DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER

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I got thinking a while back that, once the calendar turned over into 2023, I could have some fun out of creating a new series for the blog, turning the clock back 40 years to look at some of the great music that was released in 1983, perhaps throwing in a few stories/recollections/memories of the era.  In doing so, I have created a bit of a dilemma for myself, but I’ll come back to that tomorrow.

In the meantime, to give you an idea of how good a start it was to 1983, here’s a single that had been released just prior to Christmas where it bubbled away outside the Top 40 for a few weeks, unable to compete with the might of Renee and Ronato, Phil Collins, David Essex or Shakin’ Stevens, not forgetting the unlikely duet from Bing Crosby and David Bowie.

The first week in January saw it reach #34 and an invitation from the Top of The Pop producers for the 24-year-old lead singer to realise his pop star ambitions.

The following week, Story of The Blues climbed all the way to #6 and then the following week to its peak position of #3.  All told, it stayed in the Top 20 for six weeks and didn’t drop out of the Top 75 until late March. I wrote about this song back in 2015.  I’ll stand by whhat I said then

To my young(ish) ears it sounded like no other record that had ever been released at that point in history. To my old(er) ears it still sounds like no other record that has ever been released in history.

mp3: Wah! – The Story of The Blues

And, because you’re worth it, here’s the full version, ripped at a high quality direct from the Canadian import 12″ single :-

mp3: Wah! – The Story of The Blues (Parts One and Two)

The same week that Pete’s epic peaked at #3, saw a bunch of his mates achieve the highest new entry in the singles charts:-

mp3: Echo and The Bunnymen – The Cutter

Oh, how the 19-year-old me loved throwing shapes to this one on the floor of the student union disco as I lay down my raincoat and grooved.

I did a lot of grooving in 1983 as it turned out to be a more than decent year for alternative pop music, albeit there was still a great deal of dross dominating the higher end of the charts most weeks.

JC

9 thoughts on “DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER

  1. My memory might be playing tricks but I think this Bunnymen song is the one when Ian McCulloch took off his coat and then kept pulling down the collar of his t-shirt past his shoulders, which embarrassed me no end watching it with my mother, but does remain one of the few TOTP performances burnt into my memory- great idea for a series there were some classics released in ’83

  2. January 25 will be the 40th anniversary of my catching the Bunnymen live on the Porcupine tour, still one of the finest live shows I’ve ever seen. I’d been unsure about that album on first listen but hearing those songs played live made me appreciate the textures, layers and dynamism in those new songs. I don’t think they were ever better than that.
    I bought that Wah! 12″ at the time, but after a few spins it sounded overblown, theatrical, musically derivative. String sections were everywhere in 83 (it had been brass in 82). Letting indie kids loose with an orchestra is rarely a good idea.

  3. This looks like it could be an interesting series.

    Story of the Blues, at the time, reminded me of the Spector-sound and the epic-sound that could be found on 50s/60s records – I’m thinking Petula Clark et al – orchestrated pop. Epic is definitely how the song sounded. I liked it but not enough to buy it.

    The Cutter – Loved it. Bought it. Still have it.

  4. I spend a lot of time thinking what was the best 3/4 years to spend at uni in a large city and what age you would need to be to facilitate this. It has always annoyed me that i was at Uni in London 87-90 when there was so much shite in the charts. Always wished i was a bit older and being at uni in 83 appeals…I’m suggesting 4 year degree course – 1979-83 wouldn’t have been a bad time to be seeing bands at uni..

  5. 1st year of 6th Form – a lot of money spent by the young TGG on records that year. I’m already guessing what might be coming up on future posts.

    Both of these were acquired. I think U2’s New Year’s Day was in the charts around the same time – which I liked then and still have a soft spot for now.

  6. The Cutter is phenomenal, the Bunnymen are/ were one of those bands that stick with you and never go away.

    The Story of the Blues is one of the best pop songs of the 20th century, and along with Come Back and Sinful, stakes Wylie’s claim for immortality. When he toured in the autumn he told a very funny and long story about how Story of The Blues should have bene no. 1 but was denied the spot. He’ll put it in his book I’m sure, which he said is going to be called his Mem-Wah!

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