519. ‘Let’s Dance’, by David Bowie

Ah…. Ah…. Ah…. Ah….! Bowie’s back. His 4th number one might not be his very best – it would take something to outdo ‘Space Oddity’ – but it’s definitely his biggest, brightest, catchiest moment on top of the pop charts.

Let’s Dance, by David Bowie (his 4th of five #1s)

3 weeks, 3rd – 24th April 1983

I love the mix of sixties pop – the intro ripped from ‘Twist and Shout’, the background harmonising, and the woozy horns – with hard-edged eighties funk. Let’s dance! the Duke commands… Put on your red shoes and dance the blues… And you are powerless to resist. Like ‘Billie Jean’, when a DJ launches this one down your local disco then they know what they are doing.

But as with ‘Billie Jean’, this record isn’t just a simple dance number. It’s David Bowie, and there’s an edge to it, a hidden strain of weirdness. Not so much in the lyrics, more in the way he delivers them. The yelped: Tremble like a flow-er! for example, stands out, as does the Under the moonlight, The serious moonlight! There’s a gravel in Bowie’s voice here, a soulful edge that wasn’t present in any of this three earlier #1s. He sounds like he’s enjoying belting this out, reborn after the lost years of the late-seventies, but there’s also an edge to his voice you don’t often get in dance music.

There’s also some weirdness in the video, which features two Aboriginal Australians trying on the red shoes in the song, and being transported to a capitalist wonderland of jewellery shops and posh restaurants. In the end they smash the shoes, and dance their way back into the outback. I’m not sure the song needs such a statement video, and it perhaps stems from Bowie’s discomfort at releasing such a commercial record.

I fully admit to sometimes not getting David Bowie. I love his glam hits, and two of his three previous chart-toppers, ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Under Pressure’. (‘Ashes to Ashes’ was less of a smash with me.) But I get this one. What’s not to get? If anything, I’m properly realising just how great ‘Let’s Dance’ is, in all its funky glory. The funk here is brought by the song’s producer, Nile Rodgers. His influence is all over it, and not just in the fact he plays guitar on the recording. (The solo at the end, meanwhile, is performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan.) Bowie had written it as folk number, until Rodgers came along.

As great as it is, the success of ‘Let’s Dance’ sent David Bowie off course for the rest of the decade. He confessed that the MTV success of this single and the subsequent album, and the newer, younger fans that it brought him, left him unsure of his direction. But let’s not worry about that for now. In this moment, we can celebrate what is perhaps his ultimate singles chart moment, a good fifteen years into his career as a chart star.

That’s an interesting point. We’re right in the middle of a run of era-defining singles, that are launching the 1980s as we know it. But only really Duran Duran could be described as an ‘eighties’ act, and even they were several years into their career. Bowie, Michael Jackson and Bonnie Tyler were all seventies, if not sixties, veterans. But it is they who are at the forefront of this bright new era.

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518. ‘Is There Something I Should Know?’, by Duran Duran

From Michael Jackson, past ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, to Duran Duran. Our head-first jump into the heart of the 1980s continues…

Is There Something I Should Know?, by Duran Duran (their 1st of two #1s)

2 weeks, 20th March – 3rd April 1983

Please please tell me now! It’s an aggressive intro, as Simon Le Bon pleads, again and again, while those trademark eighties drums blast through the speakers. In come some jangly, filtered guitars, and an insistent, galloping beat. This is a record that grabs you from the start, and doesn’t really give you a chance to decide whether or not it’s any good…

And it is a good record. After a few listens I’ve settled into it, and am spotting some cool touches. There’s a great bassline, for example, and a nice moment when, just before the choruses, everything fades apart from a pulsing synthesiser that sounds like it’s trying to send a message by Morse Code. I also like the soulful urge in the pre-chorus: With broken glass for us to hold, And I got so far before I had to say…

There are bits I’m not so hot on, though. The weird, harmonica-led ‘solo’ feels like a missed opportunity, and the line You’re about as easy as a nuclear war… jars as much in today’s world as it probably did forty years ago. I also find Le Bon’s delivery, as much as I like it in the chorus, a bit much in the verses. Although they have very different voices, it was the same with Limahl in Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’: there’s something about the new romantic style of singing that’s a bit too arch at times…

(Possibly the worst picture-sleeve yet? It looks like it’s been printed on a school jotter…)

Speaking of ‘Too Shy’, that was actually the first #1 that a member of Duran Duran had a hand in: it was produced by Nick Rhodes. Duran Duran, though, had been around for a lot longer than Kajagoogoo – ‘Girls on Film’ was their first Top 10 hit in 1981 – and would go on to have many more hits. And to me, speaking as someone who doesn’t know them away from the big hits, they are probably the quintessential mid-eighties band. The poster boys of New Romanticism and the 2nd British Invasion. Brash, loud (both musically and in their fashion), and a triumph of style over substance.

But I’m here to have my mind changed on that. I like ‘Is There Something I Don’t Know?’ I don’t love it, but there’s an endearing urgency to the song that sees it through. And in entering the charts at #1, it announces Duran Duran as the biggest band in the nation at this moment (and, unlike many of the biggest British acts since The Beatles, they were about to be huge the whole world over, too…)

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515. ‘Too Shy’, by Kajagoogoo

I think it may have arrived, the moment I’ve been anticipating for a while now… The official start of the 1980s.

Too Shy, by Kajagoogoo (their 1st and only #1)

2 weeks, 13th – 27th February 1983

This is the most eighties chart-topper yet. Everything here has been filtered through some kind of ‘80s-ifier: the synths, the electronic drums, the bass, the icy piano… And that’s before you get to the band’s hair-dos… Just look at those mullets! I really like the intro, though: the slow build up and funky bass riff. There’s also a killer, if slightly nonsensical, chorus: You’re too shy shy, Hush hush, Eye to eye…

Singer Limahl’s delivery is also very of its time. It’s very arch, very airy and knowing. I don’t want to plant the ‘New Romantic’ flag, as I don’t think Kajagoogoo were quite that, but that’s where we’re heading. The rest of this song, though…? It’s OK. The nice touches aren’t enough to cover up the fact that it’s a bit lightweight, and a bit dull in places. I’ve heard of ‘landfill indie’… Can this be ‘landfill eighties’?

While the song is fine, we have to take a moment to examine the band name. Potentially one of the worst band names in history? It’s based on the sounds babies make, apparently. Before Kajagoogoo they were known as ‘Art Nouveau’, which is the sort of name you’d give a fictional parody of a new-wave band. They weren’t around for very long. Limahl left after just two years as lead-singer, citing personality differences, and the band officially spilt up in 1985.

I do think this is a moment where any remnants of what went before have been ditched. There’s no disco here, no post-punk or soft rock. Just pure and unadulterated eighties. Even the big, decade-specific acts we’ve met so far – Adam Ant, Culture Club, Human League – didn’t have the mid-eighties glossiness that ‘Too Shy’ has. But I think we’re set now, and about to foray into the deepest depths of it.

And I have to admit that I’m making that statement not based solely on this one record – though it is very now. I’m also making it with one eye on the chart-toppers that will immediately follow. The next five number ones will feature either some of the decade’s biggest stars, or its biggest songs. Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’ is the appetiser to a giant ‘80s feast that is on its way…

514. ‘Down Under’, by Men at Work

I have to admit, straight off the bat, that the sight of this song on the list aux number ones made me shudder… I try to approach every song with an open-mind, void of prejudice and preconception (an approach which is going to become increasingly difficult when we reach songs I’ve lived through…) But ‘Down Under’ is a song that has always got on my wick.

Down Under, by Men at Work (their 1st and only #1)

3 weeks, 23rd January – 13th February 1983

What is it that annoys me? The flutey bits, the faux-ethnic vibe, the strange accent that it’s delivered in – not an Australian accent – the fact that it isn’t funny enough to be a novelty song, but is funny enough to be irritating… (Though the video, which I had never seen before today, is very goofy, and does make the song a bit more palatable.)

I come from a land down under… Where women glow and men plunder… It is a paeon to being Australian. The singer travels the world, from Brussels to Bombay, and is beloved of all because he comes from a land down under. I once spent a holiday in Thailand with what felt like half of Sydney, all celebrating Australia Day. And every third song they sang was ‘Down Under’… I’m not sure the locals of Koh Samui were all that enamoured of their Aussie visitors, as the beer flowed, and the men chundered…

Having said that, what would improve this song in my eyes would be for it to up its Aussie-ness to the extreme. We need lines about ‘utes’, and being ‘daggy’ (actually this song is pretty damn daggy), and a ‘flaming galah’ or two for good measure. And we need it sung by Joe Mangle from ‘Neighbours’. (Yes, most of my Australian cultural references come from mid-to-late ‘90s soap operas. Strewth!)

In a nice coincidence, ‘Down Under’ is back in the charts as I write this, and the original singer Colin Hay has a credit. (It’s been as high as #5 in the UK.) This new drum ‘n’ bass version, although not the sort of thing I’d usually enjoy, ups the weirdness of the song and somehow works better. For me. I realise that this song is loved by a lot of people, people that aren’t even Australian, but I’ve never really got it.

Men at Work were from Melbourne, and had released ‘Down Under’ in their homeland back in 1981. The band actually wrote it as a comment on how Oz was being ‘Americanised’, and that the Australian things referenced in the song were under threat. While I wouldn’t want to disagree with the songwriter, I’d say that that angle has been completely lost over time. ‘Down Under’ has been voted the ‘2nd Most Australian Song’ ever, presumably just behind ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’. Away from this hit, Men at Work wouldn’t get back into the Top 20 in Britain. In the US and Australia, though, they enjoyed more success before splitting up in 1986. They are currently touring again, with Colin Hay.

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511. ‘Beat Surrender’, by The Jam

On with the next thirty. And to start, The Jam return for one final chart-topper.

Beat Surrender, by The Jam (their 4th and final #1)

2 weeks, 28th November – 12th December 1982

In my last post on them – ‘Town Called Malice’ / ‘Precious’ – Paul Weller and his bandmates had made some sonic advancements. Away from punk; into soul, funk and Motown. ‘Beat Surrender’ is more of the same. It’s intro, for a start, is the love-child of ‘I Will Survive’s piano flutter, and ‘Dancing Queen’s glissando.

I’m not even sure there’s a guitar involved here. Certainly not a lead guitar. There’s a piano, and lots of horns. It’s slick and glossy. But that’s not to suggest that The Jam have lost their edge. It’s still a great pop song, with a great hook: Come on boy, Come on girl, Succumb to the beat surrender…

And like most Jam songs, it’s lyrically dense. The title is a play on ‘Sweet Surrender’ and the idea of beating a retreat, which makes sense when you realise that this was The Jam’s final release, their farewell single. Weller intended it as a call to their fans, to young, up and coming bands: Seize the young determination, Show the fakers you ain’t foolin’…

The band also drop some pearls of wisdom from their time as one of the country’s biggest acts: Bullshit is bullshit, It just goes by different names… A line that I think – unless I’m forgetting something obvious – delivers our first example of swearing in a #1 single. Lonnie Donegan, The Stones, Billy Connolly have all flirted with it, but didn’t go all the way. It took five hundred and eleven chart-toppers, though, which is impressive. Safe to say this won’t be the last…

I do admire the way that The Jam didn’t stand still, never seemed to recycle a sound or a style, in their five years of success. Here we have a great moment, when the soulful riffs of the first two verses drops down to a galloping disco bassline. It’s a risk, for a rock act, you could alienate your fans by daring to try new things (gasp!). But it didn’t seem to hurt The Jam. ‘Beat Surrender’ entered at #1 – making them the second act to do this three times (after Slade). Of course, announcing that this record was to be their final ever release probably didn’t hurt its chances, and ensured a fair bit of demand…

 Though I’d say that it hasn’t remained in the collective memory as much as their three previous number ones. It’s a good one – none of their chart-toppers are anything less than a seven-out-of-ten – but perhaps its success wasn’t just for musical reasons. Anyway, after this Paul Weller formed The Style Council, with whom he continued his chart-success (though they never made it to #1) and then found himself cast as the cool uncle of British rock in the 1990s (‘The Modfather’), enjoying a hugely popular solo career that shows no signs of ending: his latest release topped the album charts just last year. Bruce Foxton, the bassist, formed ‘From the Jam’ in the mid-2000s, and Paul Weller has guested on some of his tracks, though he seems pretty set against a full-on reformation.

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509. ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’, by Culture Club

Part two of a three-part reggae autumn, and here’s one of the eighties’ most iconic figures…

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, by Culture Club (their 1st of two #1s)

3 weeks, 17th October – 7th November 1982

When I think of the 1980s, as someone who didn’t live through it (OK, I lived through almost half of it, but you know what I mean) certain images spring to mind. Huge mobile phones, Thatcher’s hair, Maradona’s hand… And that’s before we get to pop music. Madonna’s blonde curls, Michael Jackson moonwalking, ‘Frankie Says Relax’.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that the eighties has begun, thanks to a glimpse of Boy George’s long hair and beautifully sculpted eyebrows. Again. The ‘80s keep beginning. I said the same thing when we met Adam Ant, and Shakin’ Stevens, and Human League. The ‘sixties’ had a very definitive start-point: the sudden wave of Merseybeat #1s in 1963. The ‘seventies’ meanwhile actually began sometime in mid-1969, with that string of apocalyptic chart-toppers. Stretch your mind back to the fifties and it was Bill Haley who kicked all that off. The eighties, though, has been harder to pin down.

We’re here to talk about music, though, not iconography. Musically, this record isn’t announcing a new dawn. It’s nice, very gentle, reggae. The intro meanders, and the rest of the song never really picks up the pace. My attention, I’ll be honest, starts to wander. Boy George sings it beautifully, which is probably what made this song stand out at the time. That, and the fact that he looks like a girl.

Sorry, that’s obviously not a very ‘2022’ kind of thing to say. But we’re talking about forty years ago, when appearing on Top of the Pops looking like that was to become an instant national sensation. He makes Ziggy Stardust era Bowie look like Dirty Harry. The music wouldn’t have had to be anything special, it was always going to be playing a clear second fiddle. The video backs this up, with George being thrown out of a nightclub, then a swimming pool, then standing trial for simply being himself. Do you really want to hurt me, Do you really want to make me cry…? The jury of black people in blackface is presumably a comment on people acting how society demands, rather than on being true to themselves. (Completely irrelevant side note: that makes two #1s in a row with a music video featuring the artists on trial.)

I do wish I liked this more. It’s a genuine moment at the top of the charts, but I can’t really get into it. The best bit is the middle-eight, when the emotions peak: If it’s love you want from me, Then take it away… But that’s followed by an empty space where some kind of solo should be. There’s just some bass noodling, some light drumming, and an echo. It reminds me of The Police’s ‘Walking on the Moon’, which I found similarly dull.

‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ was a huge breakthrough for Culture Club. Their only previous chart hit had made #100. Following this, for two years, every single they released would make #4 or higher. Maybe my take on this record is clouded by the fact that I know their monster hit is yet to come… In a year’s time they’ll score one of the biggest chart-toppers of the decade. Maybe that’s when the eighties will officially begin? Or maybe – more likely – I won’t know when the ‘eighties’ began until it’s all over, and I can look back.

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502. ‘Goody Two Shoes’, by Adam Ant

In which Adam breaks away from the Ants, and goes solo with a chilled-out, lo-fi, slow-burn debut…

Goody Two Shoes, by Adam Ant (his 1st and only solo #1)

2 weeks, 6th – 20th June 1982

Or not. ‘Goody Two Shoes’ is even more frenetic than either of his band’s chart-toppers. It’s a bit of throwback – twanging rockabilly mixed with a jiving big-band brass section – and it’s all kept galloping along by a relentlessly simple drum beat that Does. Not. Let. Up. Once.

Like ‘Prince Charming’ it is a repetitive song that you need to be in the mood for. Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes… I can see why this might get on some people’s nerves. But if you are in the mood for Adam’s hyperactive musical mind, then this is a great pop single, and the perfect song on which to launch a solo career. We don’t follow fashion, That would be a joke…

People repeat to Adam (in the video it’s a crowd of journalists) the song’s iconic hook: Don’t drink, Don’t smoke, What do you do…? He doesn’t give the press what they want! He doesn’t conform! Is he up to something…!? This might be the first chart-topping example of a ‘haters gonna hate’ hit, the art form so beloved of Taylor Swift. No-one’s gonna tell me, Who to eat with, Sleep with…

What does he do, then? In the lyrics, the answer is an ambiguous: Must be something inside… In the video it’s a little less subtle: he takes the sexiest journalist to bed and shows her just what he does do. Phwoar! It is a bit repetitive, but it’s short, and pacy, and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Of Ant’s three number ones in just over a year, I’d sandwich this nearer to ‘Stand and Deliver!’ (the best) than ‘Prince Charming’ (the worst).

For this record he kept a guitarist and the drummer from his earlier band, letting the other members go due to a ‘lack of enthusiasm’. Sadly this didn’t launch Adam Ant to a long-lasting solo career. He’d have two more Top 10s and two more albums before moving into acting later in the decade (shout out here for my favourite of his solo singles, the characteristically bonkers ‘Apollo 9’). There have been a few comeback albums, alongside some mental health issues. He still writes and performs, and has a tour ready to go when covid allows.

I may not have truly loved any of his chart-toppers, but I am glad that Adam Ant has had his moment at the top of the UK charts. A year in which he was undeniably the biggest pop star in the country. He’s a true British eccentric, always interesting, with a great sense for the theatricality of pop. Line this up alongside the preceding #1, Madness’s ‘House of Fun’, and it has made for a technicoloured, hyperactive double at the top of the charts.

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498. ‘My Camera Never Lies’, by Bucks Fizz

Precisely a year on from scoring their first number one single, Bucks Fizz score their last. And what they lacked in longevity, they more than made up for in variety.

My Camera Never Lies, by Bucks Fizz (their 3rd and final #1)

1 week, 11th – 18th April 1982

Their chart-toppers have grown less cheesy as we’ve gone on: Euro-camp on ‘Making Your Mind Up’, pure-pop on ‘The Land of Make Believe’. This one is actually quite modern, very early-eighties, power pop. Very, dare I say it… cool? Seriously, this sounds a bit like something Cheap Trick, or The Cars, would have been putting out at the same time.

My camera never lies anymore, Cos there’s nothing worth lying for… The subject matter isn’t your usual pop group fodder, either. The singer has been following his significant other around, taking snaps of her infidelities. He’s both a sympathetic sap; and a total creep. Meanwhile there are angular guitars, power chords, zippy direction changes, and a catchy gimmick in the click click ahhhhs.

I like the lines where the girls have their say in return: It doesn’t matter anymore to you, Cos everything you tell me is boring… It reminds me of ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Mixed-sex bands don’t do that often enough – have a conversation, or a battle, through the lyrics. While the harmonies in the My camera-ra-ra sections are both stupidly catchy, and very complex. I’m starting to think that this is the Fizz’s best #1, though I have the same problem here that I had with ‘…Make Believe’: the drums are too much (on the album version we end with a full-on drum solo).

The band members have gone on record saying that this is their best song, but that it came too early in their career and has been forgotten among their poppier moments. In fact, it’s a shame that Bucks Fizz’s other (better) hits are completely overshadowed by ‘Making Your Mind Up’, and that skirt-whipping move. And it is definitely a shame that you won’t be hearing ‘My Camera Never Lies’ on the radio anytime soon.

Most of Bucks Fizz’s singles were written by Andy Hill, who has written big hits for many big acts, some of which are still to come on this countdown. I’d like to draw a more modern comparison here, with Girls Aloud: another willing pop group with a dedicated song-writing team, who churned out peerless pop in the mid-‘00s. In fact, sticking with this theme, I’d say Bucks Fizz are the very first act on this countdown that feel ‘modern’ to me.

I mean that in the sense that I was born at the tail end of their heyday, while their members were still featuring on kids’ TV into the late-eighties and early-nineties… (‘Eggs ‘n’ Baker’ anyone?) They are the very first, of many, acts I’ll write about here, that were directly part of my childhood, rather than being a famous band my parents listened to, or an act I discovered in my teens or later. Anyway, I’m off now to find a clip of Cheryl Baker walking down Baker Street, singing ‘Baker Street’, on ‘Going Live’ circa 1992, to convince myself that six-year-old me didn’t dream it…

495. ‘Town Called Malice’ / ‘Precious’, by The Jam

Straight in at number one with the lead-single from their final album… The Jam do Motown.

Town Called Malice / Precious, by The Jam (their 3rd of four #1s)

3 weeks, 7th – 28th February 1982

We’ve been treated to some iconic intros in recent weeks: ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Don’t You Want Me’, ‘The Model’… ‘Town Called Malice’ is right up there too. It’s not really a riff, more an explosion of exuberance, a technicoloured smile with a jaunty bassline and a cheesy organ. I know it’s The Jam, because it’s a well-played classic, but it sounds a world away from their earlier #1s.

This being Paul Weller and The Jam, however, things aren’t as rosy as they sound. The title perhaps gives it away, and a quick google of the lyrics (sorry Paul, but they are quite hard to make out) reveals a deeply downtrodden song. Malice is a town where people dream of rosy days and the quiet life, where decisions have to be made: buy beer or clothes for the kids. Some of it is darn near poetic: Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard, And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk bottles to their hearts…

When he starts to sing about Sunday’s roast beef, I get a huge sense that this is an early-eighties take on Ray Davies’ suburban odes from a generation earlier. Weller wrote it based on his childhood in Woking, a commuter town outside London. Funnily enough, this middle-eight is the most modern-sounding bit of the song, as we go from The Supremes to The Specials’ ska tones. And at its core – which wasn’t always the case with The Kinks – I think ‘Town Called Malice’ is optimistic. It’s up to us to change, A town called Malice… Life may be shit, but you still have to live it as best you can.

Despite being as biting as ever, The Jam do sound happier than they did in 1980. Success puts distance between you and any hardships you’ve endured, and maybe that left them feeling free to experiment with different sounds. It’s certainly a sneak-preview of the soulful sounds that Weller would push to the forefront with The Style Council. And in my mind this song will forever be associated with the scene in ‘Billy Elliot’, where he dances across the rooftops of County Durham (though, much like the contrast between ‘Malice’s melody and lyrics, Billy was dancing in frustration, rather than joy…)

For the second post in a row, we have a double-‘A’ to write about. I’m not sure how much airplay ‘Precious’ got, but the history books have it at #1 and so we must give it a spin. If ‘Town Called Malice’ was a departure for The Jam, then ‘Precious’ is a giant leap. I’d describe it as ‘disco-funk’. There are chucka-chucka guitars, there are horns… I’m half-waiting for Weller to shout ‘Shaft!’ It’s another moment where you can see that The Jam were nearing the end of their shelf-life.

Not that it’s bad. Or that bands shouldn’t try new things. But when you’ve gone from punk to funk in barely five years, it’s clear that the confines of a three-piece, guitar, bass ‘n’ drums band are not enough to satisfy the members’ creativity. Like ‘Malice’, the lyrics are very hard to make out, but unlike ‘Malice’, I feel no compulsion to look them up. This record is a groove, a mood. There’s a short single edit and a longer album version, towards the end of which things go very acid, with a free-styling saxophone.

It all adds to the fact that this has been a brilliantly eclectic start to 1982, with all four number ones (six songs, if you count the two double-‘A’s) bringing something very different to the top of the charts. And for all this talk of the end nearing for The Jam, they have one more #1 to come: their very last release. They’ll be going out on top, then, one of the decade’s most distinct and successful bands. Until then…

488. ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’, by The Police

Part IV of my ongoing campaign to enjoy The Police more

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, by The Police (their 4th of five #1s)

1 week, 8th – 15th November 1981

I do really want to like their records, but there’s always something holding me back. Something about the production, the jaunty reggae rhythms, Sting’s voice… It just doesn’t work for me. Here, the punky edge from their late-seventies records, ‘Message in a Bottle’ in particular, has gone. In its place are synths, and a very MOR piano line.

All of The Police’s chart-toppers so far have centred on not getting what you want (‘Message…’) or what you want not lasting (‘Walking on the Moon’ and, at a stretch, ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’). ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’ falls into the former category. Sting wants to tell a girl all of the feelings he has for her, in his heart, but… alas.

What usually saves Police songs for me are the choruses. They sure could write a killer chorus. The verses might meander, and the fade-outs may be too long, but the choruses kick. Every little thing she does is magic, Everything she do just turn me on… Even though my life before was tragic, Now I know my love for her goes on… The lyrics may look clumsy when typed out, but it’s such an air-punching moment you don’t really notice.

The rest of the song, though? Meh. Something about the mix is quite stodgy, with the voices buried under the instruments. There’s the piano – unusual for a Police song – and African drums. A stripped-back, more guitar-based version would work better for me. But that’s just, like, my opinion. And it’s something I’ll have to get used to as the 1980s wear on: guitars taking much more of a back seat.

This record, the second single from the band’s fourth album, isn’t a giant departure from what went before, but it was different enough for guitarist Andy Summers to object, both to the piano and to the production. It’s definitely The Police’s poppiest #1. And the reason that Sting’s vocals sound so distant may be because the band played over a demo he had recorded months before. And I’m with Summers on this: something about it doesn’t quite click.

So. Four of The Police’s #1s down, one to go. Will the last one – still a year and a half away – finally be the Police song I can love? Well, actually, yes it will. Because their final chart-topper is a decade-defining classic. Until then, then…