Back in 1981, an emerging record label decided to draw attention to itself by releasing a budget-priced compilation LP as its first ever release. This was a bold statement as most labels went for a more low-key approach with a handful of 45rpm singles or, if they wanted to feature more singers/bands/acts then it tended to be a cassette-only release.
The other thing which made Some Bizzare Album such an unusual work was the fact that, at the time, none of the acts had officially signed to the label. So while in some ways it was a showcase for Some Bizzare it was more of an opportunity for various synthpop musicians to show how talented they were.
It is testament to the talent spotting powers of Stevo Pearce that four of the acts chosen went on to enjoy major success in the charts. Some of the other acts achieved cult status or subsequently released other bits of music while there are two acts who seemingly did nothing beyond recording a song for this album.
Here’s those who found success:-
mp3 : Blancmange – Sad Day
mp3 : Depeche Mode – Photographic
mp3 : Soft Cell – The Girl With The Patent Leather Face
mp3 : The The – Untitled
The tracks from Blancmange and Depeche Mode would later be re-recorded and included on their debut LPs (neither of which were recorded for Some Bizzare) with many of their fans insisting that these earlier demo-type versions are the superior and more enjoyable recordings.
The tracks from Soft Cell and The The are a long way removed from the sort of material which would bring them fame and fortune sounding but both give an indication of the sort of talents that their various component parts possessed. I’m a fan of the Soft Cell track as it is a dark and desolate sound that they would return to on some of their later LP cuts.
Here’s the cult bands:-
mp3 : B Movie – Moles
mp3 : Blah Blah Blah – Central Park
mp3 : Naked Lunch – La Femme
B Movie released an LP and handful of singles in the first half of the 80s, the best known of which was Nowhere Girl, a top 10 hit in many European countries although it stalled at #68 in the UK. I must get round to posting one of their singles at some point.
Blah Blah Blah completely passed me by but there’s folk out there who are fans judging by the fact that their sole LP from 1981 will set you back over £25 over at Discogs….proof, based on the track made available for this compilation, that folk will pay good money for any old rubbish.
Naked Lunch released three singles in the 80s to no great acclaim, all on low-key and indie labels.
And finally, those who were never more or less heard of again:-
mp3 : Illustration – Tidal Flow
mp3 : Jell – I Dare Say It Will Hurt A Little
mp3 : Neu Electrikk – Berlin Girls
mp3 : The Fast Set – King Of The Rumbling Spires
mp3 : The Loved One – Observations
Illustration and Jell are the two acts who did nothing beyond appearing on this LP which is a bit surprising as they are among the best of its tracks. Illustration are a bit New Order-y while Jell are very reminiscent of Cocteau Twins…….and 30 plus years on theirs is the track which I think has dated best of all.
Berlin Girls had been the 1979 debut 7″ by Neu Electrikk (although I can’t verify if the version on this compilation is a re-recording). There had also been a second 7″ single in 1980 called Cover Girl, but there was never any follow-up material after Some Bizzare Album was released.
The Fast Set recorded the only cover version on this album. It’s a Marc Bolan number which had been a flop single back in 1969 for the then Tyrannosaurus Rex. The only other Fast Set release had been an earlier 7″ single, one side of which was an original and the other was, yup, a cover of a Marc Bolan song (the slightly better known Children of The Revolution)
Somebody in the music industry saw some potential in The Loved One as their next release was a 7″ single on Polydor which was in those days, a major player. The said single was an electronic version of Telstar….which I’ve managed to track down:-
mp3 : The Loved One – Telstar
It was such a flop that the option on the band after the initial single wasn’t taken up…..
Most label-promoting compilation LPs tend to be a mixed bag and the Some Bizzare Album is no exception. It is however, well worth giving some time to, if for nothing else to experience the humble beginnings of some famous names in the electro-pop world and perhaps to wonder what did become of all those musicians whose recording careers never got much further than his.