Pick of the Pops 36 (28.8.79)

In terms of the alternative end of pop music, 2021 is (almost) as good as ever. 2019 was my favourite recent year for this sort of thing with certain tracks being up there with my favourite music of all time. Obviously, this doesn't apply to chart music, but I can't be stating the bleeding obvious every week. David Hepworth reckons 1965 is the best chart pop year, but for me 1979 is pop's annus mirabilis, and this week's Pick of the Pops has so many great records; and - obviously - a couple of real turds.

The Gary Davies-helmed show gets off to an absolute flyer....

Gary Numan - Cars: I've 'done' GN a few times, but suffice to say, this much-released and much satirised (Simpsons, Mighty Boosh, Family Guy) record still sounds ace, although Gary's tale of escaping a good kicking when he decided to 'lock all my doors' could have done with an extra verse. 8/10

The Jam - When You're Young: often considered a lesser effort in The Jam's singles canon, WYY is superb, and it was only Paul Weller's decision not to fleece his fans by releasing more than one single from The Jam's albums that stopped it being included on Setting Sons. Thematically, this song fits in perfectly with my favourite Jam album, and would have made a much better selection than the lacklustre 'Heatwave' that closes the album. Weller's

"You find out life isn't like that;

It's so hard to understand,

Why the world is your oyster

But your future's a clam."

is remarkably prescient for one so young. A great record - and backed by Bruce Foxton's tremendous 'Smithers-Jones'. 9/10

The Crusaders - Street Life: f***ing hell - what a work of pop genius this is! Clumsily included in 'Jackie Brown' (see also Bloodstone's 'Natural High'), this is peerless pop - and (the uncredited) Randy Crawford's finest moment. 10/10

Joe Jackson - Is She Really Going Out With Him? Muso Joe threw his pork pie hat in the New Wave ring with this angry, proto-incel classic. My sister bought this one and I have to admit the bassline of this splendid, stripped-down 45 really blew me away, and sounded utterly brilliant on our seven foot-long radiogram. I once witnessed a bizarre Irish comedian singing this as a rebel song - and it sounded just as good. 8/10

Boney M - Gotta Go Home: a band named after Dorothy's skeletal aunt, Boney M made some terrible records - but this isn't one of them. Why this wasn't picked up as a football hooligan chant never ceases to amaze me. 7/10

Randy Vanwarmer - Just When I Needed You Most: seeing as I'm in a good mood by the pleasingly high standard of this week's show, I'll be charitable with Mr Vanwarmer's tale of heartbreak, and simply say it's shite. And having ginger pubes is no basis for spousal abandonment. 2/10

The Gibson Brothers - Ooh What a Life: The Gibson Brothers - Barry, Henrik and Coventry City's Colin - had a few hit singles during this time, and this is definitely one of them. Probably Martinique's most famous vocal trio. Not bad at all. 7/10

Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Reasons to Be Cheerful Part 3: anyone who's a fan of Talking Pictures TV will appreciate the inclusion of 'Bonar Colleano' in Ian's pantheon, and on an unrelated note, I never did get round to asking my arl fella why he detested 'Wee Willy Harris' so much. (And I really can't repeat what he called him.) Aceness. 9/10

The Flying Lizards - Money: some days I quite like this; most days I don't. File under 'Posh Girl + One Trick Pony'. 4/10

The Special AKA - Gangsters: one of the most exciting pop songs - and brilliant opening few seconds of any pop record - ever. I never tire of this. 10/10

Earth Wind and Fire - After the Love Has Gone: a fooking tremendous 'slowie', and I especially like the way that Philip Bailey says the initial 'yesterday' as if he were from Accrington or Rawtenstall. (Eccles, Wools and Fylde?) 8/10

Roxy Music - Angel Eyes: the original (vinyl) album version was underpinned by Gary Tibbs almost playing 'lead' on bass guitar. This is more strings-y. Both versions are fantastic - and I love Bryan's suit in the video. 9/10

BA Robertson - Bang Bang: Jesus - what's that smell? 0/10

The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays: recorded while Brenda Spencer's victims' parents were still grieving, IDLM DOES make a striking pop noise, but it's hard to give credit to anything that Geldof ever says or does; and when his band weren't proving themselves to be (Heron Foods) Springsteen wannabes, they were churning out 'controversial' punk-as-star-vehicle efforts like this. 5/10

Cliff Richard - We Don't Talk Any More: dirty joke notwithstanding, this a great record, and one of just two* that I ever enjoyed in the appalling Tory's (TAUTOLOGY KLAXON!) long and horrible career. And it's a pleasing thing to see this week's excellent chart being bookended by Gary and Harry Webb. 8/10

Gary Davies: 7/10

Programme a whole: 9/10

Best: The Crusaders (just) edge out The Specials

Worst: Robertson

*1958's 'Move It'


Click on the pic to hear the song: