Saturday 18 May 2024

Off The Chart

Lace up your trainers, we're going back four decades to the Top 20 UK singles chart on 18th May 1984.
In January, I did a similar look back at 1974 and whilst I would hesitate to call this a series, a run of back-to-back Top Of The Pops episodes on BBC4 (kind of) inspired today's selection, although I also have to tip my hat to Jez at A History Of Dubious Taste for his delve into the early volumes of Now That's What I Call Music.

Being 1984, we're well into the era of the 12" single and the extended dance club remix frenzy. So, what you've got here are thirteen stretched out versions, some pushing the 8-9 minute mark, others bending the original songs into interesting shapes. And, honestly, could you actually dance to some of these?!
I'm guessing that the movie Footloose was pretty popular around this time as there are two singles from the soundtrack in the Top 20. Kenny Loggins' title theme song didn't have an extended version in 1984 so I've gone for one of the many 21st century fan-made versions that proliferate online.

Madonna's mate John 'Jellybean' Benitez remixes the other by Deniece Williams and also turns his hand to Automatic by Pointer Sisters. Benitez was ubiquitous at the time, even Talking Heads and Elvis Costello got the 'Jellybean' treatment.

Then up-and-coming writers and producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis kick things off with Just Be Good To Me, a new entry at #20. I don't particularly remember this song at the time but it's legendary status was sealed when Beats International covered it a few years later, securing a #1 in the process. Jam & Lewis went on to greater heights with Janet Jackson and all-new lows with The Human League.

Blissfully unaware of this in 1984, The Human League were still enjoying Top 20 hits, including The Lebanon, dropping to #12 this week from a peak of #11 the week before. An undeniably brilliant bassline, coupled with some of the most cringeworthy lyrics committed to vinyl, but I love it regardless.

Speaking of bass, there's some funk to make Mark King of Level 42 give a heavily insured thumbs up, from Jeffrey Osborne and Jocelyn Brown. If the latter sounds familiar, it's been sampled to death by artists such as George Michael (Too Funky), Utah Saints (Ohio) and OutKast (Spaghetti Junction).
If you prefer your guitar histrionic, look no further than Queen at #4. Thanks to Lady K's early obsession with Queen's Greatest Hits, I am now more familiar with the back catalogue of Mercury and co. than I ever wanted to be. This 12" version is rumbling along quite nicely until in the last minute or so it decides to go all Stars On 45 and give the listener a chopped up Greatest Hits medley. 

Blancmange and O.M.D. respectively deliver one of my favourite and least favourite singles by said artists, I'll leave you to decide which is which. In a bizarre twist of fate, I will have seen both bands live in 2024, March and Blancmange at the end of this month.

Just the one reggae hit in the Top 20 but it's a goodie. One Love/People Get Ready was a posthumous smash for Bob Marley & The Wailers, peaking at #5 in it's fifth week and promoting the compilation Legend, released two weeks before. Suffice to say, it's one of the greatest greatest hits albums ever.

So, to the top spot and enjoying the third of four weeks at #1 is Duran Duran with The Reflex. Heavily remixed from the album version, the 12" version takes things even further. Mrs. K and I have enjoyed many a slightly tipsy lounge disco dance to this one.

As with the 1974 selection, I've gone for a Marvel UK comics header. The Mighty World Of Marvel was on it's second incarnation by this time. The May 1984 issue actually came out in April but I've included this one for the gorgeous painted art by Alan Davis, whose epic Captain Britain storyline with Alan Moore was coming to an end. 
At the other end of the spectrum was The Thing Is Big Ben, in which Marvel UK decided that what kids really needed was the rocky one from The Fantastic Four in his own weekly comic, with a title that tenuously linked him to the iconic London landmark. Add to that reprints of Iron Man and Captain America (the latter replaced by Power Man & Iron Fist) and you can understand why editors felt the need to throw in a free cap to convince kids to hand over their 18p. The cover price was prescient: 18 weeks later, the kids remained unmoved and the title quietly folded into the ongoing Spider-Man comic, as so many others before it had done.
1) Just Be Good To Me (Album Version By Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis): The S.O.S. Band (#20)
2) I'm Falling (Album Version By Colin Fairley & Bob Andrews): The Bluebells (#19)
3) Stay With Me Tonight (Extended Remixed Version By Bill Bottrell): Jeffrey Osborne (#18)
4) Somebody Else's Guy (Remix By John Morales & Sergio Munzibai): Jocelyn Brown (#13)
5) The Lebanon (Extended) (Remix By The Human League, Chris Thomas & Hugh Padgham): The Human League (#12)
6) Don't Tell Me (U.S. Dance Remix By Mark Kamins): Blancmange (#9)
7) Let's Hear It For The Boy (Extended Remixed Version By John 'Jellybean' Benitez): Deniece Williams (#8)
8) Locomotion (Razormaid Remix By Joseph Watt): O.M.D. (#7)
9) Footloose (VJAR 2016 Extended Dance Remix By Alex Ritton): Kenny Loggins (#6)
10) One Love/People Get Ready (Dub Version By Godwin Logie): Bob Marley & The Wailers (#5)
11) I Want To Break Free (Extended Mix By Queen & Reinhold Mack): Queen (#4)
12) Automatic (Special Remix By John 'Jellybean' Benitez): Pointer Sisters (#2)
13) The Reflex (Dance Mix By Nile Rodgers & Jason Corsaro): Duran Duran (#1)

Off The Chart (1:27:14) (KF) (Mega)


  1. The Lebanon! Definitely in the Ill-Conceived but Well-Intended Top 10, although with no chance of toppling the perennial No. 1 "Belfast Child" by Simple Minds

    1. That bassline! Although I'm not sure I needed to be reminded of Belfast Child by Simple Minds... ;-)

  2. Alan Moore's Captain Britain run was right up there- great cover art too

    1. It blew my mind as a 12-13 year old as still does to this day.

  3. 1984 - human league, blancmage & OMD are the winners for me. duran duran's mood matched the lebenon & don't tell me quite well. Locomotion was a weaker single for me. interesting new series?! greetings, Alex/EAR

    1. Thanks, Alex. With a 4-month gap between the two chart-related posts, it will be a glacially slow series should it ever develop...!

  4. Ah, the good old days... though I was buying far more comics back then than I was records. Including those two...

    1. Likewise, Rol, the record buying didn't really get into gear until 1985 when I had enough money from a Saturday job to buy vinyl and comics...!