‘Give Me The Night’ by George Benson (1980)
Written and composed by Rod Temperton and Quincy Jones – the partnership behind Michael Jackson’s albums Off The Wall and Thriller, George Benson’s first hit number one on the US Billboard chart is very evocative of bright summer evenings. Watch the video to see George rollerskating with his guitar.
‘Club Tropicana’ by Wham! (1983)
Released in July 1983 this satire on cheap package holidays and Club 18-30 was filmed at the legendary Pikes Hotel in Ibiza. Owner Tony Pike plays the role of bar tender in the video.
‘The First Picture of You’ by The Lotus Eaters (1983)
The Lotus Eaters debut single from 1983, is for me, very evocative of spring and summer. This is probably due to the fact this European hit was the most played single on radio that year, hence why this classic, originally recorded for a John Peel session and recorded by Nigel Gray (The Police, Siouxsie and the Banshees) with ex-Cure bassit Michael Dempsey, is indelibly etched on mine and millions others’ minds.
‘Cruel Summer’ by Bananarama (1983)
Filmed during the band’s first visit to New York – in 37°C heat and while they were off their heads on cocaine! The trio’s 1983 hit about the pain of being lonely over the summer was transient since Keren Woodward ended up with Wham! co-founder Andrew Ridgeley, while Siobhan Fahey, pior to marrying Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), was romantically involved with Bobby Bluebell of The Blue Bells with whom she co-write the UK No. 1 ‘Young at Heart’. Sara Dallin meanwhile was engaged to one of Bananarama’s dancers with whom she had a daughter.
‘I.O.U’ by Freeeze (1983)
Produced and written by Arthur Baker with UK band Freeze, this global hit from 1983 represents for me early dance music, breakdancing and BMX biking that were all emerging at this time. Theses crazes featured in the video and remind me of how we attempted the robotic dance moves and BMX tricks during our summer holidays or sunny evenings after school. The single featured in the 1984 breakdance movie soundtrack, Beat Street.
‘Long Hot Summer’ by The Style Council (1983)
By sheer coincidence July 1983 was one of the hottest on record. The video for the Style Council’s biggest hit was filmed on the River Cam, Cambridge, UK. For me this song, reminds me of summer holidays in the south of England during the 1980s.
‘All Night Long’ by Lionel Ritchie (1983)
Caribbean influences in Lionel Ritchie’s 1983 hit make it the perfect accompaniment to barbeques and alfresco parties. Like ‘I.O’U’ by Freeeze the video also features breakdancing and was produced by Michael Nesmith (ex-Monkee and MTV founder). Ritchie performed the ‘All Night Long (All Night) at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
‘Walking on the Sunshine’ by Katrina in the Waves (1985)
Released in April 1985 the video was filmed in London Docklands and Hyde Park in winter. Look out for one of band members slipping in the mud.
‘Mr Disco’ by New Order (1989)
New Order’s fifth album ‘Technique’ featured a fusion of Balearic beats and acid house. Ironically released in the chilly climes of January 1989, it became for me, the soundtrack for summer later that year. Partly recorded in a modest Ibiza studio the band frequently visited local clubs which clearly influenced the album. Lyrics such as “The holiday we spent together, Lives with me now and forever” on this track and the album’s overall sun drenched mood make this album a recommended addition to your summer holiday playlist.
‘Back to Life’ by Soul II Soul (1989)
As a student in the late eighties ‘Back to Life’ was on heavy rotation in the bar and clubs. This UK No. 1 from the triple platinum album ‘Club Classics Vol. One’ (1989) represents both, a key time in my life, and the start of a new era in British dance music which would dominate the following decade. Soul II Soul frequently worked with Nellee Hooper who would achieve huge success with Massive Attack, Madonna and Bjork in the 1990s.