RIP Smash Hits

WHAT would 40p buy you in 1983? Well you could grab yourself a loaf of Mother’s Pride and still have 2p left. A Lyons Maid family brick ice cream would leave you with 8p at your disposal. If you were in your teenage years, living in a ruffled bedroom plastered with posters of moody looking pop stars, the chances were that you blew the lot on Smash Hits!

The fortnightly magazine was certainly a hit in the 80s. I managed to get hold of a March 1983 edition … a time when I was creeping up to my 13th birthday. This was a time when I had no disposable income but luckily my older brother came to the rescue. I would receive the secondhand copy of the magazine … usually with the posters ripped out!

The first thing that struck me whilst reviewing the magazine was the particular ‘look’ to many of the artists. Looking moody was cool, being in a group where collectively the hair colour made a complete rainbow was cool, and sporting a jacket with American Football style shoulder pads was cool! The black and white photos added to the cool factor and if an artist or group made it into a colour shot, they were untouchable.

Soft Cell

How did they get such perfect skin? Many of the musicians featured looked like they were getting ready for their O Level exams! It was a personal desire of mine to have clear skin in my teenage years. Sadly it just was not meant to be … I spent a huge amount of time at the doctors surgery which always resulted with me trudging out with a prescription for a Benzoyl Peroxide containing application (in fact Quinoderm became my middle name during my teenage years). Surely these artists didn’t wear make up? They didn’t need it … they were naturally cool and because of this they were instantly part of the CSS (Clear Skin Society).

So what about the artists? The Eurythmics championed the front cover, Soft Cell looked hard with a hint of innocence, and there was poster-sized photo of Kajagoogoo to plaster on your bedroom wall (it may have been a case of ‘one off, one on’ to accommodate).

Front cover

Lyrics for Bucks Fizz’ ‘Run for your life’, Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cold Sweat’ all appeared in this issue, enabling readers to rehearse and perform whilst their bedrooms were momentarily transformed into a recording studio.

If you had enough dosh then HMV seemed like the place for more records, more tapes and more discounts. Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ could be scooped up for £4.29 and you had a choice of Album or Cassette … decisions decisions.


I was totally intrigued by a section entitled ‘The Big Match’. No sign of 22 men kicking a football around here … this is about whom an artist would like to take on their perfect date. Limahl’s perfect date would be with Brooke Shields, Neil Arthur (Blancmange) was more into his landlady than a celebrity and as for Lynval (Fun Boy Three) … Tut Tut! ‘Anna Ford. It’s her eyes. She’s on TV-AM but I’m not interested in watching the news … just her. I really did miss her when she went off to have her baby. I’d like the chance to make her the first cup of coffee of the morning’. Lynval’s words not mine!

Musical Youth

After going through the magazine, I was struck by how well written it was. It was all about the music. I was surprised (pleasantly) that I didn’t have to fight my way past 30 pages of adverts for fashion accessories to get to the main articles.

RIP Smash Hits. I’m sure many of you will be smiling whilst thinking back to the posters on your walls, nipping into Woolies for your records and splashing out 40p every fortnight.

Well I’d better end this article now … I have lyrics to learn … ‘No fish today’ by Kid Creole and the Coconuts!

March 1983 Top 10:

  1. Total eclipse of the heart – Bonnie Tyler
  2. Sweet dreams (are made of this) – Eurythmics
  3. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  4.  Rock the boat – Forrest
  5.  Africa – Toto
  6. Na na hey hey kiss him goodbye – Bananarama
  7. Too shy – Kajagoogoo
  8. Love on your side – Thompson Twins
  9.  Speak like a child – Style Council
  10. Tommorow’s (just another day) / Madness (is all in the mind) –  Madness

Fun Boy 3gigs