Number Ones: #24


  • ADAM ANT Apollo 9 (CBS)
  • Week Ending 13th October 1984
  • 3 Weeks At #1


Whoopsin’-a-Whoopsin’……and there goes Adam Ant’s final hit single of the 1980s.

For a classic example of what a fickle mistress Pop could be, look no further than Adam Ant. At the dawn of the decade, he and his trusty band of Ants remained on the fringes, still searching for that elusive breakthrough. A little over 12 months later, his star had risen to such an extent that Prince Charming debuted at #1 in Britain (still a very rare occurrence at the time). Fast-forward another dizzying year, and the Ants were no more. By 1983, the misfires were beginning to outnumber the bullseyes and the final single from that year’s Strip album didn’t even get past #41.

Which brings us to Apollo 9. The former Dandy Highwayman had worked his way through a few more costumes at the back of the wardrobe; Prince Charming made way for Goody Two Shoes, Dick Whittington (yes,really) and then his homage to the Jilly Cooper-type corset busters with the randy farmhand of Strip. What on earth would be next?

Outerspace, man, was the answer. Sadly, the nonsensical cacophony of Apollo 9 was no Space Oddity or Ashes To Ashes. In the cold light of the 21st Century, it’s not even a Puss N Boots. Whereas at his peak, the dressing up and the props and the ridiculous (but infectious) lyrics had been accompanied by some of the most enjoyable, flamboyant and perfect pop music of the early 1980s, the tunes were now deserting him. To witness his Top Of The Pops performance to promote Apollo 9 was to see a pop legend no longer in command or in tune with the age, desperately over-compensating as a result. It was painful viewing to anyone obsessed with the glorious reign of Antmusic through late 1980 to around the time his second “solo” single Friend Or Foe dipped out of the Top 40.

Yet, I loved the record enough to place it at the top of my charts, ahead of Kraftwerk. Ahead of Prince, ahead of U2, ahead of a host of singles that are clearly superior. What can I say…we’re all young once!

(To the surprise of many, myself included, there was a successful if short-lived comeback at the beginning of 1990, and another minor ripple of commercial achievement again in 1995).

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