Top Of The Pops The 80's - Various Artists
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Review of "Top Of The Pops The 80's - Various Artists"
Started a new job five weeks ago so on here even less than I used to be before. Rest assured I will continue to rate your reviews and I may even write a couple as well !!
I was in my local record store the other week browsing for ideas for mothers day for my wife from our two small children when my attention was caught by this particular offering. As most of you will be aware from my previous reviews, one of my great passions is eighties music and I couldn't resist buying this. Not for my wife I might add but for myself.
So what was it that caught my attention?Well to be honest the graphics on the CD hardly grab your attention. Basically it consists of a dark blue cover with light blue lettering declaring that it is a Top of The Pops Album, with this letting enclosed to make it appear like a circle. The BBC logo is also detailed but this is hardly prominent either. In red lettering at the bottom of the circle the album stipulates the 80s, and provides details of a selection of artists in white lettering across the bottom of the album cover. As I say it is hardly capturing the imagination.
So if the album cover didn't grab your attention what did?
As I say, I have a great passion for all music from the eighties, so when I saw the album and looked at the track listing I instantly fell in love with it. So I quickly handed by crisp ten pound note to the helpful shop assistant and I looked forward to going home and listening to all three CDs containing sixty tracks in total.
So what can we look forward to on the first album?To be honest with you, most of the tracks do not require an introduction if you grew up in the 1980s. However, if you didn't, and I am guessing that is a fair number of you, I have tried to add my own little resume of each track.
Track 1 - Don't You Want Me - Human LeagueThis has been given a new lease of life due to recent French Car Commercials, but Phil Oakey and the girls had a massive hit with this at the very early part of the 1980's.
Track 2 - Stand and Deliver - Adam & The AntsAdam and his Ants certainly caused a stir when he first burst on the scene and suddenly made it popular for blokes to wear make up. Having said that they weren't a bad group and this was one of their better numbers.
Track 3 - Love Plus One - Haircut 100My older sister had a bit of a crush on Nick Heyward and had his posters all over her bedroom wall. I think that is probably what put me off them but with the passing of time I realise that this actually isn't that bad an offering.
Track 4 - Kids in America - Kim WildeWithout a doubt this was Kim's finest release, and one of my favourite tracks on the album. Very electro rock and catapulted Kim to worldwide fame. Whisper it quietly but I had a bit of a schoolboy crush on Kim.
Track 5 - This Ole House - Shakin' StevensWales answer to Elvis but I just couldn't take him seriously after he appeared on Multi Coloured Swap Shop and appeared to be as thick as anything. However, this was definitely Shaky at his very best.
Track 6 - Tide Is High - BlondieBlondie never quite achieved the same level of success as they had in the 1970's, but this was a huge success, with their quasi punk style of music coming to the fore.
Track 7 - Land of Make Believe - Bucks FizzBucks Fizz never quite achieved the same level of success after winning Eurovision in the days when you could win with a decent song and a bit of a gimmick This wasn't too bad but a touch arty farty for my liking.
Track 8 - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me - Culture ClubBoy George and the boys certainly created an impression and I am not ashamed to say that I secretly like this track. I just don't shout it from the rooftops.
Track 9 - It Must Be Love - MadnessWhat can you say about the Nutty Boys that hasn't been said before. This is definitely one o their better tracks.
Track 10 - Ashes to Ashes - David BowieAnother classic Bowie track, most notably remembered for the hideous outfit he wore in the accompanying video. Great track and played even more because of the television programme of the same name.
Track 11 - Echo Beach - Martha & The MuffinsQuasi punk number from Martha and her muffins, unbelievably they never followed up the success of this offering. Wonderful lyrics and vocals.
Track 12 - I Could be Happy - Altered ImagesClaire Grogan's unmistakeable vocals certainly made me happy. It might have been a crush with Kim Wilde but is was definitely love with Claire !!
Track 13 - Maneater - Hall & OatesI'm not the duos biggest fan, but this fits in quite nicely with the other songs on the album. Definitely listenable to if not very often.
Track 14 - Use It Up And Wear It Out - OdysseyThis to me feels more of a late 70s track rather than an 80s offering given its Disco beat. Makes quite a nice change to the album though.
Track 15 - Japanese Boy - AnekaAneka was actually a Scottish housewife who disappeared back to her roots after this huge success as she couldn't stand the fame. Quite a good track.
Track 16 - The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tight FitYet another one hit wonder, which is probably more memorable for the video than for the song. The song is more remembered for the high pitched warbling at the start, which sounded nothing like the jungle which it was supposed to. All in all not a bad song, but there are far better ones on here.
Track 17 - Together We Are Beautiful - Fern KinneyToo slushy and poppy for my liking but I am sure it will appeal to some.
Track 18 - Just An Illusion - ImaginationA bit of a slow, smoochy type number, which twenty plus years ago was great !! However, not quite got the same appeal now.
Track 19 - Jealous Guy - Roxy MusicThis was Bryan Ferry's tribute to John Lennon who had been so cruelly murdered the Christmas before. John was an absolute legend and this track does him complete justice.
Track 20 - Only You - YazooAlison Moyet and Vince Clarke never really got the credit for their distinctive electro synthesiser pop, but this is an absolute classic tune which was butchered by The Flying Pickets.
Track 21 - Vienna - UltravoxOne of the decades greatest offerings although how this was kept off the top of the charts by Joe Dolce's Shaddupa your face I will never know. For all those of you who bought it (you know who you are) you should be shot. This is an absolute classic (Ultravox not Joe Dolce !!) which has not aged.
And What about the Second Disc
Track 1 - The Sun Always Shines on TV - A-HaI don't know what it was about Morten and the rest of the good looking Norwegian boys that girls found so attractive !!. Nowhere near as good as Take On Me but a pretty decent track nevertheless.
Track 2 - Freedom - WhamFairly typical wham stuff - fairly cheesy but easy on the ears. I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite Wham Tracks but it is difficult not to like it.
Track 3 - The Riddle - Nik KershawThey say good things come in small packages, but in this case I have my doubts. The tiny man of pop has created a riddle in my mind as to how could so many people have bought this dross to turn it into such a big hit.
Track 4 - Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds
Undoubtedly the most successful hit for Jim Kerr and the boys, along with Alive and Kicking. Jim is probably as famous for his unsuccessful marriage to Patsy Kensit as he is for the offerings his band provided.
Track 5 - The Reflex - Duran Duran
Track 6 - Easy Lover - Phil Collins & Philip BaileyThis unlikely corroboration had a massive UK smash with this ditty. Once again, fairly typical of its generation, although completely different from anything Phil Collins had done before either as a member of Genesis or as a solo artist.
Track 7 - I Feel For You - Chaka KhanThis hip hop number was a huge success and catapulted Chaka Khan to a more mainstream audience. Helped by Stevie Wonder on harmonica this is one of those tracks that once you listed to once you can't get out of your head for ages.
Track 8 - I'm So Excited - Pointer SistersThis, together with Jump were by far The Pointer Sisters biggest hits. Quite a cheery song but it's not really my cup of tea.
Track 9 - When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going - Billy OceanThis track holds personal memories for me because one of my mates who is no longer with us used to belt this out at karaoke but always extremely badly bless him. Boyzone later covered it for a Comic Relief single but it holds such sad memories for me.
Track 10 - Chain Reaction - Diana RossDiana Ross of Supremes fame had "enjoyed" a relatively quite period success and song wise until this monster smash. Wonderful vocals from a wonderful artist.
Track 11 - Too Shy - KajagoogooAnother band who burst on the scene with this rendition, although they are probably remembered more for Chris Hamill's (aka Limahl) ridiculous haircut which resembled a dead cockatiel on his head than they are for their music. Definitely Kajagoogoo's best track although Big Apple pushes it a close second.
Track 12 - Candy Girl - New EditionNew Edition were billed as an eighties Jackson 5 type band who included Bobby Brown among their ranks who went on to enjoy great solo success, but controversy was never far away from him. New Edition never really made it on this side of the Atlantic and this was their only hit of note.
Track 13 - I Got You Babe - UB40 & Chrissie HyndeThis corroboration between UB40 and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders (Brass in Pocket) fame was a huge hit and to be honest their various styles complemented each other excellently on this track.
Track 14 - Love Of The Common People - Paul Young
When originally released this song flopped but after universal success with Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) this was re-released and was another success, peaking at Number 2 in the UK charts. Pretty decent stuff.Track 15 - All Cried Out - Alison Moyet
The female half of Yazoo enjoyed a fair amount of success as a solo artist, and this was probably her best offering.Track 16 - Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler
Every time I heard Bonnie sing I always thought she needed to swallow a packet of Strepsils as her voice always sounded so hoarse. A monster smash and unmistakable vocals.Track 17 - A Good Heart - Feargal Sharkey
The former lead singer of The Undertones showed that there was a more mellow side to his voice than originally thought. A monster smash, although he never quite enjoyed the same level of success subsequently.
Track 18 - Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves
Track 19 - Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To HollywoodThe follow up to Relax, and no less a tune. Memorable for the video with comedy performances of Reagan and Gorbachev going toe to toe with one another. An upbeat rock / pop number. A great tune.
And the final disc
Track 1 - The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael JacksonWhat can I say about Michael that hasn't been said before. This was released before he went completely do la, and isn't a bad track although nowhere near his best. Any track off Thriller would have been a far better choice.
Track 2 - Criticize - Alexander O'NealA wonderful soulful tune from Alexander O'Neal which manages to break up the electro pop which pretty much dominates the first CD.
Track 3 - Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
The Warrington warbler was one of the first squeaky clean artists to role off the Stock, Aitken and Waterman conveyor belt, later to be followed by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Fairly typical cheesy 80's pop.Track 4 - We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off - Jermaine Stewart
Fairly typical eighties pop tune which achieved great success, albeit he never had another hit afterwards. Very strange lyrics which was in keeping with this huge musical decade.Track 5 - Tell It To My Heart - Taylor Dayne
Another one hit wonder, although why I am not quite sure. This is actually quite a good offering.Track 6 - Two Hearts - Phil Collins
I was never a big Phil Collins fan, and this track probably does as much to explain the reasons why. The song is as dull as dishwater and Phil has one of those faces that looks as if he's constantly got a pair of tights over his head.Track 7 - Heaven Is A Place On Earth - Belinda Carlisle
The former Go Go's singer put her drug problems aside to embark on a hugely successful solo career which culminated in a number of hits including this and Circle in the Sand. Once again her vocals are instantly recognisable and another decent track.Track 8 - Waiting For A Star To Fall - Boy Meets Girl
This was the duets only hit, which was quite typical fayre for the generation. They actually enjoyed more success writing for other artists and indeed wrote the songs for two of Whitney Houston's biggest hits - How Will I Know and I want To Dance With Somebody.Track 9 - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship
Starship were a funny sort of group who had two monster hits (this one and We Built this City) but not a lot else. I actually prefer their other hit to this one but Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now isn't too bad an effort.Track 10 - Respectable - Mel & Kim
The Appleby sisters were fairly unique in their style of music which was sort of soft white rap. An ok track but not one which I would particularly look for when scanning through the track listing.Track 11 - Venus - Bananarama
The original exponents of Girl Power long before The Spice Girls and far better too in my opinion. Sadly though this isn't one of their better offerings.
Track 12 - Too Many Broken Hearts - Jason DonovanAfter the success of Neighbours Jason was a household name and that obviously helped establish himself as a pop artist on the back of Kylies success. So cheesy though it us unbelievable.
Track 13 - I Should Be So Lucky - Kylie MinogueWho would have thought that the sweet innocent Kylie who achieved her fame through Aussie soap Neighbours would go on to be the International Superstar that she has become. It is quite interesting watching the way Kylie has changed her musical style over the years from this bit of Cheesy Pop.
Track 14 - When Will I Be Famous - BrosThe UK's answer to New Kids On The Block, who disappeared nearly as quickly as they appeared. They actually spurned a few half decent hits but this was by far their biggest.
Track 15 - Rush Hour - Jane WiedlinA one hit wonder and it's not hard to see why. Best forgotten.
Track 16 - Loco In Acapulco - Four TopsThe Four Tops enjoyed a bit of a renaissance with this track on the back of the Buster film starring Phil Collins. Although re-released in the 80s I wouldn't really class it as an eighties track.
Track 17 - See The Day - Dee C LeeLee was originally a backing singer with Wham before joining the hugely successful Style Council. She recorded this track as a solo single which has recently been covered by Girls Allowed.
Track 18 - China In Your Hand - T'PauThe unmistakable Carol Decker's vocals make this another track which is well worth listening to. Sadly they were never able to emulate the success of this debut single.
Track 19 - Eternal Flame - BanglesOn a par with Manic Monday as The Bangles best hit, they were one of the eighties biggest girl bands.
Track 20 - Wizard - Paul Hardcastle
Whilst you may not recognise this from its title, this is actually the theme from Top of The Pops so in many ways as appropriate way to end the album.
Overall ConclusionFor £10 there is the odd dodgy track but I have yet to come across a compilation album where every track appeals to everybody. However, this album pretty much provides a decent offering for the majority of people who grew up in this era or just like eighties music.
Product Information : Top Of The Pops The 80's - Various Artists
Manufacturer's product description
Title: Top Of The Pops The 80's
Performer: Various Artists
Listed on Ciao since: 07/03/2008