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100 Greatest Singles Ever

100 Greatest Singles Ever: 80-71

Here we go from 80-71…

80) Department S – Is Vic There?

All the hallmarks of the best new wave – jagged guitars, inscrutable lyrics, obscure reference (a track from a Python album), knowingly retro-fitted frontman with fitfully amusing stage name (Vaughan Toulouse)

79) Kon Kan – I Beg Your Pardon

Canadian duo sample Lynn Anderson’s Rose Garden, sound like a lower budget New Order, are never heard of again. Quintessential.

78) Ultravox – Hymn

Mostly given the nudge by Creamguide reader Simon Nud, who points out the memorable greatness of the video, starring Oliver Tobias as a Satanic/Mephistophelean salesman and incorporating both a Kid Jensen cameo and Billy Currie accidentally inventing Tony Blair.

77) Prefab Sprout – The King Of Rock And Roll

A song about a serious artist only being remembered for having an accidental huge hit with a novelty record, by a serious artist who are mostly only remembered for their accidental huge hit with what was seen as a novelty record. Wheels within wheels.

76) Electronic – Getting Away With It

Sumner, Marr and Tennant’s first of two appearances each, a kind of unhurriedly wistful classy pop you don’t associate with at least two of them. Johnny even gives himself a solo.

75) Boney M – Rasputin

An absurd record by an absurd band – Belfast was a year earlier, Hooray Hooray It’s A Holi-Holiday a year later – best experienced in its full form where Frank Farian drops the Bobby Farrell fill-in voice and gives himself a cameo as a newsreel announcer.

74) Tubeway Army – Are ‘Friends’ Electric

Alienation to glower in panstick to. Gary would become more involved and filled out, but his early robot bark did the job enough.

73) Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

Best false ending in pop history, as well as its most showily elongated vowels.

72) BA Robertson – Bang Bang

Professional irritant he may have been at times, and his most iconic work the Swap Shop theme wasn’t eligible, but there’s something about that obtuse history lesson and onomatopoeic title.

71) Trio – Da Da Da
“Ich liebe dich nicht du liebst mich nicht!” Disreputable looking Neue Deutsche Welle minimalists get to number two with a song based on a Casio VL-1, and the future is full of possibilities.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Richard16378

    January 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I remember first hearing Bang Bang on the Rock & Roll Years for 1979 when Skylab came back to earth, but NASA didn’t know where it was going to land.

    In the end it mostly burnt up re-entering the atmosphere, but bits landed in Australia.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    June 15, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    BA Robertson, the eccentric who deserves more credit than he got at the time, a Glaswegian who sounded like a cockney and who once kicked a load of footballs around the TOTP studio during a performance of Knocked It Off. Also namechecked T Rex on his 1980 hit, Cool In The Kaftan, when mentioning glam rock was even less fashionable than discussing your favourite song by Yes.
    Incidentally, BA Robertson probably made most of his money by making Cliff Richard fashionable( well just a bit) when he wrote Cliff’s hit Wired For Sound.

  3. richardpd

    June 16, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I didn’t know that about Wired For Sound, which one of Cliff’s rare hits stateside.

    Having a catchy video around the time MTV launched might have helped.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    June 16, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Sir Cliff did have a spell from Devil Woman to Wired For Sound, where his singles were more contemporary than his previous material, and he probably connected with the youth market for the first time since The Young Ones, and it was sort of OK to admit to liking him again. Then it was back to the naff Cliff of the late sixties and early seventies and I don’t know anyone who is brave enough to admit to buying Mistletoe and Wine.

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