The Story Of The Blues, by Wah!
First, they take your pride, Then turn it all inside, And then you realise you got nothing left to lose
A band with more faces than the town hall clock, Wah! were also known as *deep breath*.........Wah! Heat, Shambeko! Say Wah!, JF Wah!, The Mighty Wah!, and Wah! The Mongrel. Which was nice. Indeed, not content with calling themselves different names, The Story Of The Blues is technically called The Story Of The Blues Part One. An uplifting, brilliant anthemic song, contrastingly based on coming off second best in life. Something that many married Stokies of a certain age will no doubt empathise with....
I Heard A Rumour, by Bananarama
It’s amazing how many of the artists in the top 100 are female vocalists or girl bands – and here are one of the originals. Whilst I love a bit of throwaway pop, I didn’t quite think Bananarama had the hooks of later bands, but they’re a band who I think deserves to be in here, and after a few suggestions from DUCK readers, I’ve gone with I Heard A Rumour as their best slice of the pop pie.
Respectable, by Mel & Kim
Take, take, take, take, take-take,t-t-take, take, take, take
Take or leave us, only please believe us
We ain't never gonna be respectable
From their only album, this was sisters Mel and Kim Appleby’s second single and released in 1987. Quite rightly, this lovely piece of Stock, Aitken and Waterman sugar was huge and went to number 1 in the UK and in several other countries. Perfect upbeat pop fodder for the Friday night tucked-in shiny shirt brigade in The Place, I love how the lyrics were basically a two-fingered salute from the pair over a tabloid scandal over the emergence of some old photos of Mel who was suffering from cancer at the time. She tragically passed away three years later.
Theme from S’Express, by S’Express
Hanging onto the coattails of AcidHouse, over a dozen songs were sampled in what was seen as a sly dig at SAW’s manufactured dance pop and the too-kool-for-skool London clubbing scene of the late 80’s. Leading man, London DJ Mark Moore, gave it all a bit more kudos, butTheme from S’Express was simply a glorious, colourful, and throwaway addition to earlier efforts from Bomb The Bass and Marrs. Enjoy this trip? Yes, I did.
What A Fool Believes, by The Doobie Brothers
You can’t really go wrong when Michael McDonald (the ex-Newcastle and Arsenal striker*) and Kenny Loggins are penning songs, but it’s simply amazing that this absolutely brilliant tune is now 43 years old. McDonald’s distinctive vocals are absolutely perfect for a song that the band and producer considered “crap” and were going to throw away.It won a Grammy a year later. Based on a bloke trying to rekindle a love that was never really there in the first place, is it really pop? I’d say yes, as it’s catchier than sitting on the toilets in The Freetown.
Don’t Dream It’s Over, by Crowded House
“There is freedom within, there is freedom without, try to catch the deluge in a paper cup….”
Yet another sub-4 minute masterpiece from the pen of Neil Mullane Finn OBE. He wrote literally dozens of them in a brilliantly understated way that more people than do should really know about. From the opening guitar strains, it’s a simply majestic-yet-simple ballad that the likes of Roddy Frame would pen, and I can’t pay it a much greater compliment than that.As so often with Finn’s work, Don’t Dream It’s Over is beautifully simple in construction, and in the great man’s own words it’s “a private message from me to someone who was withdrawing from their world.” Stunning.
She Sells Sanctuary, by The Cult
This pop music? Oh yes, this is simply a joyous noise that makes you want to jump and bump into the person next to you.Unless you’re in church or maybe at the dentists? The jangly guitar leading into drums…..and then wallop. 4 minutes 19 seconds of taking a cold shower, this.
I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), by Hall & Oates
I’m an unashamed big fan of Hall& Oates, even despite Oates’ tache. The Philadelphia duo took over theAmerican soft-rock/pop/rhythm and blues baton from the Doobie Brothers and ran with it for three decades, producing a string of great tunes along the way. The likes of Out Of Touch and Maneater should probably be in this list, but I love the laidback vibe of this beaut, and so did a number of other artists who sampled it, too. Which leads to…..
Say No Go, by De La Soul
As I said in my original piece, pop music takes many formats, and for me, this track is proof of that. Sampling the above Hall & Oates classic, this is a stunning piece of work taken from the epic 3 Feet High And Rising album which still sounds as fresh and necessary today as it did back in 1989. Ground-breaking and feet shaking, De La Soul exploded like some huge daisy chain onto a hip hop and rap scene that was becoming a bit formulaic, and for me, Say No Go is one of their finest moments.Taking a hugely anti-drug stance, the opening lines are particularly brilliant, with Posdnuos opining "Now let's get right on down to the skit / A baby is brought into a world of pits / And if it could've talked that soon in the delivery room / It would've asked the nurse for a hit".
For our Spotify list, Say No Go isn't on the platform - so we've put another DLS classic on there instead.
Duel, by Propaganda
The first cut won't hurt at all
The second only makes you wonder
The third will have you on your knees
You start bleeding, I start screaming
Steady on Claudia Brücken, it’s supposed to be a love song! ZTT weren’t just about FGTH or Trevor Horn’s face splashed all over the NME, Melody Maker and Smash Hits And when it comes to musical forgiveness, we can almost give a free pass for the country that gave us Winds Of Change - because Duel is THAT good a song. The second single by the band, it even featured The Police’s Stewart Copeland on drums. No wonder he wanted in, this is a sublime slice of the purest pop.