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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Apr 2019 - Bananarama! > THE 40s GREATEST MISSES

THE 40s GREATEST MISSES

NOT ALL GREAT SINGLES BECOME CHART-CONQUERING HITS. MANY SOMEHOW ELUDE THE TOP 40, HOVERING UNCHERISHED JUST OUTSIDE IT, BEYOND THE REMIT OF TOP OF THE POPS OR RADIO 1’S SUNDAY EVENING RUNDOWN. BUT THESE SONGS NEED CELEBRATING, TOO, AND SO, WITH THAT IN MIND, HERE IS OUR LIST OF THE GREATEST SINGLES THAT, FOR SOME REASON OR OTHER, FAILED TO TICKLE THE HIT PARADE…

What happens when more than 40 great singles are vying for a spot on the chart at any one time? Well, obviously, some initially miss out. But as weeks go by, the jockeying for position means that a select few then make it to the Top 40 eventually, and others fall by the wayside forever.

The 80s has countless examples of these “floppy discs”; classics of the era that were among the best the acts released, still staples on radio today and live favourites onstage for years after… and yet somehow missed the Top 40.

In our countdown, we’ve disregarded singles by acts who had yet to make the Top 40 with anything else (very popular songs by Simple Minds, INXS and A Flock Of Seagulls, among others, miss out as a result) and ordered them according to not just quality, but also the ‘wow’ factor – as in “Wow, that WASN’T a hit?”…

4O BLUE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS The follow-up to Johnny Come Home could have been more forgettable than it eventually was, a regulation swipe at the Tory government of the mid-80s at a time when the charts were saturated with them. It became the first non-hit to feature on a Now That’s What I Call Music album (Volume Six, to be precise), meaning the randomness of compilation albums gave it higher status than its No.41 peak in 1985 merited.

39 SOLD ME DOWN THE RIVER THE ALARM One of The Alarm’s most raw records, grafting the pop riff from T-Rex’s 1971 stomper Get It On to a marvellous roots rock anthem with a chorus as good as any they composed. Radio loved it and all was hopeful when it entered the chart at 43 in 1989 – but then it didn’t climb at all. The song – which came from their fourth LP, Change – was the Welsh band’s third consecutive single to peak between 50 and 41.

38 IF YOU LEAVE OMD The cross-Atlantic contrast in this 1986 song’s fortunes is startling; No.48 in the UK, No.4 in the US. Penned hastily for a revised ending to John Hughes rom-com Pretty In Pink, its perky, spectacularly inoffensive vanilla taste was decent, but didn’t fit the narrative of OMD’s hard-won status as electronic pioneers, while the duo themselves were coming into conflict. Stateside punters didn’t know about these instances, nor did they need to.

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About Classic Pop

Issue 51 of Classic Pop is on sale now! This month, we have an exclusive interview with Bananarama's Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward as they return with their first new studio album in a decade. We also meet iconic duo Hall & Oates before their UK arena tour and talk to Gary Numan as part of our look into the superfan phenomenon. Classic Pop pays tribute to the wonderful Mark Hollis from Talk Talk and we celebrate the band's iconic Spirit Of Eden in our latest Classic Album feature. Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford take us inside their spiky songwriting partnership and we also hear from Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder about his life as a one-of-a-kind wordsmith. Our packed new album reviews section includes Bananarama, Edwyn Collins, Toyah, Andy Bell and The Chemical Brothers. On the reissues front, we revisit New Order's debut album Movement plus re-releases from Prince, Kate Bush, R.E.M, David Bowie and more. In our live reviews section, we elbow our way down to the front for Tears For Fears, The Revolution, Holy Holy and Bryan Adams. Enjoy the issue!