“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.
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