Alexa, show me 1984.
If you were to ask a certain searchable device (others are, obviously available), there’s a high probability that the year George Orwell predicted would see us living in a terrifying future nightmare would instead be adorned with a wash of neon, colour and an array of sunshine pop.
And the character staring back at us wouldn’t be Big Brother, it was a pig in shades. Of course!
(And is there anything cooler?)
Yes, it’s here! July 1984, and the third volume of the world famous NOW That’s What I Call Music series had arrived and quite literally rocketed - locomotion style - to the top of the charts. And for sure, the compilation album was back, Back, BACK!
A glittering selection of the pop’s finest (and The Art Company) lined up to highlight why 1984 is often (argue with us here) cited as one of the greatest music years.
From Duran Duran’s worldwide fl-fl-flexing monster smash, to Wham! shining brighter than Doris Day, NOW3 features some of the decades biggest hits. Take a look at Phil Collins, wait for pizza (talking some Italian, probably) with Bananarama, even stay up way beyond bedtime to catch falling men with The Weather Girls. Wow!
Underneath the streamers and balloons of summer 1984, wasn’t there just a hint of darkness?
Of course there was! Global annihilation never looked or sounded so fabulous (and we’re not talking Threads, thanks again BBC)! Nik Kershaw wasn’t letting the sun (or his snood) go down, Ultravox had tears in their eyes (shortly before humanity was vaporised) and of course Frankie Goes To Hollywood were on top of the whole mushroom cloud as Two Tribes (and just a smidgeon of Trevor) ruled the airwaves, charts and the 12” mixes whilst we listened to Patrick Allen’s public information messages. Chilling? Yes it was, and we haven’t even got to The Art Company yet! Brrr!
So, let’s jump back to summer 1984 with the BBC’s music correspondent, Mark Savage to explore the many faceted pop kaleidoscope of 30 Top Chart hits that is Now Music 3. Along the way also find out how Mark discovered pop growing up in Northern Ireland, memories of sun kissed holidays and which record had the neighbours banging on the wall.
Plus, the mystery of a very strange cassette tone is - after 30 years - revealed!
Geeky? Us? Of course we are!
As Cyndi Lauper said, we all have a suitcase of memories - time after time.
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