John Peel occasionally extended the chart beyond his normal fifty entries and included anything up to seventy tracks. These were not played in the normal run of the programme, but rather listed separately as what nearly made the chart. The reasons for this are somewhat obscure, but he hinted at times that either (a) he had not received as many votes as normal in a particular year, or (b) the number of votes was very close, and thus tracks he felt should have been included but weren’t were given a chance. To highlight that feature of the chart, today’s post lists the five tracks that came in at number 51.
Siouxsie And The Banshees, Love In a Void
The 1980 chart contained 65 tracks, including five from the lower echelons that never appeared in any other chart. Love In A Void (FF 1979 #21 and 1980 #51) was in the band’s first Peel session, and John thought highly enough of it to play that session version in Peeling Back The Years as an example of the band’s contribution to the sound of his chameleon-like programme. However, I have not included that here, as he categorically stated in 1983 that no session tracks prior to that year ever made the chart, and have instead gone for the double A-side release that came out with Mittageisen in 1979, and, lacking a tape of that year’s FF, feel he would most likely have played this instead. It’s a fast-paced, nihilistic romp, just begging for a live performance: and here is one such, from ‘yoof’ TV prog Something Else:
An instantly recognisable outline of the effects of the epilepsy that plagued Ian Curtis on stage, this (FF 1980 #22, 1981 #51 and All-Time 1982 #41) is from the Gothic primer Unknown Pleasures, as opposed to the 12 inch, which is another story for another day. They appeared on…guess what…Something Else! P.S. The link above was wrong, and has now been corrected. I wondered why no-one was downloading it…why doesn’t anybody politely let me know these things???
Who knows why this archetypal band of punk Billy No Mates elected to change their style mid career? Whatever the reason, the sunny, warm sound of Strange Little Girl (FF 1982 #51) was a song given to EMI as a demo before they even had a deal, and had actually been written in 1974. This re-recording was part of their severance deal before moving to Liberty Records, and hit number 7 in the UK charts.
Both tracks on James’ James II EP (FAC119) made the FF chart in 1985, which broke Peel’s own record by listing 70 tracks (he stated that he nearly went up to one hundred). The other was Hymn From A Village, which was posted here last year as part of a Tony Wilson tribute. The songs would later see the light of day on Village Fire.
Finally, something of a rarity and an ‘honorary’ #51 in 1999’s Festive Fifty. By this time, JP had long since relinquished the chores of counting the votes to others, but added this track simply because he liked it. Birds was released by Shifty Disco as a singles club release and limited to 1000 copies. It’s perfect pop slowed down to a crawl and put through the grinder of overdriven guitars. The result is impossible to shake from the mind.
Sadly, guitar/vocalist Christian Ashcroft committed suicide in 2005. Their legacy is a handful of singles and two Peel sessions.