Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 27/06/97

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Greatest hits that are anything but

Genuine one-hit wonders are something of a rarity in the music business. While there will always be the occasional act that produces just one single that manages to have a real impact on the public, the promotional push that a hit single gives is normally enough to ensure chart success for the follow-up single at least. Even when an act has a hit which seems to patently mark them as a one-off, they can reappear years later, as Falco, The Firm and Johhny Logan all proved during the 1980s.

What is much more common is for an artist to produce a single hit with such a massive impact that, even though they may manage several more chart successes and respectable albums business, they remain fundamentally associated with it. Ten years later, they will be lucky to be recalled for anything else by anyone other than manic obsessives of the period in question (naturally, such discerning folk are quite likely to be here on Gusworld).

It is into this category that 'I Ran' by A Flock Of Seagulls and 'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell fall clearly. As I mused in an earlier rant, the latter has become an absolute staple of New Romantic and 80s compilations; I somehow managed to overlook 'I Ran' for inclusion in the same category, but it's also a compilation favourite.

I mention these two artists here because, in recent weeks, I have acquired compilations by both ver Flock and ver Cell, and in a truly remarkable oversight, neither includes the key track for which that act is famous. The Soft Cell compilation, from Polygram's budget arm Karussel, offers a healthy 16 tracks, including some rare B-sides, and actually manages to feature three top 10 hits ('Say Hello, Wave Goodbye', 'Torch' and 'Bedsitter'). But it doesn't include 'Tainted Love', which has hit the UK charts on at least four separate occasions (reaching #1 on the first occasion) and enjoys the distinction of the longest continual run ever on the Billboard Hot 100. This is clearly a major stuff-up.

And Soft Cell had a better chart track record than A Flock Of Seagulls, who managed just one Top 10 hit in the US and UK. Very surprisingly, their UK Top Tenner was not 'I Ran', which only hit #43; it was 'Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)'. But neither of these tracks is on '20 Classics Of The '80s', from Emporio Records. The best performer on offer here is 1982's 'Space Age Love Song' (a UK#34), followed distantly by 1985's 'Who's That Girl (She's Got It)', which stalled at UK#66.

It's not that I object to owning these compilations; I'd rather have a discful of Flock rejects that anything by silverchair. But given the ubiquity of the key hits on all sorts of other cheap compilations, the record companies responsible for these collections must have had really low licensing fees in mind to have missed them entirely.

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