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

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Postby Gambo » Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:08 pm

It should be clear on an objective basis that Midge Ure was - is - a very competent musician and composer, who has undoubtedly made his mark on popular music across a variety of different projects, from power-pop of Slik via leading the electronic dance-rock explosion in Visage and Ultravox, through to his more reflective solo work, not to mention of course his charitable contributions through Band Aid and his lesser-known work as a sideman for other acts - the legendary rockers Thin Lizzy among them. He is far more than a synthesiser player or pop composer; he knows his way around guitar riffing and rock-driven performance too - I seem to recall he started his interest in music growing up in the dismal back streets of Glasgow and built himself a guitar from scratch! The man has a natural gift, and his commercial performance, albeit constrained to the first five years of the 1980s in the main, demonstrated a melodic sensibility that was the driver behind numerous well-crafted and memorable pop moments, culminating with 'If I Was'.

The problem? Two-fold. First, that he and Ultravox did seem to take themselves a might too seriously despite being essentially 'just' a synth/guitar pop act. They were capable, but never had the attitude of punk or the guts of metal, and were never as danceable as the funk, soul or disco acts of the time. So kind of fell between several stools as a sort of sub-rock pro-electro set that would please none of the hard-arsed NME critics, albeit that for a while it passed very successfully among British and European teen audiences as decent pop. Perhaps U-vox were too broad in their capacities - although always recognisable, they were never formulaic; take following-up 'Vienna' - a cod-pompous sub-classical steely synth ballad with a virtuoso violin solo - with 'All Stood Still' - a rocky, new wave uptempo guitar explosion with a reggae breakdown for the middle-eight! Yet both were Top 10 hits in 1981. Subjective preference aside, surely they couldn't have been accused of being limited, or even necessarily desperate for commercial attention with choices of output like that. I suppose it was the pseudo-romantic lyricism and earnest looks that did Midge no favours and led to assumptions of pretence, especially once that fad passed come 1984. It all sounded impressive and intellectual, but actually probably meant very little. Okay they're far-from the only artist to fall into that bracket, but I do feel they tried a little too hard to be the archetypal New Romantics, and were called-out for it - especially as they had neither the stage presence nor sex appeal of say Duran - who were far-more shameless in their pursuit of commercial paydirt, yet straddled the synth/guitar interplay in a pop format not-so-dissimilar at the same time, and who have received a marginally-better hearing from the rock press. I guess looking back it just felt like Midge never quite saw the irony, although when you see him perform, appear in an interview, or indeed read his early 2000s autobiography, I think he is more-than-able to laugh at himself - it's just that didn't come across at to people in 1985 and so the dye was cast for some.

The second issue is because he found his fame in the early '80s, a time that's seldom looked-back on by more earnest rock revisionists as a period of genuine creativity, choosing to see only the flamboyant surface gestures and heavy reliance on dated-sounding tinny electronics rather than the actual true talent and ability that lay behind some of the more enduring songs and artists. You're right to say that it's received a better, softer appraisal from press in the last 10-15 years, partly because of the growing sense of nostalgia, and possibly because it's finally been recognised as a very rich era for British music, however populist, which simply isn't being exhibited in the same breadth today. But the hard-core muso types will never rate the era in general - and if they do it will be acts that were decidedly uncommercial, probably from the more rock-end of new wave or out-and-out indie oddities. Hell even U2 still get better reviews than Ultravox! I fear that this is partially-driven by the perceived politics of the big acts of the period too - although never overtly political in any way, acts like U-Vox, Duran, Spandau, et al were seen as proto-Thatcherite go-getters with few scruples. Some like Gary Numan who dared to align himself with Conservative views were openly ridiculed for it. Sadly, if you were Labour 'Red Wedge' a la Billy Bragg you were a hero, but if you were outside of that, you and consequently your music, must by default have been content to ignore at best, or be celebratory of at worst, the divisive regime of Thatcher. I like a lot of early '80s music for its lack of apparent political rants, but for an era so characterised for some by the red vs blue clash, they can never escape forging relationships between that and the music of the period, however unfair or over-generalised. It isn't as if fame and fortune, and the narrow pursuit thereof at almost any cost was solely an '80s thing; it is seen just as vigorously - and I think more shamelessly - in modern hip-hop, which also appears to revel openly in gang culture, violence, law-breaking and misogyny, yet nobody dares slate that because it has the protected characteristics of being 'from the streets' (and so 'honest') and of black origin (ergo from those subjugated in the past by white people).

Poor old Midge is I suppose too white and too middle class in his sensibilities to be taken as seriously as he could've been, then and now. But personal bias aside, he deserves the accolades that will probably never be given him, and every time I see some leftie Jimmy Somerville-ite singing along to 'Do They Know It's Christmas' as heartily as everyone, I smile and remember that that irresistible tune came not from Geldof and his guitar as many probably assume, but from Ure and his synth! What a great legacy.

And he had amazing sideburns.
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Postby anpt » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:34 pm

Off-topic :)

Midge Ure wrote:
Breathe - 1997/1998
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breathe_(Midge_Ure_song)

Austria - 1
France - 24
Germany - 12
Italy - 1
Spain - 2
Switzerland - 17
UK - 70

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Postby trebor » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:33 pm

Entry #23 Trio: "Da Da Da"
You may want to add:

Master: "Mundial Da-Da Da" [Da Da Da (Mundial '82)] (Durium SpA - Ld AI 8147)

Italy: TV Sorrisi & Canzoni (S&G/Infratest Italiana) Week 38/1982
49 - 47 - 48 - 45 - 45 - out
5 weeks - Peak #45

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Postby Passing_Strang » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:01 pm

anpt, Midge also had a sizeable hit in "No Regrets" and "Cold Cold Heart" charted noticeably too. Yet all everyone remembers is that big one :D

Gambo, thank you very much for your essay! I enjoyed reading it and you've made perfectly thought-out points. What bugs me, essentially, is that Ultravox peers - like OMD, Human League, Depeche Mode - are now seem to be accepted by music critics as genuine electro-pop artists. Not of course as "worthy" as rock of 1960s and 1970s but labeled "good music" at last. Even Numan, mercilessly hounded for his every utterance for decades, is in vogue now (and actually had an album at no. 2 in the UK charts this very year!)! Despite the fact that his early albums, held so high today, are directly influenced by Ultravox and he even proudly stated it all the time.

And yet with all of this in view Ultravox themselves are still on the sidelines - and it looks like they will stay there for the time being. Of course, there's nothing new as the music press has been harsh on the band during their existence - but there was no attempt to re-evaluate them! Well, not quite, John Foxx seems to have finally received considerable degree of respect during the late 2000s and going - but when it comes to the 1980s version of the band, it's a no-go for critics, not even as that strange concept of "guilty pleasure". Like they are being quietly written out of history. That makes me sad - but, again, your explanation is spot-on, they just don't fit in with the current revisionism. The fact that they drew inspiration from European classical tradition just makes them alien in today's climate. Which is a shame as they offered an interesting way for synth music to develop.

As for Midge, he's also not your typical "rock star" figure - no excesses, actually a rather low profile even at the height of popularity. Consequently, no crazy stuff for anecdotes (like throwing TV sets from the hotel room windows). That hurts chances of a publicity (current or future) and being labelled "interesting" big time. As for facial hair, it's really strange how he not only got away with that look but actually became a bit of a sex symbol for some time. Still, a striking look, I wish it'd look quarter of a half as good on me (yes, I tried to replicate it :oops: ) :D

Robbie, the thing about "If I Was" and this solo project of Midge as that he meant to return to the band. But at the same time the success he's had clearly distanced him from Ultravox and he got more and more critical of it, seeing it as a spent force. Strange how one can start with the best intentions and then end up not at all where he wanted to go (yet it's so often the case).
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Postby Passing_Strang » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:10 pm

trebor wrote:Entry #23 Trio: "Da Da Da"
You may want to add:

Master: "Mundial Da-Da Da" [Da Da Da (Mundial '82)] (Durium SpA - Ld AI 8147)
trebor, thank you very much - exactly the stuff I'm looking for! Will add ASAP!

And the guy who did the mundial overview certainly had a great knowledge (not to mention taste) of electronic music. Even managed to squeeze in that hair-raising bit from "The Ascent" by Ultravox! He's my hero! :D
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Postby Gambo » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:26 pm

Passing_Strang wrote:
As for Midge, he's also not your typical "rock star" figure - no excesses, actually a rather low profile even at the height of popularity.
I know what you mean, although when you read his biog you find he actually sank gradually into alcoholism - not so as one would notice in performance, and it was as far as I know not dwelt-on heavily by the press (probably because by that stage Ure was regarded by most as something of a 'spent force' to use your term) - but apparently his addiction to Jack Daniels got the better of him for a few years, and I think he attributes the breakdown of his first marriage to it. From what I can tell he's worked-through it pretty successfully, but it does show that the cumulative stresses of success and the fame it brings with it - and perhaps the precipitous fall from it once past a peak - can get to anyone, even someone more measured who is less-known for rock 'n' roll excess like Midge.

Anyway. Next please. I'm thinking maybe 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' by A-Ha?!
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Postby Passing_Strang » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:41 pm

I remember that tale from his book, yes. Though it isn't written like something Earth-shattering, from what I remember (however it explains some of his erratic behaviour over the years). He weathered it well, too, seeing how in this decade he's more active (and productive) than in previous two! By the way, right now I'm reading "Inside New Order" by Peter Hook - and can hardly understand how he's alive and kicking now, he should be gone years ago now from what he writes about his substance abuse. Now that's proper addiction! :D

"The Sun" is a great pastiche of Ultravox, musically at least, don't you think? In fact the first (and best?) A-ha album is so like Ultravox in places it's downright strange considering they were produced by the great Tony Mansfield - who, for all his greatness, made all his projects sound like New Musik for better or worse! He can rival Trevor Horn as a guy who imposed a certain sound on the artists he was in charge of. Great sound, though, to me, pity he didn't do more and wasn't more successful in his efforts.

But no. A-ha won't be here - they were so big and had so many hits! It's like including Duran, say, or Spandau... Wait! Oh shi- :D

All right, though. The next one is a British singer who loved very much to perform with the US flag painted on his guitar. Can't remember whether he emigrated or simply made quitessentially American music in some small English town, but all his successes bar this one were on the other side of Atlantic. Not that there were many of them and it's the song he's solely remembered for. Great song,too, - very typical of its time but very uplifting, it's a late discovery for me, not too overplayed and consequently sounds quite fresh. I dig it :D
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Postby Passing_Strang » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:45 pm

73. ST ELMO'S FIRE (MAN IN MOTION) by John Parr

Written by: John Parr/David Walter Foster
Produced by: David Walter Foster
Country of origin: USA
Release date: 23 June 1985

Australia
30 September 1985 - #4 - 19 weeks

Austria
Ö3-Hitparade: 6 October 1985 - #4 - 11 weeks
Der Musikmarkt: 1 November 1985 - #8 - 10 weeks

Belgium
Belgie Super 30: 19 October 1985 - #10 - 7 weeks
BRT Top 30: 19 October 1985 - #11 - 7 weeks

Canada
RPM: 13 July 1985 - #1 (3) - 24 weeks
The Record: ? 1985 - #3 - 17 weeks

France
InfoDisc: 20 October 1985 - #62 - 8 weeks
TMP France: 13 October 1985 - #46 - 10 weeks

(West) Germany
23 September 1985 - #6 - 13 weeks

Ireland
12 September 1985 - #5 - 10 weeks

The Netherlands
De Nederlandse Top 40: 5 October 1985 - #19 - 8 weeks
Nationale Hitparade: 5 October 1985 - #22 - 7 weeks

New Zealand
6 October 1985 - #5 - 11 weeks

Norway
23 October 1985 - #3 - 8 weeks

Poland
5 October 1985 - #24 - 4 weeks

South Africa
2 November 1985 - #2 - 22 weeks

Sweden
Trackslistan: 7 September 1985 - #1 (3) - 8 weeks
Topplistan: 4 October 1985 - #4 - 8 weeks

Switzerland
6 October 1985 - #4 - 12 weeks

UK
Music Week: 7 September 1985 - #6 - 14 weeks
The Network Chart: 7 September 1985 - #4 - 13 weeks
New Musical Express: 21 September 1985 - #6 - 11 weeks
Melody Maker: 21 September 1985 - #7 - 10 weeks

USA
Billboard: 22 June 1985 - #1 (2) - 22 weeks
Radio & Records: 5 July 1985 - #1 (1) - 15 weeks
Cash Box: 6 July 1985 - #1 (2) - 23 weeks

Zimbabwe
16 November 1985 - #1 (2) - 12 weeks

73.1. New Horizon by John Parr vs Tommyknockers

UK
24 June 2006 - #43 - 2 weeks

73.2. Writing on the Wall (St Elmo's Fire) by 2-4 Grooves

Germany
7 March 2008 - #92 - 3 weeks
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Postby Robbie » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:47 pm

Passing_Strang wrote:
"The Sun" is a great pastiche of Ultravox, musically at least, don't you think? In fact the first (and best?) A-ha album is so like Ultravox in places it's downright strange considering they were produced by the great Tony Mansfield - who, for all his greatness, made all his projects sound like New Musik for better or worse! He can rival Trevor Horn as a guy who imposed a certain sound on the artists he was in charge of. Great sound, though, to me, pity he didn't do more and wasn't more successful in his efforts.

But no. A-ha won't be here - they were so big and had so many hits! It's like including Duran, say, or Spandau... Wait! Oh shi- :D

All right, though. The next one is a British singer who loved very much to perform with the US flag painted on his guitar. Can't remember whether he emigrated or simply made quitessentially American music in some small English town, but all his successes bar this one were on the other side of Atlantic. Not that there were many of them and it's the song he's solely remembered for. Great song,too, - very typical of its time but very uplifting, it's a late discovery for me, not too overplayed and consequently sounds quite fresh. I dig it :D
Much of the early success of a-ha was down to the fact that a number of the tracks that Tony Mansfield originally produced were re-recorded either for the album release or at least remixed for the version that was released as a single without any further Tony Mansfield involvement. Mansfield produced the original 1984 version of 'Take On Me' but the 1985 re-recording (which is the version that appears on the album) was produced by Alan Tarney who was none other than Cliff Richard's producer! Tarney also produced the follow up single 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' and was responsible for remixing the two Tony Mansfield produced tracks that were also taken from the 'Hunting High And Low' album and released as singles ('Train Of Thought' and the title track).

'St Elmo's Fire' is quite possibly THE most 1985 sounding single there is. Everything about it just dates the song to 1985 better than any other single from that year. Here in the UK the track is still heavily played yet I never tire of hearing it.

John Parr was living in the US in the years he had his greatest success though he appears to be living back in the UK these days.
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Postby Gambo » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:23 pm

Interesting stuff Robbie and Passing re Tony Mansfield of New Musik 'fame'. I didn't know he'd been involved with A-Ha's early material, though in fairness I didn't ever have the 'Hunting High And Low' LP as far as I can recall, only some of the singles which bore the name of Alan Tarney on production/mixing duty. I did become aware that the 'Take On Me' we all know was a re-recorded version and the title track was cited as a re-mix when issued as a single, but I didn't know who'd manned the mixing desk on the originals. Actually it's a name I'd forgotten entirely until three years ago when A-Ha released their new album, which was I think was at least partly-produced (possibly co-written with in the case of some tracks - would have to check) Alan, which I thought was a nice touch. They released an excellent single called 'The Wake' which was the best thing they've done for years, but needless to say it sank without trace in the UK in this era of streaming-friendly bland formulaic hip-hop etc. Too much melody and musicianship and not enough swearing and arse-wiggling.
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Postby Passing_Strang » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:09 pm

A-ha are the real treasure of European pop music - and interestingly their huge popularity in the Soviet Bloc came almost at the same time with the West - a rare occurence before but increasingly often since mid 1980s, when the Iron Curtain was fast becoming Iron Tatters, so to say :D In fact since 1985 it was usual for European sensations to become big in the USSR in a matter of months - like it was with Modern Talking, probably the biggest European pop sensation of the year. Only a one hit wonder in the UK, yet THE influence on Soviet pop music of the late 1980s. A-ha were of a lesser stature, probably because they seemed intent on changing their sound constantly - which was often with New Wave/New Pop bands, who seemed uneasy with the very notion of formula, however successful it proved to be. What a rare thing from nowadays, when even the hint of a successful formula gets exploited, copied and regurgitated for years...

Anyway, we're still in 1985 (and will be for a bit more) - and you can say another contender for the title of the most mid 1980s sounding hit. We had Midge, now another very distinctive singer that big things were expected of - but saw his carrier slide down almost immediately. In fact, their solo carrier trajectories are so alike it's downward strange!

By the way, the guy was earlier of this list. Also, a rare appearance by one half of probably the most successful 1980s duo (hence why they are not on here :D ).
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Postby Passing_Strang » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:13 pm

74. A GOOD HEART by Feargal Sharkey

Written by: Maria McKee
Produced by: David A. Stewart
Country of origin: UK
Release date: October 1985

Australia
25 November 1985 - #1 (2) - 24 weeks

Austria
Der Musikmarkt: 1 February 1986 - #13 - 6 weeks

Belgium
BRT Top 30: 14 December 1985 - #2 - 15 weeks
Belgie Super 30: 14 December 1985 - #2 - 9 weeks

Canada
RPM: 8 February 1986 - #4 - 20 weeks
The Record: ? 1986 - #7 - 17 weeks

France
TMP France: 1 December 1985 - #9 - 21 weeks
InfoDisc: 18 January 1986 - #37 - 10 weeks

(West) Germany
9 December 1985 - #4 - 16 weeks

Ireland
17 October 1985 - #1 (2) - 13 weeks

Italy
Musica e Dischi: 15 February 1986 - #18 - 3 weeks
TV Sorrisi & Canzoni: 23 February 1986 - #30 - 11 weeks

The Netherlands
De Nederlandse Top 40: 7 December 1985 - #1 (2) - 15 weeks
Nationale Hitparade: 14 December 1985 - #2 - 14 weeks

New Zealand
26 January 1986 - #3 - 16 weeks

Norway
11 December 1985 - #6 - 10 weeks

Portugal
4 February 1986 - #3 - 19 weeks

South Africa
14 March 1986 - #3 - 21 weeks

Sweden
Trackslistan: 30 November 1985 - #11 - 4 weeks

Switzerland
29 December 1985 - #3 - 10 weeks

UK
Music Week: 12 October 1985 - #1 (2) - 16 weeks
The Network Chart: 12 October 1985 - #2 - 16 weeks
Melody Maker: 26 October 1985 - #1 (2) - 13 weeks
New Musical Express: 2 November 1985 - #1 (2) - 12 weeks

USA
Billboard: 15 March 1986 - #74 - 6 weeks
Cash Box: 29 March 1986 - #81 - 5 weeks

Zimbabwe
11 January 1986 - #1 (2) - 18 weeks
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Postby Robbie » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:23 am

Although the production sounds a bit dated I still like 'A Good Heart'. The record was written by Maria McKee, supposedly about her then recent-ex boyfriend Benmont Tench. In return Tench wrote 'You Little Thief' about McKee. And Feargal Sharkey then recorded this song and released it as the follow up to 'A Good Heart'.
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Postby Gambo » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:09 pm

I didn't know Dave Stewart produced 'A Good Heart' though! Such a departure from what Mr Sharkey had done before and it did feel as if he just really wanted to have one big commercial hit, which had evaded him since his Undertones days, and this shamelessly ticked that box.

It's funny how this song and 'You Little Thief' were so different in sound and production but it didn't stop the latter being a reasonable Top 10 follow-up (in the UK at any rate).
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Postby trebor » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:36 pm

Passing_Strang wrote:74. A GOOD HEART by Feargal Sharkey
Please add:
Italy: RAI Hitparade: Dischi Caldi (RAI/RAI Stereodue/L.C.M. [Nielsen])
22 February 1986
16 - out
1 week - Peak #16
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Postby Passing_Strang » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:31 pm

trebor, thank you very much! I downloaded RAI magazine for the 1980s but only managed to get to early 1986 as of now - and have little time to work through the archives. If you contibute with this info for other performers I'll be really grateful!

Speaking of "A Good Heart", this was a second No. 1 hit for Dave Stewart - producer during 1985 (after Eurythmics, of course) and, no doubt, contributed strongly to his winning "Producer of the Year" title at the Brits 1986 (or was it BPI then?). I personally feel a bit ambivalent about the song, actually - maybe it could use a less bombastic, more acoustic arrangement that would complement Feargal's voice better. But the hit version was the order of the day then, as it ain't half bad - certainly much better than some of the formulaic soundalike stuff from the USA of the time. And turning "You Little Thief" into a bit of a hit was a neat trick! Pity Sharkey didn't stay in the spotlight longer as his third single from the debut album, "Somebody to Someone", bombed and he only returned into the upper reaches briefly in 1991... Still, he did well, after all!

Now - finally, you may say - a woman! Though in that era of gender benders it seemed questionable :D Grace Jones, of course, and I remember seeing one of her videos (for "Pull up to the Bumper" or the song that's about to follow) on TV and freaking out! Quite a feat to break into the mainstream with the image she had at the time. And actually this song heralded her breakthrough after years of semi-hits and critical acclaim. For a while she had world at her feet - but in the late 1986 already went out of fashion for some reason or other. Strange how fame works.

By the way, her 1981 single "I've Seen That Face Before" was a favourite on the Russian radio stations in the 1990s. I kept hearing it on one or the other station regularly. Can't say why that was - not an obvious smash (though it was der grosse hit in Europe - but not in the UK, strangely). Fantastic song, very haunting - and honestly I'd rather feature it. But the following one was a bigger hit - her biggest, in fact. Fine song anyway!

Also, third appearance on this list by Trevor Horn! :)
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Postby Passing_Strang » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:36 pm

75. SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM by Grace Jones

Written by: Trevor Horn/Bruce Martin Woolley/Stephen Lipson/Simon Darlow
Produced by: Trevor Horn
Country of origin: UK
Release date: October 1985

Australia
16 December 1985 - #20 - 13 weeks

Austria
Der Musikmarkt: 1 December 1985 - #7 - 14 weeks
O3-Hitparade: 22 December 1985 - #13 - 7 weeks

Belgium
Belgie Super 30: 2 November 1985 - #3 - 10 weeks
BRT Top 30: 2 November 1985 - #4 - 10 weeks

Finland
Seura: November 1985 - #9 - 2 weeks

France
8 March 1986 - #50 - 1 week

(West) Germany
4 November 1985 - #4 - 20 weeks

Italy
Musica e Dischi: 16 November 1985 - #6 - 14 weeks
TV Sorrisi e Canzoni: 1 December 1985 - #4 - 17 weeks
RAI Hit Parade: 11 January 1986 - #15 - 3 weeks

The Netherlands
De Nederlandse Top 40: 26 October 1985 - #3 - 12 weeks
Nationale Hitparade: 2 November 1985 - #4 - 11 weeks

New Zealand
3 November 1985 - #5 - 14 weeks

Poland
1 February 1986 - #32 - 6 weeks

Spain
28 December 1985 - #8 - 14 weeks

Switzerland
10 November 1985 - #5 - 12 weeks

UK
The Network Chart: 12 October 1985 - #6 - 8 weeks
Melody Maker: 12 October 1985 - #9 - 7 weeks
Music Week: 12 October 1985 - #12 - 9 weeks
New Musical Express: 19 October 1985 - #9 - 6 weeks

75.1. SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM '94 by Grace Jones

Australia
10 July 1994 - #93 - 1 week

UK
7 May 1994 - #28 - 2 weeks
Last edited by Passing_Strang on Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Robbie » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:15 pm

'Slave To The Rhythm' by Grace Jones is a great song. I bought the 12" single. The album of the same name from which the track is taken consisted of a number of interpretations of the track. According to Wikipedia the album project was originally intended for Frankie Goes To Hollywood as a follow-up to 'Relax' but was given to Grace Jones instead.

Incidentally, although it was a hit in 1986 'Pull Up To The Bumper' was originally released in 1981 and peaked in the UK at number 53. Prior to that Grace had reached the top 20 in the UK in August 1980 with a cover of the Chrissie Hynde penned, The Pretenders recorded 'Private Life'.

To most people in the UK Grace was probably better known for launching an on-air assault on TV chat show host Russell Harty in 1981. On live TV Jones started to slap him when he turned his back on her to interview other guests, complaining that he was ignoring her. She later admitted that she had taken some "bad coke" just prior to the show!
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Postby trebor » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:47 pm

Passing_Strang wrote:75. SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM by Grace Jones

Italy
Musica e Dischi: 16 November 1985 - #6 - 14 weeks
TV Sorrisi e Canzoni: 1 December 1985 - #4 - 17 weeks
RAI Hit Parade:
Italy: RAI Hitparade: Dischi Caldi (RAI/RAI Stereodue/L.C.M. [Nielsen])
11 January 1986
15 - 15 - 16 - out
3 weeks - Peak #15

Don't have the TV Sorrisi & Canzoni charts for this period but a clear Top 10 peak here including Musica & Dischi is bizarre (to say the least).
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Postby anpt » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:30 pm

GRACE JONES

I think the song was originally intended for Frankie Goes To Hollywood as a follow-up to the single 'Relax'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFH8g2MCcKQ

Grace Jones appeared in the film Conan the Destroyer (1984) and in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill (1985).

In UK the compilation "island Life" went to no. 4 in 1985.

FEARGAL

I'm not a big fan of Feargal Sharkey solo career. I Prefer some stuff from The Undertones and Assembly https://www.ukmix.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=6745623#p6745623

Robbie wrote:'Slave To The Rhythm' by Grace Jones is a great song. I bought the 12" single. The album of the same name from which the track is taken consisted of a number of interpretations of the track. According to Wikipedia the album project was originally intended for Frankie Goes To Hollywood as a follow-up to 'Relax' but was given to Grace Jones instead.

To most people in the UK Grace was probably better known for launching an on-air assault on TV chat show host Russell Harty in 1981.
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Postby Passing_Strang » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:51 pm

trebor wrote:Don't have the TV Sorrisi & Canzoni charts for this period but a clear Top 10 peak here including Musica & Dischi is bizarre (to say the least).
Well, I have singles books for both these charts by Guido Racca and the numbers are from them. Although if you flip the peak and weeks numbers they are in line with RAI chart showing... :-?
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Postby Passing_Strang » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:53 pm

anpt wrote:Grace Jones appeared in the film Conan the Destroyer (1984) and in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill (1985).
Yes, she was quite a big star because of those and it certainly helped her music carrier - for a short while, at least. Wonder what happened then - judging by chart positions, the slide was very fast!
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Postby Passing_Strang » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:14 pm

Robbie wrote:Grace had reached the top 20 in the UK in August 1980 with a cover of the Chrissie Hynde penned, The Pretenders recorded 'Private Life'.

To most people in the UK Grace was probably better known for launching an on-air assault on TV chat show host Russell Harty in 1981. On live TV Jones started to slap him when he turned his back on her to interview other guests, complaining that he was ignoring her. She later admitted that she had taken some "bad coke" just prior to the show!
Grace's version of "Private Life" is fantastic - and video is very striking even to this day, somewhat creepy, but still! Great one (haven't heard the original, though).

As for that TV appearance - crazy! You can just tell she's not fully in this world :D Though the host is to blame too, clearly trying to ridicule her. Anyway, a great bit of TV history.

By the way, with this coke story, having read so many memoirs by other performers, I wonder how many of those appearances by anybody were sober - not many, it seems...
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Postby Gambo » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:15 pm

'Slave' was overproduced, but still one of the most immaculately-produced singles of the period. And although dated, it remains a very stylish offering - as all Jones' singles were despite variation in genre. She's over 60 now but I caught her doing a live show of 'Slave' recently doubtless she can still sing, perform and capture imagination just as effectively. A little fuller of figure, but otherwise little seems to have changed.
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Postby Passing_Strang » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:56 pm

Watched several of her interviews last night - she's certainly a great presence and very interesting to watch, unpredictable but intelligent, not to mention her striking appearance! Truly a unique figure on the 1980s music scene!

Now off to Europe for a minute - and leading into 1986 nicely is a true one hit wonder with the song that became a true standard over the years. Admittedly, something which sets the bar a bit too high and is very hard to top - which they couldn't. Yet for a song to be remembered is no mean feat - and it's a great song, to boot!
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