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!?

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My 1980 Charts – July

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1st July 1980

3 weeks on top for OMD, as ELO and ONJ knock on their initialed door at 2. Not to mention PJM at 3. Macca’s 2nd of the year to go top 3, while ELO and Livvie repeat what they did in 1979, and 1978, and ELO did in 1977, 1976, 1973 and 1972 (going top 3). Splodgeness abound into the top 10 (arf!) with two pints of lager, with the Korgis snapping at their heels cos, you know, everybody’s gotta learn sometime, and a second magnificent top 10 for the lads.

Stacey Lattisaw jumps to the top 20 beat from 32, Teena Marie a little behind the groove at 18, and Queen scrape into the top 20 yet again as they continue to fall short of the 10 for 18 months-worth of singles, a far cry from 3 chart-toppers out of 4 in 1974/5. The Sex Pistols and Darts both climb with inferior covers, as Odyssey finally get cracking and Use It Up into the top 30, without wearing it out, and Saxon fly up to 28 in a 747 (feel free to groan at these links) as a bit of pop Nu-Metal agrees with me nicely. We were strangers in the night, but not anything to do with Frank Sinatra’s slightly better song. In at 38, The Blues Band take old song Diddy Wah Diddy into the 40 (not to be confused with Paul Jones Manfred Mann Do Wah Diddy Diddy, which is a better record, but fresh off Paul Jones’ Knebworth gig wot I saw), and Tavares return after a gap with I Don’t Want You Anymore for a 4th year of hits.

Daryl Hall & John Oates return running from paradise, and their first entry for 3 years, and 4 years on from the gorgeous She’s Gone. The soon-to-be solo Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto debuts as the Yellow Magic Orchestra with a space invaders synth instrumental theme, which was quite catchy, but not one I’ve managed to buy yet, and proving beyond doubt that having a hit record is no guarantee you’ll be able to buy it or stream it decades down the line. New Musik are back with a 4th gem synthpop single, looking for Sanctuary at 53, Carlene Carter covers her dad’s Ring Of Fire at 55, Rupert Holmes extends his run of singles at 66 and The Detroit Spinners do the same at 68 as they cover Sam Cooke’s Cupid, and follow in Johnny Nash’s 1969 shoes in charting it. Janis Ian gets a 3rd chart entry flying too high, as per her previous entry, so much so that she reaches the other side of the sun, and very nice too, though not as memorable as 1975’s heart-breaking At Seventeen.

1 ( 1 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
2 ( 9 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
3 ( 8 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
4 ( 2 ) CRYING Don McLean
5 ( 3 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
6 ( 7 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
7 ( 4 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
8 ( 23 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
9 ( 14 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
10 ( 5 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH

http://youtube.com/v/7o-9_J_Cc2w

11 ( 6 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
12 ( 19 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
13 ( 20 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
14 ( 32 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
15 ( 11 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
16 ( 12 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
17 ( 16 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
18 ( 21 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
19 ( 22 ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
20 ( 17 ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas

21 ( 13 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
22 ( 27 ) NEW AMSTERDAM Elvis Costello
23 ( 10 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John
24 ( 24 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
25 ( 34 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
26 ( 47 ) I’M NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE The Sex Pistols
27 ( 64 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
28 ( 71 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
29 ( 18 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer
30 ( 35 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy

http://youtube.com/v/BkKrUz45icE

31 ( 38 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
32 ( 15 ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)
33 ( 25 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
34 ( 36 ) LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR Pete Townsend
35 ( 29 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson
36 ( 26 ) WHO WANTS THE WORLD The Stranglers
37 ( 39 ) TRYING TO KEEP THE SUMMER ALIVE The Beach Boys
38 ( NEW ) DIDDY WAH DIDDY The Blues Band
39 ( 31 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson
40 ( NEW ) I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE Tavares

41 ( 55 ) NEW ROMANCE (IT’S A MYSTERY) Spider
42 ( 37 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
43 ( 42 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
44 ( 28 ) MIDNITE DYNAMOS Matchbox
45 ( 33 ) YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ME IN THE iamspamspamamiAT PARTIES Jona Lewie
46 ( 44 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
47 ( 56 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
48 ( NEW ) RUNNING FOR PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
49 ( 40 ) BIGGEST PART OF ME Ambrosia
50 ( NEW ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra

http://youtube.com/v/SY-wZTMNQmQ

51 ( 45 ) RAT RACE The Specials
52 ( NEW ) SING OUT (BREAKING/ ATMOSPHERE) Voyager
53 ( NEW ) SANCTUARY New Musik
54 ( 46 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness
55 ( NEW ) RING OF FIRE Carlene Carter
56 ( 53 ) CALL ME Blondie
57 ( 51 ) COMING UP Paul McCartney
58 ( 73 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
59 ( 49 ) MIRROR IN THE BATHROOM The Beat
60 ( 66 ) SUNSET PEOPLE Donna Summer

http://youtube.com/v/aoFOvCZcarU

61 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 43 ) JUST CAN’T GIVE YOU UP Mystic Merlin
64 ( 54 ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing
65 ( 58 ) GOING UNDERGROUND The Jam
66 ( NEW ) PARTNERS IN CRIME Rupert Holmes
67 ( 41 ) THE SCRATCH Surface Noise
68 ( NEW ) CUPID – I’VE LOVED YOU FOR A LONG TIME The Detroit Spinners
69 ( 30 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
70 ( 65 ) ATOMIC Blondie

71 ( 52 ) SUBSTITUTE Liquid Gold
72 ( 75 ) THE KING’S CALL Phil Lynott
73 ( NEW ) THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SUN Janis Ian
74 ( 72 ) CONFUSION/ LAST TRAIN TO LONDON E.L.O.
75 ( 59 ) BREAKING THE LAW Judas Priest

TV 21st – 27th June

1 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
2 The Outer Limits
3 Wimbledon (friday)
4 Wimbledon ’79
5 Animal Olympics


In my life, in the last full week of June, I was well into watching Wimbledon on TV, Borg and McEnroe both doing well in the first week of play. It was Pete’s 22nd birthday and 2 of our gang decided Pete needed a douse in the bath to celebrate, and tried to enlist me to do some heavy-mob impressions. No amount of cajoling, threats or persuasion convinced me it was a worthy endeavor (I don’t give in to peer-group pressure) so they had a mighty struggle with Pete, who threw up afterwards, before helping the same two give Julie a thoughtful bath too. Teachers all, you know, bar one…..!

College American Studies outside examiner interview on Tuesday before the goodbye’s to other students started gradually. One of my friends got the awful news she’d failed teaching practice, and hadn’t qualified after 3 years, upset and packing to leave the next day or two. Pete’s family were going back to Germany, and he would be joining them unless he got a summer job. I noted that we’d probably never see him again, if I knew Pete (which I did, being my best mate and all at College). So it was. He eventually married a Japanese girl, and moved to Japan, had a son and then lost touch sometime in the late 80’s. TP-failing, though, turned out not so tragic as she is now a Reverend, married to a Reverend, and living in a Parish in Wales. I didn’t like all this gang-breaking-up one bit, not at all, and predicted the next few months (at least) would be very depressing. I didn’t know the half of it….

I kept myself busy writing a fiction story and printing black & white photos in the College darkroom, as everyone gathered in my room wednesday evening for hysterical laughs watching TV. As we gathered Thursday evening I taped-recorded us all chatting and mucking about – and haven’t been able to listen to it since, with my reel-to-reel player having died, it’s a major loss to me that I didn’t convert it to mp3 years ago while it was just about working. I need to find someone to do it for me so I can hear how embarrassing I was at the time.

Friday, grandma and granddad dropped by with mum and dad, on their way through Lincoln, Paul took a few of us for a pub evening, Ian, Bev, Sue, which ended on a sour note thanks to an unfortunate comment, but otherwise was fun, Saturday was snooker (yet more), more bargain bin singles purchases in town, played Ian at tennis which was great fun, he was always a laugh, sorry I’ve lost touch these days. Then team table tennis after eating before an evening at Alan & Helen’s flat, where we had an Alan-guitar singalong and laughs with most of the gang there. From here to another goodbye party at Jo and Elaine’s, but not that many in attendance, so our smaller gang (Ian, Pete, Julie, Jane) just mucked about till 1-ish, and Charades till 2. It was so not a party, it was hilarious.

8th July 1980

The first chart after my final week of College, and it’s Olivia Newton-John getting a second number one (following You’re The One That I Want) and ELO getting a 9th, leaving them behind only The Beatles and Abba for most chart-toppers, though old mucker Roy Wood also totals 9 in various guises, including one with ELO (10538 Overture). Co-incidentally Macca is at 3, and ELO themselves are also at 4 with another Xanadu single, I’m Alive. I over-rated it as I’d managed to get hold of a cut-price copy of the single and they were coming off the back of 3 chart-toppers in a row.

Joan Armatrading gets Me Myself I into the 10, her 2nd, as Stacy Lattisaw gets a jumping first. Saxon, Odyssey and The Hollies all go top 20, Odyssey’s 2nd, The Hollies 7th or so in a 12-year span. Into the top 40 go Yellow Magic Orchestra’s space invaders, Spider, Voyager, The Detroit Spinners and Bad Manners, not to mention classic Bob Marley. Lower down we find the new entries rushing in with many a classic: Kate Bush is back with the sensational video Russian babe of Babooshka, Joy Division debut with the timeless and influential Love Will Tear Us Apart, even though lead singer was already dead, having committed suicide in May. Both tracks remain brilliant. Almost as good: The Undertones bring Wednesday Week in at 74. a melodic gem and a welcome change of pace from the boys, Kim Carnes huskily covers Smokey Robinson to fabulous effect at 68 ahead of her UK breakthrough a year later with an even greater track, and Change debut with the Chic-ish delight of A Lover’s Holiday at 48.

Others: The Rolling Stones have a decent comeback with Emotional Rescue, still in disco groove mode at 57, Sad Cafe have a 5th entry with the terribly titled Nothing Left Toulouse, John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett get a second hit 3 years on from Really Free, with the abrupt-change of direction of DK 50-80, a quirky synthrock track that was ahead of it’s time, The Vapors get another entry (News At Ten) and Bill Nelson comes back without Be Bop Deluxe, 4 years after Ships In The Night hit my top 10, now dreaming in colour.

http://youtube.com/v/-yBiTNLuTeo

1 ( 2 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
2 ( 1 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
3 ( 3 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
4 ( 11 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
5 ( 4 ) CRYING Don McLean
6 ( 6 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
7 ( 5 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
8 ( 8 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
9 ( 13 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
10 ( 14 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw

11 ( 9 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
12 ( 7 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
13 ( 28 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
14 ( 10 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
15 ( 18 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
16 ( 27 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
17 ( 19 ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
18 ( 12 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
19 ( 69 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
20 ( 16 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate

21 ( 25 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
22 ( 50 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
23 ( 31 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
24 ( 26 ) I’M NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE The Sex Pistols
25 ( 35 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson
26 ( 15 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
27 ( 34 ) LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR Pete Townsend
28 ( 24 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
29 ( 17 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
30 ( 30 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy

31 ( 20 ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas
32 ( 41 ) NEW ROMANCE (IT’S A MYSTERY) Spider
33 ( 38 ) DIDDY WAH DIDDY The Blues Band
34 ( 52 ) SING OUT (BREAKING/ ATMOSPHERE) Voyager
35 ( 40 ) I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE Tavares
36 ( 68 ) CUPID – I’VE LOVED YOU FOR A LONG TIME The Detroit Spinners
37 ( 21 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
38 ( 47 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
39 ( 64 ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing
40 ( 58 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers

41 ( 48 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
42 ( 22 ) NEW AMSTERDAM Elvis Costello
43 ( 23 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John
44 ( 43 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
45 ( 39 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson
46 ( 42 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
47 ( 29 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer
48 ( NEW ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
49 ( 53 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
50 ( NEW ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush

http://youtube.com/v/6xckBwPdo1c

51 ( 33 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
52 ( 55 ) RING OF FIRE Carlene Carter
53 ( 32 ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)
54 ( 46 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
55 ( NEW ) NOTHING LEFT TOULOUSE Sad Cafe
56 ( 37 ) TRYING TO KEEP THE SUMMER ALIVE The Beach Boys
57 ( NEW ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
58 ( 60 ) SUNSET PEOPLE Donna Summer
59 ( 36 ) WHO WANTS THE WORLD The Stranglers
60 ( 66 ) PARTNERS IN CRIME Rupert Holmes

http://youtube.com/v/zuuObGsB0No

61 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 44 ) MIDNITE DYNAMOS Matchbox
64 ( 54 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness
65 ( NEW ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
66 ( 57 ) COMING UP Paul McCartney
67 ( 56 ) CALL ME Blondie
68 ( NEW ) MORE LOVE Kim Carnes
69 ( NEW ) DK 50-80 Otway & Barrett
70 ( 45 ) YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ME IN THE iamspamspamamiAT PARTIES Jona Lewie

http://youtube.com/v/W5ADrcHJLFg

71 ( 71 ) SUBSTITUTE Liquid Gold
72 ( 73 ) THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SUN Janis Ian
73 ( NEW ) NEWS AT TEN The Vapors
74 ( NEW ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
75 ( NEW ) DO YOU DREAM IN COLOUR Bill Nelson

http://youtube.com/v/FswDoZKFXVc

TV June 28th – 4th July
1 Wimbledon
2 Q9
3 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
4 Mork and Mindy
5 Firecreek


On TV the striking BBC staff kept Top Of The Pops off the air for half the summer, which was a bummer, not to mention other TV shows, which, along with a week of partying hard as we all left College, meant I watched hardly any TV, unusually for me in those days. The last single I was playing to death was OMD, and the last single I bought at College was a gatefold sleeve version of Xanadu. I borrowed Julie’s camera flash and went to the Usher Art Gallery and took photos of my work on the wall, allowing myself a bit of sad ego-boosting amongst the crushing comments of the Uni examiners, then tutor Max helped me remove them and the helped shift piano’s and the like. American Studies tutor John Davies praised my writing, suggested further reading to widen my experience and gave me my marks in graph form for each year at College, rising steeply with The Immigrants, and stood up for me in the end results for marks, overall 65% (Grade 1). I always like John Davies and wish I could stayed as enthusiastic for myself as he was on my behalf!

Mum, dad, grandma & granddad dropped by with a new watch for me! I am still wearing it, a dozen batteries later, a scratched clock face, and 35 years on. I do like to take care of stuff! Ian, Sue, Paul Julie & Jane gathered, Alan came by, and off we went in a tie I borrowed from Sue for the goodbye dinner, a lecturer came over to chat to me and made a very unexpected personal comment out of the blue which I’m still not clear on what he saying but I went bright red! That left speeches from the Principal and Union Rep Mark, and then to the bar and union disco for SAVVY, College band of the day, and the final record of the disco was When Will I See You Again. How depressing. Next few days: Tennis, snooker, socialising, some exciting Wimbledon matches (Chris Lloyd beating Navratilova), and conversations on the inhumanity of man amongst all the laughs, and on the last evening we split into two groups, Sue, Bev, Pete, Julie stayed in watching TV, Ian, Jane, Paul, Dave went to a double movie feature: Saturday Night Fever (dull despite the fab music) and Grease (better than first time round) which with it’s final scenes of the ending of High School was sort of saying it all really. We gathered for a chat, and that was it, end of an era, College over, just the goodbye’s and the packing to do. I popped up to Sue’s room, she was as upset as me I think at it all ending, everyone handing in keys, and Pete disappeared in a rush without a proper goodbye. I asked Sue to say goodbye for me, because I kinda knew he wouldn’t be meeting up with the gang after college and that would be the last time I saw him, ever, and which gutted me somewhat. And so it was. Sue was the one that saw me off when Brother and dad came for me and my stuff. “See you in 6 weeks” was my goodbye, it helped knowing we were meeting up but I was fighting back tears the whole way home.

And that was the end of the good times for a decade or so…

 

15th July 1980

2 weeks for Xanadu on top, as I start my 2-years job-search, living and breathing application forms. This had such a negative effect on me that I stay with crappy jobs rather than put in a job application, just to avoid the whole sorry stressful experience. Not a good career move, overall. Music, though, was fab: Macca gets his 2nd number 2 of the year, as Saxon get their first top 10, flying up with 747, Odyssey get a second, using it up and wearing it out, and Teena Marie gets behind the groove and pops up to 9.

Joy Division go up a whopping 50 places to 15 with the classic Love Will Tear Us Apart, and Kate up 33 with a classic babooshka to 17, and classic Marley at 18 with Could You be Loved. That’s a buncha classics! Change have a holiday at 23, and New Musik make it 4 top 40’s in a row as they look for Sanctuary. The Rolling Stones take an Emotional Rescue inside the 40, a funky falsetto groove miles away from their petulant earthy blues chart debut Honky Tonk Women 11 years earlier.

In at 39, Leo Sayer seems to have given up writing his own material, and opts for a great Bobby Vee 60’s oldie, More Than I Can Say, removes the charm and slows it down. Dexy’s make it 3 in a row at 46, There There My Dear! The Whispers cover My Girl, Hot Chocolate enquire about the amount of happiness I’m getting and is it enough, which is polite of them, and to which the answer was and is “No”. A bit of a disappointment for me, though, after No Doubt About It. In at 71, AC/DC get a 3rd entry, with reactivated flop Whole Lotta Rosie, the final Bon Scott vocals hit they had, and a Punk-Metal classic for me. From here on they were more Pomp-Metal. Finally Gene Chandler gets a good soul ballad ebtry at 74, Does She Have A Friend he asks, while Billy Joel is more positive stating (quite rightly) that it’s still rock ‘n’ roll to him at 75, no matter what new name it has. Clever lyrically, tuneful and catchy, as ol’ Billy tended to be when he was in the mood, and 5 years on now from The Piano Man debut.

1 ( 1 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
2 ( 3 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
3 ( 2 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
4 ( 10 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
5 ( 9 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
6 ( 13 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
7 ( 6 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
8 ( 16 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
9 ( 15 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
10 ( 5 ) CRYING Don McLean

11 ( 7 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
12 ( 4 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
13 ( 8 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
14 ( 17 ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
15 ( 65 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
16 ( 22 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
17 ( 50 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
18 ( 40 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
19 ( 21 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
20 ( 12 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police

http://youtube.com/v/6_5O-nUiZ_0

21 ( 11 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
22 ( 23 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
23 ( 48 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
24 ( 24 ) I’M NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE The Sex Pistols
25 ( 20 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
26 ( 49 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
27 ( 14 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
28 ( 34 ) SING OUT (BREAKING/ ATMOSPHERE) Voyager
29 ( 57 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
30 ( 25 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson

http://youtube.com/v/Qslqk3IcXK8

31 ( 18 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
32 ( 19 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
33 ( 33 ) DIDDY WAH DIDDY The Blues Band
34 ( 38 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
35 ( 36 ) CUPID – I’VE LOVED YOU FOR A LONG TIME The Detroit Spinners
36 ( 28 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
37 ( 35 ) I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE Tavares
38 ( 26 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
39 ( NEW ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
40 ( 29 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair

41 ( 74 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
42 ( 55 ) NOTHING LEFT TOULOUSE Sad Cafe
43 ( 32 ) NEW ROMANCE (IT’S A MYSTERY) Spider
44 ( 27 ) LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR Pete Townsend
45 ( 39 ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing
46 ( NEW ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
47 ( 41 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
48 ( 44 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
49 ( 30 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy
50 ( 68 ) MORE LOVE Kim Carnes

http://youtube.com/v/EJm-kG922PI

51 ( 52 ) RING OF FIRE Carlene Carter
52 ( 31 ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas
53 ( 46 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
54 ( 45 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson
55 ( 56 ) TRYING TO KEEP THE SUMMER ALIVE The Beach Boys
56 ( 37 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
57 ( 54 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
58 ( 75 ) DO YOU DREAM IN COLOUR Bill Nelson
59 ( 47 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer
60 ( 60 ) PARTNERS IN CRIME Rupert Holmes

61 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( NEW ) MY GIRL The Whispers
64 ( 42 ) NEW AMSTERDAM Elvis Costello
65 ( 43 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John
66 ( NEW ) ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH HAPPINESS Hot Chocolate
67 ( 51 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
68 ( 73 ) NEWS AT TEN The Vapors
69 ( 69 ) DK 50-80 Otway & Barrett
70 ( 64 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness

http://youtube.com/v/H2Gwr-VrNFM

71 ( NEW ) WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE AC/DC
72 ( NEW ) FANTASY Gerard Kenny
73 ( 53 ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)
74 ( NEW ) DOES SHE HAVE A FRIEND Gene Chandler
75 ( NEW ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel

http://youtube.com/v/5eAQa4MOGkE

TV 5th-11th July
1 Wimbledon Final
2 Soap
3 Mork and Mindy
4 The Phil Silvers Show
5 Taxi
6 Happy Days
7 Buona Sera Mrs Campbell: film
8 The Banana Splits
9 Are You Being Served
10 Dallas

In the real world I had the delight of standing in line at the Unemployment Office for 2 and a half hours to “sign on” as we used to say, and granddad came round to do some DIY. Grandma and Grandad were moving into their new council house in Mansfield, from Clipstone, which was the end of an era for me – they had only ever lived in the school caretakers house in Clipstone, and all the immediate family in Mansfield were round to help move in and with painting, wallpapering etc. This was followed by granddad getting the news his sister had cancer and 6 months to live, not a good start to a new house.

We also badgered mum into giving in and getting our first state-of-the-art £299 videorecorder (well, dad did at any rate). Tapes £20 for 2 hours!

Rest of the week painting walls and doors at home, as a prelude to the movie of the year, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: “A treat! I didn’t guess Darth Vader’s secret and the muppet wasn’t so bad” (as expected, that’ll be Yoda then) “MUCH better than I’d anticipated: not the uniformity of plot-ending of Star Wars, and humour less apparent, therefore not as impressive. BUT effects were brilliant as before plus much originality and the characters weren’t two-dimensional this time” I opined, it was more a series of adventures and chase than an actual plot until half-way through, and I got pissed off at having to wait 3 years for the cliff-hangar resolution, that was a long time!

My top 8 sci-fi movies of all time after viewing?

Close Encounters of The Third Kind
Star Trek
Star Wars
Alien
The Empire Strikes Back
Superman
Planet Of The Apes
2001: A Space Odyssey

That order is substantially different these days and Star Trek, Superman have dropped out of my top 100 entirely, 2001 is classic but not a fave.

22nd July 1980

3 weeks for Xanadu on top but with Abba’s brilliant, adult and sophisticated new ballad in at 2, it looks like The Winner Takes It All imminently. It signalled a new maturity after a pop disco phase, and critically as well as commercially Abba were getting appreciated. About time. Saxon at 3 give metal a boost, while at the lower end Whitesnake and Hawkwind join in. Dexy’s Midnight Runners shoot up 39 places to 7, for 3 out of 3 great singles, and are joined in the top 10 by classic Kate and brilliant Bob.

Change, New Musik, Rolling Stones, and The Sex Pistols all go top 20 but it’s The Undertones with a Wednesday Week rush to 19 who stand out with one of their best singles. Greedy ELO meanwhile get yet another Xanadu track All Over The World newly in, and while it’s not startlingly different from previous singles it ticks the pleasure box for me and drops in at 27. Diana Ross is back with a Chic-bang at 31, Upside Down in one fell swoop is her best single in 4 years, and by a long way. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards effectively finished being pop stars with Chic, and moved over to writing and producing for bigger stars. Hey presto 35 years on and Nile Rodgers is quite rightly revered. Diana has a dozen years of chart activity, a chart veteran.

In at 30, another new single from The Beach Boys, Santa Ana Winds, pleasant enough, The Whispers go top 40 with My Girl, as Johnny Bristol enters with My Girl 6 years on since his last entry Hang On In There Baby – and it’s a mash-up with My Guy, and Amii Stewart continuing her cover version career. Both songs were conveniently written by Smokey Robinson, as was More Love nestling beautifully at 48 for Kim Carnes. The Gibson Brothers grab a 4th top 40 with Mariana at 40, keeping those fab latin rhythms going strong.

At 51, it’s a remarkable debut for model legend Grace Jones, who oozes style and attitude throughout her career, starting with a Sly & Robbie-produced cover of Chrissie Hynde’s Pretenders song Private Life. Slowed-down, half-spoken half-sung, sexy and throbbing, Chrissie gave it the compliment that Grace made it sound like she imagined it would sound. At 69, debuting with a new lead singer (John Foxx having been and gone) in the shape of Midge Ure, then of Slik and Rich Kids fame, it’s Ultravox and Sleepwalking joining the synthpop party, having been early pioneers of it. That leaves The Mo-Dettes covering the Rolling Stones Paint It Black at 70, as the Stones own Emotional Rescue is somewhat higher at 18.

1 ( 1 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
2 ( NEW ) THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Abba
3 ( 6 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
4 ( 5 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
5 ( 2 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
6 ( 3 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
7 ( 46 ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
8 ( 17 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
9 ( 18 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
10 ( 4 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw

http://youtube.com/v/3ZwWnXuB_eg

11 ( 7 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
12 ( 8 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
13 ( 15 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
14 ( 9 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
15 ( 23 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
16 ( 26 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
17 ( 10 ) CRYING Don McLean
18 ( 29 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
19 ( 41 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
20 ( 24 ) I’M NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE The Sex Pistols

http://youtube.com/v/9iw_BE_X9sA

21 ( 11 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
22 ( 16 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
23 ( 12 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
24 ( 19 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
25 ( 13 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
26 ( 39 ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
27 ( NEW ) ALL OVER THE WORLD E.L.O.
28 ( 34 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
29 ( 33 ) DIDDY WAH DIDDY (BLUES BAND EP) The Blues Band
30 ( NEW ) SANTA ANA WINDS The Beach Boys

http://youtube.com/v/wh3i3vWgPyk

31 ( NEW ) UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross
32 ( 22 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
33 ( 20 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
34 ( 14 ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
35 ( 35 ) CUPID – I’VE LOVED YOU FOR A LONG TIME The Detroit Spinners
36 ( 25 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
37 ( 37 ) I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE Tavares
38 ( 63 ) MY GIRL The Whispers
39 ( 71 ) WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE AC/DC
40 ( NEW ) MARIANA The Gibson Brothers

http://youtube.com/v/4GtyMeEcPPE

41 ( 36 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
42 ( 21 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
43 ( 27 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
44 ( 32 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
45 ( 31 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
46 ( 40 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
47 ( 51 ) RING OF FIRE Carlene Carter
48 ( 50 ) MORE LOVE Kim Carnes
49 ( 30 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson
50 ( 28 ) SING OUT (BREAKING/ ATMOSPHERE) Voyager

http://youtube.com/v/yvLn_qC7QAs

51 ( NEW ) PRIVATE LIFE Grace Jones
52 ( 48 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
53 ( 38 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
54 ( 74 ) DOES SHE HAVE A FRIEND Gene Chandler
55 ( 66 ) ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH HAPPINESS Hot Chocolate
56 ( 45 ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing
57 ( 75 ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel
58 ( 47 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
59 ( 68 ) NEWS AT TEN The Vapors
60 ( 53 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners

61 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
62 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
63 ( 57 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
64 ( 72 ) FANTASY Gerard Kenny
65 ( 55 ) TRYING TO KEEP THE SUMMER ALIVE The Beach Boys
66 ( 42 ) NOTHING LEFT TOULOUSE Sad Cafe
67 ( 58 ) DO YOU DREAM IN COLOUR Bill Nelson
68 ( 43 ) NEW ROMANCE (IT’S A MYSTERY) Spider
69 ( NEW ) SLEEPWALKING Ultravox
70 ( NEW ) PAINT IT BLACK The Mo-Dettes

71 ( NEW ) MY GUY/MY GIRL Amii Stewart and Johnny Bristol
72 ( 49 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy
73 ( NEW ) READY AND WILLING Whitesnake
74 ( NEW ) SHOT DOWN IN THE NIGHT Hawkwind
75 ( 54 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson

TV 12th – 18th July
1 Rhoda
2 Soap
3 The Phil Silvers Show
4 Taxi
5 The Outer Limits
6 Q9
7 The Banana Splits
8 Ancient Astronauts
9 Hong Kong Beat
10 Space 1999
11 The Pink Panther
12 Happy Days
13 Superstar Profile: Roger Moore
14 Dallas
15 What’s On Wogan

At home, I got rid of some old clothes, which saddened me actually, as it was my teen life going in the bin. Mum found out she had to go into hospital yet again, which was worrying, though I was more happy to be able to give them half my new UB40 £20 a week, and have a bit left over for some new clothes (brown cords trousers). Did my first job application: the CHAD local newspaper (Artist/Visualiser): my expectations would eventually drift downwards and more realistically. My new chart was done on Friday 18th (but is still dated 22nd July as at that time it was still the week-ending date before the new chart was announced on Tuesdays). I think the day I did my chart varied more from here on, but tended to be after Top Of The Pops broadcasts so it could be up-to-date.

 


29th July 1980

Abba get their 14th consecutive number one, and 15th in total, with the sublime The Winner Takes It All, heartbreak perfection. Only The Beatles could claim to be bigger – depending on whether you include a separate Beatles chart in 1976 as bonafide. I sorta do cos most of their career was pre-my-chart and singles and album tracks would have been just as chart-topper-y as Abba’s, who would have had considerably more chart-toppers had I allowed album tracks such as Eagle, Tiger, If It Wasn’t For The Nights and Hole In Your Soul to chart. Diana Ross meanwhile leaps upside to 3, her highest charting since 1976, and highest-charting new material since 1972. Kate Bush gets a 4th top 5, ELO keep the run of top 10 singles running to 5 years, and Change go top 10 too.

Gibson Brothers go top 20, Beach Boys blow up to 20, and Hall & Oates get a first top 20 entry four years on from the brilliant She’s Gone with Running From Paradise, up 39 places after pottering about a bit. Billy Joel adds another top 40 to his list, but it’s still rock ‘n’ roll to me, as The Gap Band turn sitting in a line on the floor into a rowing fad with Oops Upside Your Head entering at 28. Hot Choc hit the 40, Black Sabbath get a 3rd top 40 hit with Neon Knights, a decade since Paranoid premiered, and Grace Jones makes the 40 with her Private Life. Sheena easton debuts, a reality TV star, wholesome and shrill and Scottish, with a not-Dolly-Parton 9 To 5 song which went on to top the charts in the USA under it’s alternate title (in brackets here). Dolly is more famous these days, and Sheena shocked when she moved to the States and went all raunchy in the mid-80’s, but for now we had to make do with a fairly dated bland pop ditty.

Kim Carnes and Gene Chandler finally make the 40 with 2 minor gems that should have been bigger gems, and Racey return with a less chirpy pop song Rest Of Your Life at 47, it wasn’t bad, while a funk classic aiming for Jamaica is in at 54 for Tom Browne. Not the BBC singles UK Radio Chart rundown DJ Tom Browne, though. Pity! Bodysnatchers are back looking for an Easy Life, Roxy Music quip “Oh Yeah”? as they hit a new laid-back low (for me) at 63, and quirky Piranhas debut with 50’s cover, all cockernee-stylee, Tom Hark. Chirpy and catchy. Jacko gets his 5th single off Off The Wall, and it’s mate and future estranged-mate Macca’s song, Girlfriend, in at 66. Not a finest moment for either party, but pleasant enough. Finally, John Foxx joins his ex-bandmates Ultravox, in a Burning Car at 71.

http://youtube.com/v/92cwKCU8Z5c

1 ( 2 ) THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Abba
2 ( 1 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
3 ( 31 ) UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross
4 ( 8 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
5 ( 7 ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
6 ( 27 ) ALL OVER THE WORLD E.L.O.
7 ( 9 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
8 ( 3 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
9 ( 15 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
10 ( 4 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading

http://youtube.com/v/Qqk_6hzbVx4

11 ( 5 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
12 ( 22 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
13 ( 16 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
14 ( 6 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
15 ( 40 ) MARIANA The Gibson Brothers
16 ( 18 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
17 ( 10 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
18 ( 19 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
19 ( 58 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
20 ( 30 ) SANTA ANA WINDS The Beach Boys

http://youtube.com/v/4CPZa21DFA8

21 ( 12 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
22 ( 26 ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
23 ( 57 ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel
24 ( 13 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
25 ( 28 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
26 ( 39 ) WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE AC/DC
27 ( 17 ) CRYING Don McLean
28 ( NEW ) OOPS UPSIDE YOUR HEAD The Gap Band
29 ( 55 ) ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH HAPPINESS Hot Chocolate
30 ( 23 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra

31 ( 11 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
32 ( 14 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
33 ( NEW ) NEON KNIGHTS Black Sabbath
34 ( 21 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
35 ( 51 ) PRIVATE LIFE Grace Jones
36 ( NEW ) 9 TO 5 (MY BABY TAKES THE MORNING TRAIN) Sheena Easton
37 ( 38 ) MY GIRL The Whispers
38 ( 25 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
39 ( 48 ) MORE LOVE Kim Carnes
40 ( 54 ) DOES SHE HAVE A FRIEND Gene Chandler

http://youtube.com/v/2xwL-7fKKUE

41 ( 32 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
42 ( 24 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
43 ( 36 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
44 ( 33 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
45 ( 29 ) DIDDY WAH DIDDY (BLUES BAND EP) The Blues Band
46 ( 69 ) SLEEPWALKING Ultravox
47 ( NEW ) REST OF YOUR LIFE Racey
48 ( 35 ) CUPID – I’VE LOVED YOU FOR A LONG TIME The Detroit Spinners
49 ( 37 ) I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE Tavares
50 ( 41 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc

http://youtube.com/v/ukCHU5n8Sbg

51 ( 44 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
52 ( 43 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
53 ( 34 ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
54 ( NEW ) FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA Tom Browne
55 ( 52 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
56 ( 20 ) I’M NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE The Sex Pistols
57 ( 45 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
58 ( 59 ) NEWS AT TEN The Vapors
59 ( 46 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
60 ( NEW ) EASY LIFE The Bodysnatchers

61 ( 61 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
62 ( 62 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
63 ( NEW ) OH YEAH Roxy Music
64 ( NEW ) TOM HARK The Piranhas
65 ( 53 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
66 ( NEW ) GIRLFRIEND Michael Jackson
67 ( 67 ) DO YOU DREAM IN COLOUR Bill Nelson
68 ( 71 ) MY GUY/MY GIRL Amii Stewart and Johnny Bristol
69 ( 60 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
70 ( 56 ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing

71 ( NEW ) BURNING CAR John Foxx
72 ( 70 ) PAINT IT BLACK The Mo-Dettes
73 ( 73 ) READY AND WILLING Whitesnake
74 ( 63 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
75 ( 42 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis

TV 19th-25th July
1 Fawlty Towers
2 Olympics 1980
3 Soap
4 Rhoda
5 Q9
6 Horizon: The Bermuda Triangle
7 Porridge
8 Moviola: Garbo & Gilbert
9 The Good Life
10 Moviola: Scarlett O’Hara
11 Moviola: Marilyn Monroe
12 Space: 1999
13 What’s On Wogan
14 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
15 Fantasy Island

That leaves TV chat – mostly 70’s sitcoms, as it happens, plus the 1980 Olympics, a batch of Hollywood Golden Age greats on Moviola TV Biog miniseries, and also a bit of Spike Milligan. In my life, dad bought me a jacket in Nottingham, I bought myself some Legion Of Super-Heroes comics (even though I couldnt afford them, I had to have them), and mum’s cousin Pauline was out of hospital OK, though family life was tense and terse as mum waited anxiously to go into hospital herself. Various relations came round to visit during the week until mum went in on Sunday, anxious about her operation. To say the least, and so was I.

In the Olympics Duncan Goodhew won gold in the swimming, Ovett vs Coe, Alan Wells, Daley Thompson, loads of UK athletes doing the biz; Peter Sellers died far too young in shock news, I wrote: “A blow, too young, top of career etc. A damn funny man – it’s never fair. No wonder older people are cynical.” As indeed I am now. ON TV show Fantasy Island guest star was Marcia Wallace, of Bob Newhart Show USA fame, who I’d watched live on The Match Game in LA a year earlier – and I had no-one to tell! No-one had heard of her, or cared. I liked her, and she eventually gained TV immortality as Mrs Krabappel in the Simpsons. So now I can tell someone.