More TV Memories – The Chart Show 1987 Special.

The Chart Show 1987 Special (Channel 4, 1987)

This is another The Chart Show end-of-year special, back in the days when this was shown on Channel 4. This was a longer than usual edition, featuring the Top Tens of the year in the five main charts that featured at the time, with a few awards as well. I’m not sure of the exact date that this was shown, but obviously it would be around December 1987/January 1988.

We begin with the Best New Act award, which goes to Wet Wet Wet, who narrowly beat Rick Astley. And then we have the Dance chart of the year. There is no video to “I Found Lovin'” by The Fatback Band, so the opening sequence to the Dance chart is shown again, but with an additional girl spinning on a ball whilst playing the cymbals, who was never seen before or since, how strange.

The videos that are played are by Living In A Box, Madonna, Levert, and Whitney Houston. The Number One is by Rick Astley, who isn’t played which gives a hint that we might be seeing some more of him later on. Then there is Best Foreign Video, which goes to Crowded House. Next is the Heavy Metal chart (which hadn’t been renamed Rock yet).

Played are Kiss, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and the Number One by Heart. And then, almost half-an-hour into the show, we get the first advert break! Then we have The One That Got Away, which is by Inxs, although I get the feeling that they will have a big hit in this country eventually. Then we go on to the Albums chart. This was when compilations were still in the main chart, before being placed into a chart of its own.

Played are Terence Trent D’Arby (featured on the compilation “Hits 6”), Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and the Number One is “The Joshua Tree” by U2. Next is the Worst Video of the year, which goes to Anita Dobson with “Talking Of Love”. This really is rather rotten. The runners-up were Sheena Easton and Samantha Fox. Next we go on into the Indie chart.

Played are The Sugarcubes (a song in Icelandic by a band barely anybody had heard of at the time being shown on Channel 4 in primetime is rather remarkable), Erasure, Nina Simone, and the Number One by M/A/R/R/S. Then there’s a preview of some videos coming in 1988, and the next advert break. The Tip For 1988 is REM, just ahead of Big Pig and The La’s. Again, give them a few more years and they’ll reach the top.

Finally, there’s the Top Ten singles of the year. Played are The Bee Gees, Starship, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Bruce Willis, and the Number One is indeed Rick Astley. After another 1988 preview (including Bananarama), the Best Video of the year is revealed as “True Faith” by New Order, a worthy winner. The runners-up were “Faith” by George Michael, and “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House.

More TV Memories – The Chart Show 1996 Special.

The Chart Show 1996 Special (ITV, 1996)

This is the end of year special of The Chart Show that was shown on 28 December 1996, taking a look back at the biggest hits of the year. This was the first special after the big relaunch in May, and I found some of the graphics and sounds (“music” might not be the right word in this case) rather eerie at times. This was also sponsored by Twix in some of the most blatant product placement that I have ever seen. I wonder how they got away with their name appearing so big in the opening and closing sequences?

I think that this was the final edition to be sponsored by Twix after about 3½ years too. The first of the awards is Best Solo Artist, which is won by Louise, who had left Eternal the previous year, and she would go on to have hits on her own for a while yet. Also featuring throughout is Star Choice, where various pop stars reveal their favourite videos of the year (as part of the 1996 relaunch, brief interviews would be featured).

Then we have the Top Ten of The Best Videos Of The Year (this had been done as a Top Ten since the 1993 special). This just seems to be calculated by a few votes by the production team in the office (a more thorough poll was taken for the 1997 special when viewers were invited to vote via email). Among those played are “Something For The Weekend” by The Divine Comedy, “Everything Must Go” by Manic Street Preachers, and “The Day We Caught The Train” by Ocean Colour Scene.

But the winner, and seemingly by some margin, is “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai. Next is Best Indie Video, although there are no equivalents for Rock and Dance curiously. The winner is “On A Rope” by Rocket From The Crypt. Then, there are more Star Choices. Next is Best New Act, which inevitably goes to Spice Girls. Even though they only came on to the scene in July, they dominated the pop music scene in 1996, even by this point they seemed to be everywhere.

After another Star Choice, it’s The Worst Video Of The Year, which goes to “I Am A Clown” by Peter Ebdon, the snooker player’s attempt at pop stardom. Then it’s The Biggest Singles Of 1996, which is a Top 20, instead of the usual Top Ten. I don’t know how this was calculated though, as the official chart wasn’t usually used. Played are “Fastlove” By George Michael, and “Cecelia” by Suggs, one of the more unlikely big successes of the year.

Then there are some more Star Choices, including the bloke from Dodgy, who chooses his own song, how great. And finally, Ant And Dec reveal their fondness for The Presidents Of The United States Of America. On we go into the Top Ten of the biggest singles, and played are “Three Lions” by The Lightning Seeds, “Mysterious Girl” by Peter Andre (eventually a chart-topper in 2004, it’s a long story), “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees, and “Wannabe”, by Spice Girls.

It seems rather unlikely that anybody could’ve outsold that one, but it seems that they did, and the winner, by a rather small margin, is “Return Of The Mack” by Mark Morrison. And we end with a Sneak Preview of a video that’s sure to be a hit in 1997, and it’s by East 17. This turned out to be their final hit single with this line-up, as although they didn’t know it yet they were rather spectacularly about to split, but that’s a story for another year…

Great Moments In Pop – The 70s Part 8.

Following on from M who I looked back at recently, this is another group who found fame in the 70s with a song that would help to set the shape of early-80s music (I have no idea what that means, but it is a rather good turn of phrase). Buggles are a British production group who formed in the late-70s, and consisted of Trevor and Geoff. They hit the big time almost straight away.

In September 1979 “Video Killed The Radio Star” was released. This was their biggest hit single by some distance, this was a chart-topper in the UK for one week, and this was also their only Top 40 hit in America. This has been a hugely influential song, which has been covered by lots of groups. And of course, in August 1981, this was the first-ever video to be shown on MTV. This was such a clever idea, I can only hope that whoever thought of this got a pay rise.

They did go on to have some more hits, but their fame dropped off fairly quickly. Next in January 1980 was “The Plastic Age”, which reached no. 16. Not long after, their debut album “The Age Of Plastic” made the Top 30. Next in April 1980 was “Clean Clean” which made no. 38, and this would be the final time that they made the Top 40.

And in November 1980, “Elstree” reached only no. 55. Looking back at some of these songs now, they really do come across as so futuristic, so pioneering, this was a time when listeners really hadn’t heard anything like this before, there was something of a “this is what life will be like in the year 2000” tone to it, which must’ve been very exciting. It makes it all the more surprising that their final hit was barely a year after their first.

They did continue for a while yet though. in 1981, their second and final album “Adventures In Modern Recording” didn’t make the chart, and some more singles, including “On TV”, were released, the last being in 1982. After this, the members of Buggles have gone on to work on several other musical projects, with Trevor especially being a hugely successful producer.

“Video Killed The Radio Star” is a song that has deservedly endured. And it would seem that the talent runs in the family, because in 2012 Trevor’s son contributed to a chart-topping single, placing the two of them on a rather short list of a father and son who have achieved this in the UK. I suppose that a little of the production magic rubbed off on the next generation.

Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 29.

Following on from The Cool Notes who I looked back at recently, here is another group who had plenty of great hits in the soul genre throughout the 80s. The SOS Band (SOS stands for “Sounds Of Success”) are an American group who formed in the late-70s. In July 1980 they had their first UK hit single when “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” reached no. 51, and this was also their first and only Top 40 hit in America.

Their debut album was also released in 1980, but wasn’t a hit here. They returned in February 1983 when “Groovin’ (That’s What We’re Doin’)” reached no. 72. But it was in April 1984 when they had their biggest success. This was when “Just Be Good To Me” reached no. 13. This is a rather great song, and there have been three covers of this that have been hits too (all of them have different titles curiously).

The most famous of these is “Dub Be Good To Me”, which was a chart-topper in 1990, and really is one of the highlights of that year. But there are also the lesser-remembered “Just Be Dub To Me” in 2003, and “Just Be Good To Green” in 2010. Even though these were all in different genres, whatever spin you put on this song, you can’t really fail with this classic.

Next in August 1984 was “Just The Way You Like It”, which reached no. 32. Not long after, their fifth album, also called “Just The Way You Like It”, made the Top 30. They finished off their most successful year in the UK in October when “Weekend Girl” reached no. 51. In 1985, some of their songs featured on “The Artists Volume III”, an album that also included The O’Jays and Kleeer.

They returned in March 1986 with “The Finest”, which reached no. 17 (and stayed there for three consecutive weeks), and this was also their final Top 40 hit single in the UK. This was later to be covered by Richard X as “Finest Dreams”, featuring a new vocal from Kelis, and was to the tune of an old song by The Human League. This was again proof of how some of their songs had endured.

And not long after this, their sixth album “Sands Of Time” reached the Top 20. In July 1986 “Borrowed Love” reached no. 50, and finally in May 1987 “No Lies” reached no. 64. They had kept those 808s working overtime though. The SOS Band released singles and albums for a few more years after this though, their last one being in 1991.

Great Moments In Pop – The 70s Part 7.

This is someone who found fame in the late-70s, although this would turn out to be rather short-lived. Robin Scott is an English musician, who released his first single under the name M in 1978. But in April 1979, “Pop Muzik” was released, which reached no. 2. This was in the synthpop genre, and looking back, a lot of people seemed surprised that this was made in the 70s.

This is because this is rather similar to the sound that would be commonplace on the chart and define this genre in the early-80s. It really is a song that can claim to be ahead of its time, and the rather nonsensical lyrics added to the quirkiness as well. And then, in November 1979, this was a chart-topper in America for one week, and for a moment it really did seem like everyone was talking about “Pop Muzik”.

He would have no further hits in the US though, and his success in the UK also dropped off fairly quickly. In December 1979 “Moonlight And Muzak” reached no. 33, and was his final Top 40 single for a rather long time. In March 1980 there was “That’s The Way The Money Goes”, which reached no. 45, and finally, in November 1980, “Official Secrets” reached only no. 64.

Barely 18 months on from “Pop Muzik”, and his chart career was just about over. He also released four albums between 1979-1982, although none of these were a success. Several other famous musicians contributed on these though, including Thomas Dolby who brought along his synthesizer (presumably The Human League were unavailable at the time).

But M returned to the scene in June 1989 when a remix of “Pop Muzik” was released. This reached no. 15, they’re playing our song again… for the first time since about 1979. However, this is one of the most blatant examples of a “squeeze one final hit out of your faltering career by doing a remix of your biggest hit from about a decade earlier” on the chart.

Especially when this sounded almost identical to the original anyway. But Robin made the most of his first Top 40 hit single since “Moonlight And Muzak” in 1979, by making a memorable appearance on Top Of The Pops, where he wore a suit covered in CDs. But this was his final hit. Since then, he has continued to work with various other groups and musicians.

Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 28.

This is another one of those cases where I heard a song on the radio one day that I really liked. It was fairly obvious that this was from the 80s, and I needed to find out who it was by. The Cool Notes are a British group who formed in the late-70s. The first singles that they released were in a reggae style (or lover’s rock style to be more accurate). Their first album “Down To Earth” was released in 1981, but by the mid-80s they had developed more of a soul sound.

Now you might know that I have always really liked mid-80s soul music, particularly because most of the songs have a rather similar sound. Now I don’t know much about how they were all put together, but most of them featured that “tink-tink-tink” noise that were produced on those synthesizer things that were called 505s or 606s or whatever it was. I can only imagine that these were rather big and expensive equipment at the time, and they probably had to be passed around the various recording studios.

Well it turned out that this song was “You’re Never Too Young” by The Cool Notes, which was released in August 1984 on the Ambient Dance label, and reached no. 42, to become their first hit single in the UK. I would definitely say that this was up there with “(I’ll Be A) Freak For You” by Royalle Delite as one of my favourites from this era, and that really is a compliment. Being pleased to have discovered the answer to this, I then wanted to know more about them.

Their next single in November 1984 was “I Forgot”, which reached no. 63. But 1985 would turn out to be their most successful year. In March “Spend The Night” was released, and reached no. 11 to become their biggest hit single in the UK. This also got them on to Top Of The Pops, and the first volume of “Now Dance”, at a time when “dance” music was still being defined, although there was little doubt that this one would keep you moving all night long.

Next in July was “In Your Car”, which reached no. 13, although they wouldn’t make the Top 40 again after this. In October was “Have A Good Forever”, which reached no. 73, and in November, their second album, also called “Have A Good Forever…” made the lower end of the chart for a couple of weeks. They continued on into 1986, when in May “Into The Motion” reached no. 66, but in September, “Momentary Vision”, which was another good one, could only reach no. 94.

They kept on with the singles though. The final time that The Cool Notes appeared on the chart was in September 1990 when a remix of “Spend The Night” reached no. 84 (a best-of album was released around this time too). Their final single after about 15 years together in 1991 was “Make This A Special Night”. They had joined Stock Aitken Waterman’s “Hit Factory” by this point, but unfortunately their days when they were guaranteed star makers where now behind them, and this collaboration wasn’t a success.

The One-Hit Wonders – The 80s Part 18.

It’s time to go back into the rather unusual world of comedy records. By 1988, Harry Enfield was a comedian who had only been on the TV comedy scene for a few years, contributing to shows including Spitting Image and Saturday Live. His most successful character at this point was Loadsamoney, a young man who was rather fond of constantly telling people that he was in possession of a rather substantial amount of money.

But probably realising that saying “I am in possession of a rather substantial amount of money” wasn’t really a good catchphrase, he just shouted “loadsamoney!” all the time. So in May 1988 it was decided to launch this character on to the singles chart too when “Loadsamoney (Doin’ Up The House)” (I presume that’s a pun on the upcoming house music scene at the time there) was released.

And probably not too surprisingly, several songs that contained the word “money” were sampled. This ended up doing fairly well, and reached no. 4. Around this time, Loadsamoney also appeared on the cover of NME. Looking back now, there were also some contributions from a few people that went just about unacknowledged at the time, but they would go on to be rather successful too.

These were Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, who worked with Harry for many years, before going on to further success themselves with The Fast Show. Charlie already knew a little about pop music, because in the early-80s he was a member of the group The Higsons (and at this point he was known as “Switch” Higson), and although they didn’t have any hits, they made one or two appearances in Smash Hits.

And also featuring was the writer and producer who would become known as William Orbit. They also performed this on Top Of The Pops (I bet that Charlie would’ve preferred to appear with The Higsons though, that would be much more credible). But after this, Harry decided that Loadsamoney was at the peak of his popularity, and the joke really couldn’t be taken any further.

So he decided to do what most comedians wouldn’t do in this situation, and he killed him off. He then went off to develop a new bunch of characters that would appear on his sketch show on BBC2 in 1990. Harry did sort-of make a return to the chart eventually though, when in 2000, a song from the soundtrack of the Kevin The Teenager film made the Top 20.

Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 27.

This is another group that features a female duo, and they were also the frontwomen. Voice Of The Beehive formed in the mid-80s, and featured American sisters Tracey and Melissa. Also featuring were “Bedders” and “Woody” from Madness, from the time when that group was just about inactive, and the reunions were not currently planned.

In October 1987 they were tipped for success when they appeared on the cover of Record Mirror. In November 1987 they had their first hit single in the UK with “I Say Nothing”, which reached no. 45. Next in March 1988 was “I Walk The Earth”, which reached no. 42. It was also around this time when they appeared on Channel 4 music show APB, and bumped into that mysterious Danielle woman, and well if they are fans of her, then that’s terrific.

Next in May 1988 was “Don’t Call Me Baby”, which reached no. 15, and was their biggest hit single in the UK. This is not to be confused with the Transvision Vamp song with the same title of course, and if I dare admit it, I was never really a fan of that group. In July 1988, their debut album “Let It Bee” made the Top 20. After this success, it was decided to give their first two hit singles another go.

In July 1988, “I Say Nothing” was released again, and this time reached no. 22, an impressive 23-place improvement on first time round. Then in October 1988 “I Walk The Earth” was rereleased, and this time reached no. 46, actually four places lower than the first time. They returned in July 1991 with “Monsters And Angels”, which reached no. 17, to become their second and final Top 20 hit single in the UK, and this was also their biggest hit in America.

In August 1991 their second album “Honey Lingers” made the Top 20 too. In September 1991 “I Think I Love You” reached no. 25. This was a cover of a song that was made famous for its use in US sitcom The Partridge Family, I do remember seeing some episodes of this when they were shown in the post-The Chart Show slot on Saturday afternoons, and they were about 20 years old even then.

They also performed this on the first edition of the “Year Zero” Top Of The Pops, where acts were now encouraged to sing live, and unlike some, they definitely didn’t embarrass themselves. And in January 1992 “Perfect Place” reached no. 37. They performed this on CBBC’s Hangar 17, the place to be! The final time that they made the singles chart was in April 1993 when they contributed to the “Gimme Shelter EP”.

This was where various acts covered the Rolling Stones song, and the sales would raise funds for charity. This was released on different formats, and their version, which was a duet with Jimmy Somerville, featured on the cassette. However, in 1996 their third and final album “Sex And Misery” was met with virtual indifference, and Voice Of The Beehive split not long after. In 1997, there was a best-of album released, but nobody was interested by this point. But at their peak, they were a very enjoyable group.

Great Moments In Pop – The 90s Part 43.

This is the most famous group who were included in the boom of French dance music in the late-90s, producing lots of great moments along the way, and they took a surprisingly long time to reach the peak of their career. Daft Punk were a duo consisting of Guy-Manuel and Thomas. They were originally known as Darlin’, but changed their name in 1993 to a famous description of what their music sounded like in a Melody Maker review.

Their debut single “Da Funk” had actually been around since 1995, but this became their first Top Ten hit in the UK in February 1997. It was rather clear that they were going to offer something different, not just in their music, but in the first of a lot of memorable videos too. In April 1997 the follow-up “Around The World” also made the Top Ten, and like most of their other singles, this just about earned instant classic status.

Their next two singles didn’t do as well though, and they were off the scene for a while. They returned in November 2000 with “One More Time”, which became their biggest hit yet, and it was one were again everyone who heard this just thought that it was terrific. They had further hits in 2001 with “Digital Love” and “Harder Better Faster Stronger”, by which point they had somehow turned into robots.

They returned again in 2005 with “Robot Rock” and “Technologic”, but these weren’t as well received. What would their next move be? After another long break, in April 2013 their next single was “Get Lucky”, which featured a guest vocal from Pharrell Williams. This was a chart-topper for four weeks, meaning that they had their biggest hit 16 years on from “Da Funk”, which is a special achievement.

Most critics as well said that this was such an instant classic it was incredible that this hadn’t already been around for years. This also got them into the US Top Ten for the first time, and won them the Grammy for Record Of The Year, although if there was a Record Of The Decade award going they probably would’ve won that too. And also around this time, for some reason “Around The World” and “One More Time” returned to the lower end of the chart.

In September 2013, the follow-up “Lose Yourself To Dance”, again featuring Pharrell, was always going to have a tough act to follow, ended up being overshadowed somewhat, and disappointingly missed the Top 40. But they won a Brit in 2014. After this, in 2016 they had two collaborations with The Weeknd that both made the Top Ten. But recently, after almost three decades together, Daft Punk announced their split. People couldn’t believe it really, they had made an extraordinary contribution to dance music, but now they had finally been unplugged.

Down The Dumper – The 80s Part 24.

I have actually had a request to review this group, but as I do happen to know a little about them, I decided that they are worth featuring. The Blow Monkeys are a British group who formed in the early-80s, and their frontman is Robert Howard, who is also known as Doctor Robert. They released their first single in 1982, and their first album in 1984.

In 1984 Robert took part in an article in Number One magazine featuring acts who were tipped for big things, alongside some woman called Danielle. But it was in March 1986 when they caught a lot of people’s attention for the first time, when “Digging Your Scene” reached no. 12. It was also around this time that they were placed into the “sophistipop” genre, like many others, as they looked as stylish as they sounded, and it was also noted that some of their lyrics had a political edge.

Following this success, Robert appeared on the cover of Record Mirror, where they claimed that he plays with whips, winds up coppers, and stubs cigarettes out on his friends. Their peak came in January 1987 when “It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way” reached no. 5, to become their first Top Ten hit single. The follow-ups ended up not doing so well though, and in August 1988 “This Is Your Life” reached only no. 70.

It was then decided to try something a little different. Their next single was in something more of a house music style than The Blow Monkeys songs usually were, so it was decided to credit this to Robert alone. And he teamed up with the American dance diva (and there were a lot of these on the chart around this time) Kym Mazelle. In January 1989, “Wait” was released, and pleasingly the move paid off as this reached no. 7.

Because of this success, it was decided that maybe it would be a good idea to make more of this type of music in the group as a whole, so in April 1989 a house remix of “This Is Your Life” was released, which did make the Top 40 this time. Next in July 1989 was “Choice”, featuring a guest vocal from Sylvia Tella, but this would turn out to be the final time that they made the Top 40.

Not long after though, their best of album “Choices” made the Top Ten. In October 1989 “Slaves No More”, again featuring Sylvia Tella, reached only no. 73. After one more minor hit in 1990, The Blow Monkeys split, and Robert went off to concentrate on his solo career, and he has released seven albums. Like most groups though, they did eventually get back together, and although they haven’t reached the chart again, they have made more acclaimed albums, their 11th being released in 2021.