diamond geezer

 Friday, April 14, 2006

Silver discs (April 1981)
A monthly look back at the top singles of 25 years ago

The three best records from the Top 10 (14th April 1981)
Landscape - Einstein A Go-Go: "Oh Sir I'm terribly sorry, I can't put you through to President Carter. You can't ever get put through to him when you call." The sound of a telephone dialling and a failed attempt to contact America provided the inspired introduction to a uniquely quirky song. Richard Burgess's squeaky vocals related the brief tale of a demented scientist intent on atomic armageddon, backed by a Pied Piper flute melody which was possibly the perfect one-fingered synth ditty. The single took three months to enter and ascend the Top 40, by which time Ronald Reagan had been inaugurated President and the premise of the song had become dangerously prescient. "You'd better watch out you'd better beware, Albert said E equals mc squared." And the song was accompanied by one of those new-fangled video things, set in a mad Edwardian laboratory (ooh look, you can still watch the video here, fab - although doesn't he look like a badger in a frock coat?). The band then released a splendid electro album with jazz-fusion overtones - From The Tea-rooms of Mars... to the Hell Holes of Uranus - but never again ascended these lofty chart heights. Useless fact - bassist Andy Pask went on to write the TV theme tune to The Bill.
"I'm upset, we must pay, I am the judge for the judgement day. There'll be no warning, no alarm, I'll be the one who's saved"
Bucks Fizz - Making Your Mind Up: Most British bands manufactured for Eurovision fade without trace (apart from in the eyes of those very special hardcore Eurovision devotees who revere even Jemini, that is), but Jay, Cheryl, Bobby and Mike really were something special. Or at least their song was. An intensely hummable hook, a little sanitised sexual charisma and some unforgettable skirt-ripping action, all crammed into three minutes - spot on. Bucks Fizz's nail-biting Eurovision victory in Dublin was assured, and their candyfloss career continued for several years. Bobby G still performs as part of the 'original' Bucks Fizz (see them tomorrow night at Butlins in Bognor) while the lovely Cheryl Baker (born, ssssh, Rita Crudgington) has stormed on through a successful TV career encompassing Record Breakers, Eggs 'n' Baker and price-drop.tv. Like Bucks Fizz - sparkling but a bit orange.
"And try to look as if you don't care less, but if you want to see some more, bending the rules of the game will let you find the one you're looking for "
The Jacksons - Can You Feel It?: Some basslines have longevity. Even 25 years on this bassline can rock a dance floor, either as the pure original or remixed and mashed up modern style. And here's yet another classic video you can revisit, all glowing skies and shimmering figures like a scary 70s Athena poster. Barely troubled the charts in America, surprisingly, but we British took it to our hearts and there it's stayed.
"All the colors of the world should be, lovin' each other wholeheartedly. Yes, it's all right, take my message to your brother and tell him twice"

My favourite three records from April 1981 (at the time)
Department S - Is Vic There (reached number 22): Band - named after classic 60s TV espionage adventure series. Lead singer - the fantastically named Vaughn Toulouse. Follow-up - the anti-military Going Left Right. Back catalogue - under-rated. Song title - lives on in frequent media headlines.
"The night is young, the mood is mellow and there is music in my ears"
Lene Lovich - New Toy (reached number 53): Ahh, mad staring Lene, the bonkers songstress with fiery plaited hair and an unearthly screeching voice. Lucky Number was a classic, whereas this more mainstream production (penned by Thomas Dolby) barely dented the nation's consciousness. Video here! Lene was way ahead of her time, so it's good to see she's still performing (see her next month at Madame Jo Jo's in Soho). I wonder whether my best friend from school still has posters of her all over his bedroom wall?
"I've got to have a car, I've got to have a stereo, I've got to have a freezer, I've got to have it all, til I'm complete"
Youka - Who Will Believe A Young Man: I can find no evidence that this record ever existed, bar the fact that I recorded it off the radio twice. Google has never heard of the song title, for a start. And 'Youka' probably isn't even the correct spelling of the artist's name, because I never saw it written down. So I don't know why I'm even mentioning the song now. None of you will stick a message in the comments box saying "Oh yes, I remember it too". But crashing organ, oriental swirls and snappy girly vocal - ooh it was good.
12:30pm update: she was called 'Yuka', the song was called 'Who Would Believe A Young Man", and her record really existed! Thanks Rob.
"Looking out of the trees I believe I can see I can hear revelation"

20 other hits from 25 years ago: Good Thing Going (Sugar Minott), Just A Feeling (Bad Manners), D Days (Hazel O'Connor), Attention To Me (Nolans), New Orleans (Gillan), Night Games (Graham Bonnet), Chi Mai (Ennio Morricone), Ai No Corrida (Quincy Jones), Flowers Of Romance (Public Image Limited), Musclebound (Spandau Ballet), Just Make That Move (Shalamar), Skateaway (Dire Straits), Only Crying (Keith Marshall), Bermuda Triangle (Barry Manilow), Can't Get Enough Of You (Eddy Grant), Hit And Run (Girl School), Crocodiles (Echo and the Bunnymen), Time (Light Of The World), All Out To Get You (Beat), Humping (Gap Band) ...which hit's your favourite? ...which one would you pick?

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream