It tickled me so I blogged it. A couple of weeks ago that post started getting anonymous comments from an irate Simple Fucking Minds fan. I deleted the ones that were just insults and responded to the ones that weren't. My favourite bit was where they suggested I hate Simple Fucking Minds because I don't like the 80s.
Because what else could explain a dislike of Simple Fucking Minds, clearly the acme of human activity in that decade?
Saying 'you don't like the 80s' to the webmaster of strawberryswitchblade.net! Is there a more 80s band?
A quick shufty at my MP3 blog Dust On The Stylus shows that a clear majority of tracks featured are from the 80s (though admittedly the Paul Sodding Young and Deacon Fucking Blue ones were just for curiosity value).
Anyway, the good and bad of 80s pop has surfaced over at The Quiet Road, where Jim has given laudable and detailed reasons for his refusal to participate in the Graduation Singles blog meme.
I however, shall dive in with aplomb.
You get the top 50 for the year you graduated from high school. This website can help you with that. Highlight the list as follows: Italicise those you like, bold those you own, strike out those you hate, mark in red those you liked then but cringe at now.
I left the education system as soon as criminal law would allow me to, summer 1985. The UK Top 50 of that year was:
INTO THE GROOVE Madonna
19 Paul Hardcastle
DANCING IN THE STREET David Bowie & Mick Jagger
MOVE CLOSER Phyllis Nelson
A GOOD HEART Feargal Sharkey
TAKE ON ME a-ha
LOVE & PRIDE King
AXEL F Harold Faltermeyer
DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? Band Aid
CRAZY FOR YOU Madonna
SAVING ALL MY LOVE FOR YOU Whitney Houston
YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD) Dead Or Alive
THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (PLAYING WITH MY HEART) The Eurythmics
I'M YOUR MAN Wham!
EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD Tears For Fears
IF I WAS Midge Ure
NIKITA Elton John
DANCING IN THE DARK Bruce Springsteen
1999 c/w LITTLE RED CORVETTE Prince
HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO Bonnie Tyler
LAST CHRISTMAS Wham!
A VIEW TO A KILL Duran Duran
LEAN ON ME (AH-LI-AYO) Red Box
PART-TIME LOVER Stevie Wonder
MONEY FOR NOTHING Dire Straits
DON'T BREAK MY HEART UB40
NIGHTSHIFT The Commodores
THAT OLE DEVIL CALLED LOVE Alison Moyet
WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO (THUNDERDOME) Tina Turner
SEE THE DAY Dee C. Lee
KISS ME Stephen 'Tintin' Duffy
I FEEL LOVE (MEDLEY) Bronski Beat & Marc Almond
WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME Frankie Goes To Hollywood
SUDDENLY Billy Ocean
SHOUT Tears For Fears
Kinnell, how many bits of forgettable mediocrity by people who've made great records - Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores. Even Billy Ocean made a couple of corkers in his day (Love Really Hurts Without You and Red Light Spells Danger, two worthy late 70s throwbacks to Northern Soul)
I fuckin hated Wham at the time. Me and Melanie Griffiths used to have these furtive meetings at the back of the art classrooms, like some spy-swap at a remote bridge on the border between East and West Germany or summat. She'd give me Paul Weller clippings from the girls mags she got, I'd slip her the Wham ones from the proper music mags I was reading.
But anyway, as I got out of teenage angst and into unabashed pop fervour, I really got to like a lot of Wham stuff. That Fantastic era, Bad Boys, Young Guns and especially the hilarious pro-dole Wham Rap are great, young exuberant records taking the Chic blueprint and giving it a vibrant tight white English approach. What a shame George Michael started taking himself so fucking seriously. Who'd have said, 'yeah, Wham are alright now but it'll all go wrong when Andrew Ridgeley leaves'?
There's a clause in the constitution of bands that says once you have over a certain level of pop in you, you have to do a Motown pastiche. Be it Billy Joel's Tell Her About It, The Jam's Town Called Malice or Spice Girls' Stop, they all have to do it. And they're almost always a load of cobblers. Wham's Freedom is one of those rare beasts that genuinely stands alongside the Motown catalogue with its head held high. But the two Wham singles listed here, I'm Your Man and Last Christmas, really aren't up to much, so a misleading lack of Wham-positive from me in the list.
Conversely, the UB40 ownership thing does not denote any leanings to a general liking of their saccharine glossy shite. Their first album, Signing Off, is proper late 70s British reggae but then it all went Pete Tong, especially after Labour of Love showed a huge market for lightweight offensively inoffensive syrupy cover versions. Don't Break My Heart though, along with Please Don't Make Me Cry, have some real haunting, humid understatement.
Shakin Stevens. Utterly inexplicable to anyone who wasn't there. And even to those who were.
Elton John, still in his getting married and not gay honest guv period. Nikita is a love song across the Iron Curtain, with a video showing a striking Soviet female as the object of the song. Except that Nikita is a bloke's name.
In other gay observations, on paper I Feel Love by Bronski Beat & Marc Almond has got to be the gayest record ever made. In actuality, it doesn't come anywhere near Male Stripper by Man2Man Meets Man Parrish.
A line in Cherish perplexes me to this day: 'I often pray before I lay down by your side, if you receive your calling before I awake could I make it through the night?'
Is that a fear of waking up next to a corpse? And he often prays about it? Kind of morbid don't you think? Would you want to get into bed with someone who was consciously contemplating your imminent death right there beside them?
Maybe it's not death, maybe it's 'calling' in the sense of a religious or other vocation. Or maybe it's a need to use the toilet. But whatever, by the time he awakes, surely he has made it through the night.
If I Was also has a confusing line. The lyric is a hoary old trick of saying 'if I was in some way different then I'd do be able to do some impressive demonstration of affection for the person I love', in the style of I Can't Give You Anything But My Love by the Stylistics or Elton John's Your Song, the latter of which has the most ridiculous line in any song I've ever heard; 'if I were a sculptor, heh, but then again, no'.
Anyway, the opening line of Midge's chorus declares 'if I was a soldier, captured arms I'd lay before her'. Am I alone in feeling that a bloke dumping half a dozen scuffed Kalashnikovs at my feet wouldn't make me want to shag him? Then again, maybe that's why Midge has never tried it on with me. We're just incompatible.
The Crowd's You'll Never Walk Alone was yet another fucking charity record. In the wake of the seismic impact of Band Aid, every time any disaster happened there was an atrocious charity record, like Let It Be for the Zeebrugge ferry. You'll Never Walk Alone was for the Bradford football fire. If memory serves, it featured Rolf Harris, some Nolans and Lemmy. Really.
Whilst these days we talk of the obscene waste of oil in driving 4x4s or flying apples in from New Zealand, we somehow ignore the huge quantities of oil wasted in making vinyl upon which was pressed millions of copies of Tarzan Boy.
Future generations will have pictures of Baltimora in his loin cloth painted up the sides of high buildings in public places. He will be the emblem of all that was wrong with our culture and why - let alone as part of a wider wastage, arguably on his own - it justified their bloody cultural revolution that massacred us all.