By John Surgenor
Irvine Beat FM Presenter
The golden year of 1985. A brief journey through the music, entertainment, happenings, memories and some trivia of the year.
I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m John Surgenor and I do a golden hour show on Irvinebeatfm 107.2 and the website Irvinebeat.com every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 11.00 and 12.00hrs. I was asked if I could contribute something to our webpage and I decided I’d do a little escape into our pasts like I do on my show. I usually keep between 1960 and 1989 so this time it’s 1985.
What Do You Remember About 1985?
What do you remember if anything about 1985? I had my 30th birthday this year so it was a weird time when you don’t feel any different than you ever did but you know that you’re entering the last year of your third decade which means you should feel old but I never did. Even now I feel fine as long as I don’t catch my reflection in a mirror or window. I’m not a big expert at all on the eighties as I was working all hours and trying to be home sometimes to help out with the lads. We men have got it lucky skiving at work while our wife’s have the major workload with supercharged daredevils. At least one of my lads was at school to half the work for some of the day. So here’s my effort on 1985.
Music of 1985
Band Aid started this year as number one having been the Christmas number one of 1984.
January – March UK Number 1’s – 1985
Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson would be the next chart topper with “I know him so well” from the Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus penned musical “Chess”. At the time this was the biggest selling UK chart single by a female duo although it may still be. The girls would be at the number slot for four weeks, before finally being toppled by the first Stock, Aitken and Waterman number one.
The first number one for the production trio was by Dead or Alive and that was “You spin me right round” which had two weeks at number one. It would their only top 10 hit.
Earth, Wind and Fire’s front man Phillip Bailey would team up with Genesis’ Phil Collins for the next number one “Easy lover” which would there for four weeks before being knocked off by the charity single penned by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
April – June UK Number 1’s – 1985
“We are the world” sung by USA for Africa would be number one for two weeks going from April into May after which Phyllis Nelson would have her only chart entry “Move closer” take her to the summit for one week.
The next single at the top of the charts would be Paul Hardcastle’s anti-war song “19” about the Vietnam War. Paul would last five weeks with his only number one.
Another charity supergroup would take over from Paul at number one with the Rodgers and Hammerstein “You’ll never walk alone” done by the Crowd on behalf of the Bradford City stadium fire. Gerry Marsden was part of the Crowd which would make him the first man in British recording history to top the charts with two versions of the same song. The Crowd would be number one for two weeks.
The US Sledge sisters would find more fame in the UK than back home and they would be at number one for four weeks with ”Frankie” Sister Sledge worked with noted producer and songwriter Nile Rodgers.
July – September UK Number 1’s – 1985
The most charted male/female duo in the UK would be at number one next for their only week with “There must be an angel (Playing with my heart)”. That duo would be Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart under the guise of the Eurythmics.
Annie and Dave would be displaced by Madonna’s first UK number one “Into the groove”. Although this was her first number one Madonna had already two US number ones, three UK number two’s and two UK number threes so she was long overdue her first UK number one. Madonna would go on to have another five UK table toppers in the 80’s. This particular number one would stay top for four weeks.
UB40 would have their second number one which like their first would be a cover version which this time would be the Sonny and Cher former number one “I got you babe”. The Pretenders Chrissie Hynd was guest vocals on the track which stayed at number one for one week.
UB40 would be followed by a pair of legends in David Bowie and Mick Jagger covering the Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing in the street” remaining there for four weeks before Midge Ure from Ultravox would spend his only solo week at number one with “If I was”.
The next five weeks would see New York born Jennifer Rush at number one with her powerful “The power of love”. This would be Jennifers only UK top ten hit.
October – December UK Number 1’s – 1985
Ex Undertones front man Feargal Sharkey would stay at number one for two weeks with his only table topper “A good heart” which would be replaced by Wham’s third number one “I’m your man” a song written and produced by George Michael.
Whitney Houston would have her first number one with her debut single “Saving all my love for you” which would also reach the top in the US. Whitney would be top for two weeks and have the Christmas number one although Shakin’ Stevens would be number one over the new year with his “Merry Christmas everyone”. This was the fourth and final number one for Shakey.
Quiz Time – The 59 Second Flashback
Here are 5 x Top 10 UK hits from 1985. How many of the artists can you identify? 1 minute – 5 songs – name the artist. The answers are down at the foot of this page. Good luck.
Album Charts Of 1985
The Hits Album Various artists started the year of 1985 at the top of the album chart having continued from 1984. Alison Moyet the voice of Yazoo would have the first number one album of 1985 with her debut album “Alf”. There would be three top singles in this album. All cried out, Love resurrection and Invisible. This would her only number one album and would spend one week at the top.
Anglo American band Foreigner formed in New York would enter the UK album chart for the first time with their fifth album “Agent provocateur” which contained the UK number one power ballad “I want to know what love is”. The album would be at the top for three weeks and would be their only UK number one album.
With his last two albums Nebraska and the River not quite reaching number one over here he would get to number one in the UK for the first time with “Born in the USA”. The man in question is Bruce Springsteen who was a regular in the UK album working with his E Street band. This would be one of his biggest selling albums ever. He would remain at the top for four weeks.
The Smiths would spend their only week at number one in the UK album charts with their second album “Meat is murder”. The Smiths were only going from 1982 to 1987 and in that time they released four albums with three of them reaching number two in the charts and this being well deserved one week at number one.
Phil Collins would follow the Smiths at number with his third album and second number one album “No jacket required” which contained hits Sussidio, One more night, Take me home and Don’t lose my number. Sting and Peter Gabriel helped Phil out on this album. “No jacket required” would stay at number one for five weeks
Paul Young’s second album “The secret of association” would reach number one as his first album had done. The album contained Paul’s US number one “Every time you go away” and two other top ten hits in “I’m gonna tear your playhouse down” and “Everything must change”. Like “No parlez” it would spend only one week at the top.
The Various artists album “The hits album” started the year at number one and some four month later “The hits album 2” would take over the number one spot for six weeks. Which would be the longest stay at number one this year.
Dire Straits would have the next number one album with their second chart topper “Brothers in arms”. This would be by far their biggest selling album with hits like: Money for nothing, Sultans of swing, Walk of life and So far away. The Brothers in arms track wasn’t too shabby either.
After two weeks at number one Dire Straits were displaced by the Style council’s second album “Our favourite shop” which would give the Style Council their only week at the top of the album charts. Walls come tumbling down was the major track in this album.
After the Style Council’s only number one album was Bryan Ferry’s only number one album. “Boys and girls” would spend two weeks at the top of the chart. Bryan’s last top ten single “Slave to love” was one of the tracks on the album.
Like the two previous number one albums prog rock band Marillion would have their only album taking this accolade. “Misplaced childhood” was their third album and a concept album based on the life of Scottish lead singer Fish (Derek Dick) who wrote all the lyrics. Two of their three top ten singles, Kayleigh and Lavender are contained here.
Vinyl Albums Were Still Outselling CD’s In 1985
Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” had already spent one week in the chart back in February but they would have a four week spell covering most of July.
Like Bruce, Dire Straits would have the next number one album with their second visit of the year for “Brothers in arms”.
Dire Straits would be number one for two weeks before being knocked off by “Now that’s what I call music 5” which would be top for one week before Madonna would knock it off with her second album “Like a virgin” which again would only last one week at the top.
Kate Bush would knock Madonna off the top spot with her “Hounds of love” containing top hit “Running up that hill”. Kate would be top for two weeks until Madonna came back with “Like a virgin” to have another week at the top before Kate would again knock Madonna off to put “Hounds of love” back to number one for a further week.
Next up for a one week stay would be George Benson with his compilation album “The love songs” to be knocked off by top Scottish band Simple Minds.
Simple Minds would spend one week at number one with their second UK number one album “Once upon a time” which contains three top ten singles. The stadium anthem Alive and kicking, Sanctify yourself and All the things she said. They had knocked George Benson off number one and he returned the compliment to take “The love songs” back to the top for another week.
Sade’s first album “Diamond life” had reached number two in 1984 but she went one better with her follow up “Promise” which reached number one and stayed there for two weeks.
As we entered December Sade was knocked off the top by the compilation “The greatest hits of 1985” which lasted at the top for one week before another compilation album “Now that’s what I call music 6” reigned as number one for two weeks before a further compilation album “Now – The Christmas album” would be at the top for two weeks over Christmas and the New Year.
Entertainment in 1985
1985 On TV
Some programmes you may remember had their start this year. The short lived soap Albion Market based in Salford would only last barely a year before being dropped from the schedule.
A sequel to Alf Garnetts “Till death do us part” started this year. In sickness and in health many of the cast survived from Till death do us part. Warren Mitchell as Alf, Dandy Nichols as Else Garnett , Una Stubbs as Rita, Arthur English as Arthur and Eamonn Walker as Marigold were all back again. The series would run into the 90’s.
This is the year we would be introduced to the inhabitants of Ramsey Street. Basically it started off with three families, the Ramsey’s (Max, Maria, Shane, and Danny) the Robinson’s (Helen, Paul, Scott and Lucy) and the Clarkes (Daphne, Des, Eileen and Jamie). The most famous residents of the street would have to be Charlene (Kylie Minogue) and Scott (Jason Donovan) both of whom became massive pop stars in the UK charts having ten numbers ones between them.
Already hosting “Surprise surprise” Cilla Black would be host for Blind date which started this year and was still going into the 21st century.
1985 Saw The Launch Of Many Iconic TV Shows
We would also be introduced this year to Crockett and Tubbs. Characters played by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas best known as Miami Vice. The series lasted until 1990. There was a movie based on the series in 2006 starring Colin Farrel as Crockett and Jamie Foxx as Tubbs.
Another start up that must be mentioned is Eastenders of Albert square. There were the Fowlers, the Beale’s the Watts, the Osmans, the Carpenters and the Jeffery’s. Eastenders have stood the test of just like Coronation street on the other channel.
American private detectives Maddie Hayes and David Addison hit our screens this year as the main protagonists in “Moonlighting”. Cybill Shepherd was Maddie while Bruce Willies played David. The series would run until the ninties.
This was also the year we first saw Thundercats, Telly addicts, Max Headroom and the Golden girls.
On the film front Roger Moore would play James Bond for the last time in “A view to a kill”. He played James seven times starting in 1973 in “Live and let die.
This year would see the first “Back to the future”. Teenager Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) travels back in time in a De Lorean car transformed into a time machine by scientist Doc Brown and finds himself face to face with his parents in their past. There would be three “Back to future” films made.
Stallone Stars In Rambo & Rocky IV
Sylvester Stallone would play Rambo for the second time after the hugely successful “First blood” in 1982. Having done three years of his sentence for his legendary role in First blood, John Rambo is asked to rescue POW’s left in Vietnam. He takes this on in exchange for a pardon and a super action film we have again as he loses his weapons but still gets there. Nearly as good as First Blood through my star struck eyes. Also this year Sylvester stars in Rocky IV where he fights Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) who had just killed his friend Apollo Creed in the ring. Another humdinger of a film.
Another sequel this year was “Jewel of the Nile” which followed the 1984 film “Romancing the stone”. Once again it would star Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny De Vito in another desert adventure attempting to find the Jewel of the Nile. Billy Ocean’s song “When the going gets tough” was the theme tune to the film.
A film my lads and I would see many a time in the years to follow at the matinee in the Irvine picture house would be the Goonies. My lads loved the adventure these kids got into searching for One-eyed Willies pirate treasure. The Goonies, Short circuit and BMX bandits must have been on an alternative cycle every Saturday morning for most of their childhood.
Other happenings in 1985
Vodafone launches the first UK cellular phone network and at the same time British Telecom (BT) starts to phase out the red telephone old red phone boxes.
The SECC in Glasgow opens this year with the first concert in Hall 1 being the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
British Home Stores (BHS) amalgamates with Habitat.
Live Aid and then Comic relief were both launched this year to aid the famine relief in Ethiopia.
Mohamed Al Fayed bought Harrods.
UK miner’s strike came to an end.
You could buy the Boost chocolate bar for the first time.
The Sinclair C5 went on sale in January of this year and the company went bankrupt by the end of the year.
Inflation stood at 6.1% at the year end.
1985 Sport Headlines
John Stein collapsed and died while manager of Scotland. Scotland and Wales were playing at Ninian park hoping to qualify for a play-off position to enter the World Cup finals. Scotland were awarded a late penalty which Davie Provan score and tied the match at 1-1 to give Scotland a play-off game facing Australia. Jock was only 62 years old.
Sandy Lyle won the Open championship at Royal St George’s golf club in Sandwich by one stroke from American Payne Stewart with a total score of 2 over par after the four rounds.
The Heysel stadium disaster happened this year at the European cup final game between Liverpool and Juventus. English teams were banned from Europe competitions for their fans part in the disaster which killed 39 people. The indefinite ban was lifted after five year.
There was also a stadium disaster at Valley parade in Bradford where a fire ravaged a stand and killed 56 supporters with over two hundred injured.
Alain Prost won the first of his four Formula one driver’s championships.
Eleven year old horse Last Suspect won the Seagrams Grand national at 50/1.
A handful of arrivals in 1985
Lewis Hamilton (Racing driver) 7th January
Christiano Ronaldo (Football player) 5th February
Keira Knightly (Actress) 26th March
Leona Lewis (Singer) 3rd April
Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer, winner of 23 Olympic Golds!) 30th June
A handful of departures in 1985
Konstantin Chernenko (Russian leader) March 10th
Sir Michael Redgrave (British actor) March 21st
Rock Hudson (American actor) October 2nd
Yul Brynner (Russian actor) October 10th
Ricky Nelson (American actor/singer) 31st December
That Was 1985
That’s my subjective brief journey through 1985. I hope you enjoyed yourself. Many thanks for joining me, good health, good fortune and God bless. Bye for now.
Other Years Featured In This Series
John presents the Golden Hour on Irvine Beat FM Wed, Thu & Fri at 11am. Here are some other years that have featured in this series:
Answers to our little 1985 music quiz (above)
1. Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere
2. Billy Ocean – Suddenly
3. Midge Ure – If I Was
4. Steve Arrington – Feel So Real
5. Trans X – Living On Video