Which decade is Tops for Pops? (6/10)

Today, it gets better. After yesterday, how could it not?

Day 6, and we’re into the Top Five for this week in the past five decades. Here come the Number Fives

1963: Bachelor Boy – Cliff Richard.
1973: Daniel – Elton John.
1983: Change – Tears For Fears.
1993: Deep – East 17.
2003: Don’t Worry – Appleton.

For the first time since this project began, I find that I can cheerfully live with all five of today’s selections. Elton John is the obvious classic here, complete with its staring-you-in-the-face, ooh-but-we-didn’t-realise-at-the-time depiction of unabashed homosexual longing. The line “Daniel my brother” threw us all off the scent, you see. Such innocent times.

Speaking of…well, you know…Cliff Richard has to come next. Eerily prophetic, as you hardly need me to point out. Although obviously, Cliff’s declared lifestyle choice is entirely due to classic “fear of commitment” issues. (Good grief – I’ve just remembered that I was dreaming about Cliff’s friend Mary Whitehouse last night. And Zsa Zsa Gabor. What’s going on in that subconscious of mine?) Great tune, and indelibly linked to Summer Holiday, which will always be one of the best films ever ever ever, so there.

This is where the decisions get tough. After careful consideration, I’m giving my three points to those Appleton sisters – formerly half of All Saints, one of whom is married to Liam Gallagher. This is despite their rather annoying “the world owes us a living” public personas, and their “haven’t we finished yet, the Met Bar’s open and we’ve got much better things to do than stand around here for much longer” performance style. Simply put, Don’t Worry is a perfectly well crafted and pleasant pop record – admittedly not up to the standard of All Saints, but respectable enough all the same.

I was never particularly fond of Tears For Fears – too wet, too limp, too thin, too drippy, like a piece of soggy green lettuce in the colourful salad bowl that was Eighties Pop. (Hey, it’s not yet noon on a Sunday, and I’m waxing metaphorical already. This is going to be a good day!) However, they could pen a decent tune at times, and this is one of their better efforts.

As for East 17 – they really were the Blazin’ Squad of their day, weren’t they? It’s those Home Counties Homeboy accents again. Compare and contrast with Reminisce, if you will. East 17 are heaps better, aren’t they? It’s the leeriness that puts them ahead, I think. Unlike their perpetual rivals Take That, who tempered their exposed nipples with sweet smiles and general all-round wholesomeness, East 17’s appeal was unmistakeably skanky, dirty, love-bites-in-the-bus-shelter, are-ya-shaggin-me-or-wot? And we need a bit of that in the charts, don’t we? Having said all that – I suppose that Deep is a bit of a low-rent botch job at the end of the day, even if it does make me smile fondly and indulgently. Oh, you boys!

My votes: 1 – Elton John. 2 – Cliff Richard. 3 – Appleton. 4 – Tears For Fears. 5 – East 17. K’s votes are in the comments.

Over to you. The 1980s have now taken over from the 1970s at the top. Will Elton John help to push the 1970s back up there, I wonder?

Running totals so far – Number 5s.

1973: Daniel – Elton John. (96)

No contest. A corker from the very first bar. And, when you realise what Reg is really singing about, a great tear-jerker as well. (Nigel R (the UK one))

Nout else comes close. I thought it was about his brother (but I was young). (Nic)

Thank God there’s no connection between this song and Diana or I’d hate this too by now. (Junio)

The best song of the bunch, but so overplayed that I never want to hear it again. (David)

I had a boss called Daniel, consequently I hate this song. (Su(zi)e)

It makes me want to scream and hurt things. (Stereoboard)

2003: Don’t Worry – Appleton. (70)

Don’t know anything about the girls,so I could just enjoy the song. (Asta)

Sounds like it’d be more effective with another couple of voices in the mix, but quoit cetchee. (Junio)

perfect example of good pop being nothing to do with the talents of the artiste (noodle)

Hmmm…? Did you say something? Sorry. Don’t remember this at all even though I’ve just listened to it. (David)

Deeply inoffensive. (Nigel R (the UK one))

The song would be okay by someone else, but I can’t stand the miserable cows. (Chig)

Don’t they make teas? Oh, sorry. That’s Lipton. (Vaughan)

1983: Change – Tears For Fears. (65)

Remember the video? Those white-faced mimes with their silly little gestures? No? Just me, then? (David)

I like the intro but it fails once the verse starts. (Amanda)

Not their best and even their best was lukewarm. (Asta)

Loved them, loved them, loved them, but this isn’t one of their top tunes. (Chig)

it was plonking away quite nicely till we reached the worst chorus i have ever heard in my life (noodle)

A band of hardly any originality with vocals so woefully monotonous they make even Morrisey come across as a chirpy-chappie. What were we thinking of in the 80s? (Nigel R (the UK one))

Can someone hum it to me? Is it one of their very early ones, from the days when they looked like earnest young sociology students and had ringlets in their hair? ‘Mad World’/’Pale Shelter’ era? Anyone? Hello? (Vaughan)

1963: Bachelor Boy – Cliff Richard. (63)

Fantastic film, great little song. (David)

pleasant enough whimsy. may have scuppered cliff’s claim to be the “british elvis” (noodle)

I pride myself on being able to put this as high as this despite the crimes against humanity that Cliff later perpetrated (e.g. Mistletoe & Wine – imho the worst, most objectionable song ever released). (Stereoboard)

Was nearly bottom except that its horrible tweeness is just about rescued by its comedy singalong value. (Chig)

Tragic twaddle. Only made half-way acceptable by all our knowing sniggers. (Nigel R (the UK one))

I have little to say about Cliff. He sang Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music? To which the world replied: Because we’re going to be going to hell just to avoid you, Cliff. (Vaughan)

Why is everyone so anti Cliff Richard? It may not be a smash hit, like his Christmas #1 ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ but Bachelor Boy does promote good Christian values by discouraging sex before marriage- quite noble, I’m sure you’ll agree! (Saved Grace)

1993: Deep – East 17. (51)

It may not be deep, but I loved it at the time. (diamond geezer)

fab production, cheeky cockernee shag-monkeys (noodle)

Not a bad effort, bless ’em. Best listened to at 3.30 a.m on the over-priced cab-ride home, with the one you want to shag snuggled up drunk and incapable beside you. (Nigel R (the UK one))

I watched a video yesterday of them on TOTP a few months after this – Jan 1994 – doing It’s Alright. God, they looked stupid. However, I did (aaaaaaagh, alright, do still) have a secret longing for Brian Harvey, and this song succeeded in getting a very rude lyric on the radio, so four points for sheer cheek. (Chig)

East 17 kind of always scared me. Not because they looked tough, but because they tried to look tough and so obviously weren’t. I did like ‘Stay Another Day’, though. I found that curiously homoerotic. And it had snow. And bells. Bells are good. Particularly at Christmas. (Vaughan)

Strained and lame (Asta)

Junio’s rule of rap: It should either be absolutely filthy and offensive or rib-rocked right-on. This is neither. (Junio)

Decade scores so far (after 5 days).
1 (2) The 1980s (18) — Rubik’s Cubes! The Big Bang! Body popping!
2 (1) The 1970s (17) — Ponchos! Chicken bricks! Watergate!
3 (4) The 1990s (15) — Britpop! Ecru linen layers! Anthea Turner!
4 (3) The 1960s (13) — Mini skirts! The Cultural Revolution! Woodstock!
5 (5) The 2000s (12) — Globalisation! The death of ideology! Geri Halliwell’s solo career!

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