Monday, 29 May 2017

Compiled #4

There was a trend in the 80s for compilation albums to be issued in two volumes - two separate records sold together as a kind of 'buy one get one free' offer, though some unscrupulous retailers would inevitably sell each record separately at full price. I bought a few of these back in the day, usually chart compilations. They pre-dated the Now That's What I Call Music dynasty and were often rather diverse.

Chartbusters '82 was one such pairing I owned. I was 11 at the time and was still finding my feet in the world of pop music. The quality obviously undulated, but there were some gems among the guff, and in a few cases it led to me finding out about artists I subsequently went on to love or admire. Looking back at the tracklisting now, I really can't remember some of the songs or even the artists. Anyone recall Panama? Paul Lorenzo? Oxgen? Or most obscure of all, the Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup Final Squad? (Sorry Jez...)

To be honest, you could easily take the best bits of both volumes and make a pretty decent single record. Sandwiched between Dollar and Aneka at the start of Volume One was Haircut One Hundred, a diamond between two turds. I still have a fondness for Love Plus One, even though it sounds soooooo 1982. There's no way you could get away with sounding like this now.

Head Over Heels by Abba also featured, which got a thumbs up from me. Also, there was I Could Be Happy by Altered Images, and XTC's Ball And Chain (which I'm not going to post purely because JC will get round to it as part of his excellent Saturday series very soon). And then there was this one, one of the first reggae songs I remember that wasn't Bob Marley. 'Tis a real ear worm, too.

But it's Volume Two where the real fun lies. It opened with a song that actually pre-dated 1982 by a few years and had been rather obscure, buried away on a soundtrack album. It had, however, been re-issued owing to the enormous success of the band over the previous 12 months. Of course, this was a very different Adam & The Ants to the line-up who became huge, but it mattered not. Ant fever was in full swing so any cynical marketing ploy was welcome, especially for an 11-year-old Ant fan like me.

Volume 2 also gave us Party Fears Two by the Associates (which I posted back here), Bow Wow Wow's Wild In The Country, Gary Numan with Music For Chameleons, and surprisingly (mainly because it wasn't a big hit), this utterly superb tune:

I actually forgot this track completely for years until I discovered SLF properly during the 90s through my older punk friends. I couldn't place where I'd heard it before, and it's only when I researched this series that I found it was on this compilation. I still don't remember it being on there, if I'm being honest, so clearly it wasn't a big influence on me at the time, but hell - I was 11. It makes this post because it remains one of my fave SLF tracks.

I should also mention that Listen was followed by Kick In The Eye by Bauhaus which I actually do remember from back in the day. But, again perhaps because of my age, I never investigated Bauhaus any further, despite learning of their huge influence on the later indie and goth scenes. Good track though.

Finally, we'll brush aside the inclusion of Tight Fit, Starsound and Huey Lewis to mention a band who went on to become one of the biggest in the world. Depeche Mode were still a plinkity-plonkity synth-pop band in 1982, yet to properly discover their dark side. In a few years they would be making brilliant songs like Blasphemous Rumours, Stripped and Strangelove, but when you consider some of the dross on Chartbusters '82, See You would easily make the single highlights album without a second thought. I'm not posting the song though - that's a sure-fire way to get the site taken down by "The Man". Dave Gahan would never be able to afford those leather jackets if we all gave away low-quality digital rips of 35-year-old Depeche Mode songs now, would he? So here they are, with Dave looking like he's only 11-years-old himself, on Top Of The Pops.


  1. Talk about a mixed bag! Those were strange days indeed. Good to see a bit of love for Haircut 100. I played 'North of a Miracle', Nick Heyward's first solo LP, recently and still contend that if the stars had aligned a little differently for him, he might've eventually become as widely respected as Roddy Frame.
    I'd also completely forgotten that SLF tune, though after hearing the first 10 seconds it all came flooding back and it was as if I'd only played it yesterday.

  2. Seeing your mention of Listen has finally prompted me to download some artwork for the EP it came from - that I converted from vinyl about four years ago.
    I seem to recall that Your Honour originated from some time in the 70s and was another belated hit. I can vouch for those ear-worm properties you mention.

  3. I have this/these one/s. Back in the early80's I started collecting these compilations (previous life I was a DJ) and the continued to collect them in the 90's whenever I spotted them in a charity shop.

  4. [on behalf of Brian]
    Ah, yes, assembled by infomercial guru Ron Popeil's Ronco label.
    Both of these volumes are not at all bad. Quite similar but superior to the K-tel Hit Express comp that was also popular over here in '82. Had the Split Enz, Human League and the Police but not much else for kids like us. The love for Haircut One Hundred here warms the cockles of my heart. ~Brian

  5. Hey Robster. I guess you have somehow noticed some of my comments to you are disappearing. Thanks for recovering. Hmm, wonder if this one will make it?

  6. Count me in as a Haircut 100 fan. 'Love Plus One' was featured at my own place many years ago; it's the band's finest moment and not that far removed from the Polydor-era Orange Juice.

    Thanks for holding back on is coming up very soon;

    I'm tickled by the fact that Bauhaus/Associates/SLF are on the same compilation as Tight Fit and Huey Lewis! Cheers!!!!