The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 83 – 97

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Jeepers, this was a mistake, wasn’t it?

Group 83

Depeche Mode – I Feel You: feel like with these posts I’m learning more about Depeche Mode. I didn’t know they had so many hits and I had not heard many of those hits. Solid riff and just as it merges on being annoyingly repetitive, there’s enough industrial chaos to spice things up. It’s very noisy, messy. Much of that covers up how simple and dull the key melodies are. So, I can appreciate the artistry but it doesn’t do a lot for me. I don’t think I’d ever enjoy the vocals enough to be a fan of the band. Even so… my group winner.

Sash Ft Shannon – Move Mania: This is a new one. As cheap as Sash music is, I did usually enjoy the melodies they created. This is very ‘I bet this is what computer games will sound like in the future’, and as such sounded dated a few weeks after release. Actually, I do remember this chorus. The production is decent but the sounds are ridiculous. Verses are crap, chorus is solid.

Suggs – Cecilia: I can’t stand Madness or their music, and it seems I must say the same for Suggs. This was a fairly hefty hit when it dropped, and while it’s jolly and bouncy I couldn’t stand it.

Mantronix – Take Your Time: A bit dance, a bit R’n’B, a bit girl band. None of it is very good. Vocals are fine but the music is such a non-entity.

Group 84

Finlay Quaye – Even After All: He had that one song. I can’t think of the name but I’m sure it’ll come up elsewhere. This one is completely new to me. It’s not very good, it’s just sort of… there, floating past in the background and leaving no trace.

Mr Big – To Be With You: It’s super cheesy and it’s the only song anyone will ever know by Mr Big. But, as a sucker for power ballads and as a sucker for anything with guitars when I was a lad, this has always retained a soft spot in my brains. My group winner.

U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing: I’ve likely mentioned it before on the blog, but I’ve never listened to an entire U2 album. Growing up in a pseudo traditional Protestant house, U2 was a bit of a no-no with them coming from ‘the South’. I never really understood that given that my dad’s favourite genre of music seemed to be a mixture of fiddly-dee Irish and Country. And marching bands. On top of that, I never felt any desire (rebellious or otherwise) or seek them out. By the time I made friends who were big fans, and by the time I started hearing their songs on the radio I learned enough to assume that I would probably enjoy the band but still not to the extent of going to buy their discography. This song sparks about 2% of possible memories in my mind. It’s fine

Tori Amos – Pretty Good Year: I love Tori most when she’s either at peak emotion or peak snark. This is somewhere in between and if I’m honest it’s never a song which leaps out at me in terms of Tori’s extensive discog. But I love it every time I hear it. It just misses the peaks which I yearn for in her work.

Group 85

Ace Of The Base – The Sign: One of the two big Ace Of Base songs. They’re both fine songs, catchy pop, but there was something off-putting about them – an overly airy, tepid vocal and tone.

Pato Banton Ft UB40 – Baby Come Back: Fuck all the way off. One of the worst songs of all time, never mind the 90s. HOWEVER, I am known to frequently shout ‘buh-duh-by-by-by-by, buh-duh-by-by-BY-BY’.

Belinda Carlisle – We Want The Same Thing: Ah yes, this one. I never knew what it was called, which seems strange given the title is the chorus. Given her history before being a solo artist the verses have a bit of a rock vibe which offers something different from the standard pop of the era. It’s still a fun pop song with a big summery chorus.

MJ – Blood On The Dancefloor: A weird song for a very weird album. It’s not too different from his History dance pop output, but it felt flat set against all of the more innovative dance music of the era as well as not really being melodic enough to appeal to the pop crowd. Still, it’s MJ so it’s my group winner.

Group 86

Kylie Minogue – Step Back In Time: I thought I had no memory of this and yet it sounded so familiar, mainly because of it being a melodic pastiche of so many other songs. But once I heard the chorus those memories came flooding back. It’s remarkable how songs you were very familiar with can entirely leave your brain. That said, I don’t have any particular association with this song – I just remember hearing it around the time it was released. My group winner.

Beautiful South – Perfect 10: Ugh. I know people love them, I know they have appealing qualities, but I can’t get past the image and the twee vocals. They’re what I assume Mumford & Sons are, but I haven’t heard anything from them. They’re the sort of band who wear cardigans in the summer. It’s commercial quirky. It’s Record Execs saying ‘there’s a niche for slightly odd, slightly cutesy, slightly more intellectual than general pop so we’ll allow Beautiful South because they’re not too weird and won’t avert your more straight-laced listeners’. This is annoyingly catchy. Like COV-ID.

Chaka Demus & Pliers – She Don’t Let Nobody: As expected, any of that Jamaican nonsense instantly became a no no upon first listen. Take that out of the song and it’s less memorable, but also better. Perfectly nice pop song until the crap starts.

Blur – On Your Own: As we’ve talked about already – I wasn’t too invested in the Britpop popularity wars but would have picked Oasis over Blur any day of the week. I don’t believe I’ve heard this one, even though it was apparently a big single by one of the biggest bands of the decade right around the time I was actually listening to them. It’s a bit to yelly and talky for my tastes.

Group 87

Scum Squad – We’re Gonna Do It Again: Nope.

Paul Weller – Peacock Suit: Yet another song I don’t know. Paul Weller is any interesting one… I like some of his solo stuff, I like some of The Jam, but by the same token I can’t stand some others. Based on this first listen, this is one I could like more given time – decent song. My group winner.

Pulp – Sorted For Es And Wizz: Another one of those annoying Pulp songs which makes me think of terrible clothes and hair and singing.

Wet Wet Wet – Yesterday: Is this seriously going to be a Beatles cover? Yes. What’s the point? It’s a decent cover, but it’s basically identical, just with the singers switched out.

Group 88

Two Cowboys – Everybody Gonfi-gon: I don’t know if that violin mess is familiar to me because it’s a traditional piece I’ve heard elsewhere, or because it was written specifically for this song. In any case, it’s utter trash and represents the worst of dance music; cheap, one repetitive simple melody played over and over with the occasional drop in beat before bringing it up again. As formulaic as it is possible to be.

Soup Dragon Ft Junior Reid: I’m Free: A pill- influenced slice of Madchester guff. To its credit, it at least changes the original enough to be its own thing. The original is good, this is good, but neither are exactly to my tastes or ever going to be something I choose to listen to, especially when they chuck in the Jamaican rant.

Partners In Kryme – Turtle Power: What an awful group of songs. I’m Free is the best song here, but it’s a cover so I’m not going for it. Turtle Power is bad, but at least it reminds me of the hype all us kids felt when we heard there was going to be a Turtles movie. My group winner.

Various Artists – Brits 90 Dance Medley: Absolutely shocking stuff. Have you seen the video for this? What the absolute F?

Group 89

Will Smith – Miami: A smooth song. Can’t say I’ve ever been to Miami, but I’ve seen enough movies. It’s another song which makes you think of Summer. Yes, even Summer in Northern Ireland which is basically the same as Winter, but yer ma makes you wear shorts even though there’s icicles hanging off yer nuts.

Shaft – Roobarb & Custard: It’s the theme tune to a 70s cartoon, steeked up. Steeked, you ask? A steek is the Northern Irish word (or one of the words) for a Chav. Chav, you ask? Look, Steeks predominantly only listen to dance music – bad dance music. Clearly someone took a pile of drugs and thought this would be a good idea. I remember the show being shown in the 90s – I’m not sure if that was as a result of this song’s popularity, or if the show’s reappearance inspired the song. Either way, someone must pay.

Ride – Leave Them All Behind: I don’t remember this at all, but it has that shoegaze, washing guitar production sound that quite a few bands had back then, but it feels more Brit-pop infused. Credit for sounding huge and expansive, but like a lot of songs in this ilk it’s ultimately aimless and one-note. There’s not much crescendo of emotion or melody to go with the wall of sound – certainly not for an 8-minute song. I enjoy this stuff if I’m in the mood for it, but I’m rarely in that mood.

Opus 3 – It’s A Fine Day: No clue what this is based on the name. Once the vocals kick in… yes, I do know this. I remember mocking it when I was a child. Kids would sing like they were yawning ‘it’s going to be a fine night tonight’… etc. Even as a 10-year-old I knew it was ridiculous and was making fun of the lyrics. It’s not great but there’s a lot worse out there. Melody is fine, but after the 3rd of 4th time you’ve heard it, you never need to hear it again.

Group 90

G’n’R – Since I Don’t Have You: One of the few bright lights IMO of The Spaghetti Incident. A cover from a covers album, it was the start of the end of the road for the band in terms of chart success. My Group Winner.

Divine Comedy – National Express: Do I like The Divine Comedy? I liked this and a couple of other songs around the same time but I felt like they were a hipster band, even though that was not a term back then. They were the music snob’s band, and hearing this you could only respond with ‘it’s not that good, right?’ It’s fine. Quirky. Normally it would be interesting enough to encourage me to seek out other songs by them, except for the fact that all their fans were twats and I therefore did no further seeking.

Buffalo Tom Ft Liam Gallagher – Going Underground: As far as I can remember I had no idea this existed. This would have been around the time I was into Oasis and assume I would have known what Liam was up to, but this rings no bell. It’s a cover. Not very exciting.

Capella – Move On Baby: Another dance track, another thing I’ve never heard. It’s precisely by the numbers 90s wank – woman belting out some inane repetitive chorus, broken up by an even more repetitive synth riff, and every so often some bloke will interject with a ‘rap’. It’s exactly like the others.

Group 91

Scatman John – Scatman: A legendary dance song. My group winner.

DJ Quicksilver – Free: We all remember this one, sadly. You always had that one guy in school who would answer DJ Quicksilver, or worse, Ministry Of Sound when you asked what music they were into. Then you would never talk to them again. There’s no reason on this earth that this song needs to be longer than 30 seconds. Don’t get me wrong, that 30 seconds would be perfectly fine. But as a song, it’s so simplistic, so childlike that it’s an embarrassment on our species that this became any sort of success.

KLF Ft Tammy Wynette – Justified & Ancient: What a weird… everything. KLF and… Tammy Wynette. Sure. I don’t have any specific memories of this one – I don’t really remember the verses but the chorus was another one which I continued to song long after I’d forgotten who it was by or where I knew it from.

Ken Doh – Nagasaki: Never heard this before. More generic 90s dance, at least it has a bit more effort than others, an attempt to not be so repetitive. Then again, it features the lyrics ‘I need lover tonight/I need a lover who’s gonna treat me so right’. Sigh.

Group 92

Robert Palmer Ft UB40 – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight: Abso-fucking-lutely not.

Mr Hankey – The Christmas Poo: A delightful festive romp.

The Grid – Swamp Thing: Until the banjo came in, I didn’t know what this was. Another song which doesn’t need to be longer than a minute long. Everything outside of the banjo is junk.

Nirvana – Come As You Are: An obvious group winner.

Group 93

Chef – Chocolate Salty Balls: A delightful culinary romp.

Erasure – Chorus: Never liked Erasure. This one sounds like the other one.

MJ – History: There was so much hype around the release of History the album, that the title track got lost in the mix. It’s not the most obvious choice for a single and it’s all a little on the nose with lyrical retreads of previous songs. But it’s still good, angry verses, neat enough chorus. My group winner.

KLF – America What Time Is Love: These guys again. A weak Ace Of Spades bit, lots of sirens, dodgy rapping, crap drums, solid chorus. Meh.

Group 94

Tom Jones & The Cardigans – Burning Down The House: Known as one of my spud-pickin’ songs. Another cover. I don’t think I’ve heard a Talking Heads song yet that I’ve liked, but I could be wrong. Spud pickin’, you say? Well, I used to work at a farm on Saturdays when I was in school. Cash in hand. Spuds in hand. Both types. For whatever reason, this song was always on the radio when had grabbed some lunch in the shed. I would also turn on the space heater and throw potatoes into it. I’m still alive.

Toni Braxton – Breathe Again: Before hitting play I was really trying to remember how this song went, because I knew I knew it, but the best I could come up with was humming that Whole Again song. Who was that? Atomic Kitten? Some shite like that. It came back when I hit play. It’s a solid ballad. I liked it then, but it ain’t no Unbreak My Heart. It’s a crap group, but this is my group winner.

Martine McCutcheon – Perfect Moment: The one Martine song everyone remembers. It’s sort of Christmasy. It’s fine.

Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness 95: Didn’t we have this one already?

Group 95

Mase – Feel So Good: Completely new to me. It’s certainly funky enough. A bit too nasal.

Peter Andre – Kiss The Girl: Yes, yes it is Peter Andre singing a song from The Little Mermaid. 

The Course – Ready Or Not: The Fugees sampled The Delphonics for their chorus, and barely a year later these Clampets took one line of that chorus and made a 3 minute abomination. This is the story of that abomination. You don’t need to hear it. It’s one line and melody repeated for three minutes with some shitty drum sounds.

Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up: Dance music done right. And the video is… memorable too. An easy group winner.

Group 96

Dr Alban – It’s My Life: No.

3T ft Herbie – Gotta Be You: First time I’ve been exposed to this. It sounds like every other 90s boyband, but I guess it’s kind of funky.

Simply Red – For Your Babies: I could never stand Simply Red. I remember this one, never liked it at the time and I never understood why the band got the commercial push that they did. But, it’s a sweet, tender little song. Not for me.

Queen – A Winter’s Tale: Another crap group without a single song I’d ever choose to listen to. But I enjoy Queen ever so often and I like Christmas songs. This one isn’t very Christmasy. It’s not the best song in the world but it’s a typically strong Freddie vocal. My group winner.

Group 97

Blackstreet – Fix: Yet another completely new song for me. More utterly generic boyband R’n’B trash with nothing to recommend it unless boyband R’n’B is your thing.

Michael Bolton – Can I Touch You There: It’s the eternal question… not the question posed in the song title, but the question of why would you ever give your song this name? Bolton was always a strong singer – I’m no fan of his voice but there’s no getting away from the porno vibes of the lyrics and music.

New Kids – Hanging Tough: NKOTB have a lot to answer for, being the prototype of the modern boyband and ushering in a new era of shite which has dominated popular music ever since. Sure, there were boybands before them, but they were the first and most successful to have everything set in stone – the look (a manufactured street toughness yet feminine enough to not scare the female audience away), the sound (cheap mass-market production devoid of creativity), the dances (simplistic and easy to follow), and the gloss (throwing money at image over everything else). You see this right the way through the 90s and up until One Direction – they set a winning formula which everyone has followed since. It goes without saying that the song is trash and deservedly mocked – the irony being that many of those who will do the mocking are also lapping up their modern day counterparts with devotion.

Space Ft Cerys Matthews – The Ballad Of Tom Jones: The 90s was also a delightful time for offbeat, one of a kind nonsense. Space was one of those bands who had a lyrical flair and delivered songs which nobody else could. Every era needs bands and songs like this. My group winner.

What do you think?

Chart Music Through The Years – 1995!

1995 | 1990s fashion trends, 90s fashion trending, 1990s fashion

Greetings Glancers. So, 1995. In many ways it doesn’t sound or seem too far away when I say it out loud. I remember it like yesterday. Though when I take a closer look at those memories I remember that I was in fact a twelve year old kid trying to navigate a post Nirvana world. It’s over twenty five years ago, and that is truly depressing. With my rose tinted thingies on, I bet the world was a much better place then: The Great Hanshin Earthquake killed over 6000 people, the Sarin Gas Attacks occurred in Tokyo, Russian soldiers massacred civilians in Chechnya, some knob killed a bunch of people in the Oklahoma City bombing, 8000 Bosnians were killed in the Srebrenica Massacre, OJ Simpson got away with it, and… yeah things were pretty bad then too.

On the upside, the Internet was kicking into gear, Windows 95 became a thing, Toy Story came out, the first E3 was held, Chrono Trigger was released, the first Worms game dropped, Die Hard With A Vengeance was the biggest film of the year, while Braveheart won some Oscars. All good things I think you’ll agree. In the world of Music, Mr Richey Edwards left his Cavalier near the Severn Bridge and was never seen again, Radiohead released The Bends, Michael Jackson gave us his last great album with History, Robbie Williams quit Take That, and Britpop began to peak with the appearance of What’s The Story Morning Glory and The Great Escape. I’m hoping therefore that the charts actually contained one or two songs worth listening to. Then again, the Great British Public have always been idiots.

1: Coolio: Gangsta’s Paradise: Having looked down this list, I know all of them and most of them still seem to me to be ‘modern’. I know they’re not, but I guess it’s part of having lived through them. I mean, twenty four years before 1995 was 1971, and to me in 1995 anything from 1971 seemed ancient. Gangta’s Paradise is a song everyone still knows today – it was huge, and you  hear it nowadays, mostly in movies used to some sort of ironic effect. You know it – ‘As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ etc. It’s one of the best one-off rap hits of the decade. Check out Dangerous Minds too, the movie it was written for – that’s one of my favourites of the year too.

2: Meat Loaf: I’d Lie For You: The 90s return of Meat Loaf must rank among one of the strangest occurrences in music. As much as I like some of his stuff, him making it big (smash hit big) in the first instance is unusual, then to disappear for a decade, and then to return with another smash hit – weird. This isn’t as grandiose or successful as I Would Do Anything For Love but you’d probably remember it too.

3: Simply Red: Fairground: One of the songs I despised most during the 90s. I never thought Simply Red was anything more than something you would wipe off your shoe before setting fire to the wipe and the shoe, leaving the town where you made the flaming sacrifice, and then nuking the town. This is the worst thing they ever did and it was played constantly in 95 and 96. Thankfully, it’s gone now.

4: Def Leppard: When Love And Hate Collide: A rare case of one of the 80s pseudo-metal/rock bands having one last shot in the decade when the torch of truth was shone upon their irrelevance. You know what? I always liked this song. It doesn’t sound like Def Leppard. I know it’s a pissy little ballad that I should be making fun of, but you should know by now that I’ve always enjoyed power ballads, pissy or otherwise. It was the last thing of worth they ever did.

5: Roy Chubby Brown: Who The Fuck Is Alice: Smokie made this song in the mid-Seventies. British Stand Up Comedian and The League Of Gentlemen inspiration Roy Chubby Brown collaborated with them this year to release a more risque version, and the rest is history. You can’t hear the song now without singing ‘Alice? Alice! Who the fuck is Alice’. It’s like, the law.

6: Eternal: Power Of A Woman: Hearing this now, it sounds like a relic from the 80s. It just barely upgrades the dated 80s sound to the dated 90s sound. It’s not good, not on par with Eternal’s better known stuff. Not saying much as they were always an average group. There’s something wholesome and innocent about it compare with today’s attempts at pop stars defining their sexuality.

7: Shaggy: Boombastic: Ugh, this piece of shit. If Meat Loaf being successful, twice, was strange, Shaggy being anything more than a drunk beggar is a miracle. No, miracle is a positive word – what’s the negative version? Curse? That doesn’t seem right. Either way, nothing Shaggy has ever recorded has been less than repellent to me, like being chased down the road by someone with a sack full of aborted cows. Seriously, think of all the truly amazing artists out there who never got a chance. This wank is what we get instead. Go gargle some cyanide.

8: Everything But The Girl: Missing: I’ve had an up and down relationship with this one. On one hand, its watered down dance music with weak sounding production, released at a time when I stoutly refused to listen to anything dance related. On the other hand, in terms of mid-90s dance it’s one of the best. It doesn’t go all in on some throbbing bass beat, and while it still hits every single cliche in the dance rule book, it doesn’t make those as obvious as most. I think what I disliked most was the singer’s vapid, bovine stare.

9: Michael Jackson: You Are Not Alone: Likewise, I’ve been up and down on this. Sometimes the fragility of the vocals and melody seems honest and powerful, while at others I watch the video and am at once embarrassed and thinking ‘MJ WTF’. In terms of the many lyrics he’s written about the intrusion of media in his life and the difficulty of fame, it’s one of his most simple, clean, and understandable. Then, it’s not really about that – it’s just a simple love song about not being alone even though you may be far from the ones you love. The backing drum stuff is too weak. In the end though, no-one else sounds like MJ and you just don’t get this sort of dedication to melody in pop music anymore, which is the number one thing pop music should be about. That final ‘heart’ note tho.

10: Josh Wink: Higher State Of Consciousness: This is the only one of the list where I was wondering ‘is this that one with the thing, or am I thinking about something else’. It’s actually not the one I was thinking of – it’s worse. But I do remember this, vaguely. As with most dance tracks of the day, there are about 14 million versions of this – I’ve no idea which one is the original, but it makes no odds as each is as abhorrent and useless as the one before. It’s the sort of thing which takes zero talent to create and represents that peak turning point in the music business when anyone with access to knife, spoon, and microphone could create a hit record. All you have to to is whack the knife and spoon together a few times, edit it all together, feed it to pill heads and silly young white kids, and you can live off the proceeds for the next decade before you get a job as an Uber.

In summary, the above features a couple of passable ones, a couple of better ones, and the usual eclectic mix of abominations and mistakes. How about I have a go and let the universe see that our species was in fact capable of making worthwhile music in 1995? The below songs are a much better example of the sort of talent we should be celebrating and a stronger representation of the year:

  1. Deep Blue Something: Breakfast At Tiffany’s
  2. Buddy Holly: Weezer
  3. Cotton Eyed Joe: Rednex
  4. Country House: Blur
  5. You Oughta Know: Alanis Morissette
  6. It’s Oh So Quiet: Bjork
  7. I’ll Be There For You: The Rembrandts
  8. You’ll See: Madonna
  9. High And Dry: Radiohead
  10. Roll To Me: Del Amitri

See, I didn’t go with the sort of picks I usually do! There was a lot of great stuff this year, so much that I didn’t need to include Alice In Chains, Michael Jackson, Manics, Oasis, Opeth, Foo Fighters, RHCP or any of the other big acts who released classics this year. Let us know in the comments what songs of 1995 made and continue to make your ears whir!

Chart Music Through The Years – 1987

Today in Madonna History: December 28, 1987 « Today In Madonna History

Greetings, Glancers! On the surface 1987 is one of those years I always get excited about – some of my all time favourite movies were released in Predator, Robocop, The Lost Boys, Near Dark etc and at least two of my all time favourite albums came out – Bad, and Appetite For Destruction. Elsewhere, Bon Jovi and U2 released smash hit singles and albums, MTV was launched in Europe, Kyle Minogue left Neighbours and started a singing career, and hair metal was peaking in excess.

What of the wider world? Terry Waite was kidnapped, Budd Dwyer killed himself on TV, Iran-Contra further embarrassed Reagan, Platoon won Best Picture at The Oscars, plans for Euro Disney were put in place, The Simpsons first appeared in an early form, Lester Piggott went to prison, and the IRA bombed Enniskillen.

Back in the musical world, the biggest singles of the year included a variety of novelty songs – La Bamba, Never Gonna Give You Up, rock anthems – Livin’ On A Prayer, Where The Streets Have No Name, and pop classics – The Lady In Red, I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me. As always, I’ll be giving my thoughts on one of the Top Tens of the year and providing an alternative list for anyone interested in 1987. Company… March!

The Bee Gees: You Win Again 

So, a little about me before a little about the song. When I was younger we used to have these family employee Christmas parties where we would go to Pantomimes. One year it was bombed, so we didn’t go back to the panto. Other times we would go to the Cinema, or to indoor play places, or just have some hall hired for the day/night. At one of these events there was a disco and a quiz, and I seemed to be one of the older kids there (by older we’re talking me being 8 or 9). I remember answering as many questions as I could to the point that the DJ was getting annoyed and wanted to give someone else a chance. Anyway, I won a Bee Gees Live Concert on VHS. I probably knew the band before then, but that was my main introduction to them.

They are another ones of those bands that I’ve liked a lot of their songs, haven’t liked others, but never had any desire to seek them out. Spoiler Alert – I hope to cover them in a new Nightman Listens To series. All that is to say – I like this song.

George Michael: Faith

I never really liked this song. I never really liked George Michael. I like Last Christmas, and I like Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, but almost everything else I’ve heard from him has been balls. This is a middling one for me – I don’t hate the song, and there are parts I like enough to know that I’ll sing it every so often. But it’s an average song, nothing more.

Bananarama: Love In The First Degree

As 80s pop bands go, Bananarama are one of the bands that I somehow avoided. Leader Of The Pack, Help, I know those, but that’s about it. I’m sure I’d remember more if I heard them. This is immediately 80s – big ridiculous synth and drums. I recognise parts of this. Hilarious, unnecessary dance moves in the music video. Why do people dance in music videos? I’ve definitely heard the chorus before. It’s cheesy, cheery rubbish, and the video is questionable. Mostly harmless junk.

Jan Hammer: Crockett’s Theme

What is this? More 80s drums and synth. Oh right, now I know it, obviously. I knew I knew the name, but couldn’t place it. I never watched Miami Vice which is apparently where this is from. I probably saw a few episodes of it, but for whatever reason I was more of an A-Team, Knightrider guy. It’s an iconic piece of music that probably most people know even if they, like me, don’t know what it’s from. I’ve no idea why this was a hit over any other 80s theme, but there you go.

Fleetwood Mac: Little Lies

Spoiler Alert #2 – Fleetwood Mac is another band I want to cover in a Nightman Listens series. I have a friend who is a diehard fan, but again I mostly know a bunch of singles, a few of which I love. From the name, I don’t know this. The intro and verse is typically 80s, that atmospheric vibe I love. The verse is sort of familiar, then the chorus comes and I slap myself because of course I know it. Everyone looks incredibly stoned in the video too, which is nice. I’ve no idea why they are dressed like Victorian farmers either. I like it, even if some of the backing vocals are terrible and the video is shocking – a decent enough song.

Erasure: The Circus

Erasure. One of my least liked/most disliked bands. Along with Lighthouse Family, UB40, Enya, probably others. I can’t even remember why anymore, but I’m sure we’ll find out. Ponky pumpy horny synthy intro, drunken sounds in verse, annoying vocals. I think it’s more the style rather than the voice I don’t like. This doesn’t feel at all like a single. It’s not terrible, it’s not great… I’m not sure what it is aside from being all over the place.

Billy Idol: Mony Mony

Billy Idol always struck me as a bit of knob. All dressed up like a punk rock or metal superstar, but releasing songs which BROS could just as easily have released. Obviously this is a cover. It’s not all that different from the original, just with a bit of an 80s overhaul. It’s another traditional rock’n’roll song so you can guess how it sounds – the energy, the rhythm, the rises and falls – nothing special but still better than most of today’s chart pap.

Pet Shop Boys: Rent

I like It’s A Sin – who doesn’t? But I’ve never been crazy about these fellas either. This doesn’t seem familiar. Talking vocals, silly whisper noises in the background, already off to a losing start. Singing is marginally better, melodies a little bland, but I appreciate the plaintive feel. I assume the lyrics are heartfelt, some feeling does come across. It’s not bad, but it’s not something I’ll remember or seek out again.

Kiss: Crazy Crazy Nights

Another rock ‘classic’ that was played, for the ladies, at my local Metal bar on Saturday nights. It’s basically a pop ballad the likes of which you’d hear a boy/girl band write, but with added guitar. That’s the thing about hair metal – you had some genuinely accomplished musicians, then you had those who could just about get by, but in the main the songs were throwaway pop garbage. Guitars and androgyny were hot in the 80s, so all these pretty boys with guitars would form bands for a quick buck, suck, or fuck – and most of them are terrible. Nevertheless, those who succeeded, those who are still discussed today knew how to write a catchy tune which all music fans could enjoy, even if there was very little under the surface or face-paint.

Was (Not Was): Walk The Dinosaur

The only artist here I hadn’t heard of so I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was a novelty hit. It certainly starts in that vein with some sort of caveman chant that you just know idiots of the time would have chanted. The verse vocals are fine, and then the chorus drops and I remember it all. So, I’m not sure what the intent behind the song or the lyrics were, aside from trying to make a bunch of money and capitalize on the idiocy of 80s culture. Musically, it beats the equivalent today – there is a variety of instruments, there is some semblance of vibrancy, but it’s still a pile of crap. It seems to be selling a dance instead of being a song on its own merits. If we compare it to Walk Like An Egyptian – another song which created a cutesy dance craze – there’s a clear gulf in talent and creativity between the two.

So, that was an accurate depiction of 80s pop music. Does that mean it represents the decade or the year in music truthfully? No. Does it show the breadth of talent of those who were making music then? Absolutely not. As we have already established, chart music rarely does. Therefore, here is an alternative list of songs released in 1987 which you may find more appealing – and I’m even keeping it mostly pop!

  1. With Or Without You – U2
  2. Sign O’ The Times – Prince
  3. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
  4. Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
  5. Sweet Child O’Mine – Guns ‘N’ Roses
  6. Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle
  7. Satch Boogie – Joe Satriani
  8. Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues
  9. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – REM
  10. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You – Gloria Estefan

Let us know in the comments if you have any memories of 1987 – the music, the movies, and everything in between!

Chart Music Through The Years – 1957

The Olden Days

As you should no doubt now be aware, my current form did not exist in 1957. That should not suggest that I am ignorant of what was going on in music then, or of the wider world in general. Most of what I know is surface and via the largely fictional works of others and it’s not a period I’m overly invested or interested in. Looking at the 10 offerings below, I’ll be upfront and say I recognise most of the performers more than the actual songs. There are a few songs that I know by name, and of course one which everybody knows. I imagine I’ll recognise a few more once I listen.

What else was befalling man in 1957? Well, close to home the IRA was up to their usual shenanigans and Harold Macmillan became Prime Minister. Elsewhere, Eisenhower began his second reign as US President, The Cat In The Hat was published, The Treaty Of Rome was signed, The Sky At Night was first broadcast, heavy rain causes the death of almost 1000 people in Japan, The Civil Rights Movement continued to gain movement and opposing suppression, and Laika went to space. In Music, Elvis bought Graceland, Doris Day’ Que Sera Sera won an Oscar, The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool, and a couple of lads named John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time. Rock and Roll continued to gain traction, with the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Chuck Berry all having major hits. By all accounts, a good time to be a kid just getting into music it would seem.

  1. Paul Anka: Diana

A very traditional rock ballad intro is bolstered by some languid horn work before Anka’s distinctive vocals drop. Lyrically it seems to be a self-written defense of Paul’s MILF relationship. Anka does these little excited gasps throughout the verses and I like how the notes increase in pitch and urgency as the chorus approaches – I think we all know what that means, especially when you throw in lyrics like ‘hold me close and squeeze me tight’. Spoiler Alert – he’s not talking about hugs. There’s an unexpected little breakdown in the middle where the pace picks up in intensity, giving a sprinkle of depth. I don’t believe I’ve heard this before, in terms of comparison it’s not the most adventurous by today’s standards but it’s light years ahead in terms of melody, emotion, and integrity.

2. Elvis Presley: All Shook Up

This is the one we all know, right? I’ve no idea when or how I heard my first Elvis song given that he was dead before I was born, but his biggest hits (like this) seem to have a knack for finding you and staying with you. It begins innocently enough with gentle guitars but when the vocals start you know you’re in trouble – it’s easy to see how so many young ladies fell for him. It’s very simple – that piano riff from the blues was already thoroughly recycled by this point but is one of the foundations of early rock. It’s shorter than I remember, likely more to do with squeezing as many hits onto a record or the radio as possible, but that helps it to become one of those songs you want to hit play on as soon as it ends.

3. Tab Hunter: Young Love

A quiet piece of guitar eases us in before an overly pleasant voice takes things to a heady saccharine level. It’s very sweet – too sweet for me and ironically as he sings of ‘deep emotion’ I fail to find any trace of such in the vocals. It’s too plain and stale and smooth. It’s harmless and innocent on the surface, but it sounds far too childlike and insipid given the eras which have past since.

4. Pat Boone: Loveletters In The Stand

Most songs which begin with whistling don’t go down well with me. It reeks of country, even with the staccato piano and additional of horns. The vocals are again far too smooth and sleepy for me – you may as well be rapping. Badly. I don’t get any sense of feeling from vocals like this. I’m sure there is emotion, but it is so filtered and watered down that it doesn’t reach me. I understand why it was a hit at the time, but it’s not for me.

5. Guy Mitchell: Singing The Blues

More whistling and this time with added ‘bum de dum’ vocal nonsense. It has a sense of fun at least and the vocals are more interesting. The vocal mix however reminds me of Gary Glitter, which is never a good thing. A fun and bouncy mid-range quality song.

6. Lonnie Donnegan: Gamblin’ Man

Boy howdy, it’s always amazing to me when I actually hear people in reality speak and sing with this accent. It doesn’t seem real. Props for going solo in the intro. It seems funny to me rather than anything else, but then it picks up pace and turns into something else. It’s better but it’s also funnier. Then by the end both the drummer and vocalist are going buck nuts – the fury and fun of the performance are enough to carry it through and we even get a very muddy, lost in the mix guitar solo. Good stuff, even if it does have both feet dipped in Country (even if it’s more jazz and skiffle based) – see this is the sort of Country style music I can enjoy – pissed off their faces and absolutely wrecking everything in sight.

7. Harry Belafonte: Island In The Sun

A lesser known (for me) Belafonte song. See, Belafonte has a similar smooth quality to his vocals as others on the list, but his emotion does come through more. It’s not 100 percent clear, but at least I can feel it. Maybe it’s the inflections, maybe it’s because lyrically it’s not some bullshit simplistic love sentiment. The imagery is potent and genuine too, only someone who cares and understands could write like that.

8. Johnnie Ray: Yes Tonight Josephine

There seems to have been a lot of these vocal tick songs in the 50s – this one opening with ‘yip yip bapiddy boo’ or some balls. Main vocals are fine, backing vocals outside of the ‘yip yip’ stuff are not great. The arrangement is too repetitive and simple and the melodies don’t go out of their way to say anything interesting – the main melody repeats without much variance and it’s not overly strong in the first place. Not bad, just forgettable beyond the ‘yip yip’.

9. Pat Boone: Don’t Forbid Me

Senor Boone returns once more, and this time it’s personal. It’s more smooth, easy listening junk. Like most of the other songs here, it’s straight down the middle, takes a basic an idea and runs with it – that’s not necessarily a criticism but I lose interest quickly if the melody or vocals are plain. This is preferable to his last one. It does have a slight middle section where it looks like the song might shift gears, but it’s momentary.

10. Frankie Vaughn: The Garden Of Eden

A mixture of ballad and soft rock blues rhythms. There’s a horn bombast to close the chorus. Vaughn seems playful on some notes and words, holding the note for longer than he needs to or adding a little waver. I assume this would have caused some controversy at the time due to the lyrics, at least in the US. The drummer has some fun towards the end. This would be mostly boring if not for the little excesses by the drummer, singer, and trumpet guys.

We learn once again that regardless of the year or era, we have some good songs and plenty of crap ones too. We also learn that, no matter what the song, someone on Youtube is going to comment that it’s their favourite, or was their parent’s favourite, or bemoan how the music after ‘their decade’ ended has been crap. Without exception. There are three songs here I’d choose to listen to again, with maybe another couple I wouldn’t be annoyed by – the rest I would dismiss. As we’re still in the 1950s and my knowledge is limited, my alternative list of songs isn’t the most exciting. Not all were strictly written in ’57 either.

  1. Elvis – Jailhouse Rock

2. Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire

3. Danny And The Juniors – At The Hop

4. That’ll Be The Day – The Crickets

5. Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly

6. When I Fall In Love – Nat King Cole

7. Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

8. Tutti Frutti – Little Richard

9. Rock N Roll Music – Chuck Berry

10. Come Fly With Me – Van Heusen/Cahn

Let us know in the comments if you have any favourites above or elsewhere from 1957!

Chart Music Through The Years – 1994

Nineteen and ninety four. A year of change, for me and for the world. It was my first year in big school, meeting all these new weirdos and saw me trying to find some new people with similar tastes in music and movies. Most of my closest friends did not pass the good old 11+ exam (a British transfer test which miraculously ensures whether you get into a good school or crap school, though many could cheat and pay for the privilege) and those were the friends that I listened to Guns’n’Roses, Nirvana, and Alice Cooper with. Luckily I met a few like-minded folks, but in April Kurt Cobain decided to kill himself. After that, music sort of seemed shit. Even music I had previously loved. I went through a bit of a faff, listening to nothing, or more accurately I listened to stuff but felt no connection. Naturally that didn’t last and I fell back in love with music again.

The charts of 1994 were an odd place – we had the grunge from the US, the tail-end of 80s rock still hanging on to relevance, europop, boy bands, the continuing emergence of homegrown bedroom DJs and lady singer-songwriters singing about their lady problems. It was a wonderful diverse world away from today’s chart of Tosspot Feat. Wanker taking up every position. There was good and bad, as it should be. Elsewhere in the music world, Blur released Parklife and Oasis released Definitely Maybe, Tupak went to jail, Michael Jackson married a Presley, Jeff Buckley released Grace,  and Woodstock 94 happened. In the rest of the world, Clinton and Yeltsin made sure no nukes would be flying, Lillehammer had some Olympics, Ayrton Senna crashed and burned, The Channel Tunnel opened, and a bunch of my favourite movies were released. What of October’s Top Ten Singles?

1: Pato Banton: Baby Come Back

This is one of those one hit wonders that was everywhere this year, and another which is almost entirely self contained within the year of its release. To add to the annoyance, it was a cover too, of a song from twenty years earlier. Make things worse by throwing in people from UB40 – one of my most hated bands ever. If there’s one thing I can’t stand in music, it’s anyone who isn’t Bob Marley doing reggae. So you get all these British guys adopting this culture and accent that they may or may not have anything to do with, and making shitty sub-standard knock offs with faux accents. In short – this is terrible. The only good thing about this is that I still will randomly shout ‘but a bye bye bye bye, bada bye bye by bye’.

2: Whigfield: Saturday Night

This was a beast when it arrived, a one-hit wonder which transcended that odious nomenclature and permeated into pop culture. As a pop song it’s still perplexing as to why it became such a monster, but these are questions we’ll never find answers to. I suspect it had something to do with ecstasy. And yet, it’s a perfectly good pop/dance song. It’s repetitive as hell but there’s a cheery likeability to it, no doubt partly due to Whigfield’s smiling Scandinavian otherness. You can usually gauge a song’s true quality in direct relation to how much young girls dance to it – I have clear memories of roaming the streets near my house with my friends shortly after this was released and stumbling upon a group of girls from my school dancing and ‘doing makeup’ to it in their living room. Zoe – I’m looking at you. Somehow it remains both dreadful and not bad at the same time.

3: Bon Jovi: Always

I’ve been going through the Bon Jovi albums elsewhere on this blog and this was always one of my favourites. I loved it upon release and I happily defend it now. Yes it’s cheesy and yes it’s Bon Jovi, but as far as well written effective rock ballads go, there are few better.

4: Take That: Sure

I mean, I avoided Take That as much as I possibly could back in the day, so looking at that song name I don’t have any memory of what this is. Watching the video in the link above for the first time presents a rather creepy introduction, with the lads swarming around a child and asking if she’s ready for bed. Why in God’s name is it seven minutes long? Was this the group trying to channel Michael or Madonna and make a video which was something more than an excuse to smile and unbutton their shirts? I’m gonna have to skip forward because this is painful. Oh fuck, here comes Robbie. Three minutes and still nothing has happened. Finally the song begins and what the balls is this? What in the name of all that is holy went wrong in peoples’ lives that made anyone this happen? Arguably the most bland song I’ve ever heard – and I’ve heard Dido.

5. Michelle Gayle: Sweetness

The 80s gets all the credit for being a decade of WTF, but with stuff like this you’d be forgiven in thinking the 90s should take the hotspot. Michelle Gayle was an actress in Eastenders who had a brief series of hits after leaving the soap. That kind of thing used to happen a lot, but to her credit at least she had more than one. I never liked this, but ironically I find myself singing the chorus every so often. The weird thing is that I don’t really remember the verses and when I sing the chorus I always do it with a strange accent and a faster pace which makes me think it must have been parodied somewhere and I’m doing that version instead. Otherwise I created my own parody when it came out and that’s what’s stayed with me. It’s not very good, just your typical slice of British 90s R’n’B – read – standard pop but with a black singer instead of white.

6: R Kelly: She’s Got That Vibe

Well. I’m not sure what we can really say about R Kelly these days. If I’m honest, I don’t remember him being all that relevant before Space Jam. Or after. I didn’t know that’s who did this song. Your typical light, commercial rap bollocks. Give it credit for a catchy chorus, but keeping things honest – it’s balls.

7: Cyndi Lauper: Hey Now

I like Cyndi Lauper. This is her basically remaking her best known song Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but with added ‘hey nows’ and a slower pace and more annoying production.

8: Snap: Welcome To Tomorrow

Snap. Is that who I’m thinking of? No. No it’s not. And once again, what the balls is this? Look at the state of that video! Even in 94 this looked worse that Liza Minelli’s feces. There aren’t strong enough words to describe how bad this is – musically, visually. I don’t remember this at all, thank fuck, and I hope by tomorrow I’ve forgotten it again. Ladies and Gentleman, may I present to you, the Human Race. Yes, this actually happened. Someone wrote this, someone made this, and people actually paid money to own it. Looking at the comments, people still enjoy it. Reasons we should get nuked #42319877. The only positive thing I can say about this is ‘hey look, that lady has her legs spread’.

9: Sting: When We Dance

Sting was apparently still alive in the 90s. Who woulda known? I do remember this one. It was okay then and it’s okay now. Still bland and uneventful, but then it is Sting.

10: Lisa Loeb: Stay

Finally, one I actually liked at the time. What’s not to like, for younger me? A hot girl with that not-quite grunge look looking at the camera and singing sweetly. It’s not great or anything, but it does have that 90s grrl charm which bled into other artists and shows I enjoyed more.

That’s definitely a snapshot of parts of my childhood right there, and definitely a look at what was popular on these shores. It’s not a great depiction of what was actually good in 1994 though – it was genuinely an excellent year for music – so here’s my alternative playlist.

1: Alice In Chains – Nutshell

2: Green Day – Basket Case

3: Oasis – Live Forever

4: Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over

5: Portishead – Roads

6: Soundgarden – The Day I Tried To Live

7: Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

8: Tori Amos – Baker, Baker

9: Pantera – 5 Minutes Alone

10: Pink Floyd – Lost For Words

What are your favourite songs and memories of 1994? Let us know in the comments!

Chart Music Through The Years – 1964

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here –

Greetings, Glancers! We go back approximately 20 years before I was born to check out what the kids were listening to in October 1964. 1964, if you know your music history, was a seminal year. The Beatles landed in the US for the first time, TOTP was shown for the first time in The UK, Keith Moon joined The Who, The Rolling Stones released their first album, Sam Cooke, died, and a bunch of hit songs were released, some of which we’ll cover below.

Elsewhere in the world, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was published, Cuba and the US arsed about, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the first Ford Mustang was created, Nelson Mandela went to prison, and many riots and protests abounded all around the globe. It was a British invasion in most areas of culture – from music to movies to fashion and sport. I’m actually shocked that the Top 10 below doesn’t contain a single Beatles song but it does contain a mixture of new rock groups, Motown, and holdovers from the era which was on its way out. I know a few of these and as always I’ll probably recognise others once I hit play. So let’s hit play!

  1. Roy Orbison: Oh Pretty Woman

Oh right. I thought it might be this, but I never realised it was actually called ‘Oh Pretty Woman’. Isn’t it just ‘Pretty Woman’? Either way, it’s a timeless pop song. Obviously it’s routed in the 50s, but it’s basically perfect. What more could you need from a pop song – you can sing along easily, you recognize it by hearing any single second, it’s instantly catchy, and there isn’t a note out of place.

2. Herman’s Hermits: I’m Into Something Good

I bet this is the ham song, right? Denny’s ham? That’s an Irish reference which only Irish readers are going to get. It’s happy clappy anyway. Everyone knows this though, another timeless one, more flawless pop. It’s a little bit Beach Boys, what with those harmonies, but there’s something a bit more quirky to it. Apparently the scum sing this at their games. Yeah, like they have anything to sing about these days. Anyway, another good song.

3. The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go

It’s pretty woman again, with that steady clappy intro. Seriously, compare these three songs with any three songs int he charts today. No comparison right? Sure they’re a little twee and innocent, but musically, melodically, vocally these songs wipe the floor with any of today’s chart wank. Plus, you already know this song. Even if you’ve never heard it, you know it. Today’s songs won’t last. For proof of that, the chart songs of 10 years ago haven’t lasted. This shit is over 50 years old and it’s still awesome. Too short though and doesn’t have a lot of (any) variety.


Julie Rogers: The Wedding

I have no idea what this is, so I’ll assume it’s Country. Nope, doesn’t sound Country. Well, the vocals could be, musically not really. Musically this is incredibly old fashioned. There’s a slight touch of Shirley Bassey here. Ave Maria. Strings. Explosion. Yeah, I’ve never heard this. Love how the drummer is going batshit. Vocals blasting away. I’m not sure what this is, but I can’t help but enjoy it just because of the sheer power of the performances. It’s not as catchy as the ones above but the gal and her gang knock it out of the park.

5. The Four Seasons: Rag Doll

Bum bum-bum. Bum bum-bum. More Beach Boys. What movie is this in….it’s all lovely. It sounds familiar but I don’t think I’ve heard it. Those highs are just on the right side of grating. Those oohs are damn catchy. The guitars are weird, can’t really hear them in this mix. The highs are making me think of Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy – the Star Trek bit? yeah, you know.

6. The Bachelors: I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World

Jeepers, more ooh-oohs. Ha ha, even trying to sound like The Beatles vocals. For about two seconds. It’s a little bit Country. Throw in some strings and I don’t care. The lyrics are cheesy as a tramp’s toe. Instrumental. Vocal disaster for last note. Yeah, fine, it’s another decent song but a little (bit) bit too simpering and soft.

7. The Searchers: When You Walk In The Room

Should this be ‘walk into the room’. Or is this just about someone walking around in a room. Like ‘when you walk in the room you keep blocking the TV, sit the fuck down cos I’m trying to watch Jessica Jones’?  BassThere’s the guitar. I know that riff. More harmonies, more melodies. It’s another toe tapper alright. The Youtube comments on these songs are hilarious – ‘this is REAL music, not like today’s crap’. I’ve already made that point too of course. The difference is I don’t care, or don’t want to care about the age or the genre – I just want it to be good – doesn’t matter if it’s a day old or five decades – good is good. This is good. There is less good in today’s charts. But it’s okay, as there is plenty of good outside the charts.

8. The Animals: I’m Crying

Ha ha, this guy’s Youtube channel is ‘Back When Music Was Good’. What’s the point in even being alive if you believe that? Yeah, go back to the 60s with your wars, rampant unemployment, lack of rights, and no internets. Actually that sounds exactly like 2017 apart from the internets. It’s a fast paced boyo, with organ and deep vocals, and yet it isn’t The Doors. It has an edge, as you’d expect from The Animals, it’s a little bit manic, but it lacks some melody outside of the ahh ahhs. Still, another good’un.

9. The Hollies: We’re Through

Everyone loves The Hollies, right? Listen to that guitar, great stuff. A fast paced rocker like early Beatles covers, this is frantic in every sense – the vocals wobble all over the place, the guitar and bass wrestle for attention, and the drums chatter away like the teeth of a frostbitten fool. It’s isn’t their most catchy or immediate song, but still good.

10. Jim Reeves: I Won’t Forget You

Well, I knew it couldn’t last. Still, this isn’t as horrible as I was forgetting. It’s pretty bleak even with the sentiment. Pure, clean vocals. It’s very plain and easy, a little bit Country, a little bit Calypso, very slow and simple, and there’s always going to be a market for it. Not my thing, but it’s harmless.

Well, that was very good – probably the best Top Ten I’ve covered yet in this series of posts. I’m not going to bother posting an alternate Top 10, partly because I don’t know enough about the other songs released, and partly because any alternate top 10 would include some of the artists above anyway. The obvious other recommendations would be The Beatles – take your pick from I Want To Hold Your Hand, A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love – and also throw in some Beach Boys, Stones, Kinks etc. There’s something for everyone up above, except idiots, and even then some of the songs here are good enough to even interest the most staunch idiot.

Let us know in the comments which of the songs above you love, and if any other hits or otherwise from 1964 float your yacht!

Chart Music – 1992

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here –


Greetings, Glancers! It’s time for me to think of another absurdist metaphor concerning looking to the past, as we look to the past – 1992 to be precise. In 1992 I was already a bite-size metal and grunge kid, watching Headbanger’s Ball and reading Kerrang magazine. Thanks to my love for those genres, even by that point in my life I was pretty miffed at the state of UK music charts. The bands I liked never got any credit or praise from the mainstream media and the radio would play the same shite. Sometimes of of course they were forced to bow to audience pressure and play something with a rock vibe – I remember many times that certain stations would play something like Sweet Child O’Mine or Smells Like Teen Spirit, yet cut the song short before it had ended. Even when the genres were at a commercial peak, they were shafted and pushed to the side.

But what else was happening in 19 and 92? George Bush senior disgraced himself and his nation by barfing all over the place, then officially ended The Cold War, The Maastricht treaty was signed, The Bosnian War kicked off, LA had some riots, Barney The Dinosaur appeared, Denmark won Euro 92, the Olympics were held in Barcelona, and Slick Billy prepared to become President. In music, Nevermind was number 1 in the charts, Mariah Carey went unplugged, John Frusciante left the RHCP, November Rain became the most expensive music video ever, James Hetfield got burnt, and The Bodyguard became the biggest selling soundtrack ever.

  1. Tasmin Archer: Sleeping Satellite

This was everywhere in 1992, and is still one of those songs that you can’t forget once you’ve heard it. I did like it then and listening now it’s still pretty great. Those gruff vocal parts are funny… I don’t think I’ve heard another Tamsin Archer song so I’ve no idea if she was a one hit wonder. I don’t remember the wacky organ solo.

2. Boyz II Men: End Of The Road

Speaking of songs that were everywhere, this thing was at number 1 for about 12 years. I’m not sure why it was so popular – I get why it was successful – but not why it was such a monster. It’s a decent ballad, but it’s cheesy as fuck and that video is horrific – four funny looking blokes with incredible voices moping about in funny looking clothes. This is what women were into in 1992 apparently.

3. Bizarre Inc: I’m Going To Get You

From the name alone I don’t remember this so I’m going to guess it’s a one hit wonder chav mess. Aaand, with the first second I remember it. Okay, I managed the first minute, that’s all you need to hear. I mean, it is dreadful. The singing, the repetition, the music, and the theme which seems to be rape.

4. Madonna: Erotica

We’ve covered this on the blog before.

5. Bon Jovi: Keep The Faith

We’ve covered this on the blog before.

6. Doctor Spin: Tetris

Now we get into the really bad shit. This wanky dance music was seriously popular at the time and if today’s charts are anything to go by, wanky dance music won the race. It’s basically the main Tetris theme tune with some weird voice in the background and other Nintendo noises zooming around. Just think for a second – someone actually made this, and enough people bought it that it reached the Top 10 in the UK charts.

7. Dr Alban: It’s My Life

The second medical practitioner turned shit music maker in our top ten this year. This one at least is less repetitive and has a weird, creepy, industrial vibe. I don’t think that was intentional. The overlapping beats are actually cool and this one has held up much better. Only the vocals really date it.

8. The Shaman: Ebeneezer Goode

Congrats, it’s another one that I refuse to link to because it’s an absolute abomination. One of undisputed worst songs of all time.

9. Take That: A Million Love Songs

And this is one of Take That’s less annoying songs.

10. Arrested Development: People Everyday

I’ve no idea what this is, so I’d better give it a listen. I don’t think I’ve heard this before, but I could be mistaken. It sounds so generic that any of these type of songs from this period all sound similar to me. It is quite annoying, all the call, response stuff, and weird backing vocals stuff, plus the kind of rap which was successful in the UK at this time was so tame.

So, a mixture of dreadful and bearable. 1992 saw plenty of major, genuinely good releases – Generation Terrorists, Vulgar Display Of Power, Little Earthquakes, Somewhere Far Beyond, Countdown To Extinction, Dirt, Tourism, Automatic For The People etc. For a much more invigorating and lovely list of songs from 1992, have a gander at these boys.

  1. Alice In Chains – Nutshell
  2. Del Amitri – Always The Last To Know
  3. Manic Street Preachers – Condemned To Rock And Roll
  4. Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
  5. 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up
  6. Nirvana – Aneurysm
  7. Dr Dre – Fuck Wit Dre Day
  8. Mr Big – To Be With You
  9. Richard Marx – Hazard
  10. Shakespears Sister – Stay

Feel free to share your memories, musical or otherwise, of 1992 in the comments below!


Chart Music – 2011

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here –

Greetings, Glancers! Once more we torture ourselves by listening to what passes for music in the hearts, minds, and ears of the great unwashed. Today we go back to a year you should all remember well, because it was only five years ago. In 2011 the world was still in the grip of talentless shows, celeb shows – basically not too different from today in that almost every form of popular media which receives any sort of exposure was glossy, bland, and sexualised to the point that we all wished we could be celibate. I mean, just look at the top 10 below, just look. You don’t need to listen at all, I… I wouldn’t do that to you. But what else was happening? The Arab Spring, the March 11th Tsunami, Occupy Wall Street, William and Kate’s Wedding – all horrific events, so it was no wonder everyone was excited when we found evidence of water on Mars; it’s time to get off this rock! Oh yeah, Bin Laden was killed too.

In the music world, Amy Winehouse, Bert Jansch, Gary Moore, Mike Starr and others died. Adele released her horrible second album, a bunch of people you’ve already forgotten won Brit Awards, Lady Gaga did something, Jeff Hanneman was almost killed by a spider, and Nightwish released both a new album and a tie in movie. Help me out here… did anything else happen? No? Okay then, lets get through this as quickly as possible.

1: Rihanna: We Found Love

I don’t think I’ve actually heard this entire song before, but I know the chorus as it is played EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME. It’s a pity Rihanna screeches so badly out of her nose because some of her songs are okay. Terrible speaking. Isn’t this the one where the video was filmed 10 minutes from my parent’s house? So the verse is pretty much the same as the chorus, but with different words. Meh.

2: Maroon 5: Moves Like Jagger.

An absolute travesty. Like injecting shards of glass into your eyeballs and having a badger pull them out. I ain’t linking this.

3: Gym Class Heroes: Stereo Hearts.

I don’t know what this is. High pitched accent disaster. Words. It’s pretty tame. It’s pretty crap. I can imagine plenty singing along to it. Possibly swaying their arms. NEXT!

4: Christina Perri: Jar Of Hearts.

I don’t know who this is. Talky sing. Yes, I’ve heard the chorus. Doesn’t it rip off that Beyonce Halo song? It feels emotional. The bridge isn’t great. PRAMISAYIZ? Promises? Halo-eeo-ooh!

5: LMFAO: Sexy And I Know It.

See number 2. But with a rabid tramp replacing the badger.

6: Matt Cardle: Run For Your Life.

Remember him? Poor Matt. A winner cursed by a win. I’ve never heard this. The verse at least tries something unusual with it’s stoppy, starty beat, but the chorus then turns to X Factor white bread shite.

7: Charlene Soraia: Wherever You Will Go.

Who? Never heard of you. Can’t hear the music. Oh right, I think I’ve head this. Yeah, another one which is used annoyingly on TV ads. Not much to it. Verses too faint, chorus too overplayed. NEXT!

8: Sak Noel: Loca People.

Who? Never heard of ye. Oh here we go. Terrible. NEXT!

9: Ed Sheeran: The A Team.

Another one from this ginger twat. Sullying the good name of the A Team. You’re not Damien Rice. You’re not even chicken curry. That fecking accent. NEXT!

10: One Direction: What Makes You Beautiful


What a mess. Cleanse yourself with these messages from our alternate sponsor:

  1. Nightwish: Rest Calm
  2. Mastodon: Creature Lives
  3. Opeth: Marrow Of The Earth
  4. Alice Cooper: I Am Made Of You
  5. The Music: So Low (yes yes, originally released much earlier)

That’s about it really. We did also get albums from Kate Bush, Radiohead, Chili Peppers, and many more, but I’m just not as familiar with them to pick something great, and without resorting to the bands above I can’t choose anything else. Let me know what else was good in 2011 – there must have been something!?

Chart Music Through The Years – 1984

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here –


Behold, in 1984 we finally landed in the future. Big Brother was watching us, flying cars were flying us to our various space-age android sex factories, and other Orwellian words were flapping around like the head of a stoned giraffe. In 1984, I was a mere mewling babe, soiling my trousers and putting bowls of beans on my head while mum and dad took photos and emitted bizarre cackling gurgles – I don’t really know as I can’t remember. Outside of my pram, the first Apple Mac was released, Tommy Cooper laughed his last (laugh), AIDS was ‘discovered’, GCSEs replaced O-Levels, Reagan was re-elected, and the world learned of the terrible famine in Ethiopia. In the music world, Band Aid unleashed Do They Know It’s ChristmasRelax was banned from airwaves and went straight to Number 1, Alice Cooper took a break, Marvin Gaye was murdered, unborn meme fans rejoiced as Lionel Richie sang Hello, Iron Maiden headed behind the Iron Curtain, Tipper Gore got all in a flap and went on a moral rampage, and Bruce Springsteen reminded Americans what it was like to be American. A year of turmoil and unrest then, so you would expect the music to reflect the atmosphere of fear and paranoia – lets find out!

1. Stevie Wonder: I Just Called To Say I Love You

I know this song gets a lot of stick from people, especially hardcore Stevie Wonder fans. I still haven’t actually listened to a full Stevie Wonder album at the time of writing, and I only know his big hits. This is one of those big hits, and as cheesy as it may be, I love it. It has all the hallmarks of an 80s disaster – synth, flat papery beats, but it has Stevie’s voice, twinkling pianos, hilarious bass, ghostly whistle synth sounds, and an immortal chorus… all together now! I just called.. to say…. I love you! Take out the 80s crap and the melody remains true, focus it more towards a minor key and it becomes a different beast entirely.

2. Culture Club: War Song

I pity the fool who doesn’t get this reference. I forgot this song ever existed. The lyrics are hilariously bad, yet the the chorus is strangely catchy. Rhyming ‘stupid’ with ‘stupid’? We get a section of war chanting and Dark Side wailing followed by a strange bridge with marching drums which suddenly breaks away into that juicy, sunny Culture Club sound. An odd one, I’m surprised this got so far up the charts.

3. Wham: Freedom

Chinese stuff. Talking. More talking. Too much talking. Outrageous screech. Do do do doooo. Singing and clanging guitar and clanging something. Aaaand finally the chorus, which of course we all know. Verse melodies okay. Not much else, pretty funny stuff, I wonder what China made of it. There’s a happy lightness and joy to the song which feels real and infectious so I can’t criticize it for that. Unnecessarily long.

4. Ray Parker Jr : Ghostbusters

A movie soundtrack classic, though this one does go on a fair bit too. I don’t think you need me to talk about this one right? Who ya gonna call? I have always loved the weird, eerie build up to the famous intro though, so I’ll mention that at least.

5. The Cars: Drive

So many 80s sounds in one list. I was always a bit partial to this one, but I never went out of my way to find or listen to it. It sounds very sad and moody and atmospheric and even though it is drenched in 80s, it doesn’t sound dated or cheesy. Emotion people – add it to you music and watch it live forever.

6. Paul McCartney: No More Lonely Nights

I actually have most, or a lot of McCartney’s non-Beatles stuff, but haven’t listened to it yet. I think I was put off by listening to a lot of Lennon’s and not liking it – mostly I know Paul’s major solo and Wings hits, but looking at the title of this one I didn’t recognise it. Listening now I don’t recognise the verse. It’s pretty bland stuff. The chorus doesn’t do a lot either, but throws in some sudden guitar blasts. It goes on and on a bit too, a lot of songs here being longer than they need to be – and I love long songs!

7. Bronski Beat: Why

Terrible screech. And, even worse 80s noises. Know amount of emotion would stop this from being dated and cheesy. I’ve no idea what the song is about, but it sounds important from the snippets of lyrics I can make out on first listen. Trumpets and other assorted drippy droppy sounds. I think we can do without ever hearing this again.

8. U2: Pride

I’ve never been much of a U2 fan, a lot of that was probably to do with my upbringing and by the time I could have made my own choices I already thought Bono was a knob. Having said that, there are plenty of U2 songs that I do like. I’m not sure if I’ve heard this in its entirety before (probably have). As with a lot of U2 songs from this period this has the same jangling guitar by Edge and the stadium chorus. It’s actually a fairly plain and simple song, made stronger by Bono’s vocals.

9. Giorgio Morodor and Philip Oakey: Together In Electric Dreams

Another one which is on endless rotation on the radio stations my wife listens to. It’s another with dreadfully dated synth and that bland, deep male vocal from a million other 80s one hit wonders. Having said that, it does of course have a great chorus so I won’t take that away.

10. Prince: Purple Rain

So, since writing this post originally in Feb 2016, Prince has sadly passed away. Yet another legend traversing through space and light and time to pop out on the other side with all the other souls which have escaped their earthly bodies. Or some such. Truth be told, I’ve never been much of a Prince fan. The few songs of his that I’ve heard never really did a lot for me. But I must emphasis the few, as I’m aware Prince released nearly 40 albums, which is ludicrous. Hopefully a few of those appear in Colin Larkin’s Top 1000 Albums and I’ll finally be able to listen to them. Anyway, I’ve rewritten this song entry just to say that this song didn’t have much of an impact on me, but it does feel more poignant now. Still, the drums, the vocals, the production all irritate me and the melodies don’t do much for me. I must be some sort of monster. Good guitar though.

There you have it folks, 1984. But these songs only tell a little of the story. Elsewhere we had albums such as Defenders Of The Faith, self-titled efforts by The Smiths and Run DMC, Psalm 9, Born In The USA, All Over The Place, Ride The Lightning, Powerslave, Reckless, Like A Virgin, and many more. It was a seminal year for many genres. Have a gander and these 10 alternative songs from 1984 – your ears will thank me.

  1. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – yes yes, from her 1983 album, but released as a single this year
  2. The Smiths – This Charming Man
  3. Weird Al Yankovich – Eat It
  4. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA
  5. Metallica – Creeping Death
  6. Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes To Midnight
  7. Van Halen – Jump (I know, I know)
  8. Madonna – Like A Virgin
  9. Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69
  10. Joe Esposito – You’re The Best

Let us know what you were listening to in 1984, and which songs and/or albums from that hallowed year you still put on these days.

Chart Music Through The Years – 1990

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here –


1990 was a big year in world events, from a political and historical standpoint, with the  beginnings of The Gulf War, the collapse of Yugoslavia, the pseudo birth of the Internet, the release of Mandela, and the resignation of Thatcher all making headlines. On a happier and lighter note, McDonalds opened its first restaurants in China and Moscow, Mr Bean made his first TV appearance, The Nintendo World Championship took place, The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania’s Main Event, West Germany won the World Cup while Chris Waddle skyed his penalty, and Kevin McCallister was left Home Alone while the rest of us asked who killed Laura PalmerI was in my middle years in Primary School and just getting into metal music thanks to the likes of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Alice Cooper, and Bryan Adams and beginning to look for heavier stuff, while gorging myself on Bruce Lee, Arnie, and assorted action movies. My little sister was born meaning me and my older brother became a trio.

In the music world, Hair Metal and 80s metal in general was still successful but was on the decline thanks mostly to burnout of listeners and performers (though there were still a few seminal metal releases), Madchester continued to rise in the UK bringing with it a heady mixture of decent and atrocious music, Milli Vanilli admitted to lip syncing, Madonna continued to court controversy with apparently explicit videos and performances, and Roger Waters performed The Wall in Berlin. The list below contains a few of my most disliked songs – songs which I despised at the time and have shuddered in disgust at the very thought of them since. I suspect I’ll have heard them all but there are a few I’m not sure about just by reading the artist and song name, but as always we will soon find out.

  1. The Beautiful South: A Little Time
The Annoying Twats

We start off badly with a song I detested then, but thankfully haven’t heard in a long time. Because I love you all so much though, I’ve decided to give it a new listen with my 2016 era ears and brains. Oh horrendously plain and twee vocals. Yes yes, I know the lyrics are about a breakdown so it isn’t as happy as it sounds, but man those vocals are just terrible. Of course it’s catchy enough to sink its claws in, but the music – those clicky drums, the simpering horns, and the vocals somehow get worse as the songs finally gets to the end.

2. Maria Mckee: Show Me Heaven

Nascar and Ballads

Speaking of vocals, I remember this one having a powerfully sung but screechy chorus. The verses are quite whispery and deep, not quite sultry but something along those lines. it has all the hallmarks of an 80s Power Ballad but with the synth replaced by an organ. As far as I know this was a one hit wonder (let me know if I’m wrong in the comments) but as with many of its ilk I mostly like it. It certainly has a blasting, memorable chorus but I don’t get much emotion off it and it lacks the atmosphere I usually enjoy in these songs.

3. The Righteous Brothers: Unchained Melody

Shep, come by! Come by, Shep!

I don’t need to hear this one again to know that I still hate it. One of the most covered, most overrated songs of all time, everything about this insipid, festering dump is wretched. If you think I love you that much to listen to it by choice again, then I hate you.

4. Status Quo: The Anniversay Waltz

The Abomination

It appears that this one was in two parts, with the combined running time over 10 minutes, so here we go. Hmm, so it’s actually just a medley of existing rock and roll songs, starting off with ‘Rock And Roll Music’. Fine, I’ve heard these songs a million times so Status Quo won’t add much to it. An essentially pointless endeavour.

5. Happy Mondays: Kinky Afro

Music For Tramps, By Tramps

I was never into the Madchester scene when it was popular, as I found most of the music boring, dull, and dumb. It took me until my later teenage years to reevaluate it thanks largely to many friends being fans and influenced by it. I still don’t get much from it and I think it came from a pretty crappy place and influenced more crappy bands than good, but I do like some stuff. Kinky Afro and a few other Happy Mondays songs were always played in the clubs or house party’s I frequented in my younger days so I had to get used to them – I don’t love or hate them, they’re just there in the background sending others into a frenzy while I watch in a state of drunken bemusement. Oh yeah, I hated the hair, the style, the vocals, the ridiculous videos of most of this stuff back then, and they aren’t much better now. Still, it’s a decent song, even if I do still find it dull, boring, and dumb.

6. Bobby Venton: Blue Velvet

Baby Wants To Fuck

Well, there can be only one reason for this being in the charts in 1990, although given that Lynch’s movie was released a few years earlier this all seems bizarre. It’s your typical wavering, dreamy 50s ballad evoking images of cadillacs, skirts, burger joints and kids cruising. Very strange that it’s here, but the 1990 re-release was probably the first time I heard the song.

7. Whitney Houston: I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Blue Velvet?

This starts out with horrendous 1980s sounds, feeble beats, and trumping trumpet bleats. It’s one of those songs that sounds dated on the day it’s released, but luckily Houston’s voice and a catchy chorus save it from being instantly forgettable. It has an ineffectual bridge and an overlong ending meaning the final product is over four minutes long instead of the two it should be.

8. Berlin: Take My Breath Away

Jets and Ballads

Another song that has no business being in the charts in 1990. It’s one of the best and most instantly recognizable power ballads ever written, it suits Top Gun perfectly, and it ranks up there with one of the most memorable movie songs. I’m sure anyone reading this will know the song, will know its ‘dun dun dun dun dun -bum bum. bum bum’ riff and the vocals in the chorus which bum bum along, and the sultry verses with images of sun tanned chests vollyballing and jets and parachutes and danger zones.

9. Technotronic: Megamix

Worse Than Hitler

I knew at an early age that the world was broken. I knew at an early age that this was an abomination.Time has not been kind to this junk, although strangely I don’t mind it as much now. It’s still a dreadful collection of noises and laughable rapping that appeals mainly to the mindless, but it’s better than a lot of what came from it afterwards. And it just keeps going, doesn’t it? It’s hilarious how edgy and cool people thought this was at the time, and how iconic it is claimed to be now; it was shit then, and it’s shit now, as were you and as you are.

10. Londonbeat: I’ve Been Thinking About You

A’right, bruv

Right before I clicked play on this I couldn’t remember, but then it suddenly popped back into my head. So now I recall the song before hitting play. I remember thinking it was okay, it was tolerable and with a chorus you could hum along to. Hitting play now. Yes, I was right. The singer sounds like your doll from M People, even though she is a she and this is a he. Pretty funky, yes it’s dated but it’s the sort of song where the dated beats could easily be stripped away and updated to sound more modern and the song wouldn’t lose anything in the transition. There’s something a little bit dark, a little bit rock influenced about it too. Still, it does suffer from being too long at almost 5 minutes. There’s probably been a dozen remakes and remixes of this already, but I imagine it would sound great in a club with a thumping bass backing.

There you have it, the cream of the crop from the first year of the final decade of the last millennium. What can these songs teach the folks of today about the music of the time? Primarily it seems that big breathy ballads were doing battle with a new wave of dance music, and that seems like a respectable way to view much of 90s chart music – while grunge and britpop would have their moments and boy and girl groups would abound later, many of the early years of the nineties saw ballad after ballad as movie soundtracks topped the charts, and rave and underground dance culture swirled and became more palatable EDM and RNB junk. When looking at the biggest selling songs of 1990 we have two ballads – Nothing Compares 2U, It Must Have Been Love, and three dance and rap influenced pieces – You Can’t Touch This, Vogue, Ice Ice Baby. But 1990 also saw the release of Depeche Mode’s Violator, Public Enemy’s Fear Of A Black Planet, Bruce Dickinson’s Tattooed Millionaire, Sonic Youth’s Goo, Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell, and many more. So finally, here is a selection of ten songs which I feel better reflect the quality of music released in 1990. Enjoy!

  1. Megadeth: Hanger 18
  2. Angelo Badalamenti: Laura Palmer’s Theme
  3. Alice In Chains: Bleed The Freak
  4. Slayer: Dead Skin Mask
  5. Public Enemy: 911 Is A Joke
  6. Mother Love Bone: Man Of Golden Words
  7. Pantera: Cowboys From Hell
  8. Jon Bon Jovi: Blaze Of Glory
  9. LL Cool J: To Da Break Of Dawn
  10. Cher: The Shoop Shoop Song (for your movie soundtrack needs)

What songs have I missed from 1990? What do you make of the songs in both or either lists? What was a younger you getting up to back then? Let us know in the comments!