independent

Thursday 14 November 2019

Retro Top Ten: this week in 1981

It's My Party by Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin
It's My Party by Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin

A gloriously eclectic, if not eccentric, top ten from the start of the eighties this week - from the American avant-garde performance artist Laurie Anderson's unconventional 'O Superman' to The Tweets' version of The Chicken Dance which sold over 1.6 million, reached number two and was voted 'the most annoying song of all time' in a dotmusic poll.

As with many of the popular songs of the eighties, our number one is a reimagined version of a sixties original. Teen lament, 'It's My Party', written in 1962, was first recorded by the Chiffons as an album track, and then by Helen Shapiro, but it was 16-year-old Lesley Gore who took it to No. 1 in the US in 1963. The Brooklyn teenager's version was the first single for producer Quincy Jones.

Fast forward 18 years and we find progressive rock keyboard player turned pop arranger Dave Stewart teaming up with friend Barbara Gaskin on a new version of 'It's My Party' which took the song to number one in the UK (and Ireland) for the first time. This version did not go down so well in the US where it peaked at No. 72.

Stewart had earlier in the year reached No. 13 in the UK with an electronic reworking of Motown soul classic 'What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted' featuring guest vocals from Colin Blunstone of Zombies fame.

After 'It's My Party', Stewart failed to scale such heights in the singles chart again, but he and Gaskin have worked together ever since and have released seven albums.

There are two other cover versions in this week's classic top ten: 'A Good Year For The Roses', an unlikely country hit for Elvis Costello, was originally released by George Jones in 1970, and Shakin' Stevens 'It's Raining', from his number one album of the same name, was first released by Irma Thomas in 1962.

 

1 It's My Party Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin

2 O Superman Laurie Anderson

3 The Birdie Song Tweets

4 Thunder In The Mountains Toyah

5 Happy Birthday Altered Images

6 Open Your Heart Human League

7 Absolute Beginners The Jam

8 Under Your Thumb Godley and Creme

9 A Good Year For The Roses Elvis Costello

10 It's Raining Shakin' Stevens

Corkman

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