Jan 10

NICK BERRY – “Every Loser Wins”

FT + Popular102 comments • 9,259 views

#578, 18th October 1986, video

Here’s a thing: I have never watched an episode of Eastenders. Not all through. Too much shouting for me. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of this but it does mean I missed out on the astonishing storyline in which “Every Loser Wins” made its debut before it became the first soap star single to reach number one. I’m missing some critical context on “Wicksy” here, people, and I expect you to fully enlighten me in the comments box.

I’m not expecting it to change my view of the record, mind you, since free of its story context “Every Loser Wins” is beyond terrible. The work of ‘stenders theme composer Simon May it’s one of the faffiest, most disheartening songs to drift our way: every loser wins, but only when they’re dreaming, but it’s still a win, and this is for the losers, who are really winners, we nearly made it. For pity’s sake it features the lyric: “every loser knows / the light the tunnel shows”, whose contortion is only marginally worse than “In time you’ll see / Fate holds the key”.

As a performer, Nick Berry is a blow-dried void, a soft-focus nullity and certainly the best thing about the record. Though listening to it he’s easily overwhelmed by that high piano trill, cutting repeatedly through “Every Loser Wins” with all the heartbreaking sensitivity of the Intel chimes. The record also boasts perhaps the clumsiest drum drop-in of the whole decade, wellington-booted snares whomping down painfully into the AOR murk. There are no winners here.



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  1. 61
    tonya on 16 Jan 2010 #

    Listening to this song for the first time makes me think you should have given Lady in Red a 2. Lady in Red is vile, but this is on a whole other level.

  2. 62
    Snif on 16 Jan 2010 #

    There was this actress in an Oz soap, Kylie someone, I think she released a record once…

  3. 63
    AndyPandy on 16 Jan 2010 #

    Billy i see where you’re coming from but the archive contains 36,000 tapes (excluding film cans)and although some were probably much more recent 36,000 tapes is a hell of a lot of hours of footage and he was quite a rich man in the 60s and 70s.

    Regarding the site that mentioned the TOTP editions in Germany (I could kick myself for not taking down the address but I was at work when I stumbled upon it and got sidetracked))it shocked me just what they were talking about (those on the quite long threads seemed to be people who really knew their stuff and it seemed accepted by these also intitially surprised posters that this/these German source(s) had these complete editions which they were tweaking eg sometimes by taking out the djs etc but that they had complete shows to do this too – and these seemed to be really juicy 1971 and 1972 complete editions IIRC. I’ll have to set my self the probably very hard task of trying to find the site again.

    But as you say we can hope! or hope that Soviet Russia in a obsessive state of paranoia that Western television was being used to pass messages recorded and archived every single second of every programme from the 50s to the late 70s and one day they’ll be found in a vast hanger somewhere in Russia – that’d be my ultimate fantasy!

  4. 64
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Jan 2010 #

    Wasn’t one of the current/more recent Corrie girls one of the brats of St Winifred’s?…I can’t be sure. As Tom has never seen ‘Stenders so The Swede has never taken to the Street.

    I even came late to ‘Stenders, in fact; certainly well after Den and Angie and Wicksy had left the scene and thus this pitiful record had zero significance to me beyond being…well, a pitiful record.

    Marcello’s piece at the top of the thread sums the show up nicely and as he says, the template simply doesn’t alter beyond the inevitability of misery for everyone. Steve McFadden, for example, a brilliant actor and RADA trained to boot, must be torn between the security of continually playing thuggish Phil Mitchell, a charcater becoming ever more laughable as the years pass and a desire to spread his wings and attempt fresh pastures which I have no doubt would be well within his substantial talents. As a fellow “Prisoner” student (100% entry, 100% pass!), I am also intrigued by MC’s suggestion of Number 6 waking up in The Vic. I have given this a lot of thought and have concluded that Janine Butcher has taken the pub over and demands that the new arrival works for her as a barman. Six being Six refuses and tries to do a runner but only gets as far as Walford East tube before being dragged back to “The Landlady” by Max, Jack and Bradley, who throw him to her feet.

    “THAT wasn’t very clever, was it?” chides The Landlady softly. “You’ll work for me if you like it or not. No-one walks out on me. Now pour Minty a pint of Churchills!”… You get the idea. Janine as Number Two. Yes, yes. I can see it!!

  5. 65
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 17 Jan 2010 #

    the comma i wish didn’t exist: Alan Bennett’s sketch series ‘Evil Of The Daleks’

  6. 66
    Erithian on 18 Jan 2010 #

    Choice line last time Ross Kemp returned to the show, as Bloke in Pub sees an increasingly porky Phil and Grant together again: “I see Right Said Fred have re-formed.”

    Of course the Vic has now passed to Roxy Mitchell, played by Rita Simons who was in a girl band called Girls@Play – who as far as I know never troubled the chart scorers.

  7. 67
    Jimmy the Swede on 18 Jan 2010 #

    I certainly couldn’t imagine Roxy as Number Two, though. The girl is entirely vacuous and is only capable of one facial expression. Number Six would have buggered off within five minutes of her assuming charge of the Green Dome!

    Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden play off each other magnificently and it is a shame that Kemp does not return for more lengthy stays between his rather alarming appearances on shows examining the world’s murder gangs. The Phil and Grant chemistry is pure gold (as is Garry and Minty) and a far cry from the usual drab story lines, which have all the imagination of an episode of “Bargain Hunt”.

  8. 68
    wichita lineman on 18 Jan 2010 #

    Great Guardian column on the future of the single, Tom, but I was intrigued by the idea that “hits” might become “nothing more than random eddies of local preference” if they cost less than a Pot Noodle. Here’s an example of a super-localised hit that wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without its TV connection. Same goes for a ton of unloved Popular entries going back to Where Are You Now and David Whitfield’s brace. Likewise, event singles like Bad Romance will always be rare, or they wouldn’t feel like events.

    To me at any rate, pop has always been about cheering the goodies (Gaga) and booing the baddies (Berry). I still do the same to James Alexander Gordon’s classified football results – it’s amazing how few I don’t care about one way or the other.

    As for Every Loser Wins, it’s simpering and useless but not offensive like Grandma/Liverpool/Lady In Red. The thing that most irks me is the opening line, blatantly lifted from Barry Manilow’s Looks Like We Made It. And the fact it goes on and on… a 3 for me.

  9. 69
    Tom on 18 Jan 2010 #

    Well thing is the Eastenders audience really ISN’T “super-localised” in UK cultural terms – globally this record doesn’t register at all, but it’s an example of something from a different area of mass-culture simply overwhelming the charts, crashing the sale on which they’re calibrated.

  10. 70
    Steve Mannion on 18 Jan 2010 #

    On a related note, it’s going to be interesting to see how songs from Glee perform in and affect the charts (both in the US and here) as they emerge. It would help if they weren’t ALL covers…

  11. 71
    thefatgit on 18 Jan 2010 #

    @70…this week #99 to #5 Glee Cast with “Don’t Stop Believin'”. 2010 looks like it’s going to be an interesting year.

  12. 72
    lonepilgrim on 18 Jan 2010 #

    I immediately downloaded the Journey original of DSB last year when I watched the first episode of Glee online so I can testify to it’s influence. Later episodes include music ranging from Duffy’s ‘Mercy’ to the Stones’ ‘You can’t always get what you want’.
    If I was a songwriter down to my last million I’d be begging my agent to get my song onto the show.

  13. 73
    lonepilgrim on 18 Jan 2010 #

    re 65: ‘A cream-cracker under the doomsday device’

  14. 74
    Billy Smart on 18 Jan 2010 #

    A visit from Miss Protheroe to the tomb of the Cybermen…

  15. 75
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 18 Jan 2010 #

    40 million years on

  16. 76
    Steve Mannion on 18 Jan 2010 #

    re #64 Sod Ashes To Ashes, would watch THIS

  17. 77
    AndyPandy on 18 Jan 2010 #

    68 – saying Jackie Trent’s number one is unloved is rather contentious to say the least and how could David Whitfield be viewed as some kind of TV hype when he was accepted at the time as a superior singer of semi-operatic pop with a massive following both male and female. (incidentally I remember my dad recounting that during his National Service there was a fellow squaddie in his billet who was just such a fan).And to further diminish any accusation of localised hype he had a Top Ten hit in America when Vera Lynn notwithstanding that just didn’t happen.

  18. 78
    wichita lineman on 19 Jan 2010 #

    Re 77: I adore Where Are You Now, but a quick flick through the Popular comments would suggest it is now largely unloved and forgotten.

    Granted it wasn’t via tv, but David Whitfield rose to fame as the first winner of Opportunity Knocks (then radio only). Yes, I was ignoring Cara Mia’s US success (more down to Mantovani’s St Peter-at-the-gates arrangement?), but his long run of hits in the UK was down to a local talent show – the US had Mario Lanza, Al Martino etc who could steamroller David’s rubbery operatics.

  19. 79
    Caledonianne on 22 Jan 2010 #

    A cream cracker under the Tardis.

    London Lee is right. Early Brookside was superb.

  20. 80
    AndyPandy on 23 Jan 2010 #

    David Whitfield – best thing to come out of Hull since William Wilberforce – in fact they should rename the Humber Bridge The David Whitfield Bridge ;-)
    And if he did nothing else at least he stopped the fuckin’ Housemartins from being the most succesful act in chart terms connected to Hull

  21. 81
    Erithian on 24 Jun 2010 #

    Since he gets a brief mention at #54 upthread, Tam White RIP.

  22. 82
    punctum on 24 Jun 2010 #

    “You’re Holding Me Down” by the Buzz, the most extreme British pop single ever, Joe Meek’s premature suicide note, sung – or buzzsawed? – by the great Tam White. RIP big man.

  23. 83
    Mutley on 24 Jun 2010 #

    Since the above discussion about Eastenders-related music we’ve had the Boris Johnson Rap. Boris appeared in Eastenders in Nov 2009 although if you blink you will miss it. I’m not sure that the two are related other than for Boris to build up a portfolio for showbiz life after mayoralty (Britain’s Got Talent?)

  24. 84
    sarah ashby on 19 Oct 2010 #

    dear nick
    hi how are you

  25. 85
    Nick on 20 Oct 2010 #

    Dear Sarah,
    Winning some, losing some.

  26. 86
    Erithian on 26 Oct 2010 #

    To the list at #46 we can now add Preeya Kalidas (Amira) who’s in this week’s top 40. (Although Wiki says she also had a “featuring” credit on a minor hit from the Bombay Dreams soundtrack in 2002.)

  27. 87
    wichita lineman on 26 Oct 2010 #

    And there’s Lyanne Compton (she played Melody around 1988/89… c’mon, you remember) who sang the coda of Saint Etienne’s How We Used To Live. Not as big a hit as The Ugly Duckling by Mike Reid.

  28. 88
    Erithian on 9 Jun 2011 #

    As presaged by Anto at #30, David Essex has now joined Enders, as Eddie Moon, the uncle of Shane Richie’s character. They had him singing in his first episode, a suspiciously tuneful rendition of “I’m Orient till I die” sung to baby Tommy. The Swede and I have instigated a lyric watch to see how many lines the scriptwriters can slip in: in Tuesday’s episode he was already talking to Alfie about a “silver lining”.

  29. 89
    anto on 9 Jun 2011 #

    re:88.. and very good he is in it too. I thought he upstaged everyone in his first full episode. In particular he’s shown up Shane Ritchie and his non-stop bonhomie (is Ritchie given a script or do they just flick him on with a rocker switch?) which seems like such schtick compared to the more self-contained charisma of Mr. Essex.
    The turnover of cast members in EastEnders is such that it doesn’t do to become too attached to characters because they often leave after a few months (or are axed by myopic Producers) but I would like it if he sticks around.
    The name Eddie Moon actually sounds like a fictitious rock star. The young David Essex might well have appeared in The Rise and Fall of Eddie Moon

  30. 90
    Billy Smart on 22 Jun 2011 #

    Ooh! Reading David Buckingham’s 1987 BFI monograph ‘Public Secrets: Eastenders & its Audience’ for professional reasons, I discover that in addition to the three BBC Records hits documented by Punctum, a further four singles were released by members of the Eastenders cast in 1986; Tom Watt (Lofty), June Brown (Dot Cotton), Oscar James (Tony Carpenter – ‘Love Riding High’, promoted with a picture of the actor bearing the legend “TWENTY ONE MILLION OF YOU KNOW THIS MAN”) and Peter Dean (Pete Beale – ‘I Couldn’t Get A Ticket To The World Cup’).

    None of these records troubled the Top 100.

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