Pick of the Pops 28 (3.7.81)

1981 - a horrible Tory government (plus ça change) leads to the disenfranchised youth of the country and the alienated preparing for imminent civil unrest.

I missed the riots because I was in Anglesey - which reminds me of the Likely Lads episode where one or other of them keeps having to fight the villainous Dougie Scaife whilst the other finds himself in the toilets when battle commences. I'd love to look back with a cosy Werther's/some huge blazing public building glow, but like the England* football team's semi-final and possible final appearances (even the TV version) , in future times I'll be able to tell my grandchildren that I wasn't there.

Anyway, pop music.

Randy Crawford - You Might Need Somebody: the great tragedy (for me) is that Randy Crawford reached the apogee of her career with her vocal for The Crusaders' awesome 'Street Life'. Sure, she became a big star for a while singing dross like this, but her brilliant voice deserved much better. 4/10

Quincy Jones - Razzamatazz: does anyone else think of Tyne Tees TV's pop music show from this time when they hear the title of this song? I remember it was presented by the young Lisa Stansfield and possibly the worst presenter/biggest wool in the history of broadcasting. I've forgotten his name and I really don't want to Google him just for the purposes of adding to so many other bad and/or repressed memories of the seemingly never-ending nightmare Thatcher years. Any other week and my second favourite Quincy** and this tremendous, slinky jazz/soul/dance number (with an ace Michael Jackson-like vocal from Patti Austin) would have been the Song of the Week. 9/10

Starsound - Stars on 45 (ABBA Medley) - regular readers will know that I love ABBA. This is shit. Like, really shit. Like asking for an Adidas bag to hold your school stuff and being given one of those jarg 'SPORT!' efforts instead. Rubbish vocals, a terrible mix and THOSE FUCKING HANDCLAPS! Music for morons at weddings. 0/10

Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood: much as I love David Byrne, the fact that he made Tina Weymouth do a second audition (once Talking Heads had been given their record contract by Sire) to keep her place in the band, and the fact that Tina didn't tell him to shove his band up his arse, still rankles. If this had been Tom Tom Club's 'Genius of Love', I'd have given it 10/10, but it isn't. I hate this record. I don't know if it's the repetition, the idiot choruses or the fact that it turns into Alvin and the Chipmunks halfway through, but I actually dislike the horrifically-titled 'Wordy Rappinghood' more than the ABBA medley. 0/10

Bucks Fizz - Piece of the Action: like a no-talent ABBA, Buck's Fizz followed up their Eurovision winner with this sonic crime scene. It sounds like Noel Edmonds and friends' 'I Just Wanna Be a Winner'. Yes, it' s THAT good. 0/10

Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry: not Bob's finest moment... but it's Bob. 7/10

Champaign - How 'Bout Us? Crap, obviously, but it has a certain something. Mange, probably. Extra point awarded because the bassist looks like 70s TV favourite John Alderton.
Yes, I know; but my game, my rules, mate. 5/10

Kate Robbins - More Than in Love: I've mentioned before how her brother Ted stripped to his scanties in front of me whilst I was trying to prepare for a highbrow quiz show, and how he and a former Welsh news reader turned quiz host spouted proto-Brexit, anti-woke, rightwing 'flog em and hang em' bollocks until I pointed out that most decent people would find such views offensive, so I won't mention it again. Ex Wirral Grammar student Kate Robbins is really talented but ended up in Crossroads and singing More Than in Love at every opportunity until this song made the charts. Would have loved to have heard David Sylvian's version. 0/10

Imagination - Body Talk: it's possibly most folk's difficulty at seeing beyond Leee John that prevents Imagination having a better reputation and legacy than the one they have now. This is alright. Not great, but you know, alright. 6/10

Elaine Page - Memory: this song has all the makings of a football hooligan classic, so it's a pity that it's only really remembered for its inclusion in the terrible musical 'Cats'. Despite rhyming 'mutter' with 'gutter' there's some nice lyrical conceits and cadences within the song, but it's growing sense of bombast sort of reminds anyone who's determined to hate musicals why exactly it is that they hate musicals, which in no particular order involves grandiose, up-its-own-arse, woe-is-me 'numbers' like this; singers and dancers dressed as cats or street urchins; Andrew Lloyd Webber's sorry rubbery kite, and (of course) Elaine f***ing Page. 4/10

Smokey Robinson - Being With You: a lot of too-cool-for-skool classic Motown aficionados don't rate this, but I like it and that's all that matters. William Robinson: what a voice. 7/10

Odyssey - Going Back to My Roots: I love Odyssey.
"Zipping up my boots -
Going back to my roots" is both inane and genius at the same time, and as for the way that Billy McEachern delivers "I'm homeward bound - got my head in the clouds"... Just ace pop music 9/10

The Specials - Ghost Town: politics, passion and capturing a very specific zeitgeist is almost impossible in chart pop music. A landmark, brilliant record. 10/10

Michael Jackson - One Day in Your Life: I've mentioned Liverpool's Radio City and its night time Peaceful Hour before - sixty minutes for the lovelorn of the city to request drippy songs and post soppy messages in the hope of contacting the dirty tickets who'd put them up the stick or given them old-fashioned 'V.D.' The listeners of that august programme campaigned to have this rather lovely and dreamy song to be re-released - this time as an 'A-side'. Some months later it was number one. A job well done, I say. 7/10

Gambaccini: at least he's not Noel Gallagher. 2/10
Best record: The Specials
Worst: sorry, Tina.
Programme as a whole: mostly enjoyable. 7/10

*Nationalism is shit - and it's destroying the planet. And if you're cheering for England, remember that you don't play for them, so stop celebrating as if it were you who actually scored one of Harry Kane's two inch tap-ins.
**Come on!