Here’s one for chart trivia fans. What is the connection between Anthony Newley’s ‘Do You Mind’ in 1960, The Beatles’ “Help!” in 1965, Dawn’s 1971 hit “Knock Three Times,” Julie Covington’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” in 1977, Nicole’s “A Little Peace” in 1982 and T’pau’s 1987 smash “China In Your Hand”?
The clue is that that they all have round numbers in chart achievement. The Anthony Newley single was the 100th to top the UK bestsellers, The Beatles’ was the 200th and Dawn No.300. Covington had the 400th and Nicole the 500th. Then on November 14, 1987, the 599th chart-topper in British history, the Bee Gees’ “You Win Again,” gave way to the group named after a character from the planet Vulcan who appeared in the original Star Trek episode Amok Time. Her name, and theirs, was T’pau.
Crossing the bridge of spies
The group, fronted by Liverpudlian Carol Decker, were signed to Siren Records and, after supporting Nik Kershaw on tour, released their debut album for the label, Bridge Of Spies, in September 1987. It got off to a great start when its first single, “Heart and Soul,” reached No.4 in the UK, but even bigger was to come.
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“China In Your Hand,” written by Decker and guitarist Ronnie Rogers and now available on the group’s Virgin Anthology, was earmarked to be the second single, but the album version, at five minutes in duration, was deemed to be too long. T’pau went into the Workhouse studio in London to remake the track as faithfully as they could, but in a version that trimmed a minute or so off the original. It worked perfectly, and the song spent a mighty five weeks atop the British chart. Bridge Of Spies was reissued by Virgin EMI/UMC in 2015 in a deluxe edition, as a 2 CD/1 DVD package with extensive additional material.
Buy or stream T’pau’s The Virgin Anthology.