Date: 10 July 2015
Originally published in: Daily Echo (UK)
Written by: Ed Stilliard
Thousands of wildchilds from the 1980s will be flocking to a Southampton park as they get set to go back in time. Hordes of people are expected to head to the Common this Saturday when stars from the era grace the stage at the Let’s Rock Southampton extravaganza. Following the resounding success of last year’s first ever one-day music extravaganza, it is back with a vengeance this year with 17 acts set to make the crowd go wild. Children from the era can see household names such as Midge Ure, Nik Kershaw and Boney M getting the crowd into the groove.
The one-day festival will once again will be hosted by children’s TV legends Pat Sharp and Dave Benson Philips with the fun beginning at 11am and continuing until 10.30pm. As the sun goes down the crowd will be treated to performances from heartthrob Nik Kershaw as well as Jimmy Somerville before headline act Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, closes the show.
Kim Wilde is one of those who will be returning the crowd to the era of her glory years when she performs her greatest hits. The 54-year old shot to fame in 1981 with her much-loved hit “Kids In America” which is now regarded as her signature song and one that she is most known for. Over the next 15 years she achieved 17 top 40 singles yet there is still a great love for her music both here and abroad.
“There’s a lot going on with music from the 80s right now, it’s like the 80s doesn’t want to go away,” she said. “I’m amazed at how much an audience there is still out there who want to come and support us. The crowds seem to get bigger and bigger. I would have thought there would be a dropping off by now.”
Despite devoting half of her time to landscape gardening she still manages to keep on singing and doesn’t deny the fact that the 1980s was a time almost a world away from now. “It was the decade before Britpop when things got rockier. Ours was an era of pop music, we weren’t that serious. There’s always plenty of room for pop music.”
In 1983, just when she was starting to make a name for herself she won a Brit award for best female solo singer. “That was pretty amazing,” she said. “There’s a photo of me Pete Townsend, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, the crème de la crème of the music industry at the time.”
She would eventually support Jackson on his Bad tour in 1987 and would appear in Townsend’s musical Tommy in the West End years later. But the height of her powers came when she got to number one in America with her cover of The Supremes’ hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”. “At the time the number one took me a bit by surprise. There seemed to be this strong option to pack our bags and go there. If you wanted to crack American you had to be there. I had to make a decision, I was a proper home girl. I focused on my career in Europe and I’m really glad I did. At the time I wasn’t so driven for that kind of success. I wasn’t that ambitious in that way. I figured America could take me on my own terms.”
She added: “I’m realised just how amazing it all was. At the time I just got on with what I had to do.” Although she spends a lot of her time with her landscape gardening business music is still a big part of her life.
Next year she hopes to be releasing another album. But for now getting on stage this weekend and performing her greatest hits is something Kim will really be looking forward to.
She said: “People are there to hear hits. Everyone can sing along to the songs I will be performing. There’s going to be some great pop music this weekend. I love a home crowd. Especially an 80s home crowd.”