I’ve a few things sitting in the cupboard of vinyl or shelves of CDs that were purchased on the back of seeing a singer or band perform on the telly.
It’s quite remarkable nowadays how the growth of media platforms which has made so much music available instantaneously, or at worst via just a few clicks of arrows on websites, has more or less killed off regular music programming. It’s a situation I feel quite saddened by given that and as someone who thought shows such as Top of The Pops, Whistle Test and The Tube, along with a myriad of lesser-known and short-lived programmes of a similar nature, were essential viewing. Indeed, such was the influence of the medium that I’ve amassed a fair number of pieces of vinyl and plastic which were purchased purely on the basis of being excited by a performance on the gogglebox.
One such example dates back to 1996. The show was called The White Room which went out fairly late on in the evening on Channel 4, hosted by Mark Radcliffe. It was a show which specialised in attracting one or more big-name acts as headliners – it managed for instance to get Prince to give a very rare UK TV performance, while David Bowie was another who graced the studio at one point – while also giving space and time to up and coming acts. It ran for four short series in the mid 90s and unsurprisingly given the period in history, there were appearances by Britpop or associated acts.
Here’s a lot I’d no idea of before they popped up on the telly.
You’ll see that they were a huge act in terms of numbers – combining the classic pop line-up with a lively and energetic string section. My first thought was that they were a superb throwback to some of the great OTT 80s pop acts such as ABC or perhaps it was a reminder of the joys of catching Marc & The Mambas all over again. As it turns out, they had actually been kicking around for a fair bit, having formed in the early 90s with their first releases dating back to 1993. In due course, I did pick up one of the singles in a bargain bin a few weeks later:-
mp3 : My Life Story – Sparkle