Archives » 1980s

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

Live It Up 21: He Knows You Know

A bit of Prog devant la lettre I discovered tardily as my first introduction to Marillion was the later Punch and Judy. I soon delved into their back catalogue. This was track two on their first album Script for a Jester’s Tear and had given the band a no 35 hit in the UK in 1983. I like the way the last lines of the verses are different but rhyme with each other (as well as the “poison in your head.”)

Marillion: He Knows You Know

Live It Up 20: It Won’t Be Easy (Without You)

This is a curiosity. The theme from the 1987 TV series Star Cops. Written and performed by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues.

Star Cops Theme – It Won’t Be Easy (Without You)

This is how the opening credits looked.

Live It Up 19: Elstree

Everyone remembers the Buggles’ big hit Video Killed the Radio Star but I always had a soft spot for this lament about the old film studios.

The Buggles: Elstree

Live It Up 18: Nothing Ever Happens

This is Del Amitri’s first UK hit but only just creeps in here, being released as a single in December 1989.

Despite Justin Currie’s prowess as a song writer subsequent singles failed to achieve quite as much chart success.

Del Amitri: Nothing Ever Happens

Live It Up 17: Safety Dance

A piece of slight bonkersness from 1983 via the wonderfully named Men Without Hats. I must say its message about freedom from interference by bouncers on dance floors entirely passed me by in the 1980s.

Men Without Hats: Safety Dance

Live It Up 16: Kayleigh

Just because.

Not the single, though. The album version with extended guitar solo.

Marillion: Kayleigh

Live It Up 15: The Whole of the Moon

One from 1985. A mine of quotable lines.

“Too high, too far, too soon,” “trumpets, towers and tenements, wide oceans full of tears,” “every precious dream and vision underneath the stars,” “you came like a comet, blazing your trails.”

The Waterboys – The Whole of the Moon

Live It Up 14: Dignity

Dignity was in effect Deacon Blue’s manifesto.

One of the things I particularly liked about the song was its Scottishness, (“a Sunblest bag,” “on my holidays,” “I saved my money.”)

Deacon Blue: Dignity

This is a variorum edition where the video may just possibly be sending up Duran Duran.

There is a more restrained version accompanied only by piano here.

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