100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #1 The Blue Nile – Tinseltown In The Rain

Released : 1984

It was never anything as obvious as an outright battle for Britain’s soul as a nation, but little by little as the weird austerity of the 1970’s dissapeared into the past – at very different speeds depending on where you lived – for some a kind of yearning appeared for better things, for advancement, for sophisticated trappings and greater self fulfillment.

The Blue Nile’s Walk Across The Rooftops became a minor symbol of that, flying in the face of the Glasgwegian trio’s resolutely unpopulist stance. Signed to a label specifically created for them by the high end equipment manufacturer Linn Electronics, this worship-by-stereo transferance gave their music – a sublimely elegant fusion of Leonard Cohen, Eno, Kraftwerk and soul at it’s purest, uncut grade – a sort of elitist resonance amongst it’s largely word of mouth following. Your knowledge of it’s existence was a secret, one which you only gave up to your closest friends and even then it was on pain of death that they told no-one else.

Much of the Blue Nile’s beauty came from singer Paul Buchanan’s voice, a world weary caw heard also it seemed on icy mornings by the Clyde, or in the cries of drowning history as it was submerged under concrete and steel. Buchanan has attributed song’s panorama to subliminally attempting to capture the city – the sirens, the traffic, people, even the wind rushing through trees – but nailing the song to any fixed point would be heresy. Tinseltown In The Rain instead floats in a haze, the singer seeing it as a metaphor for a dream, a place where this song is always a single note away from making come true.

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