Festive Fifty
1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

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So much was this the year of the Jesus and Mary Chain that they managed to do what even Joy Division had been unable to and occupied the top two slots in the 1985 chart. Their statement of intent was followed with three singles and an album that required a change of drummer but confirmed, and in some cases exceeded, all expectations. With the music press still determined to discover a new scene even if it meant making one up, they dragged with them the first stirrings of C86, albeit in a highly radicalised form. The last stirrings of Gothic rock were most welcome. Live Aid's famine relief (whatever their good intentions) didn't bring immunity from political comment, some reacting negatively to the alleged failure to recognise the true political and economic issues at stake. Along with the anti-apartheid and animal rights statements in this chart, we have a clear movement towards issue-led politics that was very much indicative of the spirit of the times: such splinters from the broader debate of the early eighties would now paradoxically flourish despite the dominance in the country of the political right. It can't be denied that in this and the previous two years the music of an artistically healthy anti-Thatcherite subculture had provided a large chunk of what was interesting.(Whitby, M., The Festive Fifty, Nevin Publishing, 2005, p. 21.)

See full writeup and more on the year of Live Aid, the Heysel stadium disaster and end of the UK miner's strike at Teenage Kicks. Although only 50 tracks were played, Peel put together a list of 70 from listeners' votes. You can see the full run-down at the ever-wonderful Rock List site.

Show Dates

The Festive Fifty Of 1985


See individual show dates for details. All of the F50 portions of each show are available. Around 20 minutes are missing from the sessions portions of each of 16 December 1985 and 18 December 1985, while the remaining three shows are now complete.

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