Monday, May 04, 2009

Thatcher-off: The chart showdown

Thirty years ago this morning, James Callaghan was looking for boxes, while The Queen was facing the horror of having her hand kissed by Thatcher. (Although at least we can be sure that she didn't drivel and/or drool as she kissed her.) And thus began the period of British politics which, it seems, we're now obliged to say saw Thatcher "do what had to be done" - sorry, all you people, you had to be done, never mind.

But was it good for the country, really? There's only one way to find out, and that's by comparing the top tens for April 1979, the last month of a Labour government, with November 1990, when even Thatcher's closest chums got sick of her. Were the charts in a better state when she arrived, or when she left?

Number 10, April 1979: Hallelujah - Milk And Honey

Fresh from winning Eurovision - back at a time when people still felt obliged to point out that, actually, Israel would be Middle East rather than Europe - the declining moments of a Labour government were hymned by a desire for peace, and love. Isreal's entries to Eurovision often sing about peace and understanding, because otherwise the bands would be force to appear carrying signs saying "It's not our fault. We're just musicians."

Number 10, November 1990: Kylie Minogue - Step Back In Time

There are some who might suggest that it;s appropriate that, as the nation moved from the Victorian Values of Thatcher to Major's bicycling virgins going to Orwellian churches, what could be more appropriate than a song calling on us to step back in time? (And, as we'll see as we climb the charts, music had pretty much done that anyway.)

This video, apparently, is the fifth most popular performance on CD:UK ever ever ever.

Clearly, though, in this battle there is only one winner: Pre-Thatcher - 0; Post-Thatcher 1.

[More across the day]

UPDATE: 09/04/13 - Replaced the Milk & Honey video with one that works