Top 100 Singles of the Eighties: 10-6
It’s actually quite incredible that Propaganda manage to gatecrash our Top 10 when they released so little music in the Eighties (and have released next-to-nothing in the years since). Duel was the German group’s second single and came more than a year after their UK number 27 debut with the promising Dr Mabuse. The record has since been the subject of two classic covers: one by Mandy Smith produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, and another by Sophie Ellis-Bextor for her B-side to Today The Sun’s On Us.
Duran Duran: Hungry Like The Wolf
At number 22, we had Duran’s breakthrough UK hit and here – from a year later, May 1982 – is their breakthrough US hit. While it hasn’t dated particularly well as a piece of songwriting, Hungry Like The Wolf presented the group as the whole package: great artwork (designer Malcolm Garrett starting a series of clues towards Patrick Nagel’s Rio album sleeve), lavish video (shot, along with Save A Prayer, in Sri Lanka) and a sultry Night Version 12” mix. All of which helped it to number five in the UK and number three in the US.
A-ha: The Sun Always Shines on TV
Take On Me may be the A-ha single that’s best remembered by the general public, but the follow-up, The Sun Always Shines On TV, clearly has the edge with pop connoisseurs. And with good reason: right from the opening bars, this sounds like the band’s audition for a James Bond soundtrack, or their audition for world domination. With Alan Tarney still at the controls, they went for an out-and-out wall of sound and topped Take On Me’s UK number-two position by hitting the peak of the charts in December 1985 – the only A-ha single to achieve such a feat.
Adam & The Ants: Stand and Deliver
Adam Ant returns to our Top 100 after Dog Eat Dog – his band’s fifth single release – appeared back at number 91. Stand And Deliver was their seventh single and kicked off a period of total dominance – a monopoly, even – of the charts, tabloids, daytime radio and children’s TV from the summer of 1981 to the end. The song, which saw the frontman masquerading as a dandy highwayman in the video and subsequent TV appearances, spent five weeks at number one on the UK singles chart, and has gone on to sell more than a million copies worldwide.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Relax
No one really noticed Relax when it was first released in October 1983. But after Radio 1 DJ Mike Read refused to play it and it was subsequently banned by the BBC – the only single in our Top 100 to receive that accolade – it went ballistic, reaching number one in the UK and, when the band’s follow-up Two Tribes hit the top spot in the summer of 1984, jumping back up to join it at number two. And, chart-heads, if merchandise sales had been calculated like records, those iconic “Frankie Say” T-shirts would probably have been right there with them at number three!