The sound of spring is captured on Ronco’s Chart Busters ’82. Once again, we’re treated to a double. The spread is 31 tracks so there are very few truncated songs – a most welcome development. In 1981, Dollar approached Buggles’ Trevor Horn requesting that produce them. The results were pretty impressive. Hand Held In Black And White, Mirror Mirror and the opening track here, Give Me Back My Heart which reached #4 in the UK charts. It’s an amazing production, a lush and dreamy masterpiece with a fantastic outro (here as the 4:52 LP mix). Martin Fry took note. Next: Haircut 100’s jaunty Love Plus One, a true spring gem before Aneka’s dubious Japanese Boy follow-up, Ooh Shooby Doo Doo Lang.
Tears are not enough: Leo Sayer’s heartfelt Have You Ever Been In Love, often associated with bittersweet memories for many. Masters of their art, ABBA and Head Over Heels. The video sees a Ziggy Stardust look, mechanical pop with a heartbeat. On and on, electronics for fun – A Flock Of Seagulls’ I Ran, a High Hill memory slap. Another school favourite comes in the form of Altered Images and I Could Be Happy. Upbeat / downbeat or pinky blue. Awesome times. There’s a quick step sideways on Toni Basil’s frantic Mickey, a mini pop epic. Then Fun Boy Three roping in the fledgling ladies of Bananarama for It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It. Sheer brilliance in under three minutes.
XTC’s Ball And Chain. A world within a world, one that’s permanently autumn and always rural. The vibe continues on Dave Edmunds’ cover of Brian Hyland’s Warmed Over Kisses. I’m still cold. A curio: on Jive, the mysterious Panama will the mash-up Will You Love Me Tomorrow and Stand By Me. Equally obscure is Paul Lorenzo’s dramatic version of the Hill Street Blues theme which was having its debut series aired on RTE. The oddities roll on with Pluto’s quirky reggae blaster Your Honour. And Volume 1 concludes with you Spurs giving it loads on their F.A. Cup final record – ably assisted by Chas & Dave – as they sought to make it two in a row. They succeeded in the most boring final replays ever.
Chart Busters ’82 Volume 2 contains one of the strongest sequences I’ve ever heard. It lasts an entire side and a quarter of the next one. 10 songs before running out of steam. Here we go: Adam and The Ants reissued Deutscher Girls (an early fan favourite from 1978 which was originally included in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee) to cash in on the fame created by Kings Of The Wild Frontier and Prince Charming albums. A mere starter for the thoroughly decadent Amour Amour from The Mobiles. Just a band from The Drive pub in Eastbourne; Amour Amour continues the European vibe laid down on Drowning In Berlin. File under skeleton goth meets the moody boys uptown. 10 to the power of 1,000.
William, It Was Really Nothing. The Associates gave us the unique vocal talents of Billy McKenzie. Party Fears Two is one of my favourite ever Top Of The Pops performances. The jacket, the voice, the keyboards played by Martha Ladly who wrote a book called Morality and Architecture which Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark used as a title for their 1981 album Architecture and Morality. Next comes the raucous tribal rhythms of Bow Wow Wow’s Go Wild In The Country. Singer Annabelle Lwin is still in her 40s as I write this. She and three members poached from Adam and The Ants made See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy, one of the 1980s’ best.
More than this: Stiff Little Fingers’ searing Listen, a heads-down slowburner is followed by the sound of Bauhaus and the menacing Kick In The Eye. File under gunk or gothic funk. This leads into the pounding drum and sax groove vs free jazz squawk of Papa’s Got A Brand New Pig Bag. Sounding off the third side is the futuristic groove of Gary Numan’s Music For Chameleons. Back of the net. Some impeccable Brit funk next; Imagination’s chilly ‘n’ melodic Just An Illusion. If you haven’t heard their remix album Night Dubbing, please check it out. Illusion meshes perfectly into Depeche Mode’s enigmatic See You.
Our hopes of 11 bangers in a row are dashed by The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Star Sound’s dodgy Stars On Stevie: Uptight (Everything’s Alright) / My Cherie Amour / Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday / Master Blaster / You Are The Sunshine Of My Life / Isn’t She Lovely / ‘Stars On’ Jingle / Sir Duke / I Wish / I Was Made To Love Her / For Once In My Life / Superstition / Fingertips. Elsewhere D-Train get us back in the quality groove with the relentless You’re The One For Me. Meanwhile Oxygen’s mournful take on Just The Two Of Us zips by in 1:58. Last pair: Huey Lewis and The News’ cheery Do You Believe In Love and Modern Romance’s Blitz club meets white funk Queen Of The Rapping Scene.
Associates – Party Fears Two
Bow Wow Wow – Go Wild In The Country
Dollar – Give Me Back My Heart
Imagination – Just An Illusion
Lest we forget
The Mobiles – Amour Amour