Swear to God that I had completed the preparation for this list WAY before that Duets programme was shown on BBC4 on Saturday night. Some duets started out as such, others came about as a mutual appreciation of each others work, some have sexual chemistry in abundance, others clearly do not.. I already have MORE than 101 lined up – but in no particular order – let’s just see how we get on shall we?
Number 1. Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue – ‘Kids’
These two little minxes were definitely the sexiest pop stars of the year 2000 (I mean look at Kylie’s lips!).. Not only that but they were both making incredibly good records. So little surprise that together, they crafted something remarkable. Written by his old songwriting partner Guy Chambers with Kylie in mind, this was a worldwide smash hit (America just didn’t get it surprisingly). Kylie was called, rather unfairly, by critics as the singing budgie. Robbie was probably the UK’s biggest pop sensation (not sure if anyone has come close since really).. and had just come off the back of Rock DJ which saw him stripped to his tiger-y underpants.
Number 2. William Bell & Judy Clay – ‘Private Number’
Judy Clay was born Judith Grace Guions who began singing in a Gospel group aged 14. She was a member of the Sweet Inspirations alongside Emily Houston and Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick. She recorded two biggish duets, the first with Billy Vera and the second with William Bell. She performed backing vocal duties for Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and suffered a brain tumour in 1979. She returned to the gospel fold but died in a car accident in 2001.
William was originally with the Del-Rios, writing material before finally breaking through as a solo singer in the mid 60’s. He wrote I Forgot To Be Your Lover, which was covered in the 80’s by Billy Idol.
Released on the wonderful Stax label (which had the best logo EVER)…
…Private Number reached Number 8 on it’s UK release. BIG shame that no footage is around of them performing this – but I can only imagine that the electricity would support the needs of a small American state. In these multi-media days, the idea of getting a private number from someone is quite sweet. Gorgeous record, equally gorgeous couple..
Number 3: Womack & Womack – ‘Love Wars’
Linda Womack, daughter of Sam Cooke, also known as Zeriiya Zekkariyas and lives in Africa with her seven children. (And of course Womack brother Bobby married Sam Cookes widow). Her and Cecil met when she was a pre-teen, he initially proposed to her when she was 12. She said no, they went their separate way, her to college and him to tour with his brothers, marrying Mary Wells on the way (they divorced in 1977).
Back together again Linda & Cecil (also known as Zekkariyas), recorded a string of great soul records. Love Wars is from the self titled debut LP, and they do look incredibly happy on the LP cover. Cecil died on 1st February 2013.
Number 4: t.a.T.u – ‘All The Things She Said’
Occasionally a pop single knocks you sideways with it brilliance and this record did that some 11 years ago. No-one knew anything about t.a.T.u outside of their home country of Russia and had they REALLY been lesbians I doubt that they would have been able to release this record, let alone score a worldwide smash. For a time then, it was quite the fashion to dress as a schoolgirl and wander about in the soaking rain holding hands. So what has become of t.a.T.u? Lena Katina (ginger), began singing aged 8, is a skilled pianist, artistic gymnast, ballroom dancer and ice skater. She is about to release her first solo LP (form an orderly queue). Yulia Volkova is also about to release a solo LP. And how shocked were we when she announced that she was pregnant by her long-term boyfriend. T.a.T.u have represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest coming in third place (the year the UK struggled to reach 26 with erm Jemini).
Oh I forgot to mention, the awesomely talented Trevor Horn is behind the whole thing as co-writer and producer.
Number 5: Esther & Abi Ofarim – ‘Cinderella Rockefella’
Well here’s a record that you don’t here very much anymore. One of my earliest musical memories was hearing (and seeing) this on the radio and on a number of variety shows. Still has the capability to annoy and thrill depending which side you are on.
Esther & Abi were an Israeli husband and wife – she yodelled and sang in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1963 where she represented Switzerland and came second. Abi as we can see, had the most astonishing eyebrows and a marvellous pair of shoes. They divorced in 1970. For a while they were Israel’s answer to Sonny & Cher and that’s no bad thing. Groovy video too filmed round Bank tube station.
Number 6: Mike Sarne & Wendy Richard – ‘Come Outside’
Mike was an actor and went on to become a producer/director (notably for Myra Breckinridge). He dated Brigitte Bardot, has been married twice and has 5 little Sarnes’.
Wendy is more well known. She began her acting career in The Newcomers, appeared in Dad’s Army and a couple of Carry On films. Catapulted into our hearts as Ms Brahms in the wonderful Are You Being Served?, she is perhaps even better known as Pauline Fowler during her 20 year run in that hotbed of musical talent which is Eastenders.
Come Outside was a number one hit in 1962 and was produced by Joe Meek. I swear to God that this speeds up a bit around the second verse – which is a great pop technique if true.. As you will see, this record cost 2’6 – which is what? Nearly 13p.
I want another TWIST!
Number 7: Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan – ‘Passing Strangers’
This has always been on of my favourite songs – rereleased in 1969 when it spent 20 weeks on the chart. Neither Billy nor Sarah are still with us but both are great great singers who managed to transcend the jazz world and make their name in the mainstream chart. Lyrically, sums up the end of a relationship perfectly. Beautiful.
Number 8: The Beloved – Jon Marsh & Helena Randall – ‘Sweet Harmony’
A bit complicated this. Jon met the original member of the Beloved at Cambridge University way back in 1983. At that point the Beloved were a full band and had a few indie hits. With Steve Waddington, they became a duo circa 1988 and eventually The Sun Rising became a club hit. Waddington left in 1991 (amicably) and Jon’s wife, who was working for Comme des Garcons at the time, joined hubby and the created this. Bit of a saucy old video too – featuring a young Tess Daly in the buff. This was used to promote the second series of Melrose Place and in an advert for Homebase – still if it pays the bills eh? Bliss..
Number 9. Heart – Ann & Nancy Wilson – ‘Alone’
Not strictly a twosome, but Heart have only ever been Ann & Nancy, even more so on this Eighties stormer. BIG hair, backcombed within an inch of it’s life, Ann looking almost Goth.
Besides, today would have been my mum’s birthday and she was called Ann Wilson. So there.
Number 10: Sweet Dreams – Polly Brown & Tony Jackson – ‘Honey Honey’
Don’t you just love them?
What other decade would you get a nice blonde singer (Polly Brown) applying boot polish (quite frankly I would have been furious) and a brown afro wig to appear on TOTP’s in case the general public (us) would object to a black man singing with a white woman (do they studio audience even notice?). She just about pulls it off though she does look a bit uncomfortable. Pickettywitch were a moderately successful UK chart act and Polly released some corking solo singles (Up In A Puff of Smoke the best). No idea what happened to Tony apart from the fact he stayed tied to Polly throughout a couple of Eurovision failures. I prefer this version to the Abba single.. Honey Honey is not really very Swedish!
Number 11. Charles & Eddie – Charles Pettigrew & Eddie Chacon – ‘Would I Lie To You?’
Very, very NYC. This was a massive global hit and remains the biggest single of the duos career. This has stumped quite a few folk in many a pop quiz (not me though), possibly because it sounds older than it actually is (although even this is 20 blooming years old). Sounding like it has stepped straight out of the Motown songbook, smooth, a bit sassy and some lovely vocals from the boys.
Chacon (the one with the long hair), began his musical career with one of Metallica and one of Faith No More. He met Pettigrew on a subway train and they signed to Capital Records as a duo recording two LP’s – they broke up following the death of two of Chacon’s family member, he now lives in Berlin and has an electronically based duet with his wife.
Charles Pettigrew, studied jazz vocals in Boston but unfortunately died of cancer aged 37 in 2001.
Number 12. David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto (or 坂本龍) – ‘Forbidden Colours’
I became obsessed in the works of Mishima and all things Japanese around this time. I’ve always had a desire to go there and often used to wear Japanese slippers (purchased from the Japanese shop on Queens Road) in my quest for Far Eastern Solidarity (Bit smelly after a couple of weeks though).
Sakamoto was almost as beautiful as Sylvian (not quite though). I was sort of horrified to discover that he is 61, as in my head, he will forever be Capt. Yonoi, troubled over his feelings for Mr Bowie. Sakamoto cut his teeth at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music in 1970 before joining the marvellous Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Dave occasionally releases material which is often awkward and inaccessible but he still sounds wonderful (similar to Scott Walker actually).. now divorced from Ingred Chavez, he lives in Switzerland and has been a little unwell of late.
Forbidden Colours towers over most other soundtrack songs from the same era and makes me howl but has pulled me through many a difficult and trying time (hope it works now!!)..
‘I’ll go walking in circles
While doubting the very ground beneath me
Trying to show unquestioning faith in everything’
Number 13. Adeva feat. Paul Simpson – ‘Musical Freedom (Moving On Up)’
A future series might be titled ‘Whatever Happened to?…’ but what DID happen to Adeva. She was surely on track to became a real soul diva (I mean LOOK AT THAT LIPSTICK), but nothing has been heard from her since the release of her final LP in 1997.
She has released a greatest hits called Ultimate Adeva (may as well buy Adeva! though) and has appeared on several Diva titled compilations (yes we get the message ta record company people). Pre-dating the Souce and M.People by a good few years and channelling Martin Luther King, what’s not to love about this?
And the wonder is that she doesn’t do serious damage with her breasts.
Any Adeva updates are welcome…
Number 14. Strawberry Switchblade – Rose McDowall & Jill Bryson – ‘Since Yesterday’
Didn’t Rose & Jill used to work at THE Megastore in Tottenham Court Road or was that an urban Virgin myth? I can just imagine them serving behind the singles counter looking all fabulous.
This bit of psychedelia/hippie/new romanticness/gothiness was released in 1984 and still raises a big smile if heard/played out. Starting their musical career as proper Glasgow punkesses, they were buddies with Edwyn Collins and moved to London some time in 1983.
Since Yesterday used Sibelius as the intro and became SS’eds only Top Ten Hit. Rose contributed vocals for Coil, Felt and Psychic TV, formed a folk rock act and now records under her own name. Jill is based in London and works as an artist, she has a daughter by Frog from the Farmers Boys (remember THEM)..
Number 15: Inez & Charlie Foxx – ‘Mockingbird’
The elderly amongst you should remember the cover of this by Carly Simon & James Taylor. The elderly and infirm amongst you will remember the original by brother and sister Foxx (and I thought they were Mr & Mrs).
Reputedly a great live act whose records were key to the Northern Soul movement happening thoughout Europe circa 67. Based on the old lullaby Hush Little Baby, this was a huge hit in the States on it’s release in 63 but had to wait until 69 before it charted over here.
Number 16 – Clint Eastwood & General Saint – ‘Stop That Train’
Bit of Milli Vanilli dancing here. A novelty act from Jamaica but they were absolutely huge in 83/84. I like my Reggae like this, frothy and poppy and a tad cheeky – not really listened to anything recently – all a bit gangsta & homophobic for these delicate ears. However, this is still rather charming.
I used to dread/enjoy phoning up Jetstar to place the record orders on a Monday. Depending who you got on the other end of the phone, they were either chirpy or strangely laid back – I only ever really order records by Clint Eastwood and General Saint, Culture or Carrol Thompson but all money in their coffers. Wonder what happened to Jetstar?
Number 17 – Skipworth & Turner – Rodney Skipworth & Phil Turner – ‘Thinkin’ About Your Love’
What a BRILLIANT record. For a period in the mid 80’s, 4th & Broadway were responsible for some of the greatest records on that era – check out Discogs for the full catalogue – really were the final days of disco.
I cannot tell you anything about Skipworth or Turner except that this sounds light a tighter version of a great Stevie Wonder song – it was a number 24 hit in the UK. A couple of really great follow up singles also. Rodney worked in a fast food restaurant during the day, and when Phil came in as a customer on one occasion they talked about a joint venture.
Number 18 – Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk & Darryl Pandy – ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’
Talk about having a great old camp time. Darryl is on fire is this video for the number 10 hit from 1986 (I thought it was earlier actually) – pointing, preening, prancing and posing – you sort of forget that Farley Funk even existed. How many different coloured sequined tops can a man have in their clothing collection?
Roommate with Steve Hurley, he became a born again Christian in 1990.
Darryl was blessed with a six and a half octave range who sadly died after a long illness in 2011.
Think Divine cross him with Sylvester and you get this.
Number 19 – Fatboy Slim & Macy Gray – ‘Demons’
Nice to hear Norman trying something a bit different. A bit like that stuff from Play by Moby actually. Released in 2001 as a single, this sampled a Bill Withers song (I Can Write Left Handed) and featured the marvellous Macy.
Norman, of course, is a Brighton personality. Moving to Brighton even before me to study English at Brighton Polytechnic, worked at Rounder Records, did a few DJ spots at VFM in Virgin, Brighton, had a couple of huge hits with the Housemartins, as Beats International and Freakpower. He has his on star of Brighton’s Walk of Fame next to Winston Churchill, is married to gorgeous Zoe Ball, is a 12% shareholder in Brighton & Hove Football club. For me, the Big Beach Boutique 2 was a disaster – it attracted 250,000 visitors to Brighton – the organisers only expected 60,000 and the whole of Brighton ground to a messy halt.
Macy is another story entirely.
Number 20. Roy Orbison & k.d. lang – ‘Crying’
I think I heard the Don McLean version of this song before I heard the Roy Orbison version. Those of you that know me will tell you that I CAN be a bit of a misery guts at times and would also say that I am a sucker for lachrymosely-ness in pop.
Recorded the year before his death for the film ‘Hiding Out’, Roy is just incredible. Period. Anyone who is anyone in the music world hold him in the highest of regards. Dwight Yoakam described his voice like “the cry of an angel falling backward through an open window”, which is rather a special description isn’t it?
And the older I get the more I appreciate k.d. lang. Ingenue was the record which got me really really excited and I expected to grow out of it/get bored of it and move on. But it has stayed with me and each new record, I have enjoyed and shared like the last one. So can we have a lovely remastered version of Ingenue please Rhino..?
Finally, this is for all you Mum’s out there and for all our Mum’s who no longer with us..(or maybe are out there ‘somewhere’). So kids buy your mum some daffs at least, she really is the only one you are ever going to have.
Number 21. David Bowie & Mick Jagger – ‘Dancing In The Street’
Okay. On the day The Next Day is released to knicker wetting anticipation, it’s okay to remind ourselves that everything was not quite right for Mr Bowie in the eighties. Worse was to come. Who could forget the horror of Never Let Me Down or the Glass Spider Tour?
Anyway, this was all for charity and when debuted DURING the Live Aid concert, sent a thrill throughout the entire audience (and probably the world).
Two of the greatest EVER singers, poncing about in Docklands, practically snogging, wiggling their asses and getting off/up/down (with a bit of sexual history thrown in possibly). The whole thing took thirteen hours to complete, and inspite of radio overkill, sounds pretty good over 25 years later.
Dancing In The Street is of course, solid gold Motown and it would be difficult to ruin the song beneath. Glad to say they don’t..
Thankfully, better was to come from both chaps and the stuff I have heard from the ‘new LP’, justifies the years and years of waiting. (A Bigger Bang was brilliant too though Mick)..
Number 21B – Lulu & David Bowie – ‘The Man Who Sold The World’
An alternative to DITS! Bowie on backing vocals and parping sax.
Number 22 – Marbles – Graham Bonnet & Trevor Gordon – ‘Only One Woman’
Written by the Gibb brothers, this reached Number 5 on it’s UK release in 1968 and recorded by the Bee Gees in the 70’s for their Main Course LP, but was not released.
Bonnet has had a very successful career, as the singer with the Michael Schenker Band and more famously Rainbow (Since You’ve Been Gone being the career highlight). Clearly the rock was about to take him, he called this record boring (which did not go down too well with Barry Gibb). He also dated the marvellous Adrienne Posta and starred in the little watched film Three For All. Difficult to recognise him without his trademark mirror shades..
Gordon left the Marbles in 1969, he retired from the music scene and died in January 2013.
Great little record and groovy Bond girl on the background screen.
Number 23 – Erasure – Vince Clark & Andy Bell – ‘Drama’
With a humungous 34 Top Forty single to their name, Erasure get a bit of a bad press. To these ears they have been as relevant as many other synthpop acts. Just great great pop, possibly the natural successors to Abba, it’s a pity that their popularity has waned lately.
Vince Clark (not the last time he will appear in this list), was initially a Basildon ‘punk’ who studied violin and piano. He left Depeche Mode after helping them launch the career they still have today. He currently lives in the US with his wife and son, Oscar.
I actually know Andy Bell – not really well (on nodding terms anyway) – he went to Kings School in Peterborough when I worked at the Virgin store (actually he chatted me up a bit in a night club) and was known as Dinger (Bell geddit).. he worked in a meat packing factory when he left school and linked up with Vince when he responded to an advert for a singer. He has certainly been able to get Vine in drag in many videos which is a great thing (see them dancing in the Wild West inspired video to Who Needs Love Like That).
The remarkable thing about this particular record are it’s lyrics which are really wordy and the remarkable chorus which when it kicks in knocks your hat right off.
With a working relationship which has lasted almost 30 years, Erasure remain a nice little gem in the pocket of pop.
Number 24. The Lover Speaks – David Freeman & Joseph Hughes – ‘No More “I Love You’s”‘
The LP from whence this came featured some lovely contributions from June Miles Kingston, Dave Stewart and Nils Lofgren. The Lover Speaks did not last long as a duet and split in 1987 – A&M rejected their second LP. Great video and is a little reminiscent of The Blue Nile.
This was a much bigger hit for Annie Lennox when her version reached Number 2 – really like her version but much prefer this.
And did I imagine it or did Thatcher once say this was her favourite record?!!!
If she did then that was frankly bizarre.
Number 25 – Meat Loaf & Cher – ‘Dead Ringer For Love’
It seems highly unlikely doesn’t it, that a broad like Cher would look twice at a bloke like Meat. But somehow this sizzles.
Meat Loaf or Marvin Lee Aday has cheated death on numerous occasions, crashing in a car which rolled over, being struck on the head with a shot during a shot put event, jumping off a stage during a concert and breaking both of his legs, and being afflicted with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome. In October 2006, his private jet had to make an emergency landing at London’s Stansted Airport after his plane’s forward landing gear failed. Meat Loaf also fainted on stage while performing in Pittsburgh. I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Meat, especially Bat Out Of Hell (this is a cheekier, hornier version of Paradise By The Dashboard Light)…
Cher is 97 and will release a new LP in September drafting in Pink & Gaga on writing credits. Not the last time we will be seeing HER in this list.
Number 26 – Carly Simon & James Taylor – ‘Mockingbird’
Taken from the LP Hotcakes (not really one of her most successful) Mockingbird was the sole hit single. Stellar backing band counting Dr John, Robbie Robertson, Ralph McDonald and Taylor himself.
At the time of recording, they were husband and wife on the cover of the album she is pregnant with Sarah (and is now a grandmother) – her and James do not talk anymore.
Number 27 – Bono & Clannad (or Máire Uí Bhraonáin (Brennan) – ‘In A Lifetime’
I know many of you have a huge problem with Bono but he can sing a bit. This was at a time when he sported a Bono mullet and Bono hat.
Moya is the eldest of nine siblings, one of whom is Enya. In 2003 she became the Goodwill Ambassador for the Christian Blind Mission (Ireland branch), who supply venetian blinds to churches throughout Europe.
This is lovely in a Celtic, mystical way.
Anyone know any good Bono jokes?
Number 28 – Peter & Gordon – Peter Asher & Gordon Waller – ‘A World Without Love’
A World Without Love topped both the US & UK charts in 1964. Written by Lennon-McCartney, Paul did not consider it good enough to be released by the Beatles, instead offered it to Billy J Kramer – who also turned it down – then to Peter & Gordon.
When P&G split up in 1968, Gordon spent some time in musical theatre appearing as Pharoah in Joseph, before settling in LA in 1995. He died of a heart attack in 2009.
Flame-haired Peter took charge of Apple’s press department following the split (he was John Dunbar’s best man when he married Marianne Faithfull. He dated Millie of My Boy Lollipop fame and produced a string of Tiffany Twisted LP’s dating from the 70’s (primarily for Linda Ronstadt). He is the brother of Jane Asher who, of course, dated McCartney.
Interesting to see the boys in such vivid technicolour.
Number 29 – Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin – ‘It’s My Party’
Not that Dave Stewart (he is coming up later) but the other one. Veteran of the UK Canterbury/Prog rock scene – he was a member of Egg & Hatfield & The North. He has been involved with Steve Hillage and Bill Bruford. He first troubled the UK charts with Colin Blunstone on another duet (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted). He wrote the newest version of the OGWT theme tune.
Barbara sang backing vocals with Hatfield & the North (raised in Hatfield herself) and was in the folk band Spirogyra. She still collaborates with Stewart to this day. Bit of a silly old hippie, she spent some time in the 70’s in Asia and lived in India for a while.
It’s My Party was originally a hit for Lesley Gore. Although originally recorded by Helen Shapiro, this has been covered by Bryan Ferry, Amy Winehouse and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
Is that young Thomas Dolby I see walking into the party with Judy? And is she wearing his ring?
Number 30 – Daft Punk – Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter – ‘Around The World’
There is nothing more attractive than a couple of smart Frenchmen in Space-helmets is there?
And these are certainly a couple of smart Frenchmen.
Guy was born in Paris in 1974, got a toy guitar and keyboard aged 7, he met Thomas at school and they were drawn together by their love of all things culty. A member of Le Knight Club and Darlin’, he produced Sebastian Tellier’s 2008 LP entitled Sexuality.
Thomas’ Dad wrote songs for Sheila B Devotion, The Gibson Brothers and Ottawan.
He developed tinnitus in his eardrum from DJing in clubs – luckily for us he has since recovered. He collaborated on the other monster French dance hit. Music Sounds Better With You by Stardust.
Number 31 – Chic – Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers – ‘My Feet Keep Dancin’
Bit of a late post (apologies!). Probably the CLASSIEST of late 70’s disco acts, this smells just like expensive perfume and never fails to put a huge grin on my face.
Watch out for the Nile Rodgers documentary on Good Friday on BBC4..
Number 32 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’
You might need a tissue. Tammi began her recording career aged 14 when she signed with Scepter Records. She sang backing vocals in 1963 on the James Brown Revue tour. In April 1965 she was spotted by Berry Gordy and signed to Motown. She met David Ruffin from the Temptations and they embarked on a torrid, steamy affair. She linked up with Marvin for the seminal ‘United’ LP which contained such gems as Your Precious Love and If I Could Build My Whole World Around You. Suffering from headaches (which were thought to be migranes), she collapsed into Marvin’s arms in October ’67 and was subsequently diagnosed with a malignant tumour on the brain. By the time of her death she was confined to a wheelchair, suffered from blindness, hair loss and weighed 93lbs.
Marvin, who was a very close ‘platonic’ friend went into a terrible period of depression. He withdrew from performing for two years.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was written by Ashford & Simpson and Marvin recorded it again with Diana Ross when it became a bigger hit.
I’ll take Marvin & Tammi over Marvin & Diana but only just.
Number 33 – Marc Almond & Gene Pitney – ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’
On the face of it this should have been a disaster. Both Marc but especially Gene had careers which seemed commercially finished, yet this managed to top the chart in the UK, Switzerland & Germany.
Originally recorded by David & Jonathan, it was then recorded by Gene (reaching number 5 in 1967) and has been covered from artists as diverse as Nick Cave and Joe McElderry.
After an appearance by the twosome on Wogan, sales soared and a legendary collaboration was born (Marc in leather and Gene in trademark white tuxedo).
I have an incredible amount of time for Gene. Whilst people bang on about Johnny Cash this and Roy Orbison that – he seems to have been forgotten – which is a crying shame. Really handsome, he died in the middle of a UK tour in a hotel in Cardiff – more on Marc later in this list.
Number 34 – David & Jonathan – Roger Greenaway & Roger Cook – ‘Lovers Of The World Unite’
Bet you have heard this but don’t recognise the title. Brilliant single from 1966, David & Jonathan were Roger Greenaway & Roger Cook who wrote Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart etc.. (and Gimme Dat Thing by The Pipkins).
The two Rogers were born in Bristol and were in the Kestrels – a close harmony group. Cook became a member of Blue Mink and had a string of hits in the 70’s and currently lives in Nashville. Greenaway was asked to be the vocalist in Blue Mink but declined – he concentrated his efforts writing songs in America. Both Rogers are now in their mid-Seventies.
Great harmonies and lovely Byrds feel to this.
Number 35 – John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett – ‘Really Free’
John comes from Aylesbury and began his recording career some 5 years before this was a hit. King of the publicity stunt, Otway offered to come round to a punters house and perform his new single – but only if they owned one of the three copies with no vocals, arranging for Beware Of The Flowers to be voted in at Number 7 of the BBC poll of the Greatest Lyrics of All Time, and requesting a second hit for his 50th birthday (which he got). This performance was notable for an incident in which Otway vaulted on to a PA tower and overbalanced. The Independent reported: “He brought down the speaker stack but fractured no bones when he landed on the sharp corner of a bass cabinet, as the impact was cushioned by his testicles.”
Wild Willy Barrett, also from Aylesbury is a skilled wood worker and carver.
Produced by Pete Townsend, this is a unique quirky slice of British Pop Music which hasn’t seen the like in ages.
Number 36. Nelly & Kelly Rowland – ‘Dilemma’
Suddenly become a bit nostalgic for 2002. Great year in many ways and this was a particular favourite. This came out within six months of Crazy In Love – where the hell has the time gone!
Nelly was born Cornell Iral Haynes Jr in 1974 and is a renowned hip hip artist, occasional actor and entrepreneur. Of course, he also has a couple of clothing lines (don’t they all).
Kelly was on a break from Destiny’s Child when this came out. An ex-judge of the X-Factor over here (we forgive you Kelly), he father was an alcoholic, her mum left and took her with her to Houston where she met Beyonce. The rest is history.
Number 37 – Donny & Marie Osmond – ‘I’m Leaving It (All) Up To You’
Peculiar parentheses placement innit? Donny & Marie’s biggest UK hit and the first time either has featured in any of my lists. Originally released by Don & Dewey in 1957, released by Linda Ronstadt in 1970 funny to think that, 4 years later, the gruesome toothsome twosome would score their first hit.
Marie has been married three times to two different men. She has a lesbian daughter and her son committed suicide in 2010. Recently spotted on Dancing With The Stars, she looks remarkable really.
As does brother Donny who has had a long career in recording, Musical theatre and film. Father of 5 children, he is now a grandfather. And he still looks the bloody same.
Number 38 – Jennifer Lopez & LL Cool J – ‘All I Have’
More confirmation that 2002/early 2003 was a great year for music. This features the gorgeous Ms Lopez and the equally gorgeous Mr Cool J. Weather appropriate and with a sample which comes from the gorgeous Debra Laws tune Very Special.
LL of course is now a terribly famous actor as well as rapper with the best chest in pop (male variety). LL Cool J or Ladies Love Cool James or James Todd Smith hails from New York and began his music career with a bang in 1985.
Jennifer Lopez is also moved into films and was the BEST JUDGE EVER on American Idol for a couple of series. She has the best bottom in pop (female variety) – and this is demonstrated by viewing her in her gorgeous pink outfit in this video.
Number 39 – Judy Garland & Mel Torme – ‘The Trolley Song’
There is a moment at about 1.20 where she hits a note and holds it for at least 50 seconds. Now that is proper singing. Happy Easter..
Number 40 – Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin –’ Je T’Aime’
Avert your ears youngsters. This was the filthiest record ever released (probably). Ignore the date, this was a number 1 hit in 1969, pre-dating The Joy Of Sex books for adults (in crisis)..
She currently lives alone in France (still mourning Serge) and he died in 1991 – one of my favourite stories is of him telling Whitney Houston he wanted to f**k her live on a French TV chat show.
What a randy old French Goat.
Number 41 – Frank Sinatra & Celeste Holm – ‘Who Wants To be A Millionaire?’
Taken from the marvellous movie High Society – who hasn’t wanted to do this at some point? Frank even sounds good with a spoon stuck in his gob.
Like many a Hollywood dame, she was married 5 times. She appeared in All About Eve, Three Men & A Baby and Falcon Crest.
Written by the brilliant Cole Porter..
Number 42 – Chas & Dave – Charles Hodges and David Peacock – ‘Rabbit’
Chas & Dave have been together longer than most marriages and have musical careers which include working with Alvin Lee, Cliff Bennett & Led Zeppelin – for more info try and see the documentary which was on BBC4 last year.
I am more than guilty of rabbiting on so this is for me.. and Chas & Dave ARE one of my favourites so there.
Number 43 – Inner City – Kevin Saunderson & Paris Grey – ‘Good Life’
Could have gone for any single from their hugely influential debut LP and can barely believe that this came out in 1988 (one of the worst musical years ever)..
Originally an opera & Gospel singer, Paris has not recorded anything but appeared on ¾ of the groups output.
Saunderson wrote and produced this reaching number 4 in the UK.
Number 44 – Jon & Vangelis – ‘I’ll Find My Way Home’
Like them or loathe them, Yes wouldn’t have been half as successful without Anderson’s distinctive voice (or Roger Deans artwork). So it was a bit of a shock when he took a more straightforward pop route when he teamed up with Vangelis for a handful of collaborations. He still tours with Rick Wakeman and recovered from a severe asthma attack a couple of years ago.
But a bigger round of applause must go to beardy Grecian Vangelis. He began his career with Aphrodites Child and he nearly joined Yes but was pipped by Wakeman. Bit of a dab hand at the soundtrack, Vangelis recorded the Chariots of Fire and Bladerunner soundtracks.
Included on the second version of the Friends of Mr Cairo, which also contains the original version of State of Independence re-worked/re-modelled by Donna Summer.
Plus I once had an encounter with a Vangelis on a beach in Greece.
Number 45 – Alessi Brothers – Billy & Bobby Alessi – ‘Oh Lori’
One of the joys of the TOTPs re-runs has been the rediscovery of this gem. Not that I had ever forgotten about it but it has been lovely to be reminded. Reminds me of beautiful summery evenings, beautiful summery dresses, my bike (which I had to be surgically removed from), whistling and as hard as I tried to be a Punk I never really was.
A&M were a great record label also – Armatrading, Brooks, Supertramp, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Styx – the list continues.
No idea what became of these twins. They helped Debbie Gibson I do know that and also popped up on the soundtrack to Ghostbusters. I would like to say that they founded the Italian kitchen utensil company, but sadly, they did not..
Number 46 – Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams – ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’
Quite an unlikely, some might say queer, pairing. Mathis is 15 years older than Williams and they only shared a record label. He was less than a year away from When A Child Is Born – Christmas Number 1 1976, the same year that Deniece hit the top spot with the breathtaking Free.
With a career that dates back to 1956, Johnny was asked to try out for the Olympic squad, deciding instead to meet with Colombia instead.
Deniece has a 4 octave vocal range, was part of Wonderlove, backers of Stevie Wonder and recorded a couple of songs under the name Denise Chandler on the Northern Soul circuit.
As for the video, why oh why are they calling each other on the telephone when they are sat in the same room? No wonder the relationship is over!
Number 47 – Quincy Jones & Patti Austin – ‘Razzamatazz’
Love The Dude – and Quincy was on fire at this point managing to work with some great singers (Ms Austin, Michael McDonald, James Ingram, Chaka Khan etc) – produced by Rod Temperton, he and Quincy had a bit of a hand in Thriller.. but this is MUCH better..
Number 48 – Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz – ‘The Girl From Ipanema’
This groovy clip (with bonus song) is taken from the film Get Yourself A College Girl (also featuring the Dave Clark 5, The Standells and the Animals).
Astrid & Stan were in a relationship in the 60’s, lovely sunshiny record so not sure why it is snowing outside the window.
Number 49 – Hue & Cry – Pat & Greg Kane – ‘Labour Of Love’
Pat Kane says: “The song is written from the perspective of a disillusioned working-class Conservative voter of the mid-1980s who has worked hard to believe in Margaret Thatcher’s story of a new proud, individualist Britain and who is now realising that there is less “gain” than “pain” in doing so.”
That’s all I want to say..
Number 50 – Typically Tropical – ‘Barbados’
More recently (well 14 years ago), this was covered by the Vengaboys. Oddly they sang about going to Ibiza rather than Barbados. No-one I know came close to going to Barbados back in the 70’s – I’m still not really sure where it is – but seems impossibly glamourous. I have also not seen what Typically Tropical looked like until now, and they look as one would expect them to look. Nerdy.
Both went on to write I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper and, rather bizarrely, to produce Sad Wings Of Destiny by Judas Priest.
Want to see a photo of Captain Tobias Wilcox now (or a photo of Coconut Airways).
Number 51 – The Lotus Eaters – Peter Coyle & Jeremy Kelly – ‘The First Picture Of You’
Both from Liverpool, Jem was a co-founder of the Wild Swans and Peter was a member of the Jass Babies. Publically they were a twosome, although they employed session musicians for their records.
Angular haircuts, those big old baggy trousers we all used to wear and lovely harmonising. Not heard this for a while but I believe it is Peter Powell’s Favourite Record Of All Time.
TOTP’s 80’s Audiences, don’t you just love ‘em..
Number 52 – Godley & Crème – ‘Cry’
I have grown to adore this record. Co-produced by Trevor Horn, it is a cross between I’m Not In Love/All Of My Heart/The Power of Love.
From The History Mix, this was the last hit record for G&C and they moved into promo video work..
Perhaps not as striking as it seemed to be at a time, this is still a wonderful example of morphing technology..
The also invented The Gizmo. What happened to that?!
Number 53 – Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews – ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’
Tom has had a remarkable career hasn’t he? Not only is he incredibly handsome (still), he has a voice that would drown out a jumbo jet. Surely we should be looking at him and begging him to stop but it’s plain that he just loves what he does..
Cerys is now a Radio 6 DJ, and although I loved the Catatonia LP’s I never really bothered with her recording career (didn’t she have a thing with that bloke from Eastenders)..
And it still is a bit cold outside..
Number 54 – Wee Papa Girl Rappers – Sandra & Samantha Lawrence – ‘Wee Rule’
Not heard this one in a while. Released in 1988, when I wasn’t really sure what I should be listening to, the WPGR got there name from their Dad, who was French-Creole (Oui Papo geddit?). The were from London not from Jamaica or LA and went on have a further Top 30 hit with Heat It Up. They released two LP’s on Jive before splitting up – although as they were twins I’m not sure whether you CAN split up.
Bet they work in an accounts department now.
Number 55 – Empire Of The Sun – Luke Steele & Nick Littlemore – ‘We Are The People’
Top Twenty single from 2008. Both are huge in the Australian music scene – Steele is from Perth & Littlemore is from Sydney. They met in a bar in 2000 and often collaborated on material for each others projects – Steele was in Sleepy Jackson & Littlemore was in Pnau.
Taken from the only LP entitled Walking On A Dream (which is great btw), and they have a new LP due imminently which I am a bit excited about .
Number 56. McFadden & Whitehead – Gene McFadden & John Whitehead – ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.’
When they were teenagers, they were in a band called the Epsilons, in the 70’s they joined Philadelphia on the writing team and were responsible for Backstabbers, Bad Luck & Wake Up Everybody (amongst others). They began performing as M&W in 1977 and scored their only UK chart hit in 1979 with this record. And what a blooming record. Celebratory , almost political, it speaks for all of us that have ever been put down, told to conform but refused to let it lie.
John was murdered while working on his car with his nephew in Philadelphia and Gene died from liver & lung cancer. Both were in their fifties (Gulp!)..
If this were a countdown (or a count-up), this would be Top 10, nay Top 5, certainly.
Yet another clip from the extraordinariness that is Soul Train..
Number 57 – Johnny Cash & June Carter – ‘Jackson’
Not sure if there is anything to be said about these two. ‘Cept the song was covered by Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood less than 6 months later, you can eat at Pepper Sprout if you ever visit Dubuque in Iowa if you ever visit there and Prefab Sprout would not be named so had they not misheard the lyrics to this.
Number 58 – Bob & Marcia – ‘Young Gifted & Black’
Written & recorded by Nina Simone and covered by Aretha Franklin, this version by Bob & Marcia hit the charts in 1970.
Wonderfully evocative, strident and powerful, this reached Number 5.
Bob Andy was a founding member of the Paragons and had several reggae hits in the 60’s. Teaming up with Harry J & Marcia Griffiths in 1970, they released two LP’s in the space of eighteen months before dissolving their partnership as they weren;t making any money.
Marcia Griffiths began her recording career back in 64 with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and was a member of the IThrees who were backing singers for Marley..And she is incredibly beautiful.
Number 59 – Jan & Dean – ‘Surf City’
So, finally, we can get some sun on our pasty faces. Bit of a nip in the air, but Spring starts here.
William Jan Berry (the blond one, black t-shirt), was the son of an aeronautical engineer who died in 2004.
Dean Ormsby Torrence (the brunette one) was the son of a sales manager with Wilshire Oil Company.
They met whilst at college in LA, both on the football team, where they began (*clears throat*) harmonizing in the showers.
Both conscripted in the Army for six months, they hooked up with Herb Alpert to produce their first Top Ten US single with Baby Talk. In 1963, they met Brian Wilson and he helped to steer them towards twelve massive American hits.
Poor Jan crashed his car very close to Dead Man’s Curve, which ironically, they had sung about, leaving Dean to sing on his own – Dean became a highly successful graphic designer working with Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross & the Supremes and, of course, the Beach Boys.
Jan had a genius IQ level, both were quite anti-establishment and have been heralded as the forefathers of the US Punk movement…
Surf City was written by Wilson. I have never surfed in my life and think that now is the time to start.
Number 60. Roxette – Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle – ‘Crash! Boom! Bang!’
Coming over like a cross between Dusty & Abba, Crash Boom Bang marked a step away from the guitar heavy Euro-pop which made them a global success.
Marie & Per were jobbing musicians in Sweden. He had supplied a song or two for the Frida LP in 1982, she provided backing vocals for Gylenne Tider – a Swedish speaking group.
Success came with the release of The Look which became a massive American and it turns a UK Hit. Even greater success came with It Must Have Been Love, used in the Pretty Woman film.
Number 61. D.Train – James ‘D.Train’ Williams & Hubert Eaves III – ‘You’re The One For Me’
Bit confused as to why Paul Hardcastle is in this clip – it was remixed by him in 1985, but to these ears it sounds exactly the same as when I first grooved to it.
Anyway, James was an exceptional singer who never really made it as a solo artist. D. Train ceased to exist in 1983 and both James & Hubert went their separate ways leaving behind them a legacy of great post disco records (see also Music, Walk On By & Keep Giving Me Love).
Number 62. Sly & Robbie – ‘Boops’
Legendary rhythm section & production duo who have played on or produced over 200,000 records. Rhythm Killers, released in 1987, was only their second LP as a ‘headlining’ duo. This features Shinehead on vocals and sampled by Robbie Williams on Rudebox.
This record has SO much going on it is hard to keep up with really.
Number 63. Dollar – David Van Day & Thereza Bazar – ‘Give Me Back My Heart’
Wasn’t this record absolutely raved about in the Music press? Think it was. Produced by the super talented Trevor Horn (you can tell by the synthly sighs and the the climactic build up towards the end of the song (key change crucial).
David was a face on the streets of Brighton, either sat on the train to London with his filofax or flipping Burgers nearby the Quadrant. He is also an absolutely odious little twerp. Thereza moved to Australia to escape from him in the 90’s, And both were part of Guys N Dolls who recorded the wonder that is There’s A Whole Lot Of Lovin nearly a decade earlier.
I would still prefer to listed to this than Mumford & Sons.
Number 64 – Pepsi & Shirlie – Helen DeMaque & Shirley Hollman – ‘Heartache’
Beginning their career as the backing group for Wham! which featured Mrs Paul Weller, Dee C Lee alongside Shirie. When she departed Pepsi joined her.
This was their debut single reaching Number 2 in 1987 once work with Wham was over and done with.
Reuniting in 2000. Shirlie is married to Martin Kemp.
Best rah-rah skirts in pop.
Number 65. Spooky & Sue – Iwan Groeneveld & Sue Chanoler – ‘Swinging On A Star’
Like a hipper, cooler Mac & Katie Kissoon, Spooky & Sue were from the Netherlands. Not sure why he was called Spooky but Sue was an original member of the Hair cast in London.
Even though this missed out chart by a mile, I do remember it being played on the radio way back in 1974. And of course the song is REALLY famous.
Nice harmonica break..
Number 66 – Linx – David Grant & Sketch Martin – ‘Intuition’
Not strictly a duet, the rest of the band were session musicians though (and only Sketch & Grant were on the covers of the records).
Brit Soul/Funk at its best (wasn’t there a movement around 1981?). Great run of singles starting with You’re Lying through to Plaything in 1982, Intuition reached Number 7 on the UK charts. They split up in early 1983 leaving Grant to have a moderately successful solo career.
Sketch went on to be a member of 23 Skidoo and David, who I think worked with Junior, married one Carrie Gray (two years below me at school) and was vocal coach on the wonderful Pop Idol & Fame Academy.
Nice white sox too.
Number 67 – Medicine Head – John Fiddler & Peter Hope-Evans – ‘One and One is One’
Championed by John Peel who signed them to Dandelion records, they scored a chart hit, the first for the label, with (And The) Pictures In The Sky reaching number 22.
1+1=1 was a number 3 hits in 1973. 6 LP’s and a further 2 hits singles later, the Head folded in 1977.
Peter Hope-Evans is the one with the mathematically defying hairstyle and has worked with Pete Townsend amongst others since the band finished.
Nearly ruined by clapping Germans in this clip, they are (probably) the only Top Ten act to feature a jews harp player.
Number 68 – Lemon Jelly – Fred Deakin and Nick Franglen – ‘Soft/Rock’
Emerged on the music scene in ’98 finally signing to XL Records in the year 2000. They have released 3 spectacular LP’s – all with gorgeous art work and interesting use of bleeps and samples.
Extremely non show-bizzy, almost geeky, Jelly are currently on hiatus.
Soft/Rock was the first single released in 2001, numbering 1000 copies so is as rare as hens teeth. It is a bit of a chill-out classic (even though I don’t particularly like chill-out) and the use of the Chicago sample (when it arrives) is sublime.
Perhaps we can rope in Niles Rogers for THEIR return?
Number 69 – Shampoo – Jacqui Blake & Caroline Askew – ‘Trouble’
Plenty of stroppy stomping about from these two. Huge in Japan, they were best friends from Plumstead (can’t believe it came out nearly 20 years ago!).They called their third LP Girl Power a couple of years before the Spice Girls pinched it..
No idea what happened to them, possibly now yummy Mummy’s living in Wimbledon.
Number 70 – Baccara – Marie Mendiola & Mayte Mateos – ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’
Not only is this record in the Top Ten Worldwide Best Selling Singles of ALL TIME (16 million and counting), it was their debut single.
Mateos was a graduate teacher from the equivalent of Rada in Madrid when she met Mendiola. They began in light entertainment and went under the name of Venus before relocating to the Canary Islands (I can see them in the Yumbo Centre now).
Honing their act, the combination of heavy breathing, disco strings and a hint of flamenco proved, briefly, popular throughout a Europe desperate for a foreign accent, with bizarre diction (remember not many of us had gone abroad at this point).
Although on friendly terms both women have formed and toured their own versions of Baccara with a different partner.
Baccara is Spanish for Black Rose.
Number 71 – Sharpe & Numan – Bill Sharpe & Gary Numan – ‘Change Your Mind’
Would never have considered pairing these two together.
By the time of release Numan’s career was going nowhere really, the Numanoids had grown up and moved on. Beserker, the one where he sports his trademark white face and blue lipstick had been his worst performing LP to date. So why not team up with someone who helped to form Shakatak?
Sharpe comes from Bishops Stortford, studied music at Birmingham University and forming Shakatak in 1980 and still tours with them..
Number 72 – George Michael & Mary J Blige – ‘As’
Surrounded by Mary’s & George’s must be quite a nice place to be. George has always been a bit of a fan of Stevie and he does a great job with this, doing what he does best…hideously disappointed by his Olympic performance, he could have resurrected his career right then and there (perhaps he wasn’t bothered)…
Mary was the tender age of 21 when she was launched to worldwide superstar status. Possessed with the best set of pipes this side of Aretha, we are expecting a new LP entitled My Life:Act 2 in 2013..
Taken from a brace of brilliant Stevie Wonder LP’s, Songs in the Key of Life marked Stevie’s peak. Hugely ambitious 4 sider + an EP as he couldn’t fit it all in..
Number 73 – Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad) & Phil Collins – ‘I Know There’s Something Going On’
Only reaching Number 43 in the UK singles chart back in 83 was something of a surprise really given both artists popularity. Rather a gloomy, paranoid video featuring our Frida discovering her boyfriends infidelity via the medium of photography. Phil Collins provided some distinctive drumming and helped out on backing vocals.
Frida is more of a rock chick wasn’t and this could have fitted quite snuggly onto The Visitors.
Number 74 – Rachel Sweet & Rex Smith – ‘Everlasting Love’
Poor Rachel. Hopes were very high when she released her debut LP on Stiff Records way back in 1978 aged just 16. Even at that young age, it was obvious to me what a great singer she was. Backed by the Records and produced by Martin Rushent and Alan Winstanley but hampered by bad management, her career fizzled out in the early eighties and she moved in to TV production.
Rex made his debut in the Broadway production of Grease, was a bit of a teen idol, replaced Andy Gibb on Solid Gold and has been married four times (a Playboy bunny, a correctional officer and a doctor).
Yet think kind of works. Maybe something to do with the choice of song (one of the greatest British singles of the 60’s). Or the rather peculiar video which has teeny tiny Rachel roaring to her wedding on her motorbike (and nearly missing the entire thing).
Number 75 – Beyoncé Knowles & Jay-Z – ‘Crazy In Love’
For me anyway, B wrestled the crown of Noughties Pop Queen from all competition (Gaga bit too late, Rihanna is the Pop Queen of the new decade as everyone knows) at the precise moment the blazing, trumpeting horns kicked in (borrowed and beefed up from the Chi-Lites).
Rumoured to be in a relationship before this came out, I think that we were in no doubt once it had been released. And they have lasted the course, still married and now parents of Blue Ivy who was born in January of 2012.
Crazy In Love is ten years old this year, and how the music scene has changed since then. What is remarkable is that B was only 22 when this was released. B is exultant The sight of her gyrating those hips and suggestively licking her finger still sparks electricity and it is hard to remember at which point Jay enters for his bit.
How the music scene has changed since then.
Number 76 – Climie Fisher – Simon Climie & Rob Fisher – ‘Love Changes (Everything)’
The reason that Climie Fisher did not become massive was probably the fact that they were over thirty by the time this was released. Climie had some success as a writer (I Knew You Were Waiting For Me for example) an linked up with Fisher for their two LP’s. Simon now concentrates his efforts in production and Rob sadly died in 1999 following an operation to remove bowel cancer.
Just wish that Simon had not worn that vest really.
Number 77 – Mickey & Sylvia – Mickey ‘Guitar’ Baker & Sylvia Robinson – ‘Love Is Strange’
Pathetic choice of clips on youtube – searched high & low for M&S actually singing this but cannot find one, sorry.
Anyways, this is a great example of early R&B from Mickey, a music instructor who was inspired by Les Paul & Mary Ford to form a duo. Sylvia, one of his pupils, went on to become the head of Sugarhill Records.
Covered by a variety of acts ranging from Paul & Linda McCartney through to Everything But The Girl, Love Is Strange has featured in Casino and Dirty Dancing.
Number 78 – Sam & Dave – Samuel Hicks & David Prater – ‘Soul Man’
Most of their material was recorded at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Sam & Dave were the Kings of the live circuit with their much copied call & response vocals.
They met on the gospel music circuit, they signed to Marlin Records in 1962. Transferring to Atlantic where their string of hit records began in 1965. Sam broke up the relationship in 1970 and tried to pursue a solo career – they did continue to work with each other throughout the 70’s and into the early 80’s. However, they could not really stand each other in their 21 years together. They did not speak to each other for 13 years off-stage, communicated through intermediaries and required separate dressing rooms. Dave joined up with a new Sam in the 80’s and released some records (avoid these), he died in 1988.
Coming to you on a casserole.
Number 79 – R.E.M – Michael Stipe & Kate Pearson – ‘Shiny Happy People’
Bit tired today (seven days on the trot = mahussive lie in), here we have Kate & Michael on a bit of fluffy nonsense. I went through a huge R.E.M phase which ended with New Adventures In Hi-Fi (unlike many I loved Monster). Shiny Happy People was taken from Out Of Time which contains the epic Losing My Religion. I imagne Kate just popped round for a cup of Japanese Green tea.
BTW what HAS happened to Michael Stipe, anyone know?
Number 80 – Iggy Pop & Debbie Harry – ‘Did You Ever?’
Not quite as good as the Frank/Bing version (I miss the Next July we crash with Mars bit) – this was from the Red Hot & Blue compilation released in the early Nineties.
Video directed by Alex Cox, this contains footage of the Twin Towers, Lenny Kravitz and ants.
Number 81 – Mouth & MacNeal – Willem Duyn & Maggie MacNeal – ‘I See A Star’
Maggie or Sjoukje van’t Spijker as she was born, had only released one solo record before teaming up with Willem for Mouth & MacNeal. Together they achieved a pan-European hit (& New Zealans) with How Do You Do? Before representing the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest coming third behind Abba and Gigliola Cinquetti (Go or Stay) which took place right here in Brighton – beating ONJ into 4th place. The use of barrel organ and puppets were frankly terrifying for the young Goddard. Maggie went on to represent the Netherlands again in 1980. Mouth died from a heart attack in 2004.
Number 82 a) – Donna Summer & Joe Esposito – ‘Heaven Knows’
It was one year to the days when Donna was taken to the Great Gig in the Sky. Upset me beyond my own belief, I spent an entire week with Donna on shuffle.
Number 82 – b) – Donna Summer & Giorgio Moroder – ‘I Feel Love’
If I ever get round to post my countdown of my favourite records of all time, this will certainly be in my Top 5. Even now, some 36 years on, it still sounds remarkable, complex and made the syth amazingly sexy. Of course, without Giorgio this would only have been half the record it was. And vice-versa.
Literally, music from Heaven.
Number 83 – Bardo – Sally Ann Triplett & Steve Fisher – ‘One Step Further’
I really fancied our chances when this appeared in the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK in 1982, Catchy, snappy Dollar-esque song with a duo who were like the brunette version (Steve seemed so much NICER than David VD).. however, it limped in at Number 7 and was beaten to the Winners spot by Nicole with A Little Peace.
I was the singles buyer at the time and ‘ordered up’ on copies of Nicole (much to my managers disgust) and my gamble paid off. Being a singles Buyer was my favourite job ever and used to spend hours and hours after the shop closed writing the Artist and Title onto Singles cards, masterbagging them, and putting them out in the racks in STRICT alphabetical order. And not getting paid for it… I have never felt prouder and the sales I generated for Virgin were quite exceptional. Shame I didn’t stick with it really.
Tina, who was the Assistant Manager from Milton Keynes, began dressing exactly like Nicole once she had won Eurovision, which caused much hilarity when I met her at the annual Virgin Party in the Roof Garden in Kensington. Wonder what happened to her?! (Tina rather than Nicole).
Anyway, back to Bardo. Sally Ann had previously been a Eurovision competitor as part of Prima Donna in 1980, and was one of the later presenters on Crackerjack. Viewers of the first series of the Voice will have spotted her son (I know, THAT makes me feel old), Max Milner (who was mentored by Danny Somebody) leaving in the 4th live show. Sally Ann is now a west End theatre actress who has appeared in Grease, Chess and Follies amongst others.
Steve is married with two children, was invited to join the original Bucks Fizz and following the break up of Bardo (he & Sally Ann were shagging), has worked with Boy George, Murray Head and the Penguin Café Orchestra.
Their performance in the actual competition was a little bit dodgy but this can be blamed upon the rather vigorous dance routine which left them gasping for puff.
Number 84 – James & Bobby Purify – James Purify & Ben Moore – ‘I’m Your Puppet’
This had been kicking around since 1966, and finally became a hit in the UK in the better, re-recorded version in 1976 (reaching Number 12).
There have been TWO Bobby Purify’s in fact. The first one was Robert Lee Dickey, who was James’ cousin who retired from the music industry in 1971 and became a city maintenance supervisor. Ben had spent some time touring with Otis Redding & James Brown and released some solo records under his new moniker before eventually joining the Blind Boys of Alamaba – encouraged to join by one Ray Charles (he had gone blind after suffering from glaucoma).
Number 85 – Ottawan – Jean Baptiste & Annette – ‘D.I.S.C.O’
What an odd record. On it’s release Britain was hungry for a new Boney M and for a couple of single it seems like Ottawan fitted the bill. From Martinique, D.I.S.C.O was written by Daniel Vargarde and Jean Kluger both stalwarts of Eurodisco (the Nanas’, Sheila Devotion, The Gibson Brothers). Vargarde is Dad of Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk fame.
Annette certainly looks like she has taken SOMETHING. One has to check to see if this clip was recorded at the correct speed. Resplendent in LIME green (or ELECTRIC BLUE), D.I.S.C.O features some remarkable lyrics and the only time that SUPERFICIOUS (which I’m not sure IS a word) has appeared in a Top 5 record.
She Is Disco oh-oh-oh.
Number 86 – The Assembly – Vince Clarke & Feargal Sharkey – ‘Never Never’
What to do? Should I abandon the Twosomes, knowing I have more Twosomes than room available or should I extend the list to make sure that I squeeze them all in. Or should I give up completely and retire? These things have been occupying my mind in this last week.
Released in 83, this represented a complete about turn for the erstwhile singer of the Undertones (less so for Vince). Rumours abounded that an LP was to be released of Vince Clarke material with a different singer on each track (imagine a BEF crossed with Erasure).. THAT never came off, so we are left with this solely gorgeous moment.
Number 87 – The Shapeshifters – Simon Marlin & Max Reich – ‘Lola’s Theme’
Not to be confused with Lara’s Theme, this was a huge Number One single back in 2004 (gulp). Released on Positiva (how marvellous were they?), Lola’s Theme was inspired by Simon’s wife (if you listen rather than dance, it is very romantic), The singer is Janet Ramus of the London Community Gospel Choir.
Spot on video, as it reminds me of the best ever funfair that you can imagine.. My last great clubbing record actually.
I don’t do that any more.
Number 88 – Mel & Tim – Melvin McArthur Hardin and Hubert Timothy McPherson – ‘Starting All Over Again’
Not to be confused with Mel & KIM though.
Great clip from Soul Train (see also Backfield In Motion from 1969).
Has this been used on an advert?
Number 89 –Air Supply – Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell – ‘All Out Of Love’
Air Supply met when they were appearing in Jesus Christ Superstar in Australia back in 1975 (one Brit, one Aussie), they had to wait until 1980 for their first proper hit record. Absolutely huge in the States, even having a single written for them by Jim Steinman.
Very soppy, but I like it.
Number 90 – Eric B & Rakim – Eric Barrier & William Griffin Jnr – ‘Paid In Full’
Universally regarded as Hip-Hops’ premier twosome during the ‘Golden Age of Hip Hop (end of the 80’s/beginning of the 90’s). This was the 5th single released from the LP of the same name, the remix by Coldcut featured an abundance of samples one of which thrust Ofra Huza onto the international stage. “This is a journey into sound” came from the LP A Journey Into Stereo Sound (1958) and was spoken by British actor Geoffrey Sumner. The main bassline is from Dennis Edwards – Don’t Look Any Further, a record featured here much later.
Great video too.
Number 91 – Electronic – Johnny Marr & Bernard Sumner – ‘Get The Message’
Founding members of the alternative dance supergroup, Marr & Sumner formed Electronic in the hot Summer of ’91 (and yes it WAS hot).
Precisely what you get when you cross fertilise two of Manchesters finest bands – Smithsy guitar and New Order synthery. This was the second single from the brilliant debut LP and features Denise Johnson on vocals.
Perfect chill-out stuff and nice little video set in the Maldives.
“You can make it all the time”
Number 92 – Ashford & Simpson – Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson – ‘Solid (As A Rock)’
They met whilst at High School in 1964 but not married until 1974, Ashford & Simpson have been responsible for writing some of the greatest Motown Classics (Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Surrender, Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing) and a number of successful records as a duet. Solid (As A Rock) was their biggest hit.
Funny old video too. Nickolas looks like one of those Tree People from The Lord Of The Rings and Valerie looks like one of The Hobbits. Plently of lascivious thrusting and gurning round Central Park (I think)..
Number 93 – Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – ‘Say Say Say’
Jackson was (literally) on fire in ’83. This was his seventh straight Top Ten hit inside a year and could have come from Thriller (it’s better than The Girl Is Mine which I think is a bit wet). Produced by George Martin, less than a year Michael had bought the Beatles.
Released on Pipes of Peace which was yet another Macca LP (did anyone ever listen to his LP’s post Back To The Egg?).
The video features cameo appearances from Harry Dean Stanton, LaToya Jackson & Linda McCartney. Paul & Michael play a couple of con artists to boot.
As a side note there is a cover version by Boston ‘Hardcore Grindcore’ Band : An*l C**t. Which is nice.
And no I shan’t be including Ebony & Ivory.
Number 94 – Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson – ‘I Know Him So Well’
My mate Mitchell Edmonds LOVES Elaine Paige (Bickerstaff) – never really got to the bottom of why – maybe it is the humungous amount of mousse she used to use in her hair – or that Stages LP (she sounds like she smokes 40 a day on the radio).
Anyway, what a great idea. Team Tim Rice up with the boys from Abba and produce a hit musical. Siobhán McCarthy took Barbara’s role as she was Unable. To. Commit.
Chess finished it’s West End run after three years but the production still tours and may pop up at a theatre near you. This spent 4 weeks at Number one and has been covered by Whitney and her Mum. Quite a funny version also exists featuring Peter Kay (as Geraldine) and Susan Boyle (well the video is quite funny).
I also have a nagging suspicion that the Abba boys had this earmarked for Frida & Agnetha – you can certainly hear the Abba-ness.
Shoulder pads are us.
Number 94 – The Proclaimers – Charlie & Craig Reid – ‘Letter From America’
Debut single from the twins which finally became a Number 3 hit in 1987 when recorded with a fuller arrangement and produced by Gerry Rafferty.
Born in Leith, the Reids’ formed the Proclaimers in 1983 and rose to prominence following an invitation by the Housemartins to join them on tour. Released 9 studio LP’s and popped up on several soundtracks, one of the Reids’ was in a ‘sex story’ in the News of the World weren’t they?
Number 95 – Elton John & Kiki Dee – ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’
Kiki is one of my favourite vocalists – voice like honey, which matches Adele, great friends with Dusty and Elton – supplying a whole list of backing vocal credits, as well as a hugely respected solo career which dates back to her time as the first white British female to be signed to Motown.
Elton, we know enough about! Don’t Go Breaking My Heart was an attempt by Elton to replicate those light-hearted Motown duets by Marvin Gaye (but to these ears, it seems very Sound of Philadelphia) – credited as being written by Ann Orson & Carte Blanche (Horse & Cart geddit) and became Elton’s first Number One in the UK. He also did a version with RuPaul.
Although it has been slightly overplayed, this is still a lovely little example of 70’s buddiness.
Number 96 – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – ‘You’re The One That I Want’
Written by John Farrar, who had written most of ONJ’s hits, extending to Physical a couple of years later. Nine long weeks on top of the UK Singles chart it became the best selling single of 1978. Cast on the recommendation of Travolta (Henry Winkler & Marie Osmond were considered).
For people who were not around at the time, it must be difficult to imagine the phenomenon that was Grease, queues round the blocks to see it, LP trotting out of record shop doors and increased sales of Sandy spandex. The film also included several cultural signposts (Rizzo, Kenicke and the Pink Ladies) which still resonate today.
Number 97 – Yello – Deiter Meier and Boris Blank – ‘Vicious Games’
Both come from Switzerland, which you can’t say very often can you? (I can’t think of any other act from Switzerland).
Yello became a duo on the departure of the third member in 1983. Boris was blinded in one eye during a childhood accident with some gunpowder and empty bullet shells. Before Yello, he was a truck driver.
Deiter is a millionaire industrialist and poker player and is a member of the professional national golf team of Switzerland.
Number 98 – Marshall Hain – Julian Marshall & Kit Hain – ‘Dancing In The City’
Really liking these clips from TOPPOP that have started to appear on youtube. Presumably TOPPOP was a German TV Pop Programme along the lines of TOTP’s? Anyone know?
Anyway I digress. Marshall & Hain met when they were at Dartington High School – a posh grammer school in Devon – you can hear posh in her voice if you listen hard enough. Lasting for only one LP, they had a moderately successful follow up single in Coming Home.
Hain moved to the States in 85 where she concentrated on songwriting and has had her songs licensed for use in telly programmes.
Marshall became a member of the Flying Lizards and Eye To Eye with Deborah Berg and had a few minor hits, Am I Normal? Being the nearest.
Number 99 – Shakespear’s Sister – Siobhan Fahey & Marcella Detroit – ‘You’re History’
Siobhan adapted the duos name from the Smiths song of the same name when she departed from the Nanas. She teamed up with Marcella when she was employed as a hired hand on songwriting duties.
Marcella began her career as a musician as a backing singer with Bob Seger (never knew that), before working with Eric Clapton on There’s One In Every Crowd (never knew that either). She still records and is married to Lance Aston, who is Jay from Bucks Fizzs’ brother.
Siobhan is still as bonkers as she ever was – funnily she left Bananarama after she married Dave Stewart and the girls stopped asking her to go out with them.
You’re History was their first UK Top Ten Hit.
Number 100 – Patti Austin & James Ingram – ‘Baby Come To Me’
Produced by Quincy Jones and written by Rod Temperton of Thriller fame. This is the last appearance for Patti but not for Mr Ingram. Patti has a recording career which dates back to 1969. She was booked on United Flight 93 but changed her flight at the last minute as her mum had a stroke. She has reconnected with James and they are currently working on an album of duets.
Another great clip from TOPPOP!
Number 101 – Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson – ‘Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You’
Soppy song from Aretha and the king of the 80’s power duet, Peabo. Written by Gerry Goffin & Michael Masser, Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You reached Number 2 in the UK charts in 1983 (must check what was number 1).
Peabo was born Robert Peapo Bryson changing his name to Peabo in 1965 – and he therefore has a name which really makes me chuckle.
Often used to sing Tonight I Celebrate My Gloves For You (but not anymore!).
Certainly not the last time we shall be meeting Roberta.
Who fancies a slow dance?
Number 102 – Air – Nicolas Godin & Jean-Benoît Dunckel – ‘Sexy Boy’
Can it really be 15 years since this wonderful piece of pop music was released? Boyhood friends Nicolas & Jean-Benoît, Air attended The École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles where Nicolas studied architecture and Jean-Benoît studied mathematics. So a brainy couple.
Taken from their debut LP, Moon Safari, Sexy Boy has been featured in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, and to great effect in the TV series, Queer As Folk.
Number 103 – Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé– ‘Barcelona!’
(! Optional.) Montserrat (sounds a bit like a mountain), turns 80 this year. She seems like a proper Spanish lady with ample bosoms, her International breakthrough came in 1965 when she appeared in Donizetti‘s Lucrezia Borgia at the New York Carniege Hall. She is best known as an exponent of the bel canto repertoire, notably the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi.
Bizarre it might have been, but you can’t really get away from the power of Freddie’s voice nor the audacity of the performance. Forever linked to the Barcelona Olympics (the one with Linford Christie & Sally Gunnell) in 1992 when it became a hit for the second time..
Number 104 – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie – ‘Endless Love’
Penned by Richie. Endless Love was named as the greatest duet of all time in Billboard magazine (Number 1 in the States for nine weeks cannot have helped).
Why is it that Lionel always gets poo-pooed? And why have I never seen the film where this came from (maybe I was terrified of Brook Shields eyebrows).
Covered by Luther & Mariah but this pips it.
Number 105 – Eminem & Dr Dre – ‘Forget About Dre’
Great single from the beginning of the noughties. Eminem for all his faults (and there are many – the introduction to the masses of Dido for one) was quite canny and his relationship with Dr Dre produced some of his best work.
Dr Dre (or Andre Romelle Young) left NWA at the peak of their popularity in 1991 and this was released almost 10 years later. The sample is taken from The Climb by No Doubt. Dre & Em still work together..
I have a sneaking suspicion that behind all his swagger, Marshall Mathers is a bit of a puss-cat.
And beware there is a bit of swearing!
Number 106 – MGMT – Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden – ‘Time To Pretend’
MGMT started life as The Management when the pair met during Freshers Year at the the Weslyan University. Signing to Columbia for the release of their debut LP, Oracular Spectacular. Have toured the UK in supporting Radiohead and are due to release their third LP a bit later this year.
Number 107 – Brian & Michael – Michael Coleman and Kevin Parrott (or Brian Burke) – ‘Matchstalk Men & Matchstalk Cats & Dogs’
There were then, two Brians! Brian Number 1 left the duo a couple of weeks after this was recorded due to family reasons – and was replaced by Brian number 2, Kevin Parrott. The featured brass band were the Tintwistle Brass Band who hailed from a village in Derbyshire and the choir is, of course, the St Winifred’s School Choir.
Retrospectively this is nowhere near as naff as I remember it being (I love a brass band in pop). Okay Lowry was a rubbish painter but the beardy singer here (Brian or Michael) reminds me of a geography teacher.
Number 108 – OutKast – André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton – ‘Hey Ya’
You literally couldn’t move at the end of 2003 without stumbling over this record. In fact I got sick of hearing it. However, it still sounds blooming great and guaranteed to get any party started (if you are struggling).
Split into two distinct LP, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below which this track is lifted from featured primarily Andre on one and Antwan on the other..
Andre was voted joint Sexiest Vegetarian at the PETA Awards in 2004 and has a son called Seven Sirus Benjamin by Erykah Badu.
Big Boi released The Way You Move as his single offering when the excitement over Hey Ya had died down.
Number 109 – Groove Armada – Andy Cato & Tom Findlay – ‘At The River’
Named after a 70’s Disco (which is rather wonderful), The Armada kind of sailed past me without me noticing. Obviously know a few singles, but was rather surprised to see that they have 10+ UK Singles hits and a couple of Hits compilations. The collaboration with Mutya aside, I reckon that this is the best of the bunch. The sample is from the Patti Page song Old Cape Cod with additional bluesy trombone and synthesizer bass which scream Ibiza at you (I once fell down a hole in Ibiza but that is another story). The version by Patti Page has popped up in the marvellous Mad Men but I have not seen ANY of the new series, so don’t tell me ANYTHING.
Would kill for the models eye-shadow also..
Number 110 – BA Robertson & Maggie Bell – ‘Hold Me’
Originally recorded by PJ Proby, this was recorded and released by BA Robertson (Glaswegian Brian Alexander Robertson b. 1948) and Maggie Bell (Margaret Bell, Glaswegian b. 1945).
BA was knocking around for years before achieving solo success. He co-wrote Carrie & Wired For Sound for Cliff, the theme tube for Magpie & the Multicoloured Swap Shop and I Wanna Be A Winner for the marvellous Brown Sauce as well as The Living Years for Mike + The Mechanics. Plus he was signed to Asylum Records which was quite a feat for a young Scot.
Maggie, dubbed the Scottish Janis Joplin, began her musical career with Stone The Crow, signed to Swansong and recorded the theme to Hazell.
Me thinks she like a bit of a drink.
Hold Me is a bit of a power pop classic and has been recorded by The Rubinoos amongst others.
Looks like Billy Bremner on guitar and sexy ted-type on harmonica ( and standing about)
Number 111 – Yarbrough & Peoples – Cavin Yarbrough & Alisha Peoples – ‘Don’t Stop The Music’
Both hailing from Dallas, Texas; Yarbrough toured with Leon Russell in the 70’s where he met the Gap Band and he & Ms Peoples were signed to their record label, releasing this in 1981. They were married in 1987.
File away next to The SOS Band – Just be Good To Me, Cheri – Murphy’s Law and The Gap Band – Burn Rubber On Me as the dying days of Disco.
Even with those blooming glove-puppets which pop up half was through, this is a great groove and Ms Peoples looks an amazing hot mess.
Number 112 – Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson – ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’
Couldn’t find the original video of this anywhere (maybe there wasn’t one), so this is the remixed version from 95. Janet was red hot at the time – just off the back of Rhythm Nation 1814, she was asked by the mighty Jam & Lewis to record a song for Mo’ Money. Roping in dear old Luther on co-vocal duties (who does a sterling job as expected), this became a hit twice..
Luther, as most of you know was a reknowned backing vocalist (famously for David Bowie circa Young Americans) and had the best male soul voice since Marvin. No-one has quite come close to his interpretive skills since his death from a heart attack back in 2005 – we all shed a big tear at that one.
Janet signed to Virgin Records following this for a record breaking sum of money, appeared naked on the sleeve to Janet and was far more relevant than her brother throughout the late 80’s until, well now.
Number 113 – China Crisis – Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon – ‘Christian’
Kicking of the with the wonderful African & White in 1982, China Crisis has 8 Top Fifty singles. Their debut LP, ‘Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It’s Fun to Entertain’ – contained Christian which reached number 12 in early 1983. Subsequent LPs were produced by Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame.
Both boys come from Kirkby, they are still touring and ended a recent tour at the Cavern in Liverpool.
Number 114 – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – ‘Islands In The Stream’
Released in 1983, the parent LP, Eyes That See In The Dark, was written and produced by Barry Gibb and marked a return to Kenny’s earlier work with the First Edition.
As he is appearing at Glastonbury this afternoon, hopes are high that he sings this – although whether our Dolly turns up seems unlikely.
Number 115 – Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue – ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’
Not your traditional duet then. Released from the Murder Ballads LP (how great was Stagger Lee last night btw), Nick wrote this with Kylie in mind (not sure if she should take that as a compliment given the subject matter), Kylie IS Elisa Day and is killed by Nick when he visits her home, eventually killing her with a rock. The video is an homage to the painting by Milais called Ophelia and features a very suggestive snake moment (be warned Ophidiophobics)
Kylie was never quite the same again…
Number 116 – Tears For Fears – Roland Orzabel & Curt Smith – ‘Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love)’
Hands up those of you who owned a Tears For Fears coat. I know I did.. collar always turned up, fingerless gloves and (possibly) legwarmers. I even tried to nurture a Curt Smith plait.
Pale Shelter was the second single released by this rather under-rated twosome. The Hurting reached Number One in the charts but the bigger record was Songs From The Big Chair – the one with Everybody Wants To Rule The World on it.
Video filmed in Los Angeles, hence the use of crocodiles which I am terrified of. Plus Roland gets a paper airplane in the eye at 3 minutes 50 seconds-ish – which proves they had a sense of humour after all.
Number 117 – Mel & Kim – Mel & Kim Appleby – ‘Respectable’
Their one & only Number One single from a time when Stock Aitken & Waterman were untouchable (well before they went completely naff) and went on to top the charts in New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Switzerland.
Mel worked as a glamour model and died of pneumonia following treatment for metastatic paraganglioma aged just 23 in 1990.
Kim went out with Craig from Bros, released a great solo LP, dumped Craig and turned to acting appearing in Going Straight & Doctors – the daytime soap opera..
Number 118 – Simon & Garfunkel – ‘America’
28 years ago today (I’m sure), I drove down to Brighton in my wee Lada, which was crammed to bursting with records, pots & pans and clothes to settle here. More than half a lifetime ago then. Not sure if I want to move anywhere else, and although it has changed beyond recognition, it is still my home.
I’d like to say that this was playing on my car cassette player but it wasn’t.
Released from Bookends, the fourth of five studio LPs, America is the story of two lovers hitch-hiking in search of a better life.
Happy American Independence Day, Happy Brighton Anniversary to me.
Number 119 – Wham! – George Michael & Andrew Ridgley – ‘Wham Rap! (Do You Enjoy What You Do)’
Great, stonking opening single from the boys. George sticks it to Thatcher & the Tories and extols the virtues of life on the dole and takes to task the Right To Work concept which was being promoted by the Labour Party of the day.
Initially released pre-Young Guns (Go For It), this was rereleased in January 1983 when it became a huge hit.
Interested to know if anyone can tell me where this video was filmed?
Number 120 – Althea & Donna – Althea Rose Forrest & Donna Marie Reid – ‘Uptown Top Ranking’
17 and 18 years old respectively – Althia & Donna caused a chart surprise when their reggae song “Uptown Top Ranking” became a UK No. 1. Released on the Lightning Record label, the company where you could place a last order for singles and have them delivered the very next day – very useful if you had a surge in sales due to a TOTP’s appearance. A&D are your archetypal one hit wonders, hampered by a rather flat singing performance on their only UK TV appearance.
Brilliant record though
Number 121 – Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker – ‘Up Where We Belong’
Odd pairing. Joe, of course, had been around years before this came out and first came to prominence really via his performance at Woodstock. Not bad for a lad from Sheffield.
Jennifer had been trying to have hits since the mid-70’s (see Tiffany Twisted 4 – coming in December). Used to have a laugh when on the counter impersonating Jennifer and her ever so slightly boss eyes.
Taken from An Officer & A Gentleman which catapulted Richard Gere even higher into the stratosphere – he’s gone a bit quiet – I am worried about him,
*tosses army hat into air*
Number 122 – Haysi Fantaysee – Kate Garner & Jeremy Healy – ‘John Wayne Is Big Leggy’
A song about John Wayne, legendary film star, having his way with a Native American Squaw (anally). Or, according to Jeremy, an allegory for the treatment of which white settlers used on the Native American Indian community.
Unusually for a song with explicit sexual content in the 1980s (see Relax), the song escaped being banned by the BBC, was playlisted on BBC Radio 1 and the band performed the song twice on Top of the Pops and on Saturday morning childrens’ television. The reference to him being ‘as big as a ranch’ clearly did not concern his gait! .
Released in 1982 and backed by the Sabres of Paradise, it was the first of three singles for the pairing. Outfits designed by Garner, who was eight years the senior of Healy, she has gone on to become a successful photographer (shots include the sessions for the Lion & The Cobra for Sinead O’Connor. David Bowie & PJ Harvey). Jeremy went on to become a hugely successful DJ and remixer (Boy George & George Michael for example). He married Patsy Kensit (who hasn’t) but they were divorced within a year.
Number 123 – Scarlet Fantastic – Maggie De Monde (Lovelady) & Rick P. Jones (Captain Pleasure) – ‘No Memory’
Released in the wilderness years of the late 80’s, this brilliant one off single (bit like Swansway which was the pairing pervious band). Killer intro, killer chorus which is quite difficult to categorise.
This was the debut single from the only record they ever released. Maggie hosted and performed at her own “Maggie’s Music Nights” in Notting Hill, London, promoting new talent. In April 2000 her and hubby bought a small London club “EL DORADO” an underground music club and continued this theme. Maggie has appeared in the Hugh Grant movie “About A Boy” and more recently in an episode of Ricky Gervais’s “Extras” series with Sir Ian McKellan.
Number 125 – Go West – Peter Cox & Richard Drummie – ‘We Close Our Eyes’
One of the first records I recall after moving to Brighton in ’85. Quite pumpy, great video produced by Godley & Crème and Peter going all builder chic with his vest and what I always imagined to be a builder’s hammer.
We Close Our Eyes reached Number 5 in the UK and the top 40 Stateside.
Cox and Drummie appeared on Jim’ll Fix It: Strikes Again in 2007, to re-create a popular ‘fix-it’ from 1986; in the original show, a fifteen-year girl had sung “We Close Our Eyes” with the band as a back-up singer.
Pipped at the pop post by Tony Hadley in Reborn In The USA, Cox announced in 2009 that he was the new lead singer with Manfred Mann’s Earthband.
Number 126 – Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry – ‘7 Seconds’
Released in 94, Youssou N’Dour is probably the sole representative from Senegal ever to reach the top three in the singles charts in this country.
Those who know me personally, will tell you I am not the greatest World Music fan – probably comes from the days at Virgin when I used to ‘tidy up’ the World Music CDs (in the Classical Department) – I got VERY frustrated about my lack of geographical knowledge – plus, I thought, all World Music fans wore hessian and sandals and ate nut cutlets and lentils. However, I was more than pleased when this gorgeous record was released and even more pleased that it made our charts.
Youssou was indeed born in Senegal, appeared on Peter Gabriel’s LP’s and had a couple of minor hit LP’s, noticeably The Lion & Immigres. He entered the race to become president of Senegal in 2012 but was dis-qualified over the legitimacy of signatures he was required to have to support his campaign. He is tourism and culture minister, though, in Senegal as we speak.
Lovely Neneh. Swedish singer, rapper and occasional DJ, responsible for one of the key LP’s of the very late 80’s. She began her career as one of Rip Rig & Panic, appeared on Slow Train Til Dawn with the uber talented Matt Johnson of The The fame and with the equally talented Damon Albarn in the Gorillaz and is still married to Cameron McVey – writer producer for Massive Attack, Portishead, The Sugababes and All Saints.
Number 127 – Eurythmics – Annie Lennox & David A. Stewart – ‘Love Is A Stranger’
In which Annie plays both hooker (high class of course) and possibly client – this and Sweet Dreams caused a wee bit of a storm in the early 80’s. Love Is A Stranger is the first record which indicated that Eurythmics were something more that a couple of failed ex-2nd Division pop stars.
Was with Annie all the way through the 80’s (Savage is a properly great LP) – now I just see her as a slogan wearer who is far too sincere for my liking.
Dave, married Siobhan from Bananarama, divorced her remarried Anoushka Fisz with whom he has two daughters, Kaya and Indya (awful names) and produced the last Stevie Nicks record,
Number 128 – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Andy McCluskey & Paul Humphries – ‘Messages’
Nifty little duo, great singles act but very unglamourous to look at. Messages came from their self titled debut LP released in 1980 and was released on 7” & 10” singles formats (liable to get lost in your 12” filing).
Andy was briefly in Dalek I Love You, a synth band from Liverpool. When OMD parted ways, Andy founded Atomic Kitten and wrote Whole Again.
Paul is currently living with Claudia Brucken of Propoganda.
Neither are very good at dancing.
Number 129 – Basement Jaxx – Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe – ‘Romeo’
Following on from an incredible appearance at Glastonbury in 2004, the Jaxx were invited back to headline The Pyramid stage as the replacement for Kylie Minogue. And they didn’t disappoint. Basement Jaxx: The Singles remains a masterclass in how to record a string of great singles (up there with Abba:Gold – FACT).
Basement Jaxx started in Brixton, South London, in 1994, where they held a regular club night called Basement Jaxx, which was also held in a variety of venues including The George IV, The Crypt and The Junction.
The vocals of the song was sung by fellow British R&B singer Kele Le Roc. The song was produced and written by Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe themselves. Romeo is a dance-pop song, which shares a lot of disco influences, and house music.
The music video starts with an interlude of a billboard which says “Music by Basement Jaxx ROMEO Bollywood Blockbuster” then carries on showing places of India, where it shows Divya Dutta, an Indian actress, in a sari.
Absolutely perfect for this weather.
Number 130 – Daryl Hall & John Oates – ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’
Very little to say about how great Hall & Oates are, and particularly what a great singer young Daryl is.
I Can’t Go For That was a huge hit in 1983 and even Michael Jackson admitted to nicking the bassline for Billie Jean and has been heavily sampled by De-La Soul and Simply Red amongst others.
Number 131 – The Weather Girls – Martha Wash & Izora Armstead – ‘It’s Raining Men’
Also known as Two Tons Of Fun, the Weather Girls made their debut as backing vocals for Sylvester back in the hot heady days of 1977. When they split with Sylvester, they recorded this ever so camp record. Written by Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer in 1979, the song had been offered to Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Cher, and Miss Barbra Streisand (imagine that). A version by Geri Halliwell became a UK number one some years later.
Miss Armstead was born in Houston, moved to Germany following her split with Ms Wash, moved to Germany and formed a new Weather Girls with daughter before dying of heart failure aged 62.
Miss Wash lent her vocals to a number of records (Black Box/C+C Music Factory for example), she makes regular appearances on record and on stage.
Number 132 – Ike & Tina Turner – ‘Nutbush City Limits’
Semi-autobiographical commemorating her home town of Nutbush, Tennessee – although after years of regular play, I would struggle to repeat the words here. Produced by Ike and written by Tina, this was released in 1973. Nutbush has a road named ‘The Tina Turner Highway which runs from Nutbush to Brownsville.
Unconfirmed rumours exist that Marc Bolan played guitar on this.
and check out THIS….!!
Number 133 – Prince & Sheena Easton – ‘U Got The Look’
At first glance, a bizarre pairing. On second glance and having watched Sheena in her reality TV programme in the 80’s, Esther Rantzen’s Big Time (pre-Pop Idol, pre-Michelle McManus), one always suspected that she was destined for a career in pouty pop lipstick & lingerie.
Taken from Sign O The Times, Sheila E provides some fantastic Live Drumming whilst Prince sings this in his speeded up Camille voice and the video was filmed in Paris, France. And the 12” version entitled The Long Look is even better than the single version.
Number 134 – The Everly Brothers – Phil & Don – ‘When Will I Be Loved’
There are so many truly great Everly Brothers singles aren’t there? Difficult to know which one to choose.
Both Phil & Don are way into their 70’s, both guitarists and great harmonisers. You could argue that the Beatles, The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel would all have SOUNDED different if it not had been for these two warring, grumpy brothers from Kentucky.
Cathy’s Clown was the first record released on Warner Brothers in this country (Cat number WB1).
Covered by a host of Country singers, the best version is by Linda Ronstadt which hit Number 2 in the US in 1975.
Number 135 – Man 2 Man – Paul & Miki Zone – ‘Male Stripper’
The Brothers Zone sang backing vocals on a number of Bobby Orlando songs (The Flirts ‘Passion’ & Divine – ‘Native Love’ for example).
Man 2 Man scored their biggest hit, ‘Male Stripper’, teaming up with cult electro producer Man Parrish. Originally released in the 1986 on the Bolts Records, ‘Male Stripper’ was a big club hit peaking at No. 64 in. Rereleased in early 1987, it charted again, and this time became an even bigger hit, spending five weeks in the Top 10 and two weeks at No. 4.
In the late eighties, the Gay Community were under fire from all sides: the dreadful prejudice and stigmatisation of those with HIV/AIDS, Section 28 just around the corner, an unequal age of consent – the list goes on – this record became something of a release. Now, it’s more associated with Hen Parties but then a male stripper was something quite exciting (and funny). Male Strippers were banned by the Tories weren’t they?
Miki Zone (with the moustache) died of spinal meningitis caused by AIDS in 1986.
Number 136 – The White Stripes – Jack & Meg White – ‘Seven Nation Army’
Jack creates a riff on his semi-acoustic guitar (not his bass) – which actually sounds like a herd of elephants. And Meg backs him up with some incredible drumming. Hard to believe that there are only two of them – harder to believe that this is ten years old.
Seven Nation Army were the name which Jack used to call the salvation Army when he was a child. Jack married Meg and took her surname rather than vice versa. They were long divorced by the time this came out and only lasted two more records, they announced their retirement as White Stripes in 2011. Meg is married to the son of Patti & Fred Sonic Smith and Jack is still turning out brilliant if awkward records – he also reminds me of Edward Scissorhands too.
Number 137 – Gallagher & Lyle – Graham Lyle & Benny Gallagher – ‘I Wanna Stay With You’
Bit of a rush this morning but gorgeous, gorgeous, pleading song – ex-McGuinness Flint, Lyle co-wrote We Don’t Need Another Hero for Tina Turner.
The title track of Breakaway whence this came from was covered by Art Garfunkel and this was also sampled by Lemon Jelly
Number 138 – Everything But The Girl – Tracey Thorn & Ben Watt – ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’
Great song, written by Danny Whitten and first recorded by Crazy Horse back in 1971. This became EBTG’s first Top 10 hit way back in 1988 and remained so until Missing in 1995.
Everything that you might want to know about Tracey, can be read in her wonderful autobiography – Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star – the story of her meeting Ben at Hull University and hanging around a certain record shop in Hatfield where she met yours truly – and yes she is as down to earth as she seems.
Both ‘A Distant Shore’ and ‘North Marine Drive’ are highly recommended and email the cornerstones of early 80’s bedsittingness..
Number 139 – Sparks – Ron & Russell Mael – ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’
What an INCREDIBLE record. Of course, there were more than two of them on this record but Sparks have always been Ron & Russell.
Dad was a caricaturist and Mum was a librarian. They began their musical career way back in 1968 as Halfnelson and have continued to plough their own unique brand of pop taking in the likes of Giorgio Moroder along the way. Bob Harris described them as a cross between Frank Zappa and The Monkees.
This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us reached Number Two back in 1974. The original idea for the song was that after each verse Russell Mael would sing a movie dialogue cliché, one of which was “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us”. They dropped the idea of having different phrases and instead used only the one in the title.
And I had never actually seen the official video until yesterday – it’s well worth the wait..
Take a look at these lyrics and shoot me if you can find a cleverer set anywhere:
Zoo time is she and you time
The mammals are your favourite type, and you want her tonight
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave
Flying domestic flying
And when the stewardess is near do not show any fear
Heartbeat increasing heartbeat
You are a khaki-coloured bombadier it’s Hiroshima that you’re nearing
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave
Daily, except for Sunday
You dawdle in to the cafe where you meet her each day
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
As twenty cannibals have hold of you, they need their protein just like you do
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave
You’ve got to look your best for her and be clean everywhere
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
The rain is pouring on the foreign town, the bullets cannot cut you down
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave
Census, the latest census
There’ll be more girls who live in town though not enough to go round
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You know that:
This town isn’t big enough,
not big enough for both of us
This town isn’t big enough,
not big enough for both of us
And I ain’t gonna leave
Now you too can sing-a-long!
Number 140 – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush – ‘Don’t Give Up’
One of the few records I play when the going gets tough. Something in the intimacy of the vocals (let alone the video) has the power to inspire and motivate. Simple song, minimal backing and clocking in at over 6 minutes, Don’t Give Up was released in 1986, both Kate & Peter had released career best LP’s and this became a key record for those feeling impoverished by years of Tory government.
As we know, Kate has not really appeared on stage for years and there is not (well not to my knowledge anyway) any footage apart from this and the inferior alternative video – an appearance on Wogan would have been lovely.
Peter & Kate have a history which dates back to her BBC TV Special from 1980 (see below) and she provides vocals on Games Without Frontiers.
And besides it is Kate’s 55th birthday today, so couldn’t really be anything else.
Number 141a – Michael McDonald & Patti Labelle – ‘On My Own‘
Buggered things up at the end of this list – too many artists, too little time and one too many Michael McDonald’s (not that that is in any way bad)..
Writers Burt Bacharach & Carole Bayer Sager, composed this song about the break down of a relationship which was first suggested (and recorded but not released) on a Dionne Warwick LP. the McDonald The song was initially not intended to be a duet at all, but LaBelle decided to invite McDonald to help her turn the song into a duet, as she stated: “The song was sent to me and I did a version of it but somehow it just didn’t quite work. We were going over things I’d done and we talked about turning it into a duet. Someone asked, ‘If you could do it with anyone, who would you sing it with,’ and Michael was my first choice…” – so an idea became one of the greatest duets ever. Two awesome singers, belting their little hearts out.
Number 141b – Michael McDonald & James Ingram – ‘Yah Mo B There’
Originally released as a single in 1983, Yah Mo Be There was finally a hit in 1985 following a (rather unnecessary) spruce up.. Still a great inspirational song.
Written by James Ingram, McDonald, Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton.
As great as the song is, the video is a bit naff – I have never been able to get my head around what is exactly going on (particularly the last 3rd).
McDonald was born in St. Louis, Missouri, McDonald played in several local bands while attending McCluer High School in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri. He was discovered while playing with a group called Blue and consequently moved to Los Angeles in 1970. He recently teamed up with the Doobies for a track on their last record.
Number 142 – Zager & Evans – ‘In The Year 2525’
Denny Zager and Rick Evans met whilst at University in Nebraska (and here’s me thinking they were Brits). Number One in the States, Number 1 over here – and nothing else..so proper one hit wonders. Follow-up singles such as “Mr. Turnkey” (a song about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the jail wall as punishment for his crime), unsurprisingly, went largely unnoticed by the public.
Beardy Zager now has his own business Zager EZ Play Guitars with his son, Dennis Jnr.
Time will tell before we can see whether any of their predictions come true – (although a couple of them almost already have) but eating a full course meal as a pill has always appealed to me. Anyway we’ll all be well gone by then!
Number 143 – Yazoo – Alison Moyet & Vince Clarke – ‘Nobody’s Diary’
As Alf is doing Brighton Pride today (and no I’m not going), here are Yazoo with their only single from You & Me Both. Written by Alison, it was the first indication as to the direction she was heading. Of course, she now lives in Brighton and this years LP is one of the years best. Who would have predicted that.
What’s going on with Vince’s hair though?
Number 144 – The Creatures – Siouxsie & Budgie – ‘Right Now‘
Side project to the Banshees, this was released in 1983 reaching number 14 in the UK. And what a bloody great record. The Banshees were on fire at the time and the Creatures just added to their greatness – the music press just loved Right Now.
Revamping the old Mel Torme song, the single review from the Melody Maker went like this:
“The Creatures slipped through an unlocked back window, ransacked the place and left with the best ideas in a fast car. Like all the greatest criminal minds they strike without a warning and only they know the plan. We have to piece the clues into a cover story. From the earliest seconds of ‘Right Now’ you know you’re on shifting ground. Siouxsie baba da baping away to the noise of her own fingers clicking until Budgie barges in with congas on speed. Christ which way is this going? The one direction you don’t expect is a vagrant big band coughing out drunken bursts of brass in a Starlight Room of it’s own making. Budgie and Siouxsie – the Fred and Ginger of the wayward world.” (Paul Colbert).
Number 145 – Alexander O’Neal & Cherrelle – ‘Saturday Love’
Mammoth single from a massive, if bonkers, talent. Alexander was an alumnus of Alcorn State University (I’ll swear I read somewhere that he was an American Football Player?) and was quickly recruited to join Flyte Tyme with Jam, Lewis and Monte Mar. After the group became The Time and following a disagreement over (shoes? No. Looking too black, Yes) with Prince, Alexander finally released his solo LP in 1985. We had to wait until 1987 for his piece de resistance – Hearsay.
Cherrelle was often late for work and gained her name when the boss (not Prince) hollered ‘Cher-relle, you’re late again’
Taken from her LP – High Priority (which is as good as anything by Janet by the way), Saturday Love reached the Top Ten in this country.
Bloody wonderful clip from Soul Train too.
Number 146 – Soft Cell – Marc Almond & David Ball – ‘Where The Heart Is’
Confession time – I don’t really like Tainted Love – never have really, much prefer the versions by Gloria Jones or Ruth Swann. But I love Soft Cell and especially The Art Of Falling Apart. This ended the run of 5 consecutive Top 5 singles over here.
They met and formed Soft Cell at Leeds Universtiy and their first record was funded with a loan of £2,000 from David’s Mum. By 1984, they were finished as a duo performing their farewell shows at Hammersmith Palais. Marc continued with his side career in Marc & The Mambas and had a successful solo career and Ball formed The Grid.
The reunited in 2001 for a series of live dates and an LP.
Number 147 – Phil Oakey & Giorgio Morodor – ‘Together in Electric Dreams’
These two need no introduction from me. Co-written by the pair for the film Electric Dreams, film director Steve Barron cut his teeth making the promo for Don’t You Want Me and called up Phil to provide vocals in the hope of some Flashdance style mega success for the soundtrack.
Watch closely for Giorgio in the video as the boss of a radio station.
Number 148 – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – ‘The Closer I Get’
Impossible to find any clips of Donny & Roberta singing together. He had committed suicide by the time of Back Together Again and even on this proper video, he isn’t featured, leaving Roberta to look all lonesome – as he suffered from depression, I figure he was too down to turn up.
Number 148b – PM Dawn – Attrell Cordes and Jarrett Cordes – ‘Set Adrift On Memory Bliss’
This popped up on my ipod yesterday and I gasped at the thought that I haven’t included in my count-up/down (expect some more of these moments)..
Came out of nowhere really in the summer (surely?) of 1991. Perfect sampling choice too and who would have thought it would make ‘True’ listenable.
Poor Prince Be has had two strokes and has had his leg amputated below the knee due to leg gangrene.
Spot our Tony towards the close of the video..
‘Reality used to be a friend of mine’. Gorgeous.
Number 148c – Gnarls Barkley – Cee-Lo Green & Brian Burton aka Dangermouse – ‘Crazy’
The first single to reach Number One in our charts based on download sales alone. So a bit of history then and well deserved. It also stayed at the top for nine weeks which was the longest run since Wet Wet Wet.
Dangermouse is the producer man behind The Grey Album by Jay-z, and has worked with acts as diverse as the Black Keys, Gorillaz and Broken Bells. He even spent a couple of years living in New Cross in London and worked at The Rose pub in London Bridge (early 00’s).
Cee-Lo had been knocking around for a while, providing vocals for Santana and releasing two LP’s with Gnarls Barkley before going solo.
Number 149 – Pet Shop Boys – Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe – ‘Heart’
Hard choice to make. Fab video featuring Sir Ian McKellen vamping it up. And taken from the LP which really broke them (including It’s A Sin, Always On My Mind and What Have I Done To Deserve This).. and a fabulous sleeve.
Yet, even now, I still struggle with them a bit.
Number 150 a) – McAlmont & Butler – David McAlmont & Bernard Butler – ‘Yes’
What a pairing. McAlmont has a voice, as described by Taylor Parkes from the Melody Maker, thus – “One day he will open his mouth and a cathedral will fall out” – although the cathedral is not specified, I’ll wager it would be one of the grandest, most beautiful cathedrals in the world. T still flummoxes me how and why he is not an international mega/superstar and someone like Justin Bieber is. But I figure he does not really care and continues to make great records.
Two great LP’s (6 years apart) and a brace of great records and they were finished. ‘Yes’ steps straight out of the Phil Spector/Wall of Sound songbook but with a contemporary edge (I can imagine David as part of the Ronettes).
Bernard continued with his career, made a solo LP (away from Suede) and produced that Duffy LP, reuniting with Brett Anderson for The Tears in 2005.
Number 150 b) Associates – Alan Rankine & Billy Mackenzie – ‘Party Fears Two’
Talking of incredible singers, here is Billy on his debut TOTP’s appearance and doesn’t he look excited? Changing their name from The Ascorbic Ones to Associates in 1979. They waited for three years before success came their way and Party Fears Two is from their third LP entitled Sulk. Rankine split before the tour, leaving Billy to carry on the Associates mantle on his own.
One of the greatest, oddest top ten’s ever.
Number 150 c) – Sonny & Cher – ‘I Got You Babe’
Delightful clip of Sonny & Cher – don’t you just adore the little handclaps (which I notice I do all the time) and Cher looks amazing here.
Sonny died in a ski-ing accident in 1998 and was elected to the House of Representatives for the Republican party in 1994 and is Godfather to Antony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Cher, who is well into pensionable age, has had more make-overs and image changes than practically anyone but remains a great talent – even winning an Oscar for Moonstruck. I kind of wish she would work with someone who will respect her voice for the fantastic instrument it really is.. so there.
Number 150 d) Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye – ‘You Are Everything’
Written by Linda Creed & Thom Bell, this was originally recorded by the Stylistics before being recorded and released by these two. Taken from the Diana & Marvin LP which serves as a template of Love Duets. Shame there isn’t a proper video (not even one with Pan’s People), but this will do nicely. Never released as a single in the States which strikes me as a bit odd.
Number 150 e) The Carpenters – Richard & Karen – ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’
Finally, we have reached the end. And a fabulous record to end on too. The LP version clocks in at over 7 minutes, which is quite something for a single by an act who were generally poo-poo-ed by anyone under 18. Yet their legacy has outlasted many of their ‘cooler’ contemporaries.
Originally recorded by the Canadian band Klaatu – who, despite popular rumour, had nothing to do with the Beatles. The Carpenters version sparked many a letter from fans enquiring as to when World Contact Day actually was. The voice of the DJ is long term Carpenters guitarist, Tony Peluso (the man behind the Goodbye To Love solo).
While poor Karen was dying from anorexia nervosa, Richard was addicted to Quaaludes – he married a cousin of his (non blood related – she was adopted) and fathered 5 little Carpenters. But despite the great songs, the Carpenters were always only about Karen and that incredible, special voice.
Sunday Diversion #1. Howard Keel & Betty Hutton – ‘Anything You Can Do’
Written by Irving Berlin who was responsible for some of the greatest Musicals in the History of Musicals. Not sure if I have ever seen Annie Get you Gun but know all of the songs, particularly this.
Howard Keel ended up as Clayton Farlow in Dallas and released a hugely successful LP targetted at women of a certain age in 1984.
Betty starred in 19 films and even had her own late 50’s sitcom. Proper Hollywood royalty who had multiple marriages, was declared bankrupt, had a nervous breakdown, befriended Kirsten Hersh form the Throwing Muses, gained a Masters degree in Psychology but remained estranged from her three daughters who did not attend her funeral in 2007.
I can’t bake a pie either.
Sunday Diversion #2 – Morecambe & Wise – ‘Bring Me Sunshine’
Little short fat hairy legs.
Sunday Diversion #3 – Laurel & Hardy – ‘The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine‘
What I love about our charts is the records like this can reach Number 2 some 40 odd years after it’s appearance in Way Out West. Still makes me chuckle even nearly 40 years later.. and kept off the top by Bo Rhap.
Sunday Diversion #4 – Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren – ‘Goodness Gracious Me’
Good enough to be included in the main list but it IS a little bit UnPC. But in 1960 we didn’t really consider such things. From the soundtrack to The Millionairess although not featured in the movie, this was commissioned by George Martin who produced all of Seller’s comedy recordings.
Sunday Diversion #5 – Baron & Baroness Bombast – Gert Frobe & Anna Quayle – ‘Chu-Chi Face’
Gert was, of course, Goldfinger in the Bond movie of the same name and Anna was Mrs Monroe in Grange Hill and is/was a Brighton resident (up by the station last time I looked).
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of my all time favourite films, adapted from the Roald Dahl book with music by the Sherman brothers.
And the child catcher still terrifies some 45 years on. Who has not considered the Barons actions at some point in their marriage?!!
Sunday Diversion #6 – Patrick MacNee & Honor Blackman – ‘Kinky Boots‘
Unbelievably this reached Number 5 in 1990 following a campaign by Radio 1 Breakfast Host, Simon Mayo.
Originally from That Was The Week That Was in 1964, Honor was on the telly this week and still looks rather good for an 87 year old.