Chart Music #70: April 17th 1986 – The Rishi Sunak Of Top Of The Pops

The latest episode of the podcast which asks; has Rock Expert David Stubbs come from The Sky?

After all the lovely Pop trifle we’ve had in recent episodes, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, it’s time for some necessary roughage, as we take a tentative walk down Nineteen Eighty Six Street once more. And yes, it’s still one of the most rammel years for 20th Century Pop, but somehow we managed to find one which doesn’t have the whiff of the dog’s arse about it.

It’s only four months into ’86, but our Favourite Thursday Evening Pop Treat is having another of its regular crises, this time brought on by the after effects of Michael Grade taking over at BBC1 and pissing about with the scheduling, meaning that ten whole minutes have been lopped off, and the results are not pretty; everything has been crammed in like a Japanese tube train at knocking-off time, videos have been cut off at the knees, there’s a neon set better suited for a Miss Wet T-Shirt competition in Romeo & Juliet’s Doncaster and the chart rundown – the whole point of the show, mark you – has been utterly defiled.

Musicwise, it’s better than it has any right to be. Gary Davies – a man bursting with so much sexual potency in 1986 that the sex workers of Amsterdam are pitching themselves through windows to get at him – has been given the chance to run the show solo for the first time in years, but we don’t see that much of him, because there’s no time.  Big Country pitch up in Success Coats. Michael Hurll practically rips the wig off Falco’s head and wipes his arse with it. A-Ha continue their spell as the premier teeny band and get creative with a bit of masking tape. Suzanne Vega gets judged by a poster of a German sex-colossus. And then, oh God, it’s the longest examination of a single EVER on Chart Music. Janet Jackson stares her ponce of a boyfriend out. It’s Immaterial look absolutely knackered and wonder why their label didn’t make a video. George Michael drops the weirdest Number One of the decade, and Whitney Houston spoils everything with a huge dollop of mawk.

Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham to gingerly pick through the wreckage of 1986, veering off on such tangents as Nick Ross’ Drug Buffet, Neil’s Gin and Vomit Shame, being mistaken for Pete Docherty’s stalker, the best way to tell an interview subject that their new album stinks of unwashed cock, how the Ukraine War would have utterly shagged up TOTP if it was still going, an appreciation of Euro-Ponces, how the BBC thought Bob Monkhouse, Barry Cryer and Nigel Havers could stop youths on dingy estates from taking heroin, and a huge Birmingham Piss Troll update. You know the swearing is going to be intense on this one…

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Gary Davies, Big Country, Falco, A-Ha

Part Three: Suzanne Vega, The Cast of Grange Hill

Part Four: Janet Jackson, It’s Immaterial, George Michael, Whitney Houston

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