Pick of the Pops 53 (February 19th 1982)

Kool and the Gang - Get Down On It

Back in 1982, I was at an eighteenth birthday party at the anachronistically-monikered Cagney's (a bit Mike Baldwin, that one) nightclub in Liverpool, and when the local feral youth heard this song, they started mimicking oral sex with their dance partners of choice. Being a post-punk, long overcoat sporting, outwardly non-sexual being I was fucking AGHAST, I can tell you, and like the Duke in Measure for Measure the notion of 'gelding and spaying the youth of Vienna' seemed like a good idea.

The raunchiness of Mr Kool's lyric was lost on my staunchly Roman Catholic girlfriend of the time, and when I explained its 'ambiguity' to her, she thought it must have been a happy/unhappy accident.  I'm sure I precipitated Partridge's "They do it deliberately, Lynne" line by almost thirty years.

GDOI an OK slab of soul/disco, but FAR TOO RUDE for my liking, matey.

And it's not the only hormonally-charged filth in the early part of Mr Gambaccini's review of this week's (largely) excellent chart.


Olivia Newton-John - Landslide

I'd almost forgotten this album-filler-as-single track - which had been propelled into the charts on the back of the popularity of Olivia's raunchy-for-saddoes and/or  lonely masturbators album/single Physical. A great voice, but a crappy single. 3/10

J Geils Band - Centrefold

More Songs for Swinging Masturbators. I discussed this song last year, so suffice to say J Geils is excellent Cockney junior doctor argot for bum grapes, and Centrefold is quite a jolly, uplifting song - so long as one can dismiss the ramifications of the normalising of a patriarchy-controlled softcore pornography 'industry' in a civilised modern world. 3/10

George Benson - Never Give Up On A Good Thing

I love the odd bit of George, me. Besides founding a formidable potato chip empire in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s, Mr Benson was also a jazz guitarist and popular crooner of some note, but the lyrics of the chorus of this song are (yet another) paean to the joys of bean flicking/twanging the wire:

Never give up on a good  thing -

Remember what makes you happy (whoa, whoa)

I mean - what is wrong with these 80s pop people?

Sex-crazed, that's what. 6/10

AC/DC - Let's Get It Up

See what I mean? Now this is just plain vulgar. Where's the romance of Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter or Berni Flint in a title like Let's Get It Up?

LGIU had moved up nine places in the charts, but Mr Gambaccini refused to play it. And for once, I was on Mr Money-For-Old-Rope's side. I mean, this was broadcast at 1.20 in the afternoon on Radio 2, for Cliff's sake. People's grannies might have heard it - and there's no way that any of those charming old folk could have enjoyed the pleasures of sexual intercourse at any stage of their lives.

Let's Get It Up, indeed. 0/10

I Can't Go For That - Hall and Oates

I used to pull sacks of porridge round from one place to another when I was younger. I didn't need the exercise, and it wasn't some form of manual labour, I just loved haulin' oats.

See what I did there? It was terrific, wasn't it?

Daryl and John always looked like the two biggest hanks/wools/texans (small 'T') you were ever likely to meet and I don't think my perception of them ever recovered from that brilliant Big Train sketch where H and A are tasked with solving the problems of an inner London housing estate (especially when the tiny 'Oates' squeaks: "Someone's gone to the bathroom in the  elevator!"), but this is ace. I remember my older brother being shocked at my love of this record - especially when it was juxtaposed with my usual outré musical fare of the time. A brilliant production and a fabulous sound - and rarely does white soul get it right like this. 9/10

Haircut 100 - Love Plus One

Another song I've covered before, but Love Plus One is effing tremendous - and the lines:

Where do we go from here -

Is it down to the lake I fear?

are both ridiculous and sublime in an instant. Wonderful disposable pop - and what makes it better (for me) is that it's wonderful self-written pop. 9/10

XTC - Senses Working Overtime

"And all the world is football shaped

It's just for me to kick in space;

And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste,

And I've got one, two, three, four, five 

Senses working overtime..."

Beautiful, simple, lyric poetry, a corking, uplifting tune, and all in all a work of bucolic pop genius. Andy Partridge's forty year absence/retirement from the live scene is everybody's loss. Particularly mine.

And if you get the chance, check out the lovely, wistful Colin Moulden-penned Blame the Weather on the b-side of this record.


Meatloaf - Deadringer for Love

So many 'Meatloaf fans' crawled from the woodwork after the singer's recent death in order to proclaim Meat's genius that I thought I must have missed something important during my many decades as a pop fan. There was me thinking that Bat Out of Hell and Meat's other albums were the soundtrack for every wool, saddo and stereotyped, bullying Claksonian PE teacher I'd ever met - and were a handy metonym for the possessor's true human awfulness and a total lack of taste/personal hygiene. Especially the latter. Maybe I'd been wrong all along, and so I listened intently with fresh ears and binned my prejudices and preconceptions.

To tell the truth, I was a little bit excited...

Anyway, for Deadringer, Jim Steinman rips off/homages Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran, ropes in Cher and gets his sorcerer's apprentice 'Meat' to belt out this 80s jukebox-ruining 'classic' at full pelt.

And guess what?

Yes - it's fucking shit! I was right all along! 0/10

Christopher Cross - Arthur's Theme

Drippy, but harmless pap from a f***ing dreadful film. 3/10

Kraftwerk - The Model

Before the more attuned/wised-up scals of Liverpool descended into the easy option of a brain-numbing, almost wholly-male maelstrom/diet of weed, Floyd, Genesis, Simon and Garfunkel and saying 'lad' every other word, there was an absolutely splendid - and thriving - cross-gender Roxy/Bowie Night scene that preceded punk by a couple of years. Few (musical) others were accepted at RBNs - but Iggy, Lou, Sparks and hometown Liverpool boys and girls Deaf School were - as were these sterling gentlemen from Dusseldorf.

Just beautiful. 10/10

OMD - Maid of Orleans (the Waltz of Joan of Arc)

A band inspired by the previous band. A lovely song of devotion from (easily) their best album. 8/10

Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

I've done this before (and ranted about the still persisting homophobia surrounding Marc Almond), but this is just wonderful. The spirit of the best French chançon tradition, an almost visceral depiction of the pangs of love gone wrong, and a brilliant tune to boot. Fucking tremendous.


The Stranglers - Golden Brown

Possibly Hugh Cornwell's most romantically-inclined lyric (even if it is about heroin), and Dave Greenfield's most elaborate, baroque keyboards helped to propel The Stranglers to their highest-ever chart position. A great single. 9/10

The Jam - A Town Called Malice

This reminds me of being so wrong about Billy Elliott - and an exciting time when political 45 rpm singles made by some of my favourite bands went to number one. This isn't a huge (The Jam) favourite song of mine, though - Paul Weller's occasional misanthropy can be disconcerting at times (and satire is always better/only relevant when it punches up) even when it's buried beneath such a rousing, jolly tune. 

That aside, it's a fantastic record. 9/10

Gambaccini - 8/10

Best record: Two eights, four nines, three tens. Kraftwerk and Soft Cell both had Records of the Week last year, so I'm giving it to XTC. I'm sure they'll be thrilled.

Worst: Bunloaf

Programme as a whole - it can never be perfect, but for that final run of great records (and a couple that preceded it) - and for the only time, believe me - 10/10

Click on the pic to hear the song...