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Festive Fifty
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If the 1978-82 Festive Fifty period can now be categorised as very much the punk honeymoon period, 1983 had signalled the emergence of a mid-to-late eighties era that had started off very prmisingly, but would come to be categorised by declining numbers of voters and an increasing conservatism as the decade wore on. 1984 offered evidence of this in the shape of the threatened dominance of the chart by a small number of promiment bands (a threat that would soon be realised); most notable here are the Smiths, New Order and, in a golden year for them, the Cocteau Twins. Despite this, mid-eighties political voices remain healthily in evidence, though less so than in 1983. Gothic rock, diametrically opposed to it in pretty much every respect, reaches it peak with Sisters Of Mercy having their best year, and they're joined by tracks from teh Cult and Flesh For Lulu. Such stylings sit uneasily in the year of the miner's strike as Thatherism, bolstered by that second election victory, showed still great arrogance and inhumanity - can there ever have been a more disgraceful term for British workers than "the enemy within"? [1] Fortunately, we still had Robert Wyatt, Billy Bragg and the Redskins, among others, refusing to lie down before the steamroller, or indeed flee from it. (Whitby, M., The Festive Fifty, Nevin Publishing 2005, p.19.)

Information on show dates kindly supplied by Ken Garner of Peel Mailing List.


The Festive Fifty Of 1984

  • 50:

    John Peel's Festive Fifty - 1984

    Working Week, 'Venceremos (We Will Win) (7 inch Bossa Version)' (Virgin)
  • 49: Cocteau Twins, 'Pepper Tree (12 inch-B isde of Spangle Maker)' (4AD)
  • 48: Bronski Beat, 'Smalltown Boy (7 inch)' (Forbidden Fruit)
  • 47: Echo And The Bunnymen, 'Thorn Of Crowns (LP-Ocean Rain)' (Korova)
  • 46: Hard Corps, 'Dirty (12 inch extended version)' (Survival Records)
  • 45: Pogues, 'Dark Streets Of London (LP-Red Roses For Me)' (Stiff)
  • 44: Fall, 'No Bulbs (LP-The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall)' (Beggars Banquet)
  • 43: New Model Army, 'Vengeance (LP-Vengeance)' (Abstract Sounds)
  • 42: Frank Chickens, 'Blue Canary' (Peel Session)
  • 41: Special AKA, 'Nelson Mandela (7 inch)' (Two-Tone)
  • =39: Cocteau Twins, 'Beatrix (LP-Treasure)' (4AD)
  • =39: Flesh For Lulu, 'Subterraneans (7 inch)' (Polydor)
  • 38: Cocteau Twins, 'Pandora (LP-Treasure)' (4AD)
  • 37: Jesus And Mary Chain, 'Upside Down (7 inch)' (Creation)
  • 36: Smiths, 'Reel Around The Fountain (LP-Hatful Of Hollow)' (Rough Trade)
  • 35: Robert Wyatt, 'Biko (12 inch EP-Work In Progress)' (Virgin)
  • 34: Berntholer, 'My Suitor (7 inch)' (Blue Feather)
  • 33: This Mortal Coil, 'Another Day (LP-It'll End In Tears)' (4AD)
  • 32: Yeah Yeah Noh, 'Bias Binding (7 inch-The Cottage Industry EP)' (In Tape)
  • 31: Propaganda, 'Dr. Mabuse (12 inch-Das Testament Des Mabuse)' (ZTT)
  • 30: Cult, 'Spiritwalker (LP-Dreamtime)' (Beggars Banquet)
  • 29: Billy Bragg, 'The Saturday Boy (LP-Brewing Up With Billy Bragg)' (Go! Discs)
  • 28: Smiths, 'Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (LP-Hatful Of Hollow)' (Rough Trade)
  • 27: Very Things, 'The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes (LP-The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes)' (Reflex Records)
  • 26: Unknown Cases, 'Masimba Bele (12 inch)' (Rough Trade)
  • 25: Frankie Goes To Hollywood, 'Two Tribes (12 inch-Carnage Mix)' (ZTT)
  • 24: Smiths, 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (LP-Hatful Of Hollow)' (Rough Trade)
  • 23: Smiths, 'William It Was Really Nothing (LP-Hatful Of Hollow)' (Rough Trade)
  • 22: Cocteau Twins, 'Domino (LP-Treasure)' (4AD)
  • 21: This Mortal Coil, 'Kangaroo (LP-It'll End In Tears)' (4AD)
  • 20: New Order, 'Murder (12 inch)' (Factory Benelux)
  • 19: Echo And The Bunnymen, 'The Killing Moon (LP-Ocean Rain)' (Korova)
  • 18: Fall, 'C.R.E.E.P. (LP-The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall)' (Beggars Banquet)
  • 17: Smiths, 'What Difference Does It Make? (LP-The Smiths)' (Rough Trade)
  • 16: Cocteau Twins, 'Ivo (LP-Treasure)' (4AD)
  • 15: Sisters Of Mercy, 'Emma' (Peel Session)
  • 14: Smiths, 'Nowhere Fast' (Peel Session)
  • 13: Billy Bragg, 'Between The Wars' (Peel Session)
  • 12: New Order, 'Lonesome Tonight (12 inch-B side of Thieves Like Us)' (Factory)
  • 11: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, 'Saint Huck (LP-From Her To Eternity)' (Mute)
  • 10: Redskins, 'Keep On Keeping On (7 inch)' (Decca)
  • 09: Fall, 'Lay Of The Land (LP-The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall)' (Beggars Banquet)
  • 08: Sisters Of Mercy, 'Walk Away (7 inch)' (Merciful Release)
  • 07: New Order, 'Thieves Like Us (12 inch)' (Factory)
  • 06: Membranes, 'Spike Milligan's Tape Recorder (7 inch)' (Criminal Damage Records)
  • 05: Mighty Wah, 'Come Back (7 inch)' (Beggars Banquet)
  • 04: Cocteau Twins, 'Spangle Maker (12 inch)' (4AD)
  • 03: Men They Couldn't Hang, 'Green Fields Of France (No Man's Land) (7 inch)' (Imp Records)
  • 02: Cocteau Twins, 'Pearly Dewdrop Drops (12 inch-B side of The Spangle Maker)' (4AD)
  • 01: Smiths, 'How Soon Is Now (LP-Hatful Of Hollow)' (Rough Trade)


  • The chart rundown sections of each show are available, along with varying proportions of the session sections. Please contact the Peel Mailing List if you have complete recordings of the above dates
  1. In reality, Thatcher was referring to the unions and their part in the miners' strike when she told the 1922 Committee, "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty."