Music to my Years this week is quite fittingly where I turn to double digits and a new decade – as I enter a new one tomorrow and turn 50 – the whole reason I started Music to My Years. This year was one I remember for the Royal Wedding when Prince Charles married Lady Diana. It was a complete fairytale to me and I was SO disappointed when it all went wrong. We even went to see the train go past through Woking station!
At first, I thought this year was kind of what I would class as ‘boring’ music. It is hard to explain what I mean by that but it is really run of the mill. It doesn’t stop the fact that there are some real corkers in there though!
As I am now a radio presenter on Radio Ninesprings, and I will be sharing my Top 10 all week and sharing 1 track from the list each day, Monday to Friday, on my show from 3pm. Plus, there is now a compilation show on Sunday’s at 6pm.
20. Tainted Love By Soft Cell
This song, to me, has been way overplayed over the years – which has kind of put the kybosh on it for me! It will forever remind me of my neighbour Claire. She used to play this at night as I was trying to get to sleep so I used to bang on the wall! I don’t think she ever heard me though!!
19. Joan of Arc By Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
A song which sort of sounds like you are marching, I found this really uplifting when I listened to it.
18. Flash By Queen
This song is an absolute classic to me. Whilst I didn’t think it was ever one of Queen’s best, it certainly made me want to see the film!
17. Romeo and Juliet By Dire Straits
A song which reminds me of my father driving us around in the car.
16. Can You Feel It By The Jacksons
The biggest memory I have of this song is doing an dance routine in aerobics to it back in the ’90s. I think it was then that I came to fully appreciate it!
15. Green Door By Shakin’ Stevens
I can remember wondering what was going on behind the Green Door! I loved Shakey – and his better, and slightly faster, song is in my top ten (despite them both being cover versions!).
14. Kings of The Wild Frontier By Adam and The Ants
I never actually realised until I did this research, that the original backing band was taken by producer Malcolm McLaren to form Bow Wow Wow. Adam Ant recorded Kings of the Wild Frontier with guitarist Marco Pirroni as his new writing partner.
13. It’s My Party By Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin
This was one of three singles which were amongst the very first I bought. I used to go to WHSmiths to get my singles. This was a cover version which I didn’t know at the time. This Dave Stewart is NOT the one from the Eurythmics!
12. Stand and Deliver By Adam and The Ants
Another fantastic Adam and the Ants tune, I can remember feeling really proud that Grace knew the words to this song at around the age of 3! Adam and the Ants will always remind me of my school friend, Kirstie as this was her favourite band.
11. Hold On Tight By ELO
This song reminds me of the beginning of the end of the reign of ELO. They had started to lose their momentum by this point – although Jeff Lyne continued to write fantastic songs and came back years later with a solo album.
10. This Ole House by Shakin’ Stevens
I can remember Shakin’ Stevens coming onto the music scene – and the video to this song. I used to dance to it all the time in my room! My Godmother’s son went to school with his son! This song was number one for 3 weeks in March of 1981.
9. Do the Hucklebuck by Coast to Coast
Coast to Coast was a British band from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Loads of bands had already covered Do The Hucklebuck but I can remember this group and this song. It was played at the school disco I went to and I remember going mad for it!
8. Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart) By Ottowan
This is the second of 3 first singles I bought from WH Smith. The first is number 13 on this chart and this is my second. I loved D.I.S.C.O by this band BUT this was even better! I used to play the song in my room ALL of the time – and, of course, I knew all of the actions! I liked to pretend I was the female singer and desperately wanted a boyfriend! (fool!!).
7. PRince Charming By Adam and The Ants
This was the third of the 3 singles that I first ever bought. It just a fabulous song to ‘stance’ to! This song was a rallying cry, letting the youth of England know that “ridicule is nothing to be scared of.” I thought the video was wonderful and I can remember Diana Dors as the fairy godmother – who looked amazing.
Years later, the song holds a whole different memory for me. I wanted to use it as the entrance for Prince Charming in the panto I directed. And what an entrance it was! Ross played Prince Charming and him, Dandini and the chorus came on in the dark holding glow sticks. It was truly brilliant!
6. Just Can’t Get Enough By Depeche Mode
This song is still simply great! It was written by Depeche Mode founding member and keyboardist Vince Clarke and inspired by “To Cut a Long Story Short” by Spandau Ballet. Not many people know that Vince was in Depeche Mode and this was the only video he appeared in. He went on to form Yazoo with Alison Moyet and then Erasure with Andy Bell. What a talent!
5. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic By The Police
I think this has to be my favourite of all of The Police’s songs. I do like Every Breath You Take but I think this one slightly has the edge. It was originally an acoustic ballad which Sting wrote while The Police were known as Strontium 90. He went on to use the lyric “Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met? It’s a big enough umbrella but it’s always me that ends up getting wet,” on other songs including “Seven Days” from his solo album Ten Summoner’s Tales.
4. Wired for Sound By Cliff Richard
I think that this is my absolute favourite from Cliff. It will always remind me of going to the roller disco in Woking which was on the corner opposite the fire station. We would park in the car park below, climb up the steps and go to the counter to get our roller skates. It was that year that I had a roller disco birthday party! You could buy cans of coke, crisps and sweets from the counter too. The room where you skated had some fab disco lights and very loud music. I used to love it – especially when this song came on!
It is actually a tribute song to the then newly invented Sony Walkman and was written by BA Robertson wrote with Alan Tarney. BA Robertson also wrote “The Living Years” with Mike Rutherford for Mike & The Mechanics.
3. Under Your Thumb By Godley and Creme
I can distinctly remember setting up chairs in my bedroom to act out a train – and this song! I used to really feel the heartache that the singer was going through!
Godley and Creme were part of 10CC and left to not only form their own music act but also to direct music videos. They famously did the song ‘Cry’ in 1985 with a video that was ahead of it’s time (Black or White by Michael Jackson mimicked it years later but with more advanced technology!). They also directed videos for Sting (“An Englishman in New York”), Ultravox, the Police, Yes, Duran Duran, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wang Chung and Go West’s ‘We Close Our Eyes’.
2. Tempted By Squeeze
I think that this has to be my favourite of all the Squeeze songs. The band’s singer and guitarist, Chris Difford, wrote the lyrics in a cab on the way to Heathrow. He wrote down what he saw and how he felt.
Paul Carrack replaced Jools Holland as keyboardist and sang the lead vocals – as recommended by Elvis Costello who produced the song and sings on the track (listen out on the second verse). Paul Carrack is also known for singing ‘The Living Years’ by Mike and the Mechanics. A nice connection to my number 4 this week!
1. In The Air Tonight By Phil Collins
This really could be the only number one this week. It has a lot of memories behind it. Firstly, Sonny Crockett driving along in his black Porsche along the streets of Miami in Miami Vice, secondly me driving along the streets of Baltimore (not as fast as Sonny Crockett I hasten to add!) and finally, seeing Phil Collins live in the round, coming up from beneath the stage, sitting at a huge silver drum kit, beating out the drum piece in this song. SO atmospheric!
He actually wrote this song about the anger he felt after divorcing his first wife and was so devastated that he left Genesis for a short time. It is also remembered for a gorilla and the Cadbury’s advert – but let’s not speak of that!
Find my playlist over on Spotify: