Pick of the Pops 62 (April 23rd 1981)

MadnessGrey Day

I quite like Madness, but I couldn’t ever imagine buying any of their records (first album, excepted). There’s a great passage in Julian Cope’s autobiography Head On where he describes becoming obsessed with Madness videos during a massive bout of depression. A pity there are no Teardrop singles in the chart this week – 1981 was their year. 5/10

GillanNew Orleans

My mate went to footballer Ian Callaghan’s testimonial match. He had dropped some mushrooms (my mate, not the clean living and well-liked ‘Cally’) before the match and was becoming paranoid from the effects of a bad trip. Amongst many unfortunate hallucinations, he thought all the litter dropped on the terraces were snakes and he kept thinking that Ian Gillan was in goal for Liverpool. He asked a police officer to let him out and it took him many hours to get home whilst dodging all the night terrors of his drug-induced comedown. LSS (as you young folk say) the former Deep Purple frontman HAD been in goal that day - playing in a charity game at half time. The assorted snakes and other reptilia were all in my foolish friend’s fevered imagination, however. 3/10


StarsoundStars on 45

Oh my goodness, the charts were full of this shit in 1981. Besides Steve Wright, it was one of the many reasons not to listen to daytime Radio One in 1981. It was possibly the fabulous Shalamar who introduced the concept of linking classic songs together with their early Uptown Carnival in 1977, but these sort of singles plagued the charts for years, and were resurrected by the chart-destroying Jive Bunny in the late 80s. It’s a sad fact that I had to sit through a long speech given by Mr Jive Bunny (f--- knows what his real name was/is) in which Mr Jive reminded a captive/ensnared audience about his pop genius and how he’d altered the path of human destiny (with his fucking shit records).


Spandau BalletMusclebound

How the band that had recorded the fabulous To Cut a Long Story Short arrived at this Crackerjack finale/pantomime crap in just six short months is beyond my understanding.

Tough is the leather that’s stuck to my skin

Strong our the bonds that WE ma-yade!

I mean. Really. 0/10

Sorry - absolutely no idea.

Bad MannersJust a Feeling

I quite like this one, although it DOES sound like an old-fashioned Milky Way* advert.

*"The sweet you CAN eat between meals without losing your appetite."

The lying bastards! 5/10

SaxonAnd the Band Played On

As time moves on, most of the musical crimes of the late twentieth century cease to have any effect on me, and I quite like the odd bit of ‘metal’ these days. Fucking hell, though: this is SHITE! One bonus point for Lord Bifford Byford’s rather excellent moniker. 1/10


“ I tried to cut the baby’s hair and they would not let me.” Ace! 7/10

The NolansAttention to Me

Harmless enough, and not as annoying as their usual efforts. 4/10

The WhispersIt’s a Love Thing

Not as good as And the Beat Goes On (but then again, what is?). Good record. 7/10

Graham BonnetNight Games

Imagine if Graham Bonnet spoke in the same manner as he sang?


The JacksonsCan You Feel It?

A good single – their best single very lovely Let Me Show You the Way to Go. 8/10

Stevie WonderLately

I remember going to see Newman and Baddiel on tour. Rob Newman made a joke about the irony of the line “Lately I’ve been staring in the mirror.” What a prick. It was the absolute nadir of his career. Lately is a really plaintive song that I once heard some unfortunate fellow singing in full voice (and quite beautifully) to nobody in particular on the New York subway. 7/10

Sugar MinottGood Thing Going

Things are picking up in this chart, but I’m waiting for the sucker punch. 7/10

Shakin’ StevensThis Old House

And here it is. 0/10


"I presume you're a big fan of Shakin' Stevens, then?"


Ennio MorriconeChi Mai

Not exactly the genius composer/conductor's finest moment, but Joe Public liked the prestigious TV series The Life and Times of Lloyd Bridges so much they bought it in their droves. An odd one to hear emanating from pub jukeboxes in 1981. BTW (as you young folk are also wont to say), I do a fantastic impression of Philip Madoc’s depressed Welsh prisoner from Porridge. But only for money. 6/10

"When a frog...and his mate...mate..."

Bucks FizzMaking Your Mind Up

In a non-sexist, non-patriarchal world, Rita Crudgington and Jay Asphalt would have ripped the other Buck's Fizzer's kecks off (to reveal tragically moth-eaten undies with a unique, home-made ‘go faster’ stripe emblazoned on the backs of each pair) during Buck's Fizz's 'sexy' Eurovision dance routine. 0/10


Gambaccini: OK this week. 6/10

Programme as a whole: quite enjoyable – despite the horrors. 6/10

Worst record: Spands

Best: I don’t like any of the records enough to use them as the video link, so here’s one from this week’s Independent Chart:


Click on the link to hear the song: