[17] Japan, ‘Ghosts’

At the time, I thought this went to Number One. To be honest, until I started taking a keen interest in the chart during the summer of ‘82,I thought everything that appeared on Top Of The Pops was a No.1 single. Happy, uncomplicated days, before my first Guinness Book of British Hit Singles destroyed these reveries. I felt crushed for Sylvian and the lads, and their No.5 hit.

They were probably ecstatic, or as ecstatic as a bunch of in-fighting, studiedly glacial, new romantic poseurs were ever going to get. Maybe they flared a nostril.

‘Ghosts’ is thuddingly pretentious, a glorious mood piece of mannered vocals and blandly eerie effects. It’s certainly no better than ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ and ‘Mirror Man’, but it thinks it is, and that’s half the battle. Like The Jam, Japan were gone by the end of the year, with a frontman indulging his whimsies. He plods along still, still able to bore you to death at a hundred paces, but at least he does it without Ocean Colour Scene.

I bloody loved Japan, really. Junior tried to look enthused herself, dancing with unsuitable vigour to the first few bars of tuneless electronic dabbling. After a couple of minutes she was thinking of forming the Style Council.

[18] The Human League, ‘Mirror Man’

Kicking off with the please-God-make-them-STOP ooo-ooo-ooo-OOO harmonies from The Girls, this is a Sheffield-hued Motownesque synth pop bounder, blessed with one of Phil Oakey’s more soulful vocals. Well, he lets his flat robotone crack in one place. That’s as close as the West Yorks Veronica Lake will ever get to letting rip and breaking down.

And it’s one of those singles that doesn’t appear on an album, so extra points there. The Human League weren’t strangers to that – the next single, ‘Fascination’ was the same. Rather than a sop to the fans, I think they were struggling to follow up the peerless Dare, so would bung out a single whenever a song passed muster. The patchy in the extreme Hysteria was the album that finally rolled up, heralded by the bewildering ‘The Lebanon’. The goose was cooked.

So, is it better than ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’? Junior looked puzzled at first; soon she was clapping along. “A bit derivative,” she said, “but it has a certain Steeltown infectiousness that transcends its reference points.”

[19] Duran Duran, ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’

Duran Duran were, of course, the most exciting thing to happen to popular music ever. I was nine, this was the sort of thing I believed. How cool was their massive hair? Their pastel suits? Their headbands? Their location shoots? Their impenetrable lyrics that were more nonsensical than the ones I actually thought Le Bon was singing? This single is magnificent, 1982’s chart a harsh mistress.

Has time been kind?  Will today’s kids “get” Duran Duran? Junior stood up in her playpen from the first note and bopped at the bars. A top five reaction.

God, those LYRICS.

[10] Franz Ferdinand, ‘Do You Want To’

A riff ripped off Go West’s ‘We Close Are Whys’*, doo-doos that could grace ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’, those knowing lyrics that the Ferdinand do so well (and so often), it’s an infectious stomp through the chart bluebells. As it stutters to a finish we even get a “whoop” from Junior, solid proof that we’re in heavyweight country now. She’d spent most of the record trying to eat her toes. We know Franz Ferdinand want to make “music for girls to dance to”, so if balance and leg strength are going to prevent Junior from getting up and strutting her stuff she doesn’t even want those feet.

As the needle runs off the vinyl, there’s time to ponder the Dennis the Menace jumpers. We can understand the boys all wearing them in the video, but what about those publicity shots where only the singer and drummer are sporting them? So, they liked them so much that they kept them, but couldn’t they have phoned each other before they went out adorned in the same clothes? So embarrassing. Being a girl, Junior has an eye for this.
*There’s no persuasive reason why we shouldn’t mock Peter Cox. I haven’t even mentioned that tour he did “versus” Tony Hadley a year or two back.