Archives » 1980s

Terry Wogan

I can just about remember when Terry Wogan wasn’t a fixture of British public life but that memory was fading. In recent years he had himself receded a little from the public eye, retiring from his braekfast show and from commentating on the Eurovision Song Contest but he still popped up with an intermittent weekly radio show on Radio 2 and the annual Children in Need telethons (all in a good cause certainly but usually so laced with embarassing performances that I found it difficult to watch so I hadn’t done so for years.)

Despite his failure to appear on last year’s Children in Need in November due to illness – a warning sign as it turned out – it was still a shock to wake up to the news today that he had died.

I also noticed there were retrospective clip shows from his thrice-weekly 80s chat show on in the afternoon in the run-up to Christmas 2015. Maybe there was a hint there too.

I wasn’t one of his listeners in the 60s – or indeed in the 70s – but in later life I found his breakfast radio show congenial listening in the short interval between being woken by the alarm clock and actually getting out of bed. Perhaps it took reaching a certain age to appreciate his charms.

He always seemd perfectly genial – a great trick to pull off in the early morning – but by all accounts this was simply him; there was apparently no difference between his public and private persona.

The world feels diminished by his death. I fervently hope it doesn’t turn out he had feet of clay (as others of his vintage had) but if all that has been said of him is true there may be no need to fear.

Michael Terence “Terry” Wogan; 3/8/1938 – 31/1/2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 27: Nothing Has Been Proved

The second of Dusty’s collaborations with the Pet Shop Boys (after What Have I Done to Deserve This? but this one doesn’t really feature them except as writers and producers. On the face of it a song about the Profumo affair would perhaps have been an unlikely hit except it of course appeared over the end credits of the film Scandal.

Dusty Springfield: Nothing Has Been Proved

Bowie

The one name suffices. In modern times you could not be referring to anyone else.

There was (sadly that tense is now appropriate) only one Bowie: David.

For many the iconic moment of their lives was Bowie placing a carefree, languid, unthinking arm round Mick Ronson’s neck on that Top of the Pops appearance while promoting Starman and thereby validating sexualities beyond that of the straight and cis.

Bowie’s first brush with the charts came with Space Oddity in 1969, regarded at the time as a bit of a novelty record, though it wasn’t his last song to tangle with SF imagery.

He hit his stride with the Hunky Dory album in 1971 – on which nearly every track is a belter – though no hits were to come from that source till Life on Mars? was released as a single in 1973. This was of course after the breakthrough, the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972 and that hit with Starman. I would argue that Hunky Dory is the greater achievement. From Ziggy onwards Bowie seemed to be commercialising his talent. The string of hits that followed on from the Ziggy album, through his Aladdin Sane persona, up to Diamond Dogs perhaps bore that out.

He lost me with Young Americans, though. I’ve never been into that sort of music. There were stonkers still to come of course, when he’d changed his style a few more times, Heroes, Ashes to Ashes, Let’s Dance, China Girl, but it is the early stuff I’ll remember him for.

This is The Bewlay Brothers, from Hunky Dory of course.

David Bowie: The Bewlay Brothers

“Man is an obstacle, sad as the clown. (Oh, by jingo.)
So hold on to nothing and he won’t let you down.”

David Bowie: After All (from The Man Who Sold the World)

“I borrowed your time and I’m sorry I called.”

David, we’re not sorry you called.

David Robert Jones (“David Bowie”) 8/1/1947 – 10/1/2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 26: Lavender

I haven’t had Marillion here for a while. This is a clever reworking of the nursery rhyme, with a sly Yardbirds reference thrown in. As I recall when the band appeared on Top of the Pops with this Fish had a sore throat and was unable to sing so he held up the lyrics on cards à la Bob Dylan. Not that he needed to as I’m sure miming was prevalent in those days.

Marillion: Lavender

George Clayton Johnston and Lemmy

I just heard today of the death of George Clayton Johnston, co-writer of Logan’s Run with William F. Nolan, and scriptwriter for Star Trek and The Twilight Zone.

And yesterday there was Lemmy, whom I see had the same birthday as me though he was older. One of those in the public eye to be known only by a single name his music wasn’t exactly to my taste (Silver Machine in his Hawkwind days – and on which he took the vocal – excepted) but he was one who certainly lived up to the rock’n’roll lifestyle of legend.

George Clayton Johnson: 10/7/1929 – 25/12/2015.

Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister: 24/12/1945 – 28/12/2015.

So it goes.

Live It Up 25: So Good to be Back Home Again

Following on from last week’s offering….

This was just such a joyful pop song.

The Tourists – So Good to be Back Home Again 1980

Reelin’ In the Years 112: I Only Want To Be With You

Longdancer wasn’t the only pre-Eurythmics incarnation of Dave Stewart’s music – and not his first collaboration with Annie Lennox. That came in the late 70s and 1980 with The Tourists and a couple of top ten hits of which only the song below (which is more associated with the 1960s and Dusty Springfield) made any impression in the USA.

The Tourists: I Only Want To Be With You

Live It Up 24: RIP Jim Diamond

Scot Jim Diamond wasn’t perhaps the best known singer latterly. Still I wouldn’t have thought it easy to confuse him with the USian Neil of that ilk as someone of my acquaintance did when talking about his death this week.

Jim first came to prominence as part of trio Ph D with I Won’t Let You Down.The video is frankly, creepy.

Ph D: I Won’t Let You Down

Jim’s biggest hit as a solo artist was I Should Have Known Better in the year of Band Aid. Diamond’s song hit no 1 the week before the release of Do They Know It’s Christmas? Apparently Diamond said that people should buy the charity single rather than his. Good on him.

Jim Diamond: I Should Have Known Better

His best song though was probably Hi Ho Silver, theme song to the TV series Boon.

Jim Diamond: Hi Ho Silver

James “Jim” Diamond: 28/9/1951–8/10/2015. So it goes.

Live It Up 23: No Mean City (Theme tune to Taggart)

There’s only one tune to go with in the week I reviewed No Mean City the novel and that’s the song which was the theme tune to STV’s long-running detective show Taggart and which took its title from the novel. Wonderfully delivered by Maggie Bell.

Maggie Bell: Taggart Theme Tune (No Mean City)

Live It Up 22: Song for Whoever

Sweet tunes, romantic tunes, The Beautiful South certainly had them; but allied to bitterly ironic – even cynical – lyrics.

The opening line here, “I love you from the bottom of my pencil case,” is just about on the bounds of tastefulness but the lyric goes on (partly to comment on the process of writing a cheap love song) by listing a series of girls’ names with the tag, “I wrote so many songs about you, I forget your name,” then adds a cutting parenthesis, “(I forget your name)”.

The cynicism is increased in the second round of the melody where we have, “Oh Cathy, Oh Alison, Oh Phillipa, Oh Sue. You made me so much money, I wrote this song for you.” Jennifer, Deborah and Annabel are added to the list in the next two lines. It’s brutal in its lack of regard.

The Beautiful South: Song for Whoever

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