You can barely move in the summer months nowadays for the sheer volume of music festival coverage on TV - some good, some bad, but most indifferent. But the televisual festival landscape was a very different place back in the mid-80s, oh yes. Unless there was a special one-off event such as Live Aid in 1985 or, umm, that Free Nelson Mandela thingy a few years later, you'd be left with the BBC's annual (highlights-only) coverage of the Montreux Pop Festival from Switzerland in May.The line-ups were generally frighteningly mainstream but as I was going through my prime mainstream pop years at the time, that was perfectly fine with me.
As you're wont to do when you get to a certain stage in life, I suddenly became nostalgic for these programmes this morning so thus scuttled over to YouTube to relive them. Unsurprisingly, the prospect of Duran Duran, The Thompson Twins and Bananarama miming along to their biggest hits has lost a lot of its lustre down the years but there were some real gems in there amongst the QVC diamonique bracelets. Have a gander at this lot!
Agnetha Faltskog - One Way Love (1985). Although this track from her second solo album conspicuously failed to bother the chart scorers over here, it sounds rather good to me, and certainly deserved better. She may well be singing over the top of a backing track here but who cares? It's Agnetha off of ABBA!
Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It (1986). OK, so this one is actually from the Montreux Jazz (Mmm, grrreat) Festival but it's a rare performance of the band just as they were on the brink of going all noodly and experimental - and this one is definitely being played completely live.
Colonel Abrams - Over & Over (1986). There's a nice bit at the start of the following clip where the interviewer asks Colonel Abrams what his real name is, to which he replies "Colonel Abrams is my real name". Hmm, right, if you say so Colonel. While Over & Over failed to emulate the success of his monster hit from the previous year, Trapped (which peaked at #3 while spending 23 weeks in the UK singles chart), it's still a game effort from the militarily-monickered moustachioed man. He left his epaulets at home for this one but still cuts a dashing figure in that tweed sports jacket. Try getting [insert name of modern-day equivalent here. Titchy Streisand?] to pitch up in one of those!
So there we have it. They don't make them like that any more (the sports jackets, the pop festivals or the pop stars), more's the pity. The Montreux Jazz Festival is still going strong though, which is kind of comforting in a way, even if it does involve jazz.
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