Tuesday, August 15, 2006

MP3 Frenzy - Retro Edition


I've just got back from a very short weekend visiting the senior discopops in Belfast. Despite the 'travel chaos' everyone keeps talking about, we had a relatively event-free trip. Although Heathrow bosses take note: a printed sheet of A4 stuck to the door of your airport would help direct people to the right check-in desk. Simple, really.

Anyway, being back in my hometown made me somewhat nostalgic for the music I listened to while I was growing up. Back in the 80s, I was still very much a passionate priest of pop, but in the sort of city where not liking AC/DC immediately made you 'queer'. I wasn't queer, though, I fancied Doris out of Five Star.

So, on getting back home today, I've been digging through my boxes of vinyl to find the cheesy pop hits that aoundtracked my teenage years. They're now on my iPod, but I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you. Enjoy!

denise out of five star Five Star - The Slightest Touch (Shep Pettibone Touch Remix)
I was a little bit obsessed with Five Star. In retrospect, they only managed about 14 months of pop brilliance before they went a bit shit, but that purple patch ended with their best single - The Slightest Touch. The song, the sixth(!) single from their Silk and Steel album, receieved the rare honour of being remixed by the king of 1980's 12" records, Shep Pettibone. He went on to write and produce Vogue for Madonna. Five Star went on to bankruptcy and exposing themselves in public toilets.

brothers in rhythm Brothers In Rhythm - Such A Good Feeling
This is the soundtrack to all our school-leavers dances. Well, this and Smells Like Teen Spirit. Isn't it funny how you can hear Nirvana in theme parks now, but this song is lost to history? Perhaps not.

pebbles Pebbles - Girlfriend
Pebbles was named after a Flinstones cartoon character, according to Wikipedia. Which makes her a kind of frontrunner to Snoop Dogg if you really think about it... This kind of slick R&B was massive in the US in the 1980s, but never really took off over here. As a result, I started listening to Casey Casem's American Top 40 on local radio every week just to keep up with the US music scene. Which led to discoveries like this:

The C and C C&C Music Factory - Gonna Make You Sweat
I wasn't really sure what to make of rap at first. I liked Walk This Way, and Whistle's Nothing Serious (Just Buggin'), but the hardcore stuff was a little hard to stomach. Thanks, then, to C&C Music Factory whose poppy little anthems made me think there might be something to this hip-hop music after all. Next stop: NWA.

susanna hoffs Bangles - Manic Monday
As everyone knows, it's written by Prince. And the melody in the verse is a direct facsimilie of the tune to 1999, fact fans. I love the idea of Prince writing a song about catching the train to work. Picture him in an office job, wearing an all-in-one peach babygrow while quietly humping the desk. It's a lovely image, is it not?

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