Friday, June 12, 2015

80s Acronyms

80s Language

During the 80s people loved to throw acronyms around. It can make the eighties language a little confusing for the uninitiated! If you grew up in the 80s, however it can be fun to look back and remember what they were.

If I've missed out any that you used to use, please let me know towards the end of the page.


Yuppies was probably the most used acronym during the 80s and I was always under the impression that it stood for Young Upwardly mobile Professional, however it appears that the meaning could change depending on where you lived! In the States it apparently stood for Young Urban Professional.

Basically, if you were young and doing well for yourself in the city then you were a yuppie. Where the term Yuppie originated is quite a controversial area, some claim that there were mentions of yuppies during the 60s, although it's generally part of 80s pop culture.

Yuppies were the first generation to use mobile phones, although the phones they had then were more like bricks!

The Yuppie Handbook

The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals

Published in 1984 The Yuppie Handbook is quite fun to read now. The 80s animal kingdom of Western corporations in all of it's glory and how to succeed in it.


Yuppie-dom has spawned many other alternative acronyms for people including:-
Poupies - Porsche Owning Urban Professionals
Guppies - Greenpeace Yuppies (this is the 80s version, these days it is used to mean Gay Urban Professionals)
Buppies - I must admit I had never heard this acronym used during the 80s, but I'm assured it was and it means Black Urban Professionals.
Swell - Single Woman Earning Lots of Loot ie Miss Yuppie

Are You Single?

Acronyms were also used to denote your family situation:-

Sinkies - Single Income No Kids
Dinkies - Dual Income No Kids
Yummies - Young Urban Mothers


Bobos were often seen in the city where the young professionals worked hard and played even harder.

Bobo - Burnt out but Opulent.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was first heard of in the 1980s and before it was given a medical term people referred to it as Yuppie Flu. Some people thought it was sheer laziness and others thought it was merely burnout.

The Bobo Mug


What about the Oldies?

Yes, the 80s even had acronyms for their elders. These were the older generation that would put the "We're Off Spending Our Children's Inheritance" bumper stickers on their brand new cars!

Woopie - Well Off Older People
Jollies - Jet Setting Oldsters with Lots of Loot

Have I Missed Any Acronyms?

Please list any here that I have missed, I havent' included WASP or JAP because I thought they were being used before the 80s, feel free to correct me below.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Best Selling Albums of the 80s

80s Hit Albums

Great 80s albums
Some of my 80s Albums
I absolutely love 80s music and have enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane as I compile this page for you that features the top 10 best selling albums of the 80s in the UK.

I actually own a few of these albums and a couple of them have remained on my must buy list - Phil Collins, No Jacket Required was an album I kept meaning to buy and still don't have although I do play his greatest hits regularly.

The only album that really surprised me was Kylie as I hadn't realized just how many albums she had sold during the 80s - I remember when she first hit the charts and a couple of my friends and I were sure she'd be a one hit wonder!!

Anyway take your time and enjoy your nostalgic trip to the decade where music was music and we all rocked!

Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

Brothers in Arms
The number one best selling album of the eighties in the UK was Dire Straits and their classic - Brothers in Arms. This album is a must have album for any eighties music lover featuring the fantastic hits such as Money for Nothing and Walk of Life among others.

Brothers in Arms was the fifth album for Dire Straits and was actually the first album to sell one million copies in the CD format and to also outsell it's LP other words we could blame this album for the demise of vinyl!!!

Brothers in Arms

Track Listing
  1. So Far Away (Album Version) 5:12
  2. Money For Nothing (Album Version) 8:26
  3. Walk Of Life (Album Version) 4:12
  4. Your Latest Trick (Album Version) 6:33
  5. Why Worry (Album Version) 8:31
  6. Ride Across The River (Album Version) 6:57
  7. The Man's Too Strong (Album Version) 4:40
  8. One World (Album Version) 3:40
  9. Brothers In Arms (Album Version)
Not only was Brothers in Arms the best selling album of the 80s as of April 2008 it was 5th on the list of best-selling albums of all time in the UK.

Bad - Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was the 80s King of Pop so it is hardly surprising that he should hold the number 2 and number 3 spot in the best selling albums of the 80s. I was actually surprised that Bad beat Thriller to the number 2 spot as I would've thought that Thriller was HIS album of the 80s.

The majority of the tracks on Michael Jackson's Bad album were actually written by Michael himself. The songs have also aged well with Alien Ant Farm introducing the single Smooth Criminal to a new generation.

Quincy Jones, who produced the album, said that they wanted a tough album and I think that they managed it.


Track Listing
  1. Bad
  2. The Way You Make Me Feel
  3. Speed Demon
  4. Liberian Girl
  5. Just Good Friends - Michael Jackson, Britten, Terry
  6. Another Part of Me
  7. Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson, Garrett, Siedah
  8. I Just Can't Stop Loving You
  9. Dirty Diana
  10. Smooth Criminal
  11. Leave Me Alone
  12. Streetwalker
  13. Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu (I Just Can't Stop Loving You) - Michael Jackson, Blades, Ruben
  14. Fly Away

Thriller - Michael Jackson

Thriller, 25th Anniversary Edition
To me Thriller is a must have album of the 80s, whatever you think of Michael Jackson these days in the 80s he ruled! Thriller was an amazing album and really catered to the MTV crowd who doesn't remember the Thriller video?

Most people who lived through the 80s would know all of the singles from this album. Not only was Thriller the 3rd best selling album of the 80s in the UK it also swept away with 8 Grammys.

This 25th anniversary edition of Thriller contains bonus tracks that weren't on the original album - I've included this version because I think if you're missing this album from your collection then the extra tracks really do showcase how timeless MJ's music really is.

Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition

Track Listing
  1. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
  2. Baby Be Mine
  3. The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney)
  4. Thriller
  5. Beat It
  6. Billie Jean
  7. Human Nature
  8. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
  9. The Lady In My Life
  10. Vincent Price (bonus track)
  11. The Girl Is Mine 2008 with ( Previously Unreleased Track For 25th Anniversary Edition )
  12. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008 with Michael Jackson and ( Previously Unreleased Track For 25th Anniversary Edition )
  13. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 with Michael Jackson, Akon and Previously Unreleased Track For 25th Anniversary Edition )
  14. Beat It 2008 with Fergie( Previously Unreleased Track For 25th Anniversary Edition )
  15. Billie Jean 2008 with Kanye West ( Previously Unreleased Track For 25th Anniversary Edition )
  16. For All Time (unreleased track from original Thriller sessions) ( Previously Unreleased Track For 25th Anniversary Edition )

Greatest Hits - Queen

Queen - Greatest Hits
Queen were a British rock group that was formed in 1970, in 1981 they released their first compilation album which was called Greatest Hits. As well as being the fourth best selling album of the 80s in the UK it is also the best selling album of all time in the UK.

This absolutely classic album that any rock fan should embrace includes the hits Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, Another One Bites the Dust and Killer Queen.

Queen - Greatest Hits Vol 1/UK Version

Track Listing
  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Another One Bites The Dust
  3. Killer Queen
  4. Fat Bottomed Girls
  5. Bicycle Race
  6. You're My Best Friend
  7. Play The Game
  8. Flash
  9. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  10. We Will Rock You
  11. We Are The Champions
  12. Don't Stop Me Now
  13. Save Me
  14. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  15. Somebody To Love
  16. Now I'm Here
  17. Good Old-Fashoned Lover Boy

Kylie - Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue came to prominence in the UK with her role as Charlene on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. Kylie and co-star Jason Donovan both decided to try their luck in the UK and pursued singing careers.

Kylie joined the Stock. Aitken & Waterman stables and produced hit singles such as I Should Be So Lucky and Loco-Motion both of which are on this, her debut album. The album, self-titled Kylie recieved mixed reviews as it was very cutesy and was a classic case of people buying it because they loved Kylie Minogue as opposed to enjoying the music.

I find it hard to believe that this was the fifth biggest selling album of the 80s in the UK.......I blame one of my friend's brothers for this as he was a Kylie fanatic!


Track Listing
  1. I Should Be So Lucky
  2. Loco-Motion
  3. Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi
  4. It's No Secret
  5. Got to Be Certain
  6. Turn It into Love
  7. I Miss You
  8. I'll Still Be Loving You
  9. Look My Way
  10. Love at First Sight

Whitney - Whitney Houston

It is hardly surprising that Whitney Houston should take out the 6th best selling album of the 80s as her debut album - Whitney became the biggest selling debut album of all time for a solo artist.

Her fantastic voice helped her to make a hugely successful cross over from Gospel to pop and even today people the world over attempt to sing Saving All My Love For You on the reality hit show Idol.

I had both of Whitney's first two albums - Whitney & Whitney Houston and I have to say my favorite was the second one, but this first one sold more during the 80s in the UK.


Track Listing
  1. I Wanna Dance With Somebody 4:53
  2. Just The Lonely Talking Again 5:34
  3. Love Will Save The Day 5:23
  4. Didn't We Almost Have It All 5:08
  5. So Emotional 4:38
  6. Where You Are 4:10
  7. Love Is A Contact Sport 4:20
  8. You're Still My Man 4:16
  9. For The Love Of You 5:34
  10. Where Do Broken Hearts Go 4:39
  11. I Know Him So Well 4:31

Tango in the Night - Fleetwood Mac

Tango in the Night
Fleetwood Mac was formed way back in 1967 and had experienced varied levels of success from the late 60s through until the 80s. During the late 70s and into the 80s Fleetwood Mac gave their sound a more popsy feel and added Stevie Nicks as another vocalist.

Tango in the Night became Fleetwood Macs biggest selling album in the UK even outselling Rumours (which I personally think was their best album).

After the Tango in the Night album the most successful line-up of Fleetwood Mac namely Lindsay Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood broke up.

The album released the fantastic singles Little Lies and Seven Wonders among others.

Tango in the Night

Track Listing
  1. "Big Love" (Buckingham) – 3:37
  2. "Seven Wonders" (Sandy Stewart, Nicks) – 3:38
  3. "Everywhere" (C. McVie) – 3:41
  4. "Caroline" (Buckingham) – 3:50

  • "Tango in the Night" (Buckingham) – 3:56
  • "Mystified" (C. McVie, Buckingham) – 3:06
  • "Little Lies" (C. McVie, Eddy Quintela) – 3:38
  • "Family Man" (Buckingham, Richard Dashut) – 4:01
  • "Welcome to the Room... Sara" (Nicks) – 3:37
  • "Isn't It Midnight" (C. McVie, Quintela, Buckingham) – 4:06
  • "When I See You Again" (Nicks) – 3:47
  • "You and I (Part 2)" (Buckingham, C. McVie) – 2:40

  • No Jacket Requred - Phil Collins

    No Jacket Required
    Before Phil Collins released a solo single he was best known as lead singer and drummer for the British rock band Genesis. A fantastic drummer and a good singer Phil Collins was a mainstay in the UK charts throughout the 80s with hits such as Sussudio and One More Night.

    No Jacket Required became the 8th best selling album of the 80s in the UK and went straight to the number one album spot in both the US and UK when it was released. The album received the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1985, but where did the name come from?

    No Jacket Required came from an incident when Phil Collins was refused admittance to a restaurant because the jacket he was wearing wasn't deemed 'proper' enough. This story was one that Phil Collins told regularly when he was on talk shows.

    No Jacket Required

    Track Listing
    1. "Sussudio" - 4:23
    2. "Only You Know and I Know" (Lyrics: Collins/ Music: Daryl Stuermer) - 4:21
    3. "Long Long Way to Go" - 4:22
    4. "I Don't Wanna Know" (Lyrics: Collins/ Music: Stuermer) - 4:14
    5. "One More Night" - 4:48
    6. "Don't Lose My Number" - 4:48
    7. "Who Said I Would?" - 4:01
    8. "Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore?" (Lyrics: Collins/ Music: Stuermer) - 4:18
    9. "Inside Out" -5:15
    10. "Take Me Home" - 5:52

    True Blue - Madonna

    True Blue
    Madonna owned the 80s and this album, her third, recieved critical acclaim and let her own the crown of Queen of Pop. True Blue allowed Madonna to show off her strong voice as it had the ballad Live to Tell which was a change from the pop hits that she had previously released.

    One of my all time favorite Madonna songs is Papa Don't Preach and that was also off of her True Blue album.

    Check out more about the 80s pop queen on our Madonna in the 80s post.

    True Blue

    Track Listing
    1. Papa Don't Preach 5:45
    2. Open Your Heart 4:13
    3. White Heat 4:36
    4. Live To Tell 5:53
    5. Where's The Party 4:20
    6. True Blue 4:18
    7. La Isla Bonita 4:02
    8. Jimmy Jimmy 3:56
    9. Love Makes The World Go Round 4:31
    10. True Blue (The Color Mix) 6:40 Album Only
    11. 11. La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix) 5:26

    The Joshua Tree - U2

    The Joshua Tree
    The rockers from Ireland known as U2 was formed in the late 70s and by the mid 80s had become one of the top international acts. The Joshua Tree was U2's fifth album and catapaulted them to a whole new level, if an album ever defined a group than this is the album that defined U2.

    Hit singles such as Where the Streets Have No Name, With or Without You and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For are just as relevant today as they were in 1987 when they were released. This album took U2 to a whole new level and made them one of Ireland's biggest exports.

    The Joshua Tree

    Track Listing
    1. "Where the Streets Have No Name"
    2. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
    3. "With or Without You"
    4. "Bullet the Blue Sky"
    5. "Running to Stand Still"
    6. "Red Hill Mining Town"
    7. "In God's Country"
    8. "Trip Through Your Wires"
    9. "One Tree Hill"
    10. "Exit"
    11. "Mothers of the Disappeared"

    I Hope You've Enjoyed This Trip Down Memory Lane

    I've had great fun on this trip, but one of my favorite 80s album is missing from this chart - what about yours?

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    Diamond by Spandau Ballet

    Spandau Ballet's Second Album - Diamond

    Have you heard Spandau Ballet's second album - Diamond? I must admit that I loved the album back in the 80s when it was released, but the general public didn't really buy into it and it was not seen as a success. Trevor Horn was called in to produce their fourth single off of the album - Instinction - and he has received credit for turning Spandau's career around again following the flaying results from their singles Paint Me Down and She Loved Like Diamond.

    I think this album was about trying not to get stuck in a particular pigeon hole of music - you can hear that Spandau Ballet are still experimenting with their sound and expanding beyond their club beat feel that they had in their first album - let's look at Diamond in more detail...

    Diamond Album Tracks - Spandau Ballet

    Spandau Ballet's second album, Diamond, had eight tracks on it and they were the following -

    1. Chant No. 1 (I don't need this pressure on)
    2. Instinction
    3. Paint Me Down
    4. Coffee Club
    5. She Loved Like Diamond
    6. Pharoah
    7. Innocence and Science
    8. Missionary

    Chant No 1

    Spandau Ballet's First Single From Diamond

    Chant No 1 was the first single off of Spandau Ballet's second album - Diamond and shows a funkier side of the band. Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet's songwriter) said that Chant No 1 was, in part, a homage to the soul clubs that the band used to enjoy going to when they were younger.

    Unfortunately the funky 'white' soul sound of the album wasn't what the general public were looking for at the time and the album sales reflected this.

    The album Diamond showcased a lot of experimental sounds, but it also helped to showcase the band, in particular Tony Hadley and Steve Norman.

    Tony Hadley's voice was maturing and Chant No 1 has soulful undertones which were perfect to showcase Tony Hadley's voice. Chant No 1 was also great at showing how versatile a musician percusionist Steve Norman was. On the single Steve plays the Bongo drums as well as the Saxophone (little did he realize then that he would one day be remembered as the Sax player from Spandau Ballet).


    Spandau Ballet's Fourth Single from Diamond

    Although Spandau Ballet's first single off of this Diamond album was a hit the next two were disappointing and it seemed like the general public weren't enamored with the album either. The record company decided it was time to make changes so they called in music producer Trevor Horn and got him to work on Instinction with the band.

    In the words of Martin Kemp (bass guitarist) -
    We gave 'Instinction' to producer Trevor Horn who really turned it on its head. It became a monster.

    Spandau Ballet were back from the uncharted waters of their previous two singles and were once again on the UK singles chart.

    Instinction was the first of 11 consecutive top twenty hits for the 80s New Romantic group.

    Paint Me Down

    Spandau Ballet's 2nd Single from the Diamond Album

    Spandau Ballet released the single Paint Me Down off of their experimental second album Diamond. The biggest attention the single got was from the picture that accompanied it and the video. Unfortunately I can't find this image in creative commons so I can't legally show it to you, but the five guys were all standing looking mournful in just gold swimming briefs. It looks rather tame these days, but during the 80s it was considered pretty hot.

    The fans definately gave it the thumbs up for lust appeal, but the BBC censors did not approve banning it from being played on their networks.

    The banning of their video on the BBC gave the Spandau Ballet boys some infamy initially, but the poor record sales did not make the record company very happy. Paint Me Down ended Spandau Ballet's run of Top Twenty hits stalling at number 30.
    Paint Me Down pretty much sums up the excitement we were experiencing at the time while Chant No.1 was a ground-breaking record and is still played in clubs today.
    Tony Hadley

    Coffee Club

    Album Track from Diamond

    You can get glimpses of other singles to come, but the whole song seems to be a mish-mash of different sounds and was very experimental - quite unlike anything else available on vinyl at the time. Some people have commented on reviews that it has an African beat and I can hear that near the beginning, but then it just builds on it's brass, although there is chanting later on which could be what they are alluding to.

    Unfortunately I do think that this song has aged now, it is definitely not one of their timeless pieces, but it certainly deserves more acknowledgement that this was a band that didn't want to stick to a formula and were unafraid of experimenting. Spandau Ballet had started their journey as a cult band and this song really seems to envelop that feeling.


    Diamond by Spandau Ballet
    Spandau Ballet - Diamond Album

    Did You Know?

    The album cover for Diamond was taken in London's famous Billingsgate fish market - it's true!

    The market building has since been converted into offices, but in 1982 Spandau Ballet's album cover was shot there.

    More on Spandau Ballet's Diamond album

    Spandau Ballet's second album Diamond was released on May 25, 1982 by Chrysalis Records.

    Four singles were released from this album - Chant No. 1, Paint Me Down, She Loved Like Diamond & Instinction.

    The Mail on Sunday (British newspaper) summed up this album with these words -

    Kicking off the album is the classic sound of Spandau 'Chant No. 1(Don't Need This Pressure On), possibly the band's finest hour, a brilliant fusion of white funk and R&B encapsulating Soho in 1981.


    She Loved Like Diamond

    Third Single from the Diamond Album

    Listening to She Loved Like Diamond you can get a sense of what was to come with Spandau Ballet's next album. Tony Hadley's voice is getting stronger in this commercially disappointing single off of their second album, Diamond.

    Even listening to the single by itself without watching the video it is a very haunting song and although I haven't analysed what the lyrics mean I do find myself getting swept away by it and feeling quite sad at the end of the song.

    I guess if I was looking for one word to sum up this song it would be - soulful.


    Album Track from Diamond

    Pharoah was never one of my favorite tracks off of this album back in the 80s when I loved it (the album), but when I listened to it recently the opening notes on the piano made me think of some of the early 90s murder mystery shows when they're building up the suspense and you just know something's going to happen!

    After a few notes with just the piano the drums then come in ahead of the rest of the instruments and when all of the musical instruments are playing you hear the eastern influence of the track - in fact I almost expect to see a snake charmer - definitely more Indian than Egyptian despite the name of the song!

    The first words that Tony sings by himself are "When the lights die down" and as his voice comes onto the track his tone is almost embracing of the snake charmer music that's in the background of large parts of the track.

    Combine it with echo chant vocals from the others and like many of the tracks on this album it smacks of experimentation.

    Then the track changes tack again and the 'heaven is weeping' vocal aspect of the song is reminiscent of some of their later singles like I'll Fly With You, as Tony imparts the same type of emotion with his voice.

    As I said before definitely not my favorite album track but it does show that the band was not afraid of trying new directions with their music which was what the New Romantic movement was all about at the start.

    Innocence and Science

    Spandau Ballet - Diamond Album

    The Eastern influence continues with this album track, I love the way they incorporated the sound of water into the music.


    Album Track from Spandau Ballet's Diamond Album

    The beats used in this track are great and seem to give an almost African feel to the song.

    Underrated Peak of [Spandau] Ballet's Work

    According to N. Bongiorno "proteanbounceback", a reviewer on Amazon. He also says The UK New Romantics were a unique and innovative force on the music scene-incorporating cosmopolitan Mod sensibillities, Motown/Funk bassline/horns & female backup vocals, and globe-trotting world-music influences.

    He continues with - "Diamond" marks a great second step for the band, the melding of metronomic synth-pop minimilism and Sinataresque-vocals heard on "Journeys" is further expanded with full-sounding snappy horns, offbeat rhythms and forays into long ritualistic eastern-influenced opus' ala the 'Innocence/Missionary" diptych.

    Really I couldn't come up with words that sound anywhere near as good as his except to say - I loved the album whatever the 'critics' said about it.

    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Adam & the Ants

    Who are Adam and the Ants?

    Adam & the Ants
    From Wikipedia and used in accordance with fair use policy.
    Adam and the Ants and their flamboyant frontman Adam Ant were a huge influence in the early 80s and are often thought of as a New Romantic group.

    It comes as a surprise to many, then, that Adam Ant started off as a punk, in fact the Sex Pistols played the support act for his former band, Bazooka Joe.

    This web-page will take you through Adam and the Ants short, yet theatrical musical career.

    Through the line-up changes, Malcolm McClaren's influence and achieving number one status right through until the demise and Adam's solo career.

    Adam and the Ants - The Early Days

    Adam and the Ants front person was vocalist Adam Ant. Born Stuart Goddard Adam Ant was the bass player for Bazooka Joe when the Sex Pistols played their first concert in 1975. The Sex Pistols were actually the back up group for Bazooka Joe. Just after this concert Adam quit Bazooka Joe in order to form his own group.

    He started a group called the B-Sides who were a wash out before he joined forces with Lester Square (guitar), Andy Warren (bass) & Paul Flanagan (drums) and Adam and the Ants were born. It was the beginning of 1977, by May the Ants had their first gig and also their first change of line up with Lester Square leaving before they performed.

    Lester was to go on and form The Monochrome Set. The Ants' new guitarist was Mark Ryan, he too was replaced later that year and in October Johnny Bivouac became the latest Ants' guitarist.

    Adam and the Ants - Radio 1 Recordings - John Peel Show

    Adam and the Ants made their radio debut on Radio 1's John Peel show at the beginning of 1978. They also toured around the UK with punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees(see the above photo of Adam & Siouxsie on the road). They got their first record deal in 1978 when they signed with Decca (the label notorious for turning down the Beatles).

    Their first single was "Young Parisians" and was a flop, after this the band were dropped by Decca and went through more line-up changes before settling on Adam Ant (vocals, guitar), Matthew Ashman (guitar), Andy Warren (bass guitar) & Dave Barbarossa (drums).

    You can actually still get Adam and the Ants Complete Radio 1 Recordings on CD from Amazon.

    Dirk Wears White Sox

    Adam and the Ants First Album

    In late 1979 Adam and the Ants released their first album (under the label Do It Records) called "Dirk Wears White Sox". The album gained a cult following and actually reached number 14 in the album charts, but Adam wasn't happy.

    Malcolm McLaren's Influence

    Adam Ant decided to reach out to Malcolm McLaren who had managed the Sex Pistols and see if he could get them more commercial success.

    At this time the line-up comprised of Adam Ant (vocals, guitar), Matthew Ashman (guitar), Leigh Gorman (bass guitar) & Dave Barbarossa (drums). Malcolm McLaren convinced the band members (except Adam) to leave Adam and the Ants and form Bow Wow Wow. So much for helping them reach the level of stardom that Adam had been after.

    He did however make some suggestions regarding the image and it is claimed that he is responsible for them wearing pirate inspired costumes for their next album.

    Kings of the Wild Frontier - Adam and the Ants 2nd Album

    Another new line-up ensued, this time however it would become even more successful. The line up was Adam Ant (vocals), Marco Pirroni (guitar), Kevin Mooney (bass), Terry Lee Miall (drums) & Chris Hughes (drums).

    The band signed another record deal this time with a major label CBS Records who already had big acts such as ELO and Pink Floyd on their books. Their album Kings of the Wild Frontier became a number one hit in the UK and the Ants were on their way.

    Kings of the Wild Frontier
    With this album they embraced the beginnings of the New Romantic movement that was emerging in the UK with their flouncy pirate-inspired costumes, while still showing their punk roots with a kind of "glam punk" look. Adam sported a white stripe across his nose and this was soon being copied by boys across suburbia.

    I can vividly remember going Christmas shopping with my brother who would've been about 11 and he came downstairs sporting "the stripe," I was mortified!!!

    Prince Charming

    Adam and the Ants - Album Number 3

    Adam and the Ants released their next album in November 1981. Hits off of this album included "Stand and Deliver" and "Prince Charming" and continued to cement their chart success, with both of these going to the number one spot.

    Prince Charming
    The videos off of this album showed the band camping it up with Adam playing his version of Dick Turpin (Britain's infamous Highwayman) for the song "Stand and Deliver." The start of MTV came at the right time for the band as they hammed up for the screen which was what helped to get them noticed in the US.

    They finally had the commercial success that Adam had craved when he had turned to Malcolm McLaren in 1980.

    Adam and the Ants - All Over Now

    In early 1982 Adam and the Ants were nominated for a Grammy for the category of best new artist, however by March they had disbanded. Adam decided to pursue a solo career and released "Goody Two Shoes" on his first solo album, although the single was credited to Adam and the Ants.

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Band Aid, 1984

    Band Aid

    The story of Band Aid is legendary, a sick musician (Bob Geldof) watching television in bed gets moved into action when watching a documentary about the famine in Ethiopia. He gets together with a fello muso (Midge Ure), they write a song (Do They Know It's Christmas) and coerce their fellow musician mates (Band Aid) to record a single to raise money for charity.

    Band Aid: The Beginnings

    The musician in question was Bob Geldof who at that stage was best known as the lead singer of the Boomtown Rats. The Boomtown Rats had hits such as Rat Trap and I Don't Like Mondays.

    Bob Geldof was later to come up with the idea of Live Aid and would eventually become knighted for his charitable efforts.

    In his autobiography (Is That It?) he is quite frank about not being a saint even though he is referred to as Saint Bob since his charitable efforts in Africa.

    On October 24th 1984 Michael Buerk started his report on the Ethiopian famine for the BBC's 6 o'clock news. It was this report that touched Bob Geldof as he was watching and gave him a new purpose and direction for his life.

    Michael Buerk's report started with the words, "Dawn, and as the sun breaks through the piercing chill of night on the plain outside of Korem it lights up a biblical famine, now, in the Twentieth Century."

    It was the plight of the Ethiopian children in particular that moved Bob into action.

    Michael Buerk has won every major award in journalism while working for the BBC and in his autobiography - The Road Taken - he outlines not only the famine in Ethiopia but also the Falklands War, Lockerbie and the Flixborough chemical plant fire.

    His fellow musician was Midge Ure. At the time of Band Aid Midge was best known as lead singer for Ultravox who had hits such as Vienna.

    Together Bob and Midge wrote a song Do They Know It's Christmas?. Bob Geldof wrote the lyrics and Midge Ure wrote the music. Next it was time to get their fellow musician's on board.

    Bob wanted to insure that he had famous, "hot" acts of that time to make sure that the single would sell. He contacted people and nearly everyone said yes straight away.

    In one interview Bob Geldof told people that he asked Simon Le Bon (lead singer of Duran Duran) and as he was wavering he mentioned that Tony Hadley (lead singer of Spandau Ballet) had already said yes. Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran were the battling "super bands" of the time in the UK. Of course, Duran Duran became suddenly committed as well. Bob was certainly sneaky!

    Band Aid: The Name

    The name Band Aid was chosen as a pun as well as the fact that the musicians were working together as a band in order to aid others. The pun was the well known brand of adhesive bandage, indicating that they were trying to put the bandage on the problem.

    Band Aid: The Song

    The song has been re-recorded by top British and Irish performers four times, but I am only talking about the original 1984 version.

    School children curse the stars of the early 80s as they are now 'forced' to perform the song at Christmas performance! Do They Know It's Christmas has really become a Christmas Classic.

    Bob Geldof approached Trevor Horn (former Buggles and big time 80s record producer) to produce the song. Trevor Horn was unavailable and so Midge Ure ended up producing the single - Do They Know It's Christmas?

    Trevor Horn did however give them the use of his recording studio SARM West free of charge for 24 hours. Trevor Horn also produced the B side of the single which featured messages from various top artists, some who were at the recording and some who couldn't make it.

    The date that Bob was given the recording studio for was 25th November 1984.

    The stars turned up on foot, in limos and in beaten up cars. The whole thing was recorded and used to promote the single. Some bands and artists were overseas and flew back specifically to record "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

    Band Aid - The Result

    Band Aid: The Tax Battle

    The day after recording the studio Geldof appeared on Mike Read's morning show on Radio 1. I listened to this show every morning and can remember him promoting the single and making a pledge that every penny would go to the cause.

    The Conservative Thatcher Government were not happy with this comment and refused to waive the VAT on the record. Bob Geldof and Margaret Thatcher (the British PM) were in a stand off.

    Judging the public opinion correctly the government decided to back down, a win for democracy.

    Launch Date

    The single was released on 3rd December in time for the Christmas sales boom. It entered the charts at the top spot and stayed there for five weeks. Everywhere you turned the song could be heard playing.

    It became the biggest selling single of all time and was only usurped by Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana - Candle in the Wind in 1997.

    The Band Aid Story in Video

    Do They Know It's Christmas?

    Written by Bob Geldof & Midge Ure

    It's Christmas time
    There's no need to be afraid
    At Christmas time
    We let in light and we banish shade
    And in our world of plenty
    We can spread a smile of joy
    Throw your arms around the world
    At Christmas time
    But say a prayer
    Pray for the other ones
    At Christmas time it's hard
    But when you're having fun
    There's a world outside your window
    And it's a world of dread and fear
    Where the only water flowing
    Is the bitter sting of tears
    And the Christmas bells that ring
    There are the clanging chimes of doom
    Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
    Feed the world
    Let them know it's Christmas time
    Feed the world
    Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
    And there won't be snow in Africa
    This Christmas time
    The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
    Where nothing ever grows
    No rain nor rivers flow
    Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
    Feed the world
    Let them know it's Christmas time
    Feed the world
    Let them know it's Christmas time again
    (Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
    (Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
    Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
    Feed the world
    Let them know it's Christmas time (repeat & fade)

    Band Aid: The Musicians

    The original band aid participants in sleeve order were:

    Phil Collins (Genesis)
    Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats)
    Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)
    Chris Williams (Iron Static Overdrive)
    Chris Cross (Ultravox)
    John Taylor (Duran Duran)
    Paul Young
    Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
    Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17)
    Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran)
    Simon Crowe (The Boomtown Rats)
    Keren Woodward (Bananarama)
    Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
    Jody Watley (Shalamar)
    Bono (U2)
    Pinky and Perky (singing porcine puppets)
    Adam Clayton (U2)
    Paul Weller (The Style Council, and previously The Jam)
    James "J.T." Taylor (Kool & The Gang)
    George Michael (Wham!)
    Midge Ure (Ultravox)
    Martyn Ware (Heaven 17)
    John Keeble (Spandau Ballet)
    Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
    Roger Taylor (Duran Duran)
    Sarah Dallin (Bananarama)
    Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)
    Sting (The Police)
    Pete Briquette (The Boomtown Rats)
    Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
    Robert 'Kool' Bell (Kool & The Gang)
    Dennis Thomas (Kool & The Gang)
    Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)
    Jon Moss (Culture Club, former member of Adam and the Ants)
    Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
    Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
    Johnny Fingers (The Boomtown Rats)
    David Bowie (who contributed via a recording that was mailed to Geldof and then dubbed onto the single)
    Boy George (Culture Club)
    Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
    Paul McCartney (who contributed via a recording that was mailed to Geldof and then dubbed onto the single)
    Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
    Bruce Watson (Big Country)
    Tony Butler (Big Country)
    Mark Brzezicki (Big Country)

    Band Aid: The Next Step

    The Next Step for Bob and Midge was to be Live Aid. Band Aid would be re-released (with different artists performing) in 1989,2004 and 2014.

    Live Aid (4 Disc Set)
    The American's would also do their own version of Band Aid called We Are The World and raise awareness of Ethiopia's plight
    Band Aid raised everyone's awareness of what was happening to ordinary people in Africa and provided ordinary people everywhere else to help by merely purchasing a record (which they would probably have done anyway!).

    Band Aid was the day that Music united against poverty.

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    Soft Cell

    Soft Cell
    Soft Cell

    David Ball and Marc Almond are Soft Cell!

    Many years ago I went to school with David Ball, for two years we sat in the same classroom..........okay, okay it was a different David Ball and NOT one half of the duo known as Soft Cell, but it would've made for a great story!

    Soft Cell were formed in 1980 and became internationally known for their cult hit single Tainted Love which went to number one around the world in 1981.

    Soft Cell consisted of Marc Almond on vocals and David Ball on synthesizers. The group were at the forefront of synthpop along with groups such as Human League, although Soft Cell preferred to show a darker side. Their inspiration was taken from soul music (as were a lot of other early 80s bands such as Spandau Ballet). In fact Tainted Love was a remake of a 60s northern soul song, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

    Soft Cell - The Beginning

    Let's go back to 1980s Leeds. Marc Almond and David Ball were both art students and got together to write music for theatrical productions. It was actually a self-financed EP called Mutant Moments that kickstarted their chart career. Funded by a loan of £2,000 from David Ball's mother (a very wise investment) the boys, under the name Soft Cell had 2000 vinyl copies pressed. Copies of this EP are now highly prized collector items.

    The EP brought Soft Cell to the attention of the head of Some Bizzare Records who had bands such as Depeche Mode and The The signed to them. He then enlisted Daniel Miller (founder of Mute Records) to produce their first singles - 'A Man Can Get Lost' and 'Memorabilia'.


    Memorabilia became a cult club hit, although Soft Cell were still unknowns.

    Tainted Love

    The next single was 'Tainted Love' and this was to turn the unknowns into International chart toppers. 'Tainted Love' was a reworking of a classic 1964 Northern Soul song sung by Gloria Jones. Tainted Love would make Soft Cell a one hit wonder in many countries around the world.

    What many people do not know is that they nearly recorded a different song, but more on that later.....

    Soft Cell - The Look

    Soft Cell drew on their theatrical and visual arts background when they produced their videos as well as on their live performances. The birth of MTV and their natural theatrical side helped to complete the package so to speak.

    Marc Almond with his androgynous look was a flamboyant vocalist whilst David Ball appeared to me the more introverted member of the duo. The andogynous look was very 'right' for the time as the Blitz kids such as Marilyn and Boy George were also gaining fame.

    Guyliner was a definate with Marc Almond!


    This was one of my favorites, I used to play it up loud and sing along dreaming of living in a bedsitter by myself instead of being a school age teen living at home! - I didn’t really get what the song was saying at the time!

    Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

    This is a great, great song, another one that I used to play along with Bedsitter and, of course, Tainted Love.

    The Night

    When the boys were recording Tainted Love they had to chose between Tainted Love and The Night..........obviously they chose Tainted Love, but after they reunited in 2003? They decided that they should, finally release The Night.

    They definitely made the right choise as The Night doesn’t have the pull factor that Tainted Love had it’s something about the ‘boom boom’ factor in Tainted Love that gets you bopping in the chair or up onto the dance floor and singing along. My hubby doesn’t like Soft Cell (but I forgive him), but if it comes onto the radio when he’s driving he can’t help but bang the wheel when the ‘boom boom’ part comes on.

    If you just buy one synth-pop album in your life, make it this one. The Very Best of Soft Cell is the closest CD I can get which is like the vinyl record I played over and over (Soft Cell- The Singles, released in 1986).

    Did you enjoy Soft Cell's dramatic synth-pop style of music, the very dark and theatrical side? Or were you more of a happy 'Walking on Sunshine" style fan?

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015


    Wham!, the Story of a Band

    1984 Wham! music poster
    Wham! was a fantastic group made up of a couple of Young Guns by the name of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley who wanted to make it big. These bad boys got together to record Wham Rap, the first of their many singles. While staying at Club Tropicana Andrew urged George to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Careless Whispers of Freedom caused problems with their Last Christmas and before you know it George is saying I'm Your Man to a solo career. Andrew decides that Everything She Wants will make him happy too and settles down into married life. Fans were devastated by the break-up and have been On The Edge of Heaven waiting for a reunion ever since.

    The Origin of Wham!

    The pre-Wham History

    Born just a day apart George Michael (then Yorgos Panaiotou) and Andrew Ridgeley met when they were at Bushley Meads School, Watford. They first performed together in a band called the Executive which was a rock and roll band.

    The change of name coincided with the signing of a record deal and Wham! had taken their first step towards superstardom!

    Wham!'s Fantastic Days

    The First Album

    Their first album was Fantastic and this spawned the singles Wham Rap!,Young Guns, Bad Boys and Club Tropicana.

    Their first single released was Wham Rap!(Enjoy What You Do) in June 1982, it was a double A side single with a Social Mix and an Anti-Social Mix. The profanities on the Anti-Social Mix saw it becoming banned in the UK and it only reached number 45 in the UK Single Chart.

    Their second single was Young Guns(Go For It), the Wham boys got lucky with this song as the Top of the Pops program in the UK scheduled them for a performance while their single was still outside of the Top 40. With their good looks and their great performance the single climbed the charts climaxing at number 3.

    FantasticCheck Price
    Following on from the success of Young Guns Wham decided to re-release Wham Rap in January 1983. It was a hit!

    Both of Wham!'s singles told stories and the video's told stories which appealed to the audience and contributed to their success. Wham Rap was about a leisurely life with no work or commitments. Young Guns is a story about a guy (played by George) pleading with his friend (Andrew) not to throw his life away on an early marriage.

    Before their next single was released George and Andrew lost one of their original back-up singers D C Lee, they replaced her with Pepsi DeMacque. Pepsi and original back-up singer Shirlie Holliman continued to be in Wham until the group split up when they formed the duo Pepsi and Shirlie.

    Their third song was about a rebellious teenager and his worried parents. The single was Bad Boys and it reached number 2 in the UK charts and even entered the US Hot 100 at number 60.
    In July 1983 Wham! released a send-up of the Club 18-30 scene with their single Club Tropicana. This song made it to number 4 in the UK charts. By the end of 1983 Wham posters were adorning bedroom walls all over the UK and were talked about in the same tone as Duran Duran and Culture Club.

    Wham!'s Legal Problems and a Change of Direction

    Andrew Steps In

    It was around this time that Andrew Ridgeley became conscious of legal problems with their recording contract and Wham! decided to take action against Innervision and Mark Dean (the record company's founder). Eventually Innervision admitted that they had shortchanged Wham! with their royalties and ended up dissolving soon afterwards.

    Andrew then decided that Wham! needed a change of image, so out went the denim jeans and leather jackets and in came the more fashionable clothing. The posters also started to show them laughing and smiling instead of the moody, contemplative looks of the "Fantastic" days.

    Wham! Make It Big

    May 1984 saw Wham! release the first song off of their Make It Big album the song was Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. This song saw Wham! get their first number 1 single and not just in the UK, but in the USA, Australia and Ireland as well.

    It also saw George, Andrew, Pepsi and Shirlie in the famous white t-shirts declaring CHOOSE LIFE and GO GO.

    The hit song was apparently inspired by a note from Andrew to George. Staying in a hotel, Andrew left a note to George

    To George

    Don't forget to wake me up up before you go go.


    The rest is history.

    Up until now George had been the group's songwriter, but the next song released was co-written by Andrew. The song was Careless Whisper and was a solo release for George (although in the US it was released as Wham featuring George Michael).

    Careless Whisper was a number 1 hit around the globe as well and rumors of the Band splitting up started to do the rounds

    October 1984 saw the band release their next single Freedom. They then released their second album Make It Big which reached number 1 in the Album charts.

    In November George Michael contributed to the Band Aid single, although this usurped their own chance of a Christmas number 1 that year.

    Wham! at the airport poster

    In December 1984 Wham! released a double A sided singe with Last Christmas and Everything She Wants. The single reached the number 2 spot behind Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas. It actually made a record for being the highest selling single ever to peak at number 2 in the UK charts. Wham! donated all of their royalties from this single to the Ethiopian famine appeal.

    In 1985 Wham! went on a world tour including China. It was reported in the UK at the time as being the 1st Western pop group to ever tour the country, but in fact Wham! were beaten into number 2 space by a little known Kiwi band called Spyz (they toured in 1982).

    Both George and Andrew performed at Live Aid in 1985, but not as Wham!.

    In November Wham! released the single I'm Your Man, having waited for nearly a year their fans snapped up the single and it went straight to number 1 in the charts. During 1985 the boys had both been busy.

    Andrew had met Keren Woodward from the girl group Bananarama. George apparently introduced them and they are at the time of writing still together. Andrew also took up rally driving making the news for crashing a car at the end of this year.

    George had started to lend his voice to other singers this year as well, providing backing vocals for Elton John's Nikita and Wrap Her Up.

    Last Christmas was re-released again in 1985 and made it's way to number 6 in the charts.

    Edge of Reason - Wham!'s final album

    In 1986 both Andrew and George decided that they wanted to take their lives in different directions so instead of allowing frustrations to build they decided to end the group and keep their friendship.
    Music From the EdgeCheck Price

    They released a double A sided single with The Edge of Reason and Where Did Your Heart Go along with their final album, also called The Edge of Reason. They also planned a big farewell concert at Wembley Stadium. June 28th 1986 at Wembley Stadium, London the boys said good-bye in a concert aptly named The Final.

    George Michael went on to solo chart topping success, Andrew Ridgeley wasn’t able to find success as a solo artist, but has been lucky in love. Wham’s two back up singers and fellow actors in the videos went on to taste fleeting success as the duo Pepsi and Shirlie.

    Wham! Reunion

    There were rumors running amok about a Wham! reunion taking place at Christmas 2007, this did not eventuate. According to Wham! fansites Andrew is the sticking point as he is not ready to perform again. Having said that when he was interviewed in 2007 he refused to rule out a reunion ever occurring which just adds fuel to the fire.

    Were you a Wham! fan?