[1] Wham!, ‘Freedom’

We’ve established that I was a low-key Duranie. Revisionist history always has it that pop from ’82 to ’84 was all about Duran Duran vs Spandau Ballet*. Rubbish. The world was fought over by Duran Duran and Culture Club. As a consequence I hated Culture Club, even though these days I can listen to one or two singles and always enjoy a crass and bitchy Boy George innuendo.

‘Freedom’ killed Culture Club. There was a blaze of publicity for CC’s return, but ‘The War Song’, released the same week as ‘Freedom’, just couldn’t cope with Wham!’s sales juggernaut and was pulverised**. A swift fall down the chart was assured, and next single ‘The Medal Song’ peaked at No.32. Disastrous.

This is No.1 for other reasons, naturally. It’s a perfect pop Motown pastiche, for one, and the guitars and horns go mad at the end, for another. It was all very easy for George. Time after time, he was releasing vinyl joy.

Junior got into the record by standing on her dad’s lap, clapping and trying to eat his hands. By the last chorus, she was trying to eat her own feet. We’d reached the edge of elevenses.

*Spandau Ballet were irredeemably awful. No exception. Ok, except maybe that winningly hackneyed saxophone solo in ‘True’, weirdly.

**It’s incidental that ‘The War Song’ was useless anyway.

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[2] Scritti Politti, ‘Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)’

I asked Junior to type up her own comment on this and got “bvgyijuhh”, and my glasses stolen for good measure. Green Gartside would’ve deconstructed this, intertextualised it, restructuralised it and turned it into a shimmering pop tune, glossy surfaces and candyfloss heart belying the cold intellectualism.

I reckon that’s what he did with ‘Wood Beez’. It doesn’t mean much but it sounds clever. What it is is the most brilliant white funk track to come out of the decade, zipping along a skyway of scratchy guitars and keyboard flashes, loosening ever more until he’s exchanging shouts of “schizo” with the backing vocalists and just keeping from breaking down before the last chorus.

I finally caught his disguise show a couple of weeks ago – under the name Double G & the Traitorous 3 (Plus 2), he’s playing his first gigs for 25 years or so – and it was brilliant, of course. He seems to be treating the gigs as rehearsals for the new album (the fifth in those 25 years), which sounds like something to get excited about already. Two more shows at the Luminaire in March, pop fans.

[3] Grandmaster & Melle Mel, ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’

The little B-girl launched herself towards the stereo when this kicked off. She was even more captivated when her dad tried to rap along, believing him to be, of course, something like a phenomenon.

I was proud to know all the words back when I was eleven. I remember that surprising the bloke at school who was meant to be the embodiment of cool because he owned a Run DMC record. (I’d never had the heart to tell him that ‘It’s Tricky’ wasn’t one of their best). They were easy words to learn, of course, and I imagine I had my own spin on the meanings: “I think they’re giving away free bass”.

It’s an odd record when you listen to it now. Very soft and poppy for hip-hop at that point, with some kind of doo-wop call and response going on, and verses and choruses. None of that stops it being a bass-rolling, imperative-repeating, tongue-in-cheek classic.

[4] Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ‘Relax’

Junior passed the time walking up and down her mum’s belly. Just checking for siblings.

My claim to credibility is that I bought this before Radio 1 banned it, back when even my mum liked it. She claimed that she didn’t when it was dogged by notoriety, but children don’t forget these things. I’d bought my first record player for £10 from a guy in Hemel Hempstead – actually, my dad paid and it was only £9.50 but, inexplicably, he let the seller keep the change. I was aghast. 50p was a fortune. To get to the point, it was one of those record players on which you could flick a switch and it would keep playing the record on the turntable over and over again until you took the arm off.

The day I bought ‘Relax’, I played it 11 times in a row.

Junior probably won’t want her dad to go out and buy a rickety turntable with a free 7” single (Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis, ‘You’re Gonna Get Next To Me’) thrown in. She’ll just want that chip in her right earlobe upgraded.

[5] Madonna, ‘Like A Virgin’

Seasoned 12-year-old chart watchers knew that this single was make or break for Madonna. ‘Holiday’ made a decent impact, but ‘Lucky Star’ missed the Top Ten and ‘Borderline’ barely registered at all. ‘Like A Virgin’ edged up the chart at agonising pace, before peaking at No.3, and then the world just went into Madonna meltdown with seven more UK Top Five hits in 1985 alone.

She could’ve gone the way of Cyndi Lauper. That wouldn’t have been pretty.

What a perky number it is. Junior misses any naughtiness in the lyrics, chews every toy in sight, has a go at singing along and dances with her mum. Perfect.

[6] Chaka Khan, ‘I Feel For You’

I see the lilac lothario is flavour of the month again after last week’s Brits performance. It was pretty good, yeah, but it doesn’t take a superhuman effort to make the Kaiser Chiefs and Coldplay look ordinary. What a disgrace those awards are. What exactly are they rewarding? Marketing campaigns, that’s what. I mean, no one’s bought that Jack Johnson album, but we’ve all seen it advertised a million flipping times.

Anyway, back to Prince. I’m making a big deal of his writing credit here because I feel a bit guilty about ‘When Doves Cry’ not being in this chart. No, I don’t know why either. Chaka’s performance is great, but it’s the song and the Melle Mel rap that make the record.

I’m also a big fan of the abstract drawing of a slimline soul diva on the single cover, a world away from cuddly Chaka. Junior squealed at the song, bouncing up and down on her baby booty.

[7] The Style Council, ‘Shout To The Top!’

Junior was trying to drink from one of her stacking cups, clearly getting into the spirit of café culture. She’s not one of the luddites who believed that Weller had cooked his goose as soon as he hooked up with Mick Talbot and ditched the spiky Woking-class anthems. She knows that he was taking colour from a broader palette, not afraid to wear flat-fronted trousers and pink sweaters, not afraid of a female backing vocalist, a falsetto delivery, a mannered sleevenote, a little tickle of his keyboard player’s ear.

‘Shout To The Top!’ was the Style Council’s seventh single in 18 months. A rich, rich vein of prolific form. I’ll brook no argument.

[8] Tears For Fears, ‘Shout’

More mid-’80s pop heavyweights. These two perhaps even outdid their contemporaries for bad hair, what with Curt’s rat’s tail and Roland’s wind-tunnel accident, though this didn’t stop them releasing huge single after huge single. This was one of the biggest, a mantra to fit in with their primal scream philosophy.

They were lucky I bought this. Previous single ‘Mother’s Talk’ had me skipping back to WH Smith twice, when my record player refused to pay the limited edition green vinyl. I had to settle for standard black. I couldn’t even get a picture sleeve for ‘Shout’, so was lowering my sights all round.

It’s a song about facing your demons, so Junior looked suitably fearful for the first few bars. Eventually, she was flinging herself over the edge of the inflatable and laughing. No one took Tears For Fears seriously in the long run.

[9] Duran Duran, ‘The Reflex’

While Frankie and Wham! were carving up the UK, Duran Duran were perfumed, whacked-out, be-mulleted Kings of the World. Cash and supermodels dripping off them like sweat from Le Bon’s podgy face. Total UK chart domination seemed to elude them, this being only their second and last No.1 single, but of course they provoked scenes of hysteria not seen since you-know-who.

I was one of those quieter, male Duranies. Bought this single on poster bag 7”, admired by the boys on the lift home from school. It was only when you hit 13 that Duran Duran became hopelessly naff. I stayed bewilderingly faithful, achingly cool though I was, until they slipped off my radar ten years ago.

The best bit of this song is obviously Andy Taylor’s processed burps in the middle section. It’s the only part that makes sense in the lyrical sea of nonsense. They tried to convince us that Taylor was saying “yeah”, but where’s the fun in that?

Junior is an aficionado of the belch, a burping connoisseur. None were forthcoming this morning as she’d obstinately foregone breakfast, so she contented herself with leaning forwards over the side of the inflatable, trying to give her parents the fear. The only time she paid attention was when the “ta la la la”s came in at the start. The moment Le Bon opened his mouth, she dived for cover.

That’s your lot, Duranies. God knows what happened to ‘Wild Boys’.

[10] Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ‘Two Tribes’

I haven’t listened to the Welcome To The Pleasuredome LP in 20 years. I’m suddenly thinking that it might be quite good. Can anyone endorse this?

We were rushed this morning, as it was Junior’s first full day at nursery. I did notice she was sitting there shaking her head, so I wonder whether she suspected this was all hype over substance. But what hype. We’ve noted how big Wham! were in 1984; Frankie were bigger. Not since Gerry & the Pacemakers blah blah blah. Jive Bunny rather cheapened the feat by matching it a few years later.

The Hamnett/Morley t-shirts, the bribing of Mike Read, the naughty sleeves, the big sledgehammer-subtle messages, not to mention the massive Trevor Horn production – you couldn’t miss them. This record still sounds huge, empty though it is. Even “The air attack warning sounds like…” made Junior jump.

Must say, though: I couldn’t see what was special about modelling shirts by van Heusen. I used to wear my dad’s ones for painting.