‘Faintly ridiculous’ was what JP said about this chart. Well, it does seem that hero worship went a bit overboard in this year, with all but two of the tracks from the Smiths’ Strangeways Here We Come making the fifty. Or it could be seen as a way of saying farewell to a much loved group, the likes of whom would never be seen again. By this time, FF tapers had also gone a bit mental, and not just the chart but the entire shows are now available online.
The Smiths had eleven entries overall, but the highest placed only made number 5. Top spot went to the Icelandic newcomers the Sugarcubes, with Birthday, which I was quite knocked out by the first time I heard it on the Chart Show in its original language. Making up the rest of the rundown, the still superb Wedding Present had five entries, and rap got a much higher profile, with tracks by Eric B And Rakim and Public Enemy making respectable appearances. The Bhundu Boys, long championed by JP, finally entered the list with, ironically, a track in English from what is generally considered their weakest LP, True Jit. John’s choice for number one, had he had a vote, would have been the #17 entry, Barmy Army’s Sharp As A Needle. Well, you can hear ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in the background, a song which many session artists recorded versions of just for John.
Outside the world of radio, Terry Waite, the Archbishop Of Canterbury’s special envoy, began four years of captivity in the Lebanon, Reagan admitted attempting to make an arms deal with Iran before challenging Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, Guns N Roses released the multi-million selling Appetite For Destruction, and Kyle Minogue released her first single.
It was the year of the Hungerford Massacre, where Michael Ryan killed 16 people and then himself, and the Hoddle Street and Queen Street Massacres in Melbourne. Black Monday was the latest in a series of recessions still going on to this day, and 31 people were killed in a fire in London’s Kings Cross tube station. I passed through there the following week, experiencing a chill such as I have rarely felt in my life, seeing the blackened walls and imagining the devastation. This led to a ban on smoking.
The music world lost Peter Tosh, Fred Astaire, Jacqueline Du Pre and Woody Herman, and in a unique marriage of past and future, the first five Beatles albums were released on CD (and still attract the attention of the DMCA to this day). TV saw the premieres of Inspector Morse, Chuckle Vision, Going Live and a fascinating open-ended discussion-fest called After Dark. I wanted to post Oliver Reed’s celebrated drunken contribution, but I’ll wait till 1991 for that. Instead, a commercial break courtesy of Thames TV.