One January Evening....every #1 from EG's personal Top 40 (1984-2010) | The Popjustice Forum

One January Evening....every #1 from EG's personal Top 40 (1984-2010)

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Eric Generic, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. [​IMG]

    (Since last August, I have started a feature on my blog, looking back at each and every one of the singles to make #1 on the personal Top 40 charts I began one winter night at the age of 12.)

    One January Evening….

    No, that’s not a long-lost Frankie Goes To Hollywood interview B-side, for those old enough to get the reference. It was the moment in 1984 when, instead of doing some horribly necessary homework, the inspiration to begin compiling a personal Top 40 Singles Chart fatally struck me.

    I thought I’d give it a go.

    They could have lasted a couple of weeks, for all I knew.

    They lasted 26 and a half years.

    Good, bad, happy and sad. The songs I can’t forget, and maybe the odd (VERY odd) one I wish I could. That’s one of the joys of a weekly personal chart, there’s no room for revisionism. If I put Bruce Willis at #1 in 1987, or I really liked Tin Machine, then it’s there for posterity (in fact, I still stand by both of those even now). There might be a lot of singles that I wish I’d awarded the coveted top spot to at the time, but that’s what All-Time lists are for, right?

    So, over the next however-many-months-it-takes, I’ll look back over each and every one of my Number Ones, from the beginning of January 1984 until my chart’s official demise in July 2010.
  2. The idea of compiling charts for that long! Very dedicated.
    Hairycub1969 and Eric Generic like this.
  3. There were times it was harder to keep them going, and towards the end I was really fighting against the dying of the light. Once physical formats began to become obsolete, and what constituted an actual single became less clear, I was struggling. I enjoyed the regimented formula of the UK singles market, the way campaigns were built, the system of choosing singles from an album for X amount of time before moving on to a new era.

    Once it became a free-for-all, and the onus was on myself to continue creating the illusion of a traditonal chart that continued to make sense to me (without the outside help of a traditional release schedule and having stuff in the shops or aired on TOTP), it got more and more difficult.

    I had a few goes at relaunching my chart in late 2010 and early 2011, but it never really worked. I didn't fancy the idea of a monthly list, or whatever irregular system I might have been able to cobble together.
  4. Glad you're posting here, I'm crap at checking blogs for some reason.
  5. Excellent - love these threads.
    Hairycub1969 likes this.
  6. Where it all began........

    Number ones: #1
      • HOWARD JONES What Is Love? (WEA)
      • Week ending 7th January 1984
      • 3 weeks at #1

    New Song, the debut single from Howard Jones, had been the catalyst for much of my freshly-discovered obsession with pop music when it hit the UK charts in the autumn of 1983. For all its impact on my world, it never occurred to me to actually go into a shop and buy the vinyl record to have as my own. It would have been my first “proper” purchase had I done so. Instead, that honour fell to its follow-up, What Is Love?

    I can vividly remember buying the 12″ single, seeing it in the chart racks at #2 (Pipes Of Peace by Paul McCartney denied it top spot in Britain), but I don’t know what prompted me to actually make the leap into the realms of a bona fide record-buying music fan. Despite still rising on the Top 40, it wasn’t exactly a new release and for several weeks before Christmas 1983 I would tune into the Radio One chart countdown expecting it to have fallen down the listings. Somehow it just managed to edge into the Top 10 come the year’s end, and then made that 8-place leap into the runners-up slot. Never again would Howard Jones get so close to a #1 hit in the UK.

    On my personal chart, it would prove a very different story.

    So, there was little doubt what single would be top of the first Top 40 I compiled that January evening (New Song, too, would be safely in the Top 5 despite being about 4 months old by that point). What Is Love? was a whole lot more complex and subtle than its predecessor, underpinned by a lush bassline and layer upon layer of synths and multi-tracked vocals. It swooped and soared, in a catchy yet magnificently moody way that, sadly, he would rarely emulate over the rest of his career.

    The extended 12″ version, which is the format I opted for on that fateful day, only heightens the vibe and appeal (CD editions of his Human’s Lib album have always included it over the shorter edit, tellingly), but the biggest plus of having the 12″ single was found on the B-side. The standard 7″ featured the throwaway It Just Doesn’t Matter (replete with fashionable cod-Japanese stylings….hello Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby et al), but the extra track was a live recording of Hunt The Selffrom the Marquee in late 1983.

    “We’re gonna get a bit tribal on this one!”, he exhorts, as the onslaught of drum patterns and sequencers churn out a terrific slice of figuring-out-who-you-are thoughtful pop that obviously appealed to an almost-teenage boy. It’s like early Tears For Fears on steroids, before they beefed up their own sound a year later with Mothers Talk and Shout. He would record Hunt The Self in the studio for inclusion on Human’s Lib, where it made for a nicely dramatic conclusion to Side One. Having been exposed and accustomed to the raw live incarnation first, I never quite felt the album version did the song justice; its signature keyboard refrain was changed, for one thing.

    Hunt The Self was probably a major reason for this single managing to stay top of my charts in the face of fierce competition from an explosive debut single that was quickly gaining notoriety.

    But more of that next time…..
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  7. I've gotten the same with compilations... used to compile about 3 c90's a year, mixture of new singles, discoveries on old albums, random things that took hours to satisfactorily put together.

    But with demise of actual singles I'd buy and literally stack on the stereo to be cherry picked from, I've fallen into the habit of scattergun iTunes playlists. It's not the same. I've even started replicating the cassettes I still have as playlists to try and spur me into continuing this with more thought but it's not worked yet!
    Hairycub1969 and Eric Generic like this.
  8. I salvaged my yearly C90s that covered 1982-2000 a couple of years ago, and planned to recreate them in iTunes. I got as far as 1983. Something to return to!
    berserkboi, ModeRed and Hairycub1969 like this.
  9. The intro to "What is love" - the 7 inch single version - always takes me right back to Christmas 1983...and the lyrics make much more sense to me now at 49 then they did when I was 14 !

    I used to make "Mixed tapes" all the time back in the day of current chart hits (1980 to 1990) - I do miss doing that. However, over the last few years I've replicated it on Spotify with Playlists - and I actually enjoy it - great for long car rides!
    berserkboi, Eric Generic and ModeRed like this.
  10. It's such a brilliant intro, and not what I was expecting from the man who did New Song. I think the first time I ever heard What is Love? was on a school trip to London, and the coach driver had Radio 1 playing. It always reminds me of Central London as a result.
    berserkboi and Hairycub1969 like this.
  11. Ray


    My body is NOT ready for this amazingness!!!!!

    (I should have thought of doing mine.)
  12. Relax...

    Number ones: #2

    • Week Ending 28th January 1984
    • 2 weeks at #1

    Frankie seemed to come, if you pardon the pun, from nowhere as far as I was concerned. With a pop perspective still limited to the UK Top 40 and daytime Radio 1, my first encounter with Relax had been its entry at #35 on the first new chart of 1984.

    Of course, the single had in fact been loitering around the lower reaches of the Top 75 since November 1983, and to more worldly individuals (and viewers of The Tube music programme) there was already a degree of potential controversy surrounding the record, its sleeve and its original promo video.

    I remained oblivious, blissfully unaware that the fantastic-sounding track I was hearing would become one of the most notorious singles of its era, and launch the most fantastically brief supernova of a career with a kind of pop music that, even now, has rarely been emulated. Relax immediately grabbed my attention with the way it sounded, and the next few days were spent rewinding the C90 cassette I would tape the charts onto every week, to listen to it over and over again.

    Relax then shot up to #6. Way-hey, they’re coming! But wait, what the **** is going on? They didn’t play it on the Sunday Top 40 countdown. Huh? And then all was extensively revealed. The lyrical “connotations”, the Mike Read “ban”….and the record suddenly became very much the talk of the schoolyard. We’ve all been 12 year old kids, you know the score.

    Well, the immature sniggering I grew out of, but the fascination with the sonic genius of Relax is something I have never shaken off. Whatever mix (and there have been many), the story is still the same. Juggle the component parts around as wildly as you wish (and Trevor Horn certainly did that), but it will still sound magnificent.

    Given all the hoo-ha, it’s actually quite surprising that Relax didn’t spend longer at #1 on my own chart; maybe the absence of airplay and Top Of The Pops exposure had more of an effect than I realised. It did, however, continue to chart for several months (just like on the real Top 40) and remains one of my all-time favourite singles.
  13. "Relax' was mind blowing - I was a massive TH fan in 1982 (Dollar, ABC, Spandau Ballet) and there was rumours that he wanted to produced the next Simple Minds Album but they had already arranged for Steve Lillywhite to produce "Sparkle in the rain" - therefore Frankie goes to Hollywood's "Relax" was the next thing from Trevor Horn and I loved it. I first heard it in November 1983 on Capital Radio. Watch it spend a far amount of weeks at Number One in my Retrochart in 2020 - keeping "Radio Ga Ga" "Girls just want to have fun" "The Killing Moon" from reaching the top!
  14. My HoJo stannage wouldn't let that happen, but it deserved to be #1 for more than a fortnight!
    Hairycub1969 likes this.
  15. Number ones: #3


    • THOMPSON TWINS Doctor! Doctor! (Arista)
    • Week Ending 11th February 1984
    • 2 weeks at #1

    Every great pop act has an “imperial phase”, that period of their career where everything just falls into place and they can seemingly do no wrong, either commercially or artistically. Every decision is the right one, every new record continues to bear all the finest hallmarks of what they do best.

    By happy accident, the start of the Thompson Twins’ own imperial phase coincided with the moment pop music took over my life. First, there was Hold Me Now at the tail end of 1983, and then Doctor! Doctor! right at the dawn of 1984. They made this pop lark look and sound effortless; a fully-formed image and sonic identity that proved an extremely fertile source of hit singles, and one flawless album, over the course of 18 months. It was as though they’d always been this way, one beautifully-crafted smash after another.

    The truth, of course, was anything but. Years of commercial failure and personnel changes, with an experimental style unsuited to the charts, eventually led to a rethink, a breakthrough on the dancefloor with In The Name Of Love, and eventual Top 40 action with the hits from Quickstep & Sidekick.

    Which is where I originally encountered them, all silly outfits and songs about detectives, executed in a style that challenged you to take them seriously (there is in fact a curious subplot here with all of the first three acts to be #1 on my chart; to varying extents I had considered them novelty artists….Frankie Goes To Hollywood because of the name and the time of year they charted, Howard Jones thanks to his mime artist sidekick who would jump out of cardboard boxes on TV).

    Hold Me Now was a world away from all that frippery, and had I been compiling personal Top 40s in 1983 would have easily been a #1 in the lead-up to Christmas. Yet it hardly prepared me for the wonder of what came next; the insistent pulse of a sequencer, embellished with exotic percussion and Tom Bailey in his most persuasive mood. As befitting a band now in their imperial phase, everything just sounded so right.

    I was hooked. Better still, there was a whole new album on the horizon, by the name of Into The Gap…..
  16. @Eric Generic - please continue with the Retrochart thread - I think you've got to post your charts from w/e 17th October 1982 onwards - at least I know that "Hold me now" will probably be Number One in December 1983 fighting for the top spot with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Simple Minds' "Waterfront"!
    Eric Generic likes this.
  17. Ha, oh I am still compiling them...I am up to 27/11, I just need to format them, upload them to a hosting site and then post them here!
    Hairycub1969 and ModeRed like this.
  18. I may have already asked this someplace beforehand so apologies, but is there a ‘go to’ round up of Thompson Twins to pick up their best songs?

    Oh and you don’t know how terrific it is to have this to read regularly, especially after enjoying the top 100 albums countdown!
    Hairycub1969 likes this.
  19. If you're not fussed about exact single mixes, then something like this is good
    [​IMG] covers beyond 1986, so it has Get That Love, and you also get key tracks like If You Were Here and the withdrawn 1985 single Roll Over. It's not perfect, as no TT compilation sadly is...they're all missing stuff. But this has all the imperial phase hits (though not the 1984 UK 7" mix of Lay Your Hands).

    Thanks! I began this #1 countdown on the blog last summer, I think, and I really want to get a move on with it as I'm only up to June 1985 and my 46th chart-topper. There are 600 more to do!
    Zarjazz, Hairycub1969 and ModeRed like this.
  20. Platinum & Gold is the one with the "correct" 7" mixes of Lay Your Hands and Sister Of Mercy (rather than lazy album versions); it's not quite as hard to find as it was back in the 00s, so you might want to try getting this:

    berserkboi, Hairycub1969 and ModeRed like this.
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