Going back to school in September 1982 coincided with the release of Ronco’s Breakout. It came in a memorable sleeve, a fierce tiger bursting through a brick wall with the caption “22 roaring great hits”. Almost inevitably it led with Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger, number one for four weeks and on radio stations everywhere. The theme song for Rocky III; but the film was yet to open in Irish cinemas – 22 October was the arrival date for us. The Ritz cinema on opening weekend was packed to capacity for both the afternoon and evening screenings. Additional seats were placed in the downstairs section; hard-backed wooden chairs from our local youth centre. We watched in discomfort, enthralled.
Breakout is a natural successor to Overload and focuses on the summer’s chart action. 22 tracks included here too. Yazoo’s second single, Don’t Go, a synth tour-de-force hits #3 in the UK and #1 on the US dance chart. Still burning up discos 34 years on. The Belle Stars (ex-Bodysnatchers) took Shirley Ellis’ The Clapping Song and turned it into something much more irreverent, cashing in on the condom buzz already started by Madness in the House Of Fun video. “Now she won’t buy me – a rubber johnny”. Well that’s what we sang in the school yards anyway. Next comes Japan’s slick and urbane cover of I Second That Emotion and surprise(!) another good Tight Fit tune, the plaintive singalong Secret Heart.
Controversy continues on John Wayne Is Big Leggy from Haysi Fantayzee. Political satire meets sexual humour via a nursery rhyme delivery. Another USA icon, John McEnroe, gets satirised in The Brat’s Chalk Dust. Roger Kitter is the spoofer, Mac’s antics still in the memory despite his defeat by Jimmy Connors in that year’s final. As I write this, I’ve just re-lived the Top Of The Pops appearance on BBC4. The bar remains low for both Alvin Stardust and Rocky Sharpe and The Replays. Cheap Trick arrest the slide with the earnest If You Want My Love. A long way from He’s A Whore. Side 1 concludes with Blondie’s swansong, the electronic avant garde brilliance of War Child. Next stop: Maria.
Melody disco time: Boys Town Gang – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Then Hot Chocolate and the sublime grooves of It Started With A Kiss. Stuck in the middle is I Eat Cannibals from Toto Coelo, a one hit wonder new wave group, masterminded by producer Barry Blue. Shades of Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. Very catchy. And King Trigger’s The River, with its pummeling drum sound. Then, a parting of the virtual seas for Wavelength’s tearjerking ballad Hurry Home – a melancholic memory. Likewise Depeche Mode’s brooding Leave In Silence, another super 45. The Julien Temple video is an acquired taste.
I forgot to mention that Breakout came with a free poster. It’s massive. Designed by Shoot The Tiger. Minder was in full swing during 1982 so The Firm dropped their tribute Arthur Daley (‘E’s Alright) full of catchphrases galore. Plus some nifty disco funk from Maxine Singleton, Don’t You Love It. I don’t love the truncation. Unfortunately with 22 tunes crammed into 67 minutes, quite a few are faded early. Load up on sugar, Prelude’s saccharine version of Only The Lonely is neatly juxtaposed with the throaty sound of the Psychedelic Furs’ stirring Love My Way. The closing number is a competently played cover of Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White courtesy of Modern Romance. Cha Cha and out.
Haysi Fantayzee – John Wayne Is Big Leggy
Toto Coelo – I Eat Cannibals
Depeche Mode – Leave In Silence
Lest we forget
Wavelength – Hurry Home