Welcome back to the Top 40 Countdown! If you missed the previous posts, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31, and 30-21. Once again, this has been a great week of discovering music, for me. Today is another great mix of songs. So, let’s Return to the week ending January 12, 1985, and move on with the countdown.
This is a cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s popular song from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. It has been covered many times, including this version, from Bronski Beat’s debut album, which reached up to #16 on this chart.
Sal Solo had been the lead vocalist of Classix Nouveaux, as part of the New Romantic movement. He embraced the Roman Catholic faith after a pilgrimage to San Damiano, a small village in Italy near Piacenza. He began a solo career, scoring a hit with this song, which would peak at #15. After 1987, Solo stopped recording music commercially, and became active in youth ministry in the Catholic Church in the UK.
Here is the song from Chess that I did know about already, and love! Murray Head raps the verses and the chorus is sung by Anders Glenmark, a Swedish singer, songwriter and producer. For fans of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, Murray Head is the brother of Anthony Stewart Head, who played Giles.
Smiley Culture was a reggae rapper. We did not hear this style music in the U.S. at this point. This was the supposedly autobiographical tale of how Smiley Culture was arrested for the possession of cannabis, but then let off in return for an autograph when the policeman recognized him as a famous reggae artist. In a cruel twist of irony, Smiley Culture died at the age of 48 in 2011 during a police raid on his home.
This was the first song released from the album Here’s to Future Days. It peaked right here at #13 in the U.K., and reached #14 on the U.S. charts. This song and “King for a Day” are my favorite songs by The Thompson Twins. And both songs are from the same album.
Great song from the Emergency album! I owned the cassette, and the whole first side is flawless, in my opinion. I love the funky R&B sound of this song. It peaked at #11 here, and cracked the Top 10 in the U.S., peaking at #9 there.
My long-time readers and podcast listeners know of my love of rap, and how I loved to break out the cardboard and boom box, throw on my parachute pants, and throw down some break dance moves. Well, this is right in my wheelhouse! I love how the Chaka Khan/I Feel For You rap got mixed in here too.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. I think this is the best list so far! Come back Friday as we see what the Top 10 songs were this week in the U.K. in 1985.
I struggled with including this song because it only reached #46 on the AT 40, but it was #88 on VH1’S top 100 One Hit Wonders list – and I am being a little selfish because I love this song. Oh, and one more reason – there is a cover of this song on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack by the Danny Hutton Hitters and I have been listening to this album a lot lately, so I though the original One Hit Wonder would be a good choice. Growing up in Germany, I heard this song many, many times as it was a major hit in nearly every European country. I bought this album, Human Racing, and his next, The Riddle, but I have not kept up on any of his music after this. The music has that typical new wave ‘80s sound full of synthesizers and an occasional guitar riff. The speaker in the song is falling into that place we all tend to go sometimes – my life is hard, I wish I could have yours. The chorus get this idea across very clearly: Wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes
Even if it was for just one day
Wouldn’t it be good wish ourselves away
Wouldn’t it be good to be on your side
The grass is always greener over there
Wouldn’t it be good if we could live with a care
Nice idea, but I am not sure it is possible. If you do not know much about Kershaw, I would recommend his first two albums; they are a bit different than most American music, but clearly and firmly grounded in the ’80s.