Saturday, October 11, 2008

I started something I couldn't finish... Part 2

And so to 1981 - the death of a legend, riots in the inner-cities and Bucks Fizz. Only in the UK can music so perfectly capture the mood of a nation... Best line: 'a couple of bubbly blonds and girls aren't bad either...'

Jan 1981

1) John Lennon – Imagine (4 weeks at #1)

“Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too”

Despite a couple of weeks of temporary insanity involving a Grandma and a school choir, the nation mourns the death of one of it’s greatest songwriters and it’s fitting that his best solo record tops the charts for the whole of January… (10/10)

Feb 1981

2) John Lennon – Woman (2)

“And woman, hold me close to your heart - however distant don't keep us apart; after all it is written in the stars”

What better to way to follow up a Lennon classic than another Lennon classic song! Continuing the theme of redemption and new beginnings from Double Fantasy this is a straight-up poignant love-song! (8/10)

Feb 1981

3) Joe Dolce – Shaddup your face (3)

“Ah, shaddap-a your face“

Precisely… Next! (0/10)

March 1981

4) Roxy Music – Jealous Guy

“I didn't mean to hurt you, I'm sorry that I made you cry. I didn't mean to hurt you - I'm just a jealous guy”

Ferry’s re-working of a Lennon 1971 album track was a stroke of genius. But where there was once a song about jealousy in a relationship, there was now a song about a stalker who was willing to commit murder… (9/10)

5) Shakin Stevens – This Ole House (4)

“Ain't got time to fix the shingles, ain't a-got time to fix the floor”

Good old Shaky – a national hero, albeit a slighty slow, west-country, rock’n’roll one! The English Elvis if you like, but without the charisma or the sales… A fun record, and Green Door would soon be a knocking! (5/10)

April 1981

6) Buck’s Fizz – Making your mind up (3)

“Don't let your indecision, take you from behind”

The UK’s entry for Eurovision song contest in 1981… Did we win? Did we care? Another fun record, with a couple of bubbly blonds – and the girls weren’t bad either! (5/10)

May 1980

7) Adam and the Ants – Stand and Deliver (5)

“Even though you fool your soul your conscience will be mine, all mine”

Adam Ant that discarded the last of his art-punk credibility and the public was loving it… But this was the MTV age and the Ant’s videos were more camp than a month at Butlins - face-paint, leather strides and a few buxom wenches and the world was his… for a while… The song, was there one? Burundi drums, apache yelps and pantomime lyrics! (6/10)

June 1980

8) Smokey Robinson – Being with you (2)

“People can change, they always do - haven't they noticed the changes in you?”

Smokey was past his best but he could still hold down a song… The video didn’t hurt - beaches and casual jumpers…are you taking notes Duran? (6/10)

9) Michael Jackson – One day in your life (2)

“And when things fall apart, you'll remember one day”

Sentimental rubbish! The pre-wacko Jacko and a little boring to be honest… with Thriller, mega-stardom and Bubbles a mere blip on the horizon. Hey Micheal, a word of advice – give Quincy a call! (5/10)

July 1981

10) The Specials – Ghost Town (3)

“Bands won't play no more, too much fighting on the dance floor”

The political mood of the nation captured perfectly, Thatcher in power, riots in the cities and unemployment reaching epidemic proportions! The Specials were about to split in half and this was a fitting swansong! Brilliant (10/10)

Aug 1981

11) Shakin Stevens – Green Door (4)

“There's an old piano and they're playin' hot behind the green door”

Shaky proves that lightning can strike twice in the same place! Another rock’n’roll cliché much in the same vein as This Ole House. Unfortunately, the man’s future seems, well, a little shaky! (4/10)

12) Aneka – Japanese Boy (1)

“If only he would write me or call - A word of explanation that's all!”

In the years after the Black and white minstrels but before political correctness, it was good to see you could still dress up Japanese and get away with it… As for Aneka, I would prefer a Japanese boy… (3/10)

Sep 1980

13) Soft Cell – Tainted Love (2)

“This tainted love you've given, I give you all a boy could give you”

Soft Cell remake a Northern soul standard and turn it into a classic! Marc Almond is the new anti-pop star and Dave Ball proves that synthesizers can be used with warmth and subtlety when a good song is included in the recipe! (9/10)

14) Adam and the Ants – Prince Charming (4)

“Ridicule is nothing to be scared of …”

Another flashy video, but it’s obviously Mr Goddard has started to take himself far too seriously… Lacking the humour and punchiness of Stand and Deliver it’s clear that the Ants are running out of ideas! (5/10)

Oct 1981

15) Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin – It’s my party (4)

“Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone but Judy left the same time”

Another oldie remade for the new electronic age. Not a patch on Tainted Love but Dave Stewart realizes what he can do with a good singer… Annie, where are you? (5/10)

Nov 1981

16) The Police – Every little thing she does is magic (1)

“It's a big enough umbrella but it's always me that ends up getting wet”

Sting and the boys can still produce the hits but it’s all getting a little stale… time to move on me thinks but there may still be a classic left in them! (6/10)

17) Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure (2)

“Keep coming up with love but it's so slashed and torn…”

Mercury and Bowie put their ego’s aside and come up with a great collaboration! From the bass riff opening to the signature Brian May guitar wanks - it shouldn’t work but somehow it comes off! (8/10)

Dec 1981

18) Julio Iglesias – Begin the Beguine (1)

“When they begin the beguine, quiero sentir las cosas de siempre”

Julio’s accented croonings smooth their way into the number 1 spot. The fact no-one understands the words, and the tales of his womanizing only add to his appeal. Marginally better than Joe Dolce… (4/10)

19) The Human League – Don’t you want me (5)

“The five years we have had have been such good times - I still love you”

The League join Soft Cell in flying the electronic flag on top of the charts. Brilliant analog electronica, a catchy tune, eye-catching mini-movie video and a couple of backing singers pulled out of the school disco make this an irrestible classic!

Ian’s Top 10 Number 1’s of 1981

1) The Specials – Ghost Town
2) John Lennon – Imagine
3) Soft Cell – Tainted Love
4) The Human League – Don’t you want me
5) Roxy Music – Jealous Guy
6) Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
7) John Lennon – Woman
8) Adam and the Ants – Stand and Deliver
9) Smokey Robinson – Being with you
10) Police – Every little thing she does is magic

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