Top 100 Singles of the 80s: 30-26
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: The Power of Love
While Relax and Two Tribes, the first two Frankie singles, are remembered for their big, bold, world-stopping statements of sex and war, the third of their hat-trick of UK number ones was a simple, heartfelt ballad. What started off as a Hooded Claw and Penelope Pitstop-referencing track in a John Peel session became a moving festive epic, thanks to Trevor Horn’s orchestra and Godley & Creme’s biblical video.
Culture Club: Do you Really Want to Hurt Me
The freak appearance of The War Song at number 94 aside, this is where we’d expect Culture Club. When this single was released, the group were in the last-chance saloon: their first two – White Boy and I’m Afraid of Me – had failed to make the Top 40. But following a Top Of The Pops appearance that started everyone talking about gender-bending, this single went to number one in both the UK and USA.
ABBA: The Winner Takes It All
ABBA bowed out in 1983 but, in just the first three years of the Eighties, they scored eight UK chart hits, of which this was the first and the biggest. Originally titled The Story Of My Life, this was the debut single from the Super Trouper album and hit number one in the UK and around Europe in the summer of 1980. A classic piece of ABBA melodrama, it’s said to be the tale of Björn and Agnetha’s divorce, though both have denied that’s what the lyrics are really about.
Pet Shop Boys: Always On My Mind
The Christmas number one from 1987 (see page 88), its odd that – for all their unique songwriting abilities – Tennant and Lowe’s second-highest-scoring single here was a cover version. But then, as soon as they tackled this Elvis hit for ITV’s Love Me Tender, they made it all their own. They would go on to revitalise it for the Nineties (two years early) for 1988’s Introspective album, fusing the single with the acid-house workout In My House.
Kim Wilde: Kids In America
With cover versions ranging from Atomic Kitten to Nirvana, this was definitely Kim Wilde’s most influential hit, a UK number two in 1981 that went Top 10 around the world. Kim’s look, the video and the Blondie-meets-British-New-Wave sound foreshadowed new pop but, curiously, was very much a product of the rock ’n’ roll era: the song was co-written by Kim’s Fifties rocker father Marty Wilde and produced by Mickie Most (Lulu, Donovan).