Jul 10

Popular ’88

Popular114 comments • 4,150 views

WELL DONE EVERYONE! We’ve made it through 1988. But the 80s still have more to throw at us. Let’s regroup and take stock of the year – use the poll to indicate which tracks YOU would have given 6 or more out of 10 to.

And use the comments to discuss the year in general – which, as has often been mentioned in the regular comments boxes, was actually pretty damn good.

Which of these Number One Singles of 1988 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 31
    punctum on 27 Jul 2010 #

    Written by Mike Love, John Phillips, Scott McKenzie and Terry Melcher; talk about a pension plan. Biggest selling Beach Boys single worldwide, apparently. Featuring Van Dyke Parks on accordion; how the hell did they persuade him to get back in the same room as Mike “Number One Without The Genius” Love again?

  2. 32
    Billy Smart on 27 Jul 2010 #

    TOTPWatch: In the studio for the Top of the Pops transmitted on 25 December 1988 were; S’Express, Pet Shop Boys (performing both ‘Always On My Mind’ and ‘Heart’), Aswad, Fairground Attraction, Yazz & The Plastic Population, The Timelords & Gary Glitter, Wet Wet Wet and The Hollies. Anthea Turner, Bruno Brookes & Gary Davies were the hosts.

  3. 33
    Rory on 27 Jul 2010 #

    The roping-in for effect of place names in “Orinoco Flow” had nothing on “Kokomo”.

  4. 34
    Steve Mannion on 27 Jul 2010 #

    “Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya to Bermuda, Bahama, okay then just Scarborough”

  5. 35
    lex on 27 Jul 2010 #

    A few “it’s OK, I guess” ticks, only two genuinely enthusiastic ones (“Heart”, “Theme From S’Express”).

  6. 36
    lockedintheattic on 27 Jul 2010 #

    & the list from Record Mirror:

    1 The House Of Love Destroy The Heart
    2 Dinosour Jnr Freak Scene
    3 The Pixies Gigantic
    4 Pet Shop Boys Left To My Own Devices
    5 Morrissey Every Day Is Like Sunday
    6 Aztec Camera Somewhere In My Heart
    7 The Go Betweens Streets Of Your Town
    8 Danielle Dax Cat House
    9 Morrissey Suedehead
    10= Erasure Ship Of Fools
    10= Nick Cave The Mercy Seat
    12 Diesel Park West Jackie’s Still Sad
    13 Inner City Big Fun
    14 Sabrina Boys (Summertime Love)
    15= Neneh Cherry Buffalo Stance
    15= Bomb The Base Beat Dis
    17 Prince Alphabet Street
    18= Salt-N-Pepa Shake Your Thing
    18= Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine
    18= The Wedding Present Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?
    18= S’Express Theme From S’Express

  7. 37
    anto on 27 Jul 2010 #

    I would still argue the corner for 1988 as a decent pop year –
    Oh L’amour, Suedehead, Crash, Love is Contagious, Mandinka, Sidewalking, Rush Hour, Don’t Make Me Wait, I Don’t Believe in Miracles(Sinitta!? well I bloomin’ well liked that one), I Wish U Heaven , Left to my own Devices, Buffalo Stance, Breathe Life Into Me, also a remarkable run of form for Kim Wilde – You Came, Never Trust a Stranger and Love is a 4-letter Word which is one of the swooniest, dreamiest pop tunes ever I think.

    In summary a good year at number7 and number 14 and number 17 just not at number one.

  8. 38
    Billy Smart on 27 Jul 2010 #

    The ‘phantom’ number ones of 1988, that topped the NME/ ILR charts but not the BBC ones;

    Beat Dis – Bomb The Bass (2 weeks)
    Together Forever – Rick Astley (1)
    Yo Twist – The Fat Boys & Chubby Checker (1)
    We Call It Acieed – D Mob (1)

  9. 39
    Andrew Hickey on 27 Jul 2010 #

    punctum – Parks was a good friend of Terry Melcher, the producer and co-writer of the track. He also added accordion to the terrible Brian-less album Summer In Paradise for the same reason.

  10. 40
    Mark M on 27 Jul 2010 #

    Re 15/17:I remember the Melody Maker being quite keen on the po-faced metal of the time (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax – who also had the fashionable PE connection). Don’t know what they released in 1988 specifically.
    What’s interesting is that even from The Face list you wouldn’t really get the notion that there had been a huge pop cultural shift over the course of the year.

  11. 41
    thefatgit on 27 Jul 2010 #

    Sabrina! Hoho! That video in the pool, white bikini barely covering her ample bosom. Beefcake for the girls and the sexually ambiguous alike. Every young red-blooded male’s dream.

  12. 42
    lonepilgrim on 27 Jul 2010 #

    re40 para2 I seem to recall that The Face had a bit of a relaunch sometime after this – perhaps reflecting the fact that they appeared to have been caught napping by the House/Acid/Rave scene.

    My highlight for 1988 was seeing Prince at Wembley on the Lovesexy tour. He performed in the round and I was in the second row – wonderful.

  13. 43
    swanstep on 27 Jul 2010 #

    The Record Mirror list gets my vote so far.

    Most overlooked song of the year? This b-side gem from the Go-betweens.

    Most pregnant with meaning, political stories? There are two: (i) Soviets finally give up in Afghanistan, and Gorbachev ends Brezhnev doctrine, in principle allowing eastern europe to go its own way. 1989 would put all that into explosive practice, and triumphalism of various sorts (‘the end of history’, ‘we mujahadeen can destroy empires’) would become commonplaces. (ii) First round of ominous data about climate change leads to formation of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which us tasked to produce its first report by 1990, and Al Gore holds first congressional hearings on the topic in the US in August ’88 but is really more interested in his abortive presidental primary run.

    I swear reality does feel rather a lot like a formed-in-late-1988, Donnie Darko tangent universe! Maybe only the internet is preventing some wormhole from collapsing.

  14. 44
    LondonLee on 27 Jul 2010 #

    Only 4 from me, very poor Reeves.

    I guess I was listening to Inner City, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim and Neneh Cherry so it must have actually been quite a good year.

  15. 45
    Tom on 28 Jul 2010 #

    #43 one of the Go-Betweens’ best ever songs, that – why on earth wasn’t it an A-Side, or at least on an album?

  16. 46
    Hofmeister Bear on 28 Jul 2010 #

    I could only bring myself to vote for 3 of them, which turned out to be the leading trio on the list. Belinda Carlisle was borderline admittedly.

  17. 47
    swanstep on 28 Jul 2010 #

    @45, Tom. Rock ‘n’ roll friend *is* on the bonus disc of the 2004 reissue of 16 Lovers Lane, and it was on the Go-B’s initial ‘best of’ cd (the one with the glorious green leaves against blue sky cover), though not on their more widely available, late ’90s ‘best of’.

    But why the initial misjudgment? I dunno. Choosing singles and mixes and album tracks well, editing one’s output well more generally, seems to be a specific skill that some artists have a lot more of than others. Suede used My Insatiable One and To the Birds as The Drowners’ bonus tracks/b-sides (making it one of the best singles I’ve ever actually bought), and didn’t put them on the album. That’s mad, but beautifully so I guess.

  18. 48
    Tom on 28 Jul 2010 #

    I think Suede were chasing the coverage they ended up getting: they had a TON of buzz, they didn’t have the songs for an album at that point, so capitalising on the buzz by putting their best songs on the debut single was a smart move. Three very different songs too – implying a range I’m not sure they really delivered on.

    With hindsight I can see R’n’R Friend wouldn’t have fit on 16LL – very different vibe – but also with hindsight it seems like their best shot at an alt.rock perennial (even has the dog-whistle title)

    The second half of that first Go-B’s best of with the collected early singles, B-Sides etc is a marvellous thing (well, so’s the first half, but that stuff IS all on later best-ofs). It was how I first encountered them, and I didn’t know it was a hits-then-bits deal, so of course I assumed “Rock N Roll Friend”, “When People Are Dead”, “Baby You Won’t Find It Again” et al were all well-known and loved parts of the band’s catalogue just like “Bachelor Kisses”.

  19. 49
    DietMondrian on 28 Jul 2010 #

    All Suede’s early singles – up to the point where Bernard Butler left and they started running out of material (and conversely, perversely, started stretching their thinning material out on two-part CD singles) – had brilliant B-sides.

    For me, it added to the thrill of the band, to buy the early singles and find the jems “thrown away” there.

    Highlights: High Rising off So Young; My Dark Star off Stay Together.

  20. 50
    Tom on 28 Jul 2010 #

    Yeah, “Killing Of A Flash Boy” (off er I dunno) is probably the Suede song I still listen to most.

  21. 51
    Billy Smart on 28 Jul 2010 #

    B-side of ‘We Are The Pigs’!

    Post-Butler Suede still occasionally managed some fantastic B-sides; Europe is our Playground, Every Monday Morning Comes, Jumble Sale Mums – and, especially, Popstar, which I always think of as a drugged-up Brett having an out-of-body experience and watching himself.

  22. 52
    swanstep on 28 Jul 2010 #

    Another overlooked song from 1988: the La’s There she goes. I didn’t hear it until 1990 IIRC. Did anyone here catch it on first release (it isn’t on any of the lists above)? And is this really a 1988 vid.? If it is, did anyone see it at the time?

    #48-#51. Too bad Suede won’t be troubling Popular directly, eh?

  23. 53
    flahr on 28 Jul 2010 #

    #52: I suspect most people didn’t hear it till the album in ’90; it didn’t get anywhere above Number 80 until 1989 and it only reached the Top 40 (peaking at 13) in 1990 after the album.
    Thankfully it’s on a couple of ‘best songs of 1988’ lists compiled in hindsight.

  24. 54
    Billy Smart on 28 Jul 2010 #

    I bought ‘There She Goes’ in November 1988! Its got one very good doomy B-side called ‘Who Knows?’, that never seems to get included on super-deluxe reissues of the album. It hung around the lower reaches of the charts for months and months, and when it eventually became a hit two years later its reappearance was greeted with bemused surprise from those who remembered it from the first time around. I certainly don’t remember it having that video, though, more a blurry 16mm thing shot in Liverpool backstreets.

    I also saw The La’s, third on the bill in an NME-sponsered CND benefit at the Town & Country Club in March 1989, the first ever concert that I paid to see. The Darling Buds headlined, and Sandie Shaw and Bradford also played.

  25. 55
    will on 28 Jul 2010 #

    I remember hearing There She Goes on a Radio One session (Janice Long?) in May ’88. Loved it then, but for me it’s one of those records that down the years has lost its lustre through overexposure..

  26. 56
    punctum on 28 Jul 2010 #

    Never liked the song or the group much. Sounded purposely retro at a time when we were trying to get on with the future. Does he really sing “Jason Donovan”?

  27. 57
    Conrad on 28 Jul 2010 #

    A magnificent 2 out of 19. S-Express and Belinda Carlisle.

    So, the House of Love. They saeem to be top of every magazine/inkie list for 1988. I don’t I’ve ever heard “Destroy the Heart”. I know very little about them.

    were they any good?
    do people, i.e. the popular comments crew, still listen to them?

  28. 58
    Billy Smart on 28 Jul 2010 #

    Now you’re talking – I LOVED The House of Love when I was sixteen and seventeen. That first album is like a classic rock primer for a 1988 indie kid – This is what you can do as a four-piece guitar band. There has never been an album that I have more anticipated in my life than that one with the butterfly on the cover, my appetite especially whetted by the EP of I Don’t Know Why I Love You with its surprisingly direct B-Sides, Clothes and Secrets, brooding and remorseful.

    I still listen to them with pleasure and excitement, but the weak link is much more apparent to me as a middle aged man than as a teenager. Guy Chadwick’s lyrics set himself up as some kind of prophet or seer, but generally lack any real depth or sense of personal engagement. Its a small lexicon of profound imagery – fire, heart, love, Jesus – shuffled around in every song. Combine that with Chadwick’s obvious discomfort at being a frontman (and advanced age) and you can see why they were superseded by the Roses and the Mondays before they ever really got going as a leading act.

    I always remember an Adam Sweeting review of a HoL concert at the Albert Hall that I attended, describing Guy Chadwick as having the volcanic stage presence of “a mild-mannered matchstick”

  29. 59
    Billy Smart on 28 Jul 2010 #

    Destroy The Heart also topped the NME Readers Poll for 1988, wheras MM readers voted for Tower of Strength by The Mission. I’ll look up the full results in my old copies when I’m next at my parents’ house.

  30. 60
    flahr on 28 Jul 2010 #

    Dear me but “Tower of Strength” is so U2 it hurts.

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