What can I say? It was just such fun (if bloody time consuming) doing yesterday’s Peel-related Post here that I thought I’d do something similar again…In the process, I have realised that a great number of these come from 1982, confirming my belief that 1977-1982 was the greatest era ever, for music. Followed by 2001-2008, obviously).
First up, Pete Wylie under various guises had several entries in the Festive Fifty, here are two of my favourites. It’s sometimes hard trying to work out what was Wah!, Mighty Wah! or Wah! Heat (or Shambeko Say Wah! for that matter, but I think these were both as the Mighty Wah! That is what the CDs say, anyway)
Mighty Wah! -‘The Story Of The Blues.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty, No.7)*
The song Shipbuilding was written by Elvis Costello in 1982, about the Falklands War and Robert Wyatt recorded it first, nearly topping the Festive Fifty in 1982. Elvis Costello recorded his own version for Punch The Clock in 1983. Both versions are fantastic, Wyatt’s version and piano are gorgeous, though Costello’s version is great too, and features Chet Baker on trumpet.
Robert Wyatt -‘Shipbuilding.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty, No.2)
Elvis Costello -‘Shipbuilding.’ mp3 (1983 Festive Fifty, No.48)
And in different guises, Coventry also had a fair amount to say about social issues of the time, both at home and abroad.
The Specials -‘Ghost Town.’ mp3 (1981 festive Fifty No.21)
The Special AKA -‘Free Nelson Mandela.’ mp3 (1984 Festive Fifty No.41
As ‘New pop’ replaced or post-punk evolved, depending on your point of view, there were certainly many bands who were commercially successful on in both the charts and the festive fifty (even Frankie Goes to Hollywood made the Festive Fifty in 1984, with their nine-weeks-at-the-top-of-the-proper-charts Two Tribes). Though Peel bemoaned on his 1994 Festive Fifty that some of the records had made the chart, and where had he gone wrong, it’s probably fair to assume he had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. These are both from 1982:
Yazoo – ‘Only You.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty No.12)
Associates -‘Party Fears Two.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty No.14)
Peel also played Hip-Hop when no-one else on Radio 1 was doing so (Peter Powell reportedly once told him that he shouldn’t on the grounds that Hip-Hop was the music of Black hooligans, allegedly).
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five -‘The Message.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.3)
Erik B & Rakim -‘Paid In Full.’ mp3 (1987 Festive Fifty no.27)
* There are several different versions of this track in existence, including the Parts 1&2 version that Peel played on one of his last ever broadcasts in 2004. I have put the ‘Part 1’ version here.