Midnight Blue by Louise Tucker

#67: Midnight Blue by Louise Tucker

Peak Month: June 1983
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
2 weeks CKLG Top 20 Extras
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #46
YouTube.com link: “Midnight Blue
“Midnight Blue” lyrics

Louise Tucker was born in 1956 in Bristol, UK. She was trained in opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She has performed opera with the Ax-en-Province Festival, the Dublin Grand Opera, the Holland Park Festival, the Kent Opera and the Orleans Opera. She is an acclaimed opera star and has wowed music critics and fans alike with her renditions of Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Verdi’s Requiem and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius. She has also sung numerous times in Handel’s Messiah.
Continue reading →

Shy Boy by Bananarama

#151: Shy Boy by Bananarama

Peak Month: March 1983
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #83
YouTube.com: “Shy Boy
Lyrics: “Shy Boy

Bananarama is an Irish-English girl group formed in 1981. It was founded by Sara Elizabeth Dallin, born in 1961 in Bristol. She studied journalism at the London College of Fashion for a year, starting in 1980. While at the college, she met Paul Cook of Sex Pistols fame who was currently in a band called The Professionals. Dallin, along with her childhood friend Karen Woodward (also born in Bristol in 1961), and college mate Siobhan Fahey (born in Dublin in 1958), became backing vocalists for The Professionals. In 1982 Bananarama were featured vocalists with Fun Boy Three on their #4 UK hit single “‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)”. Later that year, they backed Fun Boy Three on their #5 UK hit single “Really Saying Something” – a cover of a minor hit in 1964 for the Velvelettes.

In the summer of 1982, Bananarama released “Shy Boy”.

Shy Boy by Bananarama

“Shy Boy” was cowritten by Steve Jolley and Tony Swain. Jolley was born in 1950 and Swain was born in London in 1952. Jolley began his music career playing guitar with Sam Apple Pie in 1969. The next year, Jolley joined Freedom, a Procol Harum splinter group. He stayed with Freedom until 1972. Jolley and Swain met in 1975 while they were working respectively as a cameraman and sound technician for The Muppet Show. In 1981 they wrote and produced a #4 UK hit single for the disco-funk band Imagination titled “Body Talk”. While writing songs for Bananarama (“Shy Boy”, “Cruel Summer”, ), they also wrote “All Cried Out” and “Love Resurrection” for Alison Moyet, and produced “True” – a 1983 number-one international hit for Spandau Ballet. They also produced “Gold” and “Lifeline”, the former a Top Ten hit in eight countries, the latter a #7 hit in the UK. Tony Swain latter produced “You Came” (a Top Ten hit in eleven nations in 1988) for Kim Wilde. Also for Kim Wilde, Swain produced “Four Letter Word”, “Never Trust A Stranger” and “Hey Mister Heartache”. All three singles charted in the Top Ten between two and seven nations. But in 2001 Steve Jolley became infamous after he pled guilty to taking indecent pictures of a 12-year-old boy he had sex with, and for sexual assault of the minor. Swain went on to become the head A&R Consultant for Universal Records.

“Shy Boy” is a song about a “boy” who used to be shy. But, ever since he started going steady with his girlfriend, he’s shyness has vanished. Now that he’s met someone he’s totally sexually attracted to, his girlfriend proclaims “He give me lovin’ like nobody else. I like the way he turns me on.” The ‘former ‘Shy Boy’ has found his stride.

“Shy Boy” peaked at #2 in Halifax (NS), #3 in Vancouver (BC), Kitchener (ON), and Toronto, #4 in Hamilton (ON), Regina (SK), #6 in Yellowknife (NWT), #8 in Ottawa (ON), and #10 in Edmonton (AB).

In 1983, Bananarama released a cover of the 1969 hit by Steam titled “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”. It charted to #5 in the Uk and #4 in Ireland. Their followup hit was “Cruel Summer” (#7 in Ireland, #8 in the UK and #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA). The trio had a third Top Ten hit in 1983 in West Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK titled “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting”.

In 1986 Bananarama had their biggest hit with a cover of the 1970 Shocking Blue song “Venus”. And in 1987 with the release of Wow, Bananarama had another Top Ten hit with “I Heard A Rumor” (#4 in the USA, #8 in Switzerland, #9 in Ireland and #10 in New Zealand). Followup singles – “Love In The First Degree” and “I Want You Back” – from the album also garnered Top Ten chart runs in multiple nations. In 1988, Fahey – who had married Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics – left Bananarama. Her replacement from 1988 to 1991 was Jacquie O’Sullivan.

A 1989 cover of the Beatles 1965 hit “Help!” earned Bananarama a final Top Ten hit across Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, the UK and West Germany. Dallin and Woodward carried on from 1992 as a pop duo. Over the years, Bananarama have performed on worldwide tours. But their appearances have been limited in Canada to three concerts in Montreal between 1999 and 2013, and one concert in Toronto in 2018. Fahey rejoined Bananarama in 2017.

Since 1982, Bananarama has released eleven studio albums, the most recent – In Stereo – in 2019. The trio have received ten Billboard Music Awards nominations.

June 15, 2022
Ray McGinnis

References:
Bananarama Biography,” Bananarama.co.uk.
Sarah Dallin and Keren Woodward, Really Saying Something – Our Bananarama StoryPenguin, 2020.
Rebecca Nicholson, “‘People wet their knickers when they find out I was in Bananarama’: the 80s trio return,” Guardian, March 24, 2017.
Record producer’s smash hit career,” BBC, January 23, 2003.
Pop producer jailed over sex assault,” BBC, October 12, 2001.

For more song reviews visit the Countdown.

It Might Be You by Stephen Bishop

#208: It Might Be You by Stephen Bishop

Peak Month: May 1983
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “It Might Be You
Lyrics: “It Might Be You

Earl Stephen Bishop was born in 1951 in San Diego, California. He remembers his growing up years as a “nerd” who the girls only wanted to be “just friends” with. Bishop moved to Los Angeles seeking to establish himself as a singer-songwriter. In his late teens and early twenties, Stephen Bishop was suffering from acute hypoglycemia. He recalls he was “paranoid and insecure all because I was the Twinkie king of Silverlake.”After eight lean years, he got a break when Art Garfunkel recorded two songs written by Bishop for his 1975 album Breakaway. The following year, Stephen Bishop got a recording contract with ABC Records. Soon after he recorded his debut album Careless. His first single, “Save It For A Rainy Day”, peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #20 in Vancouver (BC).

Continue reading →

Human Race by Red Rider

#1095: Human Race by Red Rider

Peak Month: April-May 1983
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #17
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Human Race
Lyrics: “Human Race

Tom Cochrane was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, in 1953. When he was eleven he got his first guitar. In his late teens and early twenties, he performed in coffee houses across Canada in the early 70’s. His debut album, Hang On To Your Resistance, was released in 1974. Then Tom Cochrane made his way to Los Angeles. In 1975, Cochrane got work composing theme music for the movie My Pleasure Is My Business. This was a film about Xavier Hollander, the call girl and adult film star who authored her own memoir, The Happy Hooker, in 1971. Unable to get subsequent work in Hollywood, Cochrane returned to Canada for drive a taxi and work on a cruise line. At a concert at the El Mocambo for Red Rider in 1978, Tom Cochrane met the band. Soon after Cochrane was invited to join Red Rider.

Continue reading →

All Those Lies by Glenn Frey

#515: All Those Lies by Glenn Frey

Peak Month: February 1983
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #41
YouTube.com: “All Those Lies
Lyrics: “All Those Lies

Glenn Lewis Frey was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1948. He was raised in the suburb of Royal Oak and learned to play piano from the age of five. He later learned to play guitar. Frey was a member of a number of bands: the Subterraneans, the Four Of Us, the Mushrooms and the Heavy Metal Kids. At the age of 19 Frey played acoustic guitar and backing vocals for the 1968-69 Bob Seger System Top 20 hit single “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”. In 1969 Glenn Frey moved to Los Angeles and became part of a band named Longbranch Pennywhistle with J.D. Souther. The band folded by the end of 1970. That year Frey met drummer Don Henley. The pair were both hired as part of a backing band for Linda Ronstadt. While touring with Ronstadt, Frey and Henley decided to form a band the soon named the Eagles.

Continue reading →

Lust For Love by Images In Vogue

#906: Lust For Love by Images In Vogue

Peak Month: December 1983
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #13
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Lust For Love
Lyrics: “Lust For Love

Images In Vogue was formed in April 1981 in Vancouver, by co-founders Gary Smith and Don Gordon. Gordon was a guitarist and Smith played bass guitar. Kevin Crompton played percussion and Joe Vizvary played synthesizers. The band’s manager was Kim Clarke Champniss, later to become a MuchMusic VJ. Images In Vogue began recording new material and sent demos to the UBC college radio station CITR and Co-op Radio in the Downtown East Side. Images In Vogue’s website states that their first concert in Vancouver was on September 26, 1981, at “Electra – Vancouver’s First Fashion Dance.” In October the band began to record their first EP.

Continue reading →

Whirly Girl by OXO

#447: Whirly Girl by OXO

Peak Month: May 1983
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #28
YouTube.com: “Whirly Girl
“Whirly Girl” lyrics

Ismael Angel Ledesma was born in 1952 in Cuba and migrated to Miami as a child. He was influenced by the Latin sounds that pervaded his Cuban culture. Ismael also thrived on pop and rock and roll music that he first heard in Cuba and later coming to Florida in the late 50’s. Ledesma recalls, “My education has come from ‘Hands On’ experience which started at T.K. Records in Miami, FL and continued on through all the recording studios I worked at as a recording artist, record producer and sound engineer.” He began his work with T.K. Records in 1971. In the early 1970s, Ledesma was hired by as a session musician. Ledesma’s credits include guitar on Gwen McCrae’s 1975 disco hit “Rockin’ Chair”. In 1976 he formed a disco band based in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, Florida, named Foxy. They had a number one hit on the Billboard R&B chart in August 1978 titled “Get Off”. The song was co-written by Ledesma. “Get Off” made the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 that November. Foxy appeared on American Bandstand, the Midnight Special, The Joey Bishop Show and The Mer Griffin Show. Foxy also toured as an opening act with The Jackson 5, Rick James, Natalie Cole and Sister Sledge.
Continue reading →

Silhouettes by The Nylons

#611: Silhouettes by The Nylons

Peak Month: January 1983
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Silhouettes
“Silhouettes” lyrics

The Nylons are an a cappella group that formed in 1978, based in Toronto. The original members were all gay men: Dennis Simpson, Paul Cooper, Claude Morrison and Marc Connors. They released their self-titled album in 1982. There were some lineup changes after 1979 when Dennis Simpson left. By the time the Nylons released their first album, Arnold Robinson was the newcomer joining the other original group members.

Continue reading →

Der Kommissar by Falco

#631: Der Kommissar by Falco

Peak Month: January 1983
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Cashbox Top Singles ~ #74
YouTube.com: “Der Kommissar
“Der Kommissar” lyrics

Johann “Hans” Hölzel was born in 1957 in Vienna, Austria. He was raised by his mother. Showing musical genius at a young age, his mother bought him a baby grand piano at the age of four. He was conscripted for military service in the mid-70’s. In the late ’70’s he experimented with performance art, striptease, music and political satire. He performed under a number of pseudonyms, one which was John DiFalco. His military service influenced his choice to keep his hair short, making him stand out from the shabbier underground musicians in the Vienna music scene. In the late ’70s’, he was a member of Dradhiwaberl, a shock rock band. He signed as a solo artists with a recording company in 1981 after his independent release of “Ganz Wein” in 1981.

Continue reading →

Twisting By The Pool by Dire Straits

#648: Twisting By The Pool by Dire Straits

Peak Month: April-May 1983
11 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Twisting By The Pool
“Twisting By The Pool” lyrics

Dire Straits is a band that formed in 1977 comprised of Mark and David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers. Mark Freuder Knopfler was born in 1949 in Glasgow, Scotland. His Jewish-Hungarian father fled Hungary in 1939 before the outbreak of World War II. He learned to play guitar when he was a child and appeared on a local TV station in 1965 as part of a duo. Mark was influenced by Django Reinhardt, Hank Marvin of The Shadows, B.B. King, Chet Atkins and others. He studied journalism and kept his hand in music playing in the Duolian String Pickers and the Café Racers. Younger brother, David, was born in 1952. He was playing guitar, drum and piano by age eleven. At the age of 14 David Knopfler was playing in folk clubs. He went into social work and was living in London in the mid-70’s and sharing a flat with a promising guitarist named John Illsley. John Edward Illsley was born in Leister, England, in 1949. By the 1970’s Illsley was involved with a timber firm, studying sociology and opening a record shop. David Knopfler was impressed with Illsley’s talent and introduced him to Mark. Mark, David and John began jamming together, and Mark invited Illsley to join his band the Café Racers.
Continue reading →

Secret Information by Chilliwack

#890: Secret Information by Chilliwack

Peak Month: March 1983
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #110
YouTube.com: “Secret Information
“Secret Information” lyrics

Bill Henderson was born in Vancouver in 1944. He learned guitar and became the guitarist for the Panarama Trio that performed at the Panarama Roof dance club on the 15th Floor of the Hotel Vancouver. He formed the psychedelic pop-rock Vancouver band, The Collectors, in 1966. After a half dozen local hits including “Fisherwoman” and “Lydia Purple” the Collectors name was ditched in 1970. Henderson (vocals, guitar), Claire Lawrence (saxophone, keyboards), Ross Turney (drums) and Glenn Miller (bass) were all Collectors bandmates. After Howie Vickers left The Collectors, they changed their name to Chilliwack. The name was a Salish First Nations name that means “going back up” and is the name of a city in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

Continue reading →

Never Said I Love You by Payola$ with Carol Pope

#1238: Never Said I Love You by Payola$ with Carol Pope

Peak Month: October 1983
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #15 ~ CKLG
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Never Said I Love You
“Never Said I Love You” lyrics

In 1978 a band was formed in Vancouver by Paul Hyde and Bob Rock called the Payola$. Hyde was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1955, and came to Vancouver in his teens. Bob Rock was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1954, and moved to Victoria, British Columbia, with his family in his later childhood. Rock learned to play guitar. Meeting in the Victoria suburb of Langford, the band settled on a name recalling the American music industry scandal investigated by the US Congress starting in 1959 called Payola. This was an illegal act where record companies paid deejays and radio stations a bribe for playing a single the record company wanted to get promoted. While it was legal for a record company to receive money in exchange for playing it on the radio, such a transaction had to be disclosed and not counted as regular airplay. While the Payola scandal did not spread into the Canadian radio market, as local legendary Vancouver Deejay Red Robinson attests in Robin Brunet’s book Red Robinson: The Last Deejay, Payola still had a bad name in the industry in America into the 80s. Consequently, although the Payola$ sold well in Canada, they met with stiff resistance south of the border.

Continue reading →

Sign Up For Our Newsletter