One January Evening....every #1 from EG's personal Top 40 (1984-2010) | Page 18 | 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. Now, let's sea what we have next....looks like something out of this world!

    Number ones: #75

    • The B-52’s Rock Lobster / Planet Claire (Island)
    • Week Ending 14th June 1986
    • 1 Week At #1

    Those single-week chart toppers keep on coming, in all shapes and sizes.

    The 75th record to reach the summit of my personal Top 40 was a re-release of two old tracks from a cult US band who had enjoyed precious little mainstream success in the UK. Seemingly apropos of nothing in particular, Island Records decided to pair up the 1979 #35 chart smash Rock Lobster with the spooky retro Sci-Fi goof of Planet Claire (also from their seminal debut LP), and unleash it onto the market in May 1986.

    And so my love affair with The B-52’s began, although it would be more than three years before they appeared in the upper regions of my chart again with the Cosmic Thing album and attendant singles. The band had never really vanished from the scene, the double whammy of their eponymous debut and Wild Planet being followed by the David Byrne-produced mini-LP Mesopotamia in 1981 and then Whammy! in 1983 (home to the fabulous hit-that-should-have-been Song For A Future Generation, not that I even knew of it at the time, mind you).

    As previously alluded to in the write-ups for other early 1986 #1s, there was a theme emerging where a certain kind of retro culture began to appeal to me, be it books, television, films or music. (Actually, you can add an appreciation of the Sixties’ styles, looks and fashions for women; Emma Peel in The Avengers , Cinnamon Carter in Mission:Impossible, Jill St. John’s Molly in Batman: The TV Series).

    Which neatly brings us, in a way, to The B-52’s and their party mix of loony tunes, crazy hair and wacky lyrics. If Duane Eddy had ever teamed up with the Scooby Doo gang for the TV soundtrack of Star Trek, they would probably have made records like this.

    Rock Lobster revolves around a killer guitar riff and Fred Schneider’s typically surreal monologue, embellished with Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson’s trademark trilling. Towards the end, it does descend into silliness and overstays its welcome just a touch, but Rock Lobster remains a classic. More enduring, tucked away on the flipside (though given equal billing on the sleeve) was Planet Claire, coming on all ’50s Science Fiction with its bleeps and quivering mellotrons before delivering the deathly punchline of why the planet has no air. I’d end up playing the latter more regularly and it’s still one of my all-time favourite B-52’s moments.

    Strangely, there was no compilation released to capitalise on the #12 peak achieved by the single in Britain (the first B-52’s retrospective didn’t even arrive in Britain until 1990). My interest in back-catalogues was non-existent back then, too, so I never even thought about buying the original 1979 self-titled album, which would have been the case had it occurred a few years later.
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  2. ...and it was the first B-52's (re-)release since the untimely death of Ricky Wilson (RIP) from complications of AIDS...
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  3. Yes, I think that's possibly why the label reissued Rock Lobster, the Bouncing Off Satellites LP was ready to go but Ricky's death put their plans on hold until 1987.
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  4. The B-52's is a fantastic record which, although it's extremely over the top and silly, I've only come to appreciate more and more with age.
  5. Yeah, I probably prefer Wild Planet but there's really not much between them. A few years ago I found this neat 2CD set that paired the two albums:


    It was only £3 (insane), and they had a Tom Waits one that I got at the same time. My actual B-52s journey was

    Rock Lobster / Planet Claire 7"
    Cosmic Thing CD
    Dance This Mess Around CD
    Good Stuff CD
    Time Capsule CD
    Bouncing Off Satellites CD

    ..and then back to the earlier catalogue stuff and cheap compilations that filled the gaps. I did have the US pressing of Wild Planet at one stage (on Warners) but once I got the above two-fer, there didn't seem much point in keeping it.
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  6. My fave B-52's album is "Cosmic Thing" - it brings back good memories of Summer 1990! Along with Talking Heads "Remain in Light" - it was on my car cassette player the day we went to see David Bowie at Milton Keynes Bowl on his Greatest Hits Sound and Vision tour!
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  7. I really got into Cosmic Thing at the end of 1989, start of 1990. It topped my album charts for about a month or so. Strange, really, because it's surely more of a summer album!
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  8. I got into "Love shack" in late 1989 when it was climbing up the US Chart. I was really hoping it was going to be a hit in the UK! We had to wait until March 1990 - then I got "Cosmic Thing" on Cassette as "Roam" was in the US Chart!
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  9. I'd follow the US charts too, and I guess that's what must have triggered my interest in the album; I'd bought it on the week of release in July 1989 but not really taken to it, there were a lot of albums jostling for my attention and it kind of got lost. But when I went back to it again, I was hooked.
    Hairycub1969 likes this.
  10. It's such a good album - the first four tracks are amazing:
    Cosmic Thing
    Dry County
    Deadbeat Club
    Love Shack
    and "Follow your bliss" was always playing in the background at Alf's Cafe in "Home and Away" - throughout 1990, 1991 and into 1992 - or so it seemed!
    Eric Generic likes this.
  11. I loved the opening songs, and the last 3 were probably my favourites of all...the sequence of Channel Z, Topaz and Follow Your Bliss was such a brilliant closing run.
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  12. Our next #1 stood head and shoulders above the competition....

    Number ones: #76

    • PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION Mountains (Paisley Park)
    • Week Ending 21st June 1986
    • 2 Weeks At #1

    Between 1984 and 1993, effectively the period of Prince’s commercial pomp (from When Doves Cry‘s breakthrough to the release of HITS 1 and HITS 2), only four of his singles failed to make the UK Top 40. Two can be explained away as either victims of kamikaze timing (I Would Die 4 U at Christmas 1984) or public apathy at the end of a rather underwhelming campaign (Pop Life, from Around The World In A Day), while The Morning Papers was just a bizarre choice anyway from the Symbol project, and being its umpteenth single compounded the decision.

    What about Mountains, though? How on Earth did one of Prince’s best-ever records actually flop at #45?

    The comedown from Purple Rain, and the British public’s reluctance to adjust to Around The World In A Day‘s psychedelic pop so soon after it, appeared to be over when Kiss burst onto the scene at the beginning of 1986. Lean and funky, playful and witty, it was easily Prince & The Revolution’s biggest UK hit since When Doves Cry. It was also the first (new) Prince & The Revolution single I’d bought since When Doves Cry, although it fell just short of the #1 spot on my chart, peaking at #2.

    I was most definitely on board for the new album which followed, ostensibly the soundtrack to another Prince film Under The Cherry Moon, but entitled Parade. Of course, Under The Cherry Moon turned out to be a dud (a beautifully filmed, black-and-white dud) but Parade cemented my passion for all things Paisley Park and Prince & The Revolution related. ‘Twas a mixed bag, for sure; wilfully experimental and stylistically all over the boudoir, including a seven-song segue lasting the whole of Side One.

    Some of it was like nothing I’d encountered before, but it was seductive and fascinating. Warners must have wondered where the hell the hits were going to come from, aside from Kiss and the track which kicked off the second side of the album. Mountains.

    In contrast to the minimalism of Kiss, it was an epic mix of rolling rhythms, huge synths, expansive percussion and a backing choir on the chorus. Mountains was, if you’ll excuse the pun, the very apex of the whole era of The Revolution, and their influence on the music Prince made, and the part they had in the way it sounded. (That would become clear in 1987 when Wendy & Lisa made their own album, with tracks such as Honeymoon Express, Waterfall, Chance To Grow and The Life).

    It was fortunate that Mountains was at the start of Side Two, because I could not stop playing the track from the day I’d bought Parade on cassette in March. There was no other track, from any other album, that I can remember hammering as much as Mountains during virtually the whole of 1986.

    By the time it was granted a UK release as Parade‘s second UK single, I was still obsessed enough with the track for it to debut at #3 before inevitably topping my chart, although the fortnight it spent at #1 hardly reflects just how much I was infatuated with it. Ironically, I didn’t buy the single until two decades later, and missed out on the fantastic 9-minute extended mix on the 12″ which might have prolonged its stay at the summit.

    That #45 UK peak, though. U have got 2 be kidding me.
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  13. "Mountains" is Prince and the Revolution at their best - all will be corrected when it sails into my Retrochart top 10 in June 2022...
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  14. Can a mountain sail?
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  15. I've been trying to find an opportunity to do some new write-ups, but couldn't find any.....there was no end to the lengths I'd go to...

    Number ones: #77

    • a-ha Hunting High And Low [Remix] (Warner Bros.)
    • Week Ending 5th July 1986
    • 1 Week At #1

    My new favourite band continued their hot streak with a third #1 in four outings, this time with a sympathetically enhanced mix of Hunting High And Low‘s title song.

    So utterly obsessed with The Sun Always Shines On T.V. and other immediate standouts such as The Blue Sky and Train Of Thought (which, ironically, broke the sequence of chart toppers by only reaching #2 in March), at first I barely noticed the plaintive ballad at the centre of Side One. Perhaps because it lacked much in the way of synthesizers, and probably because – as we’ve established – I was never much of a ballad man.

    Looking at it objectively, the timing of its release in May/June shouldn’t have made much sense either, its Nordic beauty and epic crescendos more suited to colder climes and darker days, yet none of this ultimately mattered one jot. A pleasing remix, adding some extra orchestral drama and some tinkling keyboards, was enough to win me over and see what had originally seemed an underwhelming album track in December 1985 become the single which dethroned Mountains, my favourite piece of music in all of 1986’s first six months.

    Four singles out, and a-ha were now part of the established pop landscape, along with Pet Shop Boys and Five Star they were seen as the emerging forces in the UK Top 40. Next up, would be that difficult second album, of course….
  16. ...but imho the second album is much superior with THOSE excellent THREE singles!

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  17. @Hairycub1969 you are such a scoundrel....

    We won't be hearing about a-ha again until early 1987 on my charts, but I will recap the singles released inbetween the chart-toppers.
    Hairycub1969 likes this.
  18. Agreed. ‘‘Tis epic!
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  19. Each time I write a new post, I try and add one here. So I better practice what I preach....

    Number ones: #78
    • MADONNA Papa Don’t Preach (Sire)
    • Week Ending 12th July 1986
    • 2 Weeks At #1

    At the end of 1984, not many people were taking Madonna seriously as a long-term pop star; Cyndi Lauper took the plaudits early on with the first handful of singles from her She’s So Unusual album, and chartwise the two women were at a fairly even level.

    Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time, She Bop and All Through The Night vs. Holiday, Lucky Star and Borderline.

    It was a tighter call in the US compared to Britain, but then the picture altered. Madonna pulled away with Like A Virgin, the single and album. 1985 belonged to her. Cyndi Lauper’s 1985 consisted of Money Changes Everything (the fifth and final 45 from She’s So Unusual) peaking at #27 Stateside and contributing the theme song to the Goonies film.

    Madonna became relentless, both in chart domination and workrate. The run of Like A Virgin singles lasted the whole of 1985, interspersed with the soundtrack hits Into The Groove, Crazy For You and Gambler. Come 1986, and Sire didn’t let up, re-issuing Borderline (a #56 UK flop first time round) and watching it nearly make #1.

    Yet, in general, although many people were now accepting Madonna’s status as a long-term pop superstar (given the evidence, it was hard not to), not everybody seemed convinced of her artistic credentials. Okay, so Madonna was massively successful and popular and the hits were racking up at a speed not seen since The Beatles, they argued, but how much substance was there to her, and the music she was making?

    The first two singles from what would be Madonna’s third album, True Blue, pretty much silenced the doubters. Live To Tell arrived in the late spring of 1986, a ponderous and moody track with another movie connection (At Close Range, starring then-husband Sean Penn). It was a ballad, so faced an uphill battle for recognition on my own charts (Crazy For You had only made #25 for me, remember), but it had an atmosphere and palpably “grown up” vibe which felt like new territory for Madonna. This was an awful long way from the cover of Love Don’t Live Here Anymore on Like A Virgin.

    Live To Tell only got to #14 on my Top 40 (one of the more regrettable victims of my nascent tastes and lack of ballad appreciation!), but its follow-up would finally consolidate the growing admiration for Madonna’s music that I was developing during the second half of 1985. Angel was outright bliss, if a little lightweight, and Dress You Up was glamorous fun even if I thought she looked a right state in the video.

    Papa Don’t Preach was pop gold, however. A new look, and a new sprightlier sound. It has a real bounce to it, not weighed down by the groove as much as earlier efforts and not as shrill melodically or vocally either. In a neat mirroring of the song’s subject matter, Papa Don’t Preach served as an artistic coming-of-age moment for Madonna herself. Even those not naturally disposed to her charms had to concede that it was a brilliant pop record.

    Despite serious competition (Prince, a-ha, Wham!) the single managed to go all the way to the top of my charts, and although I bought the 7″ single (B-side Ain’t No Big Deal was a nice bonus) it didn’t spur me into wanting True Blue when it was released soon after.

    That would only happen once I’d heard Open Your Heart, which would prove to be the closest Madonna got to #1 on my Top 40 for the next two years, when it peaked at #2 in December 1986.
  20. Why do I think that Stan Ridgway is coming up next?
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