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29 October 2014
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Bring Your Gran
Five not-so-young ladies try to get groovy by jumping on the pop bandwagon...

Gutsy Dusty cleverly stuck to people her own age during most of her career including wrinkly wondersDusty Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman and, erm, chest-wig wearing Peter Stringfellow to name but a few. Her phoenix-like return towards the end of the '80s was due entirely to Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys, who persuaded her to duet with them on their hit single 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' in 1987 and the soundtrack to the film Scandal, 'Nothing Has Been Proved' in 1989. Luckily, Dusty pulled it off perfectly which was all well and good for those Pet Shop Boys. Clearly they'd learnt that it pays to keep a legend happy. Or perhaps they'd heard about Dusty's reaction to being called a "f**king bitch" by Buddy Rich. He got a punch in the face for his trouble!

Whoever came up with this team-up was an absolute genius. Take one of the coolest, flower flailing bands of the '80s and team them up with Dagenham's hippest '60s chick, Sandie Shaw. She of the shoeless stance added her nasal twang to a blistering Johnny Marr instrumental and chalked up one of the Smith's biggest hits with 'Hand In Glove' in 1984. The granny jaugernaught kept on rolling as she released a comeback album, on Rough Trade Records, featuring songs by Morrissey, the Smiths and the Jesus And Mary Chain. Naval gazing never looked so, erm, mature!

The wild and tempestuous life of this country crooner saw her stand by many, many men - she was married a whopping five times including a 44-day marriage to estate agent Michael Tomlin. Then there was the violent kidnapping, threats to herself and her children, mysterious fires at her home and on her tour bus, numerous burglaries and bankruptcy to boot. So it probably seemed like a walk in the park when she got it together with those eccentric money-burning oddbods Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond of the KLF. Their 1992 track 'Justified & Ancient' winged it up to the staggering heights of No.3, where her warbling tones combined with electronic wizadry to make mad-old-lady magic!

Take the ailing career of one Scottish pop pixie, add a host of pyrotechnics and four scantily-clad dreamboats (and Gary Barlow) and quicker than you can say "steradent" you've got a complete turnaround of fortune. Take That relighted Lulu's fire and hit the top slot in 1993, and without even a whiff of tartan in sight. She did, in fact, prove that she's never lost that belt-it-out voice, and it still looks like the lovely lady won't have to rely on the use of a vocoder just yet (let that be a lesson to you, Cher)!

The first lady of the raised lip and haughty glance hung up her pearls, stepped out of her slinky evening dress and popped on a leather shell-suit to fit in with turntable top bods Propellerheads in 1997 for her UK Top 20 'History Repeating'. This was all following her celebrating her 60th - yep 60th - birthday with nine sell-out concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall (among other locations) and duetting with Chris Rea on the clubland hit 'Disco La Passione'. Reports that she's recently been spotted at Ministry blowing a whistle and 'largin it' with the commoners are yet to be confirmed.

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  Follow Dave's top 5 looks through the years - including the mullet action!  
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  Indulge yourself in the pleasure that is Errol and the gang  
  "Secret" Drug Songs  
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  Alas, some pop icons just wouldn't let that decade go.  

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