Monday, 20 August 2007

Number Ones: Part 3 - The Eighties

As I'm forty-one years old in a few days (you can see my Amazon Wishlist if you want to buy me a pressie!) I thought I'd take a look back at the songs which were number one in the UK chart each year on my birthday.

Today it's the turn of the 1980's. For me, this was the decade of the biggest changes in my life. At the start, I was in school; by the end of it I was going out with the woman who was to be my first wife.

In the 1980's I discovered music properly, went to university, got chucked out of university, met the first real love of my life, tried auditioning for drama school, got my first full-time job (night-cashier at a petrol station - I was sacked, eventually, for being late too often), and embarked on my current career.

This was the decade that defined me as a person. And, you know, I think I did OK. If I had to go back and talk to my younger self, I think I'd have one or two notes for the silly sod, but mostly I'd be telling him that it would all work out and to carry on enjoying himself and learning as much as he could about people and the world.

If I were to write a dictionary, under "Nostalgia" it would read "See: The 1980's".

1980:
David Bowie - "Ashes To Ashes"
August 19 for 2 weeks

Fantastic. We kick off with a bona fide, five star, 24-carat classic. From Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, the entire album is a work of genius. David Bowie is a national institution (why hasn't he been knighted?) and I would forgive him anything - even Tin Machine and having tea with MLYW.

1981:
Shakin' Stevens - "Green Door"
July 28 for 4 weeks

Oh, good grief! Read what I wrote about David Bowie and then imagine the exact opposite.

1982:
Dexys Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express - "Come on Eileen"
August 3 for 4 weeks

It's taken over 20 years, but I think I'm finally sick of this record. But for those 20 years, this really was a fantastic party song. The slow build up to the final chorus - just enough time to grab some breath before launching yourself into mad, arms-and-legs-everywhere dancing - was a masterstroke. Kevin Rowland is another national institution, for that voice alone.

1983:
KC and the Sunshine Band - "Give It Up"
August 9 for 3 weeks

Ironically, the original band had split up in 1981. They really had given it up.

1984:
George Michael - "Careless Whisper"
August 14 for 3 weeks

George Michael? One hit wonder. Does anyone know what became of him?

1985:
Madonna - "Into the Groove"
July 30 for 4 weeks

Madonna? One hit wonder. Does anyone know what became of her?

1986:
Boris Gardiner - "I Want To Wake Up With You"
August 19 for 3 weeks

This song just about rings a bell, but I don't remember it being anything special. At the time my then girlfriend (the lovely Eve) had just returned to the USA, breaking my heart ever so slightly. OK, I confess, I was moping and miserable for about 2 years and I'm sure my friends got sick and tired of me mooching around glumly making plans to run over to San Francisco and whisk her off her feet, but never actually doing anything about it. To their credit, none of them actually said "well why don't you piss off and do it then" but I'm sure they all thought it!

1987:
Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett - "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
August 11 for 2 weeks

Is it pronounced "Cider" or "Shadeah"? The latter, I would imagine. I've never liked Michael Jackson, even before the Christ complex and the Chris Langham-alike accusations, so this single has completely evaded my memory banks.

1988:
Yazz and the Plastic Population - "The Only Way Is Up"
July 31 for 5 weeks

This was a big hit when I started working for Intourist. I remember it well as we went to the pub on the Friday of my first week in their (now defunct) Regent Street office and we saw Yazz herself, presumably refreshing herself after popping into the BBC just up the road. No sign of her plastic population though.

1989:
Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers - "Swing The Mood"
July 30 for 5 weeks

Oh, Good Lord. This was the 2nd of 3 number ones for the annoying animated-rabbit/person-in-a-furry-suit in 1989. Who the hell bought these records? I didn't know back then and I still don't know now. The same people who got Mr Blobby or Bob the Builder to the top of the charts, I suppose. The same idiots who got Joe Dolce to pip Ultravox to the pinnacle. Damn! When I was doing my acting course recently we were asked to recall some event which made us angry - an exercise I was unable to complete as I don't really do big emotions; peeved, vexed, annoyed - those I can do. But not 'angry'. If only I'd remembered bloody Jive Bunny at that moment. You'd have seen some sodding acting then, I can tell you!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding. When George Michael went solo with the Faith album he was album of the year, song of the year. He went on to a tremendously successful singer-songer writer career. Has been called by Elton John the Paul McCartney of his generation. And is currently touring - opened the new Wembley - with his Twenty-five Live tour!

PT said...

Errr... yes, I am kidding. See also the identical note about Madonna under "Into The Groove". Again, hardly absent from the charts since then.

Mr/Ms Anonymous has obviously never heard of 'irony'. He/she must be a particularly humourless person...

Anonymous said...

I really, really like Shakin' Stevens, Michael Jackson & Jive Bunny so please desist from having opinions on them.

Is irony a wrinkled sheet?

jomoore said...

You don't do angry? Mr Rant?

Hmm... ;o)