The fifth High Life compilation to be released on a digital format emerged during the spring of 1986. Once again, the vinyl version included 18 tracks, two more than the CD. So we miss out on The Catch’s The Difference and Sophia George’s Girlie Girlie.
Billy Ocean’s massive chart-topper When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going is the opening track. Easy to love and a surefire floor-filler. Bronski Beat went in a new direction with their second LP Truthdare Doubledare; Jimmy Somerville left to form The Communards so John Foster stepped in to provide vocals on Hit That Perfect Beat, a pounding slice of hi-NRG. Also breaking records in late 1985 were the Pet Shop Boys with the arch observations of West End Girls. Dire Straits were also one of the year’s success stories – Brothers In Arms was the album that finally helped the CD format break through to the mainstream. Unfortunately the album was marred by the turgid Walk Of Life which still sounds out of kilter 30 years later.
Falco’s crowning glory, the splendid Jeanny, Part 1 tells an epic story that was fraught with controversy. Several feminist groups called for a boycott of the song given its oblique connotations with rape, abduction and stalking. Some TV and radio stations in West Germany agreed with this stance and didn’t give any airplay to songs based on ethical reasons. Others just played it on their charts shows – as part of the countdown – and ignored it for the rest of the week. In Hessen, the song was aired with a warning beforehand. In East Germany the song was not on air and playing it in clubs or discos was not permitted. In the video the Jeanny character is portrayed by the 15-year old Theresa Guggenberger, a student from the dance school associated with the Theater An Der Wien. Despite the public outcry, she never felt uneasy about her appearance and she played the role again in Coming Home (Jeanny Part 2).
Eartha Kitt’s This Is My Life is a fine example of sleek disco with her fierce diva drawl. Double’s Tomorrow is a pleasant jazzy number that’s followed by the equally smoky and languid Sweet Soft N’ Lazy by Viktor Lazlo. Inspired by Casablanca with shades of Adu. Then there’s the heart and soul of 80s AOR on Mr Mister’s unforgettable Broken Wings. All elements of an epic power ballad are present and correct. The late Raf Ravenscroft was responsible for the sax break in Baker Street. He appears here with an ode to his girlfriend Maxine, sung by Noel McCalla. The romantic streak is prolonged by Whitney Houston on the beautiful Saving All My Love For You.
Elton John’s Ice On Fire yielded another 45 in the form of the lively but functional Wrap Her Up. George Michael duets on it while Kiki Dee provides backing vocals. Plenty of famous ladies named and cream pies all round. Next are CC Catch and the pouting Italo of ‘Cause You Are Young before Latin Quarter’s underrated Modern Times. We will rock you a little more on Tommy Shaw’s cheesy Remo’s Theme; perfect for The Breakfast Club, St Elmo’s Fire or Pretty In Pink. My third concert was Simple Minds in June 1986. It was the Once Upon A Time tour. Here comes the rain. Sanctify Yourself appears in 7″ form, surely in itself a cause for celebration. A joyous and somewhat forgotten sound from a band who were exploding too fast. Love is all you need.
“In pictures of living, in bloodshot a vision
Sweet miracles and strange circumstances
I see the sun up, the showdown
The cool winds that blow down
On the big beat that life long romance is”.
Falco – Jeanny, Part 1
Mr Mister – Broken Wings
Lest we forget
Simple Minds – Sanctify Yourself