Friday, March 9, 2012

1982: Enthrall

Modern Romance: one of the oddest bands of all time surely?

I remember when we jetted back from America for a week before we went back to Bahrain for the rest of the summer and, eager to know what was lighting up the charts, the hire car's radio was instantly tuned to Radio 1. The first thing I heard was Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, unbeknowst to me a cover of a 1950s instrumental with their own added lyrics.

A strange choice in a way, but one that didn't seem strange at a the time - this was 1982 after, the oddest year for music. And this was perhaps the oddest week. Just look at the novelties on offer. Not that I'm complaining,. I bought most of them.

In this small window alone we were seeing a gay disco smoochathon cover of an Andy Williams classic by the Boystown Gang, Come On Eileen with it's stop/start fast/slow can't make out the words strangeness was number one, we'd just seen Captain Sensible cover a song from a musical and have it shoot to number one, Sting was spreading a little happiness from a Dennis Potter play, Madness were at their novelty worst with Driving In My Car, Bad Manners were doing a kiddie pop version of My Boy Lollipop and now erstwhile New Romantics Modern Romance were covering a 1950s Perez 'Prez' Prado standard and it was going Top 10.

Just a normal week in the charts then.

When Modern Romance started out I thought they were quite good, with their party-flavoured hits like Everybody Salsa and Ay-Ay-Ay-Ay-Moosey soundtracking the second half of 1981. Who'd have thought something like that would rise from the ashes of the Leyton Buzzards? They were still seen as being quite cool, though, and they even appeared in The Face around the time of Queen Of The Rapping Scene, which is a marvellous song but didn't do much to win them any new fans.

So then later in the summer, then came this. With its John Du Prez trumpet sound providing the novelty summery sound the writing was on the wall. And when their next outing was Best Years Of Our Lives minus lead singer Geoff Deane it was all over for me. They did some ghastly pop songs like Walking In The Rain before they imploded.

But still, it is the sound of summer, isn't it? You never hear it on the radio anymore.


  1. What a mad mixed bag - and the same year, Queen dropped of the radar. Remember Body Language or Back Chat - who knew Live Aid was just around the corner(ish)

    Rockers Revenge Walking on Sunshine was huge in 82. I also bought Wham's Wham Rap on the Inner Vision label after hearing on a French holiday

  2. An insanely eclectic year in all sorts of ways. In my little corner of the world I lost a parent, fell in love and started University, and all to this bizarre, constantly changing soundtrack of oddball tunes. It sort of fits, really.