Top 100 Singles of the 80s: 40-36
By Classic Pop | March 19, 2014
Electronic: Getting Away With It
This may be Electronic’s only appearance in our chart, but all of the group’s members – Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr and guest Neil Tennant – have entries elsewhere. The single only just scrapes into our chart in terms of eligibility, being released in December 1989, but it bridges the gap between Eighties pop bombast and Nineties dance minimalism perfectly. A one-off, to the point that the group chose not to include it on their debut album.
Japan: Visions of China
Two entries for Japan in our Top 100 is a great showing for a band that, in the 2010s, are completely overlooked by the rest of the music press. Japan weren’t just about the voice and lyrics of David Sylvian. Equally important were the rest of the group: Jansen, Barbieri and Karn, the four of whom couldn’t help but reconvene after an acrimonious breakup in the Nineties under the new moniker Rain Tree Crow – to carry on where Visions Of China left off.
Martha And The Muffins: Echo Beach
Later covered by Toyah and Gabriella Cilmi, Echo Beach was the one and only UK hit for Martha And The Muffins, and – impressively – was only the third song written by the group’s guitarist, Mark Gane. The sleeve may have depicted Chesil Beach in Dorset, but the group were Canadian and Echo Beach was a figment of their imagination, possibly inspired by the reference to an Echo Beach in Ultravox’s Hiroshima Mon Amour.
Depeche Mode: Personal Jesus
The only song in this Top 100 to be covered by Johnny Cash, and – like Electronic’s Getting Away With It – a single that bridged the gap between Eighties and Nineties pop. So much so that, in the space of its 3:47, you can hear synth-pop being buried and electronic body music dancing on its grave. Martin Gore was apparently inspired to write the song – the first Depeche track to feature a prominent guitar line – after reading Priscilla Presley’s book, Elvis And Me.
Echo & The Bunnymen: The Killing Moon
With 11 hit singles spanning the 1980s, Echo & The Bunnymen are – like Japan – forgotten linchpins of UK pop. Clearly now their most popular single with fans, this wasn’t their highest-charting hit: that was when The Cutter went to number eight in the UK in January 1983 (The Killing Moon reached number nine a year later). Like Tears For Fears, this single also appeared in the film Donnie Darko.