Number Ones: #116


  • LEVEL 42 Children Say (Polydor)
  • Week Ending 12th December 1987
  • 1 Week At #1


There may have been a changing of the guard taking place on the UK Top 40 during the second half of 1987; an odd mixture of brand-new names (Rick Astley, T’Pau), unexpected revivals in fortune for vintage acts (Bee Gees, George Harrison), and some familiar icons of recent times reasserting their dominance (Michael Jackson). Plus a host of left-field hit singles from films, television shows or adverts for jeans.

For the most part, I was ignoring the trends and staying loyal to my favourites. Just as I had done in 1986. Why abandon an artist if they were still making music that you loved more than anything by newer acts?

In the case of Level 42, it meant a second #1 on my charts in succession, and a triumphant end to the year during which their Running In The Family album had probably been the second-most-played CD during 1987 (after Tango In The Night and just ahead of Solitude Standing).

Children Say might have been the fifth single lifted from the LP, but the track had always been a personal highlight along with It’s Over. In truth, it worked better as an album cut, and wasn’t really ideal single material. The fussy 7″ remix created for its release also didn’t help matters, taking the focus away from its soothing, spacious arrangement on the album. I was charting it as much on the strength of the original as the remixed version (a bit of a liberty, granted, but hey it’s my Top 40 and I make the rules!).

Ostensibly serving as a promotional aid for Polydor’s relaunching of Running In The Family in a snazzy new “Platinum Edition” (single/extended mixes of all the hits replacing the album versions, plus seminal Shep Pettibone mixes of Something About You and World Machine from the previous record), Children Say in fact became the last Level 42 single to feature the definitive line-up. The single’s sleeve – and the accompanying  video – tellingly shows just Mark King and Mike Lindup. The brothers Gould jumped ship together, exhausted and disillusioned with the increasingly commercial direction the band were heading in.

1987 had already seen Lindsey Buckingham dramatically leave Fleetwood Mac on the eve of the Tango.. tour, and although nobody officially knew it yet, Marillion were also about to splinter. It wasn’t the best of years for bands I was really into!



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