Chart Beat / Chart Heat (K-Tel, 1982)

Chart Beat.jpg

Chart Beat r.jpg

Chart Heat.jpg

Chart Heat r.jpg

K-Tel’s latest two-for-the-price-of-one effort was a pair of LPs named Chart Beat and Chart Heat. They were released on the same day as Ronco’s Breakout and featured 34 songs. 12 of these (six Beat, six Heat) were also included on Breakout. But K-Tel had the advantage when it came to full length single mixes as their albums only had eight or nine tracks per side compared to Ronco’s 11. So fewer early fades and unique edits.

Overlap and truncation detail for Chart Beat: Japan’s I Second That Emotion is basically the same; Steve Nye’s remix for 1982. Belle Stars – The Clapping Song gains 8 seconds, Modern Romance featuring John Du Prez – Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White (+30), Yazoo – Don’t Go (+12), Blondie – War Child (+45), The Firm – Arthur Daley (+20).

Chart Heat’s vital statistics: Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger (+10), King Trigger – The River (+60), Rocky Sharpe and The Replays – Clap Your Hands is unchanged, Hot Chocolate – It Started With A Kiss (-11 !), Alvin Stardust – I Want You Back In My Life (+27). Finally Tight Fit’s surprisingly good Secret Heart is the same length as on Breakout.

Chart Beat starts with a sprinkle of magic. The Kids From Fame’s Hi Fidelity. The TV series had a great video but came with a mono mix of the song. The UK single release was a stereo mix with extra vocals. It’s got a beautiful charm that hasn’t diminished. And then it’s Madness with the ultra-catchy Driving In My Car, a standalone single after Complete. Fun Boy Three appear in its video and also feature here with their atmospheric cover of Summmertime. The bouncing My Girl Lollipop from Bad Manners is a brilliantly joyous rendition with a killer sax. Plus: the lovely Natasha with the funked-up Boom Boom Room.

Love Hangover, a most interesting new wave take on a disco classic from The Associates. It’s followed by the loping funk of Kid Creole and The Coconuts, I’m A Wonderful Thing. In The Heat Of The Night was Imagination’s second LP, the hypnotic Music And Lights reached the top 5. More gold, the energetic synth clatter of Mr Blunt by Kissing The Pink. They’re still active. To wrap us up, we go back to the classics with Louis Clark and the enigmatic If You Knew Sousa (And Friends). I knew a Sousa, a raver fan of Guru Josh.

Chart Heat: Bow Wow Wow’s rather perfunctory I Want Candy doesn’t hold a candle to anything from their 1981 output. Toyah’s Ieya is a poppier reworking of a 1980 45, almost a chant – plenty of interesting background here. Next: John Cougar Mellencamp’s earthy Hurts So Bad followed by the low-key disco vibe of David Christie’s Saddle Up. Elsewhere there’s the totally uneventful Substitute, a risible entry from The 3 Courgettes. Equally dire is Showaddywaddy’s turgid Bomp. It’s at times like these when less would have been more.

Movin’ on up: the sweet sound of Charlene’s hedonistic but polarising I’ve Never Been To Me, originally a 1977 flop. Leo Sayer’s brooding Heart (Stop Beating In Time), written by the brothers Gibb. More understated regrets, Liquid Gold’s bittersweet Where Did We Go Wrong and Doreen Chanter’s regretful I Can Dream. Difficult follow-up single: Nicole’s Give Me More Time. Last group standing, fellow Eurovision champions Bucks Fizz drop a tearful masterpiece, the moving Now Those Days Are Gone. Perfect harmonies.

Favourite tracks
Imagination – Music And Lights

Kissing The Pink – Mr Blunt

Charlene – I’ve Never Been To Me

Bucks Fizz – Now Those Days Are Gone

Lest we forget
The Kids From Fame – Hi Fidelity

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12 Responses to Chart Beat / Chart Heat (K-Tel, 1982)

  1. cosmo says:

    “I bought it in Primrose Hill/From a bloke from Brazil/It was made in ’59/In a factory by the Tyne.”
    (I thought Morrises were made in Coventry?)

    In this day and age, it’s surprising to hear that Kid Creole was one of the biggest-selling artists in the UK charts during the year of the Falklands War…

    … but then again,…

    As I mentioned elsewhere, It Started with a Kiss proved that Errol Brown and the lads could still pack a belter:

    Guilty pleasures time: David Christie with Saddle Up (an early example of a typical “Eurohit” crossing into the Anglo-Celtic Isles. Would precede the “holiday soundtrack” numbers to do that crossing during the rest of the decade):

    And the Three Courgettes with Substitute. Failed to get into the Top 100 even. Ouch.

  2. andynoax says:

    I only own Chart Heat – when I listened to my old Ronco / K-Tel compilations recently, it was by far the poorest of the lot. I just couldn’t believe the number of songs that missed the Top 40 on it (there aren’t many that made the Top 10 even, and most of those are rubbish)

    Chart Beat however looks much better, worth getting if I ever see it I think, especially as I don’t know that Kissing The Pink song.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Mostly agree Andy, Chart Heat is definitely lacking in quality. Revisited it when burning it to iTunes over the summer and wasn’t impressed by swathes of it. However another listen when writing this review improved my outlook – especially the downbeat tracks as mentioned in my closing paragraph.

  3. Pingback: Chart Attack (Telstar, 1982) | A Pop Fan's Dream

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  5. Martin Davis says:

    I owned Chart Heat on cassette for ages but it wasn’t until April 2011 that I managed to acquire Chart Beat. At the time I was 23 years old and at college retaking my AS/A Levels. I remember falling in love with the Mr Blunt track and listened to it a lot in the run up to my exams that summer.

    Don’t think that track has been on any other compilations and certainly in 2011 it didn’t seem to be available for download on ITunes. Shame as it’s a classic 80s gem which is seemingly not well known.

    Also particularly lile the Nicole and Liquid Gold tracks on Chart Heat although there are a good number of tracks on this compilation that are also included on Breakout.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Martin – yes, Mr Blunt doesn’t appear to have appeared on any CD compilations. However Cherry Red did release Kissing The Pink’s debut LP on CD in 2015 so it’s on that.

  6. Simon says:

    I wonder how the recording of the none CD tracks turned out. I can’t seem to get on with vinyl rips. When digitised they seem to lose all warmth and sound too tinny next to digital tracks.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Vinyl rips of albums like these (crammed 60+ minutes LPs) are a compromise. You can’t compress them too much so invariably they sound inferior compared to a rip of a 12″ single.

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