Madonna – Like A Virgin

OMG! Wasn’t she a vixen? Right from the start you could tell that this woman had star quality. Truth be told, I didn’t notice Holiday or the next two releases, but this one, Like A Virgin, her fourth UK release… Whizz! Bang! It’s like onomatopoeia was a word invented for Madonna.

She was every boys dream wasn’t she? Cavorting around on a gondola, wearing that wedding dress, being chased by a lion. Powerful, powerful stuff. Of course in the UK we were also treated to her performance in that pink wig on TOTP.

Vital Stats:

Entered UK Chart: 17-11-1984
Bought by Me: 28-12-1984
Highest Chart Position: 3
Weeks on Chart: 18

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Stranglers (The) – Skin Deep

The Stranglers - Skin Deep, a real 7" single, pictured yesterday.

My usual agent (aka My Mum) bought this one for me on Friday 19 October 1984 just about a couple of weeks into its 7 week stay in the UK singles chart.

I’d like to think that I gave it that boost it needed to get to its highest chart position of 15 which it achieved at the end of its 3rd week. I remember the 19 October 1984 well as I was taking part in a sponsored walk to raise school funds… in school time!  Whoo and indeed hoo!

On supposes that due to their large number of seventies hits The Stranglers may not be considered as bona fide 1980’s stars. Singles like Peaches and No More Heroes were both top ten hits in 1977, right at the high point of the punk era.

Having said that, Golden Brown, their biggest hit, made number 2 in the UK singles chart in 1982 – just shows the danger of pigeon holing. Of course this was what the punk fraternity seemed to do with The Stranglers, they were often derided by them due to the relatively polished nature of their work.

It’s a catchy wee tune is Skin Deep, with an interesting sentiment too – beware people who may not be exactly what they seem on the surface. Good advice for the post-punk generation methinks.

U2 – Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Oh I remember being SO grown up when I bought this. Although they weren’t quite so enormous just yet, this track and the album it came from (The Unforgettable Fire) helped to propel the group to iconic status.

It was their biggest UK singles chart hit to date, making number 3 after it had been released in the w/e 15 September 1984. I bought it on 20 October that year as it gracefully slid down from the higher reaches of the chart.

U2 – Pride. My first taste of political rock.
It is well documented about whom Pride was written. The picture of him on the back of the record sleeve is a bit of a giveaway too. However, what is more interesting to me is the full stop that the song represents in the end of the early part of the band’s career.

An older cousin of mine who was keen on their early albums was a bit disappointed with The Unforgettable Fire when I lent it to her – she thought that all the tracks would be like Pride and the earlier albums. It isn’t!

U2 Pride – it’s all about this man.

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Head, Murray – One Night In Bangkok

My musical tastes were truly eclectic and this one is a great example of that.

Murray Head hadn’t troubled the UK singles chart since 1972 when he managed to get to number 46 with Superstar, the title track from 1970’s Rock Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar from the Lloyd-Webber/Rice canon.  That track was one of four on a maxi-single, of which only it and one other – Yvonne Elliman’s I Don’tKnow How To Love Him were credited.

But enough about the seventies, this is an eighties blog.  What of One Night In Bangkok?

Well, the song is a co-composition between Rice plus Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson the two B’s from ABBA.  Chess was a concept album and subsequently a musical linking the game of chess and the Cold War.  Anything in a musical eh?

Anyway, Head was Frederick Trumper (“The American”) in both the 1984 concept album (from where the single comes) and the original West End stage production in 1986.

After its release in November 1984, One Night had a slow climb up to number 12, before spending a further month in the teens before sliding down and out of the chart.  I spent some of my hard-earned (?) Christmas money in buying it on 28th December 1984.

Commodores – Nightshift

Nightshift is a moment of genuine class. Penned by Orange / Lambert / Golde, it was the group’s first hit post Lionel Richie.  It peaked in the UK singles chart at number 3 during its 14 week stay in the Spring of 1985.

The song is a ballad, written to the memory of Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson.  The title track of the group’s album of the same year, which it almost single-handedly dragged to number 13 in the UK album chart.

John, Elton – Sad Songs (Say so Much)

This was a single that I received for free after collecting enough Hoola-Hoop packets.  Now there’s a novelty.

It was released in the Spring /Summer of 1984 around the time that John’s Watford Football Club were contesting the FA Cup Final against Everton.  I guess that the sentiment summed up what he must have felt at the result!  Ho ho – sorry, that was an easy dig.

He was a prolific, some might say serial, releaser of singles in the 80s was our Elt.  I make it that there were 26 UK chart singles bearing his name throughout the decade.  This one was one of the more successful, peaking at number 7 and enjoying a good 12 week run on the chart.  Other singles weren’t so successful, for example, collaborations with Cliff Richard, Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Rush failed to trouble the Top 40.

Eurythmics – Sexcrime (nineteen eighty-four)

I really liked the Eurythmics.  I mean really really LIKED them.

Whilst I loved the first clutch of singles that the pair released, it wasn’t until this was hit the charts in conjunction with the film 1984, in November 1984, that I was in a position to buy one for myself.

24th November 1984 was a fine day for me all told.  I bought this single and had attended the game at Gay Meadow between Shrewsbury Town and Sheffield United which finished 3-3.

Getting back to the record, Sexcrime (nineteen eighty-four) was the ‘Rythmics eighth UK single release.  It had been let go into the wild in early November, and by the time I bought it, it had already made it to number 7 in the UK singles chart on its way to number 4.

Slade – Run Runaway

Run Runaway was Slade’s follow up to their Christmas number 2 from the previous year.

If My Oh My was anthemic, then this was a more lively and, certainly, rockier effort. It featured some swirling, guitar based bagpipes – as made famous by Big Country. In fact, the track does nod to a Scottish hymn, There Is a Happy Land, which was written by schoolmaster Andrew Young.

Noddy Holder is clearly having a great time with the lyrics. With the rest of the band providing a cracking pace it is a wonderful piece of high octane fun.

Perhaps ‘of their time’ as much as, if not more than, any other band, this was Slade’s final foray into the top ten of the UK singles chart. Making number 7 in early Spring 1984, the track spent two of its ten weeks in the chart in the top ten. It is interesting to note that, finally, Slade had broken into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Say what you like about Slade, but they always knew how to perform and to deliver exactly what their audience wanted – 13 years of top ten singles pay ample testament to that.