Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Eric Generic, Dec 8, 2018.
Alone is wonderful!
I wouldn't have classed it as one...Purple Rain definitely, and that's why it was a #2 flop on my charts even when the Purple Rain album was my obssession!
Never considered it a ballad but it's not out of the question. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World is though.
Sweetest Smile by Black is another classic....i love the vibe of that song, even though it didn't go higher than #4 on my chart at the time.
Diamond And Pearls is one of my favourite songs by Prince but that's already in the 90ies ...
Some of the Prince ballads I quite liked (Diamonds & Pearls and...at the time..Most Beautiful Girl) but often they were the tracks I skipped on the albums! Sign O The Times, especially, would have been better for me without Slow Love and Adore.
Oh yes I think that song made me quite a Prince fan. The first (and possibly only) Prince single I bought at time of release. Then we had the wonderful Money Don't Matter 2 Night.
Wonderful Life is such a beautiful and sad song. Love it as well as Everything's Coming Up Roses and I Just Grew Tired ...
I always say this, but the WEA material from 1984/85 really NEEDS to be issued on CD!!!! I need Hey Presto and the rest in HQ.
I was playing the reissue of the Wonderful Life album recently, and Paradise is gorgeous. A&M really messed up there, not putting it out as the pre-Xmas single in 1987.
Surely Hold me now is a ballad? And you could argue What is love? As well.
Yes, and The Blue Nile too. I mean, if Saturday Night and The Downtown Lights aren't ballads, what are.
Kind of ironic that non-ballad man me ends up loving The Blue Nile as his favourite band.
Plus, my 2nd favourite record of all-time is Sara by Fleetwood Mac. Maybe I'm just a romantic who doesn't like traditional love song ballads.
This next one's moody and grey, mean and so restless....so restless indeed!
Number ones: #58
ARCADIA Election Day (Parlophone)
Week Ending 9th November 1985
2 Weeks At #1
In pure commercial terms, it was probably never going to get any better for Duran Duran than the week in March 1983 when Is There Something I Should Know? debuted at #1 on the UK Top 40. Yet despite the patchy album, Seven & The Ragged Tiger, which followed at the end of that year, the new sound of Duran Duran was already forming.
It took the helping hand of Nile Rodgers, but The Reflex‘s reconstruction and then the overblown Mad Max-isms of The Wild Boys seriously beefed up their sound. Duran’s penchant for brittle, whiny choruses bolted onto snaking, guitar-driven verses – so often their undoing (see: My Own Way, New Moon On Monday) was replaced by a focus on funky rhythms and splashes of showy synths.
A View To A Kill, the Bond theme, continued the trend and kept the chart momentum going, but by then Duran Duran had temporarily splintered. The Taylor guitar axis of Andy (lead) and John (bass) went off to the US of A and made an album with Chic drummer Tony Thompson and jack-of-all-trades Robert Palmer on vocals, as The Power Station. Their single Some Like It Hot was a decent success, reaching #12 in Britain.
As for the other three, Simon, Nick and Roger set to work on their own side project, Arcadia. It says a lot about the contrasting mindsets of the two factions that one prosaically named themselves after the recording studio they were working in (and didn’t bother to give the album itself a title), and one chose a 17th Century French Baroque painting (“Et In Arcadia Ego”) as the inspiration for their moniker. Pretentious, nous?
What emerged, late in 1985, was a triumph; Election Day is a monster of a track, far closer in feel to the Duran of recent past than The Power Station’s lumpen funk-rock, and – we would later realise – pretty much the blueprint for the Duran of the next few years,once they returned in 1986 minus a couple of Taylors.
No "Good heart" but I'm still hoping "I'm your man" will make Number One !
All will be revealed #soon, but first....you know these newly wealthy peasants, with their home bars and Hi-Fi's? The ones who parade all their possessions? Well I really don't like these scumbags...may I be clear on this point. But she's not a bit like that....not at all....what's she like? Well in time, in time....I'm trying to tell you....
Number ones: #59
DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS This Is What She’s Like (Mercury)
Week Ending 23rd November 1985
2 Weeks At #1
“I’m looking for the Celtic Soul Brothers. I can’t find them anywhere! Where have you hidden them?”
Okay, so I’m paraphrasing a little, and taking some artistic license, but it could apply to the return of Dexys Midnight Runners in August 1985. Three years on from the all-conquering Too Rye-Ay era, with its transatlantic chart-topping Come On Eileen and two other major UK hit singles, Kevin Rowland and his assorted comrades finally emerged with a follow-up.
Don’t Stand Me Down. The one where they’re all dressed like Wall Street Bankers. Or Ivy League undergraduates. Or, as one critic described them, double-glazing salesmen. (This refers to the original sleeve, by the way, rather than the alternatives which adorned various revisionist reissues in the years since).
Rowland, the master tactician, the restless spirit, the searcher for the young soul rebels, the artist never happy with standing still, had once again re-invented the band’s image and deconstructed their sound. Over the course of two painful years, of great expense, abandoned sessions and the breakdown of some relationships within the band, Don’t Stand Me Down was eventually completed and then released into the world without a lead single to trail the project, or to whet the appetite.
The world was, unfortunately, rather nonplussed by what it saw and even more indifferent to what it heard. If the hope was to draw upon the cachet of Too Rye-Ay‘s success and the profile Dexys had been enjoying in 1982/83, and to create an event by launching the album on its own, with no promotional assistance from anything as mundane as, you know, a round black piece of vinyl playing at 45rpm, then the plan backfired quite spectacularly.
The pop scene had moved on. It was 1985, post-Live Aid, and everyone, however feted and however “alternative”, was playing the game. You needed singles, and singles taken from albums. The Smiths, New Order, The Cure. Even a band like The Style Council had largely given up issuing standalone 45s, and were about to lift a third single from their current album Our Favourite Shop. Only the brave, or foolhardy, would try to do things any other way.
Upon Don’t Stand Me Down‘s release, retailer WH Smiths had placed it at #2 on their in-store chart, which was usually a reliable barometer of what to expect on the real chart the following week. A little optimistic, maybe?
Just a little. The album would debut at #22, causing red faces at WH Smiths and white ones at Mercury Records, no doubt. Rowland’s decision was now seen as an act of hubris, and the vultures circled. A surprisingly hostile interrogation on its failure by Radio 1 and Whistle Test’s Richard Skinner (who had been full of praise for the record on its release) cemented Don’t Stand Me Down‘s reputation as a dud.
All of which was a bit unfair. Curiosity piqued by this album without a single, with such an odd sleeve, with this growing notoriety, I ordered it from a local library on vinyl. It wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Though I’d enjoyed most of the Too Rye-Ay hits, you couldn’t call me a real Dexys fan by any stretch of the imagination so I had no real baggage to contend with, no expectations to live up to.
It was actually quite good, in its rambling, bloody-minded way. Some of it, when the best songs got a chance to breathe and stretch their legs, were better than quite good. Sections of tracks like Listen To This and Knowledge Of Beauty, or the finale of This Is What She’s Like where the head of steam created by the string section is something to behold.
Perhaps out of desperation, perhaps just to see if they could salvage anything from the project, Mercury (or Rowland, or both) did relent in their “no singles” approach and, in early November, an edited version of This Is What She’s Like was thrust upon the market.
Chopping around 9 minutes from the original album version, the A-side loses the interminable pre-song dialogue between Kev and his faithful sidekick Billy Adams, but the best thing about the song, its second half, gets omitted (it does at least form the B-side). Which was unfortunate but if they weren’t going to choose the more obvious Listen To This, a necessary evil.
In a further throw of the marketing dice, the 7″ single was available in a swish gatefold double-pack edition (which yours truly eagerly purchased!), adding a bonus disc that included an unironic cover of Status Quo’s Marguerita Time. The result was a UK chart peak of #78.
There would be no further singles from Don’t Stand Me Down.
Number ones: #60
WHAM! I’m Your Man (Epic)
Week Ending 7th December 1985
2 Weeks At #1
Of all the Wham! singles, the sole non-album offering from 1985 – I’m Your Man – is for me the finest exponent of George Michael’s unstoppable, uncanny knack for effortless, joyous pop music during the mid-80s.
Nobody knew it then, obviously, but it wasn’t to last. I’m Your Man was greeted with the same enthusiasm as everything they’d released since 1984; a UK chart debut at #2 and top of the pile a week later. Business very much as normal. Yet understandably, George wasn’t fulfilled by churning out this effervescent kind of modern Motown, even if he happened to be brilliant at it.
As pop songs go, there’s not a lot to it, and therefore not a great deal to be written about it; I’m Your Man is however a track which quite strongly evokes a particular time in my own life. Lots of evenings and weekends spent driving around West London with my family, browsing the big record stores in and around Oxford Street and Marble Arch, listening to Capital Radio a lot more in the evenings after School, feeling as though everything was on the cusp of an exciting new phase.
Growing up, basically, I suppose. Getting a sense of what I liked, and where I wanted to be. What I wanted to do. If I’m honest, I’d not coped too well with the process of moving from an idyllic childhood into the next period of my life, but by December 1985, the weeks when I’m Your Man was on top of both the UK charts and my own Top 40, things began to feel different.
Unfortunately for both myself and Wham!, it turned out that we’d essentially peaked at the same time.
"I'm your man" was the inspiration for The Smiths "Panic" - especially the line "Hang the DJ"....recently Johnny Marr said that George Michael was such a lovely person....I'd like to think he was a closet Wham! fan at the time (1985) but couldn't come out to Morrissey about it!
This write-up, and a couple of others coming up, are a little melancholic, but the music is so good I don't think anyone will mind.
Am I imagining/misremembering, or did Johnny Marr play on Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1?
Just checked Wiki - he doesn't appear on the album credits...he did do a charity concert with GM where he played on the song "Faith"!
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