01 June 2021

The Final Pick Of The Pops From 1986 And 1987 - Love Can't Turn Around, Jack Your Body, Animal, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Boy In The Bubble, Get Fresh At The Weekend, Human, Wonderful Life, The Way It Is...

Love Can't Turn Around - Farley Jackmaster Funk with Darryl Pandy on vocals. House music: Year Zero 1983 - the very beginning. 1986 - house music beginning to burst out. This is legendary - the very first house music hit in England.

More House - Jack Your Body - Steve 'Silk' Hurley from 1987 - simply fabulous. Gives me a happy glow even now as I teeter past my mid-fifties... not so bad getting older when you have music like this to bring the memories of youth flooding back.

 1986 and Bruce Hornsby and The Range railing against social injustice - beautifully. The Way It Is.

I'm not really a 'rock' man, but this sublime 1987 hit from Def Leppard pushed my buttons. Somehow rockin' but also dancey... Happy nights.

The wonderful Whitney Houston - with the ultimate feel good pop/dance hit. This was 1987 - and it's as good today as it always was.

Wonderful life - a gorgeous summer hit from 1987. A walk in the sunshine, weighed down by melancholy... Once again, I was having a crisis - the (then) love of my life had just walked out. This song suited me down to the ground.

Boy in the Bubble - Paul Simon, 1986 - from his Graceland album. This song tapped into a feeling I had at the time. There was a sudden onrush of new technology - either things just becoming affordable and widespread - like the VCR and microwave oven - or brand new launches like the mobile phone and the Apple Mac. The world was buzzing - and there were millionaires and billionaires and sophisticated weaponry and lasers in the jungle... Probably.

 It was a vibrant time, but it felt somehow frantic and topsy turvy. A very transient era - rather like my youth. Bright and shiny and fresh with loads of new things happening. But was the sudden onrush of technology going to turn out a good thing? I mean, can you imagine making a phone call while you are walking down the street?

Who was the boy in the bubble? David Vetter, born in 1971, died in 1984, who had to live his life in a highly sterile 'bubble' environment due to severe combined immune deficiency. And the baby with the baboon's heart? Baby Fae born in October 1984. She lived until November.

Get Fresh At The Weekend. Lovely Mel and Kim. I saw these two being interviewed by Andrea Arnold, who played Dawn, on Saturday morning kids' show Number 73 and could have sat down and joined in the chat. Down to earth English girls - cockneys in fact - with a great sense of fun (not like the characters in EastEnders at all!). I really liked them. And the more 1980s music banged and clattered, the more I loved it.

The Human League, Human. When Phil Oakey spotted those two girls dancing at the Crazy Daisy Nightclub in October 1980, a legendary alliance was formed. This song is beautiful - with a great twist at the end.

Coming soon, we trip back to 1985 (the first year of the second half of the 1980s) and 1984 (the last year of the first half of the 1980s) to discover The Man With The Power That Promised You The World...

15 May 2021

More Pop Picks from 1987 and 1986... Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent, With Or Without You, I Love To (Listen To Beethoven), Criticize, U Got The Look and Sometimes...


Lovely Gwen Guthrie from 1986 with Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent. This is the extended version. Another clattering, clumbering, clanging '80s dance track from the decade's huge stable of brilliance. I adored this. On the surface, it appeared to be a song about a hard-hearted woman looking for a free meal ticket, but watching Gwen on the video made it tremendously likeable to me. Slightly tongue in cheek, I fancy! Sadly, Gwen's no longer with us, but the music - and the happy memories of getting on the dance floor to this - remain.

With Or Without You - U2, 1987. The 1980s were so stuffed full of brilliant music, anything more would have been greedy...

Erasure's breakthrough hit Sometimes from 1986. This is fantabulously wonderful. Vince Clarke was straight and a synth wizard. Having been a founding member of Depeche Mode in 1980, he moved on to form Yazoo with Alison Moyet, and then Erasure with Andy Bell. Andy, gay, outgoing and with a fabulously soaring voice, was the perfect musical partner for Vince. Legends, the pair of 'em.

Gorgeous 80's clattering and clanging soul dance from Alexander O'Neal here. Criticize - oozin' style and big hair video from 1987, and the soundtrack to some fabulous nights out.

Here's the power house of creative talent that was the Eurythmics in 1987. It showcases a bit of Annie Lennox's marvellous acting talent as well as her wonderful voice. Here, we have a discontented English housewife, fancying herself oppressed by her husband, and slowly going crackers as she fantasises about naughty encounters and keeping herself thoroughly in check by not admitting what she REALLY likes - I love to (pause) Listen to (pause) Beethoven. So, she melds together the spoilt child and the masculine within her and goes off on the rampage. Genius. Sadly, Annie is a bit of a Feminist ideologue these days and I can't bear to listen to her one-sided, own-gender-adoring bilge whenever she's interviewed. But back in the 1980s she and Dave Stewart were often simply too brilliant for words.

Ooomph! The mighty Prince meets little Sheena Easton (whose baby took the morning train back in 1980) for a spot of slammin' (oower, missus!) in 1987. U Got The Look. LOVE THIS! 

The fabulous Blow Monkeys - with their very own sophisti-pop sound. To hear this drifting out of an open top car in the yuppie summer of 1986, one might think it was a gorgeously languid and happy song. But the lyrics say otherwise... 

"I just got your message, baby. So sad to see you fade away."

"What in the world is this feeling - catch a breath and leave me reeling." 

"It'll get you in the end it's God's revenge..." (as a vicar had recently said about AIDS). 

Enjoy the music - and listen to those lyrics.

A final visit to the pop charts of 1986 and 1987 will follow soon. I just want to publish this and listen to that music! xxxx

13 May 2021

Popping Back To 1986 and 1987 Again... Pump Up The Volume, No More I Love You's, Something Inside So Strong, I Can't Wait And E=MC2...

Wow - 1987 and M/A/R/R/S and Pump Up The Volume. Hugely influential early dance record. And I couldn't get enough. Still thrashing around (although now in my living room) to this brilliance today.

I adored this. Always had an ear for the quirky and the different, not to mention spine tinglingly beautiful... OK, Annie Lennox's cover in the '90s had a far larger cast and her great voice, but the original wins in this case for me, hands down. The Lover Speaks, No More I Love You's, 1986:

'I used to have demons in my room at night. Desire, despair, desire, despair - soooo many monsters...'

House Music had arrived. Year Zero was 1983 and by 1987 it was bursting out. House Nation by Housemaster Boyz and the Rude Boy of House. This sounded so different that at first I hated it. But after my second listen I was hooked. Had it on a compilation cassette and just kept rewinding and replaying it on my personal stereo. Then it was out in the clubs... 

Labi Siffre - 1987 - Something Inside So Strong... Just listen. Enough said. A beautiful and highly meaningful 1980s classic.

China in Your Hand - 1987. Wow. Carol Decker's voice is incredible, and watch the sad tale of a yuppie woman who falls in with a bad lad... There are power ballads and then there's this. In a class of its own.

Echoing across the summer of 1986, clonky, clanky and with that all-important '80s stutter. Nu Shooz. I Can't Wait. Dance at its best.

One of the best chart tracks of 1986 - with lyrics which bent my mind into many strange shapes. And made me dance. 'Blood lust, Greek god, go Discovery...' Big Audio Dynamite - E=MC2.

We'll be back in 1986 and 1987 for some more pop picks very soon. I just can't leave that decade alone...

02 May 2021

Some Prime Choons From 1986 and 1987... Luka, Making Lots of Money, Corrosion, Boops and Rumours...

Continuing our backwards countdown of some of our ultimate favourite 1980s pop tracks. Incredibly hard to select - so much must be left out!

Anyway, to 1987 and Suzanne Vega's sad and stirring song about child abuse - Luka

He lived upstairs from you. 

They only hit until you cry - after that you don't ask why.

A wonderful and moving song. Sadly as relevant today as it was back then.

1987 - Boops - he thinks he's got class, they think he's an ass...

You gotta get here to go...

Boops, my man, listen to the mighty Sly and Robbie.

This was - and is - incredible.

This Corrosion - The Sisters of Mercy from 1987. Rock/dance with a goth atmosphere and a background cast of what appeared to me at the time as New Romantics gone mouldy...

On days like this, in times like these, I feel an animal deep inside...

The Pet Shop Boys tend to be underappreciated - and they were certainly self deprecating - but they did a great deal to advance dance music in the 1980s. In 1986, my neon socks were blown off by this great thrashing, clanging beast of a song, which drew me immediately on to the dance floor every time it was played. This was the era of the remix, and this is the one that was closest to the UK single release - and it's from Top of the Pops.

Opportunities - Lets Make Lots Of Money has become a bit of a 1980s anthem. Can't think why...

The Timex Social Club - Rumors - from 1986. I loved this song so much I bought the twelve inch version - and it was even better! Listen to this and then seek it out. Fabulous. 

The incredible New Order. Substance 1987 is rarely far from my ears. Brilliant song. Brilliant video

I used to think that the day would never come when my life would depend on the morning sun...

We'll delve back into 1987 and 1986 again soon, as we became a H-H-H-H-House Nation... Jack it up out there!

14 April 2021

A Few More Prime Choons From 1988 and 1989... Standing In A Buffalo Stance - Finding Voodoo Ray And A Tower Of Strength - And Not Scared At All...


I was going to leave 1988 and 1989 and make my way back to 1987 and 1986, but then I realised there were several top choons I couldn't leave out of my absolute 88/89 faves round-up. Sorry. Please indulge me.

First is the mighty Neneh Cherry, doing her (then) trendy Buffalo Stance in 1988. Fabulous. I wasn't too keen on the Manchild follow-up - I can't bear womansplaining - but the Stance was the biz.

It's so good it can't be left out. Under any circumstances.

In '89, Betty Boo and the Beatmasters couldn't dance to that music many middle of the road radio stations were pumping out. Don't blame them. Go, Betty! Love the revolting 1982 phone in the vid. By 1989, we had better taste (ahem).

Next the ice cool Eighth Wonder with the Pet Shop Boys-penned I'm Not Scared, again from 1988. Haunting, electronic, sinister, beautiful. As a little girl, of course, Patsy Kensit had been the 'Fresh As The Moment When The Pod Went Pop' girl. She'd come a long way.

'88 again: The Mission - Tower of Strength. 'It would tear me apart. To feel no one ever cared. For MEEEE'. 'Nuff said. Got 'em here on Top of the Pops.

Down on the dance floor for Inner City and Good Life. Left or right? Yuppie or protester? C'mon, after the long lean years, didn't most of us fancy a bit of the good life in the 1980s?

Yazz and the Plastic Population - The Only Way Is Up. An anthem from '88 I'll never forget. 

A Guy Called Gerald and the legend that is Voodoo Ray. Need I say more? Acid House at its best. Excuse me, I wanna move...

Next up are 1987 and 1986 - where we meet Boops (with his arms open wide) and discover that New York looks like an apple core... Stay chooned.

11 April 2021

Chugging Out Some More Choons From 1988 And 1989... Felly Had Blue Lipstick - But Wasn't Singing... And We Were Pumping Up The Jam, Being Pure, Singing About History, Thrashing Around To Accieed and Getting Back To Life...


Felly of Technotronic - her with the blue lipstick on the original album cover. She didn't wanna place to stay, but you could get your booty on the floor tonight and make her day. However, it wasn't really Felly singing. No, Ya Kid K was the one! This was all over the charts and the dancefloors in September/October 1989. I bought the Technotronic album, which contained this and their next few hits towards the end of the year, and was bowled over.

And I still love Felly's lipstick.

And Ya Kid K, of course.

ACCEEED! Love this. The Acid House  scene of 1988 really rattled the establishment and that's never a bad thing, and this vid and song always do my head in. Especially the bit where the bloke's head judders about.


This 1988 hit by Breathe is one of my favourite love songs. And the video's so yuppie, but with a splash of delicious working class humour at the end. Gorgeous.

Back To Life... the mighty Soul II Soul in 1989. So beautiful and classic and wonderful and innovative and downright marvellous I actually passed my ciggies around.

1989 - and I was gobsmacked by the transformation of Siobhan Fahey - from Bananarama chorus girl to purring sophisti-cat. This is stunning - Shakespear's Sister, History.

Pure, the Lightening Seeds. One of my themes to the summer of 1989. Released on 8 July, it spent ten weeks on the chart. I was, of course, romantically involved - and this is terribly evocative. Ah, those golden days in Saffron Walden!

We'll carry on our trawl of (just) some 1980s pop brilliance soon. We've started with 1989 and 1988 and next we'll take a peek at 1987 and 1986. We're heading all the way back to 1980 in time. Keep it chooned.

27 February 2021

Chugging Out Some 1980s Choons... E-Zee Possee, Desireless, Erasure, Kim Wilde...


Love 1980s music. I adore it. Everything from Kelly Marie's It Feels Like I'm In Love in 1980 to these choice tunes from 1988 and 1989. E-Zee Possee... wow. What planet? Planet Ecstasy of course!

Voyage Voyage... Desireless. Beautiful, electronic, haunting... wandering around in '88 listening to this on my personal stereo after a broken romance, gazing at the moon...

The mighty Erasure, Ship of Fools from 1988. Beautiful, loaded with melancholy and, although the song is as '80s as could be, the title fits the situation in 2020/2021 like a tailor-made glove. You do sail on the ship of fools, my friends... but Klaus Schwab, Matt Hancock, Anthony Fauci and the World Economic Forum will take care of you... Just keep watching the telly...

And from 1988 again - gorgeous Kim Wilde and You Came... happy days... Got a sniffle? Blow your nose and get on with your life! xx

12 February 2021

1981 At Forty - Part 1: Charles and Di


Fed up with the virus scenario? We now live in a world that is very odd indeed. A world in which families are breaking apart as 'covid deniers' argue fiercely with 'covid believers'. A world in which civil liberties vanish like spit on a griddle and the public applauds. But whether you think it's all in good spirit, the facts are totally transparent and anything else is a rancid conspiracy theory, or you believe the figures don't add up and the 'Great Reset' and Big Pharma are far greater threats, we offer you an escape. Yep, an escape to 1981.

I can't promise that 2021 won't infiltrate slightly, but most of this blog post is pure 1981 - in the immortal words of Big Audio Dynamite a few years later: 'Time slide, place to hide...'

We can hardly believe 1981 is now forty years ago. In the pre-mobile phone, pre-yuppie boom 1980s, where computers were slow and odd and strictly for professors and geeks, what were we into?

Well, amongst other things... Rubik's Cube, CB radio (so exciting as less than 50% of UK households had a landline phone and the mobile was still a few years down the road), Space Invaders, the Space Shuttle, riots, Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran and...

Charles and Di.

Goodness, the quiet, posh girl who'd soared into the spotlight in 1980, was apparently about to have a fairy tale ending - and marry her prince.

It all turned out quite differently and very sadly, of course.

Mugs, tea towels, dolls, even a Rubik's Cube - the hottest craze of the year. Charles and Di were everywhere in 1981.

Slow start for the Cube... the trademark was registered in the UK on 7 May 1980 but, due to a huge shortage, the first Cubes did not start arriving until just before Christmas. In the spring of 1981, we were fully stocked and the craze raged. And, like so many other things, the Cube commemorated the royal wedding in July.

The Sunday Times magazine review of 1981 - featuring royals and Rubik's.

I've never been a royalist, so I was unimpressed by the Royal Wedding mania. In my family, the view was that the Royal Family 'lived off the fat of the land' and was an anachronism. 

I was not initially impressed by Lady Diana Spencer, either. The media dubbed her 'Shy Di', but I thought the way her eyes slid away was far more likely to be evidence of slyness. However, I think she proved me wrong. Diana was refreshingly human, as it turned out - in my humble opinion, of course. She was warm, concerned, and very much a people person.

And Charles? Simply not my scene. I'll say no more.

But, in 1981, the Royal Wedding thrilled many. The news was full of it, and no angle was left unexplored as the public clamoured for more.

True Romances magazine plotted the future of the couple, via the wondrous world of astrology. It makes for quite sad reading now, but at the time many believed that the royal marriage was the start of a glittering new era for the family.

Having taken into account planetary placements and aspects on their respective birth charts, and the fact that both Charles and Diana had Leo ascendants, astrologer Peter Vidal wrote:


How will the marriage work out? Charles and Diana are well-matched, and are a handsome couple with the world at their feet. Factors occurring in both horoscopes will make for happiness and contentment. Charles will gain noticeably in poise and confidence; Diana will be radiant.

The Royal Wedding was a day of great optimism for all admirers of the Royal family. And readers of True Romances thrilled to Peter Vidal's rosy predications.

But even astrologers can't always be right. Not even the fact that Charles and Diana were both sun water signs - she Cancer, he Scorpio, could make things right.

Well I never!

We return to the buzzing world of 1981 soon - all together now: 'Qua qua, fa diddily qua qua...'