Thursday 5 December 2019

Retro Top Ten: This week in 1985

Feargal Sharkey: number one in 1985
Feargal Sharkey: number one in 1985

The Undertones' best known and best loved song, 'Teenage Kicks', didn't even crack the UK top thirty when released in October 1978.

Despite their high profile, plaudits from the music press, and a huge fanbase, the Northern Ireland outfit never really conquered the singles chart, achieving just one top ten hit with 'My Perfect Cousin' which peaked at No. 9 in the spring of 1980.

The Undertones disbanded in 1983 when lead singer Feargal Sharkey departed to pursue a solo career, with other members going on to form That Petrol Emotion.

Sharkey's solo effort appeared to be following the same chart trajectory as the Undertones: his first two singles charted in the UK in the mid-20s.

'A Good Heart' broke the mould in spectacular fashion, reaching number one in several countries, including the UK, Ireland and Australia.

The song was written by Maria McKee about her relationship with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboard player Benmont Tench and produced by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. (McKee would top the UK charts in her own right five years later, with 'Show Me Heaven'.)

Sharkey's follow-up single, the Tench composition 'You Little Thief', was allegedly written as a response to 'A Good Heart', though the writer has denied that the song in about McKee. It gave the Derry singer another chart hit, reached 5 in the UK and 3 in Ireland.

Sharkey's spell in chart top ten territory was short-lived. In the early nineties he moved to the business side of the music industry where he become a key figure. In 2009 he entered The Guardian's MediaGuardian 100, an 'annual guide to the most powerful people in television, radio, newspapers, magazines, digital media, media business, advertising, marketing and PR', at number 56.

1 A Good Heart Feargal Sharkey

2 The Power of Love Jennifer Rush

3 Take On Me A-ha

4 Nikita Elton John

5 Don't Break My Heart UB40

6 Something About You Level 42

7 Trapped Colonel Abrams

8 Stairway To Heaven Far Corporation

9 One Vision Queen

10 Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin

Wexford People

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