Eurovision 2019 – an irreverent love-in Guide to the Songs

 

A list of comments as I watched, with a few add-in’s where I was hopelessly wrong or pleasantly right….

 

1. Malta | Michela | Chameleon:

Nice to see Malta in the final. The verses are fab, in the style of the late Avicii, the chorus is a bit naff, but it’s got that 2010’s vibe overall, and a great way to start the show, she does a fab performance and won me over. 78/100

    2. Albania | Jonida Maliqi | Ktheju tokës:

Darkly-dressed lady, ethnic rhythms. The black lace frills and golden earrings work, not sure about the wailing. She gives some wallop vocally, but that doesn’t disguise a morose melody. I feel I should like it more than I do, as I enjoy ethnic toons. 55/100.

  3. Czech Republic | Lake Malawi | Friend of a friend:

Smiley canary-coloured singer, drummer clearly not drumming, and a mockney accent, sort of gentlejazzboyband. Mildly pleasant in bland Hue & Cry fashion (80’s jazzed-up band), enjoyed the windows featuring again in the visuals. 63/100

  4. Germany | S!sters | Sister:

They’re tired poor dears. Know how they feel, I’m effin’ knackered. Presumably adopted sisters, as I see no resemblance. This P!nk-inspired current obsession with using “!” instead of “i” is getting on my t!t. It’s OK, nothing bad, nothing great. 66/100

  5. Russia | Sergey Lazarev | Scream:

Sergey’s gone overboard on the hair gel. I find myself talking about the dress-sense rather than the song. Just as well, or I’d be screaming too. Earnest, yet strangely forgettable. Great singer though. 58/100

  6. Denmark | Leonora | Love is forever:

Pretty little ditty this one, I hope they all sit on the giant chair and sway comically together in unison. Oh good here, come the ladders. Hope they don’t fall! That would change the mood a bit. 70/100

  7. San Marino | Serhat | Say na na na:

33,000 population. Not so much a country as a suburb of Bournemouth. Under those circumstances, the Leonard-Cohen-voiced disco oldie is a pretty good effort. No chance of big points of course, disco always dies the death at Eurovision. Cheesy and repetitive. I quite like it. 60/100

  8. North Macedonia | Tamara Todevska | Proud:

Green-frocked blonde gives a piano-led low-key ballad. Adele could probably have jazzed it up a bit more. A bit dull for me. It’s not bad as such, but I’d never sing along to it. Not unless I was blind drunk and it was the only song on the screen in a karaoke bar and they wanted everyone to leave quickly. 50/100

  9. Sweden | John Lundvik | Too late for love:

He co-wrote our UK song, and has a great voice. Must have pissed himself laughing at fobbing that one off when he had this one for himself. It’s very John Legend and a great hook to it, though as a cohesive whole, it’s lacking in parts. Rousing with those backing ladies, though. Best track so far. 82/100

  10. Slovenia | Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl | Sebi:

Are the horror-movie vampire lovers simpering along to each other? They really should be dressed in black, and singing it over the end of a Twilight movie credits. Poor young dears can’t afford trousers that fit them, so we should be kind. Not a winner. 45/100

  11. Cyprus | Tamta | Replay:

Still pissed Fuego didn’t win last year. Best Eurovision song of 2018. She’s had a few tips from Madonna on dress sense, but she hasn’t the legs for leather/pvc. The song, though, is really bangin’. Great dance rhythms, at last 11 songs in we’re getting to the good stuff. 88/100

  12. Netherlands | Duncan Laurence | Arcade:

Bought this before I knew it was a Eurovision track, the song style is very Coldplay (as commentator Graham Norton stole my thunder stating, how very dare he). The best actual SONG in the contest, which is why it’s been a hit in Europe already. I would be happy for it to win [NB yay it won!], but it takes a couple of listens to register properly. Just fab, sung well, no flash outfits, no stage gimmicks. 95/100

  13. Greece | Katerine Duska | Better love:

Very hippie frilly lace-obsessed, expecting Swan lake! Her voice is unusual and endearingly off-key at times, though I like the stomping chorus. A bit odd, a bit OK. 68/100

  14. Israel | Kobi Marimi | Home [defending champions]:

The Kobyashi Maru was a test in Star Trek with no winning solution. The Kobi Marimi was the earlier version, also with no winning solution. Dinner jackets? Check. Operatic pop? check. Leaves me cold? Check. Look at the size of my errr vocals. Biased crowd much! 47/100.

  15. Norway | KEiiNO | Spirit in the sky:

Already in the UK itunes charts this one (ie the ones that make up 5% of the actual chart “sales”) and quite deserves to be big. The 3-vocalist set-up has personality, the big Avicii-ish arrangements and chorus are fab, the hooks great, the bald novelty hey-o’s work in small doses, and a great tune. Contender to win, easily [NB it won the popular vote quite rightly]. Possibly my fave! Love it 97/100

  16. United Kingdom | Michael Rice | Bigger than us:

Not even the best version of this song in the UK A Song For Europe, so not normally expecting great things were it not for the number of duff songs this year. It must be pretty big if it’s bigger than him and his partner. It’s not bad, quite reasonable in comparison, really. He has a good voice and gave it wollop. 74/100

  17. Iceland | Hatari | Hatrið mun sigra:

They’ve escaped from the Gran Canaria fetish week by the looks of it. Where’s the gimp masks? They want to be Slipknot basically, with a hint of Depeche Mode synths. The shouty one can carry off the leather trousers though. I mean I wouldn’t play it again, but I approve of being different. 57/100

  18. Estonia | Victor Crone | Storm:

He has a good pop-star face, a nicely country-ish style, and a very catchy Eurovision singalong chorus that builds. Now this is the sort of bloody song called Storm the UK should be entering and this is bloody Estonia, not the all-conquering UK music scene! Pretty good. 86/100

  19. Belarus | Zena | Like it:

16 is barely legal, so the boots are prob a bit dodgy. Kids will love this one though, identifying with it, and it sounds 2019. It’s professional, has a chart-hit song structure to it, should do well [oops it didn’t!]. 84/100

  20. Azerbaijan | Chingiz | Truth:

Truth be told, he’s hot, the track is fab, and the robot-workers don’t hurt. Got to hand it to Azerbaijan, all that oil money goes towards buying the best songs they can get, are you listening skinflints BBC? Of course not. Classy, and what a fab hook. One of the best 5 or 6, easily. 92/100

  21. France | Bilal Hassani | Roi:

Think the singer has modelled themself on Game Of Thrones Dragon Queen so it’s odd the song is called “King”. Full marks for the stereotype-breaking performance & dancers, but the song is shrill and annoying. One of my least-fave French entries in years 53/100

  22. Italy | Mahmood | Soldi:

What no opera? No torch ballads? No it’s Italian rap with some singing. He can carry it off. Great eyes, naff shirt. The track’s one of the better, classier, more original and contemporary songs. Like it. 83/100

  23. Serbia | Nevena Božović | Kruna:

It’s Serbia so it must be another funeral song. Sure enough. I approve of the dustbin lid recycling as a neck ornament and the Wonder Woman bracelets. That’ll be handy to metaphorically dodge all the bullets music fans metaphorically aim at her. Got a gob on her though, and that always goes down well. 52/100

  24. Switzerland | Luca Hänni | She got me:

Luca is very endearing, good-looking lad, and the Latin rhythms are also irresistible. The Dirty Dancing refs will go down well, and it’s a proper bangin’ dance tune. Honestly I would SO dance to this in a Gran Canaria club after a couple of bacardi & cokes. Swing those hips! 90/100

  25. Australia | Kate Miller-Heidke | Zero gravity:

OK, it would be fab if this operatic odd tune had some balancing on the end of poles as if they were defying gravity. Oh f… it, it works! You’d have to have a heart of stone not to love her. The song isnt in anyway the best song in the competition (it’s all over the place stylistically), but its memory will last decades. Frozen fans will love it. 91/100

  26. Spain | Miki | La venda:

It’s got energy, and  great performance to end on. In a normal year this might go top 5 [err bottom in the popular vote cos a) Spanish music rhythms bomb in eurovision and b) everyone buggers off for a cuppa tea when the last song comes on)? There are 10 fab entries and 16 yawnsome ones. 83/100

 

RESULTS:

 

MINE:

  1. Norway 2. Netherlands 3. Azerbaijan 4. Australia 5. Switzerland 6. Cyprus 7. Estonia 8. Belarus 9. Italy 10. Spain

FINAL RESULT:

  1. Netherlands 2. Italy 3. Russia 4. Switzerland 5. Norway 6. Sweden 7. Azerbaijan 8. North Macedonia 9. Australia 10. Iceland

PUBLIC VOTE:

  1. Norway 2. Netherlands 3. Italy 4. Russia 5. Switzerland 6. Iceland 7. Australia 8. Azerbaijan 9. Sweden 10. San Marino

So, 6 of the final top 10 were in my top 10 faves, and 6 of the public vote (Sweden were my 11th fave so pretty much 70% in both cases) but the public vote matches my top 2 and 3 of the top 5 exactly. Bring back public votes only!

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Pop Music From a Kiddie POV 1960 part 2

TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN SPORT – Rolf Harris (3 weeks)

 

Banished from the airwaves these days due to a court case a few years ago, Rolf was everyones fave Aussie/Artist/novelty-singer back in the 60’s, and beyond – and sure enough I loved his records, Jake The Peg, this one, and especially two more yet to come. I even once had a page from Reveille (a newspaper way back mum bought that regularly published song lyrics) with Rolf’s lyrics printed out, a handy singalong for a kiddie. This track set forth the Monty Python “Bruce” Aussie stereotype, I expect, but it tickled young kids throughout the 60’s on the variety shows it regularly turned up on, and was an actual chart hit, setting Rolf on the path to belovedness, falling out of favour, comeback at Glastonbury with a Led Zep cover of Stairway To Heaven didgeridoo-style, and then his shock-arrest. And yet people still moan about character perception changes in the fictional Game Of Thrones when it’s a daily event in real world! I’m not overly fond of Tie Me Kangaroo these days, but I’ll still stand by Rolf’s 2 gems, those tracks and Rolf in those days had committed no crimes.

 

 

ONLY THE LONELY (KNOW THE WAY I FEEL) – Roy Orbison (3 weeks)

 

Roy was one of mum and dad’s absolute fave singers growing up, they had his Greatest HIts album, so this song featured in my childhood – though NOT as early as 1960, my first contemporary Roy fave was still 4 years away, and his amazing power vocals and melodramatic ballads were not yet honed; Only The Lonely is fairly modest vocally, and he had yet to move onto the trademark sunglasses, bar the bit 2-minutes in which stretched him up the register a bit. Ask me which song I preferred at age 5 and Rolf would win, at 10 and Roy would win. That’s called growing up and maturing, by age 10 I still liked novelty records, but a great pop song was what I really got passionate about, novelty records got boring quite quickly in comparison.

 

 

IT’S NOW OR NEVER – Elvis Presley (4 weeks)

 

Almost 60 years on it’s hard to recall a time when Elvis wasn’t everywhere – even dying at 42 did nothing to stop the juggernaut of Presley fame and success. In our household, Elvis was mum’s fave singer bar none, and now 80 with advanced alzheimers unable to feed herself or talk coherently, she’ll still get up and bop to Elvis, happy as if she was 22 again as she was when this topped the charts. Elvis is for life. So, Elvis was inescapable in the 60’s, films at the pictures, records topping the charts, on jukeboxes, on the radio, on TV: and this was one of his iconic, most-famous tracks, the big dramatic monster ballad. I can’t recall ever not knowing it, but then all of his big hits were just universally known in the company we kept, the younger generation and quite a few older – though my grandparents generation were more likely to not approve of his records, they were very much aware of them! This, needless to say, isn’t the last Elvis track on the list….

 

 

GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME – Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren (14 weeks)

 

14 weeks on top for this, this was a real aching-love on my part for this movie oddity – Sellers was starring in The Millionairess with huge movie star Sophia, as an Indian doctor having a romance with a rich European woman – in those days nobody blinked twice that a white comic could pull that off, these days of course it would be disastrous. Sadly, that kinda means this track is now also politically-incorrect along with the film. Me, I just loved the boom-buddy-booms, the title talked by the brilliant Peter Sellers, and Sophia’s Italian accent. Charming and catchy, and a huge hit in the UK, unlike most novelty records I’ve never not-loved this whimsical one, and it remained fairly popular on radio for 20 years or so. Possibly because it was impeccably produced by The Beatles’ George Martin – you can’t have better credentials than that! – and also the Sellers association, a man who remained beloved by many as he moved from his Goons-days into huge movie stardom, not least the fab Pink Panther movies. It’s also not the last Peter Sellers/George Martin track to feature in the rundown.

 

 

My Retro May 1969 Charts

3rd May 1969

It’s a key week on top of both my retro review charts and my original charts – as Elvis’ In The Ghetto tops the anniversary reviews, and Tommy Roe tops the original. They were the first 2 records I bought with my own money in Singapore later in the year. Tommy had already topped the retro countdown in the first chart of 1969, Elvis is also a bit early, but not 5 months early! Up 24 places to 3 is The Hit Parade’s unknown gem Ah, Ha, Ha, Do Your Thing – I can’t find out anything about the band, or the record – except the writer/producer/arranger Sonny Casella started in 1964 and carried on releasing stuff right through the disco 70’s, 80’s and into the early 90’s under various names. He does a grand job on this new obsession of mine!

Val Doonican goes top 5, and Junior Walker & The All Stars enter at 6 with one of their best records, the glorious What Does It Take – so good it was totally “borrowed” by Stock Aitken Waterman in spirit if not the courts, for their terrific 1990 charity track You’ve Got A Friend. In at 10, The Monkees last great single for ooh 17 years or so, though not Mike Nesmith’s last great song for anything near that length of time – about a year or so in fact. Listen To The Band was on the budget Monkees compilation I bought in 1974, and became an obsession of mine for a while along with the other track new to me, She.

Smokey Robinson’s classic weepie Tracks Of My Tears is in at 41, Christine McVie is in at 51 with the blues classic, later covered by the likes of Ruby Turner, and earlier by the great Etta James. Chrissie of course is currently (back) in Mac, though she wasn’t for this week in 1969, but was not too far into the future with future hubbie John McVie. Dave Dee & co are back at 60 with their final catchy single, Snake In The Grass was another fave of the time, and I was pleased to get hold of a batch of oldies including this one from a Mansfield second-hand shop in 1975. I think they were actually shop closure stock rather than second-hand, so hooray for my good fortune!

In at 63 Andy Kim is back, not long before his own monster song appears to dominate world charts, but content to do a cover of Baby I Love You a song by Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich (& Phil Spector) as hit for The Ronettes. The Ronettes & Spector are in my charts, though on the original track the backing vocalists were Darlene Love & Cher! Cher also recorded a version, as did Dave Edmunds, who’d been in my charts with Love Sculpture, in multi-Wall-Of-Sound Phil Spector style in early 1973 when he topped my charts. That version was very much indebted to Andy Kim’s version. Andy Kim was on Jeff Barry’s record label and together they wrote Sugar Sugar and many other Archies tracks, which will have a mini invasion of my charts over the next 2 years, being as I was 11-years-old and I adored the cartoon group and TV show. The Ramones also had a 1980 hit with Baby I Love You – also produced by Phil Spector. I love it when facts are circular. The best version is Dave Edmunds’.

In the lower reaches, The Sir Douglas Quintet are not she’s about a mover, they are on a good flop single instead (shame!), while The Rascals have a style change before ending their career together (shame!), The Moody Blues flop (shame!), Dionne Warwick has a less obviously Bacharach melody, but still classy, and J.J. Jackson is funky groovesome.

1 ( 3 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley # 1
2 ( 2 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers # 1
3 ( 27 ) AH, HA, HA, DO YOUR THING The Hit Parade # 3
4 ( 1 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison # 1
5 ( 9 ) RING OF BRIGHT WATER Val Doonican # 5
6 ( NEW ) WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Junior Walker & The All Stars # 6
7 ( 4 ) THE BOXER Simon & Garfunkel # 1
8 ( 6 ) GET BACK The Beatles with Billy Preston # 6
9 ( 5 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers # 5
10 ( NEW ) LISTEN TO THE BAND The Monkees # 10

11 ( 23 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann # 11
12 ( 12 ) FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees # 1
13 ( 11 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell # 1
14 ( 20 ) JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ Dusty Springfield # 14
15 ( 15 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits # 15
16 ( 8 ) HURTING EACH OTHER Ruby & The Romantics # 5
17 ( 7 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin # 1
18 ( 10 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac # 10
19 ( 14 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder # 5
20 ( 13 ) ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 4

21 ( 16 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl # 2
22 ( 18 ) AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN (THE FLESH FAILURES) (MEDLEY) The 5th Dimension # 1
23 ( 17 ) YOU CAME YOU SAW YOU CONQUERED The Ronettes # 9
24 ( 21 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING The Righteous Brothers # 1
25 ( 22 ) DON JUAN Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 4
26 ( 28 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival # 26
27 ( 19 ) HAPPY HEART Andy Williams # 19
28 ( 29 ) ANY DAY NOW Elvis Presley # 28
29 ( 38 ) NOWHERE TO RUN Martha & The Vandellas # 29
30 ( 35 ) DON’T LET ME DOWN The Beatles # 30

31 ( 24 ) CUPID Johnny Nash # 18
32 ( 25 ) BABY DRIVER Simon & Garfunkel # 11
33 ( 31 ) WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Noel Harrison # 6
34 ( 30 ) I CAN HEAR MUSIC The Beach Boys # 7
35 ( 46 ) I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT ANYMORE Dusty Springfield # 35
36 ( 26 ) THESE EYES The Guess Who # 26
37 ( 39 ) TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye # 37
38 ( 59 ) WHERE’S THE PLAYGROUND SUSIE Glen Campbell # 38
39 ( 52 ) ROSE GARDEN Joe South # 39
40 ( 34 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe # 1

41 ( NEW ) TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 41
42 ( 37 ) WHERE DO YOU GO TO (MY LOVELY) Peter Sarstedt # 1
43 ( 32 ) PINBALL WIZARD The Who # 7
44 ( 40 ) RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH Ike & Tina Turner # 4
45 ( 41 ) I STARTED A JOKE The Bee Gees # 1
46 ( 70 ) MAMA SOUL The Soul Survivors # 46
47 ( 60 ) BLACK PEARL Sonny Charles & The Checkmates # 47
48 ( 50 ) SOMEDAY MAN The Monkees # 48
49 ( 55 ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe # 49
50 ( 56 ) LODI Creedence Clearwater Revival # 50

51 ( NEW ) I’D RATHER GO BLIND Chicken Shack # 51
52 ( 33 ) IF MY FRIENDS COULD SEE ME NOW Shirley MacLaine # 33
53 ( 36 ) I’M ALIVE Johnny Thunder # 30
54 ( 63 ) WHAT IS A MAN The Four Tops # 54
55 ( 66 ) THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Dusty Springfield # 55
56 ( 42 ) HAIR The Cowsills # 19
57 ( 71 ) DARKNESS, DARKNESS The Youngbloods # 57
58 ( 53 ) ELOISE Barry Ryan # 1
59 ( 54 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye # 1
60 ( NEW ) SNAKE IN THE GRASS Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 60

61 ( 43 ) STAND Sly & The Family Stone # 43
62 ( 44 ) CAROLINA IN MY MIND James Taylor # 44
63 ( NEW ) BABY I LOVE YOU Andy Kim # 63
64 ( 65 ) LOVE THEME FROM “ROMEO AND JULIET” Henry Mancini # 64
65 ( 49 ) I CAN’T SEE MYSELF LEAVING YOU Aretha Franklin # 49
66 ( 61 ) WICHITA LINEMAN Glen Campbell # 1
67 ( 69 ) LOVE IS STRANGE Buddy Holly # 67
68 ( 51 ) (IF PARADISE IS) HALF AS NICE Amen Corner # 1
69 ( NEW ) IT DIDN’T EVEN BRING ME DOWN The Sir Douglas Quintet # 69
70 ( 72 ) LET ME Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay # 70

71 ( NEW ) SEE The Rascals # 71
72 ( NEW ) BUT IT’S ALRIGHT J.J. Jackson # 72
73 ( NEW ) THE APRIL FOOLS Dionne Warwick # 73
74 ( NEW ) NEVER COMES THE DAY The Moody Blues # 74
75 ( 48 ) BADGE Cream # 48

3rd May Retro-Then
1 ( 3 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 1 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin
3 ( 2 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers
4 ( 9 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits
5 ( 6 ) GET BACK The Beatles
6 ( 4 ) CUPID Johnny Nash
7 ( 5 ) PINBALL WIZARD The Who
8 ( 8 ) THE ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker and The Aces
9 ( 7 ) WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Noel Harrison
10 ( 18 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel

11 ( 14 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers
12 ( NEW ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann
13 ( 11 ) BOOM BANG A BANG Lulu
14 ( 10 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl
15 ( 20 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
16 ( 19 ) GENTLE ON MY MIND Dean Martin
17 ( 16 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye
18 ( 17 ) GAMES PEOPLE PLAY Joe South
19 ( NEW ) AQUARIUS/ LET THE SUN SHINE IN The Fifth Dimension
20 ( 13 ) IN THE BAD BAD OLD DAYS The Foundations

 

 

10th May 1969

It’s 2 weeks on top for Elvis at the top of his game, run closely by obscure new-to-me The Hit Parade and a Junior Walker classic. Highest new entry at 5 is yet another Hair musical cover – this from Oliver, melodic tuneful style version of Good Morning Starshine. As I headed abroad in just over 3 months time, this track, and one yet to come, were my obsessions. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be mad on a song – and then not be able to hear it again! Having to wait years to hear music is an alien concept these days, but way back then if radio didn’t play it and it wasn’t available to buy, then that was that! I eventually bought it in California in 1979, hooray, though I had by then taped it from the 5 Years Ago chart rundowns on Radio 1 in 1974.

The Manfreds & The Hermits both get another top 10, not too far behind their chart positions of that time for me, Creedence get that Bad Moon rising into the 20, & another future reissued chart-topper in the 90’s for me enters at 32 for Jethro Tull – Living In The Past is apt, and also their finest moment by far. Tom Jones is back with another jolly romp, Love Me Tonight entering much lower than it did 50 years ago for me, Herb Alpert covers Nilsson, making it the 3rd version of Without Her to chart, after Jack Jones also had a good ol go. Herb’s version isn;t quite as good but it’s not bad, the song is indestructible – even James Arthur would struggle to kill it dead.

Microbe enters with Groovy Baby, a longtime Juniors Choice fave for kids of my age and younger, and it’s still charming and it’s still groovy, baby. The Dells drop by with a song I associate with Cilla, I Can Sing A Rainbow, and one I associate with melodicas and Paul Mauriat, Love Is Blue. This soulfunk version isn’t bad, but not as good as the aforementioned. Sly & co enter as the previous single drops out, they certainly were prolific in 1969, I Wanna Take You Higher clearly influencing the 90’s Was (Not Was) big hit Walk The Dinosaur. The Bee Gees were about to combust internally as Robin buggered off and it showed in the odd choice of single Tomorrow Tomorrow, very much sub par compared to those that went before and after. That leaves a cover of Let’s Dance, the old Chris Montez track, from a band I’ve never heard of. Ola!

1 ( 1 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley # 1
2 ( 3 ) AH, HA, HA, DO YOUR THING The Hit Parade # 2
3 ( 6 ) WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Junior Walker & The All Stars # 3
4 ( 2 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers # 1
5 ( NEW ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver # 5
6 ( 4 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison # 1
7 ( 5 ) RING OF BRIGHT WATER Val Doonican # 5
8 ( 10 ) LISTEN TO THE BAND The Monkees # 8
9 ( 11 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann # 9
10 ( 15 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits # 10

11 ( 7 ) THE BOXER Simon & Garfunkel # 1
12 ( 26 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival # 12
13 ( 8 ) GET BACK The Beatles with Billy Preston # 6
14 ( 9 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers # 5
15 ( 12 ) FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees # 1
16 ( 13 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell # 1
17 ( 14 ) JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ Dusty Springfield # 14
18 ( 18 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac # 10
19 ( 19 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder # 5
20 ( 20 ) ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 4

21 ( 16 ) HURTING EACH OTHER Ruby & The Romantics # 5
22 ( 17 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin # 1
23 ( 21 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl # 2
24 ( 22 ) AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN (THE FLESH FAILURES) (MEDLEY) The 5th Dimension # 1
25 ( 28 ) ANY DAY NOW Elvis Presley # 25
26 ( 24 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING The Righteous Brothers # 1
27 ( 23 ) YOU CAME YOU SAW YOU CONQUERED The Ronettes # 9
28 ( 29 ) NOWHERE TO RUN Martha & The Vandellas # 28
29 ( 37 ) TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye # 29
30 ( 35 ) I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT ANYMORE Dusty Springfield # 30

31 ( 25 ) DON JUAN Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 4
32 ( NEW ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull # 32
33 ( 38 ) WHERE’S THE PLAYGROUND SUSIE Glen Campbell # 33
34 ( 41 ) TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 34
35 ( 47 ) BLACK PEARL Sonny Charles & The Checkmates # 35
36 ( 39 ) ROSE GARDEN Joe South # 36
37 ( 27 ) HAPPY HEART Andy Williams # 19
38 ( 46 ) MAMA SOUL The Soul Survivors # 38
39 ( 31 ) CUPID Johnny Nash # 18
40 ( 54 ) WHAT IS A MAN The Four Tops # 40

41 ( 32 ) BABY DRIVER Simon & Garfunkel # 11
42 ( 30 ) DON’T LET ME DOWN The Beatles # 30
43 ( 34 ) I CAN HEAR MUSIC The Beach Boys # 7
44 ( 40 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe # 1
45 ( 33 ) WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Noel Harrison # 6
46 ( 50 ) LODI Creedence Clearwater Revival # 46
47 ( 43 ) PINBALL WIZARD The Who # 7
48 ( 42 ) WHERE DO YOU GO TO (MY LOVELY) Peter Sarstedt # 1
49 ( 45 ) I STARTED A JOKE The Bee Gees # 1
50 ( 44 ) RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH Ike & Tina Turner # 4

51 ( 51 ) I’D RATHER GO BLIND Chicken Shack # 51
52 ( 48 ) SOMEDAY MAN The Monkees # 48
53 ( 55 ) THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Dusty Springfield # 53
54 ( 60 ) SNAKE IN THE GRASS Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 54
55 ( NEW ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones # 55
56 ( 49 ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe # 49
57 ( 57 ) DARKNESS, DARKNESS The Youngbloods # 57
58 ( NEW ) WITHOUT HER Herb Alpert # 58
59 ( 36 ) THESE EYES The Guess Who # 26
60 ( 63 ) BABY I LOVE YOU Andy Kim # 60

61 ( NEW ) GROOVY BABY Microbe # 61
62 ( 69 ) IT DIDN’T EVEN BRING ME DOWN The Sir Douglas Quintet # 62
63 ( 58 ) ELOISE Barry Ryan # 1
64 ( 59 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye # 1
65 ( 73 ) THE APRIL FOOLS Dionne Warwick # 65
66 ( 70 ) LET ME Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay # 66
67 ( 71 ) SEE The Rascals # 67
68 ( 64 ) LOVE THEME FROM “ROMEO AND JULIET” Henry Mancini # 64
69 ( NEW ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells # 69
70 ( 67 ) LOVE IS STRANGE Buddy Holly # 67

71 ( 72 ) BUT IT’S ALRIGHT J.J. Jackson # 71
72 ( 74 ) NEVER COMES THE DAY The Moody Blues # 72
73 ( NEW ) I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER Sly & The Family Stone # 73
74 ( NEW ) LET’S DANCE Ola and The Janglers # 74
75 ( NEW ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees # 75

RETRO THEN
1 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 2 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin
3 ( 4 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits
4 ( 3 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers
5 ( 5 ) GET BACK The Beatles
6 ( 12 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann
7 ( 11 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers
8 ( 10 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 6 ) CUPID Johnny Nash
10 ( 8 ) THE ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker and The Aces

11 ( 7 ) PINBALL WIZARD The Who
12 ( 15 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
13 ( 9 ) WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Noel Harrison
14 ( NEW ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones
15 ( 19 ) AQUARIUS/ LET THE SUN SHINE IN The Fifth Dimension
16 ( 13 ) BOOM BANG A BANG Lulu
17 ( NEW ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell
18 ( NEW ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac
19 ( 14 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl
20 ( 16 ) GENTLE ON MY MIND Dean Martin

My May-Aug 2019 Charts

19th May 2019

It’s a huge climb of 58 places for the Eurovision winner from Duncan Laurence – I didn’t actually know it was entered last week, oops, I just liked it! Arcade is the highest climb to the top for ages, and also the first Eurovision song to top for 5 years and the first winner to top since 2010. An actual great Coldplay-ish song, and deserved winner for The Netherlands who topped my chart in 1975 with Ding A Dong (Teach-In). Elsewhere there’s a Eurovision invasion, I’ve had to expand my charts to 80 to cope with the huge influx of new tracks and not enough dropping out. Keiino won the popular vote and enter at 3 for Norway, Australia did an amazing performance and are at 6, and Azerbaijan as always put their oil money where their music mouth is and buy in another great pop song, in at 8. That all means Mark Ronson stays at 2, and a bunch of hot tracks are kicked out of the 10.

Sam Bluer rockets into the 20, an old early 70’s soul fave has made the itunes chart (I’ve no idea why but it gives me an excuse to finally chart it 20-odd years after I’d come across it on US oldies stations): Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose’s Too Late To Turn Back Now, in at 31. Madonna gets 2 new entries, fresh from her Eurovision performance of Future, in at 34, and I Rise at 67. A one-time popular pop star plugging his greatest hits said this week that Madonna would do anything for money, as criticism of her turning up in Israel. 1. No she doesn’t, you dont catch her doing TV adverts for cash like many I could mention 2. You can rely on Madonna to be controversial and make political or social comments ESPECIALLY if she’s told not to do something 3. It’s a music competition, slag off her, slag off every country for taking part, and every performer, or accept it’s supposed to be above politics as sporting events are.

Lana Del Ray is back with a rewrite of the classic Summertime, a George Gershwin cover hit for Fun Boy Three in 1983, and dating back to 1934 and the definitive Billie Holliday version sometime after. The number of ancient songs in my chart just grows, not least the 60’s Jimmy Fortuna song heavily unnoficially reworked by Offer Nissim in at 54! Highasakite are back after a gap of a few years, Pnau also return as Empire Of The Sun hang on to a top 20 spot, spot the connection! Finally, Elton has a film soundtrack duet with Taron Egerton to go with Taron’s climbing Rocket Man cover.

1 59 1 2 ARCADE Duncan Laurence 180100
2 2 2 5 LATE NIGHT FEELINGS Mark Ronson featuring Lykke Li 320200
3 NEW 3 1 SPIRIT IN THE SKY Keiino 85000
4 7 4 4 HELLO SUNSHINE Bruce Springsteen 141400
5 1 1 5 MEDELLIN Madonna & Maluma 489000
6 NEW 6 1 ZERO GRAVITY Kate Miller-Heidke 55000
7 14 7 2 MIRACLE Caravan Palace 79000
8 NEW 8 1 TRUTH (RADIO EDIT) Chingiz 48000
9 9 9 3 HUNGRY CHILD Hot Chip 97500
10 3 3 4 IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME Harry James & His Orchestra & Kitty Kallen 239000

11 4 1 5 TIME IN A TREE Raleigh Ritchie 475000
12 8 8 4 JENNY OF OLDSTONES (GAME OF THRONES) Florence + The Machine 98700
13 5 5 2 BLACK HILLS OF DAKOTA Doris Day & Howard Keel 92000
14 6 6 5 NEVERMIND Dennis Lloyd 194000
15 15 15 3 NEW YORK CITY Kylie Minogue 64600
16 20 16 3 LOVE AGAIN New Hope Club 63000
17 10 10 7 SELFISH Vargas & Lagola 155850
18 19 18 3 AS LONG AS I HAVE TO Vargas & Lagola 62000
19 58 19 2 BODY HIGH Sam Bluer 31200
20 13 1 11 CHRYSALIS Empire Of The Sun 754000

21 36 21 4 ME! Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco 64250
22 26 22 5 LET ME DOWN SLOWLY Alec Benjamin featuring Alessia Cara 79900
23 11 11 9 PATIENCE Tame Impala 186650
24 18 18 5 OLD TOWN ROAD Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus 101200
25 29 25 2 MOVE OVER DARLING Doris Day 36950
26 28 26 6 SHOW ME ABC 81250
27 12 3 11 KIND OF LOVE Rat City featuring Isak Heim 489500
28 40 28 3 ABOUT WORK THE DANCEFLOOR (EDIT) Georgia 42300
29 32 29 4 ALL DAY AND NIGHT Jax Jones, Martin Solveig (aka Europa) & Madison Beer 60300
30 33 30 5 RAINBOW Kacey Musgraves 47900

31 NEW 31 1 TOO LATE TO TURN BACK NOW Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose 17900
32 42 32 6 DATE STAMP ABC 61850
33 34 33 3 BLACK STAR DANCING Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 46550
34 NEW 34 1 FUTURE Madonna & Quavo 17600
35 17 7 11 OCEAN EYES Billie Eilish 272100
36 16 5 11 STUFF LIKE THAT Bananarama 319900
37 NEW 37 1 DOIN’ TIME Lana Del Ray 17300
38 22 22 6 BORDERLINE Tame Impala 91800
39 56 39 2 BODY FUNK Purple Disco Machine 27700
40 21 1 8 THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE The Walker Brothers 765750

41 24 15 6 WEDDING BELL BLUES Morrissey featuring Billie Joe Armstrong & Lydia Night 124500
42 23 11 9 FEEL THE SAME Olly Murs featuring Nile Rodgers 196000
43 NEW 43 1 FREE TO GO Seeb & Highasakite 13500
44 NEW 44 1 FOCUS ON ME MARUV 13250
45 25 25 6 HUSTLE P!nk 104950
46 61 46 3 ROCKET MAN Taron Egerton 25650
47 54 47 3 JUNGLE BOOGIE Kool & The Gang 33500
48 27 6 11 YOU BELONG TO ME Cat Pierce 459700
49 NEW 49 1 REPLAY Tamta 12100
50 31 1 8 JACKIE Scott Walker 568900

51 38 38 5 THINK OF ME The Veronicas 59800
52 41 7 11 DON’T CALL ME UP Mabel 230100
53 39 39 5 SO CLOSE NOTD, Felix Jaehn & Captain Cuts featuring Georgia Ku 67350
54 NEW 54 1 EL MUNDO Offer Nissim Presents Jimmy Fontana 11000
55 71 55 2 3 NIGHTS Dominic Fike 16600
56 60 56 2 I DON’T CARE Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber 20600
57 30 18 6 SOS Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc 106400
58 NEW 58 1 SOLID GOLD PNAU featuring Kira Divine & Marques Toliver 10200
59 35 35 6 PIECE OF YOUR HEART Meduza featuring GOODBOYS 91700
60 48 48 4 LOVE IS ON THE LINE Jack Savoretti 40600

61 63 61 2 BLAST OFF Gesaffelstein & Pharrell Williams 14700
62 62 62 5 ONE STEP BEYOND Madness 35400
63 44 2 14 365 Zedd & Katy Perry 600150
64 64 64 2 TALK (SINGLE EDIT) Two Door Cinema Club 14200
65 46 46 5 MAIN TITLE (GAME OF THRONES) Ramin Djawadi 52400
66 NEW 66 1 LET ME KNOW (RADIO EDIT) Roisin Murphy 6800
67 NEW 67 1 I RISE Madonna 6600
68 65 52 4 YOU SAY Lauren Daigle 36150
69 70 69 2 BAD GUY Billie Eilish 12200
70 55 1 12 AMERICAN GENERATION The Ritchie Family 446550

71 37 37 2 SECRET LOVE Doris Day 22800
72 72 72 3 VENUS Shocking Blue 16800
73 47 3 14 BEST 54 (ALL GOOD NOW) Jungle 589800
74 74 74 2 SOFIA Alvaro Soler 10400
75 NEW 75 1 SHE GOT ME Luca Hanni 5000
76 NEW 76 1 STORM Victor Crone 4800
77 NEW 77 1 (I’M GONNA) LOVE ME AGAIN Elton John & Taron Egerton 4600
78 NEW 78 1 LIKE IT ZENA 4400
79 NEW 79 1 NAKED ALONE L Devine & INDIIA 4200
80 NEW 80 1 SOLDI Mahmood 4000

DROP OUTS
43 25 4 FEELINGS John Newman 61150
45 1 12 YOUR EX Paloma Faith 635300
49 12 10 OLD WILD MEN 10cc 142800
50 50 3 SUPERSONIC ROCKETSHIP (352900) The Kinks 35500
51 28 7 MY SHIP IS COMING IN The Walker Brothers 90300
52 9 10 SUCKER Jonas Brothers 275850
53 16 6 STRETCH Louise 103450
57 57 2 COME AND GET YOUR LOVE (729000) Redbone 20600
66 10 13 TALK Khalid & Disclosure 349000
67 67 1 WHATEVER WILL BE, WILL BE (QUE SERA, SERA Doris Day 6600
68 68 3 LE FREAK (12” MIX) (672200) Chic 17800
69 39 4 YOU AND I LEON 48900
73 1 10 IT’S OVER Morrissey featuring LP 529700
75 75 1 ALL THIS LOVE Robin Schulz featuring Harloe 5000

 

 

12th May 2019

It’s a first week on top for Madonna & Maluma, ahead of her Eurovision appearance, with the fab latin rhythms of Medellin, which came swanning out of speakers by my gloriously sunny and hot hotel pool in Gran Canaria last week. How appropriate! Hence the lateness of this chart. That becomes Madonna’s first number one in 4 years, and her 20th in total, her oldest track to top my chart being 1984’s Holiday, though the first was 1986’s Papa Don’t Preach.

As yet another legend passes away, the 97-year-old movie star fave Doris Day – who I was watching in a movie musicals bar only days before – enters with 4 tracks that meant the most to me, largely from Calamity Jane or Move Over Darling (my fave movies of hers), the highest being the debut for Black Hills Of Dakota at 5. Move Over Darling topped my charts in 1987. With the 40’s Harry James at 3, and Doris’ 50’s track at 5, and the Raleigh Ritchie’s featured 30’s sounding sample at 4, it’s easily the oldest top 5 ever for me, and bung in 60-year-old Madonna as well, a positive youngster compared to Doris!

The top end of the chart gets frantic as loads of great new tracks take my fancy, headed by Springsteen’s first top 10 in a few years, Florence + The Machine’s haunting Game Of Thrones song taking her back into the top 10 for a 10th occasion in 10 years, and Hot Chip getting a second top 10 11 years late. Bruce ‘n’ Flo have both topped my charts previously. Highest new track is Caravan Palace with a very naughty video at 14, fab, and a massive climb into the 20 for Kylie – never far away from my charts since 1988 – and New York City.

Noel Gallagher goes top 40, Georgia gets a biggie climb for a second top 40 in a row, Purple Disco Machine debut with a Funkytown-ish funk-out, the first Eurovision song this year pops in at 59, Gesaffelstein (bless you!), Pharrell, Two-Door Cinema Club all return at the lower end, Pharrell will be knocking on 16 years with his NERD debut, Billie Eilish yet again gets 2 in the chart simultaneously, and a former Buzzjack song that I heard on my hols also pops in at 74.

1 2 1 4 MEDELLIN Madonna & Maluma 429000
2 4 2 4 LATE NIGHT FEELINGS Mark Ronson featuring Lykke Li 205200
3 3 3 3 IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME Harry James & His Orchestra & Kitty Kallen 197000
4 1 1 4 TIME IN A TREE Raleigh Ritchie 438000
5 NEW 5 1 BLACK HILLS OF DAKOTA Doris Day & Howard Keel 60000
6 6 6 4 NEVERMIND Dennis Lloyd 165000
7 20 7 3 HELLO SUNSHINE Bruce Springsteen 76400
8 59 8 3 JENNY OF OLDSTONES (GAME OF THRONES) Florence + The Machine 63700
9 61 9 2 HUNGRY CHILD Hot Chip 52500
10 16 10 6 SELFISH Vargas & Lagola 132850

11 17 11 8 PATIENCE Tame Impala 167400
12 5 3 10 KIND OF LOVE Rat City featuring Isak Heim 471100
13 10 1 10 CHRYSALIS Empire Of The Sun 734000
14 NEW 14 1 MIRACLE Caravan Palace 29000
15 56 15 2 NEW YORK CITY Kylie Minogue 37600
16 8 5 10 STUFF LIKE THAT Bananarama 302500
17 7 7 10 OCEAN EYES Billie Eilish 254600
18 19 18 4 OLD TOWN ROAD Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus 82200
19 24 19 2 AS LONG AS I HAVE TO Vargas & Lagola 40000
20 30 20 2 LOVE AGAIN New Hope Club 38000

21 9 1 7 THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE The Walker Brothers 748750
22 22 22 5 BORDERLINE Tame Impala 74600
23 11 11 8 FEEL THE SAME Olly Murs featuring Nile Rodgers 182250
24 15 15 5 WEDDING BELL BLUES Morrissey featuring Billie Joe Armstrong & Lydia Night 110500
25 27 25 5 HUSTLE P!nk 91950
26 31 26 4 LET ME DOWN SLOWLY Alec Benjamin featuring Alessia Cara 60400
27 14 6 10 YOU BELONG TO ME Cat Pierce 447400
28 32 28 5 SHOW ME ABC 62750
29 NEW 29 1 MOVE OVER DARLING Doris Day 18200
30 18 18 5 SOS Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc 96000

31 13 1 7 JACKIE Scott Walker 556900
32 35 32 3 ALL DAY AND NIGHT Jax Jones, Martin Solveig (aka Europa) & Madison Beer 42100
33 45 33 4 RAINBOW Kacey Musgraves 29900
34 53 34 2 BLACK STAR DANCING Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 28850
35 36 35 5 PIECE OF YOUR HEART Meduza featuring GOODBOYS 81600
36 39 36 3 ME! Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco 44500
37 NEW 37 1 SECRET LOVE Doris Day 17300
38 46 38 4 THINK OF ME The Veronicas 48050
39 40 39 4 SO CLOSE NOTD, Felix Jaehn & Captain Cuts featuring Georgia Ku 56100
40 65 40 2 ABOUT WORK THE DANCEFLOOR Georgia 24000

41 21 7 10 DON’T CALL ME UP Mabel 218600
42 47 42 5 DATE STAMP ABC 44050
43 25 25 4 FEELINGS John Newman 61150
44 33 2 13 365 Zedd & Katy Perry 592950
45 26 1 12 YOUR EX Paloma Faith 635300
46 51 46 4 MAIN TITLE (GAME OF THRONES) Ramin Djawadi 45400
47 37 3 13 BEST 54 (ALL GOOD NOW) Jungle 584400
48 49 48 3 LOVE IS ON THE LINE Jack Savoretti 30600
49 12 12 10 OLD WILD MEN 10cc 142800
50 50 50 3 SUPERSONIC ROCKETSHIP The Kinks 35500

51 28 28 7 MY SHIP IS COMING IN The Walker Brothers 90300
52 34 9 10 SUCKER Jonas Brothers 275850
53 29 16 6 STRETCH Louise 103450
54 60 54 2 JUNGLE BOOGIE Kool & The Gang 21000
55 48 1 11 AMERICAN GENERATION The Ritchie Family 440550
56 NEW 56 1 BODY FUNK Purple Disco Machine 10600
57 58 57 2 COME AND GET YOUR LOVE Redbone 20600
58 NEW 58 1 BODY HIGH Sam Bluer 10200
59 NEW 59 1 ARCADE Duncan Laurence 10100
60 NEW 60 1 I DON’T CARE Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber 10000

61 73 61 2 ROCKET MAN Taron Egerton 12900
62 62 62 4 ONE STEP BEYOND Madness 28000
63 NEW 63 1 BLAST OFF Gesaffelstein & Pharrell Williams 7200
64 NEW 64 1 TALK (SINGLE EDIT) Two Door Cinema Club 7100
65 52 52 3 YOU SAY Lauren Daigle 29750
66 38 10 13 TALK Khalid & Disclosure 349000
67 NEW 67 1 WHATEVER WILL BE, WILL BE (QUE SERA, SERA Doris Day 6600
68 68 68 3 LE FREAK (12” MIX) Chic 17800
69 43 39 4 YOU AND I LEON 48900
70 NEW 70 1 BAD GUY Billie Eilish 6000

71 NEW 71 1 3 NIGHTS Dominic Fike 5800
72 72 72 2 VENUS Shocking Blue 11200
73 54 1 10 IT’S OVER Morrissey featuring LP 529700
74 NEW 74 1 SOFIA Alvaro Soler 5200
75 NEW 75 1 ALL THIS LOVE Robin Schulz featuring Harloe 5000

DROP OUTS
23 3 6 ROCK THE BOAT The Hues Corporation 317250
41 2 8 SPARROW Emeli Sande 436250
42 30 9 WE’RE THROUGH The Hollies 122950
44 37 6 HERE WITH ME Marshmello Featuring CHVRCHES 66800
55 36 4 DRUM Noa Kirel 62900
57 9 6 MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF The Walker Brothers 139500
63 13 9 NEVER COMIN DOWN Keith Urban 181400
64 28 9 CASIO Jungle 127100
66 47 9 SO AM I Ava Max 80300
67 51 5 COOL The Jonas Brothers 48450
69 56 5 KING JAMES Anderson .Paak 39200
70 70 2 SUMMER DAYS Martin Garrix featuring Macklemore & Patrick Stump pf Fall Out Boy 12000
71 71 2 LOVE ME ANYWAY P!nk featuring Chris Stapleton 11600
74 10 9 LIFTED Parker Bossley 187650
75 75 1 OVERKILL Motorhead 5000

 

 

5th March 2019

It’s a second week on top for Raleigh Ritchie’s lovely track which speaks to me as much as him, I expect – the sentiment is something I can relate to, being as my life is a rollercoaster of busy-ness interspersed with the odd bit of time doing charts. Just sitting and enjoying life gently passing by isn’t something I get to do much. Madonna is still at 2 for a second week and Harry James & Kitty Kallen shoot up to 3, which easily makes it the highest-placed charting track to predate the 1950’s, courtesy of Endgame’s closing credits.

Mark Ronson makes it 2 in a row top 10’s, and his 4th in total, Lykke Li getting her first, while Dennis Lloyd does the same. Bruce Springsteen leaps into the 20 in a single bound, his first top 20 charting track in 5 years, or his 10th in the last 20 years, and umpteenth since his first in 1975. Yes that one. Born To Run peaked outside the top 10 first time round but topped my chart in 2009. Vargas and Legoland get a second simultaneous top 30 as As Long As I Have To enters, while Selfish goes top 20, and a debut for New Hope Club at 30 outdoes more established acts entering like Noel Gallagher at 53, making 26 Oasisfestfilled years, Kylie in New York City – with some way to go to match T.Rex’s 1975 song of the same name – Redbone returning for a fourth run courtesy of Avengers again, one from 1974 and the rest from Marvel film boosts.

Kool & The Gang have never charted with Jungle Boogie, which is a bit surprising for a track and I knew at the time and quite liked, but then my chart was limited to a top 30 in those days – even Redbone only just scraped in, and turnover was fast to try and squeeze records in back in 1974. It’s also one of their best records and is currently getting blanket TV ad plays, much better than their bland disco phase that lasted for eternity. So, 27 years since they last charted, and 46 years since it was released, that would be impressive if Harry James wasn’t making it look quite recent in comparison.

It’s been 9 years since Hot Chip last charted, but they belatedly get their 6th some 13 years after their first, in at 61 with a funky workout, Georgia gets a second, Shocking Blue get a 3rd-time-round hit with a World Record Store vinyl release of Venus almost 50 years since the first time, Taron Egertin is about to star in the Fantasy Elton John biopic, and enters with Rocket Man, his second charting song (the first was in 2016 with Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark & Hugh Jackman, from the Eddie The eagle biopic spin-off album, Thrill Me), a former Elton chart-topper from 1972, and Motorhead return for a third WRS Day vinyl-pushed blowout with a spot of Overkill.

1 1 1 3 TIME IN A TREE Raleigh Ritchie 373000
2 2 2 3 MEDELLIN Madonna & Maluma 259000
3 15 3 2 IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME Harry James & His Orchestra & Kitty Kallen 112000
4 29 4 3 LATE NIGHT FEELINGS Mark Ronson featuring Lykke Li 90200
5 3 3 9 KIND OF LOVE Rat City featuring Isak Heim 436100
6 12 6 3 NEVERMIND Dennis Lloyd 110000
7 7 7 9 OCEAN EYES Billie Eilish 231600
8 5 5 9 STUFF LIKE THAT Bananarama 277500
9 4 1 6 THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE The Walker Brothers 729000
10 6 1 9 CHRYSALIS Empire Of The Sun 702000

11 14 11 7 FEEL THE SAME Olly Murs featuring Nile Rodgers 163000
12 18 12 9 OLD WILD MEN 10cc 130700
13 10 1 6 JACKIE Scott Walker 539000
14 8 6 9 YOU BELONG TO ME Cat Pierce 429000
15 17 15 4 WEDDING BELL BLUES Morrissey 91500
16 32 16 5 SELFISH Vargas & Lagola 90850
17 20 17 7 PATIENCE Tame Impala 130400
18 21 18 4 SOS Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc 78000
19 19 19 3 OLD TOWN ROAD Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus 60200
20 68 20 2 HELLO SUNSHINE Bruce Springsteen 26400

21 11 7 9 DON’T CALL ME UP Mabel 204600
22 33 22 4 BORDERLINE Tame Impala 55100
23 9 3 6 ROCK THE BOAT The Hues Corporation 317250
24 NEW 24 1 AS LONG AS I HAVE TO Vargas & Lagola 19000
25 28 25 3 FEELINGS John Newman 47650
26 13 1 11 YOUR EX Paloma Faith 622300
27 27 27 4 HUSTLE P!nk 73200
28 35 28 6 MY SHIP IS COMING IN The Walker Brothers 78550
29 16 16 5 STRETCH Louise 92200
30 NEW 30 1 LOVE AGAIN New Hope Club 18000

31 34 31 3 LET ME DOWN SLOWLY Alec Benjamin featuring Alessia Cara 41900
32 46 32 4 SHOW ME ABC 44450
33 26 2 12 365 Zedd & Katy Perry 579700
34 22 9 9 SUCKER Jonas Brothers 264350
35 66 35 2 ALL DAY AND NIGHT Jax Jones, Martin Solveig (aka Europa) & Madison Beer 24300
36 38 36 4 PIECE OF YOUR HEART Meduza featuring GOODBOYS 64100
37 25 3 12 BEST 54 (ALL GOOD NOW) Jungle 571900
38 24 10 12 TALK Khalid & Disclosure 342200
39 60 39 2 ME! Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco 27100
40 50 40 3 SO CLOSE NOTD, Felix Jaehn & Captain Cuts featuring Georgia Ku 39000

41 23 2 8 SPARROW Emeli Sande 436250
42 30 30 9 WE’RE THROUGH The Hollies 122950
43 39 39 3 YOU AND I LEON 42700
44 37 37 6 HERE WITH ME Marshmello Featuring CHVRCHES 66800
45 58 45 3 RAINBOW Kacey Musgraves 29800
46 49 46 3 THINK OF ME The Veronicas 30850
47 62 47 4 DATE STAMP ABC 30300
48 43 1 10 AMERICAN GENERATION The Ritchie Family 429750
49 69 49 2 LOVE IS ON THE LINE Jack Savoretti 18300
50 52 50 2 SUPERSONIC ROCKETSHIP The Kinks 23500

51 55 51 3 MAIN TITLE (GAME OF THRONES) Ramin Djawadi 32650
52 53 52 2 YOU SAY Lauren Daigle 22750
53 NEW 53 1 BLACK STAR DANCING Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 11250
54 40 1 9 IT’S OVER Morrissey featuring LP 524300
55 36 36 4 DRUM Noa Kirel 62900
56 NEW 56 1 NEW YORK CITY Kylie Minogue 10600
57 31 9 6 MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF The Walker Brothers 139500
58 NEW 58 1 COME AND GET YOUR LOVE Redbone 10200
59 72 59 2 JENNY OF OLDSTONES (GAME OF THRONES) Florence + The Machine 15700
60 NEW 60 1 JUNGLE BOOGIE Kool & The Gang 10000

61 NEW 61 1 HUNGRY CHILD Hot Chip 7500
62 65 62 3 ONE STEP BEYOND Madness 20600
63 45 13 9 NEVER COMIN DOWN Keith Urban 181400
64 41 28 9 CASIO Jungle 127100
65 NEW 65 1 ABOUT WORK THE DANCEFLOOR Georgia 7000
66 47 47 9 SO AM I Ava Max 80300
67 51 51 5 COOL The Jonas Brothers 48450
68 75 68 2 LE FREAK (12” MIX) Chic 11400
69 56 56 5 KING JAMES Anderson .Paak 39200
70 70 70 2 SUMMER DAYS Martin Garrix featuring Macklemore & Patrick Stump pf Fall Out Boy 12000

71 71 71 2 LOVE ME ANYWAY P!nk featuring Chris Stapleton 11600
72 NEW 72 1 VENUS Shocking Blue 5600
73 NEW 73 1 ROCKET MAN Taron Egerton 5400
74 42 10 9 LIFTED Parker Bossley 187650
75 NEW 75 1 OVERKILL Motorhead 5000

DROP OUTS
44 39 8 THE BIRD SYML 87500
48 40 7 HURRICANES Dido 80650
54 13 8 WHAT MORE CAN I DO? Jack Savoretti 155100
57 14 10 WALK ME HOME P!nk 179900
59 14 11 COLD IN LA Why Don’t We 193200
61 5 8 SON OF MAN GG/06 aka 10cc (Kevin Godley & Graham Gouldman) featuring Hotlegs 220400
63 33 6 ALL THE SONGS Will Young 74850
64 2 14 SWAN SONG Dua Lipa 463900
67 64 4 JUST YOU AND I Tom Walker 25300
73 73 3 MIRACLE Alan Parsons featuring Jason Mraz 15800
74 21 9 KILLING MY TIME G-Flip 147350

 

My April 1987 Charts

7th April 1987

It’s a quartet of chart-toppers for Madonna from the True Blue album, something only Abba had managed previously (Voulez-Vous was the album). That holds off Prince in runners-up again, though he would top with it at last after his untimely death in 2016. Labi Siffre gets his first top 10 since Watch Me in 1972, Rod Stewart finally makes the top 10 12 years late (The Sutherland Brothers original from 1972 was WAY better), and U2 finally get cracking with a huge jump to 11 for With Or Without You. Ken Boothe gets a second-time top 20 with the same song.

Dead Or Alive keep the top 40 run going, Terence Trent D’Arby gets his first, and David Grant gets a big climb into the 40 7 years since he was in Linx with You’re Lying. High new entries from Julian Cope (Eve’s Volcano explodes at 33) Gary Numan combines with Radio Heart for an 8-year run since he started with a Tubeway Army chart-topper, and Bowie enters at 40 with Day-In Day-Out, one of those rare occasions when he was slagged off by the rock media for both the album and the Glass Spider tour. I rather liked the singles off the album, and saw the tour from right at the back of Wembley Stadium – a bit like being at the back of a big outdoor rock festival where people talking at the side of you dominate more than the busy stuff going on in the far distance. It was a bit self-indulgent, and the new album was plugged heavily, sadly, I wanted the great stuff.

Starship pop in with a classic 80’s anthem at 50, though I still prefer the Jefferson and Grace Slick versions from 1980, or the Jefferson Airplane 60’s versions. Kim Wilde does a duet with Junior, which gives them both some chart comeback action nicely, she’s still fab in concert to this day, and The Cure return with Why Can’t I Be You – for me this was the point at which they lost the quirkiness and got all serious and Big In America. Whitesnake return with the Rock, Steve Miller Band get a 13-year chart-span, albeit it ain’t no The Joker. Or Rock’n’Me. Or Abracadabra. Down the tail end returns from 4 current chart acts of the time.

1 ( 4 ) LA ISLA BONITA Madonna
2 ( 2 ) SIGN O’ THE TIMES Prince
3 ( 1 ) I GET THE SWEETEST FEELING Jackie Wilson
4 ( 9 ) LET IT BE Ferry Aid
5 ( 3 ) RESPECT YOURSELF Bruce Willis
6 ( 8 ) EVERYONE’S A WINNER (REMIX) Hot Chocolate
7 ( 15 ) (SOMETHING INSIDE) SO STRONG Labi Siffre
8 ( 16 ) LET MY PEOPLE GOGO The Rainmakers
9 ( 19 ) SAILING Rod Stewart
10 ( 10 ) KEEP YOUR EYE ON ME Herb Alpert

11 ( 31 ) WITH OR WITHOUT YOU U2
12 ( 14 ) LEAN ON ME Club Nouveau
13 ( 7 ) DON’T NEED A GUN Billy Idol
14 ( 6 ) WEAK IN THE PRESENCE OF BEAUTY Alison Moyet
15 ( 5 ) RESPECTABLE Mel & Kim
16 ( 24 ) LET’S WAIT AWHILE Janet Jackson
17 ( 17 ) THE MAGICIAN Secession
18 ( 29 ) EVERYTHING I OWN Ken Boothe
19 ( 13 ) STAND BY ME Ben E. King
20 ( 12 ) PENNY LANE/STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER The Beatles

21 ( 11 ) WHAT’S GOING ON Cyndi Lauper
22 ( 20 ) SEVERINA The Mission
23 ( 28 ) BIG LOVE Fleetwood Mac
24 ( 18 ) FORGOTTEN TOWN The Christians
25 ( 21 ) WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN Percy Sledge
26 ( 32 ) BIG TIME Peter Gabriel
27 ( 22 ) I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) Aretha Franklin & George Michael
28 ( 38 ) EVER FALLEN IN LOVE Fine Young Cannibals
29 ( 47 ) HOOKED ON LOVE Dead Or Alive
30 ( 46 ) IF YOU LET ME STAY Terence Trent D’Arby

31 ( 26 ) (YOU GOTTA) FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY The Beastie Boys
32 ( 25 ) WHAT YOU GET IS WHAT YOU SEE Tina Turner
33 ( NEW ) EVE’S VOLCANO Julian Cope
34 ( 42 ) YOU’RE THE VOICE John Farnham
35 ( 27 ) JIMMY LEE Aretha Franklin
36 ( 39 ) MY BABY The Pretenders
37 ( NEW ) RADIO HEART Radio Heart & Gary Numan
38 ( 40 ) THE PASSENGER Siouxsie & The Banshees
39 ( 65 ) TAKE ME BACK David Grant
40 ( NEW ) DAY-IN DAY-OUT David Bowie

41 ( 33 ) LOVING YOU IS SWEETER THAN EVER Nick Kamen
42 ( 36 ) CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION ’87 T.Rex
43 ( 34 ) MALE STRIPPER Man 2 Man Meet Parrish
44 ( 48 ) AND THE BEAT GOES ON The Whispers
45 ( 23 ) IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE Erasure
46 ( 35 ) SHIP OF FOOLS World Party
47 ( 72 ) WISHING I WAS LUCKY Wet Wet Wet
48 ( 50 ) CRAZY Patsy Cline
49 ( 52 ) TONIGHT TONIGHT TONIGHT Genesis
50 ( NEW ) NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW Starship

51 ( 30 ) LIVE IT UP Mental As Anything
52 ( 49 ) YOU SEXY THING (BEN LIEBRAND REMIX) Hot Chocolate
53 ( 43 ) MISSIONARY MAN Eurythmics
54 ( 41 ) COMING AROUND AGAIN Carly Simon
55 ( 62 ) BRING HIM BACK HOME Hugh Masekela
56 ( 55 ) A DIFFERENT CORNER George Michael
57 ( 57 ) SELA Lionel Richie
58 ( 37 ) MANHATTAN SKYLINE a-ha
59 ( NEW ) CRAWFISH Stan Campbell
60 ( NEW ) ANOTHER STEP (CLOSER TO YOU) Kim Wilde & Junior

61 ( 60 ) OPEN YOUR HEART Madonna
62 ( NEW ) WHY CAN’T I BE YOU The Cure
63 ( 61 ) HUMAN Human League
64 ( 63 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
65 ( 70 ) JUST TO SEE HER Smokey Robinson
66 ( NEW ) STILL OF THE NIGHT Whitesnake
67 ( 56 ) IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY The Blow Monkeys
68 ( NEW ) I WANT TO MAKE THE WORLD TURN AROUND The Steve Miller Band
69 ( 59 ) SOMEBODY’S COMING Little Richard
70 ( 69 ) E=MC2 Big Audio Dynamite

71 ( NEW ) CAN’T BE WITH YOU TONIGHT Judy Boucher
72 ( NEW ) DOMINOES Robbie Nevil
73 ( 73 ) TRUE BLUE Madonna
74 ( NEW ) ORDINARY DAY Curiosity Killed The Cat
75 ( NEW ) OUT WITH HER The Blow Monkeys

7th April
PLAYIST OLDIES

1 CHUNG KUO Vangelis
2 NATHALIE Gilbert Becaud
3 LOVING YOU AIN’T EASY Pagliaro

14th April 1987

It’s 3 weeks on top for Madonna and 3 weeks at 2 for Prince as Hot Chocolate take their 1978 number 3 back to 3 in remix format. Lean On Me makes the top 10 for the 3rd act, since topping for Bill Withers in 1972. There are big climbs for John Farnham, Wet Wet Wet, Radio Heart & Gary Numan into the 20, and Starship into the 30. Highest new entry is Living In A Box debuting at 32 with their brilliant eponymous song just ahead of OMD keeping the run of top 40 hits at 7 years, and that’s not a Shame.

Johnny Hates Jazz debut and start a good run of singles with the great Shattered Dreams at 42, with the cool Sly & Robbie having a hit in their own right, the quirky Boops, rather than being backroom producers, in at 43. Elvis is back with another oldie, this time the fun Bossa Nova Baby from one of my fave childhood Elvis films, Fun In Acapulco (the title track was my brothers first-ever single he bought in 1969) and was another Lieber & Stoller song, one of many he recorded.

Five Star & Bon Jovi follow-up, That Petrol Emotion debut, the SOS Band keep the revival going, The Smiths bow out, and Elkie Brooks tries to break the chain. One thing I’ve noticed, in terms of highlighting which tracks I remain eternally loving, the best guide isn’t chart position of songs at the time they were hits – it’s the tracks that crop-up in my weekly playlist faves of the week, by and large oldies that I loved years after the event remain faves forever more, while big faves of a moment in time can suffer from overplay or being “of their time”. My fave current tracks in the 1987 chart these days is Prince, which didn’t top my chart then, and Living In A Box, which did. While U2 peaked at 11, and is very much a classic that took years to grown on me properly.

1 ( 1 ) LA ISLA BONITA Madonna
2 ( 2 ) SIGN O’ THE TIMES Prince
3 ( 6 ) EVERYONE’S A WINNER (REMIX) Hot Chocolate
4 ( 4 ) LET IT BE Ferry Aid
5 ( 7 ) (SOMETHING INSIDE) SO STRONG Labi Siffre
6 ( 3 ) I GET THE SWEETEST FEELING Jackie Wilson
7 ( 10 ) KEEP YOUR EYE ON ME Herb Alpert
8 ( 8 ) LET MY PEOPLE GOGO The Rainmakers
9 ( 5 ) RESPECT YOURSELF Bruce Willis
10 ( 12 ) LEAN ON ME Club Nouveau

11 ( 34 ) YOU’RE THE VOICE John Farnham
12 ( 16 ) LET’S WAIT AWHILE Janet Jackson
13 ( 30 ) IF YOU LET ME STAY Terence Trent D’Arby
14 ( 13 ) DON’T NEED A GUN Billy Idol
15 ( 28 ) EVER FALLEN IN LOVE Fine Young Cannibals
16 ( 11 ) WITH OR WITHOUT YOU U2
17 ( 47 ) WISHING I WAS LUCKY Wet Wet Wet
18 ( 37 ) RADIO HEART Radio Heart & Gary Numan
19 ( 14 ) WEAK IN THE PRESENCE OF BEAUTY Alison Moyet
20 ( 26 ) BIG TIME Peter Gabriel

21 ( 18 ) EVERYTHING I OWN Ken Boothe
22 ( 33 ) EVE’S VOLCANO Julian Cope
23 ( 23 ) BIG LOVE Fleetwood Mac
24 ( 15 ) RESPECTABLE Mel & Kim
25 ( 19 ) STAND BY ME Ben E. King
26 ( 17 ) THE MAGICIAN Secession
27 ( 50 ) NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW Starship
28 ( 20 ) PENNY LANE/STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER The Beatles
29 ( 29 ) HOOKED ON LOVE Dead Or Alive
30 ( 40 ) DAY-IN DAY-OUT David Bowie

31 ( 9 ) SAILING Rod Stewart
32 ( NEW ) LIVING IN A BOX Living In A Box
33 ( 27 ) I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) Aretha Franklin & George Michael
34 ( 36 ) MY BABY The Pretenders
35 ( 21 ) WHAT’S GOING ON Cyndi Lauper
36 ( 38 ) THE PASSENGER Siouxsie & The Banshees
37 ( 24 ) FORGOTTEN TOWN The Christians
38 ( 25 ) WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN Percy Sledge
39 ( 71 ) CAN’T BE WITH YOU TONIGHT Judy Boucher
40 ( NEW ) SHAME OMD

41 ( 22 ) SEVERINA The Mission
42 ( NEW ) SHATTERED DREAMS Johnny Hates Jazz
43 ( NEW ) BOOPS (HERE TO GO) Sly & Robbie
44 ( 39 ) TAKE ME BACK David Grant
45 ( 31 ) (YOU GOTTA) FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY The Beastie Boys
46 ( 75 ) OUT WITH HER The Blow Monkeys
47 ( 42 ) CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION ’87 T.Rex
48 ( 55 ) BRING HIM BACK HOME Hugh Masekela
49 ( 62 ) WHY CAN’T I BE YOU The Cure
50 ( 65 ) JUST TO SEE HER Smokey Robinson

51 ( 43 ) MALE STRIPPER Man 2 Man Meet Parrish
52 ( 32 ) WHAT YOU GET IS WHAT YOU SEE Tina Turner
53 ( 60 ) ANOTHER STEP (CLOSER TO YOU) Kim Wilde & Junior
54 ( NEW ) SERIOUS Donna Allen
55 ( 52 ) YOU SEXY THING (BEN LIEBRAND REMIX) Hot Chocolate
56 ( 56 ) A DIFFERENT CORNER George Michael
57 ( NEW ) BOSSA NOVA BABY Elvis Presley
58 ( 46 ) SHIP OF FOOLS World Party
59 ( NEW ) THE SLIGHTEST TOUCH Five Star
60 ( 66 ) STILL OF THE NIGHT Whitesnake

61 ( NEW ) WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE Bon Jovi
62 ( 61 ) OPEN YOUR HEART Madonna
63 ( 64 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
64 ( 63 ) HUMAN Human League
65 ( NEW ) ALONE AGAIN OR The Damned
66 ( 35 ) JIMMY LEE Aretha Franklin
67 ( 53 ) MISSIONARY MAN Eurythmics
68 ( NEW ) BIG DECISION That Petrol Emotion
69 ( 54 ) COMING AROUND AGAIN Carly Simon
70 ( 70 ) E=MC2 Big Audio Dynamite

71 ( 74 ) ORDINARY DAY Curiosity Killed The Cat
72 ( NEW ) MY LIES The SOS Band
73 ( NEW ) SHEILA TAKE A BOW The Smiths
74 ( 58 ) MANHATTAN SKYLINE a-ha
75 ( NEW ) BREAK THE CHAIN Elkie Brooks

Playlist Oldies of that week
1 I STARTED A JOKE The Bee Gees
2 FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees
3 LIVIN’ THING ELO

21st April 1987

It’s a first week on top, and straight in, for 1964 oldie Move Over Darling, Doris Day’s classic theme to the movie of the same name, of her best and areal feel-good fave of mine as a boy, adult, and right now too. Tracey Ullman had a hit with it a few years earlier too, but Doris’ original is the best and charted all over again thanks to an advert. Living In A Box rocket into the ten, along with Wet Wet Wet and Terence Trent D’Arby all getting a top 10 debut.

Crowded House enter with the top-notch classic Don’t Dream It’s Over, not the last time it would chart for the former NZ Split-Enz brothers, who had a few top 10’s in the early 80’s. Irish Rover is an old song, brought back by The Pogues – the presence of The Dubliners put me off, as they were responsible for one of the records of my childhood that used to annoy me (Seven Drunken Nights), but it’s not bad and also into the 30.

Down the bottom end 60’s legend Tom Jones is back with a theatrical big ballad, and three country girls join as a Trio for a cover of the 50’s song To Know Him Is To Love Him. The late Warren Zevon is in with his fab Werewolves Of London, and Latin Quarter keep on being right on again with another newie.

1 ( NEW ) MOVE OVER DARLING Doris Day
2 ( 1 ) LA ISLA BONITA Madonna
3 ( 7 ) KEEP YOUR EYE ON ME Herb Alpert
4 ( 8 ) LET MY PEOPLE GOGO The Rainmakers
5 ( 5 ) (SOMETHING INSIDE) SO STRONG Labi Siffre
6 ( 32 ) LIVING IN A BOX Living In A Box
7 ( 17 ) WISHING I WAS LUCKY Wet Wet Wet
8 ( 13 ) IF YOU LET ME STAY Terence Trent D’Arby
9 ( 2 ) SIGN O’ THE TIMES Prince
10 ( 3 ) EVERYONE’S A WINNER (REMIX) Hot Chocolate

11 ( 15 ) EVER FALLEN IN LOVE Fine Young Cannibals
12 ( 6 ) I GET THE SWEETEST FEELING Jackie Wilson
13 ( 18 ) RADIO HEART Radio Heart & Gary Numan
14 ( 11 ) YOU’RE THE VOICE John Farnham
15 ( 9 ) RESPECT YOURSELF Bruce Willis
16 ( 22 ) EVE’S VOLCANO Julian Cope
17 ( 27 ) NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW Starship
18 ( 12 ) LET’S WAIT AWHILE Janet Jackson
19 ( 23 ) BIG LOVE Fleetwood Mac
20 ( 10 ) LEAN ON ME Club Nouveau

21 ( 4 ) LET IT BE Ferry Aid
22 ( 16 ) WITH OR WITHOUT YOU U2
23 ( NEW ) DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER Crowded House
24 ( 14 ) DON’T NEED A GUN Billy Idol
25 ( NEW ) IRISH ROVER The Pogues & The Dubliners
26 ( 30 ) DAY-IN DAY-OUT David Bowie
27 ( 25 ) STAND BY ME Ben E. King
28 ( 65 ) ALONE AGAIN OR The Damned
29 ( 19 ) WEAK IN THE PRESENCE OF BEAUTY Alison Moyet
30 ( 42 ) SHATTERED DREAMS Johnny Hates Jazz

31 ( 20 ) BIG TIME Peter Gabriel
32 ( 49 ) WHY CAN’T I BE YOU The Cure
33 ( 43 ) BOOPS (HERE TO GO) Sly & Robbie
34 ( 28 ) PENNY LANE/STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER The Beatles
35 ( 39 ) CAN’T BE WITH YOU TONIGHT Judy Boucher
36 ( 33 ) I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) Aretha Franklin & George Michael
37 ( 37 ) FORGOTTEN TOWN The Christians
38 ( 40 ) SHAME OMD
39 ( 24 ) RESPECTABLE Mel & Kim
40 ( 53 ) ANOTHER STEP (CLOSER TO YOU) Kim Wilde & Junior

41 ( 58 ) SHIP OF FOOLS World Party
42 ( 54 ) SERIOUS Donna Allen
43 ( 26 ) THE MAGICIAN Secession
44 ( 38 ) WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN Percy Sledge
45 ( 68 ) BIG DECISION That Petrol Emotion
46 ( 72 ) MY LIES The SOS Band
47 ( NEW ) SUPER POPOID GROOVE Win
48 ( 35 ) WHAT’S GOING ON Cyndi Lauper
49 ( 59 ) THE SLIGHTEST TOUCH Five Star
50 ( 21 ) EVERYTHING I OWN Ken Boothe

51 ( 61 ) WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE Bon Jovi
52 ( NEW ) SEE ME Luther Vandross
53 ( 47 ) CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION ’87 T.Rex
54 ( 51 ) MALE STRIPPER Man 2 Man Meet Parrish
55 ( 57 ) BOSSA NOVA BABY Elvis Presley
56 ( 56 ) A DIFFERENT CORNER George Michael
57 ( 29 ) HOOKED ON LOVE Dead Or Alive
58 ( 60 ) STILL OF THE NIGHT Whitesnake
59 ( 46 ) OUT WITH HER The Blow Monkeys
60 ( 36 ) THE PASSENGER Siouxsie & The Banshees

61 ( 55 ) YOU SEXY THING (BEN LIEBRAND REMIX) Hot Chocolate
62 ( 34 ) MY BABY The Pretenders
63 ( 41 ) SEVERINA The Mission
64 ( 62 ) OPEN YOUR HEART Madonna
65 ( 63 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
66 ( 64 ) HUMAN Human League
67 ( 73 ) SHEILA TAKE A BOW The Smiths
68 ( 31 ) SAILING Rod Stewart
69 ( NEW ) A BOY FROM NOWHERE Tom Jones
70 ( NEW ) TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt

71 ( 45 ) (YOU GOTTA) FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY The Beastie Boys
72 ( 70 ) E=MC2 Big Audio Dynamite
73 ( NEW ) WEREWOLVES OF LONDON Warren Zevon
74 ( NEW ) TO BE WITH YOU AGAIN Level 42
75 ( NEW ) NOMZAMO (ONE PEOPLE ONE CAUSE) Latin Quarter

Playlist oldies of the week
1 ON MY OWN Patti Labelle & Michael MacDonald
2 SARA Fleetwood Mac
3 YOU JUST MAY BE THE ONE The Monkees

 

 

28th April 1987

It’s back up on top for La Isla Bonita giving Madonna 3 weeks in total, as Doris drops to 3 and Herb Alpert gets his 2nd equal-biggest chart position 19 years on from This Guy’s In Love, and thanks to Jam & Lewis. Starship get a second top 10, though they Jefferson’s when Jane did it in 1980, John Farnham gets his first since Little River Band’s 1979 Lonesome Loser, Fine Young Cannibals get Buzzcocks a top 10 song at last with Ever fallen In Love, and Gary Numan gets his 7th top 10 8 years since Are ‘Friends’ Electric topped.

The Damned get a good top 20 climb with the Love classic, OMD leap up even more, not a Shame! Two footballers get the highest new entry, not that footie meant anything much to me, and footie singers generally had dire results, but there you go, in at 33! The Smiths & Tom Jones get big climbs into the 40, and lower down Jaki Graham keeps the string of hits coming, Slade have a final chart entry after a whopping chart run of 16 years, Paul Simon sneaks in with his album title track – never a huge fave of mine off the album – and Cameo keep coming Back & Forth.

1 ( 2 ) LA ISLA BONITA Madonna
2 ( 3 ) KEEP YOUR EYE ON ME Herb Alpert
3 ( 1 ) MOVE OVER DARLING Doris Day
4 ( 6 ) LIVING IN A BOX Living In A Box
5 ( 5 ) (SOMETHING INSIDE) SO STRONG Labi Siffre
6 ( 7 ) WISHING I WAS LUCKY Wet Wet Wet
7 ( 17 ) NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW Starship
8 ( 14 ) YOU’RE THE VOICE John Farnham
9 ( 11 ) EVER FALLEN IN LOVE Fine Young Cannibals
10 ( 13 ) RADIO HEART Radio Heart & Gary Numan

11 ( 4 ) LET MY PEOPLE GOGO The Rainmakers
12 ( 8 ) IF YOU LET ME STAY Terence Trent D’Arby
13 ( 9 ) SIGN O’ THE TIMES Prince
14 ( 10 ) EVERYONE’S A WINNER (REMIX) Hot Chocolate
15 ( 28 ) ALONE AGAIN OR The Damned
16 ( 12 ) I GET THE SWEETEST FEELING Jackie Wilson
17 ( 19 ) BIG LOVE Fleetwood Mac
18 ( 23 ) DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER Crowded House
19 ( 38 ) SHAME OMD
20 ( 30 ) SHATTERED DREAMS Johnny Hates Jazz

21 ( 16 ) EVE’S VOLCANO Julian Cope
22 ( 15 ) RESPECT YOURSELF Bruce Willis
23 ( 26 ) DAY-IN DAY-OUT David Bowie
24 ( 22 ) WITH OR WITHOUT YOU U2
25 ( 25 ) IRISH ROVER The Pogues & The Dubliners
26 ( 18 ) LET’S WAIT AWHILE Janet Jackson
27 ( 40 ) ANOTHER STEP (CLOSER TO YOU) Kim Wilde & Junior
28 ( 45 ) BIG DECISION That Petrol Emotion
29 ( 35 ) CAN’T BE WITH YOU TONIGHT Judy Boucher
30 ( 33 ) BOOPS (HERE TO GO) Sly & Robbie

31 ( 20 ) LEAN ON ME Club Nouveau
32 ( 24 ) DON’T NEED A GUN Billy Idol
33 ( NEW ) DIAMOND LIGHTS Glen & Chris
34 ( 27 ) STAND BY ME Ben E. King
35 ( 46 ) NO LIES The SOS Band
36 ( 42 ) SERIOUS Donna Allen
37 ( 37 ) FORGOTTEN TOWN The Christians
38 ( 49 ) THE SLIGHTEST TOUCH Five Star
39 ( 67 ) SHEILA TAKE A BOW The Smiths
40 ( 69 ) A BOY FROM NOWHERE Tom Jones

41 ( 32 ) WHY CAN’T I BE YOU The Cure
42 ( 36 ) I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) Aretha Franklin & George Michael
43 ( 47 ) SUPER POPOID GROOVE Win
44 ( 41 ) SHIP OF FOOLS World Party
45 ( 34 ) PENNY LANE/STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER The Beatles
46 ( NEW ) REAL FASHION REGGAE STYLE Carey Johnson
47 ( 29 ) WEAK IN THE PRESENCE OF BEAUTY Alison Moyet
48 ( NEW ) STILL IN LOVE Jaki Graham
49 ( 39 ) RESPECTABLE Mel & Kim
50 ( NEW ) YOU’RE SO STRONG Mental As Anything

51 ( 51 ) WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE Bon Jovi
52 ( 44 ) WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN Percy Sledge
53 ( 31 ) BIG TIME Peter Gabriel
54 ( 21 ) LET IT BE Ferry Aid
55 ( 43 ) THE MAGICIAN Secession
56 ( 56 ) A DIFFERENT CORNER George Michael
57 ( 48 ) WHAT’S GOING ON Cyndi Lauper
58 ( 53 ) CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION ’87 T.Rex
59 ( NEW ) THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR Slade
60 ( NEW ) NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE Spear Of Destiny

61 ( 52 ) SEE ME Luther Vandross
62 ( 54 ) MALE STRIPPER Man 2 Man Meet Parrish
63 ( 50 ) EVERYTHING I OWN Ken Boothe
64 ( 61 ) YOU SEXY THING (BEN LIEBRAND REMIX) Hot Chocolate
65 ( 65 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
66 ( 66 ) HUMAN Human League
67 ( 64 ) OPEN YOUR HEART Madonna
68 ( NEW ) DOMINOES Robbie Nevil
69 ( 55 ) BOSSA NOVA BABY Elvis Presley
70 ( 74 ) TO BE WITH YOU AGAIN Level 42

71 ( NEW ) GRACELAND Paul Simon
72 ( 72 ) E=MC2 Big Audio Dynamite
73 ( 73 ) WEREWOLVES OF LONDON Warren Zevon
74 ( NEW ) BACK AND FORTH Cameo
75 ( NEW ) EMOTIONAL Falco

Oldies Playlist
1 LONG TIME Arrow
2 HEY NINETEEN Steely Dan
3 JOHNNY REMEMBER ME John Leyton

Pop Music from a Child’s POV: 1960 part 1

60'S 234

Me & Grandma just before 1960 started, in Gloucester in our Sunday best.

 

Right. I was born in January 1958 right at the start of the year, and Harry Belafonte topped the charts with Mary’s Boy Child in the UK. I was born in the house we lived in, in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, as was my mum, and my younger brother. Dad joined the RAF, and pretty much by 1960 we are off travelling about on postings, Gloucester and Germany first up. My earliest memories are of Germany. Just fragments. I got into music pretty much as soon as I can remember, though everything is a bit jumbled up for the first five years – I can’t place where or when I heard the records on the list for the most part, I just know that I have always remembered loving, or at least liking, them.

 

60's 367

Tin Bath time, outdoors in Mansfield, boiled from a kettle, no hot water, no central heating, outside WC, no bathroom. “You were lucky! We lived in a paper bag! But we were ‘appy!”

Obviously I wasn’t aware of the music charts in 1960 through to early 1963, but I was very aware of pop music. Dad and mum both loved it, dad had some old 78’s of David Whitfield and the like and some sort of ancient player to listen to them on. The first specific music memory I have is of a 78rpm shellac record I loved getting sat on and broken. Life can be so cruel! I was probably 3 or 4, as we were back in Mansfield again. We may have had a couple from the movie, I kind of think Some Day My Prince Will Come also featured, but I very much know we had one of them:

I’M WISHING/WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK from Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

 

I loved the song I’m Wishing, and the echoes from the wishing well. Back in those days Disney songs were always on holiday specials devoted to keeping the back catalogue and new stuff popular on TV and resissued in the cinema. The first film I saw was Bambi, mum took me in and cried on my head when Bambi’s mum got shot, apparently – I was a toddler and have no memory of it at all!

So on with the rundown of 1960, the first year when some songs meant something to me as I grew up, most probably as oldies in the first few years afterwards. The rules? Just the one song I loved most that was in the UK charts of that week (My “Number One”) until another track came along that I loved more, or the same, or until it dropped out of the charts. This gives it a rough chronological accuracy, even if the order may be haywire and later than I think:

So the oldest record to chart that I loved first?

 

LITTLE WHITE BULL – Tommy Steele (9 weeks)

 

Tommy Steel was everywhere in the early 60’s and I’m pretty sure I saw the movie it came from Tommy The Toreador. Tommy was big in the 50’s as a sort of Brit rocker/showman, but by this time he was well into family entertainer mode. The song appealed to kids, and popped up for many years afterwards on Ed Stewart’s Juniors Choice, a show where kids requested songs they wanted to hear. Released in late 1959, and certainly a song I was very fond of, and knew well.

 

THEME FROM A SUMMER PLACE – Percy Faith and His Orchestra (3 weeks)

A theme tune I wouldn’t know about, an instrumental I couldnt have named at all throughout the 60’s and an orchestra leader I didn’t know about till the 70’s, but this gorgeous melody seems to have always been there and evokes waves of nostalgia without being associated with anything in particular. It just sounds great. Still. It’s been in The Simpsons and a myriad pop culture spots over the years, and quite rightly too.

 

MY OLD MAN’S A DUSTMAN – Lonnie Donegan (11 weeks)

 

The British skifflemaster passed me by apart from his novelty songs, as novelty songs go this one was HUGE. It was everywhere and was still being sung by kids at school years later, it was referenced by adults, sung by them for fun about me, and I don’t remember never not knowing it. Would it make my list of fave records these days? Nah. Wouldn’t even make my top 100 of 1960, but then I’m not 4-years old anymore 🙂

 

GOOD TIMIN’ – Jimmy Jones (4 weeks)

 

I didn’t know who sang it, and I still don’t know much about American black singer Jimmy Jones, I have no memories of Jimmy the singer at all, but I do remember liking this catchy falsetto pop chart-topper whenever I heard it on the radio as an oldie. Jimmy influenced subsequent singers like Del Shannon, and it still sounds fresh to my biased ears. As a kid the best bit? “Tick-a-tick-a-tick-a——TIMIN'” of course!

 

ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY YELLOW POLKA DOT BIKINI – Brian Hyland (10 weeks)

If there’s a record that could be called my first pop record obsession, it’s this one, the kiddie-pleasing rhyming title and the subject matter about a shy girl in a bikini, a cultural thing at the time was jolly, catchy, good-natured, and gave Brian a few years of good singles success with decent ballads, such as Sealed With A Kiss, a record so good it charted all over again in 1975 for Brian and topped the charts for Jason Donovan in 1989. Sadly this song also topped the charts again for manic DJ Timmy Mallet under his pseudonym Bombalurina in 1990, doing his very best to kill all my nostalgic fondness for the original. I mean, I was glad kids got to love the song the same way I did almost 20 years earlier – I loved singing the title as pre-school and for at least a decade afterwards! – it was just a shame wholesome clean-cut wistful charm had been replaced with tacky cheese. Mind you I was 32 and not the target audience in any way 🙂

 

My Top 10 Fave Sitcoms

10. AMERICAN DAD (2005-2019)

Another Seth McFarlane animated Fox show – albeit dropped in 2014 and picked up by TBS – starring McFarlane as a redneck CIA agent Stan Smith with a typecast homebody housewife (at least she seems to be at first, but Fran’s as mad as Stan is). The nerd son Steve hangs about with his nerd friends, one of them voiced by Moonlighting’s Curtis Armstrong, while Steve is voiced by Scott Grimes, currently starring alongside Seth in the fab The Orville. Last family members are left-wing protestor hippie Hailey (Rachel McFarlane, Seth keeping it in the family) and Roger the alien (also Seth), a moral-free gender-fluid selfish alien taken in by the Smiths, and who has a million disguises. Lastly there’s Klaus the German fish – or rather a former spy in the body of a goldfish, still hoping to be a man again and as mad as the rest of the clan.

The mix is pretty fine for plots, social commentary, sci-fi, political, parodies, surreal (even the apocalypse end of days!) and sometimes very dark humour, and also features oodles of famous guest stars, notably the recurring role of Stan’s CIA boss – Patrick “Captain Picard” Stewart sending himself up beautifully. As with other Seth shows Walter Murphy is on hand to score the show fabulously – for oldies like me he’s the bloke who had a 1976 hit with A Fifth Of Beethoven, a disco classical bit of fun. Some of my fave guest stars: Alyson Hanigan, Andy Samberg, Bryan Cranston, Burt reynolds, Chris Isaak, David Boreanaz, Eartha Kitt, Ed Asner, George takei – and that’s just a selection of A to G on the full list! For cult TV fans like me (and clearly the show’s stars and creators) it’s a paradise of riches. Some of the episodes don’t always work, some of the stuff the characters do can make you feel a bit icky – but it’s not real! It’s got a talking walking goldfish and an alien! Still great.

 

9. CHEERS (1982-1993)

Great theme tune, heartwarming song and concept, that you can get a “family”, friends & romance by going out and drinking alcohol regularly – not sure about the last bit, but it certainly can help joining a club! Anyway, classy show which took time to become a huge hit, great writing, great cast (Shelley Long, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Kirstie Alley, and many more who have appeared in things Star Trek, Star Wars, Pixar). Frasier was the spin-off success which is making a comeback soon, and while individual episodes were variable in belly-laughs, they tended to revolve around the Sam/Diane verbal sparring – he a former baseball star now running a bar, she a pretentious intellectual having to work as a barmaid – and their ongoing love/hate relationship. When Shelley Long left the show, Kirstie Alley brought in a new dynamic as hot-desperate-loser and corporate ownership of the bar as an extra. Still very watchable and the first of 2 American 80’s shows in the top 10.

8. BLACKADDER (1983-89)

Covering all 4 series & specials of the decade, this show falls only behind the over-rated Only Fools & Horses in polls to find the best comedy series of all-time in the UK, I would place it either 2nd or first in terms of UK series – today it’s second, but a year from now it might be top again, depends on how I’m feeling on the day. Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson & Ben Elton staked a unique premise – the same characters in different time-periods and different roles, which gave great opportunity to comment on themselves, the time-period, and contemporary society – this is currently being used again in Ben Elton’s great Upstart Crow series, a show that would definitely be included in my list of faves if I were to start from scratch today. The dialogue is sharp & witty & biting, the acting (or rather the cartoon over-acting) is fab, and the cast top-notch, the best of the 80’s pop up along the way, not least Rowan Atkinson & Tony Robinson as the conniving Blackadder & his put-upon dumb servant Baldrick, the core of each show. My fave series was Blackadder II in the Elizabethan period with Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry & a host of memorable guest spots from the likes of Rik Mayall & Tom Baker. The final scene of the final World War 1 episode (let’s just forget that Millennium Dome special) was as heart-breaking a moment as you can get in cartoon whimsy. Unlike most short-run series (just 24 episodes) I’ve never got bored with these 24 (plus specials).

 

7. THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN (1996-2001)

Manic, slapstick, quirky, this endearingly mad sitcom was broad in it’s humour, but followed the tradition of The Addams Family & Mork & Mindy in having central other-worldly characters able to shine a light on the quirks of the society they find themselves in – in this case 4 aliens are assigned a mission to observe culture from the point of view humans, and they masquerade as a family (The Solomons) led by the brilliant John Lithgow, a great actor who is in overdrive here, as Dick, the father, future movie-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the son Tommy (the oldest, wisest of the 4 aliens), Kristen Johnson as Sally, her militaristic alien having to cope with changing sex to a leggy female hot blonde, and Harry (French Stewart) as the sender of their messages to home through his seemingly-quite-damaged brain. The fab Jane Curtin (of sitcom Kate ‘n’ Allie, and Saturday Night Live 70’s fame) plays Dick’s co-Professor love interest, and Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight (also of Jurassic Park) plays a loveable tubby Police Officer with a crush on blunt Sally.

The humour comes from the antics of the aliens misunderstanding social niceties, having a ball let loose with all the nicer things in life, and yet still having anxieties about the bosses coming (William Shatner doing OTT fabulously, as The Big Giant Head, & John Cleese, trying to steal Mary away from Dick, being an extreme version of John Cleese). The cast were regulalrly rewarded with performance nominations, but the writing and show were never that highly-regarded, probably because it appeals to kids with it’s slapstick, manic broadness. I love it though, sometimes character, plot and acting is more than enough to be funny.

 

6. M*A*S*H (1972-83)

One of the most unlikely premises for a sitcom ever, never mind one that hit high ratings for a decade, the show was essentially a spin-off of the 1970 movie of the same title which was a dark comedy cult success. Set in the early 50’s Korean War, the show ran 3 times longer than the war did, but what it really was a political and socially liberal criticism of the Viet-Nam war, which had been running for 7 years by this time as the US plunged into the Watergate crisis along with the realisation that they can actually lose wars. So how did it work? There was a Marx Brothers disrespectfulness of stupid authority (later borrowed by Blackadder), lead Alan Alda (who had been in the Phil Silvers Show back in the 50’s) was even showed as a Groucho Marx fan, but this was tempered with the realisation that these 2 surgeons (drafted into military service to work in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) were entirely brilliant at their job – saving lives of young injured men. Co-star Wayne Rogers was a good foil for lead Hawkeye Pierce, as they weaved amongst a great cast of characters and actors (Loretta Swit, Head Nurse Hotlips Houlihan, who played it by the military book but wasnt above dalliances with prestigious military officers, or her weasel regular Frank Burns, a not-great surgeon with right-wing selfish views, and the butt of many a prank and caustic comment – played comically by Larry Linville).

One of the strengths of the show was the coming and going of cast members and characters: clumsy well-meaning Commnder Henry Blake was actually memorably and tearfully killed off when actor McLean Stevenson left, and was replaced by the great Dragnet-actor, and sitcom veteran Harry Morgan. A one-off character, Cpl KIlnger (Jamie Farr), dressed in drag to get a discharge from the army on mental grounds, became a huge fave and cast regular as his outfits got ever-more extravagant (no-one explained where he got the cash!) and his antics ever-more extreme to get that never-acquired discharged. The madness of living with war & death was the theme, and the show swung from black humour, farce to stark reality, commenting on the inhumanity of man to others. The show ran with the then-traditional laugh-track (against the producers, cast & writers wishes) in the States, except during the surgery scenes, but in the UK from day one there was no laugh track. This was a major plus in the critical acclaim of the show, leaving you to decide what was funny. I used to watch re-runs in the USA with the laugh track and it cheapens the impact quite considerably, the themes were too important for tackiness. Eventually some of the cast moved on to a spin-off, after Alda decided he’d had enough – by that time his power and influence over the show had moved it too much into maudlin self-righteousness at the expense of the darker edge that the early years had in spades – and the War ended in the most-watched final TV episode of all-time in the States. With 106 million, and viewing figures now split amongst online media, that will easily remain the biggest none-sporting or event moment of all-time. Biggest Ever TV episode of any show.

 

5. FATHER TED (1995-1998)

Gentle, amiable, loveable comedy set amongst witless priests in Ireland, this is the top-rated UK (Channel 4) sitcom on the list. It was irreverent, silly, had running character gags, cartoon-styled surreal plots and visuals, taking the piss out of the format, pop culture and people. Some of the great moments include “I don’t believe it” with Victor Meldrew actor Richard Wilson on location going apeshit at hearing his tired catch-phrase, Father Ted trying to explain to simple Father Dougal about cows in the distance not being the same as toy cows just because they looked the same size, a milk-float with a bomb on it a la Speed, and A Song For Europe’s My Lovely Horse.

Writer’s Arthur Matthews & Graham Linehan were men on a mission, inspired by Seinfeld, and Fawlty Towers, and the cast and characters were great OTT extremes: Dermot Morgan’s conniving Father (“the money was just resting in my account!”) Ted, Ardal O’Hanlan’s simple Father (“That’s mad Ted”) Dougal on hearing something religious, Frank Kelly’s angry alcoholic woman-chasing Father (“GIRLS! BOOZE! FECK!”) Jack, Pauline McLynn’s tea-obssessed Mrs (“tea father? Ah go on go on go on go on, GO ON!”) Doyle and a host of great supporting characters, not least Graham Norton as a hyperactive priest riverdancing with some students in a small unstable caravan.

The wistful irish theme tune and original songs were composed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy. Fans of the show were many and famous, Maurice Gibb being buried with a DVD box set of the show, and it just runs and runs to this day in the UK & Ireland. Sadly, 3 series was all there is, following actor Dermot Morgan’s sudden death shortly after the wrap-up of 3rd series filming and the decision to leave it there was made.

 

 

4. GREEN ACRES (1965-71)

The oldest sitcom in the top 20, the highest-placed non-animation show, and one of the most inventive and surreal shows, well ahead of it’s time. I watched it as a boy and loved it, watched it as a teen in Singapore and loved it, watched it as an adult and still loved it, and bought the book of the series with a foreword by Matt Groening who was inspired and influenced by it. Is it dated? Well yes, but also no: it exists in it’s own version of reality – in the first series it starts off traditional sitcom: an affluent New York City attorney (Eddie Albert) gets fed-up with the soul-less rat-race and moves to the country, buying a farm deep, deep in rural from an engaging conman Mr Haney (Pat Buttram) and drags his Hungarian socialite wife (Eva Gabor, the younger more talented sister of Zsa Zsa) kicking & screaming to a ramshackle farm in Hooterville, location of sister show Petticoat Junction, and including some of the cast as supporting occasional characters. Executive Producer Paul Henning had already had major success with The Beverley Hillbillies – Hick hillbillies strike oil and move to affluent Beverley Hills – and Petticoat Junction, and offered the show to writer/producer Jay Sommers, which was a stroke of genius.

From the first second the bouncy memorable theme tune burst into action the show hit the ground running, (the Vic Mizzy theme later popped up in many a hit record, notably Groove Is In The Heart (Deee-Lite) and Just Buggin’ (Whistle), Mizzy already having struck TV theme immortality with The Addams Family, and reportedly Green Acres was being planned to become a musical, starting with the theme song, but has yet to appear) parodying the famous 1930 painting American Gothic. Plotwise, the local community citizens seem to be a bit eccentric and out-of-time, treating anything more recent than the 20’s or 30’s and newly fandangles, or naive, or bizarre (not least Arnold The Pig, the most-famous TV pig ever, who appropriately loved watching TV and getting involved in people’s lives, with dreams of becoming a Hollywood star). Yes, this is 1965, and yes it’s a real pig.

The cast is brilliant, the characters live in their own universe with their own logic – at first Lisa Douglas (Gabor) seems utterly out of place and hates it, while the community views husband Oliver as a sad city dweller with no clue (but they are all supportive and utterly loveable and free from malice) – he drives a tractor dressed in his best NYC lawyers suit – but by the second season it’s Lisa who joins their mad world and lives by their inverted logic. The show isn’t really in the countryside, it’s painted backdrops, the credit sequences are aware that they are TV credits and pop up anywhere, on chicken eggs (even square ones laid by the square-egg chicken), side of buildings, and the cast (usually Eva Gabor) muse on them and what is happening this week with them, pure breaking-the-fourth-wall years before any other show did. They pioneered a return to nature a decade ahead of The Good Life. The Douglas’ farmhouse never got improved (The Monroe Brothers worked on it for 6 years and never managed to improve anything, Alf & Ralf quarrelled, Ralf always looked forlornly for a man – she was a girl, breaking stereotype barriers years ahead of other shows where women were housewives, even the fantasy shows, not manual labourers/”skilled” workers), Hank Kimball was the local agricultural advisor – who turned up, rambled in a chain of thought that he interrupted himself on, lost the plot quickly, and had to be prompted to get back to the point (sound familiar? Ronnie Corbett, The Two Ronnies?) and as played by Alvy Moore I never tire of the wordplay. All episodes were written by Jay Sommers, which gave the show continuity, running gags, and increasing playfulness with the format as it went on. Kids loved the slapstick and wacky characters, adults appreciate the wordplay and knowing winks.

Sadly, healthy ratings couldn’t save any of the rural shows surviving a massive purge of any rural-based or themed shows in 1971 when CBS decided they weren’t pulling in enough ad revenue. They opted instead for more urban-based shows missing the point that these were parodies of modern America, not dumb hick shows appealing to “dumb hicks” with no spending money.

Happily, TV Guide listed 2 of the episodes amongst the Top 100 Greatest Episodes Of All-Time, and it lives on in spirit in The Simpsons. Not bad for a 55-year-old daft show that no-one has heard of these days….

 

3. FAMILY GUY (1999-2019)

I didn’t take to this Fox show immediately – coming after The Simpsons it seemed harsher, brasher, less loveable, and walked a thin line between edgy humour and bad taste, something it has retained throughout the 20 years of production. Fox seemed to think so too, as it was cancelled in the early years, but always sprung back following strong performances on DVD and reruns. Creator & star Seth McFarlane (of which I’m a huge fan, still, with latest sci-fi show The Orville, movies like A Million Ways To Die In The West & Ted, & spin-off animated shows like American Dad & The Cleveland Show) based Family Guy on The Simpsons & the US 70’s sitcom All In The Family (itself a rewrite of UK Till Death Us Do Part) – which is why irreverence, politics, society, pop culture, relationships, get the same unsentimental, critical treatment. Being animated (taking the piss is protected under US law) allows them to go places other shows can’t, but also allows affection parody, most notably the trio of episodes based around the original Star Wars movies, which are brilliantly accurate and amusing without losing the love.

The Griffin family is led by Peter, a loud-mouthed buffoon with no social skills or boundaries (in one episode he is turned gay) is clearly modelled on Archie Bunker, and his wife Lois (Alex Borstein) on Edith Bunker, right down the parody of All In The Family’s TV theme song, while dumb Chris (voiced by Buffy’s Seth Green), plain, unpopular Meg, the butt of everyone’s bullying (voiced by movie star Mila Kunis), Stewie (a matricidal, genius-inventor talking baby) make up the kids, and talking , walking conceited racist dog Brian (voiced by MacFarlane, along with Peter & Stewie) completes the family. Back-up characters include Mayor West (Batman’s Adam West playing a scatty version of himself), ancient wanna-be paedophile Herbert, sex-obssessed borderline-abuser Quagmire, dull Cleveland, and disabled angry cop Joe, among many many more.

So….not surprising it’s not to everyone’s taste! There is no subject they won’t tackle or ridicule, sometimes go too far (for me it was the ridiculing of Amy Winehouse’s behaviour before she died, or the AID’s song) more often they hit the right note, showing a wide range of viewpoints but generally taking the “right” stance from my point of view, and the cult shows they reference are a joy to me. The violence? It’s the same as Tom & Jerry where Tom gets sliced into pieces, only to come back to life immediately, just bloodier. Usually. Sometimes the point is to lampoon, say, the media’s response to a tragedy, rather than laugh at the tragedy (it’s a cartoon, it’s not real!) and that point might get missed by some.

Anyway, still running, still on TV every night…

here’s some good bits from season 11, quality is pretty much consistent throughout.

2. FUTURAMA (1999-2013)

A Simpsons Matt Groening spin-off, stylistically, and probably my fave sitcom by virtue of the futuristic, sci-fi nerd worshipping setting and cast, and in-references to all things sci-fi/fantasy (long before Big Bang Theory). Problem was, it was never as big as The Simpsons, due to it’s more niche appeal, and kept getting cancelled, first time in 2003, from thereafter living on through DVD issues, one-off DVD’s, re-commissioning, and ultimately going for a good 140 episodes and 7 seasons. More compact than The Simpsons, the plots obviously have a wider remit, as they can take place anywhere, anytime (though The Simpsons did this, it wasn’t every episode) and they had brilliant writers, including key mover David X Cohen, who’d written many of the best Simpsons episodes. It’s no shock that the dip in quality of The Simpsons was directly attributable to the instant quality of Futurama, appealing to people you might not expect it to – such as Private Eye editor Ian Hislop. It didn’t hurt that they had talking heads in jars of 20th century politicians to keep commentaries contemporary, if less obvious. It also didn;t hurt that the writers were by far the most “over-educated” PHD-galore cast of sci-fi nerds in TV history (probably), packing as much into a show as they could, honing it constantly.

The cast was set around 20th century delivery-boy loser Fry getting frozen, awoken in the far future to become…a spaceship-based delivery boy (Played by Billy West, a regular voice-over in animation, and playing multiple characters like Zapp Branigan & Jewish crustacean Dr Zoidberg, and Professor Farnsworth, Fry’s distant and ancient mad-scientist nephew). He yearns for one-eyed assertive Leela, a mutant from the sewers of New New York (played by the fab Katey Sagal of Married: With Children fame), and his best mate moral-free loudmouth robot Bender, more into floozy female robots, beer and money than actual bending and working deliveries.

Amazingly, even after years away, the cast & crew all came back renewed with the same high quality as if they’d never been away, still dragging in guest stars (like the one with most of the Star Trek: Next Gen cast as their characters as if they were real and set in the future, or the one where Leonard Nimoy is the guest head in the water-filled bottle nibbling on fish food, or the one with Vice President Al Gore doing his Global Warming stuff – but funny). Overall the show has more consistency than Groening’s other show….but that other show at it’s best was as good as Futurama, AND was influential, so for that it’s getting top spot (even though I’d rather rewatch Futurama).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjvdnzCkBGQ

 

1. THE SIMPSONS (1989-19 so far)

From primitive Matt Groening shorts featured in The Tracey Ullman Show to the longest-running sitcom in US TV history. Sitcoms elsewhere may have lasted longer than 30 years (Last Of The Summer Wine ran from 1973 to 2010) but that involved complete cast changes and comparatively fewer episodes – 295 over 31 series (it regularly missed years during it’s run – while The Simpsons is still going, 656 episodes, 30 series, and commissioned for more, so apart from chronologically it will overhaul Wine shortly. Sadly, the quality hasn;t kept up with the decades. The first series was quirky and charming, but slow compared to it’s prime run (series 2 through 10 or 11) after which it became increasingly patchy. At it’s best though, oh my goodness it was a cultural phenomenon and completely changed the sitcom format in terms of what became possible: lampooning, satire, media references, a vast cast of recurring characters, a Tom & Jerry attitude to violence (Itchy & Scratchy were a pisstake of what it really look like), an awesome cast of famous guest voices, either as themselves, or as characters, and a whole mini-universe of musings on human beings and their quirks with elements of truth to them. More, it often went off at tangents and experimented with the animated format – computer-graphics, annual halloween gore-fests set outside the regular family Simpson “reality”, future-world guessing (in one famous instance they predict President Trump), but always good-natured – even when faced with actual monsters like Mr. Burns.

Bart Simpson, the son, was geared around being the centrepiece of the show initially, with his rascally catchphrases and conscience-lite “Just do it” attitude – he even got Michael Jackson on board with a chart-topping single Do The Bartman, and guesting too as an inmate who thinks he’s Michael Jackson. Don;t expect to see that one in future, though. Elsewhere, comics, games, a fab movie spin-off very late in the run, the fun Simpsons 3D ride at Universal Studios, and lucrative salaries for it’s ongoing stable of voice-over actors: Dan Castellenata as Homer, the actual star of the show once it found it’s feet, was also in the Tracey ullman Show along with Marge Simpson (and her sisters) actor Julie Kavner. Julie was long-familiar to me as beloved sister of Rhoda (The Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off which was widely-screened in the UK in the mid-70’s), while Hank Azaria (A NIght At The Museum’s Boris Karloff-a-like, Friends) and Harry Shearer (Spinal tap and much more) made up the bulk of the voices of most of the subsidiary characters. liberal hippie daughter Lisa (Yeardley Smith) & brash Bart (Nancy Cartwright, who also does a lot of the other kid voices) make up the main cast. One regular famous guest voice was Marcia Wallace (Mrs Krabappel – “Hah!” – Bart’s teacher, who’d been a fave of mine from 70’s sitcoms like The Bob Newhart Show, and guest spots in Bewitched, Taxi and many more. She became a fixture on US gameshows (being as she was funny) and I got to see her in 1979, guesting in The Match Game aka Blankety Blank, while in LA (they were giving out free audience tickets on Sunset Boulevard).

Name dropper.

Fave characters? Comic Book Guy. Chief Wiggum. Ned Flanders. Krusty The Clown. Kelsey Grammar as Sideshow Bob. The wacky style of characters can be traced back to Green Acres, one of Groening’s TV show inspirations. Fave running gag? Bart phoning Mo for made-up people: “Phone call for Amanda. Last name Huggenkiss”. Mo (to the Bar): I’m looking for Amanda. Anyone seen Amanda. I’m after AmandaHuggenkiss”. Well, aren’t we all….

Greatest TV comedy show ever? Very probably. There isn’t a great compilation overview though, so here’s a Halloween cartoon within a cartoon clip cos you’ve all seen The Simpsons, and if you haven’t where have you been for 30 years!?