diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Silver discs (November 1980)
A monthly look back at the top singles of 25 years ago

The three best records from the Top 10 (11th November 1980)
Bad Manners - Special Brew: Classy it wasn't but, like the can of cheap lager that provided the lyrical inspiration, this was a fizzy, slightly acidic mouthful with mass market appeal. It's easy to forget how big ska was at the time - even Blondie had a ska cover version at number 1 at the time. Bad Manners were most famous for their fat bald frontman Buster Bloodvessel (known to his Mum as Douglas Trindle), back in the days when being morbidly obese was still a laughing matter. But Buster's slimmed down a bit since, following major surgery for a strangulated hernia a few years ago, and now (sob) weighs less than me. There again, I haven't had two-thirds of my stomach removed.
"I love you, yes I do, 'cos I know that you love me too. I love you, yes I do, gonna spend all my money on you. I don't care, when they stare, at the way that I'm always with you. We're a pair, it's not fair when they say we're a special brew!"
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Enola Gay: "Tell you what, let's write a song about possibly the biggest act of mass murder in human history." "Yeah, but we'll name it after the plane that dropped the bomb, which itself was named after the pilot's mother." "And we'll make the song really catchy so that schoolboys don't feel embarrassed about going into a record shop and asking for a single with the word 'gay' in the title." "You know, I think there's every chance these synthesiser things might just catch on."
"It's 8:15, and that's the time that it's always been. We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you're coming home. Enola Gay, is mother proud of little boy today? This kiss you give, it's never going to fade away"
Adam And The Ants - Dog Eat Dog: I first heard this song while sat in the back of my parents' old Renault 5, waiting for my brother to emerge from a dental check-up. Even from the opening bars I knew that the tribal drums signalled the start of something special. As it turned out, this song provided the first big hint that 80s popular music was going to be to be very different from the simpler 70s. OK, so the Ants were just a failed punk combo reinventing themselves in the pantomime traditions of the Glitter Band, but this was new, this was exciting, and this was the future. More importantly, this was before before all that white stripy facepaint and fancy dress got too commercial, back when Antmusic was cool.
"You may not like the things we do, only idiots ignore the truth. It's easy to lay down and hide, where's the warrior without his pride?"

My three favourite records from November 1980 (at the time)
Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short: It would be an understatement to say that I adored this record. In fact I was completely hooked well before the Kemp brothers & Co had even nibbled at the lower reaches of the Top 40. When Peter Powell played four up-front Spandau session tracks on his show one week, I recorded the full set off the radio onto a cheap cassette tape and replayed them all incessantly (sorry Mum). Here was the underground movement of New Romanticism rearing its well-groomed head in public for the first time, ushering in a strange new era of lipstick, androgeny and over-dressing. Thankfully I restricted my interest to the music, never once turning up at home wearing a kilt and a frilly shirt (for which I suspect my Mum remains eternally grateful).
"Sitting on a park bench, years away from fighting, to cut a long story short I lost my mind."
Devo - Whip It: I couldn't see Devo on the radio, so I never noticed that they were a quintet of mad Americans wearing red plastic buckets on their heads. But this is probably a good thing because I just really liked this quirky record, whereas other addicts from back then are probably still busy tring to buy a genuine energy dome on eBay.
"When a problem comes along you must whip it. Before the cream sits out too long you must whip it. When something's going wrong you must whip it, whip it good"
Split Enz - Nobody Takes Me Seriously Anyway: This New Zealand band may be far more well known for their gorgeous love song I Got You but, as a spotty adolescent back in 1980, I related far more to the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of this particular gem.
"If war broke out I'd be the last one to know, if there was a fire they'd just leave me to burn. I've got just as much to say as any man but I never seem to get my turn"

15 other hits from 25 years ago: The Tide Is High (Blondie), Ace of Spades (Motorhead), I Could Be So Good For You (Dennis Waterman), I'm Coming Out (Diana Ross), What You're Proposing (Status Quo), Never Knew Love Like This Before (Stephanie Mills), Loving's Just For Fun (Kelly Marie), One Man Woman (Sheena Easton), Fashion (David Bowie), The Earth Dies Screaming (UB40), The Same Old Scene (Roxy Music), Passion (Rod Stewart), Bougie Bougie (Gladys Knight), Don't Walk Away (ELO), Kiss On My List (Hall and Oates) ...which one would you pick?

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