TV Cream

100 Greatest Singles Ever

100 Greatest Singles Ever: 20-11

The non-stop hits continue as we count towards the top 10!

20) The Associates – Party Fears Two

Subsequently the classic sound of acceptable radio satire, it’s easy to overlook given that grandiose keyboard hook’s ubiquity how peculiar a song this is from deliberately unpromising beginnings – “I’ll have a shower and then phone my brother up”. That’s because of Billy Mackenzie, dressing like an MI5 Frank Spencer and possessing a swooping, crooning voice ripe for mocking parental impersonation.

19) Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart

A great outpouring of joy through one fashionista and two DJs, lots of dayglo covers and some sharp funk samples. Again, it absolutely fits that Deee-Lite never had another hit. It couldn’t last, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to.

18) Black – Wonderful Life

Sadly we lost Colin Vearncombe, the man who was to all intents and purposes Black, in January 2016, the obituaries remembering a man with a dramatic smoky baritone and a feather light touch with luxurious, bittersweet, dolefully ironic jazz-pop.

17) Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough

Another split vote for the band we’re apparently obliged to mention are from Basildon. There’s a classic ‘play this riff on your keyboard at home’ one-fingered motif at work here, synthesisers being the music of the future.

16) Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

Never mind the Firm, we needed the special recounting machines for this one. Ivan Doroschuk can’t pronounce “imbecile”, and “your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance/Well they’re are no friends of mine” is a tad too forward of him. But listen to it! It’s joyful in all the right ways, the melody is basically folky but played on Korgs, and give it the pub jukebox test to see how the most cynical actually respond.

15) The RAH Band – The Crunch

That’s the studio version dubbed over the Pops performance, which is the best way round. That actually opened TOTP the week it entered the charts, and one can only imagine the reaction a nation of dads had to it. Prolific arranger Richard Anthony Hewson was our man here, using no actual synth for a joyfully weird hybrid of glam stomp, space disco and an indelible sound.

14) Kim Wilde – Kids In America

Maybe it’s just the perspective, but those really are tall cymbals. Lyrically guileless – east California? The Mojave desert? What are they going to do with the coming new wave there? – it wins out through the sense that it sounds just like the 1981 of heavy new synths and new wave jerkiness given the classic Mickie Most production sheen, but fronted by a pouting, slightly petulant teenager.

13) Soft Cell – Say Hello Wave Goodbye

Tainted Love has of course been dulled by overfamiliarity, something that will never fully overcome the melancholic torch song of the seedy underground club clientele. “That” Marc Almond urban myth is by the way applied to Rod Stewart in America, which says quite something about the Transatlantic cultural difference.

12) XTC – Senses Working Overtime

Kids could sing the chorus, but only someone embedded in a Beatles-influence purest essence of the English way of pop life like Andy Partridge could put it together like this, in perhaps the last period when record reviewers valued “catchiness” above everything else. And it’s got crows on it.

11) Squeeze – Cool For Cats

“So while the party’s raving I step in with some old chat/and let her share me pint of milk because it’s cool for cats…” Chris Difford must have had the bills through the day the <a href=””>Milk Marketing Board</A> rang. Wild west comeuppance, Sweeney-based standup routine, man’s lack of self-confidence lets him down on a night out, flat estuary vocal, Jools right on it on the fade.

And there we have it. One more countdown to come, as we enter the final 10 next Thursday!



  1. Andrew Spokes

    March 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    This pedant would like to point out that Deee-Lite did in fact have another hit – the follow-up ‘Power Of Love’ / ‘Deee-Lite Theme’ got to No.25. Not only that, but Madonna blatantly nicked bits of ‘Power Of Love’ for her song ‘Rescue Me’.

    Mostly excellent choices here, but I would put ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ in the same category as ‘Tainted Love’ ie acknowledging that it’s great but in no hurry to hear it ever again. I was expecting the Depeche Mode song to be ‘Enjoy The Silence’ or ‘Everything Counts’…..

  2. Glenn A

    March 18, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Didn’t the Japanese DJ out of Deee Lite record some bizarre dance track with Kylie Minogue around 1996 that sank without trace and very nearly wrecked her career as Kylie’s experiments with indie music and electronica had seen her fanbase mostly give up?

    • Andrew Spokes

      March 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      That’s right Glenn! It was credited to Towa Tei Feat. Kylie Minogue, was released in 1998 and was called ‘GBI’ (which stood for German Bold Italic)

      The world wasn’t ready for such bold eclecticism with song titles about fonts back then – it got to No.63.

      • Glenn A

        March 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm

        A lowpoint for Kylie, her gay fanbase didn’t get the indie thing or this bizarre piece of electronica, but a revival was just around the corner and she’s never looked back.

  3. Richard16378

    March 25, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    For years I though Men Without Hats were singin “like we’re in Brazil” thanks to that fluff of imbecile!

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