Y’all ready for this?

From the UK singles Top 10 of the last week of March 1993.

mp3: The Style Council – Speak Like A Child (#4)
mp3: Altered Images – Don’t Talk To Me About Love (#7)
mp3: Orange Juice – Rip It Up (#8)

Oh, and Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics was at #5, well on its way to what would be six weeks in the Top 10.

There were also some other great pop tunes at the higher end of the charts….not all of which will be to everyone’s taste, but can offer an illustration that we were truly enjoying a golden age of memorable 45s:-

mp3: Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know (#1)
mp3: David Bowie – Let’s Dance (#2)
mp3: Jo Boxers – Boxerbeat (#6)
mp3: Bananarama – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (#9)

The other two places in the Top 10 were taken up by Bonnie Tyler and Forrest (no, me neither!!!)

Do you fancy looking a bit further down the Top 40?

mp3: Big Country – Fields Of Fire (400 Miles) (#13)
mp3: New Order – Blue Monday (#17)
mp3: Blancmange – Waves (#25)
mp3: Dexy’s Midnight Runners – The Celtic Soul Brothers (#36)
mp3: Wah! – Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me) (#37)

Some facts and stats.

The debut single by The Style Council was the first of what would be four chart hits in 1983.

Altered Images and Orange Juice had both appeared on Top of The Pops the previous week on a show presented by John Peel and David ‘Kid’ Jensen, with both singles going up in the charts immediately after.

Is There Something I Should Know? was the first ever #1 for Duran Duran It had entered the charts at that position the previous week.

David Bowie would, the following week, supplant Duran Duran from the #1 spot, and Let’s Dance would spend three weeks at the top.

The debut single by Jo Boxers would eventually climb to #3.  It was the first of three chart singles for the group in 1983.  They never troubled the charts in any other year.

Bananarama‘s single would reach #5 the following week. The group would, all told, enjoy 25 hit singles in their career.

Fields of Fire had been at #31 when Big Country had appeared on the same TOTP show presented by Peel and Jensen.  A rise of 18 places in one week after appearing on the television was impressive.

Blue Monday was in the third week of what proved to be an incredible 38-week unbroken stay in the Top 100.  It initially peaked at #12 in mid-April and eventually fell to #82 in mid-July, at which point it was discovered for the first time by large numbers of holidaymakers descending on the clubs in sunnier climes.  By mid-October, it had climbed all the way back up to #9.

Blancmange were enjoying a second successive hit after Living On The Ceiling had gone top 10 in late 1982.  Waves would spend a couple of weeks in the Top 20, peaking at #19.

The success of The Celtic Soul Brothers was a cash-in from the record company.  It had touched the outer fringes of the charts in March 1982, but its follow-up, Come On Eileen, had captured the hearts of the UK record-buying public.  It was re-released in March 1983, going on to spend five weeks in the charts and reaching #20.

Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me) was the follow-up to Story Of The Blues.  It wasn’t anything like as successful and spent just one week inside the Top 40.



No laughing at the back, please.

I’m deadly serious.

Let’s fact up to the facts, so don’t be nervous and just relax.  Duran Duran set out to dominate the music world from the outset.  Yes, there had been a few early different incantations of the group with the occasional argument over the shape the sounds should take, but once the five members had been whittled down to Le Bon, Rhodes and Taylors x3, it was a case of signing on the dotted line for one of the biggest labels of the time.

It was the era of style, quite often at the expense of substance and the marketing moguls at EMI knew exactly how best to make the product from their new synth-pop experiment sell by the gazillions.

It was easy to sneer and mock back in 1981, and I most certainly did.  The fact they also made exploitative and sexist music promos was another reason to despise everything about them.  The only problem was that the songs, well the singles anyway, all sounded fantastic coming out of the radio, or indeed from the speakers in any discos or clubs.

Planet Earth was released in February 1981.  Here’s the thing that most folk forget… it wasn’t an immediate smash.  It took six weeks before it climbed its way into the Top 20.  It was a time when music was only written about in the specialist papers and Duran Duran found themselves roundly ignored by all four.  A relatively new kid on the block, Smash Hits, which was aimed at a different market and whose modus operandi was to give more space to photos than words, filled the void.  EMI also linked the band to an increasing interest in the culture of the celebrity with the mainstream press, especially the tabloids, and the coverage in such publications tended to be positive and plentiful.  The label didn’t care if the readers of NME, Melody Maker, Sounds and Record Mirror were denied coverage – this wasn’t the market they were chasing.

Listen now, without prejudice almost 40 years on.  Planet Earth is a sensational sounding 45. One that makes even the most reluctant mover in the room make their way towards the dancefloor.  It is Chic meets Japan.

mp3: Duran Duran – Planet Earth

The b-side was a bit different.  Not the greatest lyric you’ll ever find, but some fabulous guitar, synth bass work if you can lend the music your ears.  A touch of Bowie Scary Monsters-era……

mp3: Duran Duran – Late Bar

Feel free to disagree.



Many many thanks to those of you who responded to the request to submit your favourite political song.  I will get round to posting all of them over the coming weeks but felt this is the one that should start things off.  Here’s the e-mail:-

Hello over there JC.

Glad to see T(n)VV on WordPress. (I am a WordPress expert so if you
ever have q's let me know).
I looked at seeing if there was a way of extracting the archive of
TVV, even after deletion, but sadly there wasn't.
Luckily there's the wayback machine.

I'm dropping you a line about your latest post though.
A few months back I created a cousin to F&M called Politics and Music:

I got bored of it very quickly though.

I would like if more than five people read it so I wondered if you'll
post the first entry from P&M, which isn't really about a political
protest song, it is more at a look at how the political protest song
is viewed.

If you don't like this one please feel free not to use it - or if you
want to post one of the other two articles on P&M.
Either or I'm not bothered. It's your gig and you decide.


I’ve always been someone who values the contributions to my blog(s) whether in the shape of comments or guest postings, so how could I refuse Webbie…..indeed all of his articles on P&M will appear here in due course although of course I’m hoping may of you will follow the link over there in advance.  Here’s the first article:-


I am an 80′s throwback. Born in the mid 60′s but the period when music began to resonate with me was from 1981 onwards. Why that particular year ? I don’t know. On Top Of The Pops everybody was having fun, having a party. I wanted to be invited.

It was also around this period that I was only a year away from the harsh reality of Thatcher’s Britain – No parties, just the dole. But watching these bands on the telly, in their bright colourful clothes, with the ballons, with the streamers. It took you away from the grey world outside.

At that time I was living in Liverpool. Only a few months before with my best mate Walter, we sat on some steps and watched the Railto burn.

As mentioned I wasn’t long for the unemployment line and soon became one of the 3 & half million signing on. Things were grim. Strikes, picket lines and where I lived – the riots. Switch on the TV, take your mind away…

The country was unhappy. Toxteth I witnessed. There was also Brixton and more.

History is slowly beginning to repeat itself with the Tory government (yes I know coalition but the Lib Dems are just puppets) with benefit cuts, cuts to the NHS, high unemployment and recession once again. An unpopular leader leading the country down another dark path.

These days there are many outlets to express our anger and frustration about the Tories, so the outrage is spread out and looks thin on the ground. Back then it was more concentrated. There were only four TV channels and everybody watching them. It was actually easier for some to get there word out. To vent their feelings, to raise those issues.

Music can reflect what people are thinking and feeling. The musicians like the rest of us suffered unemployment and then wrote about it. The most famous example in 1981 was The Specials with Ghost Town. A perfect reflection on the state of things. It captured the mood perfectly.

mp3 : The Specials – Ghost Town

The Specials obviously weren’t the first with social commentary. This has been going on every since popular music began. But to me it seemed that in the earlier part of the 1980′s there was an increase in these type of songs.
There was easily enough material for the songwriters. Thatcher and her battles with everybody. The dockers, miners, steelworkers… even the unemployed. Lots of misery and poverty around but also the open, raw capitalist greed.

Many bands attempted to raise awareness of fascism, racism, politics and the constant threat of a nuclear war. Even the established and well loved artist Paul McCartney sang about giving Ireland back to the Irish. But the single (as you will see from that link) was subsequently banned.  Other acts such The Police and yes, even Spandau Ballet also sang about that always touchy subject.

Every time a musical act does a take on one of these issues though, they are criticised. How dare these pop stars talk about politics. They should mind their own business.

The argument is always there whether they should get involved or stay out of it. The thing is that sometimes it works and sometimes not. There are a few instances when it became a force for good – such as with Band Aid and the eventual Live Aid concert. But sometimes the song becomes a bit of an embarrassment. The chart pop stars of the 80′s addressing a current plight somewhere. Their smooth, popular image then dented when they cry about war. It’s like a stand up comedian suddenly stopping midway through his act to do a slideshow on the African famine. Sometimes an uncomfortable act for us to witness.

A sample of potential embarrassment was with this line in a song, which was met with much derision when first heard:

“Don’t say you’re easy on me, you’re about as easy as a nuclear war…”

It was a throw away line, with the original message of the song not about a holocaust, but of relationships.
The rest of the lyrics in the verse before that line:

“People stare and cross the road from me
And jungle drums they all clear the way for me
Can you read my mind, can you see in the snow
And fiery demons all dance when you walk through that door”

Jungle drumming, snow visions, mind reading and to top it off – the demons:

mp3 : Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know

The line is remembered and brought much unwanted attention to Duran Duran. A fan misheard the lyric and wrote to Simon Le Bon to ask what “you bad azizi” meant.

This inspired them to create an experimental B side for a single released in 1990:

mp3 : Duran Duran – Yo Bad Azizi

From a potentially embarrassing lyric – another song. But they still didn’t compose this about the actual event of a nuclear war. It was just a riff on a letter they received. And as far as I’m aware Duran Duran have never done any protest songs, have never tried to raise awareness for the rainforests or poverty… or anything like that. Correct me if I’m wrong though.

Webbie, 9 January 2013


Note from JC

Webbie’s original posting linked to stuff on you tube instead of mp3s.  Given that you tube is owned by Google, who are also the owners of Blogger from which the original TVV was unceremoniously removed, readers will hopefully understand why I wont be posting you tube content at the new place.