Home > Mix CD-Rs, Non-Top 10 hits > Should Have Been A UK Top 10 Hit – Vol. 3

Should Have Been A UK Top 10 Hit – Vol. 3

 

Best hashtag ever? #sheeranalbumparty. I”m sure I was not alone in being dismayed when it turned out that the hashtag for Ed Sheeran”s new CD was just a gag made up by a journalist. The anal bum party marked the startling fact that the British singer “” whom I regard as the ultimate in white bread “” had 14 of the Top 15 hits in the UK charts in March.

It”s impossible to say how impressive that is, for the nature of the charts has changed completely. To me, there are no more charts, because there are no more single releases. But there was a time when the UK charts were like sport: I”d study them and would celebrate the success of a favourite record or take the success of a loathsome record as an affront to common decency. Often enough, the latter would prevail over the former.

And this is the third mix of songs that fall in the former category: singles that climbed up the UK charts without ever reaching the Top 10.

The strangest case of all of these is Blondie“s Union City Blue, which many Blondie fans would consider strongly for inclusion in their Top 5 of Blondie songs. It peaked at a disappointing #13, following five consecutive Top 4 singles , including two #1s, for Blondie. More than that, Union City Blue was followed by three consecutive chart-toppers and a #5 hit. And it”s not like Union City Blue was the fifth single of an album. In the UK, it was the second of three single releases from the Eat To The Beat LP. The first, Dreaming, reached #2; the third, Atomic, even #1. In fairness, there were many very good songs ahead of Union City Blue (see that week”s charts).

Likewise, A-ha“s quite excellent Manhattan Skyline followed six Top 10 hits, including the awful Cry Wolf, and was followed by two more. Manhattan Skyline reached only #13 in March 1987 (that #13 was unlucky for a lot of acts here). There were three soul tracks from the 1960s in the Top 10 that week, including numbers 1 and 2. And the rest doesn”t look intimidatingly brilliant: Freddie Mercury”s entertaining version of The Great Pretender, Boy George”s Everything I Own, Level 42″s Running In The Family, Crush On You by The Jets (no, me neither), Male Stripper by Man 2 Man meets Man Parrish, Live It Up by Mental As Anything, and  Curiosity Killed The Cat”s Down To Earth (which isn”t bad). Surely there was a place for Manhattan Skyline in the Top 10!

Poor Nick Heyward never enjoyed a solo Top 10 hit, after a run of four of them in 1981/82 with Haircut 100. At least two should have been Top 10 hits: Whistle Down The Wind and Blue Hat For A Blue Day, both from 1983. And in the case of the latter, which features here, we can claim a genuine grievance: while Heyward stalled at #14, novelty crapmeisters Black Lace moved into the Top 10 alongside The Rock Steady Crew.

Labi Siffre“s It Must Be Love stalled in the same position, in the first week of January 1972. It later was a Top 10 hit in the cover by Madness in 1981, but poor Labi “” a quality guy in many ways “” had to see his original struggle up to #14 (after two weeks at #16) while being outsold by Benny Hill”s grotesque Ernie The Fastest Milkman, Sleepy Shores by the Johnny Pearson Orchestra, The New Seekers” I”d Like To Teach The World To Sing,  Softly Whispering I Love You by the Congregation, and a couple of forgettable efforts by Cilla Black, Gilbert O”Sullivan and Elvis. What were you thinking, 1972″s Britain?

I could have sworn Murray Head“s One Night In Bangkok, from the musical Chess, was a Top 10 hit. Turns out, it peaked at #12 in December 1984. It was about to be overtaken by Nellie The Elephant by the Toy Dolls and by Black Lace (those fuckers again) and their revolting Do The Conga.

I”m not sure I am entirely convinced that Ester & Abi Ofarim deliciously nasty One More Dance should have been a top 10 hit. The folky arrangement for the English version of the song is awful, certainly in comparison to the German version, with which I grew up. In Britain the song, the follow-up single to chart-topper Cinderella Rockefella, reached  #13 in July 1968. There were some very good songs ahead of it.

I cannot think of many songs that sound as 1974 as Beach Baby by First Class does, nor many that sound as self-consciously summery. And it was a hit in the summer of 1974. Peaking at #13 in the middle of summer. Not in early summer, having ejaculated prematurely. Not at the end of summer, when everybody has had enough of beach babies. But in the middle of July. And again, it”s not like Beach Baby was up against hot competition. Sure, there was Rock Your Baby, The Six Teens and Band On The Run. And The Drifter”s Kissin” In The Back Room had a nice seasonal vibe. But Beach Baby should have been a Top 10 hit. As it should”ve been all of the songs here.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-recorded covers. PW in comments.

1. Blondie – Union City Blue (1980  #13)
2. Split Enz – I Got You (1980  #12)
3. Stephen “˜Tin Tin” Duffy – Icing On The Cake (1985  #14)
4. A-ha – Manhattan Skyline (1987  #13)
5. Wet Wet Wet – Temptation (1988  #12)
6. Jonathan Butler – Lies (1987  #14)
7. Sherrick – Just Call (1987  #23)
8. Delegation – Where Is The Love (We Used To Know) (1977  #22)
9. Labi Siffre – It Must Be Love (1971  #15)
10. First Class – Beach Baby (1974  #14)
11. Harpo – Movie Star (1976  #25)
12. Harley Quinne – New Orleans (1972  #19)
13. Chris Spedding – Motor Bikin” (1975  #14)
14. Judas Priest – Breaking The Law (1980  #12)
15. Murray Head – One Night In Bankok (1984  #12)
16. Nick Heyward – Blue Hat For A Blue Day (1983  #14)
17. Suzanne Vega – Marlene On The Wall (1986  #21)
18. Sally Oldfield – Mirrors (1978  #19)
19. Kate Bush – Wow (1979  #14)
20. Donovan – Atlantis (1968  #23)
21. Esther & Abi Ofarim – One More Dance (1968  #13)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    May 11th, 2017 at 07:34 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Mike Oxlong
    May 11th, 2017 at 17:14 | #2

    a nice mix of decent tunes, in my humble opinion Union City Blue is the best Blondie tune bar none, I used to get all gooey watching it on TOTP, and the First Class tune, makes me smile every time.

    Thanks for your efforts, your blog is essential to me, rekindling many tunes forgotten in the haze

  3. Clarence Jones
    May 12th, 2017 at 03:36 | #3

    Neither Beach Baby nor Atlantis made the top 10!?!
    No wonder Punk happened.

  4. Dave B
    May 15th, 2017 at 17:32 | #4

    You make a good case that a higher chart placing for these tracks was due and there should be no doubt that Union City Blue and Beach Baby ought to have been bigger, but Atlantis? I am a big Donovan fan, yet I’ve always regarded that track as one of the more hippy-dippy from his canon and that’s really saying something. It’s a decent chorus with nothing but the spoken story of the legendary city for a verse. I’d suggest that had it been a top ten hit, it would be a wild anomaly for the charts. Can anyone think of a top ten hit that consists primarily of spoken word? Now, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, I can’t believe that didn’t even chart.

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