Is this top-30 from mid-August 1986
the worst ever?
1. 'I Want To Wake Up With You' - Boris Gardiner
2. 'The Lady In Red' - Chris De Burgh
3. 'So Macho' - Sinita
4. 'Anyone Can Fall In Love' - Anita Dobson & The Simon May Orchestra
5. 'Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent' - Gwen Guthrie
6. 'Calling All The Heroes' - It Bites
7. 'Dancing On The Ceiling' - Lionel Richie
8. 'I Can Prove It' - Phil Fearon
9. 'Camouflage' - Stan Ridgway
10. 'Shout' - Lulu
11. 'Girls & Boys' - Prince
12. 'Brother Louie' - Modern Talking
13. 'Papa Don't Preach' - Madonna
14. 'Panic' - The Smiths
15. 'We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off' - Jermaine Stewart
16. 'Find The Time' - Five Star
17. 'Breaking Away' - Jaki Graham
18. 'Glory Of Love' - Peter Setera
19. 'Human' - The Human League
20. 'What's The Colour Of Money' - Hollywood Beyond
21. 'When I Think Of You' - Janet Jackson
22. 'Let's Go All The Way' - Sly Fox
23. 'The Way It Is' - Bruce Hornsby & The Range
24. 'I Didn't Mean To Turn You On' - Robert Palmer
25. 'A Question Of Time' - Depeche Mode
26. 'Every Beat Of My Heart' - Rod Stewart
27. 'Red Sky' - Status Quo
28. 'Don't Leave Me This Way' - The Communards
29. 'Oh People' - Patti LaBelle
30. 'Fight For Ourselves' - Spandau Ballet
A couple of years ago, Steve Lamacq on 6Music used this top-30 to illustrate how dire popular music was during that particular era. And over the past year, BBC 4 have been repeating editions of 'Top Of The Pops' from throughout 1986 so that you can see the evidence in colour. Here is the most recent serving... https://www.bbc.co.uk/...of-the-pops-30101986
And here are some more reasons as to why I agree that 1986 stinks so badly...
*Too many novelty records
*Too many 50s/60s re-releases/reissues
*Too many soap stars
*Too many stadium bands
*Too many saxophones
*Too many power-ballards
*Too many tie-ins with films and TV adverts
*The woeful music policy of Radio One. The station hadn't really begun to recover from the six-year tenure (1979~1985) of its previous Controller Derek Chinnery. Chinnery is most famous for his defense of the behaviour of Jimmy Savile, but he was also responsible slashing John Peel's air-time and for famously stating that he wanted Radio One to be the type of station that yuppies would listen to on their way from the office to the restaurant. In fact, there was a general lack of diversity on most radio. And most music stations were still broadcasting on AM frequencies.
*Too many 'mature' artists. This links in with those mature artists beginning to release albums on expensive CDs, appealing to a more conservative but affluent buyer. Exhibit A - Phil Collins.
*I've even read that it was the spiraling divorce rate among middle-aged couples during the mid-1980s that helped rocket Phil Collins' record sales! ("Take A Look At Me Now..." with my stupid pot of emulsion!)
*There's no denying that some genre of music were really in their pomp during the mid-80s, including Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop, Goth, Dance and Indie (whether you like those genre or not). However, this was rarely reflected in the charts, on telly or in popular culture. (Coincidentally, this very chart of mid-August 1986 saw an entry in the lower reaches of 'Love Can't Turn Around' by Farley Jackmaster Funk
, said by some to be the very first club-dance track to enter the UK charts, and a TOTP performance that really IS worth watching!)
*Too much MTV-friendly music/videos/nonsense. The growth of the influence in MTV meant that bands and their record companies felt even more pressure to 'break America'.
*Which finally brings us on to influence 1985's Live-Aid. There's no denying the good works and acts of charity that Live-Aid was responsible for in Ethiopia, but if you watch the Wembley section again today there's no getting away from how dated/embarrassing it all seems to see so many white wealthy middle-aged pop stars (especially the ones who'd already played at 'Sun City') preaching to the masses to cough up (Elvis Costello comes out of it with his dignity intact, but many don't). However, there is also no denying the influence of Live-Aid upon music in the years immediately afterwards - it could probably justify a thread all of its own, but putting it briefly it boosted the careers of too many artists who would otherwise have faded away with a bit more dignity but instead went on to dominate 1986, while at the same time denying the exposure needed by newer/younger bands who might well have helped turn 1986 into a better year for popular music.
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least forty albums I own from 1986 (I'll count up properly soon), so I can't have disliked all of it. Although there is obviously a lot more to popular music than the top-30, the charts at that time still had an importance (certainly a self-importance) in popular culture and in life in this country in general, and could also still have a link with what was going on in the rest of the music industry - something I would say it lost around about 2000, when the obsession with X-Factor type-stuff began.
I also think that if I were to list a random top-30 from, say for example, 1966 or 1979 or 1982 or 1994 or 1999 there'd be a fair amount more to get excited about in it.