[1] Cameo, ‘Word Up’

But not even Prince ever sported a massive pink codpiece.

Actually, don’t quote me on that. Was it Larry Blackmon’s codpiece that made this such a huge, surprise hit? Or was it the hulking beat, the Spaghetti Western whistles, the ludicrous accent, the instant-hip phrases, the juggernaut power of The Funk, the fiery brass-boosted final chorus or the wig-out to the sunset?

All these things plus its immediacy. As Larry suggests, “Wave your hands in the air like you don’t care,” Junior shrugs. Like she doesn’t care, you see. Metatext. After that she gives it some windmilling, then her little sister jumps on her and makes clip-clop noises…

Right, time to stop. Time to stop 1986. Time to go all 2009. That Top 20 starts on Monday, and the Noughties Top 20 starts as soon as we finish that. Around April then.

Yo pretty ladies:

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[2] Prince & The Revolution, ‘Kiss’

“Kiss?” said Junior. “Like kissing? Like this?”

She went to kiss her own school portrait before me, but no surprise there – her bloodline breeds narcissists. Anyway, then there was some preposterous dancing. That’s hereditary too.

I think we’ve talked about ‘Kiss’ here before, about how the Purple Priapus could be impish and cheeky while being filthy as hell; how the arrangement could echo with space while being full to bursting with funky flourishes, impossible groove and eternal sunshine; how Tom Jones is an orange car alarm. ‘Kiss’ just sounds so easy.

Act your age, not your shoe size:

[3] Kate Bush, ‘Hounds Of Love’

This one looks familiar. There was still life in the album of the same name; bags of it, in fact, because this single teems with it – the vital surge that is love when it overcomes. You know what I mean. Kate resists at first but then rolls with it, and the effect is glorious. A decadent rush.

Junior said, “It’s funny, isn’t it?”

It’s in the trees! It’s coming!

[4] Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush, ‘Don’t Give Up’

Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

I think we can all surmise Peter Gabriel has fantastic personal hygiene if someone as fragrant, pure and delectable as Kate Bush is prepared to spend five minutes (at LEAST – who knows how many takes there were? Perhaps Pete kept getting his lip synchs wrong on purpose) rammed into his armpit. Either that, or she’s more heroic than we ever dreamed.

The song’s beautiful, believable and stark, Pete and Kate playing their parts with poignancy and soul. Strikes a chord with Junior too, who is matching Kate word for word long before the end.

You’re not beaten yet:

[5] A-ha, ‘I’ve Been Losing You’

“Who’s this?”
“A-ha.”
“What’s the song called?”
“I’ve Been Losing You.”
“Then is it, ‘A-ha! I’ve found you!’?”

It should have been. In the A-ha singles chronology the next output was actually ‘Cry Wolf’, which is rubbish. For the first single off a new album (the still awesome Scoundrel Days), people didn’t like ‘I’ve Been Losing You’ either and it’s easy to see why – it doesn’t have the hooks of ‘The Sun Always Shines On T.V.’ or ‘Take On Me’, nor the charm. But it’s tougher, slinkier and in possession of an outrageous false ending. After the eventual fade, Junior kept asking if it had finished, not wishing to be caught out again.

Hissing your esses:

[6] Peter Gabriel, ‘Sledgehammer’

Of all the unlikely massive pop stars in 1986, Peter Gabriel was, erm, one. It helped that he was a clever lad, in tune with the zeitgeist (man), and understood how to harness the shiny pristine power of video. Sure, it wasn’t all that new, but consider the effect the ‘Sledgehammer’ film had on the populace. It was like being hit by a heavy object on a stick.

And no harm was done by the tune, a filthy, brassy, funky, resolutely 80s AOR stormer that had wit, pizzazz and whacking great horns that hit you like a large metal slab fixed to a wooden handle.

Junior expresses admiration for “the singing and the drums”, but that’s a bit of a kiss-off. Later I show her its still-diverting video – which she loves, particularly the literal representations of lyrics about steam trains and aeroplanes. Good for the kids, those touches, what with them being subtle as a weighty tool for swinging when you want to spread distribution of force.

You could be a bumper car, bumping:

[7] Public Image Limited, ‘Rise’

“He could be yellow!” Junior said. “Or purple or red or pink! Or blue!”

Not much to add about John Lydon’s strange foray into drivetime rock, except that it somehow works.

Or cerise:

[8] Julian Cope, ‘World Shut Your Mouth’

Seeing as I’ve only got this on 12” (OK, I’ve got it on mp3 now, but for the purposes of the exercise let’s pretend it’s still this morning), we broke with tradition and watched it on YouTube. Consequently, Junior considers the song a mere soundtrack to Julian Cope’s hair and leather jacket. She liked both.

So that’s two Crucial Three-ers in a row, but we won’t complete the set because Echo and the Bunnymen didn’t release any singles in 1986. Jules was another eccentric with a bye into the charts in the 80s, and who can be surprised when he was chucking out taut, smart, pop triumphs like this?

Junior went off to school murmuring, “Shut your mouth, shut your mouth”. Great.

Flying in the face of fashion:

[9] Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks , ‘Sinful!’

Now we know it’s 23 years ago. You wouldn’t find a crazed-eyed maverick like Pete Wylie in the charts today, ranting his own agenda and making music so vast it thumbs its nose at categorisation (although I imagine iTunes will say ‘rock’). And that’s a bad thing, believe me (“I wish you’d believe me”). We don’t need Cowell-spawned dinky-Robbies and mini-Mariahs, we need lunatics, and not just slightly odd people like the Black Eyed Peas.

For all that, ‘Sinful!’ is fairly straight, just bold beyond its arrangement. It wasn’t a fluke either, as Wylie and Wah! flirted with modest chart placings for over a decade. Then Britpop came and everything interesting died.

That’s hyperbole. Pete would like hyperbole.

And there’s still room for him, if Junior’s a yardstick. She sang along with the closing “it’s sinful”s and when I asked her, “Is it sinful?” she said, “Yeah”.

So true, boo-hoo:

[10] Duran Duran, ‘Notorious’

Our budding Lester Bangs in the backseat admits, “I liked David Bowie better.” And, well, that’s the sane response, isn’t it? She does clap along to the first few bars, but interest soon wanes as if we’re acting out Duran Duran’s career in microcosm. Five minutes later they’re releasing Public Enemy covers and Junior is into Suede.

This is where Duran Duran put their “We want to sound like Chic crossed with the Sex Pistols” money where their mouth was, and came out sounding like, erm, Hipsway. But credit where it’s due, it has some funk and a nicely rearranged ‘Union Of The Snake’ chorus, and full marks for actually trying. With Andy Taylor jettisoned, they no longer needed to pull shoddy rock shapes and could get on with working that groove.

It’s just a pity no one cared anymore.

Don’t monkey with my business: