Bought by me on 2 November 1985, this was an absolute belter of a track.
In my extreme youth, I’d been a fan of The Undertones. With hits like Teenage Kicks, Here Comes the Summer and especially, My Perfect Cousin, they were perhaps the more accessible of the late 70s punks. Even my Mum enjoyed My Perfect Cousin!
But anyway, this isn’t about them. This is about him, their former lead singer. Feargal Sharkey had left the band due to, ahem, musical differences in 1983. A Good Heart was his third solo single, following on from Listen to Your Father and Loving You. They had charted respectably enough, but this was a towering monster of a hit.
Released in October 1985, it veritably hopped, skipped and jumped to the number one spot, which it reached on 16 November and held for a couple of weeks before Wham! took over the top spot with I’m Your Man. The number one singles of 1985 really bear checking out as they represent such a strong line up and show just how good the eighties were in terms of popular music. A Good Heart sits comfortably with its contemporaries.
Musically, A Good Heart soars with exuberance but underneath all that it’s actually full of regret about a failed relationship. Scathing even. Written by Maria McKee, the song documents the break up of her relationship with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ keyboardist Benmont Tench.
Mischievously, Sharkey’s next UK single and only other big 80s UK hit, You Little Thief, was written by Tench in response to A Good Heart. If anything, its lyrics are even bleaker and more scathing.
Oh and finally… word is that Boy George sings backing vocals on A Good Heart.