Number Ones: #18


  • BLANCMANGE The Day Before You Came (London)
  • Week Ending 4th August 1984
  • 2 weeks at #1


Best known these days as the answer to the pop trivia question “which cover of an ABBA song reached a higher chart position than their own version?”, The Day Before You Came extended the duo’s run of consecutive Top 40 UK entries to six; although sadly it would also prove to be their penultimate hit single. Just as it was for ABBA.

The original album mix on Mange Tout hardly screamed down from the rafters as potential single material, yet some shrewd remixing and embellishing (courtesy of Pandit Dinesh’s sublime percussion) made it sound like prime Blancmange. We lost the clever, doleful reference to another ABBA classic Money Money Money in the middle eight, but gained much more in the process.

Remembered mainly as a wacky Eighties synth duo, it’s often overlooked how good they were at melancholy. For every Living On The Ceiling or Don’t Tell Me, there was a Waves, a Time Became The Tide, or one of their finest compositions from 1985’s Believe You Me swansong Why Don’t They Leave Things Alone. Even their debut single for London Records, God’s Kitchen, was paired with the reflective I’ve Seen The Word.

So their take on such a gloomy ode to…well, what exactly nobody can ever agree on…is it death? is it a new love? is it something else?….was never quite the stretch it might have appeared to be to casual observers. They play it straight, or as straight as any man who pointedly sings the (altered from the original) line “I must have read a while, the latest one by Barbara Cartland” – cue possible comic interlude – “…or something in that style” ever could.


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