Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Lene Lovich - Lucky Number single review

A quirky punk / new wave song from 1978. Amazingly fresh sounding considering this was first released on the Stiff record label 30 years ago. In fact the only part of this song that really makes me think 70s is Lene Lovich's vocals which are reminiscent of punk girl group The Slits but maybe with less shouting and a drop of Kate Bush. Listen to Lucky Number on Last FM.

Lucky Number was originally the B-side to Lovich's version of I Think We're Alone Now (listen to the Lene Lovich version on Last FM), made famous in the 80s by Tiffany. This single was originally just a demo although was also released as a mail order only single.

After the release of her debut album Stateless the following year, Lucky Number finally made it to the A-side and got its own release. In fact there was a complete switcheroo on the French 12" which featured I Think We're Alone Now on the B-side.

My favourite line of the whole song is and i quote:

"Something tells me Lucky Number's gonna be oweoweoweoweoweowe..."

Yes she really does say that, no phonetics needed. In fact a line that apparently (according to this excellent biog and interview) caused the record label boss to say, "That's the chorus?"

The little guitar riffs throughout this song are so addictive and ripe for sampling. There's also a Slavic Dance Version out there which sounds identical for the first 3 minutes before repeating itself for another two along with some classic 80s synth sounds.

Think of playing this in a set with some Banshees, some Cure and maybe early Spandau Ballet for a proper early 80s goth down.

Single released February 1979
UK chart position: 3
Original album: Stateless \ Buy on Amazon
More info: Wikipedia \ Discogs \ Lyrics \ Official site

Where i have it:
Track 3, Disc 8, Greatest Hits of the 80s - Album review \ Buy on Amazon

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Glass Tiger - Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) single review

Glass Tiger, what a name! Makes you think of glam 80s rock bands with big hair, amps that go up to 11 and groupies in every city. Well mix this image with Wham! and you get the Glass Tiger we're talking about here. A quick Google image search brings up a number of fantastic images, including one with an unglazed tiger. Actually i've just watched the music video -maybe 80% Wham! : 10% Rod Stewart : 10% glam rock. Listen on
Glass Tiger posing with a tiger
This tiger is not made of glass,
it is real.

Not to be confused with the Simple Minds classic Don't You (Forget About Me), which is similar only by its obvious 80s-ness and use of brackets in the song title. A great dance floor tune it's the bass line that hooks me into this tune - simple repetitive notes that just go slowly up and down the scales. Maybe not quite in the same league as the kings of the bass line such as Another One Bites the Dust and Blue Monday but deserving of its place in my top 100 tunes with a good bass line (a post for another day).

This Canadian rock band were originally called Tokyo at a time when everyone wanted an oriental name, think Japan, China Crisis, Asia, Wang Chung and Turning Japanese, China Girl, China in Your Hand, One Night in Bangkok, Kashmir (I could continue, i won't) so clearly changed their name to avoid any confusion. Although big cats were popular in the 80s too - Def Leppard.

I had a quick look at the credits for this tune and for the second time this weekend i find i've been ambushed by Bryan Adams without realising it, the Canadian crooner sings backing vocals on this track. The first time he snuck up on me was yesterday as i listened to Mötley Crüe's Dr Feelgood album and found him also doing backing vocals on the track Sticky Sweet. But don't let Robin Hood's little helper take anything away from what is a classic 80s rock tune that needs to be getting more airplay (and air guitaring) on dance floors.

Single released October 1986
UK chart position: 29
Original album: Thin Red Line \ Buy on Amazon
More info: Wikipedia \ Discogs \ Lyrics \ Official site

Where i have it:
Track 6, Disc 6, Greatest Hits of the 80s - Album review \ Buy on Amazon

Picture borrowed from this slightly bizarre animal photographing / training website.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Glenn Hoddle & Chris Waddle - Diamond Lights lyrics

Following are the lyrics to that 80s classic by Glenn & Chris (known to most of us as England and Spurs footballers Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle).

After scouring the internet for the lyrics for my Diamond Lights single review i was shocked that i couldn't find them. So i've rectified this travesty and here they are in all their glory.

Diamond Lights lyrics
Artist: Glenn & Chris (Hoddle & Waddle)

Eyes that freeze like ice
Cold electric blue those diamond lights
You were hard as stone
Solid stone, for me

The colours change rearrange my life
Can't explain so afraid tonight

Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always want you
Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always need you
Oh darling

Diamond, diamond lights

Standing in the rain
Cold electric sky no diamond lights
Now i'm on my own
So alone, oh darling

The colours change rearrange my life
Can't explain so afraid tonight

Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always want you
Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always need you
Oh darling

Instrumental: Rocking guitar solo!

Diamond lights cold as ice to me (cold as ice to me)
Diamond lights cold as ice to me

Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always want you
Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always need you

Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always want you
Hoddle: Darling i love you / Waddle: My diamond lights
I'll always need you

Glenn Hoddle & Chris Waddle - Diamond Lights single review

Diamond Lights was one of the cheesiest songs ever released partly due to the fact that it was sung on Top of the Pops by two professional footballers with 80s-tastic mullets and big power suits with rolled up sleeves.
Mars poll of top worst songs:

C4 100 worst pop records:

Metro Top 10 worst sport songs:

Numerous other random polls:
Well up there

The perpetrators of what many will call the worst tune of all time are none other than England 'legends' Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle of course. So bad in fact that it didn't even justify a Wikipedia article or a page of lyrics on ANY of the millions of lyric sites - the link below is to a Wikipedia article I hastily made yesterday and i've written out the lyrics myself (loser).

Now why have i even bothered to review this? Surely i must want this blog to retain a smidgen of integrity?

Well the story began in March of this year, where, as a joke, i played Diamond Lights at a party in order to hopefully get a laugh and a couple of lunatics to pretend to dance like the aforemention sultans (or suntans?) of cool known for the purposes of this single as 'Glenn & Chris'.

What shocked me more than Glenn Hoddle's solo in the middle of the song ("Darling i love you! I will take care of you..."), was the fact that no-one noticed! Admittedly i was doing a set of 80s song but it moulded seamlessly into my set. In fact some people nonchalantly shuffled their feet in time.

Forgetting who sings this and trying to erase the image of the top of the pops performance from your mind, the tune itself sounds like any other classic 80s pop tune ticking all of the following boxes:
  • Drum machine
  • Ridiculous electric guitar solo
  • Singalong chorus
  • Drummer with a moustache
  • Spinning coloured lights
  • Smoke machine
Perhaps that was why nobody left the party? Anyway, this tune is now cemented firmly in my 80s DJ set. I challenge all of you out there to try and slip it into your sets without anyone noticing. Please note I won't take any responsibility for what may happen.

Excitingly Diamond Lights could well be making a comeback in the form of a cover by indie band and Spurs fans the Klaxons. There's been no new news on this for 6 months though so either it's a long recording process or they've realised the damage they might cause - originals are always the best.


Single released April 1987
UK chart position: 12
Original album: Glenn & Chris do Pink Floyd and other rock legends
More info: Wikipedia \ Discogs \ Lyrics \ Chris Waddle interview

Where i have it:
Funnily enough i downloaded it from iTunes, it doesn't often appear on classic 80s compilation CDs

Update: I've just been informed by gZa that Glenn & Chris reformed for the follow up single, 'It's Goodbye'. Is it me or does that guitar intro sound a bit like the Top Gun theme tune?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes single review

Really funky electronic pop tune released by Kim Carnes in 1981. It was a cover of a 1974 song by Jackie DeShannon. Listen on

Now I'd had this tune for the past 7 years without properly listening to it. It was only after I'd bought and been listening to the 2004 Mylo album, Destroy Rock & Roll which contains a sample of the song in the tune In My Arms that i finally pricked my ears up when the original was randomly selected on my iPod.

The reworking Mylo gave this tune is actually reminiscent of the reworking he gave Miami Sound Machine's Dr. Beat in the single Doctor Pressure. If you listen to both the original and Mylo version side by side the original just sounds less polished or crisp (less produced even), and also it's slower - that's NOT a bad thing by the way.

To repeat an old cliche the originals often have more character - a bit like the fable that songs always have more character when played on vinyl (I'm not too convinced about that after growing up with CDs).

Anyway back to the Carnes song this floats beautifully into a chilled DJ set and although it's distinctly 80s sounding it certainly isn't cheesy.

The lyrics talk about a beautiful, feisty woman. Particularly eyebrow raising lyrics include, "She'll let you take her home, It whets her appetite, She'll lay you on her throne". ;)
The famous cigarette scene from Now, Voyager with Paul Henreid and Bette Davis
"Deshannon once said that she had been moved to write this evocative portrait of a teasing woman after seeing smitten actor Paul Henreid lighting cigarettes for Bette Davis near the end of the classic film Now, Voyager" (from Audio Insider).

Don't let the fact that this scene is probably one of the cheesiest and well known of 1940s romantic cinema take anything away from the lyrics which are certainly not as contrived as this scene is!

Another interesting fact i discovered about this song is that Kim Carnes actually developed a friendship with Bette Davis after releasing this song. I wonder if the same is true for Bananarama and Robert De Niro or is he still waiting? (sorry)
Robert Smith and Bette Davis
Hilariously, while researching for this post i also discovered the following post about the great Robert Smith also having Bette Davis Eyes.

Single released May 1981
UK chart position: 10
Original album: Mistaken Identity
More info: Wikipedia \ Discogs \ Lyrics

Where i have it:
Track 6, Disc 1, Greatest Hits of the 80s - Album review \ Buy on Amazon

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Greatest Hits Of The 80's (8 CD Box) album review

No less than 144 lesser known tracks from throughout the 1980s. OK, there are a few big hits on here such as Spandau Ballet's True, Ultravox's Vienna, Blondie's Atomic, Duran Duran's Girls On Film to name a few, but my love of this mega 80s multi CD box set are all the tunes that you won't find on every other 80s compilation album around.

If you see a name you know on this album the tune listed will likely NOT be the one you first thought of.

Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (not Wuthering Heights)
Dexy's Midnight Runners - Geno (not Come On Eileen)

The tracks are a mix of popular bands, who have contributed far more than their fair share of tracks: Culture Club (5 songs), Ultravox (4 songs), Duran Duran (4 songs); novelty songs such as Geil, Holiday Rap and Star Trekkin'; more one hit wonders than you can shake a rubiks cube at, Papa Chico, Tarzan Boy, Save Your Love and a selection of other tracks that peppered the top 40 (and further out) in the decade of my birth.

If you have a large collection of popular 80s tunes, this will likely fill many of the holes without having to resort to buying Eddy Grant's or Kajagoogoo's albums.

Released November 1998, 8 CD Box set
Buy on Amazon

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. No Doubt About It - Hot Chocolate
2. More Than I Can Say - Leo Sayer
3. Stop the Cavalry - Jona Lewie
4. Stars on 45: Stars on 45/Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I'll Be Back/Drive - Stars on 45
5. Kids in America - Kim Wilde
6. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes - Single review
7. Rain in May - Max Werner
8. Morning Train (Nine to Five) - Sheena Easton
9. Papa Chico - Tony Esposito
10. We Just - Moses
11. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club
12. Hymn - Ultravox
13. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
14. Whole of the Moon - The Waterboys
15. Breakaway - Tracey Ullman
16. Imagination - Belouis Some
17. Centerfold - J. Geils Band
18. Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & the Waves

Disc: 2
1. True - Spandau Ballet
2. Tide Is High - Blondie
3. Save Your Love - Renee & Renato
4. Sunshine Reggae - Laid Back
5. I Like Chopin - Gazebo
6. Karma Chameleon - Culture Club
7. This Is Not a Love Song - Public Image Ltd.
8. Only You - Flying Pickets
9. Star Trekkin' - Firm
10. Love Is a Battlefield
11. Reflex - Duran Duran
12. Dancing With Tears in My Eyes - Ultravox
13. Letter from America - The Proclaimers
14. Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now - Samantha Fox
15. Dictator - Centerfold
16. Walking in the Air - Aled Jones
17. Hot in the City - Billy Idol
18. Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant

Disc: 3
1. Such a Shame - Talk Talk
2. Eyes Without a Face - Billy Idol
3. Never Ending Story - Limahl
4. Wild Boys - Duran Duran
5. We Belong - Pat Benatar
6. Walk in the Park - Nick Straker Band
7. Solid - Ashford & Simpson
8. Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
9. Let's All Chant - Michael Zager Band
10. Nineteen - Paul Hardcastle
11. Carribean Queen (No More Love on the Run) - Billy Ocean
12. Kayleigh - Marillion
13. Maria Magdalena - Sandra
14. Running up That Hill - Kate Bush
15. If I Was - Midge Ure
16. Sexy Eyes - Dr. Hook
17. Girl Crazy - Hot Chocolate
18. Big Apple - Kajagoogoo

Disc: 4
1. Good Heart - Feargal Sharkey
2. Touch Me (I Want Your Body) - Samantha Fox
3. In the Heat of the Night - Sandra
4. When the Going Gets Tough - Billy Ocean
5. Human - The Human League
6. (I Just) Died in Your Arms - Cutting Crew
7. Gold - Spandau Ballet
8. Everything I Own - Boy George
9. Living in a Box - Living in a Box
10. Sweet Sixteen - Billy Idol
11. Shattered Dreams - Johnny Hates Jazz
12. China in Your Hand - T'Pau
13. Love Changes (Everything) - Climie Fisher
14. Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
15. Round and Round - Jaki Graham
16. Cambodia - Kim Wilde
17. Don't Waste My Time - Paul Hardcastle
18. I Scare Myself - Thomas Dolby

Disc: 5
1. Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend) - Mel & Kim
2. I Need You - BVSMP
3. Tarzan Boy - Baltimora
4. Geil - Bruce & Bongo - Single review
5. Holiday Rap - DJ Sven, MC Miker G
6. Sata Lucia by Night - George Baker Selection
7. If Only I Could - Sydney Youngblood
8. Real Thing - Jellybean
9. Respect - Adeva
10. Rich in Paradise - F.P.I. Project
11. Disco Band - Scotch
12. What Have I Done for You Lately - King Mc
13. I Can't Wait - Nu Shooz
14. Time (Clock of the Heart) - Culture Club
15. Geno - Dexys Midnight Runners
16. Mated - Jaki Graham, David Grant
17. We Close Our Eyes - Go West
18. Hit Mix: Happy Station/Color My Love/Baila Bolero/Give Me Your Love - Fun Fun

Disc: 6
1. Atomic - Blondie
2. Reckless - Afrika Bambaataa, UB40
3. Heart and Soul - T'Pau
4. Missing You - John Waite
5. Comin' on Strong - Broken English
6. Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) - Glass Tiger - single review
7. Mony Mony - Amazulu
8. Let's Go All the Way - Sly Fox
9. Together We Are Beautiful - Fern Kinney
10. I Am the Beat - Look, The Look
11. Gimme Hope Jo'anna - Eddy Grant
12. Harder I Try - Brother Beyond
13. Hyperactive! - Thomas Dolby
14. Victims - Culture Club
15. Temptation - Heaven 17
16. Chequered Love - Kim Wilde
17. Respectable - Mel & Kim
18. Turn to Gold - David Austin

Disc: 7
1. Sunglasses - Tracey Ullman
2. All Stood Still - Ultravox
3. Save a Prayer - Duran Duran
4. Wishful Thinking - China Crisis
5. Classic - Adrian Gurvitz
6. Power of Love - Huey Lewis & the News
7. It Started With a Kiss - Hot Chocolate
8. On the Beat - The B.B. & Q. Band
9. Call Me - Blondie
10. I Don't Wanna Dance - Eddy Grant
11. Set Me Free - Jaki Graham
12. I Want to Wake Up With You
13. Freeze-Frame - J. Geils Band
14. We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off - Jermaine Stewart
15. French Kissin' in the USA - Debbie Harry
16. Johnny B. Goode - Peter Tosh
17. Free Nelson Mandela - The Special A.K.A.
18. Golden Brown - The Stranglers

Disc: 8
1. Slippery People [Live] - Talking Heads
2. Hey Little Girl - Icehouse - single review
3. Lucky Number - Lene Lovich - single review
4. Some Like It Hot - The Power Station
5. C'est la Vie - Robbie Nevil
6. Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On) - Spandau Ballet
7. Girls on Film - Duran Duran
8. Senses Working Overtime - XTC
9. Ooh to Be Ah - Kajagoogoo
10. Hip to Be Square - Huey Lewis & the News
11. Vienna - Ultravox
12. Tonight I Celebrate My Love - Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack
13. Lavender - Marillion
14. Lunatic - Gazebo
15. Room in Your Heart - Living in a Box
16. Love Don't Live Here Anymore - Jimmy Nail
17. Could It Be I'm Falling in Love - Jaki Graham, David Grant
18. Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake) - Freddie Jackson

Bruce & Bongo - Geil single review

An out and out novely record about a German word meaning 'cool' or 'horny'. It flew to somewhere lower than 40 in the UK charts (although topped the charts in Austria and Germany apparently) in April 1986 and featured a stuttering vocal including a fantastic verse based on a tennis match about Boris Becker.

Now you'd think that this was the work of two crazy central Europeans but no, it was the work of two mad haired Englishmen called Bruce Hammond and Douglas Wilgrove (Bongo). You can see them in all their glory in the video below.

A great tune for all the wrong reasons, maybe good at any post-Wimbledon parties.

Single released April 1986
Original album: The Geil Album
More info: Wikipedia \ Discogs \ Lyrics \ The Geil Album

Where i have it:
Track 4, Disc 5, Greatest Hits of the 80s - Album review \ Buy on Amazon