Feb 10

Popular ’86

FT + Popular/91 comments • 3,392 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

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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.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 63
    Rory on 13 Feb 2010 #

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

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 68
    Rory on 11 May 2010 #

    Can we haz Popular ’87 poll?

  9. 69
    Billy Smart on 11 May 2010 #


    – but not linked to other Popular posts…

  10. 70
    admin on 11 May 2010 #

    “not linked to other Popular posts”

    yikes. fixed

  11. 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

  12. 72
    punctum on 15 Aug 2014 #

    TPL gets to 1986.

  13. 73
    punctum on 25 Aug 2014 #

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

  14. 74
    punctum on 26 Aug 2014 #

    TPL returns, slightly reluctantly, to Peter Gabriel.

  15. 76
    punctum on 7 Sep 2014 #

    TPL update: from genesis to revelation.

  16. 77
    punctum on 11 Sep 2014 #

    TPL on Now 7.

  17. 78
    punctum on 14 Sep 2014 #

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

  18. 79
    punctum on 15 Sep 2014 #

    TPL gets to Graceland.

  19. 80
    punctum on 16 Sep 2014 #

    TPL reaches the “new” Police.

  20. 81
    punctum on 18 Sep 2014 #

    TPL reaches 1986’s penultimate number one album.

  21. 82
    punctum on 5 Oct 2014 #

    TPL winds up 1986.

  22. 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.

  23. 84
    Lazarus on 13 Jul 2018 #

    Christ, is this still on twice a week? They seem to want to rush through the eighties. And for why exactly, to get rid of Savile and Travis perchance? Anyhoo, Peel (RIP) and Long are tonight’s hosts. I’m livebloggin’, with a slight delay to allow me to type this rubbish.

    A-ha – the number one that almost everyone gets wrong. Nothing to add to this really, I’m sure it’s all been dealt with in the relevant thread (given that this is a future number one). Last saw Morten in the wonderful ‘Farmer’s Market’ sketch by Armstrong and Miller, though I know they’ve had more records out since then.

    Paul McCartney – from a Chevy Chase movie that I never saw (I did like ‘Fletch’ and ‘European Vacation’ but he is something of an acquired taste for me I’m afraid). Song is, as they say, ‘meh.’

    Level 42 – second single from ‘World Party.’ They could do no wrong for me around this time. Again, brilliant. And Mr King sports an, erm, impressive jacket.

    Charts. How did we miss Keith Harris and Orville’s ‘White Christmas?’ I’m quite literally grief-stricken. ‘Real quality’ notes JP for Black Lace at 34.

    Conveniently, Bronski Beat are at no. 11 (the stop-off point for the charts) . Jimmy Somerville has now gone, of course, and the singer is one John Foster, and this is pretty much the last hurrah for them as Somerville’s band the Communards will boss the rest of the year. This is OK though, if (inevitably) sounding rather dated now.

    We have some breakers. Nope, still don’t remember ‘Ring of Ice.’ Good luck , Stars in their Eyes finallist! I do like ‘Russians’ though, saying that even though nobody is allowed to like Sting or his music nowadays. I’ll turn myself in later.

    Sophia George – one-hit wonder. Striking red and blue combo. There wasn’t a lot of reggae around in ’86, was there. Very enjoyable, not least because I haven’t heard it in at least 30 years.

    More charts, two doses of Wham! and a very after-the-event Band Aid.

    Number one – Shakin’ bleeding Stevens. Hard to articulate how I feel about watching this in mid-July. The main thought is, let’s get this shite out of the way and into ’86 (which has some great hits in store) ASAP. This is pretty much the only thing keeping this site going now as Tom seemed to lose interest in his own project a long time ago. I do follow these repeats elsewhere, but it would be a shame to see this place go down the pan, after all the work people have put in.

    Audience dances out to an Elton John hit which I have no recollection of at all. Laterz!

  24. 85
    Lazarus on 16 Jul 2018 #

    The Level 42 album was ‘World Machine’, of course, I was thinking of Karl Wallinger’s post-Waterboys outfit there.

  25. 86
    speedwell54 on 9 Aug 2018 #

    TOTP 02/01/1986 Long and Peel – back together after a bit of a break. The first programme of the year and A-ha kick off proceedings with The Sun Always Shines On TV. A future No1. At the time I thought this was the reward for Take On Me. (first single better, but first single, so takes everyone a while to catch up, sells well, but over many weeks, doesn’t make it to the top, second single comes out, everyone’s up to speed, it makes No1, it’s not so good) I don’t know at what point I changed my mind on this. Take On Me is far better known and Sun probably a little forgotten. I have time for both but neither are among my favourite tracks by them. More on that later.

    Paul McCartney – Spies Like Us- Lucky to get on again, at its peak (13) this week. I like much of his output even when it’s not rated, but this doesn’t grab me at all. Over 30 years since he hit the top ten, solo.

    Level 42 -Leaving Me Now. It is a subtle end of relationship ballad. Nice backing vocals make it sound a bit Chicago. Peel takes the rise out of Mark King’s jacket. Countdown.

    Bronski Beat at 11 with Hit That Perfect Beat. Right at the beginning he dances like Andy Bell always used to.

    Jennifer Rush – Ring of Ice, she has a distinctive voice but this is not really that memorable outside the chorus.
    Sting Russians- black and white video. From Dream Of The Blue Turtles. Our geography teacher used to like this album and bang on about it (and Hounds of Love). Both had been out a couple of years at the time, but I can’t remember him talking about any other music at all.

    Sophia George- Girlie Girlie. Peel is a fan, but nothing special reggae for me. One hit wonder here, but a career back home in Jamaica. countdown 10-1 No videos so looks like they’ve ditched that format.

    Shakin Stevens- Merry Christmas Everyone – On video- a rare thing, and even more scarce, an outside video. Christmas jumpers, sleigh, snow ball fights, children, falling over, Roy Wood (actually Father Christmas) usual stuff. Werner Herzog not required.

    Out to “Wrap Her Up” Elton John. Not as poor as my memory of it. Which was poor. Not awful. In the 80’s it was normally either big top ten hit, or a bit of a flop for Elton. This was neither.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  26. 87
    Lazarus on 9 Aug 2018 #

    Was about to come on here and enquire why you lot are still stuck in 1985 when BBC4 has been doing ’86 for weeks – tonight we had the show from 20/2/86, in fact. Will try and catch it over the weekend. Hoping for Clannad and Bono but I fear that one has slipped through the net.

  27. 88
    speedwell54 on 10 Aug 2018 #

    TOTP 16/02/1986 (we missed last week due to Smitty’s involvement) Full Force miss out.

    Mike Read and Dixie Peach host, and Read has no sunglasses- tick- BUT a leather tie with a collarless grandad shirt; two thumbs down. Peach in a shirt- top button done up and no tie.

    Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds. The vitamin D deficient, cardigan wearing, itching powder suffering guitarists do their usual. Gift adds a touch of class. Nice pace changes and great backing from Somerville. The original has an outstanding arrangement and thankfully this version doesn’t mess about with it too much, probably just the cranked up to eleven ending missing.

    Dir Straits – Walk Of Life. Read tells us this was a B side. Well known video ‘woo- hoo’. On its way to No 2.

    Cherrelle with Alexander O’Neal – Saturday Love. In the studio and Alexander turns up half way through. Smoothly produced. nmcot

    Mike Read introduces the best video BRIA (pre Brits) nominations. We can write in and vote for the best British video of 1985 .Must be a postcard. (the notion of a sealed envelope hadn’t been thought of.) Anyway, what can I vote for I hear you say. Well I’ll tell ya.

    Nikita -Elton John – this would get my vote for worst video. All over the place thematically. A passport photo where he’s basically in disguise, and, poor use of an actual camera.

    Dire Straits – Money For Nothing. Video is..live concert footage when the band play ‘who can wear the most ridiculous bandana’ and someone else has been let loose with a highlighter pen set. This is interspersed with sporting bloopers. Not getting my vote, with baseball, American Football and basketball the only sports featured; not terribly British!

    Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away. The clip they show is him singing in the rain. ( he’s singing ‘Every Time You Go Away’ and it’s raining”) Watching the official video and this bit isn’t there, so not sure what I’m really voting for. At the time I didn’t know Daryl Hall wrote this, although was aware of them, having played Rock ‘N’ Soul many times. The caption writer on TOTP calls it “Everytime…” which Hall and Oates did, rather than Young’s version which was correctly titled “Every Time..”. Obviously Hall and Oates hadn’t forked out for Grammarly. The major difference between the two versions is the massive pause that Young adds between ‘go’ and ‘away’ in the chorus.

    Art Of Noise -Close (To the Edit) TOTP caption writer has run out of brackets. Video is… a small group of people playing with chainsaws on a railway line. If this was a film it would have been an 15 certificate at least. Not getting my vote.

    Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson – “I Know Him So Well” Video is.. ‘have you got a shiny white dress and pearls? Yes, me too. Let’s wear them and stand in front of a giant chess board. Can you backcomb your hair? Yes, me too. Have you seen that Abba video where they stand back to back, yes, shall we do that then?. Good song, dull video.

    King – Love and Pride – Video is… You know that quarry, do you reckon we could ruin it with brightly coloured paint and then get the local youth to aerosol their docs. I’ll wear my green suit and don’t forget I’m the lead signer so I get all the close ups. Meh.

    Freddie Mercury – I Was Born To Love You – Video is.. dancing in front of spinning mirrors in a white suit, lose your top Freddie, cut to luxury flat and chase that girl around, cut to hanger with a thousand Queen fans dressed up identically and marching (bit like Radio Ga Ga). My vote was wasted here.

    Eurythmics- There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) Video is.. Long haired wigs, and dress in white robes and sing. Someone who is not Stevie Wonder plays the harmonica. Cherubs ‘fly’.

    Red Box – Lean On Me (ah-li-ayo) Video is .. Make this studio look like a park and get all your friends from local theatre group, they can all do a bit of improv. Get that guy who does sign language too. We’ll do loads of edits, it’ll be fine.

    Bryan Ferry – Slave To Love. Video is… Do you know any models?, Yes I know models, do you know director Jean- Baptiste Mondino?, Yes, do you know how to cast shadows, yes, and people taking photographs with big flash bulbs to make sure you know they are models, yes. Mondino has directed some decent music videos.

    Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Video is…nice car driving round West Coast America. shots of Roland driving, shots of the view interspersed with performance, then messing about in the desert on quad bikes.

    David Bowie and Mick Jagger -Dancing In The Street. twktc
    I think we’re passed spoiler alerts, Paul Young won.

    They stopped the award in 2003, possibly as Robbie Williams had won 3 out of the last 4 and was nominated twice in the other. It was becoming a “popularity” competition within the academy. Confident that phase had passed, and those issues had gone away, they reinstated the category in 2014 when fans would now vote. One Direction won in 2014, and again 2015, and in 2016, and then 2017, but it all changed in 2018. Harry Styles won, beating of the likes of Zayn Malik and Liam Payne. I kid you not.

    A-ha -The Sun Always Shines On TV. They have come back into the studio, but very similar performance. “Could well be number one next week” says Mike. Countdown 40 to 11.

    Mr Mister – Broken Wings. American AOR nmcot but still. Black leather jackets, fine, shirt cuffs folded back over the jacket sleeves; silly but fine, jeans, fine. WHITE BOOTS, what are you playing at! At least three of them in white boots or shoes. Countdown 10 to 1.

    Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls. This week on video, we missed their studio performance last week on one of the missing repeats. Top track and top Number 1; it probably took me a year to really get into them, and for me single after single, from Actually and Introspective
    were pretty outstanding.

    Out to Bronski Beat. After losing the top ten videos in the countdown last week, this week we’ve lost Breakers.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  28. 89
    speedwell53 on 13 Aug 2018 #

    TOTP 30/01/1986. Gary Davies and Janice Long host. They’ve been dressed by competition winners. Gary didn’t turn up for the fitting of his suit, and it looks like he could make another one with the spare material. Janice looks better.

    Billy Ocean – When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going. He of the long titles. This got panned on FT and there are annoying aspects (the beginning nonsense). It is a wedding disco song, and if you don’t want to dance you can always sing along with “go and get stuffed”. How many people in his band!

    Madonna – Borderline. Second time around for this one. Liked the effort in the video and it is a mini film, storyline and everything. She sets her stall out in this, of who she is and what’s important to her. Not as immediate or ground breaking as other singles but also not fluffy.

    Talk Talk – Life’s What You Make It. Janice tells us to watch out for the drummer, “he’s brilliant”. Don’t know him, but Mark for me has the brilliance. The stand out track tonight. I remember playing Such a Shame again and again, years after it came out.

    Breakers (are back) James Brown – Living In America. I am no admirer of Mr Brown, but it must frustrate fans no end when the biggest hit (or most well known) is not typical of the general output.
    Sanctify Yourself – Simple Minds – Live concert footage, funny hat and a bit preachy. The backing vocalist Robin Clark is on the video and is an amazing singer.

    Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper/La Vie En Rose – Guess which one we got? Despite all the imagery, not about cars – as Janice notes. So why not banned? Good job Read wasn’t hosting.

    Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds. Back in the studio and same performance as last time, but wearing gold suits as the album… something like the Elvis, 50 million fans can’t be wrong’ album cover. (Martin Fry, if you can’ picture it)

    Countdown. Video clips still gone. Nana Mouskouri was at No2 with Only Love. Not overboard on this, the instrumentation sounds cheap, and her voice seems to have got a bit tighter over the years, and but IF I had been doing the Pop World Cup, AND Greece had qualified, I would have saved “Que Je Sois Un Ange” for the final. She has the control of Whitney Houston, but doesn’t have to let you know all the time.

    Number 1. A-ha- “The Sun Always Shines On TV” (well shut the curtains then) We get the video at last, although we miss the beginning which links the ‘Take On Me’ video (the girl in the cafe features)

    Out to Kurtis Blow – If I Ruled The World. Dated.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Sorry, got the date wrong last time @ 88, should have been 16/01/1986.

  29. 90
    speeddwell54 on 14 Aug 2018 #

    TOTP 06/02/1986 Paul Jordan (trying too hard) and Simon Bates (not trying hard enough) host tonight.

    The Damned- Eloise ..it must frustrate fans no end when their biggest hit is not typical of the general output…. a cover, and their only top ten hit. There are so many acts who are never going to have a hit single again due to the way they are compiled nowadays, BUT, are having their highest placed albums. The Damned had their only top ten album a few months ago.

    Five Star – System Addict. On video -forgotten how much they copied Michael Jackson. This was the biggest hit from the album and was the SEVENTH single to be taken from the Luxury Of Life. Has anyone else ever done that? Usually it downhill from the first single.

    Ozzy Osbourne – Shot In The Dark. …it must frustrate fans no end when.. The number 1 duet with his daughter “Changes”. This is okay. nmcot.

    Breakers – Belouis Some – Imagination. On video, but not the rude one. Second time around for this. I can hear Bowie.
    Public Image Ltd- Rise

    Simon introduces Double with Captain Of Her Heart with a pun but unbelievably of the two presenters, he’s not the worst. This did surprisedly well all over the place, but not for me.

    Countdown, Jordan says Fine ‘Yoghurt’ Cannibals and I’ve had enough.

    Number 1. Billy Ocean on video for his first week at the top with WTGGTTTGG. A live performance with clips from the film ‘Jewel In The Nile’ ,from whence this came. Film was sub Indiana Jones. A nice touch on the video was having the stars Turner, Douglas and DeVito dressed in white suits as the backing singers.

    I think Bates has a little dig at Jordan on the last link. Jordan is just embarrassing now. Stop talking.

    Out to James Brown, who gets almost four minutes on the play out with Living In America.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  30. 91
    speedwell54 on 20 Aug 2018 #

    TOTP 13/02/1985- Steve Wright and Gary Davies. Gary in another outsized jacket – it must have been the fashion.

    Belouis Some – Imagination. In the studio this week. Heavily influenced by Bowie in the vocal and guitar sound. Not a bad job. He supported Queen on the 1986 Live Magic Tour

    Whitney Houston – How Will I Know. Davies introduces the video without telling us what it’s called. Video choreographed by Arlene Phillips who also did “I Was Born To Love You” by Freddie Mercury.

    Latin Quarter- Radio Africa -nmcot tea- struggling…. Radio Gaga?

    Su Pollard – Starting Together on video -Christmassy with clips of the tv show. Helped by regular plays on reality documentary on BBC called The Marriage.
    Su Pollard won Rear Of The Year in the late 80s- as did future wife of Brian May; Anita Dobson.

    Chart countdown to 11 and then Breakers. Paul Hardcastle + Carol Kenyon – Don’t Waste My Time. Survivor – Burning Heart. Diana Ross – Chain Reaction.

    Shakin Stevens – Turning Away – his 51st appearance says Steve; are they going to keep counting. 50, fair enough, 51, not so much. This is a Crystal Gayle cover which is pretty similar. Roger Taylor plays drums on his future single “Radio”

    Countdown to Number One
    Billy Ocean – When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going. In the studio this week. Covered by Boyzone who also covered Queen songs in two medleys. Also Caribbean Queen.

    Out to Borderline. Queen of pop.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

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