Galloping Home

Diary entry for Monday February 13, 1984:

Andropov’s funeral tomorrow. Diana, the princess that is, is having another baby. I reckon it’ll be a girl called Rachael or something pretty like that.

Nostrodamus, I ain’t.


Bizarre predictions aside, this week in 1984 was pretty eclectic as far as new entries to the pop charts are concerned.

The Latin-Jazz-Pop revival pretty much lived and died with Matt Bianco. Straight in at no. 36 was “Get Out of Your Lazy Bed”. It’s an utterly unclassifiable jumble of sounds that would not feel out of place as the theme tune to an afternoon chat show. There’s a synthesizer riff, some throwback crooning, a double bass and a Polish woman in oversized sweaters singing scat. It’s a crazy mindfug of a song and no mistake. Check it out:

The UK charts has a long and (ig)noble history of sending the theme tunes of popular TV shows into the charts. In addition to the sung songs from shows like Auf Wiedersehn, Pet and Minder there have also been a number of instrumental themes that broke into the top 40. If I had to list a quick top three TV theme instrumentals to chart in the UK, it might go like this:

3. “Chi Mai” by Ennio Morricone from The Life and Times of David Lloyd George

2. “Eye Level” by the Simon Park Orchestra from Van der Valk

1. “Galloping Home” by the London String Chorale from The Adventures of Black Beauty

Coming back to 1984 we were nowhere near these dizzy heights. In at 31 was “Main Theme from The Thorn Birds“. In my opinion not one of Henry “dead ant” Mancini’s finest.

New at no. 28 was Billy Joel still mining his hit album for singles, 80s style. Third release from the album An Innocent Man was the title track. Often overlooked in Joel’s overstuffed back catalog of hits “An Innocent Man” is a soaring success that compels you to scream along despite being one of the truly unsingable songs in the pop canon. If you watch this live performance, even Billy can’t do the original recording justice. Fantastic.

The new entry at no. 24 was my all time favourite Howard Jones song. I can’t explain why I love “Hide and Seek” so much. It’s the only HJ song that I find really convincing other than his earnest debut “New Song”. “Hide and Seek” is off-planet and spooky with a big singalong chorus. It’s another weird 80s tune that makes me proud to have been around at the time.

The highest new entry of the week straight into the top 10 was the Style Council with “My Ever Changing Moods”. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was into the Style Council. I knew people who were fans of The Jam and I know a bunch of people who really love Paul Weller’s solo albums, but who the heck liked Style Council? They were kind of smug with their inverse snobbery and retro faux chic. It was all a bit stagey. But despite that, they put together a great run of soul-tinged singles and “My Ever Changing Moods” was a decent account opener for 1984 heralding their best ever single release a couple of months later.

Today’s Stats

  • Currently reading – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – page 459 – I know, I know, I hope to finish this over shabbat
  • No. of clips of artists performing at Live Aid watched in the past two days – 17
  • TV show I’m enjoying the most right now – Brooklyn Nine-NineSweet, silly and fun.
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