So March is (just about) here already - with several inches of snow outside as far as the eye can see ! Over a quarter of my new chart, and more than three quarters of the breakers, are now tracks that aren't exactly "current" . . . . .
There are four non-movers in my third top forty of 2018 – including three of the top five. “All That Glitters”, last month’s Rapid Riser from Earl, grinds to a halt at number four; having very slowly climbed almost as high in the UK chart, “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man remains in the runner-up spot, and it’s a second month in pole position for Louane with “Si T’etais La”. Completing the top five are two of just eight climbers this time – Ofenbach are up two places to number three with “Katchi” and Pink is up five at number five with “Beautiful Trauma”. Both of these acts are just one spot short of matching their previous bests, with “Be Mine” and “Just Give Me A Reason” respectively. While more recent releases from Arcade Fire and Fatima Yamaha continue to advance, the other four upwardly mobile tracks were originally singles decades ago. Champagne ascend four places to 28 with “Rock And Roll Star”, Raffaella Carra goes up seven places to number 23 with “Fatalita”, Gilde Duo sneak into the top ten for the first time with the short instrumental “Muhle Im Schwarzwald”, and the Rapid Riser this time races up ten places to number eight for Agnetha Faltskog and Ola Håkansson – “The Way You Are”. Meanwhile, there are only two new entries, but both make impressive debuts. Ed Sheeran arrives at 13 with “Perfect” - and last month’s Chartbuster from Jasper Steverlinck, “Here’s To Love”, comes straight in at number six. That leaves twenty-six hits on the way down – including the fastest faller by Roger Whittaker, and the longest laster from Hooverphonic. “The Last Farewell” dives nine places to 32 in its tenth appearance, and “You” slides two spots to 37 after an impressive fourteen months in the top forty.
As Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson have dropped out of the chart with “Symphony”, this is the first top forty for a few years in which every track has been released on vinyl. Such is the disappointing quality of new music these days, however, that this is partly because eleven of the top forty originated in previous decades – and the top forty breakers are considerably more dominated by older material. This includes a former top ten hit returning following the recent death at the age of seventy-four of Barbara Alston, the lead singer of the Crystals – “Da Doo Ron Ron”. Just two recent releases have impressed me this month. “Crazy”, a collaboration with Zonderling, is currently the fifth number one in his Belgian homeland for Lost Frequencies (Felix De Laat) – and two of the others reached number one in my chart too. One of those featured Janieck (Devy) – who has now released a solo single which has the potential to become the smallest hit of the year in the Netherlands, as it has entered the top forty there at number forty (which almost never happens) after spending ten weeks in the Tipparade (equally rare). “Does It Matter” could be more successful in my chart in the months ahead, however.
So it’s one of the long-overlooked potential hits added to the breakers for the first time that is guaranteed to enter the top forty next month! This month, unusually, there are five old releases arriving from various different decades – none of which I had ever heard at all until recently. “Every Time” is a English version I was previously unaware of of “Ohne Dich”, one of the biggest successes in the German-speaking countries in the mid-1980s for Munchener Freiheit – while “Flirt” was an English version of the continental smash “Pour Un Flirt” by the late Michel Delpech which Jonathan King took to the UK top forty forty-six years ago, when I was only seven years old. I was equally ignorant of a song that topped the charts in the UK, Ireland and Australia in 1965 – “The Carnival Is Over” from the Seekers – and of “Live In Trouble”, one of the parodies by the Barron Knights which charted in 1977. Again, this was before I had begun to take any interest in pop music at all. And the new Chartbuster was originally released as a single in 1983, after being on an album in 1981 – but doesn’t appear to have charted anywhere. The group is an Italian chamber orchestra, specializing in Baroque music – playing original instruments but also incorporating a rock-style rhythm section of synthesizer, bass guitar and drums – and have apparently released seventy albums. They previously reached number 18 in my chart with “La Serenissima”, which was a minor hit in the UK but a top ten smash in Ireland. Now, three decades later, they are about to have their second success. My Record of the Month for March 2018 is Rondo Veneziano, and “San Marco”.
04 [ 13 ] BACARDI FEELING Kate Yanai 05 [ 08 ] ELLA ELLE L'A France Gall 06 [ 07 ] GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS Sailor 08 [ 15 ] DREAMS Cranberries 09 [ 24 ] MUSIC John Miles 10 [ 11 ] MATERIAL GIRL Madonna 12 [ 29 ] ST. ELMO'S FIRE (MAN IN MOTION) John Parr 13 [ 27 ] DESENCHANTEE Mylene Farmer 22 [ 26 ] I LOVE TO LOVE Tina Charles 24 [ 30 ] LOSING MY RELIGION R.E.M. 26 [ 28 ] THE BEST Tina Turner 27 [ 00 ] EVERY TIME Munchener Freiheit 28 [ 35 ] ESPECIALLY FOR YOU Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan 31 [ 32 ] I'M ON FIRE - 5,000 Volts 40 [ 00 ] DA DOO RON RON Crystals
The dominance of the older tracks is, of course, because the state of current music has still not improved for me in recent months - I'm beginning to wonder now whether it ever will.
But it's now time to revisit a much better period for music - and one from which some of my favourites can already be seen in the "Thirty Years Gone" Retro forum thread. Here's how they all fitted into my monthly chart from back then - when I was twenty-three years old, beginning the last few months of my training contract to become a Chartered Accountant, and having just passed the final exams I would ever have to sit . . . . .
The highest new entry this month was from Ireland, not available on YouTube and never released in the UK. Maybe more surprisingly, this continental hit arriving further down was never given a UK release either . . . . .
Perhaps it was perceived that its (anti-)drugs theme would reduce its chances of significant radio airplay here.
CZB wrote:The dominance of the older tracks is, of course, because the state of current music has still not improved for me in recent months - I'm beginning to wonder now whether it ever will.
The state of current music is very bad indeed, and I don't think that it will change either.
From 1988, I like all of the following:
02 02 03 ALWAYS ON MY MIND Pet Shop Boys 08 27 02 I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY Kylie Minogue 15 05 04 EVERLASTING LOVE Sandra ## 19 30 02 BOYS (SUMMERTIME LOVE) Sabrina 24 15 08 CROCKET'S THEME Jan Hammer 26 21 08 IT'S A SIN Pet Shop Boys 31 14 04 LOVE IN THE FIRST DEGREE Bananarama 34 44 02 Y.M.C.A. Village People 37 28 06 VOYAGE VOYAGE Desireless 39 ---- 01 TOGETHER FOREVER Rick Astley 42 38 04 YOU WIN AGAIN Bee Gees
Benny wrote:From 1988, I like all of the following:
15 05 04 EVERLASTING LOVE Sandra ##
All the others you mentioned still get a lot of radio airplay today, I think - this one, maybe not quite so much, certainly in the UK. It could never become a significant hit here - although I believe, like "Maria Magdalena", it was released more than once.
Now, half way through the month, a look back at a more recent year in which the decline in music was maybe already underway - 2014. Availability of tracks on vinyl, and even on CD single, was reducing - my favourite of the year was a CD-only release and therefore ineligible for the monthly top ten. Nine others, however, reached number one for at least one month, not necessarily in that particular year - so there were still some impressive tracks around. But only forty-six made it into the top forty - less than in any previous year since I had begun listening to music in 1978 - and there were just twenty-seven others reaching the breakers. Even adding on everything else I bought - or wanted to - there were only a disappointing total of eighty-six 2014 releases to list now. And here they are !
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CZB'S TRACKS OF 2014 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
16 04 14 RATHER BE Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne ## 25 07 13 CHANDELIER Sia 29 04 11 GHOSTTOWN Madonna 34 06 09 I WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN Rita Ora 35 07 08 FROOT Marina and the Diamonds ## 43 17 10 OUTSIDE Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding 60 92 ---- SUMMER Calvin Harris 64 96 ---- FIRE MEET GASOLINE Sia
Not a big fan of 2014 but I like all the songs above, especially 'I Will Never Let You Down' (one of the best songs Calvin Harris has ever produced) and 'Froot' (shame that it wasn't a bigger success!).
Thanks again, Benny - I didn't know that Calvin Harris had produced that Rita Ora song. The only other one by her that I've ever liked enough to buy was her collaboration with Sigma, "Coming Home" - but he has so far reached the breakers with ten different tracks on which he is credited. Two of those - both involving Ellie Goulding - have gone on to reach my top forty.
Now, it's time for the second Retro chart of the month. This is a long journey back to when I was in the Upper Sixth at school, studying hard for "A" levels in French, Principles of Accounting and Further Maths - and the only chart shows I was listening to were those of the UK and Ireland. So everything in this chart had been successful, even if only slightly, in one or both of those countries. The year was 1982, I was seventeen years old, and this was my chart from March of that year:
Benny wrote:'Cambodia' is nice! How did 'Kids In America', 'You Came' and 'You Keep Me Hanging On' by Kim Wilde perform on your chart?
None of these reached my top forty - I didn't really like "You Keep Me Hanging On" at all, but I did buy the other two. I'm not sure now why they entered the breakers quite some time after their original releases - "Kids In America" arrived in September 1997, remaining for seven months and peaking at number 85, and "You Came" came into the breakers in October 2006, staying nine months but going no higher than number 113 !
A reworking of "Cambodia" by DJ Marco V reached number 16 in my top forty in 2009. It was entitled, for no obvious reason, "Coma Aid" - and, to this day, I suspect that this was a misprint and it was supposed to be "Coma Aid B", which would have been an anagram of "Cambodia" . . . . .
CZB wrote:A reworking of "Cambodia" by DJ Marco V reached number 16 in my top forty in 2009. It was entitled, for no obvious reason, "Coma Aid" - and, to this day, I suspect that this was a misprint and it was supposed to be "Coma Aid B", which would have been an anagram of "Cambodia" . . . . .
There are three non-movers in my new chart this month – and those are the top three, as neither “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man or “Katchi” from Ofenbach vs Nick Waterhouse can overtake French singer Louane. She stays at number one for a third month with “Si T’etais La”. Perhaps the strongest challenger to replace that next time is the one and only new entry – last month’s Chartbuster, unusually, was an instrumental originally recorded almost thirty years ago, and now Rondo Veneziano arrive at number eight with “San Marco”. That instantly becomes their biggest hit - because their only previous one, “La Serenissima”, peaked at number eighteen. An even older recording is the joint highest of ten climbers this time – Champagne move up from 28 to 21 with “Rock And Roll Star”, sharing the title of Rapid Riser with Ed Sheeran. He ascends into the top ten, going from 13 to six with the song that recently topped the charts in many different countries, “Perfect”. And, bizarrely, three releases from the 1970s which made belated debuts in my top forty in March 2017 are all still around to become the joint longest lasters. Falling just one place each, those are “The Pushbike Song” by the Mixtures at 37, “Oh Boy” from Brotherhood Of Man at 39, and Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” at 40. Twenty-three other tracks on the way down include Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello with “Bad Things”, this month’s fastest faller – that dives eight places to number 29.
As the existence of recent releases that have the potential to become future hits becomes as much of a problem as their availability in physical formats – even in countries in which these still remain relatively popular – this month’s search through the archives focuses on a period just before I was born. Seven singles from the early 1960s now have their chances of entering my top forty in the months ahead. Three of them are instrumentals – the theme for the “Pink Panther” films by Henry Mancini, the signature tune from the police drama series “Z Cars” from Johnny Keating, and the rock version of a Tschaikovsky composition from B. Bumble and the Stingers, “Nut Rocker”. They are joined by girl groups the Ronettes and the Crystals, with “Then He Kissed Me” and “Be My Baby” respectively – two songs which previously reached my chart together as a medley by Rachel Sweet – and two further releases that might be described as “novelty” in nature. From Benny Hill, there’s “Pepys’ Diary”, and from the Singing Nun, “Dominique”. However, guaranteed a place in my top forty next month as the new Chartbuster is a song from an album released last year that may or may not be an official single – as it is currently charting in some countries only, alongside another track from the same album that seems to have received much greater promotion and attracted much more airplay, despite its lyrics being unnecessarily crude. Proving that she is capable of much more pleasant songs without the need for vulgarity, the 22-year-old London-born singer-songwriter and model who recently won two “Brit Awards” for being the year’s best “British Female Solo Act” and “British Breakthrough Act” is about to have her second hit in my top forty. The first was “Be The One”, which spent eleven months there and peaked at number nine. My Record of the Month for April 2018 is Dua Lipa, with “Homesick”.
30 29 09 STORY OF A HEART Steps 31 30 11 SCARED OF THE DARK Steps
TOP 40 BREAKERS:
03 [ 06 ] GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS Sailor 04 [ 04 ] BACARDI FEELING Kate Yanai 05 [ 05 ] ELLA ELLE L'A France Gall 07 [ 08 ] DREAMS Cranberries 08 [ 09 ] MUSIC John Miles 09 [ 13 ] DESENCHANTEE Mylene Farmer 11 [ 27 ] EVERY TIME Munchener Freiheit 12 [ 12 ] ST. ELMO'S FIRE (MAN IN MOTION) John Parr 14 [ 35 ] THE CARNIVAL IS OVER Seekers 15 [ 40 ] DA DOO RON RON Crystals 22 [ 22 ] I LOVE TO LOVE Tina Charles 23 [ 24 ] LOSING MY RELIGION R.E.M. 24 [ 26 ] THE BEST Tina Turner 25 [ 28 ] ESPECIALLY FOR YOU Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan 26 [ 31 ] I'M ON FIRE - 5,000 Volts 39 [ 00 ] BE MY BABY Ronettes 40 [ 00 ] THEN HE KISSED ME Crystals
Thanks again, Benny - I think some of these are more likely to make it into the top forty than the more recent releases that are also there !
Now, just one retro monthly chart for April - but the chart of the year 2015 is also on the way, a little later in the month. When I was twenty-one years old, in my first year of the seven I spent in full-time employment, this was the music I was enjoying from the wide range of charts from all around Europe I was tuning into, and from singles released a few years earlier that I had only recently managed to obtain :
01 12 06 THE POWER OF LOVE Jennifer Rush ## 06 08 03 CHAIN REACTION Diana Ross 08 17 02 MANIC MONDAY Bangles 09 10 02 BROTHER LOUIE Modern Talking ## 13 21 02 WALK OF LIFE Dire Straits 14 14 04 MEDLEY 1985 - Village People 22 24 02 DESTINY Jennifer Rush 27 23 07 VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR Buggles 33 36 02 IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT Sandra 34 34 05 HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO Bonnie Tyler 37 25 06 SPANISH EDDIE Laura Branigan 40 40 09 TARZAN BOY Baltimora 47 35 07 (I'LL NEVER BE) MARIA MAGDALENA / PARTY GAMES Sandra ## 49 39 06 TAKE ON ME A-ha
Thanks again Benny - and most of those ones are still often played on the radio nowadays, thirty-two years on. I wonder if many rather more current hits will continue to be heard as much in decades ahead . . . . .
Now, it's time to look back on a much less impressive year than 1986, revisiting a twelve-month period from the rather more recent past. 2015 is that year - and the number of tracks I liked and bought reduced considerably from the eighty-six featured from 2014 last month. Just thirty-one 2015 releases reached my monthly top forty . . . nineteen more didn't make it through the breakers . . . and there were only four others that I bought that I didn't regard as quite good enough to list there. So, a total of a mere fifty-four. And here they are !
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CZB'S TRACKS OF 2015 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~