Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Top Hits of the Year 1984 ... and discover your fortune!

I picked up this mega-rarity on Ebay. The seller had a bundle of some 20 cassettes to shift, which probably deterred other bidders, and so I bagged this practically impossible album for a mere 99p.

This is, of course, one of Chevron’s end-of-year round-up cassettes. This one’s from 1984 and mainly contains tracks taken from the label’s then-current “This Is Music” cassette series, which followed after “Parade of Pops” was shelved.


There is a somewhat amusing advert inside this cassette insert, offering written horoscopes to readers willing to part with “as little as £4.95”. The cash is to be sent to a company called Warwick Leisure of Park Royal, London – which is in fact the company which produced the cassettes, rather than some outside organisation.

Anyway, if you’re a sceptic like me, you’ll soon spot a few iffy claims such as the importance of the position of the moon when you were born – which according to the footnote, doesn’t matter if you don’t know it! Hmm…

The other thing which made me smile was the boast about the “giant” IBM computer. Reminds me of a time when computers were in their infancy, and experts thought that in the future, they would get bigger and bigger until the most powerful ones were the size of a house, and only the richest people on the planet would be able to own!

Oh, and the music. Aren’t there some gigantic hits on this cassette, including the two Frankie songs which dominated the charts in 1984? (Note that the cassette is labelled as 1985, which shows it must have appeared after the New Year – but the dating is technically wrong anyway, since all bar four songs had been issued on the main cassette series during 1984.)


  1. Congratulations on your find, very impressive! I was wondering (since I haven't got this tape yet) if the recordings would be the same as the ones that appeared on the TOTP '84 'comeback' album, since 8 of the 10 songs were on that album. I am guessing that the suppliers of this tape are Coombe music, who supplied the Parade Of Pops & latter day TOTP albums? :-)

    1. Hi.

      I'm not sure who's behind these recordings - Coombe are a good bet! Session man Martin Jay sings all the songs bar one on Best of TOTP 1984 and so it is him who takes the main vocal slot here too, because yes, the songs are nearly all the same versions.

      There are seven tracks which appear on this and the TOTP album. One of them, "Careless Whisper", is a different version. The other six are the same: "Freedom"; "Hello"; "I Feel For You"; "I Just Called To Say I Love You"; Relax"; and "Two Tribes".

    2. Nice find. According to the BBC radio documentary "Even Better Than The Real Thing", Bruce Baxter & co. were back on board for the TOTP revival in 84/85. Interesting that some of the recordings from "Best of TOTP 84" cross over onto the Chevron releases.

    3. Hi. Thanks for reminding me about that. I just checked back to see what was said on that show, and the narrator Noddy Holder says,

      "There was an attempt to revive the series in March 1985 with the release of Top of the Pops volume 92..." [cue musical interlude: "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)"] "... But even with producer Bruce Baxter back on board, and Linda Lussardi on the sleeve cover, the attempt at a revival failed."

      He's just talking about volume 92 I think, rather than the Best of 1984 LP. Although the two were released close together, the best-of LP contains tracks recorded over a long period of time, so I don't think Bruce can have been there (unless he's behind the few tracks which never featured on Chevron's cassettes).

      On the other hand, eight of the 12 tracks from Best of 1984 also crop up on a Telstar triple LP box set again rounding up 1984 hits, and these include some of those few songs not released by Chevron. This reinforces the idea that they were made elsewhere, as Pickwick did not seem to own the sound recordings.

  2. What about COUNTDOWN in GERMANY

  3. Please tell me more! I don't know anything about Countdown in Germany.