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Chartography - contents

Here's the list of performers I'm going to feature over time. Will certainly add some over timešŸ˜ƒ When a new chartography is publis...


Chartography - Vangelis

Sad news of Vangelis's passing. One of the most esteemed and long-standing figures of electronic music, creator of some of its best pieces, with carrier spanning close to six decades, at several points he had tremendous commercial success in every part of the world. To honour his memory I'd like to offer an overview of his (sometimes quite stunning) chart action.


(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the bestest viewing experiencešŸ˜Š)


Chartography - Tears for Fears

Tears for Fears have reunited and released their new album "The Tipping Point" recently. Now there's a success story that in theory was highly unlikely, if not impossible - two aloof young lads singing mightily depressing songs and childhood traumas, neuroses, death. And yet millions of records sold all over the world, triumph in the, possibly, hardest market in the world to break - the USA, legendary status and numberless tributes. There must be a lesson or moral here, but let's not go there now. Instead let's have a look at their chart victories and marvel at the sight of them:

Tears for Fears

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Chartography - Propaganda

 Seeing how there's a new album out by frontwomen of the German synth band Propaganda - under the title xPropaganda, let's see how they fared chartwise originally. This band is something of a footnote in music history of the 1980s, being overshadowed by their ZTT labelmates - Frankie Goes to Hollywood and (The) Art of Noise, but is arguably the must musical of the whole bunch, with their debut album "A secret wish" held in high regard to this day and re-released numerous times over the decades. Interestingly, for a seeming "flash in the pan" they had quite a bit of success in their time, impressing over countries and continents with varied, even clashing tastes. I wish the frontladies luck with their new venture and invite dear readers to check their past glories.


(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the bestest viewing experiencešŸ˜Š)


Chartography - OMD

Not only Soft Cell are aiming for a restart. The last year saw a new compilation release from OMD in preparation for their new album in 2022. Looks like just the time to check how they did over more than four (!!!) decades of their carrier. Overall they did marvelously, remaining a presence in the international charts for an enviable stretch of time. To add to that their status as pioneers of popular electronic music - and we have an outstanding band deservedly hailed among the most important of their era. Personally I had a bit of a hard time getting into their body of work (beyond hits, that is), mainly because of the vocals, but things progressed eventually☺ Nowadays they are highly regarded and respected and perhaps their stature is at its all-time peak. So, a good time to check the lengths and breadths they went


(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the bestest viewing experiencešŸ˜Š)


Chartography - Soft Cell

Soft Cell reactivated recently for a new album. The duo seems to undergo a wave of reappraisal recently, spurred by the 40th anniversary of their influential debut "Non-stop erotic cabaret" (a very interesting article about the creation of which you can read here and less interesting but more upfront one here) and accompanying tour. So it seems a good time to cast an eye over the carriers of the duo itself and, as usual, of its members separately. And a good way to restart this blog after too long an absence!

Soft Cell

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Chartography - Falco

Only a third act from Europe on this blog (but thankfully not the last one). This time it's Falco - the original white rapper who took (most of the) the world by storm, and twice at that, in early-mid 1980s. Far from a one- or two-hit wonder, he's still fondly remembered. His autobiography, though, is a heartbreaking reading - story of an artist haunted by his inner demons, unable to get to grips with success, freewheeling soul unwilling to conform and do what's right. In some ways an archetypal "New Wave" guy - outsider who chanced upon worldwide success but wasn't ready and didn't know how to exploit and prolong it (and probably cared little). Still, for a guy from Austria to break so many barriers is unprecedented and he's deservedly a national hero of the country to this day.

A necessary note: there were so many posthumous releases under Falco's banner that charted only in Austria (compilations of various kinds) that I dispensed with those and only included the releases that at least charted in Germany and Switzerland too.


(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the bestest viewing experiencešŸ˜Š)


Chartography - Men Without Hats

Now a band from the other side of the globe - Canada. Men Without Hats shone briefly but brightly, releasing one of the catchiest songs of the decade ("The safety dance") and one of the finest synthpop albums ever ("Rhythm of youth"). As with too many of the early MTV favourites they weren't able to capitalize on this sudden surge in popularity, yet unusually they didn't simply disappear, but gained considerable traction with their second biggest hit ("Pop goes the world") and album of the same name. And while worldwide they only had two hits, in their homeland they were more consistent throughout the 1980s. After a break two two decades they returned in 2012 with a new album "Love in the age of war", which easily rivaled their finest work. More of a live proposition nowadays, they are fondly remembered and consistently referenced in the media (like A Flock of Seagulls and some other distinctive 1980s bands). Not much of a word charts-busting machine, still it's interesting to check how they fared commercially.

Men Without Hats

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Chartography - Icehouse

Striving for geographical variety, here's a band from outside the world's main music markets of the 1980s - Icehouse from Australia. The country usually neglected, during the 1980s it became the source of constant stream of great music and definitely put itself on the music map. Many of those successes proved to be short-lived but quite a few artists endured. Icehouse were among them, having hits outside of their home base on a regular basis during the decade. And fine hits they were, too! The band usually described as a Roxy Music copy - but that's far from the truth and anyway, what a fine model to copy (or take inspiration from). Icehouse made some of the great music of the 1980s, excelling at ballads, but also doing superb mid-tempo atmospheric stuff and not shying away from engaging faster stuff. All-round professionals, in short, and their regular worldwide success was completely justified. Of course they faded at the dawn of the 1990s, like so many fine bands, but their legacy is still alive and invites a regular revisits. Here's what I've been able to find regarding their chart successes, of course the bulk of them is in Australasia, but quite a few songs had success, sometimes in rather surprising places. Let's see!


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Chartography - Grace Jones

Time to restart the blog. New chart file is for Grace Jones - one of the most outstanding and outrageous performers in a decade filled with colourful individuals. Starting out in music as a disco singer, she was able to reinvent herself for the new era and accomplish two not at all easy tasks at once - creating some groundbreaking work and gaining widespread success, including a couple of worldwide hits (apart from the US, where she was only a minor star on the market, eclipsed by her own celebrity status and acting successes). By the end of the 1980s it was over, of course, like with so many of her peers from late 1970s, but she remained an illustrious figure in show business and her comeback in late 2000s was met with both critical and commercial acclaim. And she's a figure of a massive influence to lots of modern-day female performers and pop culture is littered with references to her image(s).

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the bestest viewing experiencešŸ˜Š)


Chart collection - RAI Top Parade (Italy)

As a continuation of this post - a second part of the Italy's RAI chart collection. In July 1985 Hit Parade has been renamed Top Parade and stayed that way until October 1990, when the size of the chart scaled down from Top 20 to Top 10 for both singles and albums (probably because of the general slowing down of the sales, especially on singles market). Below is the link to almost all Top Parade charts (except for those that weren't published in the magazine).

The renaming went with the revision of the charts' presentation - concurrent lists from UK's Music Week and USA's Billboard were added for both singles and albums. The look was quite messy until November 1987, when it became more defined, but the inclusion of the foreign info meant that the chart info spread out on two pages - one for albums and one for singles. Oh, and all scans are in black & white, instead of original full colour, which makes the initial years rather tiresome to look through. Still, a great bit of chart history!

I have a thread on UKMix dedicated to foreign entries on the RAI singles chart during Top 20 years. Soon I'll start updating it with Top Parade info, please have a look☺

RAI Top Parade (1985-1990)