Pick of the Pops 71 (9.7.85)

Paul Young - Tomb of Memories

I'd almost forgotten this - unthreatening, limp, carefully packaged soul music for a majority white audience. God knows how many (much better) black soul singers there were in the UK at this time who were not afforded the opportunities and career trajectory of Paul Young.

I wonder why.

A vaguely OK record, but Paul's 'soul' always sounded a little forced. 4/10

The Conway Brothers - Turn It Up

School trips to North Wales were always grim affairs, but any excuse to escape the (Grad) grind of 1970s schooling was usually a welcome diversion. Conway Castle, Colwyn Bay, some fucking dreadful slate quarry/museum or a tedious restored railway excursion was always accompanied by pissing down rain or a battleship grey sky during the drier interludes for we scruffy North Western arrivistes . And on the toilet-free coach excursion, there was always the one, wasn't there? Guarding his territory on the back seat – malicious, sociopathic, and armed with pornographic magazines, a quarter bottle of vodka and a flick knife, he’d be effing and blinding from the school gates to Conwy Castle and threatening to cut you up if you didn’t hand over the pittance you’d brought with you for emergencies.
Funny fucking headmaster, he was.
As for the record, it’s sort of OK, but the inclusion of the moron clickbait ‘Young man, will you turn that music UP?’ loses it a whole two points. 4/10

OpusLive is Life

When people ask me “What exactly is a wool?”
I say: “Do you remember that Austrian mid 80s band Opus?”
“Yes – I think so, anyway,” they say.
“Them,” I reply.
I much prefer Slovenian oddballs Laibach’s bizarre and scary version of this truly ghastly (but not hateful) song. 0/10

Dead or AliveIn Too Deep
“Live is Life,” says the ridiculously remunerated and almost charm-free disc jockey, “but” (wait for it, wait for it), “Dead or Alive are ...Alive!”
That’s YOUR licence fee, remember.
I can almost sense Pete Burns’s swagger on this brilliant pop record. 10/10

Denise La SalleMy Toot Toot
With a title like that, it was never going to be aiming for a MENSA audience. Fuck me, though, this is one ghastly, SHIT record. 0/10

Bruce ForsythI'm On Fire
Bruce (Forsyth) claimed to have been upset that the irony of the imagery and chest-beating rhetoric he'd employed in the Born in the USA album had been taken at face value by the sort of proto-Trump Republicans and rednecks he was trying to ‘educate’. The daft non-racist. A good pop song. 7/10

 "Mum.... dad....I can't sleep."

"Go back to bed, Bruce. You're twenty three, mate." 

Eurythmics - There Must Be an Angel

Admittedly the song got on my t's after about three listens, but what a voice. When I first saw Annie (in 1979) she reminded me of a bit of a down-at-heel GCSE art teacher - playing the pop star by night after a day of forcing smelly kids to colour things in. By 85, she looked like a goddess.

Extra point awarded for having Spudgun as an angel in the video. 6/10

Tears for Fears - Head Over Heels

At one stage, charity shop vinyl hunters could always rely on a Songs From The Big Chair as the lone 'modern one' amongst the detritus of unsellable easy listening and classical music leftovers. Even though its predecessor The Hurting was a big commercial hit, I absolutely loved the album, in a way that I could never feel for its even bigger-selling follow up. I like HOH, though, and the lovely Curt's voice has an elegiac feel to it in this, the best song on the album.

It's not a patch on the Kevin Keegan original, though. 7/10

Kool and the Gang - Cherish

Not one of Robert Bell's better compositions, but OK. 5/10

Mai Tai - History

Gambaccini tried to make a pun out of 'history', but used the actual, unmodified word itself as the 'punchline'.

What a tit. And MY licence fee is paying his wages.

A brilliant single that even Uncle Nobhead's verbal dribblement couldn't damage. 10/10

Fine Young Cannibals - Johnny Come Home

Jesus, how long does this song go on for?

On a different note, the mid-70s (Granada? Thames?) documentary from whence the title derives was the first time I heard the phrase "tossed off".

Wasn't sure what it meant, but a sixth sense told me it was better not to ask. 4/10

MadonnaCrazy For You
You'd have a heart of stone NOT to think of ‘Strangers making the most of their farts’ when you hear THAT (yes, it’s 'National Capitalisation Week’) line. A great pop song. 8/10

Harold FaltemeyerAxel F
Workaday electro from a shit film. 4/10

Sister SledgeFrankie
Harmless fluff (and an unlikely number one) from the splendid sister act. 6/10

Programme as a whole: adverts for the fucking dreadful O'Grady and Zoe Ball almost threatened to overwhelm the awfulness of Gambaccini. A much better collection of tunes than I’d anticipated. 7/10

Gambaccini: However, dreadful he may be, the one reassuring constant in this scary old world is that he’s NOT Gary Davies. 1/10

Best: Pete Burns edges out Mai Tai.

Worst: My fucking Toot Toot

Click on the pic to hear the song