Chart Explosion (K-Tel, 1980)

Chart Explosion

Chart Explosion r.jpg

Review
“She is D, delirious,
She is I, incredible,
She is S, superficial,
She is C, complicated,
She is oh-oh-oh”

A mantra from France: Ottawan’s D.I.S.C.O. was a love hangover from 1979 but didn’t reach the UK charts until September 1980. It kicks off K-Tel’s fiery Chart Explosion, another memorable compilation featuring 20 chart hits packed into 61 minutes of vinyl. Blondie, first out of the blocks on Star Traks are second with the pulsating Call Me, theme to Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo. The 7″ edit was less than half the length of the soundtrack album take; it loses a further 30 seconds here. It’s followed by another movie tune, Roxy Music’s Same Old Scene – as heard on runaway smash Times Square.

The sequencing takes a logical brassy turn now. Madness’ terminally groovy Baggy Trousers melts into Geno, the breakthrough from Dexys and a #1 hit in March.
“I want to create a place of my own in the welfare state”
Ian Dury and The Blockheads inspired and edgy I Want To Be Straight. Killer bass. Next is Gary Numan’s angry swipe against the music press, I Die: You Die. Wasn’t on Telekon. This marvellous run continues with The Tourists and the stalled-at-40 Don’t Say I Told You So. And a brace of disco to wind down – Shalamar’s slamming I Owe You One and The Village People’s hedonistic Can’t Stop The Music.

Side 2: Cliff is back. The poptastic We Don’t Talk Anymore was the sixth video aired on MTV in August 1981. It’s the US 7″ version that’s included on Chart Explosion. Paisley’s hi-NRG specialist Kelly Marie saw her 1978 flop Loving Just For Fun reach #21 after the success of Feels Like I’m In Love. Loving… is a cracker and should have been placed much higher. Meanwhile Odyssey’s timeless heartbreaker If You’re Looking For A Way Out is a total show-stopper and was later covered by Tindersticks. The tenderness continues with the rockabilly twang of Matchbox and When You Ask About Love while Leo Sayer’s More Than I Can Say’s still brings a tear to my eye. Couples only.

A message to you: Bob Marley’s easy delight Three Little Birds was originally featured on 1977’s Exodus but not released as a single until 1980. Time for some classic ska from Bad Manners on their most endearing number, Special Brew. Elsewhere Change’s soulful Searching is a wonderful thing with a super bassline while Pat Benatar’s snotty Hit Me With Your Best Shot still kicks as teenage rebellion anthem. Finally it should never have to end this way: the sole 45 from OMD’s doom-laden Organisation, Enola Gay, banned by Swap Shop and still one of the greatest synth classics. All it takes if for me to hear the opening notes and I’m back in 3rd class of the CBS again. In a war no one wins.

Favourite tracks
Odyssey – If You’re Looking For A Way Out

Ian Dury and The Blockheads – I Want To Be Straight

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Enola Gay

Lest we forget
Kelly Marie – Loving Just For Fun

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6 Responses to Chart Explosion (K-Tel, 1980)

  1. andynoax says:

    You’ve inspired me to get out my old vinyl and have a listen to all my old compilations. After the Olympics is done of course, I have to get my priorities right!

    This is the first one of the old albums you’ve reviewed that I own so it will be in my stack once I get going. Not sure why a Cliff track from 1979 is on there (even if it is one of his best) but the rest is a good round-up of 1980’s finest. It features 2 of my favourite soul tunes with the Odyssey track being one of the finest ballads ever, and that Change track – well, if you don’t melt to that Luther Vandross vocal then you haven’t got a heart….

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      I can’t get enough of that Odyssey tune; it’s sublime. I’m in agreement re the Cliff track – Carrie would have been the obvious choice. Enjoy digging out your LPs – doing this blog has been a real excavation at this end.

  2. little ern says:

    Good to have the blog back again.

    Just a couple of errors….

    The Village People track is ”Can’t Stop The Music” and the Leo Sayer track is ”More Than I Can Say”

  3. paumurp says:

    Just purchased this yesterday (along with a few others) for a couple of Euro. Looking forward to giving it a play.

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