TV Cream

100 Greatest Singles Ever

100 Greatest Singles Ever: 60-51

Has your favourite made our Top 60? Let’s find out…

60) Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out

It’s all very well being arch about girls within a new wave or jazz revival context, but it turned out what it really needed was a racing synth pulse and a lyric about not being indoors.

59) The Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom

The Beat outdo the Specials! Mostly, as mentioned, through disparate claims for the latter, whereas for a darkly paranoid song about mental illness this one seems loved for its own sake. Plus their elderly brass player in residence was called Saxa, nominatively determinist enough.

58) Madonna – Material Girl

What is the quintessential Madonna hit? That one really split the panel, but Material Girl came out on top on the strength of brazenness, yelps and that it gave her an extra nickname for years to come.

57) M/A/R/R/S – Pump Up The Volume

SAW tried to sue them over a tiny distorted sample and the constituent parts of the act irreparably fell out before the record was even in shops, leading to a <a href=””>Roxy appearance</a> of two listless DJs and some dancers. Regardless, everyone remembers the million samples (“the drumbeats go like this!”) long after Star Turn On 45 (Pints) have been forgotten.

56) Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You

Nice guy gets his second moment in the sun by whipping psych-rock, northern soul and that weird robot noise into an immediate whole. A second big solo hit might have spoilt the effect.

55) Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno

Overexposure has done down Come On Eileen over the years but of the two number ones the one with the horns, On The Waterfront styling and time changes was secretly always better. Plus it enabled them to chuck travel bags at people on Top Of The Pops.

54) Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Some You Shouldn’t)

Punk-pop that gets the job done.

53) Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2

Mick Jones rewrites synopses for Nic Roeg’s back catalogue, Don Letts looks imposing pretending to play keyboards, the people at the back who went on to form Dreadzone make a churning industrial noise.

52) Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3)

The disco-funk counterpart to England’s Glory, a similar list Dury gave Max Wall to record, raising the issue of whether inherent cheerfulness really can be achieved through “sitting on the potty” or “cheddar cheese and pickle”.

51) Bardo – One Step Further

Much more than just Sally Ann Triplett’s Eurovision moment, have another listen – the clattering intro, the post-Bucks Fizz synthpop stylings, the harmonies they messed up that night in Harrogate. John Peel’s favourite Eurovision entry, apparently.

And with that, it’s good night from us. See you next Thursday as we enter the 50!



  1. Richardpd

    January 10, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    Surprisingly (or not!) Madonna wasn’t that fond of Material Girl & didn’t perform it live for many years until she started featuring more of her early songs.

    It was due to a combination of not knowing she was going to be around so long, & the lyrics being written before she had really started to get rich.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    January 11, 2024 at 6:38 pm

    It’s 40 years since Madonna really hit the big time and despite some lapses in taste( the Erotica era nearly destroyed her career in America), she’s still massively popular and enormously rich, so a Material Girl for real. Of the earlier Madonna songs, I always think Open Your Heart is the best.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      January 12, 2024 at 7:07 pm

      Agreed. Open Your Heart is a tremendous song.

  3. Richardpd

    January 11, 2024 at 10:08 pm

    I can remember at the time it looked like she had blown things, but gradually regained momentum by the end of the 1990s.

    She’s made a few good songs that are almost forgotten these days. Over & Over and Rain are great but weren’t even released as singles.

    • Glenn Aylett

      January 12, 2024 at 1:05 pm

      The whole Erotica and Sex thing nearly destroyed her career and looking back, it was an ill advised move that turned America away from Madonna for years and made her look sleazy. However,by the end of the nineties, this was all behind her and she was making her best music since the mid eighties.

      • Richardpd

        January 12, 2024 at 10:25 pm

        Yes it was a bad move, but Ray Of Light was a real breath of fresh air when it was released, especially the single Frozen.

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