Number Ones: #9


  • THOMPSON TWINS You Take Me Up (Arista)
  • Week Ending 14th April 1984
  • 1 week at #1


Hold Me Now had reached #4 in the UK. Doctor! Doctor! peaked at #3. The album Into The Gap had debuted at #1 shortly after. It’s fair to say that the Thompson Twins were on something of a roll by the Spring of 1984, as another single was lifted from the album.

Given the abundance of riches to choose from, You Take Me Up hadn’t seemed like an obvious smash-in-waiting, at least to me (and, really, what did I know anyway). Sister Of Mercy and The Gap sounded like future singles, but Arista had clearly judged the market to perfection, as You Take Me Up cashed in on all the momentum created by its predecessors by debuting high (#13!), and climbing higher (#2!) than any other TT hit to date (and, regrettably, ever since).

So high, that they must have never wanted to come back down.

(Okay, sorry about that).

It’s a strange little record – too strange for America, it transpired (blowing their chances of a third mega-hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when it petered out at #44) – but the appeal for UK audiences was probably broader because of that. Upbeat tune, downbeat lyrics, cracking harmonica solo (all the rage, post-Karma Chameleon)….the song is a masterclass in arrangement and composition, with enough minor-key moments to offset the perky and outwardly simplistic message.

Yet pop is a cruel mistress; no sooner does it seem as though an act has mastered a winning formula, than circumstances conspire to unravel all the best-laid plans. The label held back Into The Gap’s crowning glory, Sister Of Mercy, for the final single. It was even re-recorded with a stunning piano-only introduction for added effect. Predictions were made in the media of that elusive chart-topper being a very real possibility.

Instead, it became the trio’s first 45 to miss the Top 10 in almost a year, a downward trend that proved impossible to overturn.  But more on that another time.

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