Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

1981 - Big Hits

With Phil Collins, Shakin' Stevens, Kim Wilde, Tenpole Tudor, Adam and the Ants, The Teardrop Explodes, Odyssey, Altered Images, The Specials, Ultravox and The Human League.

A bumper crop of hits from the Top of the Pops archive showcasing an exciting year on the pop charts. 1981 embraced disco and ska, new wave punk, the burgeoning New Romantic scene and the rise of synthpop, with some prog quirkiness and good old rock 'n' roll thrown in.

Performances from big-hitter soloists Phil Collins, Shakin' Stevens and Kim Wilde are featured alongside the exuberant chaos of groups like Tenpole Tudor, Adam and the Ants and The Teardrop Explodes. It's party time as Odyssey fill the dancefloor with the infectious Going Back to My Roots and Clare Grogan adopts some unorthodox shapes for Altered Images' Happy Birthday. And The Specials' 2 Tone social-commentary classic Ghost Town vies with Ultravox's Vienna and The Human League's Don't You Want Me for song of the year.

59 minutes

Last on

Sat 9 Feb 2019 01:55

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Adam and the Ants

    Kings of the Wild Frontier

  • Ultravox


  • The Teardrop Explodes


  • Kim Wilde

    Kids in America

  • Duran Duran

    Planet Earth

  • Sugar Minott

    Good Thing Going

  • Phil Collins

    In The Air Tonight

  • Linx


  • Tenpole Tudor

    Swords of a Thousand Men

  • Odyssey

    Going Back To My Roots

  • The Specials

    Ghost Town

  • Shakin’ Stevens

    Green Door

  • Soft Cell

    Tainted Love

  • Spandau Ballet

    Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)

  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark


  • Depeche Mode

    Just Can't Get Enough

  • Altered Images

    Happy Birthday

  • Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin

    It's My Party

  • The Human League

    Don't You Want Me


Role Contributor
Producer Serena Cross
Executive Producer Mark Cooper


Featured in...