Mike Read, a veteran radio DJ and TV host in the UK, has a weekly “programme” called “The Heritage Chart Show.” Not living in the UK, I’ve only every seen clips of the show on YouTube, but basically, Read interviews bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s who are still making music today and plays their music videos. Here’s a clip with Limahl, the lead singer of Kajagoogoo (“Too Shy”) who also had a solo hit with “The NeverEnding Story.” (In case you ever wondered, “Limahl” is an anagram of Christopher Hamill’s original last name.)
The Heritage Chart is also a weekly list of forty songs from these ‘70s and ‘80s artists getting airplay around Europe and beyond. As an American, there’s plenty of these bands that never got play stateside, but it’s fun to scan the list each week and see who’s still at it.
I’ll go on the record as a deep fan of Katrina & the Waves. For most folks, they’re “Walking on Sunshine” and nothing more. Maybe, if you’re a Eurovision fan, you remember “Love Shine a Light.” I stuck with them through “Sun Street” and “That’s the Way.” They’re underappreciated, especially in the US, as a wonderful hooky power pop band with a powerful and soulful lead singer. Part of the credit goes to songwriter Kimberley Rew, who started with The Soft Boys in the late ‘70s. We’ll get back to him in a tick.
Katrina tours solo these days and her latest on The Heritage Chart is “Holiday,” a Celtic, anthemic bit of fluff for raising a pub pint high.
Rew, who wrote “Walking on Sunshine” and “Going Down to Liverpool” (which was bigger hit for The Bangles than The Waves) sold all his music rights a few years back for millions. These days, he plays shows with his wife Lee Cave-Berry. Their latest on the Heritage Chart is “It Makes Me Happy.” Cave-Berry wrote this one, but Rew gets in a fun guitar solo that fits right in with his Waves days.
I could keep going with this, but I’ll cap it for now with two more artists from The Heritage Chart and let you decide which is fun and which is meh. Here’s Gilbert O’Sullivan (with KT Tunstall) and Mungo Jerry.