Chart Music #56: December 25th 1983 – Oh Dear!! A Bat Bit You

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why do we always leave the end-of-year episodes to the actual end of the year?

Warning: if you listen to this episode, your ears will be breaking the Rule Of Six, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself, because Al has decided to throw a New Years party with all manner of special guests who will be dropping in, sitting by the fire, contemplating the meaning of the season, and – most importantly –picking at a Christmas Day episode of Top Of The Pops like a child picks at the scab on its knee.

And what an episode it is! We’re at the tail-end of 1983, a year Chart Music has deemed the beginning of the decline of New Pop, but on further examination turns out to be much better than we’d realised. The accounts department of Radio One – Gripper Peebles, Twankey Smith, Pigwanker General and ‘All Night’ Long – are in full effect, the Zoo Wankers are kept on a leash, and we are assailed by wave after wave after wave after wave of the top rank of ’83.

Musicwise, thwap! It’s bangers and monsters all the way. Freeez drop the summer hit of the year. Michael Jackson reveals a hitherto-undiscovered love of Billy Britain and SWANT. We discover that just when you think you’ve got the measure of Shakin’ Stevens, he reveals new and unchartered depths as he jumps upon and seizes the white heat of Technology. Men At Work batter us with Australiana. Bonnie Tyler runs into a mirror. Miss Lennox glares at the classroom. Some American woman runs about a lot. Adam Ant begins to fade away. The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boys of Quality Street look upward. Bucks Fizz give Larry The Lamb a go at lead vocals. The Lionel King puts on his best Jafakan accent. Carol Kenyon makes your dad drop his Satsuma. Bowie launches a nuclear attack on Sydney. Billy Joel looks at your big end and shakes his head. Death joins in on a Yazoo cover. And Jahwaddywaddy pinch out a loaf of Breggae.

The entire Chart Music team – Sarah Bee, Neil Kulkarni, Al Needham, Taylor Parkes, Simon Price and David Stubbs  – link up for our longest episode ever, veering off to discuss ghosts appearing on sex tapes, a righteous loathing of the Big Light, satanic kangaroos, the contents of UB40’s fridge, Simon Bates partying down with The Green Goddess and Stu Francis, and – finally – the comprehensive review of Comrade Shaky’s Sinclair Spectrum game that the podcast world has been crying out for. Happy New Swearing!   

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Freeez, Michael Jackson, Shakin’ Stevens

Part Three: Men At Work, Bonnie Tyler, Eurythmics, Irene Cara

Part Four: Adam Ant, Duran Duran, Bucks Fizz, Lionel Richie, Heaven 17

Part Five: David Bowie, UB40, Billy Joel. Flying Pickets, KC & The Sunshine Band

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