TV Cream

100 Greatest Singles Ever

100 Greatest Singles Ever: 30-21

Welcome as we enter our dynamic top 30!

30) Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

Mid-life crisis existentialism you can groove to. In a big suit.

29) The Teardrop Explodes – Reward

“Bless my cotton socks, I’m in the news!” In the conversation for best ever opening line, that. Heroic soul-power brass hook, Julian Cope being as Julian Cope does, and it’s all completed with precisely one guitar strum.

28) Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love

Didn’t play live for 35 years? Were all those Wogan appearances and Prince’s Trust supergroups a waste? People weren’t quite sure what to do with the blessed Kate so this ended up underperforming, a shame for a song that inexorably takes off in the way it does.

27) The Smiths – This Charming Man

No, no, it’s the inner tube of the tyre that’s punctured, not the entire bicycle. Rarely can one TV appearance, and whether that’s the Tube or TOTP is up to your discretion, have set an image so instantly.

26) Motorhead – Ace Of Spades

Heavy metal for people who think they don’t like heavy metal, achieved by a) being played at warp speed, b) with a dead easy riff, c) by people with distinctive looks and a larynx-shredding frontman, d) in places were lots of cheap black ale exists. Forgetting the joker no longer an option.

25) Susan Fassbender – Twilight Cafe

Not as big a hit as people remember, a glorious dayglo hook played by an introspective but joyful singer-songwriter from Bradford dressed like a receptionist who likely knew she wasn’t long for the spotlight, as all the best songs are.

24) Fox – S-S-S-Single Bed

It’s all about Noosha Fox and her silent movie siren styling accidentally inventing Alison Goldfrapp 25 years too early, possessing an easy sensuousness evident when given a groove like this to wrap her peculiar frog in the throat temptress vocal around. Plus the none more 1976 inferred cool of backing vocals through a talkbox.

23) Kirsty MacColl – A New England

We could have filled most of this rundown with Stiff Records releases. Kirsty actually had very few tangible chart hits, and two of her four top 40 singles were covers. In fairness it sounds like Bragg has written the song for her peppier tone, thoughts of chasing the wrong boy shaded when Kirsty revealed her pregnancy bump on the line “you put me on the Pill” on TOTP.

22) Propaganda – Duel

There was a lot of icy, somehow Cold War-influenced synthpop around the post-new wave (maybe literal) fallout, few more so than ZTT’s stentorian Metropolis-with-synths Germans led by the inscrutable Claudia Brucken. We loved its sturm und drang, the unexpectedly jaunty middle eight piano and how the remix got used for <a href=”″>Top Gear Rally Report</A>.

21) The Firm – Arthur Daley (‘E’s Alright)

Yep. Call us back when Dylan ever pens something as deftly evocative as “Pound to a penny that he don’t get paid/On account of the recession in the used car motor trade”.

Only two more weeks left. Who’ll be at number one? We get a step closer next Thursday…



  1. Glenn A

    November 20, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Kate Bush might never have toured in the eighties, but through regular appearances on Wogan, TOTP and whatever charity/award ceremony wanted a well known female singer, her singles got plenty of exposure. I do remember The Hounds Of Love was premiered at the 1986 Brit Awards, where she was nominated for three awards, but just missed out. No worries, the following year KB finally got a Brit award, as she was selling shedloads of albums and her mid eighties comeback had produced her best work.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    October 3, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    This is what I like about TV Cream, they could have put the most obvious songs in the Top 100 like Bohemian Rhapsody or whatever the music journalists liked at the time, but have picked a really eclectic range of songs. Motorhead and Kate Bush, both highly innovative acts but unlikely to share a stage together, are proof of this.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 3, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Slightly depressing these ten – two of the people died tragically, all of Motorhead are dead, and God only knows what happened to Morrissey.

    • Glenn Aylett

      October 4, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      Morrissey is still alive, but seems to be keeping a low profile. Motorhead surprised me by living so long and Lemmy lasting until he was 70, considering his large intake of alcohol and drugs over the years, not to mention his love of tobacco. However, a real rock legend of the kind we’ll never see agaon.

  4. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 4, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Hmm – not sure it’s a very low profile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top