One January Evening....every #1 from EG's personal Top 40 (1984-2010) | Page 6 | 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. Next up, someone we're definitely getting to know all too well....

    Number ones: #19

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    • HOWARD JONES Like To Get To Know You Well (WEA)
    • Week Ending 18th August 1984
    • 1 week at #1

    The height of summer 1984. Human’s Lib had been around for less than 6 months, but already four hits had been lifted from it, three of them before the album even came out. How to keep the momentum going?

    Answer: release a new song.

    The new song was actually a bit like New Song, with its breezy upbeat charm and somewhat simplistic message. Critics of a certain age, old enough to remember the late 1970s, commented on its similarity to Dreadlock Holiday by 10cc (much as they reckoned New Song owed more than a little to Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill). Those of us who just lapped up everything Howard Jones served up at the time really didn’t notice, or if we did we didn’t care. I don’t like HoJo’s music, I love it!

    Like To Get To Know You Well’s reggae-lite arrangement and perky production could be excused as perfect for the summer; the video – where HoJo bounced around London shaking hands with everyone in sight – suited the everybody-love-each-other vibe of the lyrics. The sleeve was a masterpiece of eye-catching design; the song title spelt out in a variety of languages from all corners of the globe. Okay, so it wasn’t quite up to the standards of Human’s Lib, but it shared some DNA with several of the tracks from that album. There was also enough goodwill from the public at large to send the single very quickly into the UK Top 5, thus continuing his impressive run of chart success.

    At the time I wasn’t to know, but this single flagged up the direction Howard was to take with his music on the next few albums, away from the darker, moodier tendencies of Human’s Lib’s finest moments.
     
  2. Lidegetoknowyouwell.....
     
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  3. Time for some moody "holiday romance" music....

    Number ones: #20

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    • GEORGE MICHAEL Careless Whisper (Epic)
    • Week Ending 25th August 1984
    • 1 Week at #1

    And lo, it came to pass, that in the eighth month of our year Nineteen-Eighty-Four AD, George Michael invented the “solo career”.

    Looking at the sleeve now, every hallmark of the archetypal George Michael release was already in place; the moody black-and-white portrait, the stylish calligraphy, the colour palette (gold and navy blue would also become available). Everything is just so. Call it manufactured, or over stylised if you wish, but maybe it’s also a case of artist and record label simply knowing exactly what’s required and what will best serve their commercial ambitions. If the music itself is a pile of stinky old horse manure, then all the glossy artwork in the world won’t help.

    Careless Whisper seemed to arrive into the world as a fully-formed classic; it’s almost hard to remember a time when it was a brand new entry on the charts, or when it was first announced that one half of premier shuttlecock users Wham! had made a single on his own. Well, obviously these days we know all Wham! records were made by George Michael on his own, but Epic Records were obviously keen to begin the gentle easing apart of our perma-tanned duo (this theory is unfortunately complicated by Andrew Ridgeley having a signifcant part in the genesis of Careless Whisper, and plans for it to be released shortly after the Fantastic! album in 1983 by their old label Innervision, but nevermind the little details eh?). In the U.S., it was more accurately marketed as Wham! featuring George Michael, although more as a reflection of their less-established profile at the time (Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go had only just given them their American breakthrough).

    The version eventually released was a second attempt at recording it, after George decided he wasn’t happy with the original produced by Jerry Wexler. Whether by chance or design, its saxophone heavy, soulful vibe fitted perfectly between the likes of Sade’s Diamond Life album and Spandau Ballet’s recently-issued Parade opus (they must have been kicking themselves they didn’t get I’ll Fly For You out earlier as it found itself completely eclipsed in the sophistipop-soul stakes). A swish-looking video that predated the Miami Vice aesthetic by almost a year, provided plenty of glamorous young ladies flouncing off to the airport while George practised his bell-ringing technique (no, that isn’t a euphemism; bear in mind it was 1984 and he was purely heterosexual of course).

    August, specifically the end of August and start of September, when the single was at its peak (both on the UK Top 40 and on my own) marked the last knockings of the summer holidays, so no doubt Careless Whisper would soundtrack or evoke many a bittersweet holiday romance, adding poignancy (and a few hundred thousand extra sales) to its appeal. Or at least that’s what I am told.

    Quite what such a grown-up ballad was doing at the top of my personal chart, I’m not totally sure, but clearly I had recognised something in George Michael’s music that appealed to me even if I remained committed to Howard Jones, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Thompson Twins and Blancmange for the meantime.
     
  4. I saw Wham! on the Club Fantastic tour in 83 where George premiered this mid set in a nice sweater. This was one of the most 'no brainer going to number one' singles ever. The only thing to delay it was it was by George rather than Wham! which must have flummoxed a few people .I think it charted initially around #12 but up to No.1 pretty quickly.
     
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  5. Yes, 12-2-1 I think.
     
  6. I'd probably post these up more frequently, but so far I've only completed 49 of them, so I need to keep some distance between what I have "in the can" and the pressure of writing fresh ones!
     
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  7. "Like to get to know you well" is HoJo at the top of his game for me - his next single is without doubt my absolute favourite of his...probably because I've lived the lyrics!

    @Eric Generic - don't forget the Retrochart - you've still got to complete Dec 1982 postings and now we're onto Jan 1983 - will Culture Club topple The Human League or can Renee and Renato sneak in at Number One!?!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    Eric Generic likes this.
  8. I'm up to 18/12/82 so not far to catch up now.
     
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  9. ‘Like to get to know you well’ is a HoJo classic, the multi language remix I’m discovering on the box set, not so much!

    As for ‘Careless Whisper’. So many school discos, fuelled by Discos crisps, vibrant orange sugar filled beverages and unrequited teenage admiration... it all comes flooding back!!
     
  10. Ha, it's a bit clunky...and was also my least favourite track on The 12" Album then, and now. The B-side of the single, Bounce Right Back, is probably better than the A-side for me.

    It did end up getting horribly overplayed. I never had any personal connection to the song, nothing happened to me that summer to evoke any such memories (unlike 1983!), so it stood and fell on merit. I did like that jazzy, sax-heavy thing that Sade was doing at the time.
     
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  11. What might be the next chart-topper from 1984? Only we can work it out...

    Number ones: #21

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    • TEARS FOR FEARS Mothers Talk (Mercury)
    • Week Ending 1st September 1984
    • 2 Weeks at #1

    The first new single from Tears For Fears in 9 months was one of the most important of their career, even if it was only a modest commercial success upon release. It provided the creative, sonic reboot they needed after the aimlessness of flop 45 The Way You Are, rejuvenated them as songwriters, and paved the way for Songs From The Big Chair to conquer the global pop world a year later.

    Mothers Talk was not about to die wondering. The proverbial kitchen sink of studio effects was chucked in its direction, while Chris Hughes’ balls-out production tells the listener in no uncertain terms that Tears For Fears had left their rather fey, introspective tendencies behind them. Beefed up to almost Frankie Goes To Hollywood levels of bombast, this comeback single made up for what it lacked in melody with a real sense of purpose.

    The tough sound was matched by clever, hard-hitting lyrics and commanding call-and-response vocals. Its theme (in keeping with much of 1984’s sensibilities) put a fresh twist upon the old saying “your face will stay like that if the wind changes” to create an ominous vision of an apocalyptic world; “you were paid not to listen, now your house is on fire”. Again, it’s all very Two Tribes, conjuring up the spectre of Patrick Allen’s instructions on leaving bodies outside the shelter, having remembered to tag them first for identification purposes.

    However, Mothers Talk was premiered – in some prototype form, at least – on the band’s 1983 tour, before Frankie Goes To Hollywood had come anywhere near the Top 40, so any theory concerning Two Tribes‘ influence would have been limited. It probably emboldened Curt and Roland to make the record sound more aggressive, as pop fashions moved away from cutesy New Wave synth-pop (eg. Duran Duran’s deconstruction of The Reflex, Eurythmics with Sexcrime) in the second half of 1984.
     
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  12. Meanwhile, she's waiting...

    Number ones: #22

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    • MALCOLM McLAREN Madam Butterfly (Charisma)
    • Week Ending 15th September 1984
    • 3 Weeks At #1

    Hip-Hopera, anyone?

    That old rascal Malcolm McLaren, the high priest of high concept, turned his gaze away from the ghetto and found his next inspiration in the libretto.

    Puccini’s famous Madama Butterfly (ranked the sixth greatest Opera of all-time, according to Wikipedia) told the story of a duplicitous US naval officer and his doomed relationship with a Japanese girl. McLaren’s version sticks to the plot, and doesn’t try to transpose it to some modern-day scenario (unlike his subsequent take on Carmen).

    The only contemporary thing about Madam Butterfly (aside from the half-spoken vocals for the verses) is the musical treatment; with the help of future Pet Shop Boys producer Stephen Hague, McLaren constructs a sweeping, hypnotic rhythm track which sustains the record for all of its 6 minutes and 30 seconds. There’s a seductively pretty melody, too, which is able to incorporate some of the classical soprano lines from Puccini’s original (freshly recorded in New York).

    It’s ironic that, as somebody who really does not like Opera, I should have loved Madam Butterfly so unequivocally. But…it just works.

    Unfortunately, the rest of this McLaren project – the Fans album – was half-baked and criminally brief. Just half a dozen tracks (one of which was a sequel to/reprise of Butterfly), and only a funky take on Carmen (featuring a young, feisty Angie Brown) made any lasting impression. There were grumblings about record label interference, and not having time to fully realise his vision for the album, but perhaps the idea only had a limited potential.

    In some ways, Madam Butterfly fulfilled all of that potential by itself.
     
  13. And right now I cannot even begin to remember how it sounds!

    Good choice of TFF song. I love both their early albums, but they are quite diverse beasts when you really listen to them.
     
  14. It was quite an arty record to make the Top 20 within a week of release, but I think he had momentum and goodwill after the Duck Rock album, so it probably smoothed the way for his take on Opera to make the charts. I'd never heard anything like it, a true one-off.
     
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  15. I really enjoyed "Madam Butterfly" at the time - the production work by Stephen Hague is what makes it for me!
     
    Eric Generic likes this.
  16. Not that I want it to be any shorter, but has there ever been an edit available? The 7" was, I think 6.30 just like the album mix and the 12" version (I felt a bit cheated when I bought the 12" vinyl, only to discover it was the same as the normal version).
     
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  17. It's a lot like life....and that's what's appealing...

    Number ones: #23

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    • DEPECHE MODE Master & Servant (Mute)
    • Week Ending 6th October 1984
    • 1 Week at #1

    Whips. Leather. Domination……and to think, they used to be such nice boys!

    Master & Servant was, like Mothers Talk not long before it, almost certainly influenced by the new, post-Frankie climate of pushing boundaries (both sonic and sexual). It says much for the place Depeche Mode occupied in the changing landscape of British chart pop by 1984 that they could get away with such a pervtastic record, without Auntie Beeb being even mildly perturbed. There they’d be, primetime on Top Of The Pops, singing about sexual deviancy, dressed in leather and rubber, to a backing track of simulated whip cracks and orgasmic moans….and nobody minded!

    Maybe it was because at this stage they just didn’t come across as remotely threatening, or subversive, to the general public…and because the songs were too perky, the melodies (just about) still there to latch onto. Master & Servant proved a watershed moment in the chart fortunes of the band. Oh yes, the Mode would get a lot, lot darker and more fascinating than this.

    In the days before my personal charts, the likes of Get The Balance Right! and Everything Counts had made quite an impression, as had the late 1983 slight-flop Love In Itself (one of the great unheralded gems in their catalogue). People Are People saw them build upon the industrial-pop influences from mainland Europe which infused their Construction Time Again LP, while remaining Radio 1 favourites.

    Considering the single was released in mid-August (on the same week as Madam Butterfly and a new Heaven 17 record Sunset Now), Master & Servant had to wait a while to reach the summit on my Top 40. Its final ascent coincided with the arrival of its parent album at the end of September.

    Some Great Reward, an album about “the world we live in, and life in general”, debuted at a career-best of #5. It instantly became my soundtrack of early Autumn, at a time when I wasn’t able to afford many albums and largely bought 12″ singles if they were £1.99. Again, it was Heaven 17 and their own brand new LP that week – How Men Are – which gave me a tough decision to make, but on the strength of its singles and a gut feeling, I went for Basildon’s finest. Unlike some of the decisions I made early on in my record-collecting years, it was definitely the right call.

    While Master & Servant may have got away with its innuendo and subject matter, the final single from Some Great Reward – Blasphemous Rumours – possibly chanced its arm rather too far. It didn’t make the UK Top 10, and wouldn’t top my own chart either (peaking at #2, just like Shake The Disease also would in early 1985).
     
  18. Time for a Countdown....but without Rachel Riley or Susie Dent I'm afraid...

    Number ones: #24

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    • ADAM ANT Apollo 9 (CBS)
    • Week Ending 13th October 1984
    • 3 Weeks At #1

    Whoopsin’-a-Whoopsin’……and there goes Adam Ant’s final hit single of the 1980s.

    For a classic example of what a fickle mistress Pop could be, look no further than Adam Ant. At the dawn of the decade, he and his trusty band of Ants remained on the fringes, still searching for that elusive breakthrough. A little over 12 months later, his star had risen to such an extent that Prince Charming debuted at #1 in Britain (still a very rare occurrence at the time). Fast-forward another dizzying year, and the Ants were no more. By 1983, the misfires were beginning to outnumber the bullseyes and the final single from that year’s Strip album didn’t even get past #41.

    Which brings us to Apollo 9. The former Dandy Highwayman had worked his way through a few more costumes at the back of the wardrobe; Prince Charming made way for Goody Two Shoes, Dick Whittington (yes,really) and then his homage to the Jilly Cooper-type corset busters with the randy farmhand of Strip. What on earth would be next?

    Outerspace, man, was the answer. Sadly, the nonsensical cacophony of Apollo 9 was no Space Oddity or Ashes To Ashes. In the cold light of the 21st Century, it’s not even a Puss N Boots. Whereas at his peak, the dressing up and the props and the ridiculous (but infectious) lyrics had been accompanied by some of the most enjoyable, flamboyant and perfect pop music of the early 1980s, the tunes were now deserting him.

    To witness his Top Of The Pops performance to promote Apollo 9 was to see a pop legend no longer in command or in tune with the age, desperately over-compensating as a result. It was painful viewing to anyone obsessed with the glorious reign of Antmusic through late 1980 to around the time his second “solo” single Friend Or Foe dipped out of the Top 40.

    Yet, I loved the record enough to place it at the top of my charts, ahead of Kraftwerk. Ahead of Prince, ahead of U2, ahead of a host of singles that are clearly superior. What can I say…we’re all young once!

    (To the surprise of many, myself included, there was a successful if short-lived comeback at the beginning of 1990, and another minor ripple of commercial achievement again in 1995).
     
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  19. I commend your choice of Master & Servant. But was never so impressed by Apollo 9.

    It’s easy to forget how quickly Adam & the Ants came, conquered and then went!
     
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  20. Apollo 9's success on my charts is definitely one of those "of its time" decisions! If anything, his next single Vive Le Rock was better, viewed with hindsight.
     
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