January 5, 1985: “One Man’s View” of 1984, BPM counting explained, James Ingram, Walter Jackson, Barney Rachabane


DISCO MIX CLUB’s 2nd DJ Convention will be at London’s Hippodrome on Sunday March 10, followed don’t forget the next day by DMC’s now rapidly filling Mon-Fri £340 (+VAT) Virgin Atlantic charter trip for DJs and club management to the discos of New York City, staying at the Barbizon Plaza on Central Park South (a shame the stuff-yourself-silly Beefsteak Charlie’s is no longer nearby!), sure to be great tax-deductible fun at real bargain rates — and you don’t HAVE to go to all the boring discos if you don’t want to! (£50 non-refundable reservation deposit cheques to Disco Mix Club Ltd, PO Box 89, Slough, Berks, or full details from 06286 67276 — but hurry!) . . . Tony Blackburn and I are both going! . . . WRKS (KISS-fm) is now the only black “urban contemporary” station in New York, where radio has gone Top 40 mad with tightly rotated all-hit playlists, so it’s predicted producers are going to be playing safe for commercial airplay acceptance rather than making offbeat club-aimed dance records — bad news . . . Gary Byrd this month starts a US syndicated hour-long weekly ‘Dance Music International’ radio programme, featuring remixed classics and special mixes by club jocks from around the world, as well as star interviews, with an emphasis on the “international” dance scene . . .  Midnight Star ‘Operator‘ topped US Hot Black before Christmas — and Wish featuring Fonda Rae ‘Touch Me (All Night Long)‘ (as it’s billed there now) finally crept in as the lowest new entry! . . . Motown could well be joining its new owners Inner City Broadcasting in co-celebrating legendary Harlem showcase the Apollo Theatre’s 50th anniversary — I used to go there every week to catch the star-studded soul shows in ’64, four shows daily with a movie between them and a new bill every Friday, and then in ’67 after the intervention of cassette recorders I even bootlegged a couple on a return visit to New York (including the Parliaments’ first engagement there, singing ‘Testify (I Wanna)’ in shimmering green silk suits, and Linda Jones tearing the house down with ‘Hypnotized’!) . . . John Anderson Big Band’s brilliant ‘Glen Miller Medley‘/’Scot’s Medley’ (Modern Records 7in) is much in demand at record shops after my recent review, but nobody can trace its distributor (who I’d have listed had the info been given) — does anyone know how to order records on Modern (who might have a hit if they could get their act together)? . . . Julie Roberts ‘I’m So Glad’ is now on 12in too, Magnum Force’s two churners on their Bluebird/10-released old LP should have been the 119-120½bpm ‘What’s Your Name’, 0-119½-120½bpm ‘Girl You’re Too Cool’, George Benson ’20/20′ being 111bpm — and due here as a Jellybean remix next week, when ‘Caught In The Act’ will be flip to Chaka Khan’s ‘This Is My Night’ and Sheryl Lee Ralph’s ‘In The Evening‘ Hi-NRG smash will finally appear on Beat Box . . . George Lee’s ‘Sea Shells’ A-side may not be on the Anansi LP but it is on the cassette version for some reason . . . Kensington’s The Park is looking for a new versatile DJ with up-to-date comprehensive records to audition this month — contact Charlie Cozzens weekday afternoons on 01-937 7744 . . . Switch Records were mentioned way back last May as looking for previously unrecorded black music acts to submit cassette demos (of original material) for possible inclusion on a compilation LP: well, before Christmas, Mayfair Gullivers DJ Graham Gold and myself helped lodge the submissions so far with the result that stuff by Zulu Clicks, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Jah Bond, Addis Rockers, Julian Cyriax and Yogeswaren could well be in the running, but further material is still needed — send cassettes to Cass Gilroy at Zenda Video Film Productions Ltd, Omnibus, East Row, London W10 (01-969 7135) . . . ‘Brother Louie Martin’ (and even that isn’t his real surname!) in a return onto the scene now makes it soul seven days a week on Chiltern Radio 97.6FM with his Saturday Soul Seeking 6-7.30pm show adding to the others done by Martin Collins . . . Solar-FM actually returned to the airwaves for a brief spell within four days of their second full-scale bust, but what with the holiday deadlines I can’t comment until next week on the current state of the stations . . . Morris Day admits he played a stereotype in ‘Purple Rain’ and intends to get away from the “shuck and jive nigger” image in his future solo work — it seems with The Time he was told what to do (the implication being, by Prince) . . . oops — how could I exclude Sheila E ‘The Glamorous Life‘ from my list of The Ones That Got Away, or Gary Crowley as one of the broadcasters I always used to tune to (on a Saturday afternoon)? . . . Island’s Christmas card was an obviously very collectable flexi-disc ‘Xmas Cuts‘ Steinski-style medley of 29 recent hits from the label’s stable, some speeded and others slowed to a ludicrous rate to fit the backing of ‘Relax’ (yup, another one!): meanwhile, using the slogan “Fourth & Broadway sock it to y’all”, that label’s Xmas pressie was a snazzily packaged pair of colourful designer socks! . . . Graham Murray (North Ormesby Teesvalley Roadshow) reckons Band Aid sounds a lot like Boney M’s old non-hit ‘Boonoonoonoos (Free The World)‘ which he says mixes with them as if one record . . . Colin Hudd has been synching Laid Back ‘White Horse’ (re-released this month) with Prince ‘Erotic City’ at Dartford Flicks, where Al Young joins him Friday (4) . . . Pate Haigh & Kev Birchall this Fri (4) at Blackpool Baskervilles presumably have their monthly dose of Mecca classix and Black Alternative Dance (from ’40s Louis Jordan thru Northern Soul to ’70s jazz and ’80s funk) . . . ‘The Master Of Style’ Allan Nevett starts partying weekly this Friday at Havant Leigh Park’s Leighs Nitespot in the Greywell Shopping Precinct, as well as funking Sats at Waterlooville Sam Lord’s Castle and hitting Weds at Northend Portsmouth Gatsbys . . . Andy Douglas keeps classy funk alive Fri/Sat/Sun at his long established residency in Glasgow city centre’s Pzazz . . . Tony Simmons has left Dumbos and now souls Luton’s Tropicana Beach (ex-Sands) Sundays . . . Billericay’s Neil Matthew, partner of Russ B in the Fighting Machine Roadshows, has just started soul-funk Thursdays at Writtle Chequers near Chelmsford — in which latter town’s flashy new Tico’s (ex-Dee Jay’s) Kev Hill now souls Wednesday . . . Ian Robertson does Dalkeith’s The Paddock seven miles from Edinburgh and “Midlothian’s only seven nights a week disco pub” (funkies Thur/Fri/Sat) . . . Mark Moore with Tasty Tim joins Jay Strongman Fridays at London Charing Cross Road Busbys posey The Mud Club, and is alone Thurs at Charing Cross Heaven’s The Asylum in the Star Bar . . . Tim Hopton goes the Walker Group’s brand new over-20s fast pop Jimmy’s Night Scene in Castleford Mon/Wed-Sat, unaffected by local economic conditions, while Gary Oldie is at Spennymoore’s over 25s Chaplins Mon, amidst ’30s-style decor with a massive illuminated glass dancefloor . . . Chris Hill gets another year older next Tuesday, as do David Bowie, Shirley Bassey — and so would have Elvis Presley (mind you, my birthday’s the same day as The Queen!) . . . SAY-YAY-YAY-YAY-YEAH!



THIS YEAR saw 24 hours a day soul radio arriving at last in London, albeit illegally, an event which has had a profound effect on the scene locally if not of course nationally. The rest of Britain relies still in the main on whatever the colour-conscious Radio One deigns to feed it and to Radio One anything black, no matter how soulful, remains “sweaty disco music”, as I am informed by Tony Blackburn whose own fantastically successful soul ‘n sex morning show on Radio London is a continual embarrassment to prim Auntie BBC.

American radio has the terminology right in calling black orientated radio “urban contemporary” — it is an urban music, unlikely to have immediate appeal out in the wide open countryside where it gets little exposure, so in some respects the BBC’s attitude when programming an all-embracing station is understandable — however, the Blackburn approach of combining the listenable black records (rather than the danceable ones) with mildly risque titillation has attracted such a huge housewife audience that it’s got the competition thoroughly rattled (and revising their own programming strategy).

Soul shows have been expanded not only at Capital Radio but also on neighbouring Radio Essex, Chiltern Radio and other local stations outside the urban confines of London itself. Now I’m not advocating a US-style fatally slavish approach to programming (when disco was big after ‘Saturday Night Fever’ many US stations jumped onto that bandwagon whether it suited their demographic audience or not, with the result that soon disco was declared “dead”), but I am pointing out that there is now an urgent need for legal soul radio around the clock, and preferably on a national basis.

An audience has been proved to be there for it. Within the London area, advertisers on Solar-FM and JFM have experienced dramatic results especially when those advertisers have been clubs or one-off gigs, attendances rocketing. There is another negative side to the coin, though: the power in “breaking” records has passed from disco DJs to radio DJs . . . who unfortunately at the moment seem to be abusing this power, which many may see as their greatest argument for legitimacy, by slipping into that maddening British habit of devoting more energy on unearthing oldies than on recognizing and supporting strong newies. Soon after starting my own DJ-ing career I realized that certainly white audiences don’t have an ear for rhythm but dance instead to the words — and not just the words as they hear them, their MEMORY of the words! In other words, they’ve got to know the record really well!

Now, with so much radio exposure, the same thing unfortunately is happening with black audiences. West Indians particularly get stuck in a rut of only responding to a narrow range of proven favourites (all within the “hot tempo” soul equivalent of reggae’s heartbeat), although Africans thankfully still have an ear for new rhythms as soon as they hear them. Even with all the radio coverage in London this year, the most common moan I’ve heard from club jocks is how hard it is to break new material.

The other point about exposing anything new to a British audience is the need for visual stimulation. Britain is a visual nation, and how! Going right back to the ’50s, it was the film of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ that broke rock ‘n roll here, and since then people have needed to see (whether on film or TV) in order to want and do — ‘Saturday Night Fever’, ‘Fame’, kung-fu movies, the list of visual stimuli on youth culture and the music market is endless.

No wonder in this, the video age, you’ve got to be on TV to go up in the record charts. And so it was that the other new phenomenon to capture kids minds this year arrived by way of the big screen — not that the music associated with it did as well as the mania might have suggested, the music’s full strength having been reached a year or more before and subsequently sneered at by all but youth club DJs.

I refer of course to the films ‘Breakdance’ and ‘Beat Street’ (and the videos of Break Machine), which had kids, as I established during my summer strolls, lugging ghetto blasters down dusty lanes and break dancing in market town squares all over the deepest countryside. Serious DJs were right to sneer, but that didn’t stop the kids having fun —break dancing has been this year’s skateboard.

The other aspect of disco music to get much media attention and a few hits this year has been Hi-NRG, gay dance music. White British people, with no sense of rhythm, also need to hear fast music to let them know they’re having a good time and should get up and dance! ‘High Energy’ apart, it’s interesting to note how few of the Hi-NRG crossover pop hits did well in our own Hi-NRG chart, which still reflects what’s happening in gay clubs by any other name.

And that was the year that was. Go-go in ’85?


THIS WEEK is the sixth anniversary of my beginning to list the number of Beats Per Minute in all records reviewed (only six years, it seems like a lifetime!). As it’s been a while since my methods were last explained and I still get quite a few enquiries about how it’s all done, this is what I do. For the last 2½ years everything BPM-ed at home has been pretty accurate as I’ve been using a quartz-locked deck — however, after the event I’ve sometimes discovered a few BPMs done at the shop have despite precautions been slightly off, and obviously in a shop I can devote less time to progressive split-second accuracy throughout the length of a record. It’s possible to BPM just tapping a foot in time to the record and counting (aloud, to aid concentration) while watching a stopwatch, but this leaves one unable to think about anything else at the same time! I use a Heuer “trackmaster” stopwatch which has a 30 second sweep (eg: the second hand goes around twice for a full minute) which makes the spacing of the seconds much wider, so that calculations are easier at a glance. This I hold in my left hand, while in my right hand I use a Rexel ENM hand tally counter to mechanically click off the beats on a four digit display. These hand tally counters you will find at such stationers as the Rymans chain, where people who have bought them recently report they now cost over £12. They’re made of plastic, which I thought six years ago didn’t look very robust so instead I initially invested in a metal hand tally counter. This broke within three weeks, whereas the replacement Rexel has probably had the worst pounding of any model ever made and is still going strong! Anyway, I set the counter’s display to “9999”, so that as soon as it’s hit at the same time as the stopwatch is started the digits go to “0000”, and then clock up each beat in real time. This is where many amateurs make their fatal mistake: the beat where you start timing is obviously not “1”, it’s zero, and especially if you’re only timing for a fraction of a minute and then multiplying the result you’ll get a wildly inaccurate final figure. So, using a tally counter and 30 second watch your mind is free to make progressive calculations (or dream up pithy reviews!) while watching the second hand jitter by. At 15 seconds (multiply by 4), 20 seconds (by 3) and of course especially at 30 seconds (by 2), I get an increasingly accurate idea of what the final BPM is likely to be after the full minute — and these days, which is why so many finely detailed fractions are showing up, I now actually stop both watch and counter at the exact moment the number I reckon the result is going to be comes up. It’s then easy to see if the second hand is ahead or behind the minute, and work out any fractions (bearing in mind that 1bpm at 100bpm is .6 of a second, and at 120bpm .5 of a second). If the result is not what early indications led me to expect its obvious the record’s beat has sped up or slowed down, and then the fun begins, going back and BPM-ing it section by section over as many seconds as the tempo holds steady. This incredible detail is not that important for general use, but if in print I’m listing the BPM then its got to be right — even if this takes it to ludicrous lengths! I mean, suppose I say something is 116bpm when in fact it fluctuates about, and you think “oh, that’ll be a doddle to synch through so-and-so” and then find it isn’t . . .? I do my best, its pretty tedious, and in fact in many ways I’ve been hoist by my own petard! However, I personally find the system extremely useful, even if I do begrudge the effort involved on many of the records that require review, and what better way is there of detailing a beat in print?


JAMES INGRAM: ‘Yah Mo B There’ (Qwest W9394T)
Here we only get half of the US 12in tracks, this is Jellybean remixed smooth lush 117½-118bpm soaring Michael McDonald duet with new fluttering electronic percussion and an added break now being far hotter (around the South-East at any rate) than the original hit ever was, and although it still has its similarly remixed instrumental, the flip instead of the two ‘It’s Your Night’ remixes, held back as follow-up, has the previously used undanceable cod-calypso ‘Come A Da Machine‘.

WALTER JACKSON: ‘Touching In The Dark’ (Bluebird/10 BRT 11)
The two cream slices from the late lamented mellow soulster’s current posthumous LP now sandwiched back to back on 12in, this gorgeous Jerry Butler-ish light 110bpm sinewy floater and the romantically agonised 79-80½bpm ‘It’s Cool‘ both having been hot originally on 7in around two years ago, both remaining pure class and like this an essential bargain.

BARNEY RACHABANE: ‘Caribbean Queen’ (Jive Afrika JIVE T82)
Hugh Masekela produced this interesting instrumental 111¼bpm saxophone exploration of Billy Ocean’s international smash, this version out of them all really deserving the title ‘African Queen’ as Barney’s sinuous blowing finds hidden depths as he twists and turns away from the melody in jazzy style while the beat and softly chorusing chicks stay steady (thoughtful slow 67bpm ‘Don’t Cry’ flip ending in African singing).

KIDDO: ‘This Love Will Last’ (LP ‘Action’ US A&M SP-6-5003)
The Donnie Sterling-led band are clicking Stateside with their stark snappy funk sound, very current mainstream American, but here they’ll more likely find favour for things like this tender chap crooned and eventually sax soared gently rolling 103½bpm today’s groove jogger, full of atmosphere, the gradually building and ultimately raucously overwrought 50-100½bpm ‘Young Love’ climaxing in Alpert-ish trumpet, and Zapp-style 115½bpm ‘Telephone Fantasy‘.

ERAMUS HALL: ‘Will You Love Me (The Same Way Tomorrow)’ (LP ‘Behind’ US Capitol ST-12376)
George Clinton oversaw this some slow/some fast P’funk-ish set by a guy who’s name is Eramus (NOT Erasmus!), on which the track that’s causing all the fuss is atypically a densely tugging 0-89½bpm jazz-soul slowie with a brassy almost Maze-like flavour, produced by Joel Martin & Rudy Robinson, worth checking by the more serious minded.

DISCO TOP 85 – January 5, 1985

01 01 YOU USED TO HOLD ME SO TIGHT, Thelma Houston, MCA 12in
02 02 SAY YEAH, The Limit, Portrait 12in
03 03 TREAT HER LIKE A LADY, The Temptations, Motown 12in
06 05 WHO DO YOU LOVE, The Intruders, Streetwave 12in
07 04 FRESH, Kool & The Gang, De-Lite 12in
08 10 ANYTHING?, Direct Drive, DDR 12in
09 09 HEARTLESS (REMIX), Evelyn Thomas, Record Shack 12in
10 11 PERSONALITY/CHEY CHEY KULE/LATELY, Eugene Wilde, Fourth & Broadway LP
11 08 LET IT ALL BLOW, Dazz Band, Motown 12in
12 14 OPERATOR/PLAYMATES, Midnight Star, US Solar 12in
13 18 FRIENDS, Amii Stewart, RCA 12in
14 17 YOU ARE THE ONE FOR ME, G.Q., US Stadium 12in
15 15 MYSTERIOUS (REMIX), Twilight 22, US Vanguard 12in
16 21 EYE TO EYE/THIS IS MY NIGHT, Chaka Khan, Warner Bros LP
18 16 AFTER THE DANCE IS THROUGH, Krystol, US Epic 12in
19 13 SEXOMATIC, Bar-Kays, Club 12in
20 55 WHO COMES TO BOOGIE, Little Benny & The Masters, US Jem-Rose 12in
21 40 LET ME SHOW YOU/SAY YES, BMP, US Epic 12in
22 30 CURIOUS, Midnight Star, US Solar LP
23 20 LOVE FLIGHT IN FLIGHT, Stevie Wonder, Motown 12in
24 22 I FEEL FOR YOU/REMIX, Chaka Khan, Warner Bros 12in
26 23 KEEPING SECRETS, Switch, Total Experience 12in
27 33 I BELIEVE IN LOVE, Major Harris, Streetwave LP
28 19 MY DEAR MR GAYE, Teena Marie, US Epic LP
29 56 STEP OFF (REMIX), Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, Sugarhill 12in
30 24 MATT’S MOOD, The Breekout Krew, London 12in
31 28 I FOUND MY BABY/DISRESPECT, Gap Band, US Total Experience LP
32 25 LIKE A VIRGIN (US DANCE REMIX), Madonna, Sire 12in
33 43 CAN I, Cashmere, US Philly World 12in
34 58 20/20, George Benson, US Warner Bros 7in
38 45 LOVERGIRL, Teena Marie, US Epic 12in
40 39 DANCE LOVER, Mikki featuring Starz, US Renaissance Recording 12in
41 50 PUSH (IN THE BUSH), Clair Hicks And Love Exchange, US KN 12in
42 27 HALF A MINUTE (REMIX), Matt Bianco, WEA 12in
43 31 DANCIN’ TO BE DANCIN’/BECAUSE OF YOU, Skyy, Dutch Rams Horn LP
44 48 LOVERIDE, Nuance featuring Vikki Love, US 4th & Broadway 12in
46 29 CHANGE YOUR WICKED WAYS, Pennye Ford, Total Experience 12in
47 41 CHIC CHEER (1984 REMIX)/SAVOIR FAIRE, Chic, Atlantic 12in
48 42 SURRENDER/YOU ARE THE ONE, Kool & The Gang, De-Lite LP
49 57 GEORGY PORGY, Charme, RCA 12in
52 51 POLICE OFFICER, Smiley Culture, Fashion 12in
53 77 COOL OUT, Magnum Force, US Paula Records 12in
54 61 I WANT TO KNOW YOU, Philip Bailey, US Myrrh LP
55 72 DANGEROUS, Pennye Ford, US Total Experience LP
56 34 RAIN FOREST (REMIX)/EAT YOUR HEART OUT, Paul Hardcastle, Cooltempo 12in
57 38 I FORGOT, The Cool Notes, Abstract Dance 12in
58 49 LOST IN PARADISE, La Famille, Bpop 12in
59 52 WHEN YOU LOOK IN MY EYES (REMIX), Cherrelle, US Tabu 12in
60 66 NO ONE’S GONNA LOVE YOU (REMIX), The SOS Band, US Tabu 12in
61 63 IN MY LIFE, Stephanie Mills, Club 12in
62 83 THINK FAST, Pamela Joy, US Pizazz 12in
63 65 FLYING TO SANTA BARBARA, Special Occasion, Belgian Nunk 12in
64 76 UNDERCOVER LOVER, The Controllers, MCA 12in
65 46 CARIBBEAN QUEEN, Billy Ocean, Jive 12in
66 68 SPREAD LOVE (REMIX), Fatback (featuring Evelyn Thomas), US Spring 12in
67 — STOMP (REMIX), Brothers Johnson, A&M 12in promo/LP
68 74 YOU TURN ME ON (REMIX)/FIRE AND DESIRE, Rick James, Gordy 12in
70 78 MR. TURBULENCE/NEVER AGAIN, Chosen 3, Plezure Records 12in
71 71 HANG ON TO YOUR LOVE, Sade, US Portrait 12in
72 — TOUCHING IN THE DARK/IT’S COOL, Walter Jackson, Bluebird/10 12in
73 60 BOOGIE DOWN (BRONX), Man Parrish featuring Freeze Force, US Sugarscoop 12in
74 59 SIMONE/FUNKY G/NALINYE, Anansi, Ebusia LP
75 — CATCH THE BEAT (SCRATCH THE BEAT), T. Ski Valley, Master Mix 12in
76 re DO IT, Cargo, CG Records 12in
77 — THINGS ARE NOT THE SAME (WITHOUT YOU), First Love, US Mirage 12in
78 64 THANK YOU MY LOVE, Imagination, R&B Records 12in
79 82 UNDER MI SENSI, Barrington Levy, Time 12in
80 62 THIS GOOD GOOD FEELING, Take 3, Elite 12in
81 81 EROTIC CITY, Prince, US Warner Bros 12in
82 80 THE ORIGINAL HUMAN BEAT BOX, Dougy Fresh, US Vintertainment 12in
83 85 LET’S MAKE A BABY, Pete Campbell, P.C. Record Production 12in
84 re THE BEST, Tomorrow’s Edition, US Mel-O Records 12in
85 84 YOU MAKE ME HAPPY, Hi-Tension, Streetwave 12in


01 02 LET ME FEEL IT, Samantha Gilles, Belgian Infinity 12in
02 01 SEX/LOVIN’ IS REALLY MY GAME, Sylvester, Cooltempo LP
03 06 LET THE NIGHT TAKE THE BLAME, Lorraine McKane, Carrere 12in
04 03 DON’T BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, Hot Gossip, Fanfare 12in
05 05 I’M ON MY WAY, Tabu featuring Debbie Sharp, Crystal City 12in
06 08 SECOND BEST, Evelyn Thomas, German Hansa/French In The Mix LP
07 07 I’LL CRY FOR YOU (1984 REMIX), Kumano, Canadian Power 12in
08 24 THE POWER OF LOVE, Astaire, Passion 12in
09 12 REACH FOR THE STARS/REMIX, Life Force, Polo 12in promo
10 17 DO YOU NEED ME (Hi-NRG MIX), Touchdown, Krack 12in
12 — STARGAZING, Earlene Bentley featuring Sylvester, Record Shack 12in promo
13 20 S.O.S. FIRE IN THE SKY (DISARMAMIX), Deodato, US Warner Bros 12in
14 13 ONE SHOT LOVER, Venus, Belgian ARS 12in
15 16 ALL AMERICAN BOY, Barbara Pennington, Record Shack 12in
16 14 LAST CALL, Jolo, US Megatone 12in
17 15 THIEF OF HEARTS, Melissa Manchester, US Casablanca 12in
18 09 WITHOUT YOUR LOVE, Paul Parker, Fantasia 12in
19 11 LOVE IS LIKE AN ITCHIN’ IN MY HEART, Cijay, Canadian Power 12in
20 10 IN THE EVENING, Sheryl Lee Ralph, US New York Music Company 12in/Swedish Beat Box remix
21 23 TURN THE TABLES, Liquid Gold, Ecstasy 12in
22 re I’M ON FIRE, Kelly Marie, Calibre Plus 12in
23 25 I FEEL LOVE (JOHNNY REMEMBER ME), Bronski Beat, London LP
24 18 HANDS OFF!, Laura Pallas, Record Shack 12in
25 re LONG AFTER TONIGHT (IS ALL OVER), True, Rock City 12in
26 22 SHARP SHOOTER, Laura Branigan, US EMI America LP (soundtrack)
27 19 RELIGHT MY FIRE, Cafe Society, Passion 12in
28 — SHOT IN THE DARK, Norma Jean, US MCA 12in
29 21 WORKING GIRL, Girly, US “O” 12in
30 26 HELPLESS, Flirts, US Telefon 12in


POP JOX are playing: 1 (2) Madonna, 2 (1) Kool & The Gang 12in, 3 (4) Dazz Band, 4 (3) Temptations 12in, 5 (5) Chaka Khan 12in, 6 (6) Billy Ocean, 7 (7) Sister Sledge ‘WAF’, 8 (9) Eurythmics, 9 (8) Matt Bianco ‘HAM/MM2’, 10 (13) Thelma Houston 12in, 11 (10) Pointer Sisters, 12 (11) Breekout Krew, 13 (21) Roy Ayers 12in, 14 (18) Bar-Kays, 15 (12) Stevie Wonder, 16 (31) Sister Sledge ‘LIM’, 17 (14) Kane Gang, 18 (15) Eugene Wilde 12in, 19 (37) Intruders, 20 (33) Frankie GTH, 21 (-) Wham ‘LC/ESW’, 22 (29) Evelyn Thomas ‘H’, 23 (24) Duran Duran, 24 (-) Band Aid, 25 (27) Wham ‘F’, 26 (26) Moroder/Oakey, 27 (re) Simplicious, 28 (17) Chic, 29 (16) Dead Or Alive, 30 (22) Paul Hardcastle ‘RF/EYHO’, 31 (28) Nik Kershaw, 32 (23) Bob Marley, 33 (re) Ray Parker Jr ‘G’, 34 (20) Gene Chandler, 35 (re) Jim Diamond, 36 Missing from chart 37 (-) Switch, 38 (-) Murray Head, 39 (re) Cool Notes, 40 (-) Grandmaster Melle Mel ‘SO’.

5 thoughts on “January 5, 1985: “One Man’s View” of 1984, BPM counting explained, James Ingram, Walter Jackson, Barney Rachabane”

  1. Here we go then, straight into the year which I’ve always thought of as The Worst Year For Music Ever (although 1999 gives it a good run for its money). James’s comments perhaps offer some context for the general awfulness that lay ahead, particularly the shift in power from club DJs to radio DJs, both in the UK and the US, and the continued ascendancy of video. In strictly commercial terms, and in the wake of Michael Jackson’s unprecedented global success, what passed as soul music was hitting new heights, but the underground feels a good deal weaker now. There’s also going to be a major hype around Washington DC go go, which will be interesting to follow, given the genre’s eventual sharp fall from grace.


  2. I’d agree with you 100% on 1985 as “the worst year for music ever” – I’ve heard many others over the years say this too – it was horrible.

    I notice Mark Moore getting his first mention 3 years before his massive pop success with S-Express.

    JH mentions people “only wanting to dance to words” I think that it could be argued that that was more of a case of only wanting to dance to familiar sounds ie what the mainstream radio programmers radio programmers chose to put on the radio. Mainstream radio has had a particular dislike of playing instrumentals for decades.

    However by the second half of the 90s and with the club/rave world being so massive and sales being logged as they were scanned and therefore a far higher proportion of outlets/sales contributing to the pop charts they probably included more instrumentals than at any time since the first half of the 1950s with this being because the often heavily instrumental trance was at its height.

    Even here though before an absolutely massive club trance instrumental got its full British or major label release (and in a misconceived attempt to get radio play) they would often come up with some terrible new mix into which they’d shoehorn a vocal a mix which was NEVER played in clubs and usually didn’t get played on pop radio anyway. In some cases such as Vincent De Moor’s already perfect “Flowtation” the vocal version was a total abomination and probably destroyed any chance of it properly crossing over.


  3. In the wider context, I’m another one who’d give 1985 a massive thumbs down. For me, the prime example of why it was so bad was Live Aid – a smug boys’ club in which non-white artists were marginalised (to the extent that some point blank refused to appear) and a golden circle of bland, safe ‘pop royalty’ was created. Everyone patted each other on the back with one hand, whilst counting the readies with the other. Add to that the bizarre and undeserved cementing of Phil Collins as some kind of messiah, ‘We Are The World’, ‘Frankie’ (why, Nile Rodgers, why?!?), ‘If I Was’ and David Bowie being reduced to duetting with Mick Jagger on one of the worst Motown covers ever, and you have a recipe for musical hell.

    Against that, it’s kind of easy in retrospect to see why Go-Go didn’t stand a chance, however great some of the music might have been: too black, no expensive videos, no dance craze to go with it. However – within the pages of JH’s RM column, there were plenty of great tracks in evidence: ‘Hangin’ On A String’, ‘Trapped’, ‘Save Your Love For #1’ and ‘I’ll Be Good’, ‘Single Life’, ‘Twilight’, ‘I Want Your Lovin”, ‘Mutual Attraction’, ‘Set It Off’, ‘Thinking About Your Love’, ‘The Show’, ‘Loveride’, ‘Fall Down (Spirit Of Love)’, ‘Sugar Walls’, ‘Dare Me’, ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who’, ‘I Wonder If I Take You Home’, ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ … OK, I’ll stop now, but you get the picture.

    Having said that, 1985 is nowhere near as exciting as 1986 …


      1. No worries – you can ignore the other attempts I had to make that post this morning! (I thought it hadn’t taken because of me using the ‘#’ symbol)


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