Chart Trek Volumes 1 and 2 (Ronco, 1983)




Chart Trek Volume 2 r.jpg

The Flying Pickets on Top Of The Pops, The Citadel Of Chaos, the Christmas RTE Guide starting on 17 December instead of the 24th, the television premiere of Heaven’s Gate, being haunted by the photo of Robert Earl Hughes in The Guinness Book Of Records. . .
After the last of the turkey had been consumed, we headed to Waterford for the sales. In the racks of Sinnott’s was Ronco’s Chart Trek, its space-themed sleeve instantly reminding me of those those Christmas toy advertisements that Quinnsworth used to make.

“To boldly pick the stars of ’84.”
Chart Trek contains “28 enterprising tracks”, 11 of which had already been included on previous 1983 compilations. But the duplication was welcome in a number of instances (Waves, The First Picture Of You) as the unedited single mixes were now included on Ronco’s swansong. And in the case of Paul Young, we now had a spanking new version that was destined to be a smash hit. Here’s where they originally featured:
Hotline: China Crisis – Christian, Paul Young – Love Of The Common People.
Chart Runners: Kissing The Pink – The Last Film.
Chart Stars: Blancmange – Waves, Bananarama – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.
Headline Hits: Depeche Mode – Everything Counts, The Lotus Eaters – The First Picture Of You, Jimmy The Hoover – Tantalise (Wo Wo Ee Yeh Yeh).
The Hit Squad Chart-tracking: David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto – Forbidden Colours.
Chart Hits ’83: Eurythmics – Love Is A Stranger.
Super Chart ’83: JoBoxers – Boxerbeat.

Calling Your Name: In 1983, following a high-profile appearance in the promo video for Eurythmics’ Who’s That Girl?, Boy George’s mate Peter Robinson signed his own contract as Marilyn with Phonogram Records. His catchy debut single reached #4. Next are The Assembly, a synthpop project founded by Vince Clarke and Eric Radcliffe. The beguiling Never Never has the voice of The Undertones’ Feargal Sharkey and also turned up on the VHS release of Now That’s What I Call Music. Elsewhere Tears For Fears complex Pale Shelter is represented in 1983 remix form, the hit version. Equally intense is the brooding goth drama of Heaven Is Waiting by The Danse Society and the magnificent Waves before the first side closes with the weird sophisti-pop of Carmel’s Bad Day. Impressive instant.

No Parlez is a charity stop staple, a most unfair outcome for one of 1983’s enduring classics. A remixed Love Of The Common People hit #2 for Paul Young; I’ve still got a whole lot of love for it. Into the gap come the Thompson Twins and Hold Me Now, recorded at Compass Point. A hypnotic, swaying groove and lead track from one of the decade’s most perfect albums. Next, the expert sound of Nick Heyward with the superb and well-crafted On A Sunday. Further: Wham! and Club Tropicana – fun, energetic, positive, escapism, catchy, infectious, LIFE! But with hidden depths as it satirised package holidays and amazing Balearic B-side Blue (Armed With Love). And more: the oblique Flaming Sword by Care. Ian Broudie and Paul Simpson. Through the cracks.

Volume 2 isn’t as strong but sparkling is Kirsty MacColl’s Terry and its evocative capture of lost teenage love. Tears. On Mute, Fad Gadget’s non-album 45, the creepy I Discover Love. Go soul deep with Central Line’s fantastic Nature Boy and Donna Summer’s acceptance anthem of joy, Unconditional Love. Scratch! The joys of TV-am during the summer of ’83. The brash Roland Rat dropped the sturdy hip hop groove of Rat Rapping. Struggling under the weight of IOU were Freeez whose Pop Goes My Love takes ages to sink in. Elsewhere there’s Ashaye’s Michael Jackson Medley – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough / Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ / Shake Your Body / Blame It On The Boogie. The curios conclude with Dillinger’s Tribal War, synthesised reggae with an icky thump.
In summary, a real mix of the sublime, forgotten, wonderful and ridiculous. A great finale.

Favourite tracks
Wham! – Club Tropicana

Blancmange – Waves

Tears For Fears – Pale Shelter

Care – Flaming Sword

Lest we forget
Roland Rat Superstar – Rat Rapping


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12 Responses to Chart Trek Volumes 1 and 2 (Ronco, 1983)

  1. cosmo says:

    Good calls on Club Tropicana (it is forgotten that Wham’s first hits were actually rathe barbed pieces of social commentary) and Pale Shelter. And also Rat Rapping!

    For which I’ll raise:

    Marilyn – Calling Your Name (“Taste my lips of wine”.)

    Danse Society (yes, with an “S”) – Heaven is Waiting

    Bananarama – Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye

  2. andynoax says:

    Here’s one that I remember seeing in the shops at the time (in fact, I think I nearly bought it!) but barely at all since. The cover is borderline copyright infringement of the logo for the first Star Trek film, surely!

    The first LP is very good indeed, though I don’t know the Danse Society or Nick Heyward tracks. ‘Flaming Sword’ by Care is great though, and should’ve been a hit.

    As you say, the second is a bit all over the place with a few too many non-hits. The Dillinger and Fad Gadget ones are complete mysteries to me. I did buy Roland Rat on 7″ though!

  3. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 1983: The Millennium Series (EMI / Virgin / Universal, 1999) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. matt46205 says:

    I was so excited to find this excellent compilation in a bargain bin at a discount store in Michigan in the summer of 1987. It was a UK import (I’m in the US), and somehow it was something like only $4. It was my introduction to several artists…. The Lotus Eaters, China Crisis, Care, The Assembly, Kissing the Pink. Still have the cassette somewhere.

  5. matt46205 says:

    Thanks Paul! Great random finds like this in the most unlikely of shops were memorable indeed!

  6. Rumpy-Pumpy says:

    I actually had this at the time. Introduced me, at an impressionable age, to some darker and grander sounds (Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, Fad Gadget – but this song doesn’t even hint at what he was capable of, Danse Society – usually there were spoken/shouted vox or no vox at all). Also first vocal version of Nature Boy I’d ever heard (Nat Cole would have to wait), and naturally I didn’t get the subtext at all.
    One obscure gem here is Dillinger’s vocoder-isation of Tribal War: perversely it’s still my fave version of that song.

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