All-Time Albums: #52



1 Shattered Dreams 3:26 (UK single, #5)
2 Heart Of Gold 3:21 (UK single, #19)
Turn Back The Clock 4:30 (UK single, #12)
4 Don’t Say It’s Love 3:43 (UK single remixed, #48)
5 What Other Reason 3:20
6 I Don’t Want To Be A Hero 3:38 (UK single, #11)
Listen 3:45
Different Seasons 3:31
9 Don’t Let It End This Way 3:41
10 Foolish Heart 3:34 (UK single)

The epitome of post-Live Aid pop for the Smash Hits generation? Maybe, but the debut album from Johnny Hates Jazz was, along with Climie Fisher’s debut released a few weeks later, arguably the last hurrah for cleverly crafted ’80s synthpop, following in the tradition of Thompson Twins’ Into The Gap, Go West, Swing Out Sister and a host of others between 1983 and 1987 before the twin evils of authenticity and tween pop began to raise their heads.

As with Swing Out Sister’s album, Turn Back The Clock arrived on the back of several chart hits and duly entered at #1. Unlike the Swing Out Sister album, it did manage to yield a further success on the singles chart (Heart of Gold) before fading from view. They also managed to crack America with Shattered Dreams almost going all the way on the Hot 100, though that success was short-lived and by the year’s end the band had parted ways over the classic “musical differences”.

Just look at that tracklisting, though. Six excellent singles (if we include the flop Me And My Foolish Heart), and sublime could-have-been-singles like Listen and Different Seasons. Their songs were durable enough to withstand the hammering that radio gave them during 1987 and, despite the usual production trappings of the era, to withstand the passing of time. It might not be the most exciting, dangerous or groundbreaking pop music ever made, but the quality is mightily impressive.

They rode the crest of that wave for Yuppie Pop by young people in smart suits that thrived in 1987 and early 1988 before being rudely swept aside by the emerging dance culture and SAW dominance. Think of Hue & Cry, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Living In A Box, Swing Out Sister; all of them had peaked by 1989.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s