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"New Wave" and the 1980s - one-hit wonders and biggest hits

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  • Originally posted by Metalweb View Post
    I also acquired I Can Dream About You back in the 80s, only because I bought the Streets of Fire soundtrack to get the two Jim Steinman numbers! It's a pleasant enough track but would agree it's nothing special. Surprised to learn from Wikipedia that Hartman died young in '94. Don't remember hearing that at the time.
    I can vaguely recall reading about his death in a newspaper. A few months prior to his death Take That / Lulu had topped the UK charts with a reworking of 'Relight My Fire'. I'm not sure if he ever got to hear that version as he was apparently very ill for the last few months he was alive.

    I paid just 25p for his 'I Can Dream About You' single. At the time I used to go to a record shop in Newcastle that was a chart return shop though it specialised in dance music. Because it was a chart return shop it used to stock the top 20 singlesjust to keep the record labels happy but sold just about every new single release at a knockdown price because the reps used to give the shop bundles of free singles. As the shop owner wasn't bothered about selling them he would just place them all in a big box at the side of the counter and would sell them all for 25p. I remember one week buying something like 12 singles, some of them I'd never previously heard but as the shop was virtually giving them away it was no great loss if the record was rubbish. Many of them did go on to make the UK top 40. Famously one of the singles was 'The Power Of Love' by Jennifer Rush. That single was sold all across the UK at a knock down price for many weeks which is why it meandered around the lower reaches of the top 75 for months on end. I can't imagine the record label made any money on the single until it was at number 1 as it must have cost them a fortune with the amount of free copies they kept giving away. At one point in September 1985 I owned about half of the singles in the top 40, most of which I had bought for 25p. It showed that even in the mid 80s many chart entries were there purely because of record label freebies to chart return shops. In fact the practice was still going on in 1990 and 1991 as I remember Volume Records (another Newcastle record shop that has sadly gone) used to sell a number of new singles releases on CD for just 50p and the 12" would be something like 99p.

    Comment


    • I'm jealous - there where no shops like that in my neighbourhood when I was buying singles!

      It was full price all the way until the record left the chart or it became obvious it wasn't going to chart - whereupon it went into the half price (or less!) bin.

      Now I think about it a substantial part of my old singles collection was acquired in this manner - and the same applies to most of my record collecting friends at the time! Wouldn't surprise me if a sizeable proportion of physical single sales back then took place after the records concerned had gone from the charts...

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      • Originally posted by Metalweb View Post
        I'm jealous - there where no shops like that in my neighbourhood when I was buying singles!

        It was full price all the way until the record left the chart or it became obvious it wasn't going to chart - whereupon it went into the half price (or less!) bin.

        Now I think about it a substantial part of my old singles collection was acquired in this manner - and the same applies to most of my record collecting friends at the time! Wouldn't surprise me if a sizeable proportion of physical single sales back then took place after the records concerned had gone from the charts...
        I did have a local record shop that sold eveything at full price until the records fell from the chart. At that point they would go on the racks in the middle of the shop and would be sold for either 10p or 20p depending on what the woman who ran the record department thought they would sell for. That was in the late 70s and early 80s until the record shop shut. I remember 'Anarchy In The UK' by the Sex Pistols being placed in there in January 1977. Not just one copy either, about half a dozen. I was tempted to buy one and hesitated. When i went back a few days later they had all gone - someone probably sussed the singles would be worth a lot more. I bought quite a number of singles in the late 70s from those bargain racks.

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        • Fascinated as always to read those recollections, guys! Now, maybe somebody from other countries like Germany or France could pop in to tell us how it worked there (though I've read numerous times that chart culture in France wasn't very developed).

          By the way, Metalweb, I agree that Steinman songs on "Streets of fire" are gems. I though "Tonight is what it means to be young" should've been massive...

          Next here is not an uncommon story: a very minor UK band with the song that became much bigger than them, but also a bigger and much more loved tune than it were in its time. Re-Flex were a genuine band, not a studio concoction (though its members did good as session men), but were a bit too ordinary to stand out for long in a already very crowded "New Wave" market of 1983-84. Still, they did better than most, scoring a worldwide hit - not a smash, but a respectful enough entry. The video played the biggest part, it seems - and they even broke the USA, which, for all the talk of the "Second British invasion", not that many bands actually did. And it's in the USA that they're remembered the most.

          I took time to warm to the song, to be honest, but it has enough staying power. And I should note stellar production work by John Punter - a man not often talked about these days, but actually responsible for quite a few great works that did their fair share to define the sound of the 1980s. There are Japan, of course, but also the "Autumnal park" by already-featured Pseudo Echo, which is one of the finest unsung albums of the decade. Re-Flex... not so much, but I'd still recommend to give them a listen, it won't be a waste of time.

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          • 108. THE POLITICS OF DANCING by Re-Flex

            Written by: Paul Fishman
            Produced by: John Punter
            Country of origin: UK
            Date of release: November 1983

            Australia
            27 February 1984 - #12 - 15 weeks

            Canada
            RPM: 24 December 1983 - #13 - 15 weeks
            The Record: #22 - 14 weeks

            France
            TMP France: 12 February 1984 - #37 - 13 weeks
            InfoDisc: 6 May 1984 - #94 - 1 week

            (West) Germany
            12 March 1984 - #25 - 15 weeks

            Ireland
            4 March 1984 - #28 - 1 week

            Italy
            TV Sorrisi e Canzoni: 8 April 1984 - #29 - 12 weeks
            Musica e Dischi: 5 May 1984 - #21 - 5 weeks

            The Netherlands
            Nationale Hitparade: 17 March 1984 - #43 - 1 week
            Nederlandse Tipparade: #8 - 5 weeks

            New Zealand
            11 March 1984 - #12 - 13 weeks

            South Africa
            4 May 1984 - #19 - 10 weeks

            Switzerland
            22 April 1984 - #28 - 3 weeks

            UK
            Music Week: 28 January 1984 - #28 - 9 weeks
            New Musical Express: 4 February 1984 - #27 - 5 weeks
            Melody Maker: 4 February 1984 - #28 - 6 weeks

            USA
            Billboard: 26 November 1983 - #24 - 21 weeks
            Cash Box: 3 December 1983 - #23 - 22 weeks
            Radio & Records: 10 February 1984 - #25 - 6 weeks

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            • I wasn't too keen on 'The Politics Of Dancing' and found it a bit dull.

              I've only discovered, via wikiepdia, that Phil Gould and Mark King of Level 42 were both members of Re-Flex in the early days of the band. I don't think I was aware of that back in 1984.

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              • Like 'Politics...'. Very much of its time of course, but that's probably why I like it. Polished pap, and perhaps not as hooky as one would hope for, but a good stab at cross-pollinating synthpop with funk. Interesting re the Level 42 connection Robbie; I certainly didn't know that until now.

                Don't like 'I Can Dream...' though. Hartman did far better works during his short life, often as producer for other artists.

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                • Don't like The Politics Of Dancing much, I'm afraid.

                  Uninteresting musically and I could never figure out what message the lyrics were trying to convey...

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                  • "....Is this message understood?...." Apparently not!! Quite possibly there wasn't much of a message to be conveyed at all really, as is true of many a pop song, but that doesn't prevent it from being appealing on other levels. One can't be too austere in one's judgement on lyrical authenticity if one is to fully-enjoy a lot of '80s stuff!

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                    • I've always thought the message was perfectly clear: "Let's feel good, dance and listen to the music, not fight this awful Cold War!" Nothing profound or revolutionary, admittedly (though the video might lead to think otherwise on the latter), and lyrically only differs from the 1960-70s songs of the same ilk in a more extravagant/pretentious/off-the-wall imagery. By the way, later Re-Flex went full-on political with their minor hit "How much longer?" from 1985 (not bad at all - and, strangely, it was this one that charted in Belgium, not "Politics"), perhaps sensing people's puzzlement regarding their big one, and leaving little room for debates as to the meaning.

                      One of my brightest memories about them is their appearance on The Tube (which I, of course, watched on You Tube, being barely in my second year of existence at the time of original broadcast ). Felt very sorry for them as they had immense trouble approaching their studio slickness and mastery, frankly it was a disaster (though, judging by other clips, a not uncommon occurrence on the said show) and probably affected their chances in the UK rather badly. Thankfully they had the US to fall back on

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                      • Midnight Blue

                        You must include the charts history for Dreamers (top 2 in portugal) and Pete Knarren (top 75 in the UK)

                        104.1 Dreamers
                        104.2 Pete Knarren


                        Originally posted by Passing_Strang View Post
                        anpt, thank you for the info on "Midnight blue", a big number of recent cover versions - and then the song seemed to disappear... Strange.

                        debut album and it's very good, if you like that late 1980s synthpoppy/dancey sound, I recommend to give it a listen.
                        Last edited by anpt; Mon February 17th, 2020, 19:48.
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                        2019: 472. @anpt 47 posts

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                        • The Politics of Dancing Re-Flex

                          in its sixth week kept the 16th place of the previous week

                          Top Musica & Som (weekly charts 16)

                          22/06/1984

                          in its sixth week kept the 16th place of the previous week

                          also top 20 on the "TNT-Todos No Top" charts (radio, preferences)


                          Originally posted by Passing_Strang View Post
                          108. THE POLITICS OF DANCING by Re-Flex
                          --
                          2019: 472. @anpt 47 posts

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                          • "We re the Young" was his only hit in the german charts - 38, 25th in USA




                            Who Is Dan Hartman And Why Is Everyone Saying Those Wonderful Things About Him (1975)

                            https://www.discogs.com/Dan-Hartman-...elease/5509047
                            --
                            2019: 472. @anpt 47 posts

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                            • Originally posted by Passing_Strang View Post
                              Felt very sorry for them as they had immense trouble approaching their studio slickness and mastery, frankly it was a disaster (though, judging by other clips, a not uncommon occurrence on the said show) and probably affected their chances in the UK rather badly. Thankfully they had the US to fall back on
                              Ha yes; it is true that some of the studio mastery committed to vinyl back then simply could not be replicated live, even in the form of pre-programmed electronic instruments, as so often they would malfunction and even if they didn't, getting the sound 'big' enough to emulate what was achievable in-studio was a tall order to say the least. Think New Order nobly trudging their way through a very tinny take on 'Blue Monday' on TOTP in Mar '83! Compare that with say their live performance on 'Round & Round' on the same show only six years later and you'll see how far live synthesised sounds had come; it was far closer to the recording. Of course the most infamous 'performance' on The Tube that exposed not only the weakness of electronics on stage but probably the limited input the band actually had into the song's performance and production was Dead Or Alive. If I recall correctly weren't they actually thrown off for being too bad?! I'll have to look it up.

                              Comment


                              • Yes, "Blue monday" TOTP is a classic case. Interestingly, it's the one New Order performance that's shown most often on documentaries etc. Strange choice! By the way, should I include Blue monday" on this list?
                                As for the quality of synth sounds, well, they certainly have come a long way in a short space of time - but I often find myself being drawn to the early stuff, as the later one seems to lack that certain something, a spark of newness and adventure, seems somehow less interesting. Sure, quite a few great songs, but still something's lacking... Hate to sound like an boring old so-and-so - but may I, may I?!

                                anpt, thank you very much for Portuguese info! Maybe you'll find time to post what you have of "Top Musica & Som" weekly charts? I'm dying to see them! And I'll certainly include the additional info - only when I have a bit more time.

                                Now, let's move to Canada. The country produced many wonderful acts during the 1980s, but sadly not many of them broke through to the outside world. Yet this one actually made it very big for quite some time, having hits up until early 1990s - which is a rare feat for the band from the periphery launched so late into the 1980s. Mainly their success was limited to North America - they were very big indeed in their homecountry, and even impressed their neighbours enough to score quite a few hits. Musically nothing revolutionary (which they readily admitted themselves), but a nice example of mid/late 1980s stadium-oriented pop-rock, that managed one sizeable worldwide hit.

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                                • 109. Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) by Glass Tiger

                                  Written by: Alan Frew/Sam Reid/Jim Vallance
                                  Produced by: Jim Vallance
                                  Country of origin: Canada
                                  Date of release: 27 January 1986

                                  Australia
                                  27 October 1986 - #9 - 24 weeks

                                  Canada
                                  RPM: 8 February 1986 - #1 (2) - 27 weeks
                                  The Record: #1 (2) - 21 weeks

                                  France
                                  TMP France: 8 February 1987 - #82 - 5 weeks

                                  (West) Germany
                                  13 October 1986 - #32 - 10 weeks

                                  Ireland
                                  16 November 1986 - #26 - 2 weeks

                                  Israel
                                  21 September 1986 - #24 - 4 weeks

                                  Netherlands
                                  Nationale Hitparade: 13 December 1986 - #40 - 3 weeks
                                  Nederlandse Tipparade: #4 - 7 weeks

                                  New Zealand
                                  12 October 1986 - #27 - 6 weeks

                                  Portugal


                                  South Africa
                                  19 April 1987 - #8 - 15 weeks

                                  UK
                                  Music Week: 11 October 1986 - #29 - 10 weeks
                                  The Network Chart: 25 October 1986 - #31 - 9 weeks
                                  New Musical Express: 8 November 1986 - #28 - 6 weeks
                                  Melody Maker: 8 November 1986 - #28 - 5 weeks

                                  USA
                                  Billboard: 12 July 1986 - #2 - 24 weeks
                                  Cash Box: 12 July 1986 - #3 - 21 weeks
                                  Radio & Records: 25 July 1986 - #5 - 14 weeks
                                  Last edited by Passing_Strang; Sat February 22nd, 2020, 22:00.

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                                  • Hmm don't think I've heard that song since it was out in '86 and never a massive hit even then. I'll have to refresh my memory.

                                    As for including 'Blue Monday' on this list, I would recommend that you probably could get away with doing so much more than some that you have included, because arguably the secret of the track's widespread and enduring appeal was that it tapped-in to so many different musical genres. It was essentially a dance-pop record, but clearly contained elements of music and sound that anyone could legitimately deem as 'synth pop', 'electro', 'white funk', even 'indie rock'. It gained so much cultural traction in both white and black audiences, guitar and synth lovers. Given this, and the history of the band having directly arisen from the ashes of Joy Division and with a clear mainline from their older sound to their new, perhaps classifying it as 'new wave' is useful in that it helps to capture all the above in a handy catch-all category. After all, new wave music was appreciated by a broad church of folk and spanned a wide musical palette; nobody could just say it's either 'guitar' or 'synth', 'pop' or 'indie' etc. Just look at compilations down the years and the breadth of acts and styles it embraced as part of its general 'post-punk' or 'do it for yourself, by yourself' message is immediately apparent. Plus it'd be interesting to see how it performed around the globe chart-wise! So yes. Do it!

                                    Oh and I completely agree about preferring the older, analogue synth sounds! Later developments just didn't have that shine and sense of newness that the original machinery and those who first harnessed it did. It's all too easy now of course, with everything doable via a single laptop and a few add-ons. I guess it's down to personal taste, but try listening closely to a digital equivalent of an analogue sound - it's just not as sharp! I assume that's mostly because the former is essentially a sampled recreation of the latter, and some sonic fidelity will always be lost, however sophisticated the equipment used to do it. Kind-of-like comparing a CD with good-condition vinyl. All bass and no treble!

                                    Comment


                                    • I love Glass Tiger.
                                      Don't know it they really fit the bill here.

                                      Can we move our attention to more obscure tracks and regional hits for a while?
                                      Some suggestions that may not be widely known:

                                      Adrian Gurvitz - Classic
                                      B-Movie - Nowhere Girl
                                      Chagrin D'Amour - Chacun Fait (C'Qui Lui Plait)
                                      Classix Nouveaux - Guilty
                                      Drum Theatre - Eldorado
                                      Fiat Lux - Secrets
                                      Fox The Fox - Precious Little Diamond
                                      Grauzone - Eisbär
                                      Industry - State Of The Nation
                                      Lio - Amoureux Solitaires
                                      Rheingold - Dreiklangs-Dimensionen (Triad Dimensions)


                                      //Edit

                                      navi
                                      Do you know this thread?
                                      trebor's - 2016 in Country Music
                                      trebor's - 2015 in Country Music

                                      Comment


                                      • trebor, while I'm a fan of most of these songs (and bands! ), I feel they simply don't have a place here - quite a few of them have only 1-to-3 entries in the international charts, that's too small a scale. I've just had an idea for a separate thread about minor hits, that had under 10 entries. And I have quite a few of them already. But that'll have to wait until I publish what's planned for this thread - which is at least 10 songs more.

                                        Can't say I'm overly familiar with Glass Tiger output, but they have a song called "Ancient evenings", which is just great, right up my valley, as they say. Will have to investigate their repertoire one day

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                                        • There's a certain similarity between 'Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)' by Glass Tiger and 'Can't Stop This Thing We Started' by Bryan Adams. Perhaps Bryan was inspired by the Glass Tiger track - he does sing backing vocals on it!

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                                          • Originally posted by Robbie View Post
                                            There's a certain similarity between 'Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)' by Glass Tiger and 'Can't Stop This Thing We Started' by Bryan Adams. Perhaps Bryan was inspired by the Glass Tiger track - he does sing backing vocals on it!
                                            I can hear the similarity but the Bryan Adams song works far better in my opinion.

                                            With the Glass Tiger track there's an odd dissonance between the jaunty, upbeat music and the downbeat poor-broken-hearted-me lyrics.

                                            Comment



                                            • Canada
                                              RPM: 8 February 1986 - #1 (2) - 27 weeks

                                              Also two weeks at No.1 on The Record, with 21 weeks on the chart.

                                              Comment


                                              • Just noticed that Midnight Blue reached #31 on 16/4/83 on the HMV singles chart published in Sounds.

                                                Comment


                                                • Originally posted by trebor View Post
                                                  //Edit

                                                  navi
                                                  Do you know this thread?


                                                  yeah i know and following regularly with mixed emotions
                                                  these music evidently belongs to my younghood,
                                                  but my music taste back then was pretty much radical, leaning on punk, goth and hardcore,
                                                  but it was a different time, new music wasn't accessible and easy to find like today
                                                  and radio was primary source for listening music and this kind of music rules the airwaves and was inescapable, so

                                                  love same of these songs, some of them consider as "guilty pleasures",
                                                  and some of them hated back then and that didn't change so far


                                                  Comment


                                                  • Originally posted by Gambo View Post
                                                    I guess it's down to personal taste, but try listening closely to a digital equivalent of an analogue sound - it's just not as sharp! I assume that's mostly because the former is essentially a sampled recreation of the latter, and some sonic fidelity will always be lost, however sophisticated the equipment used to do it. Kind-of-like comparing a CD with good-condition vinyl. All bass and no treble!
                                                    That's exactly my feelings, too. And what's interesting is how bass-heavy modern electronic (and electronically enhanced) music is - to the detriment of higher frequencies and overall atmosphere. Even when people have the right references, it's either that they are unable to produce music as intricate or that modern production techniques simply squeeze any life and nuance out from recordings. That's not to say there are no good songs today (though I feel one year of the 1970s or 1980s will be equal to a whole decade now), but they just don't grab as much, like there's something vital missing. And modern sounds, for all the technological advances, seem to be no more than a shadow of the originals they strive to emulate.

                                                    Well, at least we have good songs of the past to fall back on Here's one such song (well, it's a good song to me, at least). 1981 was an interesting year - a couple of frontmen of mid 1970s glam-teen-pop bands made considerable headway in the charts. One chose the futuristic sounds, one reverted back to "classic songwriting". One became (for some time) a man of the moment, the other proved to be a one-hit wonder. I won't draw any grand conclusions out of it, perhaps that's how life sometimes is.

                                                    What really bugs me is how on Earth did this song not chart in Ireland? Top 20 in the UK guaranteed at least a couple of weeks in the Irish Top 30 of the day - but not in this case. Not the only instance, of course, but one of the most puzzling, given how popular the song became in the continental Europe (and Australasia).

                                                    Also a crazy thing is how in Italy it charted in June on one chart, but only in late September in the other two! What a gap. Unthinkable nowadays.
                                                    Last edited by Passing_Strang; Sat February 22nd, 2020, 21:59.

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