The first part of 1984 was the South African leg of the year; this part soundtracks the road trip in Europe and taking up residence in London.
I mostly listened to Motown and ’60s and ’70s soul and Purple Rain while I terrorised the highways of Europe, often on the way to football games. Among new releases at the time, I bought the cassette tapes of Heaven 17’s How Men Are, Madonna’s debut album, as well as by German acts BAP and Herbert Grönemeyer; the former sang in the Kölsch dialect that is peculiar to the city of Cologne — and yet they were about the biggest German act at the time. I went to see BAP in concert; it was one of the most energetic gigs I’ve ever been to. Frontman Wolfgang Niedecken had something of a German Springsteen (or Bono) about him.
The others of the first five tracks on this mix I recorded off the radio, as well as the 12” mix of Wham!’s Freedom, which I include as a bonus track. There were other tracks that unaccountably played in my car which I don’t include here, for which you’ll thank me: Hazell Dean’s Whatever I Do, Fox the Fox’s Precious Little Diamond, Al Corley’s Square Rooms and a musical disaster by Jermaine Jackson and retired gerontophile Zia Padora called When The Rain Begins To Fall.
I remember listening to the radio in Germany one afternoon when the DJ announced that after the break he’d play Stevie Wonder’s brand-new single. Being a big Stevie Wonder fan — the Original Musiquarium collection was a regular in my tape deck — I was so excited. Then I heard I Just Called To Say I Love You. My heart sank. I still deeply dislike the song, as most other Stevie Wonder fans do. I still bought the Lady In Red album on cassette. Big mistake; it was not very good..
Coming to London, I was pleased to find Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You topping the charts. Armed with my excellent portable radio-tape combo, I prodigiously downloaded from Capital Radio, finding delight in discovering new songs that would still become hits.
Still, there are three hits of 1985 I found by other avenues in late 1984: Big Sound Authority’s This House (Is Where Our Love Stands), which featured on Shoulda Been A Hit Vol. 1, was on the setlist of the excellent gig I attended at Camden Palace in December 1984 from which this video comes; Since Yesterday was performed by Strawberry Switchblade as they supported, ahem, Howard Jones. And Immaculate Fools’ eponymous song that closes this collection was on the video juke box in the Notting Hill pub I used to hang out in with my new Irish friends. I don’t think many people were pleased when I put it on — many times. It entered the charts in January 1985, peaking at #51.
1. Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face
2. Heaven 17 – This Is Mine
3. OMD – Tesla Girls
4. Paul McCartney – No More Lonely Nights
5. Chaka Khan – I Feel For You
6. Alison Moyet – Invisible
7. Pointer Sister – I’m So Excited
8. Murray Head – One Night In Bangkok
9. The Stranglers – Skin Deep
10. Meat Loaf – Modern Girl
11. Paul Young – Everything Must Change
12. Eugene Wilde – Gotta Get You Home With Me Tonight
13. Spandau Ballet – Round And Round
14. Lloyd Cole And The Commotions – Rattlesnakes
15. Tears For Fears – Shout
16. Style Council – Shout To The Top
17. Aztec Camera – Still On Fire
18. Immaculate Fools – Immaculate Fools
Bonus Track: Wham! – Freedom (12″ mix)