Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1978: I hated you, I loved you too

It was a Tuesday lunchtime. What did that mean? That's right, it was new chart day.

Jonathan Murgatroyd came rushing out of the double doors between the library and the forum - the rather pretentiously grand name given to our assembly hall - onto the multi-levelled concrete playground that was designed for sitting and chatting only and bellowed:

"Guess what's Number One! That girl. The one who's 17. Katie Bush!"

We were all rather shocked. I'd heard it a few times and found it rather odd. Kind of impenetrable but haunting all the same. Once I became used to it I got to love it, and today I'm a major Kate Bush fan. But it did take some time.

I never bought any of her singles. I was six months away from buying my final single until 1981, with a small pitsop at Tubeway Army and Squeeze's Up The Junction in 1979, but I didn't ever buy any of Kate's. I've got the lot now, but at the time her music, though catchy and interesting did not move me to buy it. I liked Wings.

Some of the videos she's done over the years are either hot (Sat In Your Lap) or bonkers (that one on a variety show where she's writhing daftly on a peacock chair doing December Will Be Magic Again), but you could never call her boring. She's always surprising, always different, forever unpredictable and to be around at the birth of her career and remember how everyone greeted the news of her number one record with amazement is quite something really. She became a huge star and rightly so.

It wasn't only that though, it was the way we used to be desperate to hear the charts on a Tuesday. It was a really big deal and remained so (for me) for years and years. Not now of course - I'm lucky if I've ever heard the current chart topper, even though I have heard of the bands I've never heard their music. Not knowingly, anyway.

Why did chart-watching become a dated concept? It's such a shame. Along with records shops it's a thing of the past. Sigh. At least I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Oh look, here's that mad vid. She's wearing silk pajamas.


  1. In London, the Routemaster buses were adorned with a set of photos of Kate in her leotard, which looked like they'd been taken in quite a chilly room. They became an absolute sensation, being blamed/praised for causing several traffic accidents and pedestrian casualties, as people (blokes) lurched like drooling zombies in front of the be-nippled number 25s to Ilford.

    We were all extremely jealous of Kate, so we slagged her off and called her a 'stupid hippy bird'. Mean girls...

  2. I also remember listening to the transistor radio at school time waiting to see if my favourites had gone up the charts or not. My theory is that the charts lost a lot of their lustre as sales dropped and there started to be a tendency for songs to enter the charts in the top 20 or 10, and then go down the next week. There was much more tension when your favourite band's song was edging it's way up the charts week by week, a few places at a time.

  3. Yes, the fun went then, Thumper.

    But watching those old TOTPs from '76 - didn't things take an age to climb the charts? I'm amazed at our patience.

  4. Each song had its own arc, didn't it? In at 42. Up 12 places to 30. Then 8 places to 22. Then 5 to 17. Then 3 to 14. Up a couple to 12. Then up one place to 11 .... and you then knew that was that, it had peaked, and was never going to get into the Top 10.

  5. That's right. Every song had a shelf-life. Not like now. It's in and out before you can blink.