One January Evening....every #1 from EG's personal Top 40 (1984-2010) | Page 11 | 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. We're going in circles....

    Number ones: #47

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    • JAKI GRAHAM Round And Around (EMI)
    • Week Ending 20th July 1985
    • 1 Week At #1


    More than 18 months into the life of my personal charts, and finally at the end of July 1985 we have a first solo female chart-topping artist. Where the likes of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Wilde failed, step right up Dame Jaki Graham.

    At a time of excellent homegrown British soul/pop (Loose Ends, Cool Notes, 5 Star), Round And Around perhaps best exemplified its sure-footed, easy-going commercial style. Jaki had first appeared on the scene in 1984 with the “quiet storm” ballad Heaven Knows, but it was her duet with fading ’80s star David Grant on Could It Be I’m Falling In Love which caught the public’s attention.

    The single made the top 5, and paved the way for Round And Around to capitalise on its success shortly after. Produced and written by Derek Bramble (who had also helmed Bowie’s Loving The Alien, another of my Summer 1985 #1s), the arrangement cleverly played on the giddy feeling of the song’s subject matter, creating a swirling slice of smooth pop with a memorable, cascading chorus.

    Blessed with a great voice and bubbly down-to-earth personality, Jaki Graham was a perfect fit for the endless promo merry-go-round of the UK pop scene and, courtesy of a fine run of singles across two albums, became a regular presence on Saturday Morning TV and Top Of The Pops during 1985 and 1986.
     
  2. It was only last year that I discovered Round & Around was produced by the same guy who did Bowie's Tonight album! Small world.
     
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  3. I knew that at the time but never thought much of it, however I can appreciate Mr Bramble's production on both "Loving the Alien" and "Round and Round" - very different from each other! Jaki Graham was great - so sad when she went down the dumper!
     
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  4. And she was David Grant's parting gift to the UK Top 40 with their duets! TOTP was never the same without him.....
     
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  5. Imagine if Jaki had married her producer...she'd have been Jaki Bramble....confusing for Radio 1!
     
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  6. I can't decide if I should tell you about this next one or not...

    Number ones: #48
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    • ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK Secret (Virgin)
    • Week Ending 27th July 1985
    • 2 Weeks At #1

    Live Aid may have happened, rocking the Global Jukebox upon its axis and hurrying a generation of Smash Hits pop stars to their dumper-bound fate, but I was having none of it. The second single from my album of the moment, Crush by OMD, was out and I’d been waiting to install it as a #1 ever since its release was announced.

    Secret was billed as a Souvenir Part 2, somewhat unimaginatively, due to Paul Humphreys taking on winsome vocal duties as he did on the aforementioned classic in 1981. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, though, as Secret is a much chirpier beast.

    Some might call it drippy, I prefer to call it breezy.

    There are slight throwbacks to earlier OMD in the song’s structure, and use of a melodic and rhythmic motif as the hook, rather than a traditional kind of chorus which the duo had seemingly moved on to with the Junk Culture singles and Crush‘s introductory 45, So In Love. Humphreys’ then-wife Maureen also adds some pleasing backing vocals, creating what looked to be certain chart gold.

    Radio was onto it almost as soon as the album itself was launched, yet for some reason Secret spent almost two months hovering in and around the low-30s and mid-40s of the UK Top 75. In that time, it rebounded at least once, so it gained some small level of traction with the public, but a #34 peak for their finest single in years was a surprise.

    Having failed with the most obvious potential hit from Crush, they next opted for probably the least obvious, La Femme Accident‘s minimalist noodlings. Despite lyrical references to Joan Of Arc, and heavy promotion by the record label, it couldn’t even crack the Top 40 (the hideous extended mix, as unsuitable and unnecessary a re-working as you could imagine, was tacked onto the end of the CD edition of their 1988 Best Of compilation, as if to spite the listener).

    La Femme Accident would also end up as the US flip-side to their next project, a song for John Hughes’ new Brat Pack movie Pretty In Pink. America was well and truly calling them….
     
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  7. Now it's something for Nothing....

    Number ones: #49
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    • DIRE STRAITS Money For Nothing (Vertigo)
    • Week Ending 10th August 1985
    • 1 Week At #1
    Let me tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb…

    Famously inspired by overheard comments from a department store delivery worker as MTV played across banks of screens on the shop wall, Money For Nothing was very much a product of its era.

    Launched in 1981, MTV was still in its infancy when Dire Straits’ mainman Mark Knopfler was sitting in that store with the typical diet of New Wave and AOR acts on the screens, with silly haircuts and wearing too much make-up. It would have been the early days of what became “Poodle Rock” or “Hair Metal”, and the likes of A Flock Of Seagulls and Kajagoogoo flying the Brits-in-America pop flag.

    Our microwave oven-lugging friend’s withering observations were a mixture of homophobia, racism, sexism and a grudging envy at these people getting rich by poncing around in videos on TV.

    Knopfler’s lyrics, written in character, would cause him problems down the line; what raised eyebrows in 1985 could provoke widespread condemnation in the 21st Century. It’s matched by the sleaziest-sounding guitar riff that Dire Straits would ever come up with, apparently intended to ape the fashionable ZZ Top sound of the mid-80s, which gives the track a distinctly un-Dire Straits-like feel.

    In fact, that’s probably why this was the first Dire Straits record I could recall ever liking (the atmospheric beauty of Private Investigations eluded me in 1982; I’ll put that one down to age). Add in an elongated intro, all fat keyboards and clattering electronic drum pads, and Money For Nothing was almost a novelty in their catalogue.

    Their previous single, and the Brothers In Arms album’s lead 45, So Far Away had held absolutely no interest, confirming in my teenage mind their utter irrelevance and penchant for boring soft rock. The album had been released at the same time as Around The World In A Day, Be Yourself Tonight, Youthquake, Low-Life and Flaunt The Imperfection; unsurprisingly, it was not remotely on my radar.

    By the end of 1985, all that had changed; Money For Nothing laid the foundation for my change of attitude, then the title cut and finally Walk Of Life did the rest.

    Extra wit was provided by Sting’s “I Want My MTV” refrain – the channel’s adopted calling card, sung to the melody of The Police’s Don’t Stand So Close To Me – and it really was layering on the irony and post-modernism. Rock band have mega hit on MTV as they take sly dig at rock bands on MTV, while singing MTV’s jingle.

    As I said, them guys ain’t dumb.
     
  8. So, we've reached the 50th single to be #1 on my charts, if I don't Say so myself.

    Number ones: #50
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    • PRINCESS Say I’m Your No.1 (Supreme)
    • Week Ending 17th August 1985
    • 1 Week At #1

    My personal charts reached a half-century of Number Ones with this aptly titled debut single from pop royalty, Princess. It may have only been for a solitary week, but at least I could say to her, yes you are my No.1.

    Homegrown soul/funk/pop with an American outlook had become a thing in 1985, with the success of Loose Ends (breaking through with the seminal Hangin’ On A String) followed by the likes of The Cool Notes (Spend The Night, In Your Car) and the early efforts of 5 Star (All Fall Down, Let Me Be The One). It had also, via the rise of the Streetsounds compilation series and the continuing musical education provided by James Hamilton in Record Mirror magazine, become an increasing thing for me as well.

    Say I’m Your No.1 was notable for being a Stock Aitken Waterman production, at a time when they were yet to be synonymous with chart-conquering pop and were still mainly associated with Hi-NRG records by Hazell Dean, Divine and Dead Or Alive’s then-recent smash You Spin Me Round. The striking Princess herself was also one of the first black female artists they’d worked with, paving the way for the likes of O’chi Brown, Lonnie Gordon and the June Montana-fronted Brilliant.

    Showcasing SAW’s skills for mimicking any type of contemporary music style, Say I’m Your No.1 could be the work of any slick U.S. production team of the era, sophisticated and confident yet consummately commercial. It’s no wonder the track wasted little time in racing up the Top 40 and giving the trio their first real success since You Spin Me Round some six months before.

    Sadly, despite an almost-as-sublime follow-up 45, After The Love Has Gone, at the end of the year and a solid self-titled debut album in 1986, it didn’t quite happen for Princess. The final single lifted from the album barely made the UK Top 75, and the working partnership with SAW broke down shortly thereafter (a sign of things to come for Mike, Matt and Pete, but we are getting ahead of ourselves a bit).

    Late 1985 to the end of 1986 proved a sticky period all round for SAW, with the petering out of Princess’ promise accompanied by a string of underwhelming commercial flops from a host of names, ranging from chart has-beens such as Edwin Starr and Three Degrees, to never-weres like Jeb Million, Spelt Like This and the aforementioned Brilliant and O’chi Brown. This succession of misses were offset by their reinvention of Bananarama via the cover of Venus, and the discovery of sisters Melanie and Kim Appleby who became the perfect vehicle for a sound that had more in common with their old Hi-NRG attitude, updated for the fashion-conscious younger audience that was emerging.

    And so, a new chapter in the Stock Aitken Waterman story would begin, but there’s a quality to all these 1985 and 1986 efforts that showed a possible alternative route that might have been further fulfilled had events (and record sales) taken a different turn.
     
  9. It's my 51st chart-topper, and boy is she a state from the USA...

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    • MADONNA Into The Groove (Sire)
    • Week Ending 24th August 1985
    • 1 Week At #1

    By the summer of 1985, 80s icons Michael Jackson, Prince and George Michael had all reached #1 on my Top 40; finally, at the end of August, Madonna got her turn.

    Having arrived on the UK chart scene at the very beginning of 1984, none of the trio of singles lifted from Madonna’s eponymous debut LP had done especially well on my personal charts (Holiday peaked at #16, Lucky Star did better by reaching #6, but Borderline mirrored its original fate on the UK listings by missing the Top 40 altogether). The Like A Virgin era was shaping up slightly more promisingly, with the title cut and Material Girl both going Top 10.

    Then, the first of her soundtrack efforts, Crazy For You, was released in the Spring of 1985. Once chosen by the British public as their favourite Madonna track and successfully reissued in 1991, I was obviously not wholly convinced by its charms at the time because it got stuck somewhere in the mid-20s.

    Next up was another distraction from the Like A Virgin campaign, a song from the comedy-drama Desperately Seeking Susan. It was also a film in which Madonna took a key role, paving the way for further cinematic glory with the likes of Who’s That Girl, and Shanghai Surprise.

    Er, sort of. Anyway, for some reason the American branch of Sire Records decided against issuing Into The Groove as an A-side, instead tucking it away on the flip of Like A Virgin cut Angel.

    No such shenanigans here, and the label were rewarded with the first Madonna chart-topper in the UK. It was a deserving champion, too, by far the most appealing and effortless slice of dance-pop that she had served up at that point.

    It remains one of my favourite Madonna singles, propelled by that bubbling bassline and boasting a simple but joyous melody. She may have gone on to make better, more sophisticated records (and, sadly, less appealing ones as well), but Into The Groove still sounds like the moment when Madonna began to deliver on the hype and showed her confident pop nous.
     
  10. I still feel it’s actually her best single - much as I liked various different Madge eras, this track still shades it.
     



  11. 1 week though?!!!!
     
  12. Who on earth could knock "Into the groove" off the top spot after one week? Surely not "I got you babe" by UB40 and Chrissie Hyde?
     
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  13. We do not speak of such songs as this...
     
  14. Maybe Five Star's "Let me be the one"?
     
  15. Ha, it was a new entry at #1 from an EG favourite.
     
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  16. *Checks the internet for release dates of HoJo, Bowie, Heaven 17 and Thompson Twins singles*

    Ah I see….
     
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  17. Eric Generic likes this.
  18. He's not one for sympathy!
     
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  19. No, it wasn't a Dream...

    Number ones: #52
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    • THOMPSON TWINS Don’t Mess With Doctor Dream (Arista)
    • Week Ending 31st August 1985
    • 2 Weeks At #1

    Fresh from sharing the stage at Live Aid with Madonna the previous month, the Thompson Twins’ first single of 1985 promptly ended Into The Groove‘s reign atop my charts after only one week. I told you I was a fan.

    Of course, this wasn’t quite how it was meant to be. Lay Your Hands On Me, released at the end of 1984, gave precious little hint as to the direction they were planning to take on Into The Gap‘s follow-up, Here’s To Future Days. That album was already being teased on some European TV shows, as its intended second single Roll Over was readied for release in the UK over Easter 1985. Around 250,000 copies of the single were primed for shipping to retailers……and then Tom Bailey collapsed in a hotel while on the promo trail.

    “On and on and on it goes….where it all leads, nobody knows”, went the chorus of Roll Over.

    Everything ground to a halt. From the outside, the temporary exhaustion of your lead singer really ought not to cause more than a brief interruption to continued pop domination, but we weren’t to know just how much of the workload Tom was carrying, far more than the music press and the band’s PR ever let on at the time.

    The band were presented to the world as Alannah the lyricist, Joe the musician, and Tom the vocalist, guitarist and probably contributor to a bit of everything. The reality would appear to be Tom did pretty much everything in terms of the records, with the other two members’ input largely confined to visual and performance aspects. It would at least explain why there had to be such a lengthy break before the band returned, and why Tom decided to radically rethink the musical approach of Here’s To Future Days.

    It’s understandable that Roll Over was permanently mothballed for reasons other than pure musical merit, but the physical and mental drain of maintaining a continuous stream of chart-friendly material can clearly be detected in its lumpen, clumsy stylings that would have been at odds with the UK chart landscape of early 1985. Roll Over, in all likelihood, might have done fairly well in America but surely would have proved problematic here in Britain.

    As things turned out, the Here’s To Future Days era would sadly prove to be problematic in Britain, ending their imperial phase with its lack of a genuine UK hit and an all-too-brief residency on the Top 100 Album chart (9 weeks, compared to 51 for Into The Gap and 56 for Quickstep & Sidekick).

    Yet all of this was still to unfold, and the arrival of a brand new Twins track in the middle of August caused me a great deal of excitement. The 12″ single duly purchased, I was initially oblivious to the fact Don’t Mess With Doctor Dream was light years from the focused, faultless pop craftsmanship of Lay Your Hands On Me and sounded more like a Quickstep & Sidekick B-side.

    Are the female screams at the start and end of the track a knowing nod back to Sister Of Mercy? Is the lyric “roll over me” a conscious reference to the troubled record which Tom couldn’t disassociate from the dark days of his illness? Even the pre-chorus refrain of “blue marble dreams” sounds suspiciously like a line from Lay Your Hands On Me; the more you dissect the record, the more it seems like parts of several ideas (not all of them new!) stitched together.

    In the process of going back to the drawing board, post-collapse, Nile Rodgers had taken over production duties and his influence does at least give Doctor Dream – and a couple of other tracks on the ill-starred album – a genuine groove. It also helps the record sound contemporary enough for British tastes, though America was more partial to a reworked, gospel-tinged Lay Your Hands On Me and the rote romanticism of King For A Day.

    The latter attempted to rekindle the Into The Gap formula, but its weary tone and vapid lyrics weren’t in the same league and there would be no further #1s from Here’s To Future Days on my chart (a frankly nonsensical decision to issue a leaden cover of The Beatles’ Revolution – the song they played at Live Aid, with Madonna on tambourine – made sure of that).
     
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