In 1985 Radio 1 broadcast 30 Years of Rock, which comprised a repeat run of 25 Years of Rock plus five new programmes looking at the music and events from 1980 to 1984.
The introduction in the first edition was extended to include some of the main events and records of the early eighties, but the records don’t really represent the era. Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and the Everley Brothers represent the fifties, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who and Scott McKenzie represent the sixties, David Bowie, Queen and the Sex Pistols represent the seventies. But Irene Cara, Dire Straits, and John Lennon who died in 1980, don’t really represent the eighties.
The new programmes did feel a bit tacked on, and the pop scene in the mid-eighties was less interesting than in the early seventies, it was a period when the pop scene went from post-punk to “like punk never happened”, although the new events are no less interesting. But the series couldn’t have had a better note to end on.
Don’t Stand So Close To Me – the Police
Speech by Jimmy Carter
Atomic – Blondie
Mount St Helens volcano in Washington erupts
Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie
Robert Mugabe elected president of Rhodesia. Speech by Robert Mugabe.
Redemption Song – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Interviews with white Rhodesians
Could You Be Loved – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe. Speeches by Robert Mugabe and Prince Charles.
Master Blaster (Jammin’) – Stevie Wonder
Gdansk Agreement signed in Poland
Food For Thought – UB40
Unemployment figures in UK rise to over two million. Ian MacGregor appointed chairman of British Steel Corporation. Interview with Ian MacGregor.
Going Underground – the Jam
Interview with new Labour Party leader Michael Foot
Baggy Trousers – Madness
Mods, rockers, punks, skinheads and teddy boys cause trouble on beaches over Easter weekend
Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Britain’s first nudist beach opens in Brighton
Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins
Iranian hostage crisis continues. Jimmy Carter cancels rescue operation.
Mirror in the Bathroom – the Beat
Iranian Embassy siege in London
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
Alan Minter becomes world middleweight boxing champion. Bjorn Borg beats John McEnroe in Wimbledon men’s singles final
Use It Up and Wear It Out – Odyssey
Margaret Thatcher calls for British boycott of Moscow Olympics. Interview with Sebastian Coe.
Games Without Frontiers – Peter Gabriel
Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe win gold medals
Coming Up – Paul McCartney
Interview with Jeremy Lloyd on Captain Beaky
Captain Beaky and His Band – Keith Michell
Prince Charles seen out with Lady Diana Spencer
The Tide Is High – Blondie
Peter Sellers dies. Riots at funeral of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador
The Winner Takes It All – Abba
Jimmy Carter runs for re-election. Ronald Reagan runs for election. Ronald Reagan elected president.
One Day I’ll Fly Away – Randy Crawford
Andy Peebles interviews John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Just Like Starting Over – John Lennon
John Lennon shot dead
Woman – John Lennon
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament revival
Stop the Cavalry – Jona Lewie
This was the first of the new programmes. On its first broadcast this was where 30 Years of Rock reached the current decade. Some of the music and events in this programme happened while 25 Years of Rock was being broadcast for the first time. The first three programmes begin with the best selling single of the year, and the last two programmes end with the best selling single of the year.
In 1980 people were still listening to the Police, Blondie and the Jam. There’s a lot of reggae in this programme (and surprisingly little reggae in the sixties and seventies programmes). There was a mod revival in the early eighties.
One of the news stories in the last edition of 25 Years of Rock was the election of Abel Muzorewa of prime minister of Rhodesia. In 1980 Rhodesia formally became Zimbabwe. The new decade saw the start of another new era in American politics. One of the most memorable news stories in Britain was the Iranian Embassy siege. The assassinated Archbishop Romero was in the news again in 2018 when he was made a saint.
The biggest new story in pop music in 1980 was the murder of John Lennon, and the programme includes some extracts from an interview he did for Radio 1 with Andy Peebles just days before he died. But the programme doesn’t end with the death of John Lennon, instead it plays out with Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie.
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
Ronald Reagan inaugurated. Iranian hostage crisis ends. Jimmy Carter welcomes hostages home.
Planet Earth – Duran Duran
Space Shuttle Columbia launched
Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads
Assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jnr
In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
People’s March For Jobs. Speech by Ken Livingstone. Interview with marcher.
Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) – Spandau Ballet
New Cross Road fire. Interview with Darcus Howe of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee.
Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie
Riots in Brixton
Ghost Town – the Specials
Race riots in Southall. Interview with witness. Riots in Toxteth, Liverpool. Rolling Stones have successful tour of USA. Interview with Keith Richard and Mick Jagger.
Start Me Up – the Rolling Stones
England win the Ashes. Ian Botham named man of the match.
O Superman – Laurie Anderson
John McEnroe argues with umpire
John McEnroe sketch – Not the Nine O’Clock News
Shaddap You Face – Joe Dolce Music Theatre
Interview with Adam Ant
Prince Charming – Adam and the Ants
Prince Charles gets engaged to Lady Diana Spencer. Interview with Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Being With You – Smokey Robinson
Prince Charles marries Princess Diana
Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits
Anwar Sadat assassinated
Invisible Sun – the Police
IRA prisoner Bobby Sands dies after hunger strike. IRA bomb British army barracks. Ian Paisley calls for Loyalists to fight IRA.
Can You Feel It? – the Jacksons
First London Marathon
Physical – Olivia Newton-John
Body Talk – Imagination
Bob Marley dies. New Romantics craze. Interview with Steve Strange.
Vienna – Ultravox
Margaret Thatcher celebrates birthday at Conservative Party conference
Happy Birthday – Altered Images
Roy Jenkins announces the formation of the SDP. Shirley Williams wins Crosby by-election. Interview with David Owen.
Endless Love – Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
Bill Haley dies
This Old House – Shakin’ Stevens
Bucks Fizz win Eurovision Song Contest. Commentary by Terry Wogan.
Making Your Mind Up – Bucks Fizz
Wojciech Jaruzelski declares martial law in Poland. Ronald Reagan supports Solidarity.
Don’t You Want Me – the Human League
Needless to say this programme begins with the inauguration of the new American president. The Iranian hostage crisis ended the same day. And the programme ends with Ronald Reagan wishing everyone a happy Christmas.
It was a new era for British politics with the foundation of the SDP. (Without the SDP there probably wouldn’t have been the Coalition government in the 2010s.) There’s no mention of the Rubik’s Cube.
And as with That Was the Week That Was in the early sixties, and Monty Python in the early seventies, so Not the Nine O’Clock News was the top satire show of the early eighties.
The early eighties were the tail end of the punk/new wave era. In 1981 there was the new romantics movement, which was a self-conscious attempt to be the next thing after punk. Electronic music was becoming more popular with Soft Cell and the Human League, and two-tone was still popular. The programme includes some of the artier records from Talking Heads and Laurie Anderson.
30 Years of Rock didn’t do Adam and the Ants justice considering how big they were in 1980-81. Prince Charming neatly segues into the Royal Wedding, the most remembered event of the year, and Ghost Town by the Specials is played over news of the riots that took place in Britain during the summer of 1981, and they include the wind blowing at the end of the record.
Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners
Mary Rose raised
Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band
Laker Airways goes bankrupt. Interviews with passengers and Freddie Laker.
Pass the Dutchie – Musical Youth
John DeLorean arrested for drug trafficking. The Jam split up. Interview with Paul Weller.
A Town Called Malice – the Jam
Argentina invades the Falkland Islands
Mad World – Tears For Fears
Britain sends armed forces to the Falklands. Interview with Margaret Thatcher.
Private Investigations – Dire Straits
General Belgrano sunk by British submarine. HMS Sheffield sunk. Argentina surrenders.
Shipbuilding – Robert Wyatt
Pope John Paul II visits Great Britain
Love Plus One – Haircut One Hundred
Michael Fagan breaks into Buckingham Palace and enters the Queen’s bedroom. Queen opens London’s Barbican Centre
House of Fun – Madness
Prince Andrew goes on holiday in Mustique with Koo Stark
The Look of Love – ABC
Women stage anti-nuclear demonstration at Greenham Common Airbase
Happy Talk – Captain Sensible
Interview with Captain Sensible. National Union of Mineworkers vote against strike action. Interview with Arthur Scargill.
Da Da Da – Trio
Chariots of Fire wins Oscar for best picture
Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
England knocked out of World Cup. Interviews with Michael Foot and Norman Tebbit on new Employment Act
Fame – Irene Cara
Musicians Union call for ban on synthesisers. Interview with Midge Ure.
Living on the Ceiling – Blancmange
Save a Prayer – Duran Duran
IRA bombings in Hyde Park and Regents Park
Theme from Harry’s Game – Clannad
Princess Grace of Monaco dies after car accident. Solidarity demand release of Lech Walesa
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Prince William born
It Started With a Kiss – Hot Chocolate
Defence Secretary John Nott walks out of interview with Robin Day
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? – Culture Club
Interview with Boy George. Yuri Andropov becomes head of state of Soviet Union following death of Leonid Brezhnev
Young Guns Go For It – Wham!
In Britain 1982 is remembered as the year of the Falklands War, Pope John Paul II’s visit to Britain, and the birth of Prince William (the only royal birth in the series). In fact most of the news stories are British stories. The 1955 and 1964 programmes included the start of ITV and BBC2, so it’s surprising that the 1982 programme didn’t include the launch of Channel 4.
1982-83 was when what most people think of eighties style really came in. The pop music scene was once again moving from rock to pop with the arrival of groups such as Culture Clubs and Wham. Blancmange were a forerunner of the indie groups of the later eighties, and Dexys Midnight Runners provided the summer’s biggest hit.
Incidentally the version of the theme from Fame which got to number one in 1982, and the version featured in this programme, is Irene Cara’s recording from the original 1980 film, and not the one used in the 1982 tv series. Although Irene Cara’s version was released as a result of the hit tv series.
New Year’s Day – U2
Speech by Ronald Reagan. Cruise missiles housed at Greenham Common Airbase. Speech by Margaret Thatcher.
War Baby – Tom Robinson
Ronald Reagan announces. Strategic Defence Initiative. Space Shuttle Challenger begins six day mission. Interview with America’s first space woman, Sally Ride.
Every Breath You Take – the Police
Stephen Warldorf shot and injured by police after being mistaken for criminal David Martin
Is There Something I Should Know – Duran Duran
Margaret Thatcher calls general election. Interview with Michael Foot. David Owen and Francis Pym on Any Questions. Conservatives win election by a landslide. Robin Day interviews Margaret Thatcher.
I’m Still Standing – Elton John
Michael Foot resigns as Labour leader. Interview with Neil Kinnock. Owen Edwards declares Neil Kinnock elected as new Labour leader.
All Night Long – Lionel Richie
Jonathan King reviews Michael Jackson’s performance at Tamla Motown concert
Bille Jean – Michael Jackson
Stern magazine publishes Hitler Diaries, which later turn out to be a hoax
True – Spandau Ballet
American troops invade Grenada following military coup
Undercover of the Night – the Rolling Stones
Korean Air Lines plane shot down over Soviet Union
Blue Monday – New Order
Cecil Parkinson resigns from cabinet when his secretary, Sarah Keays, reveals she is pregnant with his child
Wherever I Lay My Hat – Paul Young
Britain has hottest July of the century
Red Red Wine – UB40
BBC launches Breakfast Time. Diana Moran “the Green Goddess” presents exercises.
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
Interview with David Bowie
China Girl – David Bowie
Prince and Princess of Wales take Prince William on tour of New Zealand
Down Under – Men at Work
Ian MacGregor appointed chairman of National Coal Board. Interviews with Ian MacGregor and Arthur Scargill.
Only You – the Flying Pickets
IRA bomb explodes outside Harrods
Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
First compact discs go on sale
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This – the Eurythmics
Lech Walesa wins Nobel Peace Prize. Jane Torville and Christopher Dean win World Figure Skating Championships
Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
Tracey Ullman as Roz on Three of a Kind
They Don’t Know About Love – Tracey Ullman
British pop acts dominate American chart
Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
What better way to start off a look at the year 1983 than U2’s New Year’s Day? There’s a lengthy couple of minutes with no music when they look at the 1983 general election. In 1983 it was predicted that compact discs would make vinyl obsolete, but vinyl made a comeback in the twenty-first century.
The Hitler Diaries hoax was still remembered in 1985, but is largely forgotten now, so these last five editions of 30 Years of Rock are more useful now than they were when they were originally broadcast.
Since these programmes were broadcast the music has become nostalgia fodder. The last new story is about the boom in British pop music. (This was the year that saw the start of the Now That’s What I Call Music albums.) We don’t hear the Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby or Billy Idol, but we do hear Culture Club and Duran Duran. Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet were associated with the new romantics craze, but by 1983 had gone for a more mainstream sound.
As well as the new groups acts who’d been big since the sixties and seventies, such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John and David Bowie, were still having hits, and Jonathan King’s review of Michael Jackson’s performance of Billie Jean is what 30 Years of Rock is about.
Oddly enough this is the only edition of the series in Radio 6’s repeat run to include the preview of the next programme.
Radio Ga Ga – Queen
Relax banned by the BBC. Interview with Trevor Horn.
Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Frankie Goes to Hollywood release different mixes of their records and “Frankie Says” tee-shirts. Interview with Paul Morley. Ronald Reagan inadvertently makes joke announcement
Two Tribes – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Arthur Scargill calls miners’ strike.
When Doves Cry – Prince
Elton John marries Renate Blauel. Richard Branson launches Virgin Airlines
Like a Virgin – Madonna
Soviet Union boycotts Los Angeles Olympics. Daley Thompson wins second gold medal for decathlon. Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram win silver and gold medals. Mary Decker knocked out of 3000 metres by Zola Budd.
Hole in My Shoe – Neil (Nigel Planer)
Prince Charles reads The Old Man of Lochnagar on Jackanory. Interview with viewers.
I Fell For You – Chaka Khan
Breakdancing craze. Pete Townsend joins anti-drugs campaign
White Lines – Grandmaster and Melle Mel
John DeLorean found not guilty of drug offences. Sarah Tisdall jailed for leaking government documents to the Guardian
Careless Whisper – George Michael
WPC Yvonne Fletcher shot dead outside Libyan embassy in London. Interview with General Gadaffi.
What’s Love Got to Do With It? – Tina Turner
Marvin Gaye shot dead by his father
Free Nelson Mandela – Special AKA
Nelson Mandela has spent twenty years in prison. Desmond Tutu awarded Nobel Peace Prize. Interview with Desmond Tutu.
Your Love Is King – Sade
British Telecom becomes privatised
I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
Unsuccessful attempt to get Umaru Dikko back to Nigeria
Wouldn’t It Be Good? – Nik Kershaw
Indian army invades Golden Temple in Amritsar. Indira Ghandi assassinated. Clashes between Sikhs and Hindus. Rajiv Ghandi succeeds his mother as prime minister of India.
Love Resurrection – Alison Moyet
Gas leak at pesticide factory in Bhopal.
Hello – Lionel Richie
Ronald Reagan re-elected as president
Theme from Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Junior
Striking miners clash with police. Arthur Scargill speaks out against non-striking miners. Taxi driver killed by striking miners. Margaret Thatcher condemns their action.
Everything Must Change – Paul Young
IRA bomb Brighton hotel during Conservative Party conference. Norman Tebbit injured. Interview with Margaret Thatcher.
Drive – the Cars
Michael Buerk reports of famine in Ethiopia. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure announce plans to make record in aid of famine. Interview with Bob Geldof.
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
Do They Know It’s Christmas? becomes all time best selling single. Various quotes from the past thirty years
One of the main stories in the last programme was the miners’ strike which was still going on in 1985. One of the main stories throughout the whole series was the Cold War, and in 1984 the Soviet Union led a boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics following the United States’ boycott of the Moscow Olympics. As well as major stories such as the assassination of Indira Ghandi and the Brighton bombing, they managed to find room for Prince Charles reading his own book on Jackanory.
The programme makers managed to pick out two new acts who would still be big many years later, Madonna and Prince. Just as the 1969 and 1977 programmes included the previously banned Je t’Amie and God Save the Queen, so the 1984 programme included the previously banned Relax. (Record label founder Paul Morley is now a well known tv presenter.) And Pete Townsend remembers some of the rock stars who died during the last thirty years.
Criminally the Smiths were ignored.
There is one more record which deserves a special mention. As with the original twenty-five part series, 30 Years of Rock ended with the last number one record of the previous year. (It’s tempting to think that Radio 1 decided to do the updated series because of this record.) The last news story in 25 Years of Rock was the Ayatollah banning western pop music, but the thirty part series ends on a more positive note, with pop music being used for some good.
The last news story is Michael Buerk’s report of the Ethiopian famine which prompted Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to write Do They Know It’s Christmas? and form Band Aid. Band Aid led onto Live Aid, and in fact 30 Years of Rock had to come off the air for one week to make way for Live Aid. (The inclusion of Drive by the Cars suggests that the programme was completed after Live Aid.)
30 Years of Rock ends with the best selling British single with everyone on it, and they couldn’t have had a better place to end on.