January 3, 2013 by James Calbraith
This is just a little something I did to get my mind off all the writing stuff for a while. 10 playlists for 10 years of UK top chart singles.
Or, as I like to call it, the chronicle of steady descent of music quality We start with Blondie, Jam and Police. By the time it gets to 1989 it’s obvious the British public just gave up. Three top singles of 1989 were by Jive Bunny fer chris’sakes. We desperately needed Nirvana.
1980: Three hits by Blondie; Specials; Jam; Police. Quality stuff. The last hits of ABBA.
1981: Lennon dies in December 80, dominates the charts for two months. Ultravox Vienna is held off number 1 by Shaddap Your Face. Human League saves the year’s honour by trumping Julio Iglesias.
1982: Come on Eileen smashes the records. Kraftwerk. Town Called Malice. Movie songs begin to overtake the charts.
1983: The first unashamedly all-pop chart of the decade. The heaviest song is Billy Jean… by the end of the year the fad for soft, inane reggae seems to addle everyone’s minds.
1984: The year of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Total dominance: 15 weeks for three songs. Hello and I Just Called To Say I Love You. The year ends with *shudder* Band Aid, foreboding the things to come.
1985: The charts are all over the place, as if Band Aid just exploded throwing shrapnel of sugary pap everywhere. And not a good song in sight.
1986: A bit of respite: some rocky pop from A-Ha, Pet Shop Boys, George Michael goes adult and writes a decent tune. Final Countdown makes everyone bang their heads for the last time.
1987: This is when we were all rickrolled. Very few memorable songs, but those that were memorable stayed with us forever, unfortunately: La Bamba, I wanna dance with somebody…
1988: It’s dancehall all around; nothing here that couldn’t be played in a disco. Stock, Aitken & Waterman expand their Empire of Crap. What’s Enya doing in all this, we will never know.
1989: Annus Horribilis. When Simple Minds is the ‘edgiest’ band of the year, you know you got it bad. Three hit singles from Jive Bunny. Three more from Jason & Kylie. To sum it all up, another Band Aid – one that was so obscure I couldn’t even find it on Spotify. All this from a nation which had Bohemian Rhapsody as No. 1 for 9 straight weeks in 1975…
Although to be fair, the 1970s No 1s were pretty crappy as well. It seems 1979-1981 were the only decent years for the UK charts.