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Should Have Been A UK Top 10 Hit – Vol. 1

Should Have Been A Top 10 Hit

Every year an American radio DJ invites the public to vote for songs that should have been Top 10 hits in the US. Billing the vote as “It Really Shoulda been a Top 10 hit!”, Rich Appel releases the annual list to coincide with 15 April, the big tax day in the US (hence the initials IRS).

Borrowing the concept, here’s the first lot of UK hits that missed the Top 10. More will follow, for UK chart outrages are many. But to keep the number of tracks in check, I instituted certain rules. The songs must have had a shot at the Top 10, so only songs that reached the Top 40 qualified (though on my shortlist there are a couple of exceptions) . If songs were Top 10 hits in the US, they were usually disqualified, so were songs that are now bona fide classics, else the Motown catalogue alone would flood my already long shortlist. And I used the year 1990 as a cut-off, since after that the UK charts gradually lost any meaning, even if the Oasis vs Blur battle for #1 was big news a few years after.


While promotion strategies and pure chance often decided whether a song would become a Top 10 hit or not, it is inexplicable why some of those included here failed to climb such heights. How did The Whole Of The Moon, a real classic, stagnate at #26, when in the week the song peaked the Top 10 included such garbage as Elton John’s Nikita and Jennifer Rush’s The Power Of Love? How did The Undertones’ utterly glorious Teenage Kicks get stuck at #31 when awfulness such as Frankie Miller’s Darlin’, Smokie’s Mexican Girl and, have mercy, Father Abraham & The Smurfs’ Dippety Day ranked above it?

And what injustice befell The Cure’s Inbetween Days to get stuck behind such horrors as Baltimora’s Tarzan Boy, Opus’ Life Is Live,  and Tina Turner’s We Don”t Need Another Hero?

One song here that failed to even crack the Top 30 did make it to #1, in a way, when Dexys Midnight Runners hit the top with Geno, a song dedicated to soul singer Geno Washington which references his #39 hit Michael (The Lover) from 1967.

And for the UK election in May, let”s have The Redskins’ song as the anthem, even as the return of the ghastly David Cameron seems inevitable.gallery-1As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-charted covers. PW in comments.

1. The Undertones – Teenage Kicks (#31 1978)
2. Aztec Camera – Oblivious (# 18 1983)
3. Big Sound Authority – This House (Is Where Your Love Stands) (#21 1985)
4. The Blow Monkeys – Diggin’ Your Scene (#12 1986)
5. Hipsway – The Honeythief (#17 1986)
6. The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon (#26 1985)
7. The Redskins – Bring It Down (This Insane Thing) (#33 1985)
8. The Jesus And Mary Chain – Darklands (#33 1987)
9. China Crisis – Black Man Ray (#14 1985)
10. Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down (#25 1985)
11. The Colourfield – Thinking Of You (#12 1985)
12. ABC – When Smokey Sings (#11 1987)
13. Geno Washington – Michael (#39 1967)
14. The Foundations – Back On My Feet Again (#18 1968)
15. The Young Rascals – A Girl Like You (#37 1967)
16. Jesse Green – Nice And Slow (#17 1976)
17. The Beginning Of The End – Funky Nassau (Part 1) (#31 1974)
18. Osibisa – Sunshine Day (#17 1976)
19. Kiki Dee – Star (#13 1981)
20. Susan Fassbender – Twilight Cafe (#21 1981)
21. The Alarm – Sixty-Eight Guns (#17 1983)
22. The Cure – In Between Days (#15 1985)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    April 9th, 2015 at 06:53 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. JohnnyDiego
    April 9th, 2015 at 11:53 | #2

    Great concept. I don’t know any of these songs and have only heard of a handful of the artists but over the years I’ve come to appreciate your conceptualization of pop music. As I’ve stated in the past I stopped listening to commercial radio in the early 70s so, actually, AMDWHAH is my vehicle into the popular past. At least as you see it. Thanks, Dude.
    You mean that Osibisa actually had a hit record in the UK? Wow!

  3. halfhearteddude
    April 9th, 2015 at 12:45 | #3

    Hope you’ll like what you hear, Johnny Diego. I recall the Osibisa song being a pretty big hit in Europe.

  4. GarthJeff
    April 9th, 2015 at 16:08 | #4

    Excellent idea AMD!! And, it’s only volume 1……man you know how to surprise us. A wonderful collection of near-lies. An amazing and entertaining effort. Many Thanks.

  5. dogbreath
    April 9th, 2015 at 16:59 | #5

    Many thanks for the mix although, much like my soccer team’s better than your soccer team, I must take umbrage at your inclusion in the text of Frankie Miller’s “Darlin'” in the awfulness containing The Smurfs (no argument there). Perhaps Mr Miller’s paean to his loved one is A Guilty Pleasure of mine? In spite your effrontery I’m loving the compilation, admire the effort needed & look forward to future volumes. Cheers!

  6. geoviki
    April 10th, 2015 at 04:00 | #6

    Wow, great idea! Thanks, and I expect this to be first of another wonderful series.

  7. Lynchie
    April 10th, 2015 at 11:53 | #7

    The reason that crap records always make the top 10 is that they are the ones bought by people with absolutely no interest in music. Same happens at Christmas when the bulk of annual music buys are made. Folk are buying greatest hits packages and compilations by bands they vaguely remember as being famous – or have just seen ads for on TV – and so the crap is perpetuated on to the charts. That said, it boggles my mind that songs such as “Teenage Kicks”, “The Whole Of The Moon”, “When Love Breaks Down” & “Bring It Down” didn’t make it into the UK Top 10. That’s just criminal. I was convinced that “Teenage Kicks” reached 1 or 2 – and I bought it! Another great compilation though. More power to your musical elbow!

  8. Clarence
    April 14th, 2015 at 20:38 | #8

    When Smokey Sings WAS NOT a UK top Ten? Insane!! Thx as always for your always fascinating shares.

  9. FervorCoulee
    April 16th, 2015 at 04:34 | #9

    A very interesting idea for a series; I am intrigued to hear how the disc plays track by track as the sequencing-in my wee head-seems challenging: the 80s songs, of which I am very familiar, followed by the 60s and 70s tracks with which I am not. Several faves here, including Oblivious, When Smoky Sings, Thinking of You, and When Love Breaks Down. I admire your dedication sharing your musical life.

  10. PapayaSF
    May 23rd, 2016 at 02:47 | #10

    Nice selection! Susan Fassbender is new to me, and Twilight Cafe is very nice.

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