Madonna – Material Girl

So we came to Madge’s fifth UK single. Superficially keeping the image she used to such good effect with Like A Virgin, in the video at least Madonna performed perhaps her first change of look in her homage to Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Much more how she would have liked to have been remembered than that trashy, slushy nonsense by Elton John, but I digress.

It’s often said that Madonna is least proud of this song than any other in her back catalogue. The 80’s were a time of conspicuous excess on both sides of the pond, and with this song it seems that a nickname had been found for Madonna. One that she didn’t much like.

Vital Stats:

Entered UK Chart: 2-3-1985
Bought by Me: 16-3-1985
Highest Chart Position: 3
Weeks on Chart: 10

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Madonna – Crazy For You

Madonna’s sixth UK singles chart release and a tie in with the Matthew Modine film Vision Quest. It was backed by different songs in different territories. In the UK we had the Sammy Hagar offering I’ll Fall In Love Again – a track that joined Crazy For You on the film’s soundtrack. This is perhaps my favourite of the early Madonna offerings. It certainly reminds me now of discos in the village hall with Madonna’s breathy evocation of ‘strangers making the most of the dark…’ If only, eh?!

Vital Stats:

Entered UK Chart: 8-6-1985
Bought by Me: 13-7-1985
Highest Chart Position: 2
Weeks on Chart: 15

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Madonna – Into The Groove

Following on from Crazy For You, in an even more radical departure according to territory, this fine single (taken from the insanely under-rated film Desperately Seeking Susan) was only released as a B side in the US but received fully fledged A side status in the UK. And we responded to this great trust placed in us by sending it to number 1 – Madonna’s first UK number 1 single.

Vital Stats:

Entered UK Chart: 27-7-1985
Bought by Me: 3-8-1985
Highest Chart Position: 1
Weeks on Chart: 14

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Madonna – Angel

Angel was released considerably later in the UK than it had been in other parts of the world. As noted, Angel had been paired with Into The Groove in the US, but in the UK both had been released separately. It’s true that Angel is remembered less well than Into The Groove, even though it must have been considered the stronger of the two when the release strategy was decided. For all of that, it’s a typically spiky performance by Madonna.

Vital Stats:

Entered UK Chart: 21-9-1985
Bought by Me: 4-10-1985
Highest Chart Position: 5
Weeks on Chart: 9

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Madonna – Dress You Up

It’s been said before and probably will be again, that our Madonna is ‘a little bit woo, a little bit weh’. It’s also been said that song lyrics, like any other form of language can be interpreted in anyway the listener or reader chooses, but how on earth could this song have ended up on the Parent Music Resource Center (PMRC)’s list of Filthy Fifteen – you know (or maybe you don’t), the original set of songs which they demanded should have those ridiculous Parental Advisory aka Tipper Stickers.

You can understand songs like Prince’s Darling Nikki or some of the heavy metal ones like W.A.S.P.’s Animal (F**k Like A Beast) with their obviously unsavoury lyrics, but Dress You Up? Maybe it’s me, maybe I am too liberal, but I’d rather be liberal than a reactionary p***k.

Vital Stats:

Entered UK Chart: 7-12-1985
Bought by Me: 14-12-1985
Highest Chart Position: 5
Weeks on Chart: 11

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Alarm (The) – Absolute Reality

1980's music from North Wales' finest.

I was a big, big fan of The Alarm. Many people unkindly called them the poor man’s U2 but I thought they were great. Fronted by Mike Peters along with Dave Sharp (guitars), Eddie Macdonald (bass) and Nigel Twist on drums. They were Anglo-Welsh in origin and this was reflected in their music.

Absolute Reality, written by Macdonald and Peters, entered the UK Singles Chart in the w/e 2nd March 1985 and found its was into my record collection on 16th March. It reached its high point of number 35 in the w/e 23rd March. It was backed by a live version of Blaze of Glory. Absolute Reality was the first single taken from the album Strength.

Idol, Billy – Rebel Yell

Billy Idol was a member of the 70’s punk group Generation X.

Rebel Yell was his second solo single. Originally released in 1984, it had failed to make it into the top 60. A year and a half later, after the huge it afforded him by White Wedding, Rebel Yell was released again in the w/e 14th September 1985 and very quickly matched its predecessor’s high mark of number 6 in the UK Singles Chart – I bought my copy on 18th October 1985. In total it spent 12 weeks in the chart.

Co-written with Steve Stevens, Rebel Yell is actually written for a Kentucky whiskey distilled in Louisville. The single was taken from the album of the same name and was backed in the UK with a live recording of (Do Not) Stand In The Shadows. It’s just a great rock and roll blast from start to finish, and knowing that it was Jagger and Richards who in part inspired the writing of the song, I cannot escape the fact that it nods to their song Brown Sugar.

Nail, Jimmy – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

1980's music. Top Geordie crooner!

What gave this apparently large, course Geordie bloke the right to have a god voice, I am still yet to fathom.  However, he did.  I loved this song when it was released, w/e 27th April 1985 so I went out and bought it on 7th June.  However, I must admit that whenever it comes up on whichever 80’s compilation I’m listening to nowadays I do skip to the next track (I prefer 1992’s raucous sing-along Ain’t No Doubt).

The song is, as we all know, Miles Gregory’s composition and was a big seventies hit for Rose Royce – number 2 in 1978.  Jimmy’s version made it to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart and spent a total of 11 weeks in the chart.  The art work shows a brooding Jimmy in sepia tones as he walks in the park lamenting his lost love.  The b-side is the self penned Night for Day, can’t remember that I ever turned it over and played that side, but I might have, just once or twice.

Any road up, why don’t you take a moment to have a listen to the track:

Faltermeyer, Harold – Axel F

1980’s music – axel f NOT by that f… frog

OK, let’s get this straight.  This song bears no relation in any way, shape or form to that f**king awful frog thing that peddled its wares in the first decade of the new millennium.

Released by MCA Records of 72-74 Brewer St, London W1R 3PH in the w/e 23rd March 1985 this was the theme tune to the latest smash hit by Eddie Murphy, Beverley Hills Cop.

Of course, the song’s title is taken from the lead character, foul-mouthed Detroit cop on holiday in LA, Axel Foley.  Shrek’s mate Donkey apart, this is Murphy’s tour de force.  Nothing else that he has done quite matches up to it. But that’s my opinion and probably utter garbage.

Anyway, this ain’t no film review, so here goes: the track wasn’t initially a hit, having spent a few weeks in the lower reaches of the chart before disappearing, only to come back with a vengeance.

During this second spell in the chart it made its highest chart position of number 2. It was only the sheer brilliance of The Eurythmics’ There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) that prevented from making number 1.

I bought it on 28th June 1985 and to my mind, it’s a twin to Crockett’s Theme by Jan Hammer which I also bought.

Moore, Gary (& Lynott, Phil) – Out In The Fields

1980's music - the final single to feature Phil Lynott

Alongside Lynott, Gary Moore was a member of Thin Lizzy off and on for a number of years.  This single was the last one featuring Lynott before his death on 4 January 1986. It’s a none too subtle (but nevertheless powerful) comment on the religious and political climate in Northern Ireland at the time. As you’re probably aware, Lynott was of Irish / Brazilian heritage, whilst Moore was of Northern Irish descent and being true heavyweights of the rock music scene they probably felt that their influence was as likely to bring some sense to the situation as anybody else was. You have to remember that 1985 was perhaps as grim as it got in the Troubles and the year for rock and pop to save the world, so why not eh?

This entered the UK singles chart in the w/e 18 May 1985 and I bought it soon after on 25 May.  Out In The Fields rose to its highest position of number 5 after 4 weeks.  Overall, it spent 2 weeks in the top ten out of its total of 10 week chart run. Here’s a video for you to take a look at: