SotD81 - Playing Catch Up part 1

neon colours - woman with spiky hair and neon framed spectacles

Inspired by our series of articles looking back at music released 30 years ago, Jimmy Hunter takes a step [or, rather, quite a lot of steps, fairly quickly and with fancy footwork - Ed] further back in time to give us Songs of the Day 1981...

Well hello there. It’s been a while. Have you been keeping well, dear reader? I do hope so. I hope you’ve had a nice summer and that life, as we tend to call it, has begun to get back to whatever you regard as normal. But, vaxxed to the hilt and with a familiar anticipatory butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling, [Oh get on with it!! – Ed] we here at SotD40 Towers are getting back to our version of normality. We have a lot of catching up to do.

By my reckoning, we’ve missed over 30 records this year and I plan to give them all to you… but not in the same way as before. No. So, for the next few weeks we’ll give a list of records we’ve missed in order to catch up on ourselves and, at least for the moment, we’ll keep the stories to the absolute minimum [I feel better already – Ed].

So then, back to business. I have an individual memory attached to every one of this week’s records so for me, it was a delight to go back to the list that I’d researched at the end of 2020 and review what I was going to pick. From the brilliant post-punk new wave (and much MUCH underrated) Hazel O’Connor to the pogoing Eddie Tenpole, this week’s selection is quite the eclectic mix.

Kicking off with a very particular voice indeed, we have Kiki Dee. Never very commercially successful but critically acclaimed, and with an unfortunate association with Elton John (I’ll explain “unfortunate” to you sometime over a bottle or 2), this is Kiki’s last foray into the upper reaches of the hit parade.

Then we have Dolly – the legend that is Dolly Parton. Longtime BFF of the LGBT community and one of the most decorated and talented singer songwriters ever.

Now Yoko Ono’s offering in early 1981 was controversial in may ways and attracted much criticism. However, I do actually like it, always have. However, I’ve included a bonus here and that’s the b-side of the single. I think the music is superb but the singing sounds like… well, judge for yourselves.

Heaven 17’s blissful anti Reagan/right wing anthem that filled the dancefloors 

and a fantastic Hazel O’Connor appearance on TOTP must be two of the highlights here? Fond memories of pogoing to this at the end-of-term school disco. 

I liked this offering here from the Climax Blues Band and I heard it on early morning Radio 1 around the time they started playing Fade To Grey. BTW, if you think you’ve never heard of the CBB before, this superb record from 1976 may jog your memory.

We then finish off with the irrepressible Eddie Tenpole and an anthemic summer hit which now sounds to me like the most difficult of aerobic workouts. 

And signing us off, one of the best offerings from The Human League.


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