1980 ➤ The week the Swinging 80s clicked into gear

Adam & The Ants, David Bowie, Swinging 80s,Top Of The Pops

❚ ON THIS DAY IN 1980 Spandau Ballet, the houseband of the Blitz club, saw their first single To Cut a Long Story Short reach its highest chart position, No 5 in the UK. Crucially, its nine-week stay in the top 40 guaranteed weekly exposure on Top Of The Pops, the UK’s leading TV show for music, which pulled 15m viewers in those days (among the week’s highest audiences) when the No 1 single typically sold 150,000 vinyl records per week.

Ahead of Spandau this week were Madness, The Boomtown Rats, Blondie and, at No 1, Abba with Super Trouper. Below them making waves for the new British pop were Eddy Grant, David Bowie, Roxy Music, OMD, Adam & the Ants, Kate Bush and The Clash. In the next four years, 54 new image bands and acts from UK clubland would flood the charts with a new British sound, plus 34 others from the clubbing slipstream. The Swinging 80s were about to crank themselves into gear.

Representing yesterday’s men in that week’s top 40 were Rod Stewart, Queen, Status Quo and Robert Palmer. From the 80s onward, rock was no longer to be the dominant form of music and the rhythm of the charts changed for ever to the bass and the drum. The giant tragedy that loomed over this week, however, was the shooting dead of ex-Beatle John Lennon. He was in the charts singing Starting Over.

Eddy Grant, Kate Bush, Swinging 80s


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