Welcome to 1983


To a lot of us that lived it, the 1980s started in 1983 with most tracks that year defining the 80s. Top Of The Pops was going through a mid-life crisis and in need of some changes and thats just what it got with it's first female presenter and it's landmark 1000th episode.


Vince Clark former synth player to Depache Mode now with Alison Moyet as 'Yazoo' teamed up with Feargal Sharkey front man of 'The Undertones' for a one hit wonder called Never Never in the name of 'The Assembly'.

Phil Oakey's former original Human League band members were now 'Heaven 17' and in rival to the League. And the show seen it's first 'Live' performance with 'New Order' singing their debut single Blue Monday which was never released as a 7 inch single only a 12 inch


The £1 coin replaced the £1 note with exception to Scotland. Margaret Thatcher won her second term in office and the leader of the opposition was replaced by Neil Kinnock. But a new leader was not all that was happening in the Labour Party. A new M.P. back bencher was to work his way up to Prime Minister 14 years later.

Unemployment was upto 1 in 4 persons under 25 out of work. So much was this of concern that George Michael penned a hit for Wham! that got him his next top 3 all about it.


The biggest hit of the year in the U.K. was 'Culture Club' with Karma Chameleon but it really did have it's rival when 'The Police' released Every Breath You Take which became the worldwide best seller of the year spending 8 weeks at the top of the Billboard Charts in the United States. The track is still earning 'Sting' almost $2000 a day in royalties - Lucky Bugger.


Throughout the 1970s unknown artists would record albums of various chart hits of the day which were called 'Top Of The Pops' and had no connection to the show. But in 1979 small lable 'Ronco' in London released the first compilation album of orginal chart hits called 'Rock & Roller Disco' or 'Disco 79' as it was known in Europe and contained 20 singles some edited to fit on the album and it proved to be a big success. Another budget lable called 'K-Tel' released 'Chart Hits 80' the following yeah which was a double album sold as two single albums marketed as 'Buy part 1 and get part 2 free'. They did this again in 1981 with 'Chart Hits 81' but 'Ronco Records fought back in 1982 with the same package called 'Raiders Of The Pop Charts' and other small record lables also did simular releases. In February 1983 'Ronco' Released 'Chart Runners' and it reached number 1 in the albums chart. However instead of calling the follow up 'Chart Runners 2' they followed the parody of Raiders being from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, calling it Chart Encounters Of The Hit Kind from 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind' and it failed to Chart the top 40. But while all this was happening Richard Branson was watching and he wanted his piece of the pie, only he wanted to make it bigger and better and with his empire could pay the Royalties to have bigger singles included on it including many U.K. number 1s. And So as we all went back to school in September the first ever double album of 'Now, That's What I Call Music' was born and was number 1 in its 3rd week of release. Fast forward to 2017 and we are still going with 'Now 96', that's 96 albums later not 1996.


Amongst the New Comers of the year were Eurythmics, Paul Young, Orange Juice, Kagagoogoo, New Order, Bonnie Tyler and the arrival of Howard Jones to rival Shakin' Stevens as biggest male solo artist of the decade. Although Shaky had 4 number 1s and Howard Jones never actually got a number 1 he will be remembered more by those of us buying singles at the time as everywhere we heard his debut single 'New Song' beit on the radio, in a bar, nightclub or hearing a neighbor blasting it out you just couldn't resist shouting ''Ooh Ooh Ooh' so much so we were still shouting it in the nightclubs 20 years later.


In 1983 – one chart compilation era ends and new one begins, as Gallup ends BMRB’s (British Music Research) 13-year tenure as chart compilation contractor for Music Week. Gallup takes over the Official Singles Chart and Official Albums Chart from January 4, replacing a system reliant on hand-written diaries, motorcycle courier collection and manually-checked charts with a new computerised system which involved retrieval of data via phone lines and digital monitoring of sales to minimise hyping.


The new system introduces Top 200 singles and albums charts every week (only the Top 100 is available publically at that point via Music Week). Cassette sales are also incorporated into the albums charts, while separate cassette albums and 12 singles charts are produced. Gallup’s contract is now directly with the record labels’ association, the BPI, who supplies the broadcast and publishing rights to Music Week and the BBC.


The first Official Number 1s under Gallup are Renee & Renato’s Save Your Love single, and The John Lennon Collection album.


In the autumn, the concept of chart rules are invented for the first time – the industry moves to bar releases sold with free gifts, following a flurry of free t-shirt giveaways with pop singles.


One surprise hit penned and performed by 'Mike Oldfield' with Maggie Rielly as vocals was Moonlight Shadow and written all about the death of John Lennon (although never mentioning John in the song) it was turned down by Hazel O'Conner as she didn't like the lyrics as too supernatural, Oldfield got Maggie to vocal it and performed it himself.


As we got towards Christmas and the race was on for the coverted Christmas Number 1 many artists were releasing there own seasonal tributes from guitar bands like 'Slade' and Synth bands like 'Human League' and boybands like Duran Duran all competing for the Christmas Number 1. It turned out to be a track that had no instruments AT ALL. With voice replacing the synth 'The Flying Pickets' took the previous years Number 2 original hit from 'Yazoo' called Only You to the Christmas Number 1 where it stayed for 5 weeks.


This collection will contain EVERY UK top 40 single and much more so join us at Autumn Violets Music as will travel down the most loved year of the 1980s.




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