Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Eric Generic, Dec 8, 2018.
And you love a 69 (Year old)
so true....my partner is 69 ....he will turn 70 later on this year ...a month after I turn 50! He looks about 10 years younger than his age though!
Is it ironic to reveal that I actually found the CD-Maxi of AQoL for 25p in an Age UK charity shop a couple of years ago?
It's like raaiin..
AQoL was my 11 in the Depeche Mode singles rate and I stand by it. What. A. Song.
Into the 70s, and we have a Shocker...
Number ones: #70
NEW ORDER Shellshock (Factory)
Week Ending 10th May 1986
1 Week At #1
Their profile in Britain may not have been at its highest, following the failure of both 1985 singles (The Perfect Kiss and Sub-Culture) to even make the Top 40, but in America things were beginning to fall into place for New Order by 1986.
The club scene in New York, which the band immersed themselves in from the summer of 1983 onwards, had influenced their sound to the extent that Sub-Culture bore a very strong similarity to Let The Music Play by Shannon. UK fans were not quite ready for these dour Mancunians to be making music like this; Blue Monday had proved massively successful but it still had that indie feel to it, with the almost disembodied, funereal vocals. The sound of singer Bernard Sumner yelping about while being drowned in a cacophony of breakbeats and stabs of sampled strings…..the prospect of New Order making….shock, horror….bloody disco records? Well.
New Order were, as ever, ahead of the game. That said, their earliest attempts to really find their own style are flawed, a wide-eyed enthusiasm (possibly drug-enhanced) to capture the rush of this music they had embraced as patrons of the New York establishments not yet materialising as tracks to stand comparison with their previous work.
Shellshock, then, is a mess. A clattering, jittery, stop-start kind of mess. There are brilliant bits, which you’d expect from New Order, but the stuttering edits and toy-box of sound effects are overplayed. The 7″ mix, unusually, is the superior version; the 12″ mix is just a racket. For once I was glad my penny-pinching streak didn’t allow me to buy the 12″ single, as I would normally do with a New Order release.
In the UK it peaked at #28, not great although better than any of the singles since 1984, but the real story was happening across the Atlantic. New Order were treated as part of a growing “alternative pop” movement from Britain, bands already established over here but only starting to gain traction in the States. The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, O.M.D. and Echo & The Bunnymen were notable members of this “College Rock” brigade, gaining support from local radio in areas with student populations.
Come the start of 1986, none of them had made great strides in cracking the Billboard Hot 100, but a key development was the adoption of these bands’ music in the films of John Hughes, especially Pretty In Pink. The film would not go on general release in the UK until the summer, likewise the actual soundtrack album, but two specially-recorded new tracks were issued as singles in April 1986 to tie in with Pretty In Pink‘s US release. Shellshock was one, If You Leave by O.M.D. the other.
If You Leave would go on to reach #4 on the Billboard chart, but Shellshock‘s presence on the soundtrack – and its use in the film itself – would help the band establish themselves with mainstream America. Along with two of their next three singles…..more of which in due course.
“A clattering, jittery, stop-start kind of mess.”
Exactly. Terrific isn’t it!
I got the 7" single in a Virgin Megastore somewhere on the South Coast at Easter 1986, but weirdly I can't remember where it was. I usually have a good recollection of my 80s purchases, especially when it wasn't my usual places. I must have been really out of it, Mum and Dad probably thought taking me to a big new record shop would cheer me up!
The other thing about Shellshock is NO also premiered their other 1986 non-album single State Of The Nation at the same time via a performance on The Tube (I think), and I much preferred that and would play a muddy recording I'd made of it from the TV!
When they actually released State Of The Nation some 6 months later, I wasn't so wowed by the mix and it peaked at #7 on my chart.
Here it comes, that funny feeling again....
Number ones: #71
VAN HALEN Why Can’t This Be Love? (Warner Bros.)
Week Ending 17th May 1986
1 Week At #1
Just when my chart was getting a bit too Record Mirror-esque, we’re back to some beefy US rock. Albeit with some synthesizers prominently featured.
When lead singer David Lee Roth quit the band in 1985, on the back of the band’s most successful album 1984 and mega hit single Jump, few could have guessed Van Halen would not only regroup but come back with another massive-selling record. But regroup they did, with ex-Montrose vocalist and solo artist in his own right, Sammy Hagar.
More of a team man than the extravagant showman Roth, who tended to overshadow everything else, Hagar’s presence put the music to the forefront and added some heft to the material. In the case of their first single Why Can’t This Be Love?, the material was very much top-drawer stuff.
A pulsing keyboard throb explodes into a burbling synth riff not a million miles from Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer (released around six months later), and Why Can’t This Be Love? was another superb example of US Rock’s commercial face in the mid 1980s. It shares the same vibrant, accomplished vibe as Mr. Mister’s Kyrie, which was of course a #1 on my charts just a few weeks before.
It was a style which definitely appealed to me at that time. One common theme with most of my personal #1s during this period is a sonic oomph; it can be heard in everything from Kyrie to The Honeythief, to Stripped and even The Art Of Noise’s Peter Gunn Theme.
Often when a slice of American Rock took my fancy to such a degree, I’d be tempted to buy the parent album rather than just the single (see: Foreigner, Mr. Mister, Tom Petty). So it proved with Van Halen’s 5150 opus, a bit of a punt in the dark when – Jump aside – I’d not been especially interested in the band’s output, but one that proved worthwhile.
On the few brighter days (literally and metaphorically) that occurred during the late Spring and early summer of 1986, my cassette of 5150 would usually be the soundtrack.
Any problems with the next post displaying? I Can See It...
Number ones: #72
BLANCMANGE I Can See It (London)
Week Ending 24th May 1986
1 Week At #1
Last seen atop my charts in the summer of 1984, with their cover of ABBA’s The Day Before You Came, pop had not shown much kindness to Blancmange thereafter.
The offbeat charm which saw them rack up a large handful of UK Top 40 hits between late-1982 and mid-1984 (Living On The Ceiling, Waves, Blind Vision, That’s Love That It Is, Don’t Tell Me) was suddenly out of favour in the post-Live Aid climate.
There was no room anymore for quirky, homegrown pop with surrealist tendencies. Pop was going big, brash and American. Some adapted, only a few really thrived. There was little left of the DIY-indie ethos that followed punk, and alternative pop’s brightest stars had long since been subsumed into the mainstream (Aztec Camera, The The, Scritti Politti, Orange Juice). The Smiths were the lone standard bearers for defiantly parochial British pop, at least as far as the charts were concerned.
It was a shame, because Blancmange were still making excellent records; their third album Believe You Me, released in October 1985, was every bit the equal of Happy Families and Mange Tout, but proved a surprise flop. The alarm bells which may have started to go off when lead single What’s Your Problem? only reached #40 were deafening by the time Believe You Me charted at a barely credible #54.
One of its most straightforwardly commercial tracks, Lose Your Love, deserved better than to miss the Top 75 completely, a situation aggravated by the video getting banned for being too violent (it encouraged wanton destruction of household items, or something). Lose Your Love bombed in November 1985, and that was that.
Or was it?
Several months later, long after Believe You Me had disappeared into the Bargain Bins, a “new” Blancmange single appeared in the racks. No fanfare, no great publicity. I Can See It. What might this be?
Turns out, a heavily remixed/re-recorded version of the Believe You Me ballad Why Don’t They Leave Things Alone. Quite what prompted such a move isn’t clear, but it’s an interesting experiment in taking a low-key, doleful album track with dominant guitars and a more acoustic feel, and creating a bells-and-whistles upbeat pop single with beefy synths and all manner of studio trickery.
It was rather good. But it still tanked.
Then came the bombshell. Neil and Stephen were packing it in, and I Can See It was the final, slightly odd, hurrah to an all-too-brief career. Disillusioned, cast aside by the record-buying public, and no doubt unpopular with their label London after the failure of Believe You Me and its singles, Blancmange were no more.
(Many years later, we would get a sort-of postscript, with Blanc Burn in 2011 and then an indecent avalanche of further releases under the Blancmange banner that are really just Neil Arthur on his own or in collaboration with musicians other than Stephen Luscombe whose poor health very sadly precludes any further involvement. Some may not mind, but for me they are not true Blancmange projects…and we’ll leave it at that).
Another write-up? Ask and ye shall receive.....
Number ones: #73
HIPSWAY Ask The Lord (Mercury)
Week Ending 31st May 1986
1 Week At #1
The rapid changeover at the top of my personal charts continued, with Hipsway’s second #1 coming just weeks after The Honeythief had ruled for a fortnight. In the meantime, no fewer than four records had each spent 7 days at the summit; that sequence would be extended with Ask The Lord.
This is another 1986 #1 which packs a punch, in this case not just with the music but the hard-hitting lyrics. Remarkably, this is the same band who gave us the sultry innuendo of The Honeythief; Ask The Lord adheres to a “it’s grim up North” template, of poverty and hardship, of devout religious belief and the spectre of drug addiction.
When singer Skin rages against the injustice of it all, repeating his mantra of “black money pays for suffering, I don’t need it…I don’t need it”, you believe him. There’s a power to the track beyond the mere music itself, although the soaring middle-eight nevertheless takes the breath away. There’s a similarity to another fine band from the North, The Kane Gang (Northern England in their case) and their early 1985 single Gun Law; not least the use of Biblical/Wild West samples and imagery to add some extra atmosphere.
The mix of Ask The Lord which was charting in 1986 was technically a remix rather than a straight re-issue, entitled “A New Version”. However, I’d bought the Hipsway album on release in April and was still hammering that tape when Ask The Lord was put out again. Hence its rapid ascent to #1, blasting its way past Blancmange and cementing the band as my favourite act of the moment, even though I hardly knew what this “New Version” sounded like (thanks to the 2CD Deluxe Edition of Hipsway from a couple of years ago, the answer is…pretty similar, just a bit smoother and chart-friendly…even if it still failed to crack the Top 40!).
The best mix of Ask The Lord, in my humble opinion, remains the original extended version (and the one which was included on the cassette and first CD pressing of Hipsway as one of the bonus tracks).
Unfortunately, the lack of chart success for the band beyond The Honeythief would eventually lead to the departure of Johnny McElhone (formerly of Altered Images) to form Texas with Sharleen Spiteri, and Hipsway’s demise followed in 1989 after a unloved second album without McElhone.
Their final chart entry on my own Top 40 would be Long White Car (#13 in August 1986), a pleasant but somewhat meandering ballad from the self-titled album, which was its final UK single.
Beep beep.....it's a Wylie coyote....
Number ones: #74
PETE WYLIE Sinful! (Eternal)
Week Ending 7th June 1986
1 Week At #1
If ever a single deserved to be a #1, it was this. In my world at least, Sinful! got its rightful status, although the #13 it reached on the UK charts would prove a career high for Pete Wylie under his own name.
Well, I say under his own name but ever the cheeky maverick, Wylie couldn’t resist crediting the single to Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks; he may have ditched the whole Wah! moniker (for a brief spell, anyway) but the exclamation mark lived on in the track’s title.
I’d always had time for Pete Wylie; the big Wah! hit single The Story Of The Blues (Part 1) was out at the start of 1983, a time when the first flickers of serious interest in pop music were lighting up in my brain, and tracks like Steppin’ Out, Living On The Ceiling and Electric Avenue were seducing me into actually staying in the room when Top Of The Pops was on.
The Story Of The Blues (Part 1) was pretty epic, and very Scouse. All of Pete Wylie’s music is pretty epic, and very Scouse. It has that cavernous (if you’ll pardon the pun), Wall-of-Sound thing going on, lots of strings, big choruses, lyrics belted out with passion and (self) belief. All traits which really ought to have made the man a star.
Come Back was, typically, the title of his/their comeback single in 1984, after a bit of a wobble with the follow-up to The Story Of The Blues (Part 1). It was pretty epic, and very Scouse. Quite how it managed to only reach #20 remains a scandalous oversight; yes everyone was obsessed with Frankie Goes To Hollywood in June 1984 (none moreso than I) but, really, Come Back was the very definition of an anthemic slice of classic pop. Maybe if it had actually been the follow-up to The Story Of The Blues in 1983, eh. Ah well.
So, a couple of years pass, and it’s all been very low-key on the Pete Wylie front (if anything to do with Pete Wylie could ever be low-key). Enter Sinful!, not Wah! by name but every bit Wah! by nature. Wherever he had been, the results on his return were arguably better than ever. Sinful! scales the same anthemic heights as his/their previous hits, but the sound of the record….wow.
Yes, it’s another 1986 #1 on my chart that is big, bold and has oomph. Where arguably in the past, some of the Wah! songs could be a little heavy-going, Sinful! is sonically bright and breezy, carried along by the bubbling bass and keyboards. There are choirs, there are self-depricating lines (“it’s Sinful, so true…boo-hoo”), there’s a bonkers guitar solo, and there is the overriding sense that Pete Wylie is utterly on top of his game.
Surprisingly, this imperial phase – which continued through to the end of 1987 with the beauteous ballad Fourelevenfortyfour (despite the title, not a Prince-ly dalliance with funk) – did not proffer up any further UK chart action. Diamond Girl (August 1986) and If I Love You (July 1987) got nowhere, despite sharing much of Sinful!‘s appeal. An album, also entitled Sinful!, trickled out in late August 1987, when the collective memory of its brilliant title track had long since faded.
Fourelevenfortyfour was its final single, and ought to have put Pete Wylie back in the UK Top 40. It didn’t. The public are swines, I know.
He resurrected Wah! as Wah! The Mongrel in 1991 for Don’t Lose Your Dreams, another bout of pop that was pretty epic, and very Scouse. Once again it flopped. The one release that did chart was, regrettably, a new version of Sinful! recorded with then-ubiquitous indie brickies The Farm. “Scary Jiggin’ With Doctor Love”.
Embarrassing doesn’t even begin to describe it. It really was a sinful thing to do.
It was tragic...it's tragic.
I don't know what the hell he was thinking. Do we blame it on drugs?
"It's sinful" means we're into NOW 7 territory - can Wham! get their last ever Number One? or will they be smashed by a "Sledgehammer"?
There are a lot of opportunities, if you know when to take them...
Especially from NOW 7!
The Lady In Red is on NOW 7 isn't it?
"Too good to be forgotten" NOT was also on Now 7!
Separate names with a comma.