NOW 8 – Autumn ‘86: Johnny Kalifornia

It’s Autumn 1986 and the charts are once again filled with a glittering array of colourful, confident pop.

The post-Live Aid landscape of 1985 has enabled its stars and supporting cast to build their singles and album popularity. Shiny new CDs are ensuring an aspirational digital era is on the way.

But the singles chart still manages to reign supreme with an exciting range of tastes and flavours – from the Nile Rodgers produced funk of returning popsters Duran Duran, to the polished, sharp R’n’B courtesy of Janet Jackson and Cameo. And as the eighties moved on, new acts such as the Pet Shop Boys and Swing Out Sister were making their mark and looking onwards to ’87.


As always, the NOW compilation series captured a moment in time, as we moved from the dance joy of Mel and Kim through the glorious Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush and onwards to a soap opera wedding that gave us a certain barman’s Big No.1 ballad!


Oh, and did we mention HITS 5?


Join Radio 2’s ‘Sounds of the 80s’ producer Johnny Kalifornia and I as we first of all explore his love of pop growing up, before we head back to the chrome covered pop of ’86.


Expect starring roles for Kim Wilde, Grace Jones, Robert Palmer and find out why Boris Gardiner and Don Johnson probably won’t be returning our calls.

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