Collins – One More Night
    USA For Africa – We Are The World
    Madonna – Crazy For You
    Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me
    Wham – Everything She Wants
    Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
    Bryan Adams – Heaven
    Phil Collins – Sussudio
    Duran Duran – View To A Kill
    Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away
    Tears for Fears – Shout
    Huey Lewis & The News – Power of Love
    John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire
    Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
    Ready for the World – Oh Sheila
    A-Ha – Take on Me
    Whitney Houston – Saving All My Love For You
    Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme
    Starship – We Built This City
    Phil Collins & Marily Martin – Separate Lives
    Mr. Mister – Broken Wings
    Lionel Richie – Say You Say Me

    Most weeks at #1- Lionel (4)
    Number of shared U.S. and Brit #1’s- (3) Foreigner, USA for Africa and Whitney

  6. 6
    LondonLee on 24 Oct 2009 #

    Only 5 from me and one of those was a toss-up. Very poor, Reeves. Shockingly I’d have picked 9 of the US number ones. How dare they do better than us! It’s against all the rules of pop!

  7. 7
    Rory on 24 Oct 2009 #

    Seven out of 19 for me, including one outlier, but none rated higher than 7. Whether or not it was the worst year for number ones, it claims one record: it was the first year that the UK charts had eight number ones that also reached the top of the Australian charts, beating 1984’s previous peak of seven. (The Kent Report also shows there were seven in common in 1965 and 1967, but his 1960s charts were retrospective constructions based on state-by-state charts; there were no official national Australian charts in the ’60s.) The 1985 singles in question were Foreigner, USA for Africa, Madonna, UB40 & Hynde, Bowie & Jagger, Jennifer Rush, Feargal Sharkey, and Whitney Houston. I bought precisely none of them, although I did buy one Australian chart-topper (Midnight Oil’s Species Deceases EP).

    We’ll see a dramatic tailing off of number-ones-in-common next year, although in top 5 or 10 terms the two charts still have plenty in common for the next few years. That peak of eight doesn’t occur again until 2004, but that was out of 31 number ones versus 19. In terms of overall proportions 1984’s 7/14 is hard to beat, but it’s safe to say that 1985 is one of the years when the UK and Australian number ones were most strongly aligned. There haven’t been another 24 months like the ones we’ve just seen in the two and a half decades since.

  8. 8
    lonepilgrim on 24 Oct 2009 #

    The Face Top 50 singles for 1985:

    01: Grace Jones – Slave to the rhythm
    02: Cameo – Single Life
    03: Jesus and Mary Chain – Never understand
    04: Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home
    05: Duran Duran – A view to a kill
    06: Harlequin Fours – Set it off
    07: Lisa Lisa and Full Force – I wonder if I take you home
    08: Doug E. Fresh – The Show
    09: Trouble Funk – Still Smokin’
    10: Mai Tai – History
    10: Madonna – Into the Groove
    12: Donald Banks – Status Quo
    13: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s make lots of money)
    13: Prince – Paisley Park
    15: Steve Arrington – Feel so real
    16: Beastie Boys – Rock Hard
    17: Fats Comet – Stormy Weather
    17: Eurythmics – Would I lie to you
    17: Macattack – Art of Drums
    20: James Ingram – Ya mo B there
    21: The Smiths – The Boy with the thorn in his side
    22: The Clash – This is England
    23: Colonel Abrams – Trapped
    24: Mass Extension – Happy Feet
    25: Conway Brothers – Turn it up
    26: Rene and Angela – Save your love
    27: MCA and Burzootie – Drum Machine
    27: Anthony Redrose – Tempo
    29: Eurythmics – There must be an angel
    30: Madonna – Material Girl
    31: The Pogues – Sally Maclennane
    32: Prince – Pop Life
    33: Horace Andy – Sting me a sting
    33: York – It’s only a dream
    35: The Smiths – Shakespeare’s sister
    36: The Pogues – A pair of Brown eyes
    37: Art of Noise – Moments in Love
    38: Motorslug – Wise Blood
    39: Scritti Politti – Hypnotise
    39: Maria Vidal – Body Rock
    41: E.U. – Sho’ Nuff Bumpin’
    42: LL Cool J – I can give you more
    43: Prince – Raspberry Beret
    43: Cameo – Young american
    45: Andre Cymone – Dance Electric
    46: Lorna G – Three Weeks Gone (Mi Giro)
    47: Billy Idol – White Wedding
    48: Bobby Womack – I wish he didn’t trust me so much
    48: Dennis Brown – How sweet it is
    50: Doubled D & Steinski – Master Mix 3

    I swear some of those sound made up – possibly to trip up the cooler than cool.

    By this stage David Toop was the regular music writer for The Face and he was a big influence on my tastes and appreciation for music.

    I saw Bruce Springsteen play at Newcastle in the first part of the year, worked and travelled in America for the first time where I developed a love of Prince’s music and an appreciation of just how segmented tastes were in that country. I returned to live and study in London where I got to see Tom Waits and Blyth Power ( although not on the same stage).
    I voted for only 7 from this year’s crop of hits – not a vintage year for Number 1s

  9. 9
    Rory on 24 Oct 2009 #

    What most evokes 1985 for me in chart terms is scarcely to be found on the UK number ones chart. The Eurythmics were one touchstone, although I’ve already mentioned that Australia had the other hit from that album. Tears for Fears are another big gap. Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” we discussed a few threads ago, and there’s another band we’ll get to soon enough. I also bought and adored Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking”, which no doubt is too late in their discography to be cool, but screw that. (Hey, my favourite album of theirs is Real Life, so what do I know.) And although they never bothered the top ten, Killing Joke’s “Love Like Blood” and Night Time were huge for me that year, thanks to a mate at matric who put me onto them. He also introduced me to the charms of Who’s Next and Quadrophenia, so I owe him double; thanks, Sim.

  10. 10
    Billy Smart on 24 Oct 2009 #

    Melody Maker critics’ singles of 1985;

    1) Bring On the Dancing Horses: Echo & the Bunnymen
    2) Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush
    3) Johnny Come Home: Fine Young Cannibals
    4) Duel: Propaganda
    5) Going Down To Liverpool: The Bangles
    6) In Between Days: The Cure
    7) Between The Wars: Billy Bragg
    8) Slave To Love: Bryan Ferry
    9) I Feel Love: Bronski Beat & Marc Almond
    10) The Boys Of Summer: Don Henley

  11. 11
    Tom on 24 Oct 2009 #

    Is there any publication now – print, web, whatever – with a music outlook quite like The Face’s? I didn’t read it at the time (obviously, I was 12!) but their early singles lists look amazingly enviable.

  12. 12
    Abe Fruman on 25 Oct 2009 #
  13. 13
    Abe Fruman on 25 Oct 2009 #

    A very poor year indeed – only two bankers in DoA and our Madge with the Phils, Wham! and Eurythmics just about scraping a 6.

    And who voted for UBfucking40???

    I’m sure there is help available.

  14. 14
    ottersteve on 25 Oct 2009 #

    This was the point in time when I knew I was getting to old for “pop” music. I turned 31 and suddenly the number of new releases I seemed to enjoy plummeted dramatically this year. I never really recovered my taste for new music after this. I only considered 2 of the above list to be worthy of 6 points or more as opposed to 6-8 of all previous years No. 1’s. There hasn’t been any year since 1984 that I consider to be of a significant vintage.

    It’s also the year I switched my radio tuner permanently to radio 2!
    Pipe & slippers please.

  15. 15
    LondonLee on 25 Oct 2009 #

    #11 Not Freaky Trigger, Tom?

    The Face was “lucky” to come along during something of a golden age for pop, dance and indie music. It helped not having any particular musical axes to grind other than “do they have good haircuts?”

  16. 16
    Conrad on 25 Oct 2009 #

    3 out of 18 for me; Madonna, Phyllis and Bailey/Collins

    A significant decline in the Top 40 this year, and a wretched 12 months for No 1s, although there were still a few fine singles around, many of them cropping up in The Face selection.

    I’d add Arcadia’s Election Day, Scritti – Word Girl & Perfect Way, Eric B/Rakim – Eric B is President, Bowie/Metheny – This is not America, Ashford & Simpson – Solid, Simply Red – Money’s Too Tight, Kirsty MaCcoll – New England and Tin Tin – Kiss Me

  17. 17
    ace inhibitor on 25 Oct 2009 #

    can we have the bar chart back? I need to confirm that 85 ended up being popularofficially worse than 1967, based on tom’s marks, but am too lazy to do the calculation myself.

  18. 18
    Mark M on 25 Oct 2009 #

    I voted for only three – Wham!, Whitney and Madonna (not going to let my later hatred of her ruin my like for many of her early songs). But those NME and The Face end of year lists are full of stuff I loved then and love still, although I maintain that DC Go-Go is one of the most tedious genres of music ever conceived. I have a memory that the NME gave its album of the year jointly to Rain Dogs and Psychocandy, but online sources have them as one and two (P*nk Lord S, any recall?) – both had a big impact on me. Anyway, I was entering into about three years of taking what magazines said very seriously indeed. for better or worse:

  19. 19
    swanstep on 25 Oct 2009 #

    @17 Ace. Here’s the chart you’re probably looking for. The Tom-score average for 1985 ended up crawling just above 1967’s dismal-ness. 1985 and 1967 have the same Tom-score median.

  20. 20
    Billy Smart on 26 Oct 2009 #

    Re 18: That’s correct, Rain Dogs and Psychocandy were officially joint winners.

    Ten years later the same thing happened at Melody Maker when Different Class and Maxinequay were dual album of the year.

  21. 21
    Erithian on 26 Oct 2009 #

    The end-of-year Radio 1 best-sellers list:

    1 The Power of Love
    2 I Know Him So Well
    3 Into The Groove
    4 19
    5 Frankie
    6 Dancing in the Street
    7 Move Closer
    8 Take On Me – A-Ha (2)
    9 A Good Heart
    10 Love and Pride – King (2)
    11 I Want To Know What Love Is
    12 Easy Lover
    13 Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer (2)
    14 I Got You Babe
    15 Crazy For You – Madonna (2)
    16 Solid – Ashford and Simpson (3)
    17 You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
    18 There Must Be An Angel
    19 Do They Know It’s Christmas?
    20 Cherish – Kool and the Gang (4)
    21 Trapped – Colonel Abrams (3)
    22 Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears for Fears (2)
    23 I’m Your Man
    24 Saving All My Love For You
    25 You’ll Never Walk Alone
    26 If I Was
    27 Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen (4)
    28 Nikita – Elton John (3)
    29 1999 / Little Red Corvette – Prince (2)
    30 Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler (2)

  22. 22
    Billy Smart on 26 Oct 2009 #

    TOTPWatch: 25 December 1985.

    In the studio were; King, Alison Moyet, Dead Or Alive, Baltimora, Billy Ocean, Feargal Sharkey and Paul Young. Gary Davies, Jonathan King, Janice Long, Dixie Peach, John Peel and Steve Wright were the hosts.

  23. 23
    Martin Skidmore on 26 Oct 2009 #

    I ticked 5, but apart from Madonna I don’t think any of the rest would have scored above 6, and I think I may have been generous with a couple at that.

  24. 24
    stuart on 26 Oct 2009 #

    I ticked 3 – by a BIG margin the worst year for me since I came in.
    Madonna was my banker here, and I surprised myself on relistening to mark Whitney in and Dead or Alive out. Madonna the only one that’s a solid 6+ for me, mind. (an 8, or 9 on the right day)

  25. 25
    AndyPandy on 26 Oct 2009 #

    Bound to be the worst year so far for me too only Paul Hardcastle, Foreigner and Phyllis Nelson managed it.Even the club scene was pretty shit that year too…leadenly unfunky (but not bangin’) drums retreads of templates that had been used ad infinitum since the early 80s (ie Evelyn King’s “Your Personal Touch”, desperate dated discoey funk like Full Circle ‘Workin’ Up A Sweat’ rather like New Pop an extremely swift descent from the heights into into crap…

  26. 26
    H. on 27 Oct 2009 #

    In my mind 1985 always felt like some kind of nadir, and so it seems to be, glancing over not just the number ones but the critics’ lists as well. Of the number ones, Into The Groove is the only one I really love. As for the critics’ lists – sure, there is some good stuff there but it’s hard not to see 1985 as a kind of in-between year. The last of the post-punk and new pop groups are mixing it up with a nascent dance music scene which would only really start to happen in the following year.

  27. 27
    wichita lineman on 27 Oct 2009 #

    I never thought I’d be its sole cheerleader, but I’m surprised that The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary didn’t make it into any publication’s year end chart. It was THE indie disco (though that term didn’t yet exist) hit of the year. Of course, they were monumentally unhip.

    1985, like 1967, felt like mums and dads had gone ‘that’s enough of THAT’ and switched the dial. Live Aid was like Engelbert, Vince Hill and Tom Jones for me. Something died and we had to go back to basics to get pop back on its feet: yes, we fought the indie wars for the likes of The View and The Wombats. As for a nadir, though, 1987 felt like a worse year, in spite of the underground occasionally bubbling to the surface. We’ll see.

    As others have done, I felt generous and gave 6 or more to 6, but only Madonna (a 10 for me) would have scored more than 7.

    Re 18: Go Go! Yes! Thought I was on my own there.

  28. 28
    Gavin Wright on 27 Oct 2009 #

    Madonna, Dead Or Alive and the two Phils for me – this is a poor year but there are worse to come…

  29. 29
    wichita lineman on 27 Oct 2009 #

    1953 is still Tom’s worst year by a mile. At a quick glance I’d give 6 or more to 7 out of 14. Anyone else as fond of You Belong To Me, Hey Joe and Comes Along A Love? I’ll sit down, then.

  30. 30
    Tom on 27 Oct 2009 #

    I am now very fond of them – I don’t think my marking scheme was settled in the early 50s, and I appreciate the music more now – I don’t think there’d be an awful lot more 8+s (Mambo Italiano maybe) but a bunch in the 4-6 range were probably a point too low.

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