Author: Alan Jones
Source: Record Mirror
Publish date: January 19. 1985
THOUGH OVERALL sales of singles remained fairly static in 1984, more singles were certified as million sellers in the year than in any previous 12 month period.
Here’s a reminder of the platinum platters, with an update of sales thru’ to end of 1984.
RELAX - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Now, apparently, considered suitable by the BBC, ‘Relax’ is still kicking around the bottom end of the charts. Total sales of the record are now 1,828,000; comprising 1,081,000 seven-inch singles, 708,000 12-inch singles and 40,000 cassettes.
TWO TRIBES - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
At 1,589,000 sales, it’ll never overtake ‘Relax’, yet it was a far bigger moneyspinner than the former, largely because it sold a staggering 918,000 copies on 12inch. Frankie’s third single, ‘The Power Of love’ has thus far sold 620,000 copies, whilst the ‘Pleasuredome’ album has weathered its initially underwhelming reception to sell 1,250,000 copies.
I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU - Stevie Wonder
Took on a new lease of life before Christmas, and has now raised its sales to 1.65 million. Neither of Stevie’s subsequent singles, ‘Love Light In Flight’ and ‘Don’t Drive Drunk’, has dented the top 40.
CARELESS WHISPER - George Michael
George’s introductory solo venture topped 1,100,000 in Britain, and has subsequently proved even more successful abroad.
DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? - Band Aid
Destined to remain Britain’s bestselling single forever, with sales so far of 3,120,000. Worldwide, it’s shipped over seven million units, and has been number one in Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Ireland. In America it started slowly, but registered the biggest jump in recent years at Christmas, when it vaulted 45 notches to number 20. It has subsequently moved into the top 10, becoming the first festive offering to do so since Bobby Helms’ ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ tripped to number six in 1957. Its US sale of 2.5 million is the highest in that country since Chic’s ‘Le Freak’ topped four million in 1978.
LAST CHRISTMAS/EVERYTHING SHE WANTS - Wham!
The latest (and previously unnannounced) million seller reached seven figures just before Christmas and has rapidly moved on to 1¼ million. Wham!’s other 1984 singles, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ sold 850,000 and 700,000 respectively. Solo, with Wham! and as a member of Band Aid, George Michael’s voice helped to sell over SEVEN MILLION singles in Britain last year, a figure totally without precedent.
At the time of writing, it’s not clear whether the newly flipped ‘Everything She Wants/Last Christmas’ has enough impetus to reach number one, after five straight weeks as runner-up to Band Aid. If it doesn’t, it will become the first single to sell a million copies without topping the chart since Acker Bilk’s ‘Stranger On The Shore’ in 1961.
After the upheavals of the last 12 months, the revised list of all-time best sellers is as follows:
1 DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? - Band Aid (1984)
2 MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS SCHOOL - Wings (1977)
3 RIVERS OF BABYLON/BROWN GIRL IN THE RING - Boney M (1978)
4 YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT - John Travolta And Olivia Newton-John (1978)
5 RELAX - Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1983)
6 I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU - Stevie Wonder (1984)
7 SHE LOVES YOU - The Beatles (1963)
8 TWO TRIBES - Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)
9 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND - The Beatles (1963)
10 MARY’S BOY CHILD/OH MY LORD - Boney M (1978)
ALREADY THE world’s most computer-literate nation, the British invested in another quarter of a million computers, mostly micros, in the final few weeks of 1984.
At the top end of the micro market, buyers are predominantly businessmen, but most of the cheaper micros are owned by teenagers who are more interested in the latest games software than how to computerise VAT payments.
Computer games are very big business, with the more popular titles like ‘Daley Thompson’s Decathlon’ capable of selling over 100,000 units, primarily in Commodore 64 and Spectrum 48 versions, though the Japanese MSX format is gaining ground.
The computer games industry has many parallels with the record industry; both are plagued by home taping, have a high failure rate, and offer rich rewards to the company able to find regular hits. Furthermore, they sell to virtually the same market.
It’s not surprising, therefore, to find that the same entrepreneurs who breathe new life into the corpses of hit records by compiling them on TV-advertised albums are now doing the same for computer software.
Computer Games, a subsiduary of Telstar Records, has recently launched a £500,000 TV campaign for ‘Select 1’, available in both Commodore and Spectrum versions, is attractively priced at £12.49.
Computer technology is evolving rapidly, and graphics on some of the newer games, from companies like US Gold are stunning. By comparison, some of the games on ‘Select l’ are very basic (no pun intended).
However, the tape’s main attraction, ‘Hunchback’, was one of the best selling titles in 1984, and boasts superior graphics. It’s a distressingly addictive game in which it is necessary to negotiate a fiendishly hazardous course to rescue the imprisoned beauty Esmerelda. It’s identical in every respect to the original hit, which is still available with an Ocean Software imprint for £7.
Other ‘Select l’ games which stand the ravages of time include ‘Mr Wimpy’, ‘Kong’ and the deceptively simple ‘Purple Turtles’.
Most disappointing is Anirog’s ‘Skramble’, the purpose of which is to pilot a jet fighter through mountainous terrain to home base whilst dodging missiles, meteors, fireballs, monsters and other hazards. In concept, it is identical to a game of the same name marketed by Rabbit Software, but where the Rabbit title has excellent definition and a smoothly scrolling screen, the Anirog game suffers badly from a constantly jittering landscape yet requires far less skill.
Chartfile says: buy ‘Select l’ for its other attractions, but check out Rabbit’s ‘Skramble’, which was one of the great games of 1984.
…AND THAT’S A FACT
EUROPE’S FAVOURITE record in 1984, according to the computations of TROS-Radio’s Europarade was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’, which was well clear of runner-up ‘Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)’, by Phil Collins... Listeners to John Peel’s Radio One show saw it all rather differently and voted the Smiths’ admittedly superb ‘How Soon Is Now?’ as their top of the pops in the annual ‘Festive 50’ poll. They had a further six titles in the top 40, and are undoubtedly top dogs amongst listeners to late-night Radio One, though the Cocteau Twins, and their alter-ego This Mortal Coil, took NINE places in the chart, including the number two slot for ‘Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops’. Peel’s audience was less impressed with FGTH, placing ‘Two Tribes’ in 25th place, and ignoring ‘Relax’ altogether... In Germany ‘Relax’ was the third best-seller of the year. Laura Branigan won top-billing with ‘Self Control’, whilst Nino De Angelo took second place courtesy of ‘Jenseits Von Eden’... A new Michael Jackson doll, a foot tall and capable of doing splits and moonwalks is about to go on sale in America... Bronski Beat’s slow-burning ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ and the Fun Boy Three’s 1982 hit ‘Summertime’ were both written by brothers George and Ira Gershwin for the 1935 operatta ‘Porgy And Bess’. George Gershwin’s first published song rejoiced in the title ‘When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em, When You’ve Got ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em’... Once drawn into records shops to buy the Band Aid single, it seems a lot of people decided to make their journey worthwhile by buying other records. Whatever the reason, record sales in December showed a hefty increase over 1983; albums improving 29 per cent, and singles 49 per cent... Tina Turner is the oldest woman to have a top 10 hit in America...