Pick of the pops 37 (5.9.85)

Oh my good God, it's hideous this week!

Masks on and.... IN!

Maria Vidal - Bodyrock: the first of many songs taken from American films this week. Gambaccini obviously thought that this number 38 song was ripe for inclusion, and who can blame him? 'Bodyrock' was taken from the arthouse and Palme d'Or-winning classic 'Bodyrock', a troubling, but brilliant film about the search for love and the meaning of existence during the 1968 uprising in Czechoslovakia. 1/10

Huey Lewis and the News - The Power of Love: I recently smashed my glasses for the second time in a fortnight, and debated putting some sellotape on one of the arms to 'tide me over' until my new pair arrived the next day. But as Etta James once said 'I Would Rather Go Blind' than look like Jack Duckworth (even in the privacy of my own home) for as much as a microsecond. I absolutely love 'Back to the Future', but imagine if the soundtrack had been peppered with proto-dreampop numbers from (say) the Cocteau Twins rather than lumpen, shitey pop/rock garbage like this from Jack Duckworth lookalike Huey and his fucking 'News'? What an ace film that would have been. 0/10

Stevie Wonder - Part Time Lover: Stevie's muse was waning by the mid eighties, but it didn't really matter as the body of work he'd produced - especially in the 70s - was just so brilliant, and almost peerless. 'Part Time Lover' sounds like something he'd composed whilst waiting for someone to bring him a toilet roll from a downstairs cupboard. 4/10

Amii Stewart - Knock on Wood: the one genuinely good record this week. I feel a bit of cheat for making this record of the week because I'm pretty sure I've already chosen this for one of the 1979 POTPs, but sod it, there's nothing else this week. A brilliant record by a pop star who looked like she'd been beamed in from the heavens, and this version of KOW is the track The Human League admitted to stealing most from. 10/10

Bonnie Tyler - Holding Out For a Hero: just... rubbish, and no amount of back-looking irony can render anything good from its mouldering corpse. 0/10

Dire Straits - Money For Nothing: I was once sitting in a dusty, grubby, but ace bar in a rural, almost desert area of Greece. The barman thought that I needed a change from the jolly Greek music he was playing and put on his tape of 'classic' 'western' rock and pop. ZZ Top, Michael Jackson and Springsteen went their merry way, and then 'Money For Nothing' came on. This was bad enough, but then some 100 year old toothless Greek lad shambled ultra-slowly over to me and slurped the words 'Microwave Oven Song! ', before holding up both thumbs like a desiccated Paul McCartney. I still have nightmares to this day about that. Despite having nightmares at point of contact.Jesus, I hate this song. 0/10

The Cars - Drive: its second consecutive year as a hit, and as truly ghastly a hit single as it's possible to imagine. The vapid, schmaltzy song was bad enough, but its juxtaposition over the images of the starving, dying Ethiopian famine victims was just indefensible - three minutes of ephemeral concern just because some c*nty pop stars told you to. If you want to do good, just go out and do it. Don't just buy some crap record. And I'll never forgive or forget Geldof's self-righteous, solipsistic, 'I'm the redeemer' grotesquery of that day - especially during the performance of his shitty, washed-up band. 0/10

The Thompson Twins - Don't Mess With Doctor Dream: it always seemed to be the case that a pop band or artist would have a string of hits from an album, tour the world for eighteen months, and then - upon forgetting that they needed some new product, would flop out some piss-poor tune-free 'funk' exercise to tide them over until a little bit of inspiration hit them on the heads. DMWDD is f***ing dreadful - some chimp/'funky gibbon' noises precipitate an anti-heroin message so profound and moving that it would have prevented Janice Joplin from succumbing to 'Doctor Dream' if only it had been released some sixteen years earlier. 0/10

Dan Hartman - I Can Dream: not 'Doctor Dream' this time, but just as feeble. Another crap song from another crap film - which was probably pedalled by sex criminal Jonathan King as being suitable for the pop kids of the UK (via his ghastly, but influential prime TV programme 'No Limits'). 1/10

Madonna - Into the Groove: decent (ish) song from an OK American film (U.S. cultural imperialism is rife this week). One of the great toilet paper/ playground gags of the decade. 6/10

Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill: I love Kate; I hate this song. Strangely, it was this paean to gender/body reversal during the act of congress which changed the NME's attitude to Kate Bush. Previously, she'd been dismissed as a ridiculous purveyor of poppy prog/Baroque nonsense. I never worked out why this ridiculous song became so lauded. And that TOTP performance where Kate and her wool brothers and boyfriend slowly march towards the camera was beyond awful. 3/10

Baltimora - Tarzan Boy: f*** off. 0/10

UB40/Chrissie Hynde - I Got You Babe: Chrissie had the best pop voice since Karen Carpenter, and its only her beautiful timbre and tones that save this from being another nought out of ten. My goodness, Live Aid all but blanched the charts of any goodness. 1/10

David Bowie/Mick Jagger - Dancing in the Street: a lot of people think of 'The Laughing Gnome' as the nadir of David Bowie's career, but it isn't. It's this. The opening, unimaginative roll call of countries and cities brings me out in hives. Truly f***ing terrible, and a record that makes Baltimora's 'Tarzan Boy' sound like Joy Division. 0/10

Gambaccini: back again, like an unwanted smell, and in his element amongst the fetid backwaters of shitey American MOR. 0/10

Programme as a whole: the worst of the year. 0/10

Best song: Amii

Worst: 'Drive'/the Bowie/Jagger monstrosity

Average record score: 2

Average record score without Amii or Madonna: 0.78571523


Click on the pic to hear the song!