Pick of the Pops 55 (March 5th 1985)

Phillip Bailey/Phil Collins - Easy Lover

I generally sing the praises of Phillip Bailey once a month on here, but not today. This is actually an OK record, but it carries so much accumulated aesthetic and cultural baggage that it's just…horrible. 5/10

Jermaine JacksonDo What You Do

It's quite a nice song with a few Lionel Richie-style touches (generally not a good thing). File under 'OK'. 6/10

Bryan Adams - Run to You

A nice guy who (unfortunately) makes hideous ROCK records. 

Rock Rule of Thumb (No 1): all* songs which contain the phrase 'makin' love' are shit. 2/10

Shakin' Stevens - Breakin' Up My Heart 

In a scary feat of premonition my mother noticed my terrible tremor and had me christened 'Stephen'. Pretty much everyone in my class was called 'Stephen' and I've always been really happy with the name - especially with its hagiographical connections and the cool ''ph' (never neutral) in the middle. The only Stephen I'm aware of who didn't like the name was Steven Morrissey (who didn't have the cool 'ph'), but let's face it, he's a c*nt for so many reasons. Nomenclature being one of the lesser ones.

An odd from Shaky this one, seemingly stitched together from a variety of genres and sources - including Bucks Fizz, bits of Wham and one particular song that just won't come to me.

Still crap, like, and it's accompanying sexist video is equally jarring for the normally chaste 'Shakin'.

Shame on you, Stevens. 3/10

Don Henley - The Boys of Summer

Jesus, what a shit chart. And I'm really worried about the present younger generation's tolerance/admiration of this sort of dad/yacht rock garbage. Clarkson music. 1/10

David Cassidy - The Last Kiss

I love David - despite him having a pompous, ridiculous vocal style and - let's face it - a not very good singing voice. Too many happy memories - and too many ace singles in the early seventies generally give him a pass-out.

This is toss on toast, mind. 2/10

Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark

I shouldn't really like this one, but it's BOSS. (SWIDT?) And I really like the video where Bruce plucks the unknown West Indies bowler Courtney Walsh from the audience.

Because he fancies him. 7/10

Prince - Let's Go Crazy/Take Me With You

The last time I was in the Gwladys Street at Everton, I was taking my half time comestibles back to my seat when the local feral youth started singing (as one) "LET'S GO FUCKING MENTAL!" and started lashing their pints of warm Chang lager all over each other and anyone in the vicinity - which included both me and a member of Her Majesty's finest (who proceeded to nick/eject the smallest of the offenders/flingers). I went home stinking of Chinese lager, but I'd much rather the youth of today were iillogicaland fucking stupid and threw ale over each other than having an unfathomable and unpleasant liking for dad/yacht rock.

Anyway, Gambaccini had the choice of playing the admittedly decent (but not in Prince's Top Ten) 'Let's Go Crazy', instead of the effing awesome 'Take Me With You', and obviously chose the former.

7/10 and 10/10

Ashford and Simpson - Solid

I'm sure I did this one last year, but even if I did, my sentiments won't have changed. 'Solid' is a scally girl's classic and FUCKING BRILLIANT. 10/10

Madonna - Material Girl 

I always think of Frank Sidebottom's version of this song as my go-to initial thought. An ace pop song aand Ms Ciccione looks amazing in the video. (Good to see  Keith Carradime popping up in the splendid Jane Campion film 'The Power of the Dog' last week, as well.) 8/10

Stephen Tintin Duffy - Kiss Me

Stephen Tintin Duffy wasn't offended by the name Stephen, was he? Imagine what Duran Duran would have been like if STD had stayed in the band?

Yes - good.

A fantastic pop single. 9/10

The Commodores - Night Shift

The Comms tribute to former Chelsea Central defender Marvin Hinton and the diminutive Benny Hill Show actor Jackie Wright.

A nice (if somewhat soporific) slice of smooth soul. 7/10

Barbara Dickson/Elaine Page - I Know Him So Well 0/10

Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

84 to 85 was such a great couple of years for pop groups fronted by gay Merseyside men.

My old friend Jo used to say that all Merseyside men "sound gay" and that Liverpool has the campest accent in the world. Eventually I agreed, but her contention that Lily Savage sounds like the hardest man in Merseyside fell on deaf ears.

My joke that starts "A lot of people think I'm gay…" goes down 'a storm' during my live 'act', but don't just take my word, just go and see Saint Vespaluus (see social media adverts - on the hour, every hour) live and moderately dangerous at your first opportunity.

You won't regret it, believe me. 

I'm not a huge fan of 'You Spin Me Round', but it's DOA's and SAW's finest moment, and a planet-eater of a record, so 10/10

Gambaccini - 0/10
Programme as a Whole: first half shite; second half good 7/10

Worst - Elaine and Barbara (Barbara looks like would give you the last pound to her name; Elaine always strikes me as someone who'd do a 'Sharon Osborne' in your handbag.)

Best: Prince just shades it from A and S.

*Apart from Modern English's 4AD classic 'I Melt With You', a song which was flogged to Burger King and therefore - by association - shit.