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Classic Pop

Classic Pop January-February 2021

Classic Pop magazine is the ultimate celebration of great pop and chart music with star interviews, features, news and reviews. From pop to electronic and new wave, dance and indie – it's all here…

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United Kingdom
Anthem Publishing
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min
a wonderful hope

Made while Public Service Broadcasting were in lockdown, J Willgoose wanted to explore The KLF’s floatier side and Brian Eno in his ambient solo project. He’s got the minimalism right, but Willgoose is best when exploring euphoria in music and much of A Wonderful Hope simply drifts past. The pulsating drop eight minutes into the title track signals a joyous finale, but that brings into sharp relief the noodling elsewhere. Perfectly relaxing, but these four long pieces too often lack the questing intrigue of Willgoose’s main work.…

1 min
music played by humans

Gary Barlow’s fifth album begins with an orchestra tuning up before he welcomes them with news of its title. Polite laughter greets the calculated message he’s sending with an album of nostalgic big band and symphonic songs in an era of algorithms and AI, but the funnier joke is the concession that, until now, Barlow’s own records haven’t been made by humans. Whatever his point, he’s surely compensated. Aside from an 80-piece ensemble, he’s hauled in multiple guests, from Barry Manilow, who brutally only makes the deluxe edition, to James Corden, who duets and wisecracks in his own – aka Dean Martin’s – style on The Kind Of Friend I Need, a song literally built around the Chopsticks riff. And you know what? It’s all great fun, in an exaggerated Strictly…

1 min
ground level support

A passionate advocate for environmental causes, Lauper hopes that American politicians will start taking climate change more seriously. “We’ve got to start listening to doctors and science,” implores Cyndi. “That goes across the board, because over here the pandemic agency was dismantled, which was a ‘What the heck?’ moment. “There’s no crystal ball and there isn’t a plan, so we have to be innovative and hope that research and science will help us heal ourselves and heal the planet. So many illnesses come from environmental disaster, because when you strip the earth it’s not going to be good.” Cyndi was given hope by Woody Harrelson-narrated documentary Kiss The Ground, which featured a farmer in the Scottish highlands who has helped recreate a forest. “Trees had been chopped down hundreds of years ago, until…

1 min
deep and crisp and stevens

Christmas hits can have a special longevity and Shaky’s 1985 chart-topper Merry Christmas Everyone is perhaps his most enduring release. Having given the singer his fourth and, to date, last No.1 single in 1985, the song has become a Yuletide mainstay. Thanks to downloads, it has returned to the UK chart every year since 2007, hitting a peak of No.6 last year. The crisp and catchy single was written by Bob Heatlie, who penned Shaky’s 1983 hit Cry Just A Little Bit, as well as Aneka’s 1981 chart-topper Japanese Boy. The song was recorded for release in 1984, but the plan changed to avoid it being overshadowed by Band Aid’s fundraiser, Do They Know It’s Christmas?. “Not blowing my own trumpet, but Merry Christmas Everyone came across to me as…

1 min
the rca albums 1977-1985

On its own, Evelyn King’s name was deemed “too grown-up” when she signed to RCA for her debut album Smooth Talk at just 17 in 1977. “Champagne” was simply derived from King’s childhood nickname “Bubbles”, but it fit: for the next seven years, King crafted an album a year of dance music that sounds as joyful blasting out at full volume now as it did 40-plus years ago. Her music was as luxurious and decadent as vintage Moët & Chandon. All eight albums bar 1984’s So Romantic – a misfire where King briefly succumbed to synthetic production – are the absolute apex of R&B. Few singers before or since have sounded so in love with life itself, whether about religion, hitting the dancefloor or a booty call. It’s bizarre that King…

2 min

Send your Poparazzi pics now to steve.harnell@anthem.co.uk TONY HADLEY WITH DIANE CHOULES ”This is one of my favourite photos of me with Tony Hadley. I flew to Australia to see Tony in March as his Perth gig was on my birthday. I saw his manager, Matt, earlier in the day and he was gobsmacked that I’d flown to the other side of the world just to see him. When me and my friend Ness were outside the venue, Matt spotted us and let us in for the soundcheck. Tony’s first words were, “Diane, you crazy girl!” He also broke off halfway into Through The Barricades to wish me a happy birthday. What a guy!” STEVE NORMAN WITH DENNIS HEYMANS ”Here I am with Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet at the band’s first reunion tour in 2009…