Super Chart ’83 Volumes 1 and 2 (Telstar, 1983)

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Review
Telstar crashed the Christmas compilation market in mid-November with the release of Super Chart ’83, a BOGOF containing 30 tracks. However there was an inevitable sense of familiarity with this one – 21 or 70% of its songs had already featured on previous Various Artists albums of the year. In particular, Volume 1 was particularly uninspired with just one “new” hit. Here’s where they made their first appearances:
Chart Wars: Eddy Grant – I Don’t Wanna Dance.
Hotline: Men At Work – Down Under, Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out.
Chart Runners: Forrest – Rock The Boat.
Chart Encounters Of The Hit Kind: Toto – Africa.
Chart Stars: The Beat – Can’t Get Used To Losing You, Galaxy featuring Phil Fearon – Dancing Tight.
Hits On Fire: Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), Freeez – IOU, Flash and The Pan – Waiting For A Train, Tom Robinson – War Baby.
Headline Hits: Yazoo – Nobody’s Diary, Paul Young – Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home), KC and The Sunshine Band – Give It Up.
Chart Hits ’83: Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Ryan Paris – Dolce Vita, F.R. David – Words, Gary Byrd and The GB Experience – The Crown, Herbie Hancock – Rockit, Will Powers – Kissing With Confidence, Black Lace – Superman.

“Eins, zwei, drei, vier
Fünf, sechs, sieben, acht
Uno, due
Três, quatro
One, two
Ichi, ni, san, chi
Adjin, dva, tri
Li, tva, tr”
(Kraftwerk – Numbers)

Telstar marketed Super Chart ’83 as “The Greatest Hits Album Of The Year.” It was compiled in association with CBS, RCA, Carrere, Sonet / Mute, Arista, Island / Ensign and Beggars Banquet. Highest chart positions are disclosed:
#1 – Five
#2 – Three
#3 – Four
#4 – Four
#5 – One
#6 – Four
#7 – Four
#8 – Four
And there’s more: One track is marked as a new release while the remaining six “are still rising in the charts as we print.” – triangle symbol. And Bad Manners with the insanely energetic Can Can. 1981 I hear you say. Well, Telstar have a get out clause – “released and achieved highest chart position before 1983.” I’m pleased to say that the leftfield choices on the second half more than justify the outlay.

“The time is too short
But never too long
To reach ahead
To project the image
Which will in time
Become a concrete dream”
(Wire – The Lowdown)

Boxerbeat was the opening salvo from JoBoxers who opened for Madness on The Rise And Fall tour. Their look was drawn from The Little Rascals – knickers, suspenders, caps – and made them look like extras from a 1930s film. While their roots were in Subway Sect, Vic Godard had been cut loose and replaced by Dig Wayne. The result was snappy soul-boy pop. Following Eddy Grant at the beginning of Volume 2 was Bob Marley and The Wailers’ posthumous Buffalo Soldier. Legend. The title and lyrics refer to the black U.S. cavalry regimentsthat fought in the Indian Wars after 1866. NB – next comes The Crown which loses a minute of its lengthy running time, just 9:17 despite being noted as the 12″ version.

Meanwhile Nick Heyward sails under the radar with the deceptively lightweight Blue Hat For A Blue Day, a 60s inspired gem released 20 years too late. Also taking its cue from the swinging decade was The Alarm’s rousing 68 Guns, inspired by Glasgow street gangs of the era. Still gorgeous, The Lotus Eaters and their positively blooming You Don’t Need Someone New. To the youth of today – the Musical ones – and their sublime Never Gonna Give You Up. First seen (by me) on Jim’ll Fix It. Saturday evenings. Obscurity knocks for Debbie Aimee (the new release, a Blondie knock-off) and one which has sunk without trace. Finally, a new one from Depeshay Mode, the slinky synth lounge of Love In Itself.

“Another big hit, another nothing short of driving a rusty meathook through David Gahan’s malformed cranium will prevent it.” (Geoff Barton, Sounds, 24 September 1983)

Favourite tracks
JoBoxers – Boxerbeat

The Alarm – 68 Guns

Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out

Nick Heyward – Blue Hat For A Blue Day

Lest we forget
The Lotus Eaters – You Don’t Need Someone New

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11 Responses to Super Chart ’83 Volumes 1 and 2 (Telstar, 1983)

  1. andynoax says:

    A friend of mine owns the 2nd album in this double pack and I just couldn’t believe the bare-faced cheek of putting ‘Can Can’ on there!
    I don’t recall the Debbie Aimee track at all, but the Lotus Eaters track is brilliant and deserved to get into the Top 40.

  2. Pingback: Chart Trek Volumes 1 and 2 (Ronco, 1983) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  3. Sarah says:

    I have been looking for these for so long. I had it in my head that they were called Superhits 83. Thanks so much for posting.

  4. Al says:

    My parents used to have these in their car and I have fond childhood memories of listening to these non-stop on long journeys. Also been looking for these for a long while, and lovely to see this article. Thanks for the post.

  5. Simon Platts says:

    Have a mint copy of both found for £1 at a car boot sale about a decade ago.

  6. Scott says:

    These were the first records I ever bought, when I was eight years old, and I suppose they must have been formative for my taste. You’re very kind and on the money about the Joboxers, who seemed like they were enormous at the time, but I suppose they weren’t really in the scheme of things. They stayed in my mind because you’d see Jobox products on building sites and in shopping centre car parks time and again. They turned out, through Rob Marche, to be the missing link between Subway Sect and Earl Brutus. There are songs on those records that are seared on my brain, including stone cold classics such as Steppin’ Out (I’m going to see Joe Jackson in April) and Kissing with Confidence by Will Powers (a truly odd Lynn Goldsmith project that featured Nile Rodgers, Sting and Todd Rundgren, and yes Carly Simon performs the vocal on that recording). And Debbie Aimee, risen without trace, where is she? Not a photo, not a scrap of biographical information seems to exist anywhere. Gives me the spooks, it does.

    Anyway, ta for the blog.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Thanks Scott, check your email!
      Early records make a serious impact. In some cases, you can’t hear one song without immediately expecting it to be followed by whatever came on the compilation that’s burned into your brain.

      Debbie Aimee – a total mystery. Must have had a connection to Telstar as she’s also on their Summer Breeze compilation.

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