Feb 10

Popular ’86

FT + Popular/83 comments • 3,111 views

AND ABOUT BLOODY TIME. Finally finished 1986 – I know there’ve been slower years but this one really has dragged – thanks for yr patience. Here’s a poll, and add your usual lists, reminiscences, discussions of the year etc in the comments box. As ever this is where YOU get your chance to say which tracks you’d have given 6 out of 10 or more to.

Which of the Number Ones of 1986 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

Loading ... Loading ...

My highest marks this year were 9s for “West End Girls” and “Papa Don’t Preach”, my lowest a brace of 1s for Nick Berry and the Horned Beast of County Wexford.


1 2 3 All
  1. 51
    swanstep on 5 Feb 2010 #

    Here’s the useful mixtape blog link again (working this time I hope).

  2. 52
    thefatgit on 5 Feb 2010 #

    swanstep…what a great site! I shall be dipping in regularly.

  3. 53
    glue_factory on 5 Feb 2010 #

    Thanks swanstep/Londonlee/Andypandy, although I was a big fan of this era of stuff, I was a shy, non-club-going, 17-year old, listening to my House Sound Of Chicago box set in my bedroom, somewhat divorced from how the music was enjoyed/consumed in the wider world. It’s interesting to get a bigger picture.

  4. 54
    rob on 5 Feb 2010 #

    Don’t know where else to post this, but just wanted to say, Tom, that I just read your latest Poptimist piece. Another brilliant piece of writing. Great stuff.


  5. 55
    Tom on 5 Feb 2010 #

    Thanks Rob!

    Loving the house discussion on here – I was really hoping to spark a bit more with the next entry but it’s not going to happen this side of next week, I’m afraid: I’m writing a conference paper, already overdue, and it’s slow going…

  6. 56
    Rory on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Here were Australia’s number ones for 1986, some of which were UK hits in 1985 and one which arrived here in 1987.

    Midnight Oil, Species Deceases (EP), 6 weeks (2 in 1986)
    Starship, “We Built This City”, 2 weeks
    Whitney Houston, “Saving All My Love for You”, 2 weeks
    Feargal Sharkey, “A Good Heart”, 2 weeks
    Dionne Warwick with Gladys Knight, Elton John & Stevie Wonder, “That’s What Friends Are For”, 1 week
    Billy Ocean, “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going”, 6 weeks
    Diana Ross, “Chain Reaction”, 3 weeks
    Cliff Richard and The Young Ones, “Living Doll”, 6 weeks
    Robert Palmer, “Addicted to Love”, 2 weeks
    Samantha Fox, “Touch Me (I Want Your Body)”, 3 weeks
    Whitney Houston, “Greatest Love of All”, 1 week
    Madonna, “Papa Don’t Preach”, 6 weeks
    Bananarama, “Venus”, 7 weeks
    John Farnham, “You’re the Voice”, 7 weeks
    Pseudo Echo, “Funkytown”, 7 weeks (2 in 1986)

    Robert Palmer, Bananarama and John Farnham are the most noteworthy differences, and Samantha Fox’s single could also have made for a good Popular discussion around ’80s tabloids and the page three phenomenon. (One of our local record reviewers at the time: “Why does Samantha Fox want my body? She seems to have a perfectly adequate one of her own.”)

    But if I were to name one single that encapsulated 1986 for me it would be the Waterboys’ “The Whole of the Moon”, which was first released in late 1985 in the UK and reached number 12 in Australia in 1986. It instantly brings back memories of sitting in the Sound Lounge of the student union during my first year at uni, a place where I discovered all sorts of weird stuff in its tape collection. (A lot of ’70s prog, mainly, which mercifully didn’t take.) The twelve-inch singles of that and Midnight Oil’s “The Dead Heart” were two treasured purchases that year.

    That “The Whole of the Moon” wouldn’t chart strongly in the UK until five years later says something about how out-of-step my tastes were becoming with your and our charts. Apart from the Pet Shop Boys, a-ha and “Living Doll”, I don’t own any of the 1986 UK number ones (“Papa Don’t Preach” might be buried on a tape from a friend somewhere, but Madonna has largely been a blind spot for me, with one or two exceptions). Nonetheless, I seem to have given 6 or more to eight of them – all of those plus George Michael, Falco, Berlin and Jackie Wilson – which seems too generous for what felt like a dud year at the top, then and now.

  7. 57
    Erithian on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Was “The Whole Of The Moon” the only hit record to refer (albeit obliquely and in one line) to the appearance of Halley’s Comet? Halley (or rather Haley) and Comets are resonant names in pop for obvious reasons, but the real Halley’s Comet itself put in an appearance in the skies in early 1986 (and won’t be back until 2061, thanks Wiki).

  8. 58
    Tom on 11 Feb 2010 #

    “The Whole Of The Moon” – and that whole album – was definitely the breakout hit of 1986 at my new school: about the only contemporary record to cut through the Dylan and ELP (!!??:):)) the older boys played.

    I quite like TWOTM but have always found the Waterboys a bit too wide-eyed.

  9. 59
    Tom on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Blimey 17 votes for Chris De Burgh!

  10. 60
    Rory on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Obliquely indeed, Erithian. A couple of pages about Halley’s-related songs here and here, for some definition of “hit”. Shinedown’s “Second Chance” seems the biggest, but arrived 22 years late.

    Re the Waterboys, I didn’t get much further than the single either; the parent album is okay, but Fisherman’s Blues didn’t really float my boat.

  11. 61
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2010 #

    ‘Halley’s Comet’ by Chas & Dave sadly failed to trouble the Top 100 in 1986. Which is probably why I’ve never heard it.

  12. 62
    swanstep on 13 Feb 2010 #

    The Smiths released Meat Is Murder 25 years ago today (14 February 1986). Stereogum has a story. ‘Well I wonder’ gets the most attention from reminiscers…

  13. 63
    Rory on 13 Feb 2010 #

    Um, one for the Popular ’85 thread, swanstep?

  14. 64
    swanstep on 14 Feb 2010 #

    @Rory. Oops, yes you are right: released 14 February *1985*. I won’t bother reposting.

    Note that the 25th ann. of the release of the Go-betweens’ Tallulah must be sometime in the next few weeks. That record had a nuclear impact on a generation of smartie undergrads down under…

  15. 65
    swanstep on 14 Feb 2010 #

    Whoops again! In-Popular-time, it’s the 25th ann. of Tallulah’s release in the next few weeks. In the real world that would of course be in 2012. I’ll shut up now.

  16. 66
    Billy Smart on 9 May 2010 #

    NME readers’ poll for 1986;

    1. The Smiths – Panic
    2. Prince – Kisss
    3. The The – Heartland
    4. The Smiths – Ask
    5. Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears
    6. The Housemartins – Happy Hour
    7. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking
    8. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Want You
    9. Sonic Youth – Into The Groovey
    10. The Age Of Chance – Kiss
    11. The Shop Assistants – Safety Net
    12. Cameo – Word Up
    13. The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
    14. The Fall – Mr Pharmacist
    15. Primal Scream – Velocity Girl
    16. PiL – Rise
    17. Julian Cope – World Shut Your Mouth
    18. Run DMC – Walk This Way
    19. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
    20. The Weather Prophets – Almost Prayed

  17. 67
    Billy Smart on 9 May 2010 #

    Melody Maker readers’ poll for 1986;

    1. The Smiths – Panic
    2. The Mission – Serpent’s Kiss
    3. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking
    4. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
    5. Prince – Kiss
    6. The Housemartins – Happy Hour
    7. BAD – E=MC2
    8. The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
    9. The Age Of Chance – Kiss
    10. Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer

  18. 68
    Rory on 11 May 2010 #

    Can we haz Popular ’87 poll?

  19. 69
    Billy Smart on 11 May 2010 #


    – but not linked to other Popular posts…

  20. 70
    admin on 11 May 2010 #

    “not linked to other Popular posts”

    yikes. fixed

  21. 71
    weej on 15 Feb 2014 #

    ITV Chart Show end-of-year special

    Best New Act – The Housemartins – Happy Hour
    Best Video Of The Year – Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
    Best Foreign Video – Prince – Kiss
    Worst Video of The Year – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Rage Hard
    Indie Chart – The Smiths – Panic
    Heavy Metal/Rock Chart – Bon Jovi – You Give Love A Bad Name
    Network Album Chart – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
    Network Singles – Nick Berry – Every Loser Wins

  22. 72
    punctum on 15 Aug 2014 #

    TPL gets to 1986.

  23. 73
    punctum on 25 Aug 2014 #

    “Oh, how the ghost of the Western world clings”; TPL update.

  24. 74
    punctum on 26 Aug 2014 #

    TPL returns, slightly reluctantly, to Peter Gabriel.

  25. 76
    punctum on 7 Sep 2014 #

    TPL update: from genesis to revelation.

  26. 77
    punctum on 11 Sep 2014 #

    TPL on Now 7.

  27. 78
    punctum on 14 Sep 2014 #

    TPL update: more nylon than either silk or steel, I’d say.

  28. 79
    punctum on 15 Sep 2014 #

    TPL gets to Graceland.

  29. 80
    punctum on 16 Sep 2014 #

    TPL reaches the “new” Police.

  30. 81
    punctum on 18 Sep 2014 #

    TPL reaches 1986’s penultimate number one album.

  31. 82
    punctum on 5 Oct 2014 #

    TPL winds up 1986.

  32. 83
    Mark M on 18 Oct 2014 #

    Re28 etc: The ‘real hip hop’ argument I was referring to is concisely illustrated in this entertaining 10-minute mini-documentary about Rick Rubin.

1 2 3 All

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page