Oct 09

Popular ’85

FT + Popular/81 comments • 3,662 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. 51
    Billy Smart on 13 Nov 2009 #

    Melody Maker Readers Poll, Best Single 1985;

    1. The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
    2. Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses
    3. Billy Bragg – Between The Wars
    4. The Cure – Inbetween Days
    5. Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
    6. The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
    7. Simple Minds – Alive & Kicking
    =. Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere
    9. U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
    10. Propaganda – Duel

  2. 52
    DV on 28 Dec 2009 #

    Musically speaking, this was a year of total fail.

  3. 53
    wichita lineman on 18 Oct 2010 #

    In Italy, Band Aid hit number one on Feb 17th and Wham!’s Last Christmas eventually got there in March. They wish it could be Christmas every day, I assume.

  4. 54
    punctum on 11 Jun 2014 #

    TPL gets going with 1985, a year that never really gets going. First, a wrecked soul with something to say, and if only we could hear it through the wall of benign plastic that she’s stuck behind.

  5. 55
    punctum on 24 Jun 2014 #

    TPL asks: is this land still his land?

  6. 56
    punctum on 26 Jun 2014 #

    TPL gets to the year’s most violent and confrontational opposing popstrological star.

  7. 57
    punctum on 27 Jun 2014 #

    TPL update: this is what Thatcher’s Britain wanted instead of socialism.

  8. 58
    punctum on 29 Jun 2014 #

    TPL on that difficult (but not in a bad way) second album.

  9. 59
    punctum on 29 Jun 2014 #

    TPL update. Nearly three thousand bloody words. I’m sorry.

  10. 60
    punctum on 1 Jul 2014 #

    TPL on the biggest album of the decade.

  11. 61
    punctum on 2 Jul 2014 #

    TPL update: “You don’t have to take this crap.”

  12. 62
    punctum on 3 Jul 2014 #

    TPL update: “heatwave to nightshade.”

  13. 63
    punctum on 4 Jul 2014 #

    TPL update: “J’entend ton coeur.”

  14. 64
    punctum on 7 Jul 2014 #

    TPL gets to Now 5.

  15. 65
    punctum on 18 Jul 2014 #

    One of the best TPL posts there has ever been, and one of the best number one albums too: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/kate-bush-hounds-of-love.html

  16. 66
    punctum on 27 Jul 2014 #

    TPL on the last K-Tel number one.

  17. 67
    punctum on 29 Jul 2014 #

    TPL on Simple Minds, once upon a time: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/simple-minds-once-upon-time.html

  18. 68
    punctum on 5 Aug 2014 #

    TPL update: stronger than Pride.

  19. 69
    punctum on 7 Aug 2014 #

    TPL update: the first of four consecutive Various Artists compilations.

  20. 70
    punctum on 11 Aug 2014 #

    TPL update: pop versus Adorno.

  21. 71
    punctum on 12 Aug 2014 #

    TPL says: “it’s Christmas.” Britain says: “Humbug!”

  22. 72
    Adam on 27 Mar 2015 #

    Fitting that my birth year was the lowpoint of pop… my best friend, also a music geek born a week earlier, shared my opinion that the entire decade was a nadir until we recently came around. Can’t blame us.

  23. 73
    speedwell54 on 18 Jan 2018 #

    003/01/1985 TOTP Peel and Skinner host. “21 years old today” that’s the programme not the hosts. First edition of 1985 and the times they are a-changin’. More details later we are promised. Meanwhile…

    Smiley Culture -“Police Officer” about the ‘producer’, and now we have ‘stop and search’. Sad end for Mr Culture with some police involvement in 2011.

    Sal Solo with”San Damiano” or “Sandamiano” as BBC graphics had it. There’s a choir and Christmas has passed, what’s going on? Nmcot of tea. Short pop career but still recording.

    You said, we listened. Skinner tells us after research that we want more top hits. So the whole top ten. The edits vary in length.

    10 – Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is. Video clip.
    9 – Paul Young – Everything Must Change- Full ish video. I think this a great song which he co wrote . Palladino -with his distinctive fretless bass -and the great backing of Chandler Jackson and Chambers complete a top track.
    8 Tear For Fears – Shout in the studio – from Songs from the Big HAIR as we called it. Still with a head full today as seen on the recent Radio 2 in concert where they close with this track.
    7 FGTH – The Power Of Love – video. Despite the theme no one considers this Christmassy
    6 Ghostbusters- video, sticking around
    5 Toy Dolls – Nellie The Elephant- in the studio
    4 Madonna Like A Virgin- video clip
    3 Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus – We All Stand Together – live in the studio, well actually, no. video clip. BBC captions miss off the “We”
    2 Wham – Everything She Wants- in the studio. They give a good performance with a dance routine from George, Pepsi and Shirlie. Possibly their best single.
    1 Band Aid -“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” video; and their inability to perform live probably the nail in the coffin for this lot of one hit wonders!

    Out to Step Off -and the audience have no idea how to dance to this. Track rather dated now lyrically and musically.

    Not a massive fan of the format and things will have to change because this was a 40 minute episode, and we only got 3 non top ten tracks. The 30 minute episodes can’t be far away with Eastenders starting sometime this year.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  24. 74
    Mark G on 21 Jan 2018 #

    Hey! Let’s monetise the pages! But, before that, its Top of the pops!

    And we are straight into.. The Limit? Nope. Don’t remember this at all. I must have been on holiday. Thats a lot of people for a duo. All the blokes look like Gary Davies. Its vaguely soft-soap soul. File next to Lynx and forget all about it.

    And Powell introduces one of the bands succeeding in 1985 — Prince. Hmmm. Anyway, its 1999 which has finally got into the charts. I dunno, people are slow sometimes. You got a free copy of ‘Little Red Corvette’ with it, I know I bought one. Shush. Shhhhhhhhh

    Ah Gary Davies has a black jacket on to avoid being mistaken for … no its gone. Anyway, Amii Stewart sings a nice song which I don’t remember either. Where was I, I wonder. January 1985? Budapest maybe? Oh, some interesting dancing there…

    Smiley Culture needs no introduction, so he doesn’t get one. And he doesn’t want a producer. I guess he mixed it himself. First mention of Ganja on the pops? Gary Davies is impressed Smiley can remember all those words. The girl behind him looks very unimpressed with Gary. Moving on…

    Russ Abbot cuts out the middle earth, and brings Prestatyn to the show! Oh, and the “Frankie goes to Hollywood” bit sounds like a direct sample from “Relax” by the way. Seek out Ted Chippington’s cover, and his different FGTH bit. If you know what I am meaning if I say “Thrashing Shit”, then well done. If not, don’t worry about it…

    And here are some rubbish videos we might vote for in the Best Video category. I assume Radio Gaga won, but.

    Ooh, Art of noise are in the chart! Goody.

    And now we concentrate on the top ten. Not enough Strawberry Switchblade, too much Paul Young,..

    Melle Mel does that intro from I feel for you, but the rest sounds like Fresh Prince of Bel Air so I guess you can stamp this one ‘dated’.

    More chart. Elaine Page and Barbra Dixon do the song that fails the Bechdel test.

    And Band Aid are finally off the top, and Foreigner are there.

    And now, a play out of a Bruce Springsteen reentry. Funnily enough, this one finally becomes his first sizeable hit over here after, what, ten years of holding out? Yeah, he had a couple of lower-thirty ones, but up to a few months ago Bruce Foxton had more bigger hits, so muse on that, or not.

    Anyway, shows over, highlight was mmmm there wasn’t one so we’ll let the Toy Dolls keep the award from last week. (Reissues don’t count) (OK the toy dolls, but that was a re-record not a reissue. Does anyone remember when they had a Toy Doll on the ‘Guess Who’ bit on Buzzcocks? None of them was Olga. I looked it up, and it was their ‘original’ singer who quit after two months so no wonder no-one knew. There was no mention from the Toy Dolls camp about it anyway. And they are still going, travelling the world, working hard and doubtless earning a fair crust. Anyway, time to close the bracket and leave you with a closing word)


  25. 75
    speedwell54 on 5 Feb 2018 #

    31/01/1985 TOTP.

    We’ve missed an episode due to Smitty. Couple, Powell and Long host tonight and Pete gives the kiss of death to the Big Sound Authority predicting a bright future; this is their only hit. This House is a decent track. Guitarist is a bit too enthusiastic.

    On to The Art Of Music – half video, half in the studio. Not easy to mime to they universally make a right hash. This was quite exciting at the time and different from everything else in the charts at the time.

    Janice introduces the top 40 Breakers on video, Adams -Run to You, Collins-Sussudio, Benatar -We Belong, Commodores- Nightshift ( all top 5 in the US btw)

    The Colourfield- Thinking of You. In the studio. Will he crack a smile. No. The female singer – Katrina -has the same mouth as Keira Knightley. All good. Into a countdown. Peter says Terry nearly broke into a smile and I feel I’m oh so obvious all of a sudden.

    Now into the top ten Clips. Bruce – Dancing in the Dark -long clip, we get to see
    a young Courtney Cox plucked for the crowd, Like a Virgin- short clip, Russ Abbott long clip, Strawberry Switchblade, short clip, Ashford and Simpson clip, Shout TFF short clip, King – Love and Pride clip, Prince 1999 clip, Paige/Dixon IKHSW. Foreigner at No1 long clip and it pays right to the very end.

    Again just three acts in the studio it seems like most of the time we’re just getting adverts for songs rather than the songs themselves.

    Not my favourite, this is a poor format.

  26. 76
    speedwell54 on 15 Feb 2018 #

    07/02/1985 TOTP- Skinner and Davies. 21 songs tonight states Gary so no doubt clip city.

    King- Love and Pride. This week in the studio, all but the keyboard player with a mullet. At its peak of No2.

    Gary introduces Bryan Adams on video, “a guy who featured last week in the top 40 breakers and as a result of that, he’s gone up 7 places to number 11”. Correlation is not causation. Anyway he has another three weeks at 11 due to the snow in his video.

    Sussudio – Phil Collins in the sus sus studio. A little 1999, but this brassy affair chugs along but doesn’t really go anywhere. nmcot.

    Kirsty MacColl – Gary makes some clumsy remark about her having a big stomach. A New England – on video.

    Prime Movers – Top 40 breakers – A Love Like Blood – Killing Joke, You’re The Inspiration – Chicago, 20/20- George Benson, You Spin me Round (Like A Record) – Dead or Alive. The later limps into the charts at no 40 after 10 weeks in the lower reaches.

    Howard Jones – Things Can Only Get Better- Another brassy song and a another song doing better in America than here. The keyboard solo sounds dated.

    Billy Ocean – Loverboy. On video, looking a bit like a Star Wars movie but featuring Billy Ocean.

    Charts -countdown to the top ten on video. AoN,Switchblade,TFF, Russ, Bruce,Prince, Ashford and Simpson -long clip, Foreigner, King.

    Paige and Dickson at No1 ‘I Know Him, So Well’ as Skinner says.
    Out to ‘We Belong’. With shorter clips from the breakers and top ten we at least got to see a few more acts this week

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  27. 77
    speedwell54 on 2 Mar 2018 #

    14/2/1985 TOTP Bates and Long host. Poor Janice, looking a little countrified in a betasselled black leather jacket and one of those funny bow ties. Funny as in unusual, rather than hilarious, although it is pretty weird, she’s not borrowed it off a clown.

    Dead or Alive kick off the proceedings and Pete does his familiar wavy dance and looks like he’s dislocated both of his ankles. With hands in pockets he lifts his cape above his head like ten year old pretending to be a kite. Sounds good mind, and this is SAW on production on their way to their first number I think. In places it sounds quite Pet Shop Boys circa ’88. Simon bangs on about its slow rise which I’m sure another host did a few weeks ago. Portugal the Man has had a similar slow progress to Feb 2018 although looks like he might just fall short of the top.

    Nightshift- the Commodores – On video. nmcot
    The Colour Field – Thinking of You. They have come back into the studio, Katrina still looks cute but overacts a bit. She is wearing clothes that should be worn over a fat suit, and she is not wearing a fat suit. She’s dyed her hair red too. Janice recommends the parent album out in April. ‘Castles in The Air’ is favourite track of mine, but it missed the charts unfortunately.

    Still very enthusiastic Janice introduces Killing Joke. It’s all a little serious in the performance, but a cracking single. A Love Like Blood.

    Top 40 Breakers – Sharpe and Numan- Change Your Mind- long clip, Kool and the Gang- Misled, strange video, Don Henley – Boys of Summer.

    Janice raves about another album Meat is Murder -The Smiths – Can’t argue with that and states “it’ll be No1 next week”. (Correct, I remember it sneaking in the week before No Jacket Required came out which stopped both Tears for Fears and Howard Jones from back to back No1s ) Janice continues… “From it, The Smiths – How Soon Is Now” – er? no.
    This was No1 in Peel’s Festive 50 in 1984 so kind of late with a single release after being on Hatful late in ’84 but not Meat is Murder (at least for a long time). Tatu do a surprisingly good cover of this and that’s not just about having low expectations.

    Countdown to the top ten and then the video top ten. Nothing new to write about with all these featuring previously. So an easy mini lyrics quiz instead.

    10 I don’t want to change the world
    9 To be in England in the summertime
    8 And you and I’ll be dancing in the cool night air.
    7 And do you feel scared, I do.
    6 I got a lion in my pocket and baby he’s ready to roar.
    5 In my life, there’s been heartache and pain.
    4 I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face.
    3 We build it up and build it up and build it up.
    2 In you I’ve found a story I want to keep hearing.
    1 Looking back I could have played it differently. On video.

    Out to Eugene Wilde – Personality -a bit forgettable

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  28. 78
    speedwell54 on 6 Mar 2018 #

    21/2/1985 TOTP Read and Brookes in vaguely matching grey suits. Read has his sleeves pushed up to his elbows and wears a tie – of sorts -on a collarless shirt.

    Howard Jones – Things Can Only Get Better. Live in the studio and a lively performance. Shame about deckchair waistcoat. Things got worse.. as this started a 7 single run of declining chart peaks. On a positive note, first big hit in America.

    Sharpe and Numan – Change Your Mind. Numan looks a bit pale. This got some airplay and I recognise it, which I can’t claim for any Numan tracks after this. Heard Simon Mayo say Gary Numan is 12 days older the Gary Oldman. hmm

    Chart Busters (Breakers are SO last week)
    Prince – Let’s Go Crazy. Take Me With U – the other side was promoted too.
    Mick Jagger – Just Another Night. Ok song and quite Stonesy (surprise) HIs first three solo top 40 hits peaked at 32,32,31.
    ZZTop – Legs- ok
    Little Benny and The Masters- nmcot

    Don Henley – Boys of Summer.. In the studio and making the effort to come over.
    Chart run down.
    Bryan Adams – Run To You — see Don Henley.

    Top ten on video clip
    1999, Nightshft, Close(to The Edit), A New England, Things Can Only Get Better, You Spin, Dancing in the Dark, Solid, and Love and Pride sticking at 2.

    Paige and Dixon -and Bruno can’t quite get the title right- Get To Know You So Well -I think it comes out as. Penultimate week for these two at Number 1. Spawned a fair few covers and parodies. Houston/Houston, Mel C/Emma B, Steps, Winehouse/Nicole, French and Saunders,Paige/Boyle, Kaye/Boyle, Dickson/Savage

    Out to a cover of Shaft.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  29. 79
    speedwell54 on 8 Mar 2018 #

    7/3/1985 TOTP. Peel and Long- These two get to co-host quite a bit from now on as Janice replaces the Kid who had moved out. They seem to get on pretty well. He flirts, she laughs.

    Shakin’ Stevens – Breaking Up My Heart- For one single, he moved away from his typical 50’s type stuff and this is fine. Absolutely fine. He give 100% to the performance. I would have gone for a higher number such are his antics, but he’s not a footballer. Still blue jeans, still white shoes and pretty much the same dance, but this time at double speed. This was written by the guy who would write his future Christmas no1. His 50th appearance on the programme.

    Madonna – Material Girl twktc video.
    Jermaine Jackson – nmcot but okay and not high pitched or breathy, like his bro. Miming in the studio.

    Busters have gone and we’re back to ‘breakers’- Loose Ends – Hangin’ on a String (Contemplating), Go West – We Close Our Eyes. Easy Lover – Collins/Bailey and on with the countdown.

    Peel re cracks his own joke about Russ Abbotts “Atmosphere” being a Joy Division cover. We stop at 11 and David Cassidy with the Last Kiss. In the studio. He’s a bit too camera savvy for my liking and he’s not as good looking as he thinks he is. Looks like he’s wearing tracky bottoms with shiny white jacket and a yellow shirt. Class.

    Peel makes a rude innuendo joke and Janice laughs, top ten on video.
    Jonesy, the Boss, King, the Purple One, Simpson and Ashford, the Material Girl, Duffers, Commodores (different video). Paige and Dickson (Janice claims Peel discovered them and they’re in session on Peelies show)

    Dead or Alive- Peel reminds us they are a Merseyside band. (he always does this) His black outfit is now white but otherwise the same performance from Pete. Oh, he has an eye patch too.

    Out to Hall and Oates with Method of Modern Love. (Good title for a song)

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  30. 80
    speedwell54 on 11 Mar 2018 #

    04/04/85 TOTP – We’ve missed three episodes on BBC4; two for Smitty and one, no idea.
    At least we get some new singles.

    Another Eagle has landed with Glen Frey “The Heat Is On” sounding as American as possible. This quickly following bandmate Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” from a few weeks ago. Frey wins this one chart wise, here and there.

    Phyllis Nelson – Move Closer- A diastema sufferer, she wrote this song for her teeth. Not mine. This still sounds good to me.

    Breakers – ABC – Be Near Me – big fan of them and this is good, but not their best. Bryan Adams – Somebody – a Canadian Springsteen – 2nd single, and a few more to come from Reckless. Pat Benatar – Love Is Battlefield- This has a look of a Michael Jackson video and there’s a reason for that. REO Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore- this hirsute bunch have far too many close ups in the video.

    The Cool Notes – Spend A Night – Tightly produced track. Bates drools over their outfits. Countdown to David Grant and Jaki Graham- they both do the walking on to the dance floor dance. Song’s not for me.

    Top 10 on video. Kiss Me -Stephen ‘Tintin’ Duffy, Wide Boy – Nik Kershaw – Good video. Jermaine Jackson. Every Time You Go Away – Shame we’ve missed this one. Fantastic song by Daryl Hall and this is another great version. Go West – We Close Our Ears, TFF- EWTRTW,
    Moyet – Ole Devil. Pie Jesu, Welcome To The Pleasuredome FGTH who just miss out to..

    Bailey and Collins- Couple of drummers get together and this is pretty good stuff. Loads of hooks. A making the video video. It’s long too, but doesn’t feel it. Bates mentions Collins is No1 stateside as well. It’s not with this though. One More Night. This stalled at No2. which is surprising as they love him so much over there.

    Out to Now That We’ve Found Love -Third World.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  31. 81
    speedwell54 on 22 Mar 2018 #

    11/04/1985. TOTP and Janice and John team up again for more gentle teasing and flirting. They are the most engaging partnership at the moment.

    TRS FR FRS -VRYBDY WNTS T RL TH WRLD -in the studio. Curt wears a shapeless yellow top and I spend my time trying to see if he has a ponytail, without success. This and parent album peaked at No2 here, but both went all the way in America.

    S FR FRC – W R TH WRLD -fun to guess who, on the radio and I think famous for Springsteen going totally over the top visually on his solo in the video. This was covered for Helping Haiti when we had Everybody Hurts. Still big stars but younger, and the rapping bit is painful. Also autotuned to Cher proportions in places. Miley Cyrus on both.

    TH RH BND -CLDS CRSS TH MN – almost novelty, but at the Carol Bayer Sager end of the spectrum as apposed to Keith Harris. There’s room for this.

    TH DRM CDMY LF N NRTHRN TWN- Subtitlers applied themselves this week “ah hey ma ma mommy doo-din-nie-ya” Bloke with long hair who looks ok; rare breed. Song did well elsewhere too but they struggled to back it up.

    BRKRS- FRGNR THT W YSTRDY, CHN CRS -BLCK MN RY- I hope we get to see this in full. Not that long ago, I found out Walter Becker was in China Crisis (briefly) at this time and produced this. How did that happen? Donald Fagen wasn’t in Go West! Everybody’s got a random. Collins and Supergran.

    KNG- WN’T Y HLD MY HND NW – Not a decent haircut between them, most sporting a mullet extra. This is ok.

    Long countdown and Peel and Long are in a fun mood and entertain.

    PHL and PHL – SY LVR – Still great. Out to PT BNTR -LV S BTTLFLD

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

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