80s Top 10 Sales- Week By Week- 1984-1985


Well hello there! Yes it's back, the title says it all, a thread designed to "best guess" the sales week by week for 1984- a year of extremes and certainly one to enjoy! We'll count down all the sounds of the year and hopefully generate a few "almost forgotten gems" along the way. As always thanks go to MFR, Vas trainer, Youtube, Wikipedia, MW, popscene, and a few other sources who have helped over the years. Here's the links to previous threads if this isn't your year!

1980-81 can be found here http://www.popjustice.com/forum/threads/31536-80s-Week-By-Week-Top-10-Sales-1980-1981
1982-83 can be found here http://www.popjustice.com/forum/threads/34249-80s-Top-10-Sales-Week-By-Week-1982-1983

In doing this I've tried to take into account TOTP performances and other factors which may have effected sales and chart positions throughout the decade.

The Internet can't tell me everything so I'm relying on the Popjustice oldies to throw in some pertinent facts that I may be unaware of (I was only 3 when the decade began) and to discuss the tracks.

The format will be the same every week with TOTP performances where available for those songs new to the top 10. So sit back and enjoy every top 10 hit of the 80s (eventually). Just relax......it's

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Gezza76 is back! - time to get my spreadsheet back out and indulge on this thread. I'll be contributing with the "peakers" outside the top 10 - my OCD is going into overdrive over this!

I was a 14 year old teenager at the start of 1984 with a mullet haircut, wearing white nike trainers and riding my BMX bike around town! Meanwhile my older brother had just purchased a ZX spectrum and my sister was contributing to the hole in the ozone layer with her hairspray while listening to Spandau Ballet, Wham, Duran Duran and Howard Jones….
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Oh god, Jan 1984 is when it all really kicked off for me. I bought my first "proper" single, bought a pop magazine for myself (No.1 for Jan 7th), and started my own personal charts, having my tea one evening in front of the fire with an exercise book "borrowed" from school.
Hahaha! I was into "borrowing" exercise books from school as well.

As much as I slagged off Number one magazine - I always used to buy it in the end - and then slag off the chart for not being the "Official" Gallup effort.

By Jan 1984 I was a avid purchaser/reader of Smash Hits and Record Mirror. I never brought NME/Melody Maker as I could read them for free down at the local library!
I found the charts thing a bit confusing at first, but I was such a chart whore that any listings were better than none. Plus it had all the US charts, the indie charts....just so much to devour. Smash Hits was less essential to me because it didn't focus on release dates and charts, plus it was fortnightly not weekly. I felt it found it harder to stay as up to date.
I used to love Smash Hits for the songwords. The OCD in me had to test them all!

In the late 80's I used to trawl through the woolies ex-chart singles bargain bins to get all the singles Smash Hits had done the songwords to so I could "test" them.

"Don't walk" by the Big Supreme being a prime example - not to mention the "classic" "Kill me Kwik" by Jimmy the Hoover: that didn't even make the UK top 100 singles chart!
Yay! My favourite thread is back!

1984 was the year that pop music completely took over my life. Wham, Frankie, Duran, Madonna, Cyndi, Prince. The 'Choose Life' and 'Frankie Say...' T-shirts, orange, green and pink luminous socks, Smash Hits and Number One mags, the official chart on the counter of EGS Records that I would study for at least an hour every week until the staff started ordering an extra copy that I could take home (God knows what they thought of me), taping the Top 40 off Radio One every Sunday and singing along to 'Relax', 'Love Resurrection' and 'Like A Virgin' with only a vague notion of what they might be about. Happy Days!
I'm not sure I understand this thread. Why are charts being second-guessed when there was an official top 10 back then?
Yes, foolproof accurate data on sales didn't come in til 1987, I think? When the first live chart reveal moved to Sunday from Tuesday.
14th January 1984


New Year and a new No 1 as the Flying Pickets don’t quite create a new chart record but they do tumble 1-10 (33,000) with “Only You” as the former chart topper feels the cold winter chill. The record remains with Harry Belefonte’s “Mary Boy Child” which fell 1-12 back in early 1958, The Flying Pickets’ fall is also mirrored by last week’s runner-up Slade who similarly falls 2-11 in the January reshuffle.

So that’s what’s out but what’s in? Well the main news is that Paul McCartney scores his first solo No 1 single as “Pipes Of Peace” ascends 9-1 on a rather middling sale of 77,000 copies which is significantly below the 115,000 registered by Phil Collins in the same week last year. McCartney has now had a No 1 single as a solo act, as part of a duet (with Stevie Wonder), as a trio (Wings) and a quartet (The Beatles) something that no other act can claim. He’s now had 22 top 10 singles since the Beatles split, which is still three less than the fab four had, but is on target to final top that tally at some point in the decade.


From the old to the new with Howard Jones chasing McCartney all the way with “What Is Love” which is only his second single but it now becomes his biggest seller as it flies 10-2 on a sale of 62,000 to eclipse the No 3 peak of debut “New Song”. His first album will be out in March this year for those waiting impatiently. Completing an all climbing top 3 Status Quo rise 5-3 (54,000) with the party themed “Margarita Time” which despite their 16 year chart career becomes just their 4th top 3 and first since 1980’s “What You’re Proposing”.


Only one new entry to discuss this week and that comes from Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The genesis of the group stems from the late 70s punk scene in Liverpool and through several name changes and members eventually formed in its current line up a few years back. A John Peel session and an appearance on the tube convinced wizard producer Trevor Horn that something could be done with them and he wasn’t wrong with “Relax” powering 35-6 (43,000) thanks to a memorable TOTP performance. The song has been accompanied by some rather suggestive marketing ads and a video which was refused by both the BBC and MTV for being too offensive, a new video is currently in the making to help promote the track, indeed the song is now in its eighth week on the chart and has so far sold 113,000 copies to date.

Elsewhere good news for Billy Joel with “Tell Her About It” continuing to improve 6-4 (49,000) but a festive hangover engulfs the other tracks as fallers include Paul Young (3-5, 45,000), Culture Club (4-7, 41,000), Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers (7-8, 38,000) and Thompson Twins (8-9, 35,000). Some can celebrate though, Paul Young now has his biggest seller in “Love Of The Common People” and Culture club move over the 300,000 mark with “Victims” though they will still be disappointed with a marked comedown from the sales of their previous hit.

Frankie relaxing at No 6

Top 10 in pics


What Is Love? had the strangest chart climb (or so it seemed to a relative newbie like me) once it reached the top 20....something like #14-#11-#11-#10...oh no, has it run out of steam?.................and then BOOM....right up to #2. I bought it that week, but can't take credit for the other 61,999 copies, haha.

And yes, I was desperate for the album to come out at the time.
Yes, foolproof accurate data on sales didn't come in til 1987, I think? When the first live chart reveal moved to Sunday from Tuesday.

To be honest beyond the occasional disclosure, "actual" sales were thin on the ground until around 1996/97 with full top 10 sales only becoming regularly revealed in around 2004.
I remember hearing "Relax" for the first time back in November 1983 and thinking "This is very different to anything Trevor Horn has produced. I didn't think anymore of it until I saw them on Top of the pops when the song entered at number 35 - it began to grow on me….let's see what happens next!
First I heard Relax was on the Sunday Top 40 rundown when it charted at #35 - I had no idea about its background, lyrical connotations, the fact it was Trevor Horn's production, or that it had been hanging around outside the Top 40 for months. I just heard an amazing pop record and couldn't get enough of it. And then the BBC went and banned the damn thing.