March 21, 1981: Soft Cell, Level 42, Spandau Ballet, Sun, Starpoint


QUINCY JONES ‘Ai No Corrida’ is due on 3 track 12in with ‘Stuff Like That’ while Capitol have scheduled 3 trackers by T-Connection, Mystic Merlin. Why didn’t they wait for the hot product like Sun, Cold Fire? . . . Alphonse Mouzon ‘By All Means’, ‘Do I Have To’ will be on Excaliber 12in next week . . . Disco Dub Band ‘For The Love Of Money’ has been slightly remixed and put out on white label extended 12in as by the Master Dub Band and Project Love Rescue (which never did hit on import) is about on Creole white label . . . Frank Hooker ‘Ooh Suga Wooga’ / ‘This Feeling (Remix)’ is now on good value US 12in and Jerry Knight ‘Perfect Fit’ on hard to get US 12in promo . . . Chris Hill turns out to be responsible for the great LOTW ‘Time’ remix, speeding up the original blending in newly recorded brass and guitar passages . . . Randy Brown on his nice new smoochy LP varied up to between 33 and 45rpm sounds exactly like another Randy Crawford . . . LA Boppers also have a pleasant new import LP (some of these I’m waiting for from the companies to review in comfort at home) hot new jazz sets including Jack McDuff (Sugarhill), Dave Pike (Muse – try ‘Swan Lake’), Kellis Ethridge (Inner City – try ‘Quickie Nirvana’) . . . Sharon Redd evidently sang on Front Page ‘Love Insurance’ a while back . . . David Bendeth’s upcoming ‘Make It Pop’ 12in flip is a remake of ‘Feel The Real’ remixed by Mr. Hill to incorporate snippets of three other tracks from his ‘Just Dessert’ LP, this concoction called ‘Just Demix’ . . . Chris Hill, Carol and myself had a gastronomic tour of ‘Good Food Guide’ restaurants last week (disguised as a gig at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse) . . . Knutsford David’s Place serving dynamite duck, Cockermouth Old Courthouse tasty Germanic fare, Gosforth Boonwood Inn incredible cream teas (with rum butter!) but one of the most memorable meals of my life was at world famous Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel near Pooley Bridge – only ultra rich superstars are welcome there though! . . . Cumbria does seem to have a lot of extremely good looking and surprisingly spare birds – and Dot does wear a nice pair of jeans (I hope the Alien appreciates ’em) . . . Porky pork scratchings are ‘more-ish’ aren’t they? . . . Level 42 meanwhile evidently turned in the best set ever at Mayfair Gullivers, the Bros Johnson-type bassist pushing guitar and keyboards (again, no sax) through completely self-penned, note-perfect material – wish I’d caught it . . . Roger Squire’s dXL 100 “mini” PA speaker, at under £100 measures only 10¼in x 12½in x 19½in but evidently packs a surprisingly beefy bass from four specially designed 4in full range chassis with special porting and a built-in Piezo horn . . . Galatrek Engineering (contact Ron Koffler on 0492-640311) have for the first time ever made a thermal flashing 13amp plug containing a solid state device which, without interference to TV / radio signals, makes anything up to 250 watts flash at a regular 1 on / 1 off timing (cost in quantity £1.50) . . . Funktion’s April 25th trip to Paris has been reduced in price to £49.95, and it seems Funktion is no longer at Mortons on Monday . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood 0277-221309), visiting Galway for the Easter weekend with a rugger team would like to know if indeed there are any soul discos in the area to visit, and if so would they like to book him for some London funk? . . . Glen Ross at Storthfield Country Club, Storth Lane, South Normanton, Derbyshire, plans a regular weekly live music night and would like to hear from interested bands (especially futurist) . . . Kev Howarth fuses jazz / funk / fusion at St Asaph Stables now Al Taylor has moved on . . . Dave Bumford of Newport’s Flashback shop (pipped to the post by Lady Di?) claims Beggar & Co ‘Help Me Out’ rips off Rufus ‘Live In Me’ more than Heatwave does and ‘Rising Sun’ cops the guitar riff from Blackbyrds ‘Rock Creek Park’ . . . Tricky Dicky has dirt cheap prices (US LP £4.50 UK 12in £1.80 for instance) at his shop opposite Mile End station. Disco Music, 391c Mile End Road, Bow, London E3 . . . Carol Jiani ‘Hit ‘N’ Run Lover’ is a big number one in all the gay orientated charts that have suddenly come in this week . . . Coati Mundi ‘Me No Pop I’ lyrics are worth a close listen! . . . James Brown’s Soul Syndrome Part 2 turns out to be very much the one take record rejects from his RCA set . . . ‘Body Music’ is by One On One and not One On Me, as misprinted last week . . . Eurovision entrant Bucks Fizz sound naggingly like ‘The Hucklebuck’, try singing it to their melody . . . Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ from the vocal start to its halfway “wooh” mixes nicely between Freeez percussion and Manu Dibango’s sax . . . Bob ‘Scintillating’ Jones hopes the futurists do take over the majority of clubs to force the specialist jazz funk soul scene back underground and make it healthier as it’s been over promoted and made too readily available in recent times (but he doesn’t advocate Northern style cover up secrecy) . . . John Wieschhusen, Southampton University, ex Bootsies, echoes these thoughts saying now that futurist has changed from being an exciting underground movement to an overground craze, surely the hip thing to do is check out the less commercial jazz funk minority scene . . . Spring is busting out all over – and so is Carol Hill . . . KEEP IT FUNKY-ish!


“WHEN IT comes to love I’m the best, now are you sure you can pass my test?”

I lie of course, but it made you sit up, didn’t it? The words come not down the Transatlantic phone line, but from the song which brought about Sharon Redd’s third helping of fame, ‘Can You Handle It’.

On the Redd hotline, Sharon sounds surprised and delighted when I spill the beans on the single’s healthy pop chart progress over here.

The song comes from her anonymous and hot debut album, due here at last next month, but Sharon is anxious not to overplay its disco aspect.

“There’s something for everybody on the album. It’s more laid back, easy listening, not so funky. The next single will be more pop-orientated, I don’t want people just to think of me as the superdisco queen.”

That may be the image that’s been cultivated of late, but Sharon’s background is more varied and more interesting. She grew up in Virginia and landed on several of the familiar squares on the showbiz monopoly board – classical voice training, church choir and talent contests. Her family was already in showbiz and Sharon delved into acting. A lead role in the Australian stage version of ‘Hair’ brought on her own Aussie TV series and as the singing side of her career developed, she worked with Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle and Helen Reddy.

By this time her name was sounding familiar to more people and she received a call from Bette Midler, it led to five years as one of Bette’s three Harlettes, and to Miss M kindly describing Sharon’s singing as “sleaze with ease”. Then one night CBS knocked on the stage door with three ballpoint pens and a contract for the Harlettes.

Record success never happened for the trio sans Bette, but Sharon kept herself busy and known. In 1980 she was offered the lead vocal on a song called ‘Love Insurance’. The band was Front Page, just for the record, which was a big US disco hit. She was offered a follow-up, but by that time Prelude Records had stepped in.

She’ll be starting another LP in late summer. And whatever else happens, she’ll be ready. On her third time around, Sharon Redd can handle it.


SOFT CELL: ‘Memorabilia’ (Some Bizarre HARD 12).
Dynamite bass driven 134bpm white label 12in futurist disco bounder with a vaguely Stones-ish (or Spencer Davis) hit keeps trucking along with great electronic effects and is the most impressive thing I’ve heard this week and it really IS a disco crossover!

LEVEL 42: ‘Love Games’ (Polydor POSPX 234).
Mike Vernon produced snappy bass and meshing guitar build ominous jittery atmosphere on excellent haunting 0-106bpm 12in as electronic keyboards smooth the way for lush but tense vocal lines in their best effort yet, the bubbling jazzy 0-102-99-101bpm instrumental ‘Forty Two‘ flip being much more specialist. On white label now. It’s out next week.

SPANDAU BALLET: ‘Glow’ (Reformation CHS12 2509).
So, this is their attempt to get funky – a bounding bass-pushed 0-135bpm 12in rattler with jiggly guitar, it’s certainly compatible disco (try especially mixing the percussion break), but it ain’t exactly Bootsy Collins. And how come the printed BPM is again so wildly out? 

GAP BAND: ‘Humpin’ (Mercury MERX 631).
Ultra Funkadelic burbling jittery 108-109-110bpm 12in smacker back in their ‘Oops’ bag mixes superbly out of Free Expression ‘Chill-Out!’ but isn’t as catchy a song as their recent hits.

CONGRESS: ‘That’s Jazz’ (Congress Productions CPX 3).
Dynamite gurgling, panting and muttering sexy boy/girl between-the-sheets lovey-dovey canoodling on gently pulsating 0-45/91-93bpm 12in with lovely maddeningly familiar guitar doodling behind it. Evidently recorded a while ago and discovered (or concealed until now?) by Greg Edwards, who caused a sensation playing it recently.

VICTOR ROMERO EVANS: ‘At The Club’ (Special Request LR 4V, via Local Records 01-808 5180).
Exceptionally strong mellow lolloping 83/41bpm 12in reggae jogger with simple direct appeal, the DETONATORS – credited ‘Lift Off‘ flip doing just that – electronic effects eventually becoming a throbbing 130bpm instrumental with even futurist chances.

HUGH PORTER (HAPPY LOVE): ‘Love T.K.O.’ (JA Germain Revolutionary Sounds).
Gorgeous reggae treatment of Teddy Pendergrass’s current US smash smoocher on Jamaica – originating import 36/72bpm 12in that’s conveniently the exact same BPM as Teddy P.

VOGUE: ‘Free To Be Me’ (Total Control BOB 1).
Buzzing synth tones intro an interesting slinkily flowing cool 0-122-123-124bpm 12in loper with ‘Rhiannon’-ish female vocal and sorta Freeez feel. Well worth checking.

PETER ALLEN: ‘Bi-Coastal’ LP (A&M AMLH 54825).
Gay orientated but rather good bass burbled slick 124(intro)-127-128bpm smoothly pulsating title track driver with excellent lyrics, nice brass and an easy romping bit, also well worth checking.

RICKY PEPPERTREE: ‘Baby It’s Nice To See You’ (Mekaliteit MTM 1001).
Cleanly recorded nice jaunty 100/50bpm 12in reggae jiggler, with steadily pushing almost ska style backbeat and a pleasant quite jazzy tootling instrumental flip.

THE DUNCANS: ‘Too Damn Hot’ (Impact IMP 3).
Chix squawked racing fast bass bounding zingy 125bpm 12in disco leaper which it would have been nice to have reviewed at home instead of in a shop (point taken Neil?).

PHILIP LYNOTT: ‘Yellow Pearl’ (Vertigo SOLO 312).
Rusty’s drums thunder through a swamping mish mash of Moroder-ish electronic noises on pounding muzzy 138bpm 12in. Phil’s voice seeming a bit superfluous.


SUN: ‘Jammin’ In Brazil’ (LP ‘Sun: Force Of Nature’ US Capitol ST-12142).
This enthusiastic party noises backed guitar scrubbing 111bpm bass patterer sounds more like T-Connection than anything on their own LP, the jitter continuing through the 108bpm ‘Guiding Light‘, ‘On My Radio‘ being a dial tuning introed ponderous spiky 101bpm funker and ‘Reaction Satisfaction‘ a monotonous 114bpm thudder, while the 0-109bpm title track lurcher has one of their rumbling “take off” effects, The subtle standouts being a really lovely 34/15bpm ‘Love Baby Love’ smoocher and moody comes-and-goes 95bpm ‘This Is What You Wanted’ jogger with interestingly varied solos including Yarbrough-type synth near the end.

STARPOINT: ‘I Just Want To Be Your Lover’ (LP ‘Keep On It’ US Chocolate City CCLP 2018).
Effectively lean instrumentation keeps everything paired to the basics. This dead simple bass bumped cool clean 111bpm jogger with a sparse break developing a Young & Co-ish ‘Good Times’ groove. The similar but heavier title track being a bass bumbled ponderous 108(intro)-106bpm funk smacker and ‘I Want You Closer‘ a chick-wailed pleasant jiggly 111-110-111bpm swayer.

TANTRA: ‘The Hills Of Katmandu’ (LP ‘The Double Album’ US Importe/12 MP-310).
Finally forced into reviewing the now practically vintage double album US disco smash by a sudden influx of gay-orientated / futurist charts. I sheepishly am hopping with glee to find this terrific if admittedly pure blatant zingy “disco” 134bpm side-long “exotic” rattler is – guess what? – another that’s superb with Harry Thumann and Arni Egilsson! Such as John Grant & Colin Curtis have been on the “Eastern promise”-filled similar 131bpm ‘Wishbone‘ pounder, while other tracks are afro-styled – but BPM-ing time is running short.

KAT MANDU: ‘The Break (Remix)’ (Canadian Unidisc UNI 1041).
Great bassier new mix of the frantic old instrumental flier with a long backwards running tape section adding extra excitement to the 135bpm 12in rattler.

HARLOW: ‘Take Off’ (LP ‘Taking Off’ US GRAF G001).
Originally ‘Mystic Lady‘ looked like being the biggie but now this chix-wailed exciting pure 130bpm “disco” pounder has indeed taken off in gay circles with a rumbling take-off effect through the intro.

NIGHTLIFE UNLIMITED: ‘Love Is In You (No.2)’ (Canadian Unidisc UNI 1023).
Rattling gay 130bpm 12in galloper fleshes out with nice plonking bass before sweet singing chix ‘n’ chaps join in for a pleasant zingy romp and good simple percussion break. This being remixed from their eponymous LP (WLP 1014) on winch the thudding 119bpm ‘Tonight‘ is also warm.

MICHAEL McGLOIRY: ‘Won’t You Let Me Be The One (Version Two)’ (US Airwave AW12-94964).
Noisy fast dated zingy 126(intro)-125bpm 12in gay galloper for a certain type of Harry Thumann fan.

MAGIC POWER: ‘Lady Midnight’ (Canadian PBI W-12063).
Searing synth chords permeate this lovely romantic swirling 116bpm 12in swayer cooed and sometimes somewhat stridently sung by disco chix, giving it more gay than soul appeal.

EMPRESS: ‘Dyin’ To Be Dancin’ (US Prelude PRL D 607).
Steadily smacking solid 109-108bpm 12in jogger starts strongly but then doesn’t add anything. The instrumental side sounding like a backing track while the vocal side actually takes its time too.

THE 202 MACHINE: ‘Get Up (Rock Your Body)’ (US Fire-Sign LTD FST-1451).
Monotonous zingy 122bpm 12in galloper with electronic effects among the shrill chix giving it gay appeal.

A TASTE OF HONEY: ‘Sukiyaki’ (US Capitol 4953).
George Duke produced exquisitely pretty smoochy 0-34-69-0bpm 7in revival of Kyu Sakamoto’s Japanese pop oldie.

UK Disco Top 90 – March 21, 1981

01 01 Freeez – Southern Freeez / Version – Beggars Banquet 12”
02 02 Sharon Redd – Can You Handle It – Epic 12”
03 03 Beggar & Co – (Somebody) Help Me Out / Rising Sun – Ensign 12”
04 05 Kleeer – Get Tough / De Kleeer Ting / Sippin’ & Kissin’ – US Atlantic LP
05 08 It’s A Love Thing – Whispers – Solar 12”
06 07 Rah Band – Slide – DJM 12”
07 13 Jacksons – Can You Feel It / Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) – Epic 12”
08 06 Gap Band – Burn Rubber On Me – Mercury 12”
09 04 Yarbrough & Peoples – Don’t Stop The Music – Mercury 12”
10 20 Sister Sledge – All American Girls – Atlantic 12”
11 23 Ray Carless – Tarantula Walk / New Born Child – Ensign 12”
12 12 T.S. Monk – Bon Bon Vie – Mirage 12”
13 16 K.I.D. – Don’t Stop – Groove/EMI 12”
14 14 Harry Thumann – Underwater – Decca 12”
15 34 Alphonze Mouzon – By All Means / Do I Have To? / The Jogger – US PAUSA/German Metronome LP
16 19 Linx – Intuition / Together We Can Shine – Chrysalis 12”
17 17 Second Image – Dance Dance Dance / The Jazzy Dancer – Polydor 12”
18 27 Kool & The Gang – Jones Vs Jones / Summer Madness – De-Lite 12”
19 24 Bernard Wright – Bread Sandwiches / Just Chillin’ Out / Master Rocker / Firebolt Hustle – US Arista GRP LP
20 09 Heatwave – Gangsters Of The Groove – GTO 12”
21 28 Firefly – Love (Is Gonna Be On Your Side) – Excaliber 12”
22 30 Lakeside – Fantastic Voyage – Solar 12”
23 10 Blondie – Rapture – Chrysalis 12”
24 11 MFSB – Mysteries Of The World – TSOP 12”
25 29 Gene Dunlap – Love Dancin’ / It’s Just The Way I Feel / Surest Things Can Change – Capitol 12”
26 21 Whispers – Imagination / I Can Make It Better / Up On Soul Train – Solar LP
27 26 Young & Company – Strut Your Stuff (Sexy Lady) / Waiting On Your Love – Excaliber 12”
28 18 Fantasy – You’re Too Late – Epic 12”
29 33 Manu Dibango – Goro City / Happy Feeling – Island 12”
30 15 Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson – The Bottle – Vintage Champagne 12”
31 32 T.S. Monk – Candidate For Love / House Of Music / Can’t Keep My Hands To Myself – Mirage LP
32 22 Joe Sample – Burnin’ Up The Carnival – MCA 12”/LP
33 56 Mystic Touch – Get Yourself Together – Champagne 12”
34 35 Breakfast Band – L.A.14 – Disc Empire 12”
35 45 Shakatak – Living In The UK – Polydor 12”
36 52 Leprechaun – Loc-It-Up – US Citation 12”
37 50 Earth Wind & Fire – And Love Goes On / Faces – CBS 12”
38 39 Spectrum – Taking It To The Top – Smokey 12”
39 31 L.A.X. – All My Love – Epic 12”
40 53 Shalamar – Make That Move – Solar 12”
41 25 James Brown – Rapp Payback – RCA 12”/LP
42 75 Light Of The World – Time (Remix) – Mercury 12” promo
43 57 Rudy Grant – Lately – Ensign 12”
44 62 Shock – Angel Face / R.E.R.B. – RCA 12”
45 40 Blackbyrds – Don’t Know What To Say / Rock Creek Park – Fantasy 12”
46 38 Ned Doheny – To Prove My Love – CBS 12”
47 42 Millie Jackson – I Had To Say It – Spring 12”
48 55 Fuse One – Grand Prix / Double Steal – Japanese/German CTI LP
49 81 Azoto – San Salvador – Dutch Rams Horn 12”
50 69 Johnny Bristol – Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me (Remix) – Ariola Hansa 12”
51 70 Free Expression – Chill-Out! – Vanguard 12”
52 41 Billy Ocean – Nights (Feel Like Getting Down) – GTO 12”
53 43 Spandau Ballet – The Freeze – Reformation 12”
54 59 Various – Bits & Pieces III – Canadian Special Disco Mixer 12”
55 47 Unlimited Touch – I Hear Music In The Streets / In The Middle – Epic 12”
56 37 (New York) Skyy – Here’s To You / No Music – Excaliber 12”
57 44 Marvin Gaye – Heavy Love Affair / Love Party – Motown LP
58 74 Arni Egilsson – Howduz Disco? – US Inner City LP
59 79 Not James Player – Friends Again – Ultimate 12”
60 80 Sylvia Striplin – Give Me Your Love / You Can’t Turn Me Away – Champagne 12”
61 48 George Benson – What’s On Your Mind / Turn Out The Lamplight – Warner Bros 12”
62 87 Stevie Wonder – Lately – Motown
63 72 Inversions – Mr Mac / Passport – Groove Production 12”
64 NE Carol Jiani – Hit ‘N’ Run Lover – Canadian Matra 12”
65 67 Funk Masters – Love Money – Tania Music 12”
66 NE Isley Brothers – Tonight Is The Night / Who Said? / Young Girls / Hurry Up And Wait – US T-Neck LP
67 61 Lenny White/Twennynine – Fancy Dancer (Remix) – Elektra 12in promo
68 64 Nick Straker Band – A Little Bit Of Jazz – CBS 12”
69 77 Frankie Valli – Soul – MCA 12”
70 NE Marvin Gaye – Praise / Funk Me – Motown 12”
71 49 Altitude – Six Nine Shuffle – UK Champagne 12”
72 78 Freeez – Sunset / Flying High / Caribbean Winter / Mariposa (Butterfly) / Easy On The Onions – Beggars Banquet LP
73 71 Sister Sledge – Music Makes Me Feel Good / If You Really Want Me / Ooh You Caught My Heart – Atlantic LP
74 RE Heatwave – Jitterbuggin’ / Goin’ Crazy – GTO 12”
75 63 Tom Browne – Midnight Interlude / Magic – Arista GRP 12”
76 51 Sheila Hylton – The Bed’s Too Big Without You – Island 12”
77 76 Hot Cuisine – All Fired Up / Dancin’ Me To Ecstacy – Kaleidoscope 12”
78 NE Scratsch Band – Your Place Or Mine? (Instrumental) – Groove/EMI 12”
79 84 Unlimited Touch – Searching To Find The One / Happy Ever After / Feel The Music – US Prelude LP
80 NE Sugar Minott – Good Thing Going – Hawkeye 12”
81 NE Strikers – Body Music – US Prelude 12”
82 83 Alicia Myers – Spirit Of The Boogie / Don’t Stop What You’re Doin’ / I Want To Thank You – US MCA LP
83 89 Powerline – Journey / Double Journey – Elite 12”
84 90 Jerry Knight – Perfect Fit / Turn It Out – US A&M LP
85 RE Dynasty – Groove Control – Solar 12”
86 65 Ozone – Jump On It / Love Zone / Mighty-Mighty / Ozonic Bee Bop – US Motown LP
87 NE Tantra – Hills Of Katmandu / Mother Africa / Wishbone – US Import/12” LP
88 NE Cold Fire – Daydreamin’ / Whispering / H.F.R.S. – US Capitol LP
89 NE Mel Sheppard – Can I Take You Home – US TSOB 12”
90 RE One On One – Body Music – RCA 12”


BUBBLING UNDER the UK Disco 90 with increased support are:

Adrian Baker: ‘High Time’ (Polo 12in)
Revelation: ‘Feel It’ (US Handshake 12in)
Smokey Robinson: ‘Being With You’ / ‘What’s In Your Life For Me’ (Motown)
Heatwave: ‘Posin’ Till Closin’ / ‘Turn Around’ (GTO LP)
Tata Vega: ‘Love Your Neighbour’ (Motown LP)
Atlantic Starr: ‘When Love Calls’ (US A&M/LP)
Casiopea: ‘Eyes Of Mind’ / ‘Ripple Dance’ (Japanese Alta LP)
Night People: ‘Again’ (US TSOB 12in)
Level 42: ‘Love Games’ (Polydor 12in promo)
Shirley James / Danny Ray: ‘Why Don’t You Spend The Night’ (Black Jack 12in)
Jermaine Jackson: ‘You Like Me Don’t You’ (Motown)
Boz Scaggs: ‘Miss Sun’ (CBS US 12in promo)
General Caine II: ‘LRJ Pop’ / ‘Jungle Music’ / ‘Shake’ (US Groove Time LP)
Sun: ‘Jammin’ In Brazil’ / ‘Reaction Satisfaction’ (US Capitol LP)
Spandau Ballet: ‘Glow’ (Reformation 12in)
Junior Tucker: ‘The Kick (Rock On)’ (Island 12in)
Victor Romero Evans: ‘At The Club’ / ‘Detonators Lift Off’ (Special Request 12in)
Harris Simon Group: ‘Wind Chant’ (Japanese Overseas LP)
(New York) Skyy: ‘Superlove’ / ‘I Can’t Get Enough’ (Excaliber 12in)
Champaign: ‘How ‘Bout Us’ / ‘Whiplash’ / ‘I’m On Fire’ (US Columbia LP)
Kat Mandu: ‘The Break (Remix)’ (Canadian Unidisc 12in)
Harlow: ‘Take Off’ (US GRAF LP)
Bliss: ‘Fun’ (US Rap City 12in)
Lime: ‘Your Love’ (US Prism 12in)
Starpoint: ‘Keep On It’ / ‘I Just Want To Be Your Lover’ (US Chocolate City LP)

DORC (Disco Featured Pop Hits)

1(3) Roxy Music, 2(15) Kelly Marie, 3(1) Visage ‘Fade’, 4(2) Adam ‘Antmusic’, 5(9) Coast To Coast, 6(5) Ultravox, 7(22) Yoko Ono, 8(20) Talking Heads, 9(6) Lennon ‘Woman’, 10(8) Barbara Jones, 11(-) Landscape, 12(12) Pretenders, 13(4) Joe Dolce, 14(-) Visage ‘Toy’ / ‘Move’, 15(14) Sheena Easton, 16(7) Susan Fassbender, 17(30) Shakin’ Stevens, 18(13) Stray Cats, 19(-) Classix Nouveaux, 20(17) Cliff Richard, 21(24) Police ‘Voices’, 22(-) Adam ‘Kings’, 23(16) Madness, 24(27) Kiki Dee, 25(-) Bowie ‘Monsters’, 26(18) Bad Manners, 27(23) Spandau ‘Story’, 28(21) Jam, 29(-) Dave Stewart / Colin Blunstone 30(19) Phil Collins ‘Air’.


Beats Per Minute for last two weeks’ pop chart entries on 7in are:
The Who 0-163/81-40r, Phil Collins 109f, Stevie Wonder 19/38r, Visage 139-0r, New Order 137-134r, Linx 123(intro)-120-123f, Whispers 0-118-120f, Polecats 176r, Iron Maiden 174-194c, Dave Stewart 51f, Shakatak 117f, TS Monk 109f, Nolans 103f, More 74-149-214-151-0c, Lene Lovich 143f, Expressos 0-147f, Kleeer 118-121f.

. . . HERE NOW

01 04 Planet Earth / Late Bar – Duran Duran – EMI 12” promo
02 03 Angel Face / R.E.R.B. – Shock – MCA 12”
03 15 Mind Of A Toy / We Move / Frequency 7 – Visage – Polydor 12”
04 05 Einstein A Go Go / Japan – Landscape RCA 12in
05 08 Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads – Sire 12”
06 03 Vienna / Herr X – Ultravox – Chrysalis 12”
07 01 The Freeze – Spandau Ballet – Reformation 12”
08 02 Fade To Grey – Visage – Polydor 12”
09 11 Fuel To The Fire / Debris – Music For Pleasure – Rage
10 NE Luxury – New Musik – GTO
11 16 Empire State Human – Human League – Virgin
12 NE Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode – Mute
13 NE Celebrate / I Travel / Changeling – Simple Minds – Arista 12”
14 29 Don’t Don’t / Beginning Of The Heartbreak / Extended Niceties – Love Of Life Orchestra – Beggars Banquet 12in
15 NE Euthenics – Modern Eon – DinDisc
16 13 She’s Lost Control / Atmosphere – Joy Division – Factory 12”
17 27 Guilty / The Robots Dance – Classix Nouveaux – Liberty 12”
18 17 Dead Man’s Curve – Nash The Slash – DinDisc
19 NE Age Of Blows / All Tracks – Spandau Ballet – Reformation LP
20 09 All Stood Still / Sleepwalk – Ultravox – Chrysalis LP
21 06 The Model – Kraftwerk – Capitol LP
22 24 Boys And Girls – Human League – Virgin
23 10 Tar / Blocks On Blocks / Visage – Visage – Polydor LP
24 23 19th Nervous Breakdown – Nash The Slash – DinDisc
25 25 Demolition Man – Grace Jones – Island 12in
26 NE Framework – Berlin Blondes – EMI 12in
27 NE Underwater – Harry Thumann – Decca 12in
28 NE Psycho Killer – Talking Heads – Sire 12in
29 NE Warm Leatherette – The Normal – Mute
30 20 Life In Tokyo – Japan – Ariola 12in

The alternative disco chart makes more sense this week, as current contributors are forward looking rather than retrospective. So here it is. The trouble with some futurist observers in other papers is that they’ve a funny idea of what is funk – what they talk about ain’t the stuff we think of it as – but at least Richard Burgess and Rusty Egan are in tune with our way of thinking. When Rusty returns to DJing with his Monday nights at Dartford Flicks on the 30th with Depeche Mode live, Ronny giant videos and other surprises! he’s likely to be helped with those Lacy Lady oldies by Tom Holland. Yes, many of the London futurist readers were Lacy Lady punters sidetracked from jazz funk by punk, when they followed the clothing trend rather than the music! As well as his renewed jocking slogan “From the Blitz to the sticks”, Monday night at Flicks is Rusty’s latest venture and amid a bewildering array of activity is his own Metropolis label, planned to debut with a remixed obscure Cerrone track featuring Egan additions, the labels production team comprising Richard Burgess, Midge Ure and Rusty, as chance has it! Meanwhile Rusty’s remixes of Burundi Black and Space Tender Force are due imminently via Decca and PRT respectively. Because of the visual aspect of new romanticism, video in clubs is becoming ever more important. Talking Heads dynamite TV video was choreographed, if that’s the word for such weirdness, by Toni Basil whose own new album has been simultaneously released as a video cassette and is available promotionally to clubs with video facilities. To this end, Paul Clark of Radical Choice (01-853 5899) is compiling a video disco mailing list and wants to hear from clubs interested in showing this and other future releases. Contact him with your details and let me know too if you’ve a futurist following plus video, as this could be a beneficial combination.

4 thoughts on “March 21, 1981: Soft Cell, Level 42, Spandau Ballet, Sun, Starpoint”

  1. A lead review for Soft Cell, and a sudden surge of Canadian proto-hi-energy… the times they are a-changing! Good to see a belated Hamilton hat-tip to Tantra’s “Hills Of Katmandu”, as I’d thought it rather conspicuous by its absence, and Harlow’s “Take Off” is another all-time favourite. What must the Mafia have thought of all this throbbing zinginess?!


      1. I spotted that first sighting of Lime too – and Denis LePage from Lime also did the arrangement on this week’s highest new entry, Carol Jiani “Hit ‘N Run Lover”…


  2. Phil Lynott’s tune was off course adopted by the Beeb as the theme tune for their revamped Top of the Pops. Level 42 & Spandau emerge from the underground and go mainstream. 81 was certainly a year of transition. In my view this was the year that “disco” really moved on. Great to see Sharron Redd making waves and Prelude releases beginning to feature prominently . Kat Mandu still sounds amazing today.


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