Send Me An Angel by Real Life

#275: Send Me An Angel by Real Life

Peak Month: March 1984
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #29
YouTube: “Send Me An Angel
Lyrics: “Send Me An Angel

In late 1980, Richard Zatorski placed an ad in a local newspaper in Melbourne, Australia. The ad was for a violin and keyboard player looking for a guitarist with whom to write songs. Guitarist David Sterry answered the ad. Zatorski and Sterry formed a writing partnership and began work on the material that would eventually become the first songs by Real Life. Sterry recalls “When I was little kid, I heard The Beatles singing “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah,” and even though I was only eight, I understood what a hit song was. So then I grew up on Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Cream, and then into The Clash, XTC, Kraftwerk, New Order, The Cure etc. etc.” Sterry, born in 1954, was also into science fiction and loved the TV shows Thunderbirds, My Favorite Martian, Lost In Space, and Star Trek.

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Wouldn't It Be Good by Nik Kershaw

#299: Wouldn’t It Be Good by Nik Kershaw

Peak Month: July 1984
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #46
YouTube: “Wouldn’t It Be Good
Lyrics: “Wouldn’t It Be Good

Nicholas David Kershaw was born in 1958 in Bristol, England. His father was a flautist and his mother was an opera singer. Kershaw taught himself to play guitar in 1974 and joined a Deep Purple cover band named Half Pint Hogg. He was part of a number of bands in Ipswich in his late teens and early 20s, including a jazz band called Fusion. But in 1982 he went solo.

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Stay With Me Tonight by Jeffrey Osborne

#397: Stay With Me Tonight by Jeffrey Osborne

Peak Month: February 1984
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #30
YouTube: “Stay With Me Tonight
Lyrics: “Stay With Me Tonight

Jeffrey Linton Osborne was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1948. He was the youngest of twelve children. His dad was Clarence “Legs” Osborne who was a trumpeter with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. When he was 13-years-old, Jeffrey’s dad died in 1961. At the age of fifteen, in 1963, young Jeffrey was a drummer with the O’Jays for two weeks (when the group’s drummer took ill). In 1970 Osborne joined the group L.T.D. (standing for Love, Togetherness, and Devotion). In 1977 they had a Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts with “(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again”. Two other singles, “Love Ballad” (1976) and “Holding On (When Love Is Gone)” (1978), also topped the R&B chart. Jeffrey Osborne sang lead vocals on all three of the groups’ number-one R&B singles.

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Dancing With Tears In My Eyes by Ultravox

#791: Dancing With Tears In My Eyes by Ultravox

Peak Month: September 1984
11 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #12
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #108
YouTube: “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Lyrics: “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

Dennis Leigh was born in 1948 in Chorley, 19 miles northwest of Manchester, UK. In his youth he experimented with synthesizers and learned to play 12-string guitar with Stack Waddy in the early 70s, by which time his professional name was John Foxx. In 1973 he formed a band named Tiger Lilly, which by 1976 morphed into Ultravox! Foxx was the lead vocalist for the band until he left for a solo career in 1979. Others who joined the band in 1974 were Stevie Shears on guitar (1974-78), Chris Cross on backing vocals, bass guitar and synthesizers (1974-88), Warren Cann on drums, percussion, backing and occasional lead vocals (1974-88), and Bill Currie on synthesizers, keyboards, violin and viola (1974-88).

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Only You by the Flying Pickets

#1329: Only You by the Flying Pickets

Peak Month: June 1984
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “Only You
Lyrics: “Only You

Brian Hibbard was born in the County of Monmouth in southwestern Wales in 1946. He got employment as a chimney sweep, a steel worker, a barman and a teacher before becoming an actor. In 1972-74 he supported the the UK miner’s strike. He joined John McGrath’s 7:84 Theatre Company. The theatre group’s name was chosen based on an article McGrath recalled from 1966 in the Economist which reported that 7% of the people in the UK owned 84% of the country’s wealth. 7:84 was a leftwing Scottish “political” theatre or agitprop company. In 1981 they performed a production called One Big Blow about a group of miners in a colliery brass band.
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Rebel Yell by Billy Idol

#496: Rebel Yell by Billy Idol

Peak Month: March 1984
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #46 “Rebel Yell
Lyrics: “Rebel Yell”

William Michael Albert Broad was born in 1955 in Middlesex, England. His father was a typewriter salesman and his mother was a nurse. When he was a four-year-old, his family moved to New York City, taking a transatlantic voyage on the S.S America. He arrived with a banjo given to him by his maternal grandparents. When he was seven his family moved back to England. As William had acquired an American accent, his classmates teased him and called him “a yank.” William Broad, after all, had learned to say elevator and not lift, cops instead of bobbies, and man instead of mate. This began his identification as an outsider. From his early years in America, William Broad got turned on to the music of Little Richard, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. He also liked a 1955 single by the Cadillacs titled “Speedoo”. He was inspired by the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, David Bowie and others. He taught himself how to play guitar and joined a band in his teens. Continue reading →

Rockit by Herbie Hancock

#368: Rockit by Herbie Hancock

Peak Month: May 1984
11 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4 ~ CFUN
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #71 “Rockit

Herbert Jeffrey Hancock was born in Chicago in 1940. His parents weren’t musical. However, when Herbie was seven years of age he began to study classical music. By the age of eleven he was hailed as a child prodigy after his performance of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D Major with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Growing up, his major jazz influences were Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner and Bill Evans. In 1960, the twenty year-old Hancock was “discovered” by trumpet player Donald Byrd. This led to a record contract with Blue Note Records. Hancock got wider recognition as a recording artist in 1962 when he composed “Watermelon Man.” Although his single barely got any airplay it was covered by Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria who had a Top Ten instrumental hit with the tune in 1963. Over the years “Watermelon Man” has been covered by dozens of other performers including Manfred Mann, Bill Haley & His Comets, The J.B.’s (James Brown’s backing band), Albert King, LL Cool J, Madonna and others. “Watermelon Man” was the opening track from Hancock’s debut album, Takin’ Off, released in 1962. The album came to the attention of Miles Davis who invited Herbie Hancock to join the Miles Davis’ Quintet.

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