50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : JAN 24- JAN 30

Hello and welcome to this week’s round-up from Top Of The Pops history, which features a tribute to a country.

Neil Diamond turned 73 this week. One of his most famous songs might surprise you ……. or maybe not, as Red Red Wine, made famous by UB40 was a cover of a Neil Diamond song.

Sharing a birthday, is TV’s Jools Holland, who believe it or not, was once a popstar as well, playing keyboards in Squeeze.

On the theme of Neil Diamond covers, here’s another one, by a man who shares a birthday with him (1959) ……… Mr Victor Reeves, performing with EMF in 1995.

Of course, it would be rude to mention Vic Reeves, and not include his collaboration with The Wonder Stuff.

58 this week, Andy Cox was a two time (or three time, if you include Two Men and a Drum Machine) pop star in the 1980s, with The Beat and Fine Young Cannibals.

So, in the interest of fair play, here’s one of each.

Another famous Andrew in pop, is Mr Andrew Ridgeley off of Wham! This song, is just superb.

Seeing as birthdays of New Order members will be commemorated with side projects such as Electronic or Monaco, how about an actual New Order song for Gillian Gilbert.

They probably should have just mimed.

Meanwhile it’s Mark Owen’s birthday this week, so here he his performing Never Forget, in an episode seemingly presented by Howard Donald’s future other half Catherine Tate.

Frank Skinner celebrates a birthday this week. I imagine you’ve guessed what video is coming up next. Sadly, it’s the awful 1998 version rather than the excellent 1996 one.

Matthew Wilder also celebrates a birthday this week. Here he is being enthusiastically introduced by John Peel. He ended up helping No Doubt become massive in the late 90s.

And finally, this week sees Australia Day, so here’s a couple of tunes from Down Under for you.

And finally, the song that soundtracked Australia’s Royal Wedding. I still get emotional thinking about it. Scott and Charlene. What a lovely couple.

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THE FRIDAY FIVE – 8.6.2012 (AND IT’S A SHAMELESS EURO 2012 SPECIAL)

1. Rawbau – Tejkitize
2. General Fiasco – Rebel Get By
3. Alex Clare – Too Close
4. Ren Harvieu – Open Up Your Arms
5. Coldplay ft Rihanna – Princess Of China

Euro 2012 starts today, and thus, I shall be shamelessly cashing in on this by doing football related charts. We start, with five football related songs

FIVE FOOTBALL RELATED SONGS

1. Dana – Yer Man
2. Manchester United 1994 FA Cup Final Squad – Come On You Reds
3. Glenn and Chris – Diamond Lights
4. Andy Cameron – Ally’s Army
5. Lightning Seeds ft Frank Skinner and David Baddiel – Three Lions

History is full of great football songs, I might as well have, as they say in football, have a subs bench. These musical subs are so good, there isn’t even room for The Anfield Rap. Now that is strength in depth.

FIVE MORE FOOTBALL SONGS

1. Giorgio Chinaghlia – I’m Football Crazy
2. Andy Cole – Outstanding
3. Christina Strumer – Fieber
4. Chas and Dave – Ossie’s Dream
5. James – Goal Goal Goal

A further twist, I thought i’d do a group by group chart from acts from the competing countries. I’m gutted that Moldova didn’t qualify, as I can’t put in Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone.

Imagine if I did this for Euro 2008, purely with Austria qualifying, I could have had Falco.

With Switzerland also qualifying, I could have used it as a platform to profess my undying love for Celine Dion. She may have been born in Canada, but through representing Switzerland in Eurovision 1988, that would qualify her under FIFA rules.

Group A was a struggle due to the lack of Polish postars I know of, and Greece producing dross like Demis Roussos and Nana Mouskouri, but I got a chart together.

FIVE SONGS FROM EURO 2012 GROUP A COUNTRIES

1. Tatu – All The Things She Said
2. Karel Fialka – Hey Matthew
3. Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme
4. Tatu – All About Us
5. Jan Hammer – Crockett’s Theme

If Group A was a struggle for the wrong reasons, Group B was a struggle for all the right reasons. I didn’t even need to use Nelly Furtado as a ringer for Portugal, there was so much musical talent from Denmark, Germany and Holland, or even having to include Van Halen, courtesy of the Dutch born guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM COUNTRIES IN EURO 2012 GROUP B

1. Alphabeat – Boyfriend
2. Shocking Blue – Venus
3. Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F
4. Focus – Slyvia
5. Goombay Dance Band – Seven Tears

Group C was difficult to choose with the musical powerhouse of Republic of Ireland, responsible for the likes of Jedward, Boyzone, Westlife and B*Witched in it, alongside Spain and Italy. Croatia really lets the group down.

Controversy may surround the inclusuion of Electric Dreams, with Sheffield not being in Italy, but Giorgio Moroder is the main name on the song, and Phil Oakey only a credited guest vocalist. Plus, remember the fundamental rule of The Friday Five …….. My chart, my rules.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM EURO 2012 GROUP C

1. Spagna – Call Me
2. Giorio Moroder ft Phil Oakey – Together In Electric Dreams
3. Samantha Mumba – Always Come Back To Your Love
4. Gala – Freed From Desire
5. Baccara – Yes Sir, I Can Boogie

Group D sees me “Positively discriminate” against England. Nothing against England, but it feels wrong to include the likes of Oasis, Blur, Pulp, James and Ocean Colour Scene on a Europop chart

Ukraine sees me draw a blank, but I did like that woman who won Eurovision for them a few years back by ripping off Wildboys by Duran Duran.

Thankfully, the group is salvaged by pop heavyweights France and Sweden

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM COUNTRIES IN EURO 2012 GROUP D

1. Ace Of Base – The Sign
2. Andreas Johnson – Glorious
3. Daft Punk – Da Funk
4. Emilia – Big Big World
5. Air – Kelly Watch The Stars

And finally, the Olympic Flame came to Northern Ireland this week. So, I thought i’d use this to embrace the pyromaniac within, and do a chart of fire related songs.

FIVE FIRE RELATED SONGS

1. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire
2. Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning’
3. U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
4. Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
5. The Prodigy – Firestarter