[13] Faces, ‘Stay With Me’


There’s never been a satisfactory rule about singles which pop up over the festive period. Look at The Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ – No.1 for five weeks over December 1981/January 1982, shifter of a million-plus copies, and where is it in the Official Top 40 Bestselling Singles of 1981? Nowhere. OK, where is it in the Official Top 40 Bestselling Singles of 1982? Er, nowhere. It certainly moved enough units in either year to make an appearance, even if not at the very top, so it must’ve fallen foul of arbitrary cut-off dates.

So here’s our rule in action: ‘Stay With Me’ entered the charts in December 1971, but peaked in January. It goes in the year of its peak. Not that that helps The Human League. Moving on…

Junior likes the guitars, and who wouldn’t? They’re so louche. At about the age of 19, I decided this kind of vagabond rock was the pinnacle of human achievement in the field of cool, and started wearing vintage threads and growing hair and beard like The Black Crowes at almost the exact moment The Black Crowes decided this kind of vagabond rock was the pinnacle of human achievement in the field of cool. Synergy, man.

Today we talked about Rod Stewart’s generosity in keeping his band alive when he was doing nicely enough by himself – but he always was one for gangs – and Junior was pleased to hear that Little Nanny remains his biggest fan. I’m pretty keen on Rod myself. Like Kelly Jones, I’d sacrifice all artistic integrity to have a third of his ruined voice. Anyway, thumb-rating is the theme of this week, and the Faces got two, aloft.

[2] The Human League, ‘Love Action (I Believe In Love)’

The Human League

Not a chart-topper like Oakey and Sulley’s “No, I’M in the driving seat” cocktail bar drama, but easily the most dense, intricate and balls-out inspired of Dare’s mega-hits, ‘Love Action’ is arguably (I’m arguing) the shimmering pinnacle of ‘80s synth-pop. How come? It’s packed to the rafters with electronic effects, boasts half a dozen different keyboard riffs – each digression as thrilling as the last – and there’s that beam-me-up ‘meoww’ sound at the start. All this, and it glories in a towering Big Phil rap that casts Lou Reed forever as “the old man”. And Susanne yelps “HARD times”, without sounding awkward for once.

Echoing her confusion at The Man Machine’s cover, Junior sees Phil’s slapped-up face on the front of Dare and asks, “Why’s he a she?” Lord knows what she’d have made of Boy George in autumn 1982. She and my old man could’ve exchanged unhip daddio jokes. The next puzzle is “Why’s he looking through a rectangle?”, and perhaps we’ll never know. Still, these obstacles negotiated, she pops her feet into her dad’s Converse and winds her body to the sci-fi disco.

This is Phil talking:

[3] The Human League, ‘Don’t You Want Me’

The Human League

As a chart statistician (hobby), I always felt a bit sorry for ‘Don’t You Want Me’, which comfortably outsold the bestselling singles of both 1981 and 1982 but – because it did its business over the turn of the year – appeared in neither year-end sales chart.

Maybe that’s just me.

It’s an exciting record for other reasons too, of course: a whopping great hit that everyone knows the (possibly vaguely real-life?) words to; that forboding synth riff with the rubbish arpeggio at the end; a rare meeting of flat vocals from both protagonists; being the most obvious hit yet the fourth single to be released from the stupendous Dare. Oh, and my two piano party pieces are the refrains from this and Depeche Mode’s ‘Love In Itself.2’. I imagine they’re yours too.

Juniors 1 and 2 didn’t give two hoots about the music this morning, preferring to play with their baby dolls. Hmmm. Junior 2 wanted 1’s baby. Hmmm. So she did “want her baby”. Hmmm.