Dear valued member of the TVV community,

So much of the best Scottish music in recent years has emerged from small labels or, to a large extent, been self-funded.  The fact we have more or less been in a lockdown situation for most of 2020 has meant a lot of singers and bands have been less active than anyone would like.

A few have managed to get physical releases out on vinyl, while others have taken the digital route via bandcamp.  I thought, as some of you might well be thinking about gifts for Christmas, that I’d highlight a few places where your currency would be welcomed and would find its way into very deserving pockets.

I’ve long championed Adam Stafford via this and the old blog. I know that he is an acquired taste but there’s a real reward to be obtained from listening to someone who, if he hailed from NYC, LA, Berlin, Tokyo or Paris, instead of Falkirk in Central Scotland, would be hailed as a musical visionary and genius.  He’s recently released a new album – Diamonds Of A Horse Famine, via Song, By Toad Records which has been revived for the purpose of releasing this particular LP.  I was delighted that gave the album the sort of praise you’d normally find round these parts:-

“Diamond Of A Horse Famine’s is a different kind of album to what we are used to. It’s more of a standard singer-songwriter affair. Or as close to that as Stafford will allow. The songs are more immediate than on previous albums too, implying that everything was recorded in a couple of takes, rather than through numerous extended jams.

What ‘Diamond Of A Horse Famine’ shows is that Stafford is back to his best, but he isn’t recreating his previous albums for the sake of it. Nothing Stafford does it for the sake of it. His guitar work is exquisite and his ability to skew his guitar into contorted loops has set him apart from his peers, but he doesn’t employ his box of tricks in the same way that he did on ‘Imaginary Walls Collapse’, ‘Taser Revelations’ or ‘Fire Behind the Curtain’. The solo on ‘Salve’ might be his finest to date. However, the songs are equally as compelling.

This is a brave album that deserves praise for its honesty. Rumour has it that there is another album ready to go. If this is true, then Adam Stafford is a slave to his art and his best may yet to be heard.”

Copies of the album are available via the Song, By Toad page on Bandcamp. Click here for more, including the chance to try before you buy.  This was the single released earlier in the year as a taster:-

mp3: Adam Stafford – Thirty Years of Bad Road

Olive Grove Records is run by a very hard-working and unassuming man called Lloyd Meredith, someone who I’ve got to know well since starting this blog back in 2007.  Lloyd also started out as a blogger but he then dipped his toe and ultimately immersed his whole body into supporting music through the establishment of the label which has just turned ten years of age, a happy event which has been marked by the release of Get Into The Grove, a twelve-track compilation from many of the artists on the label.  It can be found here, with the digital version already available and the vinyl edition due imminently.

It was back in 2016 that Olive Grove released the album Cowardly Deeds by the consistently excellent Randolph’s Leap, with this being the opening track:-

mp3: Randolph’s Leap – Back Of My Mind

Watch out for new material from Randolph’s Leap in 2021, with a new single already out as a taster.  Click here.

Broken Chanter, in 2019, released a fantastic self-titled album in 2019.  It’s the work of David MacGregor, formerly the co-front of Kid Canaveral, and it proved to be one of my favourite records of that year, looking as if it would form the perfect platform for bigger and greater things in 2020.  Sadly, the COVID situation putting a stop to live shows and making it impossible for musicians from different cities to work together has really had a dreadful impact on David’s plans.  He’s kept things going somewhat by recording some material purely for digital release on Bandcamp, as well as coming up with a few merchandising ideas to try and help keep his head above water.  Just last week, he decided to release a fourth and final single from the debut album, going with what many have long thought is its most beautiful and mesmerising track:-

mp3: Broken Chanter – Don’t Move To Denmark

The single comes with three remixes and can be bought here at Bandcamp.  You’ll also be able to click through to the page where the debut album is located and give its individual tracks a listen, after which you may very well be tempted to buy a copy.  Especially if you’re a listener with good taste……

A couple of COVID fundraising things to give consideration to, with one that’s been out for a few months and another which is due to become available later this week.

Last Night From Glasgow (LNFG) is another incredibly busy label based in my home city.  It was at the start of the COVID outbreak that it, with the help and generous support of the musicians associated with the label decided to take some action to help others involved in the industry:-

It was clear to LNFG that our valued venues and stores would struggle unless we did something to help. So over the course of the UK Coronavirus lockdown we invited all of our artists to record – at home, whilst in isolation – a cover of their favourite past LNFG release. We mixed, mastered and manufactured the album on Vinyl and CD. Selling it and passing all proceeds to our partner venues and record shops. We will continue to collect revenues throughout the year and distribute it amongst local independent stores and venues. Tracks from : Broken Chanter, Gracious Losers, Sister John, Cloth, Close Lobsters, Annie Booth, Lola In Slacks, L-space, Nicol & Elliott, Zoe Bestel, Medicine Men, Deer Leader, Bis, Slime City, The Martial Arts, The Muldoons, Life Model, Mt. Doubt, Vulture Party, Foundlings; Andre Salvador and Lemon Drink.

It’s a very fine venture, and copies can be purchased from here, coming in a range of formats, including various coloured vinyl, CD and digital.

The upcoming release features a range of more established singers and bands. Whole Lotta Roadies is a digital/CD-only effort:-

The Fruit Tree Foundation is delighted to announce the creation of a brand-new unique album, ‘Whole Lotta Roadies’, put together by some of Scotland’s most loved musical artists and their crew. The project is the idea of Rod Jones of Idlewild, who saw first-hand the devastating effect the pandemic was having on all aspects of live shows, and in particular, those who rely on live events for a living, many now facing the prospect of an entire year of cancelled bookings.

On the line-up for this one-off recorded extravaganza are Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, Twin Atlantic, Arab Strap, The Proclaimers, KT Tunstall, Fatherson, Emma Pollock, Honeyblood, Kathryn Joseph, The Rezillos, The Xcerts, and Idlewild.

I’ve pre-ordered a copy and looking forward to getting the e-mail telling me I can download and listen.  Click here if you want to do likewise.

Finally, The Just Joans have released a Christmas single.  For those of you who don’t know the band, they’ve been described by one critic as the missing link between The Magentic Fields and The Proclaimers – make of that what you will.  Click here for more.

All of the above come very highly recommended, so if you have a few spare notes and coins upon your person, it would be very nice if you supported one or more of the above.

With thanks




Gazing and Dreaming – An ICA of Opening Tracks

People who like a genre, or even a sub-genre of Rock + Roll or Pop Music usually hate the tag that the Music Press gives it. The bands which created a sub-genre of indie/alternative Rock which came out of the UK in the very late 80s and into the early 90s, featuring a mixture of fuzzy, distorted and ethereal guitars, obscure or multi-layered vocals and sometimes turned up the psychedelia, were herded under the tag Shoegaze and ultimately Dream Pop. The lore revolves around a reviewer from Sounds Magazine describing how Moose singer Russell Yates would tape his lyrics to the floor and look down at them as he sang. It was picked up by NME and a genre was born.

I have never had any problem with the Shoegaze tag. Bands since Jesus and Mary Chain had been paying more attention to their guitars and pedals than the audience for years, so I thought, yeah, kinda appropriate, if obvious, but also a name that could be interpretive. The range of sound that is gathered up under the tags of Shoegaze and Dream Pop is pretty broad and was ever-changing as bands reacted to what was going on around them in music. I tend to like much of the Shoegaze I listen to, to be hard or harsh, but there are so many examples of that ethereal feel that I love as well.

Here is, by no means, the be all and end all selection of Opening Tracks from Shoegaze/Dream Pop bands. When I put it together and listened back, I was very satisfied. Hope you are too.

Side A

1. Stray – Lush (Spooky)

This opener is a great example of how light and complex their sound can be. Miki’s vocals are like a that of a Post Punk Siren. There’s danger and darkness in all this song’s beauty.

2. Lannoy Point – Ride (Weather Diaries)

Proof that you can’t keep a great and vital band down, especially when they still have so much to contribute 20 years on. Opening the masterpiece that is Weather Diaries, Lannoy Point is a slow burn that picks up pace and intensity as it goes. Is there anything as beautiful as the twin guitars of Andy Bell and Mark Gardener? I don’t think so.

3. Spanish Air – Slowdive (Just For A Day)

Spanish Air is dark and inward. It is full of psychedelia and some 60s Garage Rock moves, but it’s the homage to an earlier sound of Cocteau Twins that I was originally attracted to when I first heard Slowdive.

4. Way The World Is – Pale Saints (A Comfortable Madness)

Starting like some lysergic freakout, Way The World Is introduced me to an album that, for me, stands way above the fray of the genre. It’s a short song that makes it point and ends the trip quickly, leaving you in limbo. A Comfortable Madness is full of inward twists and turns and every time I listen to it, I find something new to focus my attention on.

5. Breather – Chapterhouse (Whirlpool)

Breather, and indeed the album Whirlpool, straddles Indie and Shoegaze like no other band. I seem to remember them being initially very popular, because the sound was confident and catchy, but this ended up being their downfall with the music journos.

Side B

6. Everywhere – Cranes (Forever)

Cranes were a problem for many. Were they Goth, Indie, Shoegaze? Yes. Alison Shaw’s vocals were the darker side of Clare Grogan, while the sound veered into Cure territory an awful lot over the years, but this opener from 1993’s hit all the right notes for me. It apes the opening cords of Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot and just takes off from there.

7. Texture – The Catherine Wheel (Ferment)

Ferment is a great album. I don’t care how much of a hit to my credibility that statement may be, but it is so well made, so fully realized, so confident in its execution, that it draws me in every time I listen to it. This opener was every bit as good as the album’s radio hit Black Metallic. Rob Dickinson also has one of the sexiest vocal deliveries of the genre.

8. Super Falling Star – Sterolab (Peng!)

The opener of their debut. You can just tell this was a band that would take you on a journey.

9. Sci-Flyer – Swervedriver (Raise)

This was almost the opener of the ICA, but then I thought, I love when the penultimate track on an album hits you from out of nowhere and lays you out flat. Your welcome.

10. Only Shallow – My Bloody Valentine (Loveless)

Sighted as/blamed for starting the genre with their Isn’t Anything album, My Bloody Valentine are so many things to so many people. They will always be “Gazers” to me, sometimes stretching boundaries, other times just playing to make a great racket. Only Shallow is among my favorites by them because it winds you up so tight and then spins you free.


And here are both sides of the ICA as stand-alone listens.  They work well, and I say that as someone who isn’t a huge fan of the sub-genre!! (JC)

Gazing and Dreaming: Side A (20:38)
Gazing and Dreaming: Side B (20:24)



I Make The Money…An Opening Tracks ICA

Of course, Badger and I argued about this very subject. Then again when it came to music, we argued about anything. Once we had an argument that lasted on and off for three days on whether the first Catatonia album was better than the second one (it is, before you start).

In actual fact, we were going to do something very similar for our (very) old blog When You Can’t Remember Anything. We had put aside a whole month to wow and amaze you all with ‘The 30 Best Opening Tracks…Ever’. We ditched the idea for two reasons.

1) We decided to a rundown of the best songs that feature colours in the title instead. An idea we later ditched, then stamped on and then soaked it with a hose pipe in order to make sure that it never ever saw the light of day again.

2) We couldn’t decide on the number one. I changed my mind about four times, whilst Badger changed his mind about six times. I distinctly remember phoning Badger at about half past ten one evening and telling him that I had finally decided on my Top Five opening tracks ever, but I didn’t know why order they were in. He told me to go to bed and put the phone down on me.

So when I saw that JC had designated Mondays to this very subject I loaded up the computer and opened for the first time in about five years the old WYCRA countdown spreadsheet. Sheet six contains the Best 30 Opening Tracks Ever and it makes me realise, as you will see and hear below, that I probably would have lost the argument.

And therefore I now present my ICA of opening tracks. Side A are my Top Five opening tracks ever and they are all from debut albums as it happens, and all five I think stamp their authority over the album that they feature on. Badgers top five are on Side B and only one of them is from a debut album.

Side A – SWC’s I Make the Money Side….

Beware – Death Grips (2012)

So this is why I think I would have lost the battle with Badger for the greatest opening moment of an album ever. Because I think its this. The opening track of ‘Exmilitary’ the debut album by Sacremento’s experimental rap duo Death Grips. It’s all about that opening sample. A short snippet of a famous Charles Manson speech, where he tells anyone who listens that he ‘has all the money in the world, man….” and then the beats, the noise and the gravel drawled rap of MC Ride kicks in. Death Grips are tremendous, but I accept that I was probably trying to bit a clever here.

Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem (2005)

The eponymous debut album from LCD Soundsystem is an astonishing record. It is a record that from the first breaths of the very first track that make its musical intentions clear. That first track is ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’. The intention is that LCD Soundsystem are going to make dance music, and we, will love it.

You Know Its True – Spiritualized (1992)

‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ the debut album by Spiritualized is also an astonishing record that makes its intentions perfectly clear from the very first beats of the very first track. The very first track is ‘You Know Its True’ and as Jason Pierce sings in that whispery spectral voice “You know I’ve been here before and I don’t like it anymore….” in the opening seconds of it, the intention is clear. Spiritualized will take you places that no other band will ever dare to.

Oh My Lover – PJ Harvey (1992)

You know the story by now. Boy meets girl in a record shop. Boy and girl share musical tastes, a love of Galaxy chocolate, Rob Newman and the books of Iris Murdoch. Boy and girl start dating, cautiously holding hands on the way back from the bus stop. Things progress. Then after a three mile walk on a soaking June evening, the debut album from PJ Harvey gets put on the stereo…

Seagull – Ride (1990)

If you ask me, the first track on an album has to make a statement and I think each of the tracks on this side do that, but none of them do it as well as ‘Seagull’ does. ‘Nowhere’ wouldn’t be ‘Nowhere’ if ‘Seagull’ was tucked away as track four or something. I could cope if ‘Oh My Lover’ was track two or three. Does that make sense…? Let me put it this way, the first time I ever listened to ‘Seagull’, I had already decided that it was time to grow out my fringe, invest in a few effects pedals and buy a stripey jumper, before it had reached the end. That’s what an opening track should do.

Side B – Badgers I’m Leaving Here Side……

How Will I Ever Find My Way Home (Organ Version) – British Sea Power (2005)

Whilst I was trying to be clever with Death Grips, Badger actually was very clever here. Only Badger could argue successfully that one of the greatest opening tracks to an album isn’t actually a listed track on the album. You see when you listen to ‘Open Season’ the tremendous second album from British Sea Power, the opening track is ‘It Ended on an Oily Stage’, only it isn’t. Rewind your CD, yes, your CD, rewind it, to about -02:31 – that’s where the album really starts – and it starts with this, an organ solo version of track three of the album ‘How Will I Ever Find My Way Home’ and its marvellously unexpected.

Reverence – JAMC (1993)

Of course most people will argue that the opening tracks of ‘Darklands’ (‘Darklands’) and ‘Psychocandy’ (‘Just Like Honey’) are better than the opening track of ‘Honey’s Dead’ and you may have a point. But….‘Reverence’ makes ‘Honey’s Dead’. It must be the opening track.

I’d argue all day long that ‘Just Like Honey’ and ‘Darklands’ could sit anywhere on their respective albums and they’d still be incredible, but ‘Reverence’ must open ‘Honey’s Dead’. It’s an album about anger, frustration and its deliberately controversial and you need to know that right at the beginning, you need to know about the ‘bed of spikes, Jesus and JFK’ stuff. Simple really.

Fake Empire – The National (2008)

It was Matt Bellamy of Muse who got Badger into The National. He claims that back in 2009, Matt told him to listen to them. When Muse played a huge show in their home town of Teignmouth, Tim chatted to Matt and Dom of the band at the aftershow party (and we were both there, Tim for work reasons, me because my wife went to school with Dom’s wife and knows them very well). At the party Tim asked Matt what music he was currently listening to, and Matt said that his favourite album of the last year was by The National and he spoke at length about the opening track ‘Fake Empire’ and its ‘shimmering dreamlike crescendo’.

Xtal – Aphex Twin (1992)

I mentioned the WYCRA spreadsheet back up the page somewhere. On that spreadsheet, page eight was our ‘Top 30 Shoegaze albums’. This was another list that nearly lead to a fistfight and didn’t ever see the light of day. I (rightly) said that ‘Nowhere’ by Ride should be number one in any Shoegaze Album Countdown. Tim disagreed and claimed that ‘Selected Ambient Work Vol 1’ by Aphex Twin was the greatest shoegaze record ever made. ‘Xtal’ the opening track kind of adds weight to his point, there is something very My Bloody Valentine about it especially those blurry female vocals – either way this is just a sublime way to start any record.

Mysterons – Portishead (1994)

And so it ends with the track that Badger claimed on more than one occasion to be the Greatest Opening Track ever. In fact here is a direct quote from him.

“I’m going to go straight in at the deep end. ‘Dummy’ by Portishead has the single greatest and spookiest start to an album ever. A sinister sounding drone giving way to out of this world scratches and beats that sounds like you are going to get a hip hop track but in reality you get something unholy and downright incredible. ‘Mysterons’ is exquisite, uncomfortable and unquestionably brilliant”.

And, he’s right. Probably.

Thanks for reading

SWC and Badger

SWC’s I Make The Money Side (24:26)
Badger’s I’m Leaving Side (19:12)


There’s a Facebook group that I keep an eye on having a discussion about this tape – the author of the original post said that he played it to death at the time but can’t risk putting it in now after so many years in a box in the loft.

So I thought…..

mp3: Various – C81 NME/Rough Trade (Side One)
mp3: Various – C81 NME/Rough Trade (Side Two)


Side One

1. Scritti Politti – The “Sweetest Girl” (6:09)
2. The Beat – Twist And Crawl Dub (4:58)
3. Pere Ubu – Misery Goats (2:26)
4. Wah! Heat – 7,000 Names Of Wah (3:57)
5. Orange Juice – Blue Boy (2:52)
6. Cabaret Voltaire – Raising The Count (3:32)
7. D.A.F. – Kebab Traume (Live) (3:50)
8. Furious Pig – Bare Pork (1:28)
9. Specials – Raquel (1:56)
10. Buzzcocks – I Look Alone (3:00)
11. Essential Logic – Fanfare In The Garden (3:00)
12. Robert Wyatt – Born Again Cretin (3:07)

Side Two

1. The Raincoats – Shouting Out Loud (3:19)
2. Josef K – Endless Soul (2:27)
3. Blue Orchids – Low Profile (3:47)
4. Virgin Prunes – Red Nettle (2:13)
5. Aztec Camera – We Could Send Letters (4:57)
6. Red Crayola – Milkmaid (2:01)
7. Linx – Don’t Get In My Way (5:15)
8. The Massed Carnaby St. John Cooper Clarkes – The Day My Pad Went Mad (1:46)
9. James Blood Ulmer – Jazz Is The Teacher, Funk Is The Preacher (4:03)
10. Ian Dury – Close To Home (4:13)
11. Gist – Greener Grass (2:32)
12. Subway Sect – Parallel Lines (2:38)




Hi Jim,

Hope all’s well. Been playing catch-up a bit of late, but am up-to-date for the first time in a couple of weeks, and it would seem that others are as intrigued by the Opening Tracks ICAs as I am. I’ve not read the comments sections, so have no idea what’s being suggested on those.

During my lunch hour, I’ve rapidly come up with ten opening tracks. These tracks are the ones I immediately think of when I call to mind the album that houses them. Indeed, I think I have used the title of the opening track to refer to each of these albums more than once. In some cases they were the track that drew me to the album in the first place, in others it’s become the thought of hearing the opening track that makes me reach for the album and play it, even if it isn’t the song that the album is most famous for. To my mind, that’s what an opening track should aim to do. Of all the ones mentioned by yourself and jimdoes, I Wanna Be Adored is the one that I would most have wanted to add to my list – not sure if that helps you understand my thought process or not!

These are all albums I’ve listened to a lot – that’s why they’re all pretty old, with only one offering from the current millennium. I can’t say a great deal of thought has gone into the order, although I have put a couple of longer tracks at the end of each side.

Side A

1 – Don’t Bang The Drum – The Waterboys (This Is The Sea, 1985)
2 – Definitive Gaze – Magazine (Real Life, 1978)
3 – Rain Of Crystal Spires – Felt (Forever Breathes The Lonely Word, 1986)
4 – Human Behaviour – Bjork (Debut, 1992)
5 – Happiness Is Easy – Talk Talk (The Colour Of Spring, 1986)

Side B

1 – Roscoe – Midlake (The Trials Of Van Occupanther, 2006)
2 – The Concept – Teenage Fanclub (Bandwagonesque, 1991)
3 – Supervixen – Garbage (Garbage, 1995)
4 – Burn It Down – Dexys Midnight Runners (Searching For The Young Soul Rebels, 1980)
5 – Fire Inside My Soul – Ian McNabb (Head Like A Rock, 1994)

As I say, I’ve deliberately not read the comments so as not to cloud my judgment. If others have suggested the tracks above, so be it.

All the best,

The Great Gog

JC adds…..

Thanks to everyone who has already sent in their suggestions, but feel free to keep them coming. This was the first of the opening track ICAs to arrive in the inbox and thus gains the distinction of being the first guest posting in what I hope will prove to be an enjoyable series over the coming weeks and months.

I still have a few more of my own up my sleeve, and interestingly enough, at least one of the tracks selected by TGG would have featured. Indeed, it will still feature…just because a particular track has already been selected by a contributor doesn’t rule it out for any future appearances.

Next Monday will see an offering from SWC and Tim Badger. Yup, our late friend is able to be part of the new series thanks to a piece that the two of them wrote up a few years ago but never got round to using…SWC has taken the original words, tidied them up a bit and done a small rejig so that it now fits with this particular format. It’s one that, as you’d expect, is well worth tuning in for.

Oh, and as a bonus, the plan each week is to have the ICAs in this series appear as they would if they were actually two sides of vinyl:-

The Great Gog’s ICA: Side One (25:30)
The Great Gog’s ICA: Side Two (27:23)


Regular readers will know the script by now (and to be fair, the chances of an overly-wordy music blog attracting any new fans will be quite remote, which means everyone knows the script!)

All year long, I’ve had a look back to the UK singles charts of 1990 in which I have (hopefully) demonstrated that while there were a reasonable number of hits which have stood the test of time, they are far outnumbered by the dross that the great British public was shelling out for. We have reached the month of November, with four weeks of things to recall. It’s probably the worst of them all…..

4 November

The month opened with The Righteous Brothers still at #1, with Unchained Melody, still making folk cry their eyes out when it was used in the mega-hit movie, Ghost.  It also saw something really dreadful enter the chart at #11, when Gazza (aka Paul Gascoigne), cashed in on his newfound fame post-World Cup 90, by joining up with fellow Geordies, Lindisfarne for an updated and horrific version of Fog On The Tyne. Look it up on YouTube if you must. (Oh, and in case anyone gets the wrong idea…..the video still of a man’s bare arse at the top of this post is NOT Gazza….it is, however, a still from a song referenced elsewhere in this posting)

Gazza was the highest of what was a quite astounding 19 new entries into the Top 75 in that particular week. Some of them are unforgettable pop-fodder, to say the least (Teena Marie, Maria Carey, Craig McLachlan, Ragga Twins, Caron Wheeler, Wilson Phillips); others are linked to the increasing popularity of dance/club music on which I am wholly unqualified to comment (Cybersonik, Kick Squad, Unique Three, Megabass) while the rock gawds smiled that the likes of Queensryche and Jon Bon Jovi were getting played on the radio.

Which leaves these:-

mp3: 808 State – Cubik/Olympic (#29)
mp3: Prince – New Power Generation (#33)
mp3: N.W.A. – 100 Miles and Runnin’ (#39)
mp3: The Beloved – It’s Alright Now (#57)
mp3: Pixies – Dig For Fire (#62)
mp3: Julee Cruise – Falling (#64)

808 State would go on to enjoy a high-profile 1991 with the ex:el album that would be released in March 1991. Cubik/Olympic, which in due course would reach #10 in the singles charts, would find its way onto the later album, whose hits would also include In Yer Face and Oops, with the latter featuring Bjork.

New Power Generation was the second and final hit single from the album Grafitti Park and would climb the following week to #26 before fading away quite quickly. Little did we know that the track was the scene-setter for what Prince would next do in his long, colourful and never predictable career.

N.W.A. never really enjoyed mainstream success in the UK and this, the lead track from a stand-alone EP, was just the second and final time they made the charts. The track is probably best remembered for the fact that the remaining four members used it to make an attack on Ice Cube, who had left a year earlier after a row over royalties.

The Beloved had enjoyed a 1990 breakthrough with the album Happiness. It was decided to issue Blissed Out, a remix version of Happiness, with It’s Alright Now selected as the single to promote it. It wouldn’t quite work as it stalled at #46 and sales of Blissed Out were relatively poor. It would be the last involvement of co-founder Steve Waddington as he would leave in early 1991, with the band more or less becoming a front for the solo work of Jon Marsh.

Dig For Fire was the second and final single to be taken from the album Bossanova. It was released some three months after the album – the fact it stalled at #62 is evidence that Pixies fans weren’t too bothered about buying singles to complete any collections.

Julee Cruise has proven to be a one-hit-wonder. Falling dated from the previous year and would have very likely remained completely unknown if an instrumental version hadn’t been used as the theme for Twin Peaks, one of the most unlikely TV hits of 1990. The single would go Top 10 in the UK and a number of other European charts, while also reaching #1 in Australia.

11 November

Gazza jumped to #2, held off by The Righteous Brothers. This was a week in which 15 songs debuted in the Top 75, with the vast majority of them being tracks I honestly don’t recognise. I’m going to lit them, as its a perfect demonstration of just how much money record labels were prepared to waste back in those days, and the reason why vinyl and CDs were stupidly over-priced in the shops as those which sold had to recoup the costs of the many more that didn’t:-

#73: In Zaire – African Business (its only week in the chart)
#71: Roses Are Red – Bobby Vinton (its only week in the chart)
#68: If I Have To Stand Alone – Lonnie Gordon (its only week in the chart)
#66: Smile – Aswad (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, reaching #53)
#60: Stranded – Heart (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#59: Cherry Pie – Warrant (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#55: Shelter Me – Cinderella (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#54: Love So Bright – Mark Shaw (its only week in the chart)
#53: Love’s Got Me – Loose Ends (would spend 4 weeks in the chart, reaching #40)
#51: Serious – Duran Duran (would spend 3 weeks in the chart, reaching #48)
#46: Flashback Jack – Adamski (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#41: Sucker DJ – Dimples D (would spend 10 weeks in the chart, reaching #17)
#28: Hands Across The Ocean – The Mission (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#25: Let’s Swing Again – Jive Bunny (would spend 5 weeks in the chart, reaching #19)

Which leaves, this, the lead track from an EP which, at #23 was the highest entry of the week:-

mp3: Inspiral Carpets – Biggest Mountain

The Island Head EP would spend just 4 weeks in the chart, reaching #21.

Surely things were a bit better the following week?

18 November

The answer, to an extent, is yes. For the first time in something like seven or eight weeks, a new entry came in very high up the charts, at #3, and for once it wasn’t relying on its inclusion on a soundtrack from a major film to earworm its way into the minds of the record-buying public.

The only thing letting it down is the fact that the song in question is Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.

The karaoke/old fogies brigade were also well represented this week as Rod Stewart and Tina Turner duetted their way to #12 with It Takes Two. It would eventually go all the way to #’5′ please remember this fact and shake your head in disbelief that Marvin Gaye‘s original version with Kim Weston only reached #16 back in 1965.

Another cover version was the next highest new entry:-

mp3: The Proclaimers – King of The Road

I was stunned to read that this entered the charts at #17 and actually went Top 10 the following week. I had long assumed it was one of those singles/EPs that had peaked around #40, like almost all releases by the duo.

There was the usual mix of pop/dance number making a fresh appearance in the lower ends of the charts, a number of which, like those listed from the chart of 11 November mean nothing or very little to me. But some tracks have since found their way into the collection:-

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Being Boring (#36)
mp3: Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (#50)
mp3: Flowered Up – Phobia (#75)

Being Boring would reach #20, but proved to be just about the poorest performing PSB single that was released between 1985 and 2003 (only Was It Worth It?, which stalled at #24 fared worse). It has since, possibly because it was something of a relative flop,  become one of the duo’s best loved, most iconic and most enduring tunes.

Wicked Game, like Falling (see above) benefited from the David Lynch effect. It had originally been released as a single some 18 months previously, but npw, its inclusion on the soundtrack to the film Wild At Heart had given it a whole new lease of life, spending ten weeks in the Top 75, either side of Xmas 1990, and peaking at #10, ending up, by far, as the biggest hit of Chris Isaak‘s career.

Flowered Up would later enjoy bigger hits in 1991 and 1992, but this piece of indie-pop, released on Heavenly Records, has long been my favourite of theirs. I’ll mention in passing that lead singer Liam Maher died in 2009, at the age of 41, from a heroin overdose, and that just three years later his brother Joe, who was a guitarist in the band, also lost his life. R.I.P.

25 November

Vanilla Ice took over at the #1 spot. Not much changed in the Top 20, but there was good news that Gazza’s bid for #1 was now going to come up short

The never-ending ability of the British public to make a hit out of a novelty song, even when it is least expected, reared its head with this being the highest new entry at #14-

I’ll let wiki explain:-

“Kinky Boots” is a 1960s song written by Herbert Kretzmer and David Lee, and recorded by Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman, stars of the television series The Avengers.

The music was commissioned by Ned Sherrin for the satirical television series That Was the Week That Was and used in a sequence featuring the titular footwear (then fashionable). Lyrics were later added for a recording by Macnee and Blackman, released by Decca in February 1964.

The song was not initially a hit, but a re-release in 1990 reached the top ten of the British Singles Chart in December of that year, after the song was promoted by BBC Radio One DJ Simon Mayo. The single peaked at No.5 and remained on the chart for seven weeks.

The other new entries that week were every bit as dull and forgettable as those highlighted above at 11 November. I fear it will be even worse next month as we get close to the charts at Xmas.

(aged 57 years and 5 months)



One of the secrets to ensuring this little corner of t’internet maintains a sense of relevance is to go with public opinion.  There was an incredible reaction to the pair of postings from jimdoes in respect of ICAs consisting purely of opening album tracks, the likes of which hasn’t been seen round these parts for many a long time.

Everyone was offering up thoughts, views and opinions, with all sorts of alternative suggestions put forward in the comments section.  So, I’m taking advantage of the energy that was on show and have decided that, until such a time as the contributions dry up, Mondays will now be used for ICAs of opening tracks.

jimdoes was disciplined in coming up with two lists – one for tracks that were singles and one for tracks that were album cuts only.  If anyone wants to follow those chains of thoughts they are very welcome, but I’m going to kick things off with a ten-track ICA that is a mixture. There’s just the three singles across the ten cuts, all of which can be found on one side.

What follows is not a list of the greatest opening tracks of all time.  Indeed, they might not even the greatest opening track ever offered up by a particular singer or band. But, and crucially for me, I think the ten songs, when taken as a whole and in the running order I’ve come up with, would make for a fabulous album across two sides of vinyl.


Side One

1. Let Them All Talk – Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Punch The Clock, 1983)

All great albums open with great songs, that much is a given.  But, to me, all the very greatest of albums don’t open with the greatest of songs that will be found on a particular cut as there has to be something later on to provide that particular ‘wow’ moment.  Which is why I’ve decided to open up with something that is perhaps a little less than obvious – it’s not one of Elvis Costello‘s most memorable songs and it’s from an album which, although is a splendid effort, is rarely (if ever) ranked as his best.  But, aside from giving me an appropriate title for this particular ICA, I reckon it works really well in terms of pricking up the ears of any listener.

2. Age Of Consent – New Order (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1981)

It was back in 2008, in the 45 45s at 45 rundown, when I revealed that Temptation was my all-time favourite single.  The thing is, it’s not my all-time favourite New Order song, an accolade which I will always bestow on this, the first track from the album that truly brought them out of the shadows of Joy Division.

3. Protection – Massive Attack (Protection, 1994)

Every now and again, even on the loudest and fastest of records, there comes a moment when things just need to be slowed down a little.  This is achingly beautiful and sublime and a highlight in the career of Tracey Thorn.

4. The Cutter – Echo and The Bunnymen (Porcupine, 1983)

No apologies for returning to the early 80s for a third time on this particular side of vinyl. I just felt the opening few notes of The Cutter were the perfect complement to the final notes of Protection.

5. Good Bad Times – Hinds (The Prettiest Curse, 2020)

Here’s a simple but brilliantly subversive pop song that perfectly captures the mood and feel of one of my favourite albums of this past twelve months, a slab of vinyl that has brought a lot of sunshine on what have often been dark, depressing and lonely days.  Kind of inspired by jimdoes pulling out the brilliance of Heartbeats on his second offering.

Side Two

1. Will I Ever Be Inside Of You – Paul Quinn & The Independent Group (Will I Ever Be Inside Of You, 1994)

Back in the days when it was all vinyl, it was imperative when you had your first listen to a new album that the opening track on the flip side had to be something that really grabbed you in.

There were two reasons for this. First of all, if Side One had been memorable, then the momentum had to be maintained.  The alternative reason was that, if you hadn’t really been grabbed by Side One, then this was the album’s chance to redeem itself – if track one, side two was also a disappointment, then there’s every chance the rest of the album won’t be given a fair chance.

It’s such a pity that Paul Quinn was able to provide lead vocals on only two albums and I make no apologies whatsoever for taking up more than nine minutes of your time with this epic.  This provided the hardest moment in coming up with a running order for the ICA as  I had to come up with something that wouldn’t immediately be a jolt to the system.  One thing for sure, it isn’t quite the time for a new wave/post-punk classic……

2. When I’m Asleep – Butcher Boy (React or Die, 2009)

This is a very personal choice in that Butcher Boy often opened their shows with this, the first track from their sophomore album.  I’ve mentioned before how blogging has opened up so many opportunities for me over the years, but probably none more so than being able to become good friends with the members of this band and there’s something very special and different when you’re in an audience and your mates are on stage.  Every time I hear the notes on the accordion, followed by the strum of the mandolin, I get a real tingle down my spine.  It’s magical.

3. The Modern Leper – Frightened Rabbit (The Midnight Organ Fight, 2008)

Another very personal choice.  I was lucky enough to watch Frightened Rabbit grow and develop from the smallest of shows in and around Glasgow.  The series of shows they played to launch The Midnight Organ Fight were amongst the best I’ve ever seen going all the way back to 1979 and my first ever gig.  An album that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to for a long while after Scott Hutchison took his own life – it took until a gloriously sunny day and a need to get something from work out of my system that got me to sit on a park bench and press play.  Once I got through the opening track without tears of sadness or anger, I was fine. Indie-folk at its very finest and most passionate.

4. Janie Jones – The Clash (The Clash, 1977)

Again, it’s about finding something that fits in perfectly to the running order.  Something that gets across the idea that I’m in love with rock’n’roll (whoa).  The opening track from the UK version of the debut album by The Clash does that nicely.

5. The Light at the End of the Tunnel (Is the Light of an Oncoming Train) – Half Man Half Biscuit (Cammell Laird Social Club, 2002)

Just a reminder that I should never take myself, or this blog, too seriously.  Great tune and great lyrics.  That’s all I ever ask for……that and something which makes me want to flip back over to side one.

You can judge for yourselves if things have worked out nicely……and as it’s Monday, these are hi-res rips.

Let Them All Talk: Side One (23:03)
Let Them All Talk: Side Two (20:18)

Huge thanks to jimdoes for the idea, and to everyone for the initial reactions.  I’ve another four or five volumes that I could offer up, but I’d rather the TVV community got on board.



A GUEST POSTING by jimdoes

There’s been so many great opening tracks that were singles – here’s my ten favourites, although it’s a list that changes daily! It’s really hard deciding on the order for these ICAs – what’s the first first track? What should be last?


(An ICA of opening tracks that were singles)


(Opening track on PURPLE RAIN)

The spoken word intro makes it perfect to be the opening track on my singles ICA. And I guess as with most of this ICA there’s not much that I can say that hasn’t been said. If I could go back in time and see one band live it wouldn’t be The Clash or The Beatles or Joy Division – it would be Prince and The Revolution on the Purple Rain tour – look it up on YouTube – it’s incredible.


(Opening track on DAYDREAM NATION)

One of their most accessible songs and one of their pop hits – the opener to their masterpiece – the sprawling Daydream Nation. Not just one of my favourite opening tracks but one of my favourite songs full stop. You’re it. No you’re it.


(Opening track on SLANTED AND ENCHANTED)

I’ve no idea what this song is about or why it’s the winter version (to my knowledge there isn’t a version for any other season) – and I don’t care. It’s just glorious. And it’s part one of one of the best opening one/twos ever recorded – Trigger Cut being the other song.


(Opening track on TENDER PREY)

Another song where I know the song because it was a great single but I’m not familiar with the album. It’s a song that still gets better with every listen and I’ve heard it thousands of times.


(Opening track on DEEP CUTS)

Is it any surprise that the majority of the tracks on both my ICAs were released before I was 23? This being one of the few exceptions – and I guess a bit of a curveball. It’s another song where I don’t know any other song on the album, but there’s really no need when this song is so good.


(Opening track on MELLOW GOLD)

From the opening line – “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey” – I was hooked, I still am.


(Opening track on LONDON CALLING)

Only the second title track in my opening track ICAs – I thought there may be more but it has given me another idea for an ICA! Anyway, has a band ever had better opening tracks to their albums than The Clash? Janie Jones/Safe European Home/London Calling/The Magnificent Seven/Know Your Rights takes some beating – I could have picked any of them for this ICA. London Calling might be the obvious choice but to me it’s the right choice.

(JC interjects as it avoids taking up space in the comments section……..I’d go with New Order’s initial albums: Dreams Never End/Age of Consent/Love Vigilantes/Paradise/Fine Time/Regret)


(Opening track on SCREAMADELICA)

There’s only so many ways I can say “I love this song” as it’s true of every track on these ICAs. I’ve always thought Movin’ On Up was a bit of an anomaly on Screamdelica – the least druggy track – the most traditional one but also the logical place for the album to start – it’s probably the closest to what came before and what came after. And it sounds like a long lost classic that Primal Scream had covered – I guess I’m saying it’s timeless.


(Opening track on THE HEAD ON THE DOOR)

The Cure at their poppy best. Here’s a bit of trivia about the song title thanks to Wikipedia – “The single used “In Between Days”, whereas the album The Head on the Door uses “In Between Days” on the back of the album cover and the record label, and “Inbetween Days” on the inner sleeve.” I always thought it was Inbetween Days so I’m sticking with that. Anyway, it reminds me of school and my best mate – not for the lyrics – we never went out with the same girls but more that when we were young the joy of discovering and going to see all these bands together.


(Opening track on THE STONE ROSES)

Timeless. They sound so young yet so full of confidence. Rock n Roll Star? The Stone Roses aimed much higher – and achieved it. On their reunion shows, before a note was sung, the whole audience would be singing the guitar line to this – sort of elevating it into a communal celebration. Iconic. And what better way to end an ICA as will leave you wanting more.

And for completists here’s another ten that just missed out – which would make a pretty good volume 3.




A GUEST POSTING by jimdoes

What seems like a million years ago I did an ICA of final tracks on albums (ICA 176 – only 2 and a bit years ago)– and I said at the time I’d do an ICA of openers which I’ve eventually got round to. But it’s taken much longer than I thought and proven an impossible task getting it down to ten songs – so I’ve done two ICAs. When putting my list together I realised how many opening tracks were singles – I guess it helps listeners if they’ve got something familiar to start with. I’m not imagining that to be a problem with my ICAs – I’m sure most readers will know these songs and have their own favourite opening tracks but these are mine, starting with an ICA of opening tracks that weren’t singles.



(An ICA of opening tracks that were not singles)


(Opening track on THE SOFT BULLETIN)

It’s almost impossible to choose a first song of first songs – obviously any one of the following tracks could’ve been first but I’ve gone with a song that is a rush of pure joy and it’s a great pop record. It’s the sound of a band in transition and realising their potential. Letting loose. Going from weird druggy outsiders to weird druggy stadium fillers. Most importantly it still makes me smile and it’s the perfect intro to what some consider to be their masterpiece.


(Opening track on DOOLITTLE)

I was 19 when this record came out – they were already my favourite band, so imagine hearing this for the first time. Blew me away then – still blows me away today. It was eventually released as a single when their greatest hits album came out but at the time this was just the perfect intro to one of the greatest albums ever recorded.


(Opening track on LOW LIFE)

Confession – I’ve seen New Order live countless times but I wouldn’t call myself a massive fan. Generally I just know the singles. I’ve tried listening to their albums but maybe because as a teenager I didn’t get into them, they just don’t do anything for me. I couldn’t name any album tracks by New Order – except Love Vigilantes – I couldn’t even name another song off Low Life. But Love Vigilantes is a song I’ve always loved – I think it’s one of those songs that is familiar even if you’ve never heard it before – plus it tells a story with a twist (I won’t spoil the ending – just in case you’ve not heard it!!!).


(Opening track on GEORGE BEST)

The first song I ever heard by The Wedding Present. I bought George Best after I read about it in the NME. It remains one of my favourite tracks – the laugh halfway through, those jangling guitars, the down to earth lyrics, the whistle near the end and the long instrumental outro. It’s also got one of the best starts to a first track – Gedge’s “Oh why do you…” before the guitars kick in is sheer perfection.


(Opening track on THE QUEEN IS DEAD)

Ok I know the general feeling about the racist lead singer who will not be named and I tried to avoid including this song. But The Queen Is Dead remains one of the greatest opening tracks ever. And it’s not just the voice and the lyrics – they are great – but this is all about Marr, Joyce and Rourke. Lawnmower my arse.

(JC adds.…..the track is unavailable for posting on TVV…..jimdoes was OK when I told him this would be the case)


(Opening track on DEFINITELY MAYBE)

As statements of intent go, this has to be the best – debut album, all attitude, supremely confident.



“You’re about to witness the strength of street knowledge” – now, ain’t that the truth?


(Opening track on KID A)

What a song. Everything In It’s Right Place is the sound of a band confounding expectations and doing exactly what they want. Because they can. And it’s a band knowing exactly what they don’t want – they’d been listening to loads of WARP records and they wanted to leave their stadium indie behind. They most certainly didn’t want to be U2. On first listen this song shocks you – making you wonder what could come next – but it’s a real grower and has become one of my favourite Radiohead songs.


(Opening track on THE MAN COMES AROUND)

According to Wikipedia – “The song was inspired by a dream Cash had about Queen Elizabeth II in which the queen compared Cash to “a thorn tree in a whirlwind.” Haunted by the dream, Cash became curious if the phrase was a biblical reference and eventually found a similar phrase in the Book of Job.”

From the spoken word intro to the jaunty acoustic guitar, I love this song. One of the last songs Johnny Cash wrote as he was dying of cancer – it’s about Christ and the Day of Judgement – on paper that sounds like it’s going to be a really sad maudlin song but it is just so upbeat and makes me smile!


(Opening track on UNKNOWN PLEASURES)

This seemed the best opening track to be the closing track on the first of my first track ICAs. (Hope that makes sense!) I don’t imagine there’s a single VV reader that wouldn’t have this in their top ten opening tracks (non-singles version).




Jim facetimed today to offer congratulations. He knew I’ve been out of my mind about the election, as has everyone in the States. I tried–and failed–to explain my mixed responses to the long process culminating in Biden’s victory: befuddlement, outrage, hopefulness, worry, elation, relief, exhaustion. Jim says, “If you want to write it all down you know where to send it.” Here you go, brother. (JC adds…..this arrived with an hour of the phone call!!)


Goldie the Friendly Psychologist and I discuss the debates, the barnstorming, the reports and analysis leading up to Tuesday, November 3rd. She’s all in for the fight but I can’t bear Electioneering.

Goldie and I bet on whose ballot will be received first: She mails hers with extra postage and I drop mine off at a neighborhood ballot box. I lose: she gets an email saying hers has been received and will be counted. I have to wait another day before I’ve Got Mine.

I am swayed by Goldie’s unrelenting optimism. The polls are looking really good. Our friend Aliceann is wary on the Monday but I’m projecting confidence. “Don’t Worry About The Government” I jokingly text her.

And then it’s the 3rd. Goldie is upbeat as always but I’m getting the uneasy feeling that Something’s Gone Wrong Again.

As the day progresses it’s clear that the lopsided polls were All Wrong, and I’m sick, depressed, and stunned. Not Goldie. “It’ll be fine when they count the mail-in votes. Don’t worry.”

Meanwhile, The Waiting is killing me. I am plagued by the twin thoughts that Voldemort will win a second term and that all the wisdom I can muster in opposition is a Tom Petty lyric.

Goldie is unperturbed late into the evening. “We’re going to win,” she says with peremptory authority. I am wondering whether to crack another bottle but She Goes to Bed.

Thursday the 5th things are looking a little brighter. Will Anything Happen? Apparently not. Biden is stuck on 253 electoral votes all day long and the next day, too.

Friday night and still no announcements. The vote counts are turning the battleground States blue. Goldie takes it as a certain victory but I’m at my limit: “Just Tell Me When It’s Over.”

We wake up Saturday and Pennsylvania has declared for Biden, followed shortly by Nevada. JC rings and we muse about possible criminal convictions of the *President*. Whatever happens to him, at long last we can say Clowntime Is Over.

“I knew it all along,” says the beautiful Goldie, and goes off to walk the dog,

Songs linked to above:

Talking Heads
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Jason Falkner
The Dream Syndicate
Elvis Costello (of course)


JC adds……this has been an unexpected and essential late change to plans.  The R.E.M. series will return next Sunday.




JC writes…..

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the death of John Peel, someone who I don’t think needs any introduction.

Webbie, more than any other blogger, has used the anniversary to commemorate the great man, and he dropped me a note a few weeks back asking if I’d consider posting a guest ICA from him. It’s something I’m proud and honoured to do. Here he is to take you through things….

01. Positive Noise – Love Live Property (16th March 1981)

There are a few great lost bands out there, this Glasgow group being one of those. Formed in 1979, released a few singles and albums, a couple of Peel Sessions but they never quite broke through. This song is from their 2nd session, never released anywhere and should be heard everywhere.

02. Cinerama – Health And Efficiency (13th May 2001)

It is inevitible that I would include some of the obvious suspects in this compilation… When you think Peel Session the name of David Gedge would be one of those first that comes to mind. But as you can see not The Wedding Present but one of his side projects. Don’t know why this particular track, maybe just because when those guitars join in it is such a beautiful noise.

03. Nico – Frozen Warnings (11th February 1971)

Technically this was a Top Gear (the radio programme that was) appearance before it became the John Peel show. It is still a session recording though. There’s something about the pairing of the Harmonium and her voice which makes it more haunting.

04. Culture – Two Sevens Clash (22nd November 1988)

One of the many bands that were Peel favourites. Didn’t know this about the song until recently. From Wikipedia; “[the song]…was based on a prediction by Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the “sevens” met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day.”

05. Pavement – The Classical (21st August 1997)

Forgot what Mark E. Smith said about the band now… This is a cover version that might be better than the original. Not just because it erases the unfortunate lyrics (there’s an article on The Quietus which addresses that: – I still like to use the greeting “Hey there fuckface” though) But also because Pavement take that raw, slightly chaotic Fall track and make it into a West Coast-California indie sound, which in this case is no bad thing.

06. Cocteau Twins – Peep-Bo (29th August 1984)

Yes another Peel fave. This track has probably been mentioned quite a few times on T(n)VV. Song recorded for the session at the time as Peep-Bo but renamed later as Ivo.

07. The French – The Protons And The Neutrons (20th August 2003)

Included here because is it another that more people should hear. Couldn’t decide between this song or The English Head, another track on that session, Peelie made the decision with his comment after playing the tune.

The French was formed by Darren Hayman, an offshoot from the band Hefner. Like with Mr Gedge above, Haymen is one of the most prolific songwriters out there.

08. Box Of Toys – When Daylight Is Over (Sunset) (24th April 1983)

In the early 1980’s I lived in Liverpool. It was only a few years but what a time to be there. Nearly every pub, club and especially youth centre you walked past you could hear music from a band performing. A couple of years ago on the Keeping It Peel Website I’ve compiled some podcasts which in truth are actually mixtapes.

One of these pods/mixes was a labour of love. It looked at and tracked down some of those Liverpool bands played by Peel. It was via this project that I rediscovered a band I saw all those years ago. Another lost band which should have had more attention.

09. PJ Harvey – Rid Of Me (1st May 1992)

Another obvious favourite with possibly an obvious song selection, but this one, not a Peel Session in the strictest sense but included because it was performed live. In front of Peel, in his Radio 1 studio in London.

10. Half Man Half Biscuit – Mars Ultras, You’ll Never Make The Station (2nd June 1992)

Couldn’t decide between this and 24 Hour Garage People. Flipped a coin and the song with power drill accompaniment won.

11. Sophisticated Boom Boom – Surrender To Me (28th October 1981)

Yet another lost band. Named after a song by The Shangri-las. This all-girl band from Glasgow were more prolific with Peel Sessions (three) than vinyl releases (none). After they split up formed a new band called His Latest Flame, named after a song by Del Shannon.

12. Melys – Chinese Whispers (20th December 2001)

John Peel, along with TheRobster and his blog Is This The Life? has educated me about Welsh music. There are the familiar names such as SFA, Gorkys, Manics, but there are many others which should get more air time.

Melys are another group that should be as well know as the above. The band recently peformed live at home via Facebook and I asked them which of their many Peel Sessions was their favourite. All of them said their live performance at Peel Acres, which yes, yet again not *technically* a Peel Session but…

13. The Fall – Blindness (7th October 2004)

Taken from the repeat airing of the session. Not the last time he played The Fall but the last time he played this track. As Peelie says at the end; “There’s never been anything like this and there never will be again.”

14. The Rudies – (Top Gear) Session – 23rd November 1970

(Moon Bug / You Make Me So Very Happy / Patches / Oh Me Oh My)

This is a session that it is impossible to select just one of the songs. The entire thing is just perfection, every track is perfection.

15. Shellac – The End Of Radio (Maida Vale 2nd December 2004)

In what was scheduled to be a session to be recorded for John Peel, instead performed live as a tribute.



Thankfully, it was just a four-week month and I’m not going to spare you by keeping to a minimum the mentions of the dross which occupied the top-end of the charts In October 1990, although I have shared at least one shocker of a song at the outset.

Maria McKee spent the first two weeks at #1 with Show Me Heaven, and when it finally dropped down to #2, it was replaced by A Little Time by The Beautiful South, a track which was highlighted last time out in this series. It only managed a one-week stay before it was replaced by The Righteous Brothers with Unchained Melody, a song that had been a hit for them in 1965 but was now being flogged again to the public thanks to its use in the romantic-drama/weepy movie, Ghost.

So, what and who made the breakthrough in the rundown on 7 October?

The highest new entries belonged to New Kids on The Block and Cliff Richard, with the goths then propelling one of their own to a position of #21

More – The Sisters of Mercy

There were many who had long thought The Sisters of Mercy bordered on being overblown, bombastic rock-pomp, and perhaps such concerns were confirmed by the fact that their first offering of the new decade was co-written with Jim Steinmann of Meat Loaf fame.  It filled me with horror reading about the collaboration and it proved to be an all-out assault on the ears.

Slightly further down the charts came the crusties, although, once again, it was an evolving change of sound that was making them increasingly popular

Dance Of The Mad – Pop Will Eat Itself (#32)

I really don’t want to waste time even mentioning any of the others, other than in passing to say that another song from the film Top Gun was shaping up to take over from Maria McKee at the top in due course, while Shakin Stevens achieved his 34th successive Top 75 hit when My Cutie Cutie entered at #75. It proved to be his last non-Xmas themed or re-released hit single, but he’d made a good fist of things in the 80s, spending more than 300 weeks in the charts…which, if you do the math, is the equivalent of six years back-to-back.

14 October 1990.   I’ll mention in passing that the Mancunian Racist saw his Piccadilly Palare enter at #21, the second-highest new entry behind Whitney Houston‘s new effort, I’m Your Baby Tonite.

Of much more interest was the new entry at #20:-

Kinky Afro – Happy Mondays

The second 45 to be lifted from Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches is arguably the band’s finest ever songs and it would climb to #5 the following week and thus match the showing of Step On; these proved to be the only Top 5 hits the Mondays would enjoy, as little did we know that things were already beginning to unravel.

Another gobby bastard enjoyed a new entry slightly further down the chart:-

Don’t Ask Me – Public Image Limited

The band’s seventh single to crack the Top 40, indicating that PiL were more than a cult act and did resonate occasionally with the great British public.  I don’t think anyone back in 1990 would have imagined that in later years Shaun Ryder and John Lydon would both end up as some of the most popular participants in I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here…….

A lovely slice of dreamy-pop sold enough copies to make it in at #61, and then climbing to #50 the following week:-

We Let The Stars Go Free – Prefab Sprout

Moving on to 21 October.

This was the week The Righteous Brothers began their assault on the charts with a #3 entry the week before it hit the top.  The next five highest new-entries all entered in the 30s…and were courtesy of Roxette, George Michael, Jason Donovan, Poison, and Janet Jackson.  It was a far from vintage week, but if you’ve been following things since the series got underway, it was pretty typical of much of the entire year.

Some dance stuff came in at #41

Aftermath – Nightmares on Wax

This was the first and, as it turned out, only hit single for Nightmares on Wax, the name adopted by a 20-year old Leeds-based DJ, George Evelyn, who would prove to be one of the mainstays of the Ibiza sound throughout the 90s and into the current century.  He’s still going strong today.

The indie-kids and crustys (again) also had something to celebrate this week

Sweetness and Light – Lush (#47)
Until You Find Out – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (#51)

A new, much-talked-about act from the south-east of England made their first chart appearance in the week of 21 October:-

She’s So High – Blur (#58)

This was the first of what has proved to be 150 weeks in the Top 75 for Blur, which has been achieved with 28 singles. It’s fairly impressive, but let’s face it, it’s not fairly lame when compared with ole’ Shaky.

Finally, here’s some stuff from the singles chart of 28 October.

The title of the highest new entry really could have, and perhaps should have, been the sub-heading for this series

Step Back In Time – Kylie Minogue (#9)

From the days when she wasn’t quite yet the superstar who could be recognised from just her forename. This was the pop princess’s 11th single and it would climb to #4, which was a relative flop given that nine of the previous releases had either been #1 or #2.  The critics began to write her off, the fools that they were!

Slightly further down the charts as a new entry was this:-

Don’t Worry – Kim Appleby (#16)

Don’t Worry was the debut solo single from Kim Appleby just a few months after the sad death of her sister Mel Appleby at the age of 23 after contracting pneumonia while being treated for a rare form of cancer. Mel and Kim had taken the UK charts by storm at the end of the 80s, being part of the hit-making factory that was Stock/Aitken/Waterman, with the poptastic Respectable reaching #1 in 1987. Kim Appleby’s solo career never really quite took off and she later stepped back from recording in the mid-90s, choosing instead to concentrate on writing pop hits for others, which she has done with a reasonable degree of success.

Just one place ahead of Kim in the charts as a new entry this week was a remix of an old favourite of many of us

Close To Me (1990) – The Cure

The new version of the song that had been a hit single in 1985 was there to assist with the release and promotion of Mixed Up, a new compilation of singles and popular songs from the back catalogue that had been given the remix treatment. Worth noting that the remix eventually reached #13 which was eleven places higher than the original had achieved five years earlier.

One of Factory Records hopes for the future sneaked into the single charts this week, with a song that had a misplaced optimistic title:-

My Rising Star – Northside (#33)

The band that so many of the bands from the north-west had been citing as an influence saw them finally making a dent in the public imagination, thanks to a Steve Lillywhite remix of their best-known song:-

There She Goes (1990) – The La’s

In due course, it would make it all the way up to #13, but it remains the only time The La’s got any higher than #43 in the UK singles chart.  Make of that what you will……..

Finally this week, some more songs of interest, and occasional excellence, which stumbled their way into the charts at the lower end of the spectrum in late October 1990, but for the one coming in at #55, it was the beginning of a 13-week stay that would culminate in a top 3 position in early December:-

Can’t Do Nuttin For Ya Man – Public Enemy (#53)
Unbelievable – EMF (#55)
Purity – New Model Army (#61)
Scope – Paris Angels (#75)

I’ll be back again in around four weeks time with a look at the November 1990 charts.

(aged 57 years and 4 months)




So there I was, minding my own business and thinking about bands, when I accidentally fell down the rabbit hole of band members who had side projects. I began listing the ones I liked and realized there are more than enough for a quality ICA–one with some old favorites, hidden gems, and hopefully a song or two no one’s heard before. Of course, it was necessary to impose stiff restrictions: this comp only includes musical projects separate and apart from the musician(s)’s main gig. No prior or subsequent or solo outings. That helped get the numbers down.

I also eliminated some acts because, while they meet the criteria, the music isn’t all that great. For example, two different side projects from Siouxsie & the Banshees fit the bill (The Creatures and The Glove), but those acts just aren’t that listenable. Same thinking behind leaving off The Power Station even though they were extremely eligible. You get the idea.

1. KLARK KENT – Don’t Care.

Klark Kent was the mostly disguised alter ego of Stewart Copeland from The Police. He released an LP of snarky but catchy power-pop before the Cops found megastardom. ‘Don’t Care’ is quintessential new wave, a rockin’ little record I want my jockey to play. Pretty sure Copeland played all the instruments, too.

2. GORILLAZ – Clint Eastwood.

Blur‘s Damon Albarn could have supplied half the tunes on this compilation. In addition to the “virtual band” Gorillaz, he recorded as or with The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Rocket Juice and the Moon, Africa Express, the Heavy Seas, and numerous other solo and collaborative projects outside of his day job. But I really like him as 2-D.

3. EAGLES OF DEATH METAL – Wannabe in L.A.

Like Albarn, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme get around. He’s collaborated with countless acts, notably Them Crooked Vultures with the likes of Dave Grohl and Led Zep icon John Paul Jones. With EoDM he just plays drums, but the band are a blast and this is my favorite song of theirs, from 2008’s Heart On.

4. LOOSE FUR – The Ruling Class.

The good-natured voice of Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy is instantly recognizable, but this is a true side project that only features Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and Chicago indie legend Jim O’Rourke. This is from their second and, to date, last record Born Again in the USA. That LP was released in 2006. Not sure if there’s anything else forthcoming from Loose Fur.

5. BROKEN BELLS – The High Road.

In which James Mercer, the brains behind The Shins, meets up with Danger Mouse. Like Tweedy (and Albarn), Mercer is instantly recognizable on the mic, but the heavy-duty string section is a departure from his band’s arrangements.

6. TOM TOM CLUB – Genius of Love.

David Byrne got all the attention from Talking Heads because he wrote the lyrics and fronted the band. And was generally a creative genius. But the loveable husband and wife rhythm section Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth had a massive club hit with this number. Still sounds great today almost 40 years later, with the Sweetbreaths (Weymouth’s sisters) on backing vocals.


Weezer is pretty much all about singer/songwriter/guitarist Rivers Cuomo. But the band was co-founded by drummer Patrick Wilson, who’s been there from the very beginning. Wilson isn’t what you’d call a household name and neither is his band The Special Goodness, with whom he’s released four albums so far. This is from 2003’s Land Air Sea.

8. HINDU LOVE GODS – Raspberry Beret.

It’s Warren Zevon with REM‘s Peter Buck, Bill Berry and Mike Mills, playing a Prince cover. They only released a self-titled LP back in 1990, and a couple of singles including this one.

9. RACONTEURS – Steady, As She Goes.

Even though The White Stripes were flying high in the mid-00’s, winning Grammys for 2003’s Elephant and 2005’s Get Behind Me Satan, Jack White still had things to say. So he connected with Detroit stalwart Brendan Benson (who’s arguably a better songwriter than White) to form Raconteurs, with members of Cincinnati’s Greenhorns. This was the band’s first single and hit.

10. ELECTRONIC – Getting Away With It.

Although Johnny Marr was a free agent in 1989, Bernard Sumner was still throbbing along with New Order. When putting this post together I was surprised to learn that Electronic released three albums. Don’t know if their catalog is any good, but this song’s a winner. (especially, here in its extended from – JC).

BONUS?: Up to you guys and gals. Plenty of bands out there could have been featured; Atoms for Peace, Last Shadow Puppets, Divine Fits, Monsters of Folk among them. I like my 10, but I’m sure I missed a load of songs that I’d like to know about.



Sunday 2 September 1990.  It’s a day when the music sitting atof the top of the charts, along with the various new entries into the Top 75, exemplifies the weirdness of that particular year. It’s worth listing the Top 20 in full, especially as none of the songs were new entries


It would have made for fairly depressing listening as the DJ in question revealed the latest rundown on BBC Radio 1 from 5pm onwards, with the Top 20 played in its entirety, prior to which any new entries into the Top 40 and significant movers would also be aired, all of which would have meant a very rare peak time radio play for one of the UK’s biggest cult acts, for coming in at #34 was this:-

Get Me Out – New Model Army

NMA had been around for ten years, and with them constantly switching the type of music they were recording and performing, they had been impossible for the critics to pin down into a particular genre. They are still on the go some thirty years on and causing the same grief! From the outset, they had attracted a highly dedicated fan following which having eventually morphed into ‘The Family’ whose numbers ensured the band would be guaranteed the live shows would always be successful, albeit this didn’t always transfer into huge sales on vinyl/CD. Get Me Out was their tenth successive single to make the Top 75, and like the others, it would come into the charts somewhere in the region of 31-50 before immediately dropping out, all down to ‘The Family’ making the initial purposes.

And that, unless there is a guest posting, will likely be the only mention of New Model Army on the blog (albeit they will get a further mention in this series in a couple of months time).

There were some other interesting entries in the chart this week, from acts that are no strangers to the pages of TVV.

Iceblink Luck – Cocteau Twins (#39)
Rollercoaster – The Jesus and Mary Chain (#46)
White Lightning – The Fall (#56)

Cocteau Twins would hang around that position in the charts for another couple of weeks but the other two dropped out almost immediately. I don’t think either song would have given mainstream exposure. Worth mentioning in passing the next again JAMC single, released in February 1992, would be Reverance. And in reaching #10 would give the band its biggest ever success in terms of a single. Oh, and yet again it’s a cover that brings a bit of chart success the way of The Fall.

The other new entries came courtesy of Adamski (The Space Jungle – #23), Caron Wheeler (Livin’ In The Light – #29), Janet Jackson (Black Cat – #32), Faith No More (Epic (1990 re-release) – #35), Quireboys (There She Goes Again – #51), Dan Reed Network (Lover – #52), Grand Plaz (Wow Wow, Na Na – #58) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Higher Ground (1990 re-release) – #59).

Down at the lower end of the new entries were a couple of bangers, included here as I know at least a couple of regular readers will remember them

Hard Up – Awesome 3 (#64)
Dance Dance – Deskee (#74)

In acknowledgment of the fact you’ve been asked to spend a lot of time getting this far, I’m going to have a race through each of the remaining four charts in September 1990. There’s also the fact that the latter part of the month has a lot of singles of great interest…….

September 9: New Entries

Suicide Blonde – Inxs (#16)
Show Me Heaven – Maria McKee (#26)
Nothing To Lose – S’Express (#40)
Empty World- Dogs D’Amour (#63)
Way Down Now – World Party (#66)
Summer In Siam – The Pogues (#67)
You Don’t Love Me – Jagged Edge (#71)
Greenbank Drive – The Christians (#72)
Pain Killer – Judas Priest (#74)

I’ll mention in passing that those of us who had seen or listened to Lone Justice in previous years quite stunned but secretly pleased that Maria McKee was finally coming to the attention of a wider public. Just a pity it proved to be a one-off with a song whose video was packed with scenes from the latest Tom Cruise blockbuster.

Many of the other new entries this week reflect what I had been mentioning a few months back in that the music of the clubs and fields was moving into the mainstream

Tunes Splits The Atom – MC Tunes vs 808 State (#44)
Burundi Blues – Beats International (#56)
Sunrise – Movement 98 (#62)

The first of these would eventually go Top 20.

The Stone Roses also made a re-appearance in the charts at #32 with Fool’s Gold, just seven months after it had previously dropped out of the charts, albeit the radio stations were now spinning the other side of the single, What The World Is Waiting For.

The final mention for 9 September goes to this:-

Timeless Melody – The La’s

It had been two years since There She Goes had been released, and it was a period when The La’s were being talked up as the next great British indie-guitar bands. It would transpire that the intervening period had seen singer/songwriter Lee Mavers recording and re-recording their intended debut album, with a constantly changing band line-up and all sorts of would-be producers coming and going. Timeless Melody was the first of the new material and rather worryingly for all concerned, #57 was as high as it got. Things would, however, improve, before the year was out.

September 16: New Entries

Holy Smoke – Iron Maiden (#3)
Thunderstruck – AC/DC (#16)

Yup, the heavy metal brigade were out in force this week with the two highest new entries. Further down the charts, there was a smattering of pop hits from Monie Love (It’s A Shame – #35), River City People (What’s Wrong With Dreaming – #40), Bell Biv Devoe (Do Me! – #56) and Sinitta (Love and Affection – #62)

For the most part, however, a mix of indie and dance was showing the way:-

Then – The Charlatans (#19)
Cult of Snap! – Snap! (#21)
I Can’t Stand It – Twenty4Seven feat. Captain Hollywood (#28)
Make It Mine – The Shamen (#42)
Rock and Roll Nigger – Birdland (#47)
Omen – Orbital (#52)
You’re Walking – Electribe 101 (#54)

I’m guessing the Birdland cover would get into a spot of bother these days……but then again, Patti Smith does seem to get a free pass over such things.

September 23: New Entries

This was the week that Maria McKee began a four-week stay at the top of the charts, by which time Lone Justice fans were hiding away copies of the old albums….

The power of the gogglebox can be demonstrated by the fact that a new entry this week, at #16 (but it would eventually reach #2!!!) was Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton.  I had assumed it had something to do with it soundtracking the David Lynch film of the same name, but that was a 1986 release.  Instead, it had been used as the music for an advert for face cream and there had been enough public demand for it to be re-released and become a hit, a full 37 years on.  Its things like this that make me wish we had the American approach to singles in that they really don’t matter (but then again, my cupboard full of vinyl would be quite sparse).

The metal boys were still having a field day with Megadeath (Holy Wars….The Punishment Due – #24), Thunder – She’s So Fine (#38) and Slaughter (Coming Back For More #62).  There were also a fair number of new pop hits, far too many to mention even in passing, so it’s straight to the indie/dance/established alternative efforts

Never Enough – The Cure (#15)
World In My Eyes – Depeche Mode (#28)
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – The Wedding Present (#29)
Dreams Burn Down – Ride (#34)
Heaven (1990 version) – The Chimes (#36)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Neneh Cherry (#45)

The Wedding Present and Ride tracks were songs from the Three EP and the Fall EP respectively. It also led to a rare appearance on Top of The Pops for Gedge & co. Neneh Cherry‘s excellent single was the taster for the album Red Hot + Blue, a compilation album on which a wide range of contemporary singers and bands offered up their take on songs written by Cole Porter. The album would go on to sell more than a million copies worldwide and raise substantial sums for the Red Hot Organisation, a charity that had been established to fight AIDS.

September 30: New Entries

Yup…. a five week month (but look on the bright side, each of October and November will have just four weeks). It was also a quieter week for new entries, helped by the fact that none of the metal bands chose to release any singles!

The highest new entry belonged to a duo whose impending new album was their first new material in two years, having dominated the UK charts in the second half of the 80s

So Hard – Pet Shop Boys (#4)

Elsewhere, chart regulars such as Technotronic (Megamix – #12), MC Hammer (Have You Seen Her – #15), Mica Paris (Contribution – #43), Phil Collins (Hang In Long Enough – #47), Paul Simon (The Obvious Child – #61) and Paul Young (Heaven Can Wait – #72) were polluting the atmosphere.

A few others to mention.

A Little Time – The Beautiful South (#30)

Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway had caught a few folk by surprise with the change of direction after the break-up of The Housemartins, enjoying three hit singles and a #1 debut album in 1989. The first of the new material quietly entered the charts at #30 and two weeks later it was at #1.

Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones (#37)
Good Morning Britain – Aztec Camera feat Mick Jones (#52)

Two songs that would become staples of the ‘indie’ compilations that would flood the shops as the decade wore on.

And that concludes a bumper edition of this series, with 27 songs on offer, most of which had to be sought from outside the collection.  It took a fair bit of time and I’m glad this particular project is nearing an end.

(aged 57 years and 3 months)



I’m still battered and bruised from the kicking I got last month when I dismissed the merits of a number of songs, and in particular Hardcore Uproar by Together, which came into the charts at #24 in the last week of July 1990.  As Drew so succinctly put it,

“HU has stood the test of time…(and it is) a signpost in the direction that music was taking; fuck your guitars – 808s and 303s are where the fun lies”

Now, to be fair, I did indicate that the UK singles charts would begin to increasingly reflect what was going on out there in the fields but given that I never once set foot in one, nor for that matter in any clubs where the dance music explosion was happening, then this nostalgic look back will still concentrate on the areas where the fun didn’t lie, for the simple reason that I won’t be familiar with many of the new entry singles.  But I’ll refrain from ever suggesting that they should be passed over.  And, now that we’ve got that pathetic attempt at an apology and excuse out of the way, here’s a look at some of the singles which entered the charts in August 1990.

I always have a look at what held down the #1 spot in any given month as it offers up an indication of the overall tastes of the great British public.  July and ended with a tune called Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme sitting at the top of the pile where it would remain for the first two charts of August.  But just in case you thought this was the nadir of the year… would be replaced by Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Bombalurina, continuing the historical trend of the summer months providing the most horrific of novelty #1s.  This one, however, was particularly horrific…….

The new entries for the chart of 5 August were quite low key….some stinkers from the likes of Roxette, Sting, Wet Wet Wet, and Tina Turner were all that could be found in the new Top 50 along with these two:-

What Time Is Love? – KLF (#34)
Where Are You Baby? – Betty Boo (#35)

KLF had, under the guise of The Timelords, enjoyed a #1 with Doctorin’ The Tardis in 1988, and indeed the follow-up to that track had been the original trance version of What Time Is Love?. The new version was subtitled “Live at Trancentral”, the first of what would become a trilogy of upbeat house songs that would make superstars of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, before the trail of destruction that would accompany their demise after the Brit Awards acknowledged their success. This particular single would spend more than three months in the chart, peaking at #5.

Where Are You Baby? was the second big hit of the year for 20-year old Alison Clarkson, aka Betty Boo, following on from Doing The Do which was mentioned in the May 2020 edition of this feature. This one went all the way to #3 in due course and remains the most successful single that she would release.

Only one other song from the new entries this week is worth highlighting in that it provided a very minor hit for one the co-vocalists in Propaganda, who had enjoyed some hits a few years previous when they were on ZTT Records alongside Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Absolut(e) – Clauia Brucken

It came in at #71 and dropped back out again. And it shouldn’t be confused with the song of a similar name by Scritti Politti as recently featured.

August is traditionally a quietish month for new releases as most folk in England go off on holiday at that time and sales do tend to drop off. Creation Records, however, weren’t for holding back, especially when they had something on their hands that would provide both the perfect follow-up to Loaded and the song that would capture much of the mood of what was happening out in the fields

Come Together – Primal Scream

Of course, the extended versions are far superior, but this is the version that got daytime radio play and helped generate the sales that saw it come into charts at #26 on 12 August.

Slightly further down, a new hip-hop act from America was enjoying the first taste of chart success in the UK

Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest

Over the years, there has been more critical acclaim than sales for Tribe, with this #47 entry (which proved to be its highest position) just one of five hit singles during the decade, the biggest of which would be Can I Kick It?, in 1991.

Perhaps the most interesting of the new entries this week sneaked it at #60, from where it would go on to enjoy a 13-week stay, including two successive weeks at #2:-

Groove Is In The Heart – Dee-Lite

A close cousin to Betty Boo, this was the sort of dance music with a pop touch that was proving to be popular with much of the record-buying public. It still, thirty years on, sounds fresh enough to get young folk on the dancefloors these days.

George Michael had the highest new entry in the chart of 19 August with Praying For Time coming in at #8. Just behind him at #11 was one that I hadn’t appreciated had been such a massive hit with Deacon Blue’s new four-song EP of Bacharach and David songs entering at #11 and eventually reaching #2. It was one of just three singles that went Top 10 for the band albeit there were sixteen top 40 hits between 1988 and 1994.

I think I’m on safe ground by dissing and not featuring most of the remainder of the new entries of the 19 August chart:-

Can Can You Party – Jive Bunny and The Mastermixer (#14)
Silhouttes – Cliff Richard (#17)
End of The World – Sonia (#37)
Now You’re Gone – Whitesnake (#39)
Dive! Dive! Dive! – Bruce Dickinson (#45)
Don’t Be A Fool – Loose Ends (#48)
Heartbroke and Busted – Magnum (#53)
In The Back Of My Mind – Fleetwood Mac (#66)

Down at #67 there was a little bit of indie, from a band riding the coattails of Madchester (Stone Roses version) via a release on London Records

Up and Down – The High

while a little bit higher, at #54, there was a minor hit for Prefab Sprout with the single that had been issued in advance of the much anticipated new album, Jordan: The Comeback which was creating a real buzz among critics who had been privy to an advanced listen

Looking For Atlantis – Prefab Sprout

That always seemed to be the thing with Prefab Sprout. This was the band’s fourteenth single (including re-issues) of which all but two hadn’t reached the Top 40, with the huge exception being the #7 hit enjoyed by The King Of Rock’n’Roll in 1988.

And with that, we reach the chart of 26 August.

Betty Boo is up there at #4 surrounded by Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis, Bacharach & David covers, New Kids on The Block, Jive Bunny, Roxette and Cliff Richard, The edition of Top of The Pops aired that week must have been a true horror show.

There was further evidence of Madchester’s impact with a new entry at #40:-

Groovy Train – The Farm

As was mentioned in the May edition of this feature, nobody took much notice of The Farm and they were seen as something of a joke band. But they then recorded and released Groovy Train, a song that would bring them fame and a little bit of fortune, going on to eventually reach #6 and lay the foundation for an even bigger hit come Christmas-time.

Nothing else is worth featuring other than that. I’ll wake you all up again in September.

(aged 57 years and 2 months)



From an article in The Quietus, back in 2011, penned by Jim Keoghan:-

“As soon as a jingly-jangly indie band appears today, the C86 tag isn’t far behind. And yet, this wasn’t always the case. Over time we seem to have diminished a scene that was far more musically and culturally complex that is often assumed. For all its janglyness, C86 was about much more than just that.

Looking back 25 years to the original C86 era, the Britain of then might be unrecognisable to us today. Unemployment into the millions, rising inflation, an unrepentant Tory Government; it’s difficult to comprehend, but that’s what life really was like. Musically, Live Aid (which had taken place a year earlier) perfectly exemplified the landscape of the time with a rosta of bands so irredeemably anodyne they managed to make Queen look interesting.

Against this background, a musical rebellion was fermenting. At first it began in isolated pockets around the country, in places like Bristol and Glasgow but would soon coalesce to produce one of the most eclectic scenes in the short history of independent music.

One of the earliest people to really pick up on this change was Roy Carr, then a journalist with the NME.

“During the mid 80s, a few of us at the paper were starting to hear and see a load of bands coming through with a different sound to that which had dominated the independent scene for much of the earlier part of the decade. You got the feeling that something was happening, like the ground was shifting slightly.”

At the time, the NME was fond of putting together and releasing mix-tapes covering any number of different genres. It might sound quaint today in an age of unfettered access to anything ever recorded, but in those far off days a simple mix-tape could be one of the best chances for its readers to get hold of something new.

“We thought we’d do one of these for what was happening in indie music at the time. I’d done it for the paper before in 1981 – the imaginatively titled C81 – and that had been quite popular. So a few of us got together and started picking the bands we wanted to go on the tape.”

The tape did well, selling thousands of copies via mail order and eventually being released as an LP a year later by Rough Trade. According to Sean Dickson, former lead singer with The Soup Dragons, this success acted as something of a catalyst – not just on the 22 bands featured, but on the scene as a whole.

“The tape was the key to the whole C86 thing taking off,” he says. Aside from its impact on our profile, which was big, its release threw a spotlight on everything. I think what you can say is that it made what was underground suddenly over-ground. It took all these little scenes from around the country and pushed them together into the limelight – scenes like mine in Glasgow, where bands like us and Primal Scream had been knocking around for a few years; going to the same gigs, enjoying the same taste in music and sharing a similar attitude in the way that we made music.”

What’s striking about the bands both on the tape and those associated with the scene is the lack of a defining sound. If you listen to it today, the NME tape alone sounds like a load of bands with very little in common.

“We sounded nothing like a lot of the groups,” says Kev Hopper, bassist at the time with Stump. “Our song, ‘Buffalo’, is totally different to something like ‘Breaking Lines’ by The Pastels. When people today think of C86 it’s the bands with the fey melodies and jangly guitars that come to mind. But there were many other groups that were loud and energetic, such as Big Flame and The Wedding Present, and then people like us and Bogshed who were quite experimental. Listen to the tape today and it’s clear that the scene was about much more than just indie-pop.”

It is possible to pick your way through C86 and find several bands whose music did share bits in common. Many of those from Glasgow, such as The Pastels and Primal Scream, indulged in the more classically fey sound normally associated with C86, whereas on the Ron Johnson label, acts like The Shrubs, Big Flame and A Witness released songs that were fast and furious. But these connections were limited, and overall there is little to unite all the groups together, beyond a certain under-produced quality that characterised much of what was released during this period.

“The thing about music round then is that the people making it were drawing their influences from so many different places,” says John Robb, whose book Death to Trad Rock catalogues many of the bands around at the time. “Yes, there were bands that were heavily into the Velvet Underground and producing jangly pop, but there were others who were taking ideas from punk, blues, jazz, funk, rock & roll, ska, dub and anything else they could get their hands on and then twisting it all into something new.”

And yet to say that these groups had nothing at all to unite them would be wrong. One of the strongest shared characteristics evident in the scene was the rediscovery of punk’s DIY ethic. “This was all about bands doing it for themselves,” says John Robb. “This aspect of the scene isn’t always appreciated. There was no grovelling to major labels. Bands pressed their own records, put on their own gigs, designed their own record sleeves and published their own fanzines. It could often come across as quite amateurish but most of the time that was because those involved didn’t care about being slick. This wasn’t corporate rock; these bands didn’t have to sell millions. They were making music their own way. This was independent music in the truest sense of the word. Anti-establishment and everything that trad-rock wasn’t.”

Yet despite its obvious musical and cultural complexity, over time C86 has been reduced to just one thing: journalistic short-hand for indie-pop. Its role in the creation of this genre is certainly an important one; the jingly-jangly sound we all know so well was formed during the mid-to-late 80s. C86 bands played a huge part in this, building on the foundations laid by Postcard Records at the beginning of the decade. Indie pop, in all its various forms since, owes a debt to bands such as The Pastels, The Shop Assistants and The Bodines.

But this shouldn’t be the only recognised legacy of C86. Some of its more abrasive groups have been quoted as influences by bands as diverse as the Manic Street Preachers, Lambchop and Franz Ferdinand. What’s more, its success stories included groups like The Wedding Present, who reflected the energetic side of the scene. And a few years after C86 had fizzled out, its cultural dimension was also a clear spiritual influence on Riot Grrrl – something acknowledged by bands who possessed the same DIY ethic, such as Bikini Kill and Bratmobile.

C86 as a scene and a tag is a more complex beast than we give it credit for. In the spirit of the DIY ethic this is my attempt to get off my arse and do something to right the wrong that has been done to C86 over the last thirty years. Spread the word dear reader; C86 was jangly, C86 was fey but C86 was also about much more than that too.”


Here, as promised yesterday, is Side 2.

  1. The Shop Assistants – It’s Up to You
  2. The Close Lobsters – Firestation Towers
  3. Miaow – Sport Most Royal
  4. Half Man Half Biscuit – I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)
  5. The Servants – Transparent
  6. Mackenzies – Big Jim (There’s No Pubs In Heaven)
  7. Big Flame – New Way (Quick Wash And Brush Up With Liberation Theology)
  8. We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It – Console Me
  9. McCarthy – Celestial City
  10. The Shrubs – Bullfighter’s Bones
  11. The Wedding Present – This Boy Can Wait (A Bit Longer!)

Once again, individual tracks are available from clicking each of the above links. Here’s everything as one continuous listen if that’s your preference:-

mp3: Various – C86 NME/Rough Trade 100 (Side Two – vinyl version)



From wiki:-

C86 is a cassette compilation released by the British music magazine NME in 1986, featuring new bands licensed from British independent record labels of the time.As a term, C86 quickly evolved into shorthand for a guitar-based musical genre characterized by jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures, although other musical styles were represented on the tape. In its time, it became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called “shambling” (a John Peel-coined description celebrating the self-conscious primitive approach of some of the music and underachievement. The C86 scene is now recognized as a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK.

The C86 name was a play on the labelling and length of blank compact cassette, commonly C60, C90 and C120, combined with 1986. The tape was a belated follow-up to C81, a more eclectic collection of new bands, released by the NME in 1981 in conjunction with Rough Trade. C86 was similarly designed to reflect the new music scene of the time. It was the twenty-third NME tape, although its catalogue number was NME022 (C81 had been dubbed COPY001).

It was about a year later that Rough Trade issued a vinyl copy of C86, with the catalogue number of Rough 100 and on sale at a pre-determined price of £4.49.

My copy is at least second-hand, possibly more. I found it in a charity shop in Glasgow some five years ago, and paid £2 for it. It has the £4.49 sticker but also a second sticker for the same price from the independent chain in which it was first purchased – Andy’s Recordsthis wiki page explains the story behind its rise and fall.

I’ve now made copies of all the tracks from the original vinyl, which is in surprisingly good condition given its age and that the sleeve is rather tattered and tired-looking. Side 1 today. Side 2 tomorrow. Along with a lengthy critique that I’ve ripped from elsewhere.

  1. Primal Scream – Velocity Girl
  2. The Mighty Lemon Drops – Happy Head
  3. The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised
  4. The Wolfhounds – Feeling So Strange Again
  5. The Bodines – Therese
  6. Mighty Mighty – Law
  7. Stump – Buffalo
  8. Bogshed – Run To The Temple
  9. A Witness – Sharpened Sticks
  10. The Pastels – Breaking Lines
  11. The Age of Chance – From Now On, This Will Be Your God

Individual songs are available from clicking each of the above links. Here’s everything as one continuous listen if that’s your preference:-

mp3: Various – C86 NME/Rough Trade 100 (Side One – vinyl version)



Looking back at the Bacchanalian nights of my early 20’s living in NYC, most of the fun I had was in The Limelight Night Club on 20th Street and 6th Avenue in Chelsea. Less than a year after opening, my friends and I had found our way to become regulars in the club’s third floor VIP room know as The Library.

The Library had a front entrance at the top of a staircase with de rigueur velvet rope and a VERY sarcastic, almost urchin-like attendant named Leo. The thing was, if you could match his wit you could easily gain entrance, permanent entrance in our case…It didn’t hurt that my friends Christine, Mimi and Sandi – The Girls, as I had dubbed them, were all great looking and very outgoing. They were like three-dimensional calling cards…

The Library was managed by one of downtown NYC’s denizens, Fred Rothbell-Mista. He knew everybody and how to show them a great time. There was a cash bar in The Library, something that would be a feature of all of club impresario Peter Gatien’s clubs, but you couldn’t buy a drink from the bartender, you had to go though a short, amphetamine driven, “Mockney” by the name of Neville Wells. Neville was a miniature Bob Hoskins mixed with a bit of Michael Caine in Alfie, but man he was a lot of fun. Thing was, for every drink patrons in The Library attempted to purchase, they would likely be fed 3 or 4 more for free, once things in the room got going. Neville worked for the tips and the club just wanted happy beautiful people.

On any given night of the week, you could find Johnny Ramone or Billy Idol mingling with Herbie Hancock, or Tom Hanks, or some popular soap opera diva. Grace Jones, a long time friend of Peter Gatien held court there whenever in town and even snagged her longtime partner, Dolph Lundgren from among the club’s bouncers in those early years of the club. But most importantly to the club, and especially it’s Head Publicist, Claire O’Connor, was that it was a safe place for visiting Rock, Pop or Hip Hop artists to go out in NYC. Many bands playing in NYC would skip the after-show party and show up at Limelight to just relax and have a good and relatively quiet after-show night in NYC.

So that’s your setup….

One night in the late Fall of 1984, The Girls and I met up to go to Limelight. We were on a mission. The previous night, we were having a ball in The Library with Perri Lister, Billy Idol’s long time partner and a few of the guys from The Uptown Horns.

In came Simon Le Bon, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes. Much as we tried that night, we couldn’t really get the Brummies to join in our frivolity. It’s not that they weren’t friendly, they just seemed to not be used to the democracy of The Library. Any engagement was short and didn’t seem to hold their interest for long. So we left them to their own devices and didn’t really notice when they left.

mp3: Duran Duran – Notorious

Later in the night I was talking to the room manager Fred and related how they seemed a bit like fish out of water, but Fred told me they had a great time and planned on being back the next night after doing some publicity events. I related this to The Girls who agreed we had to be back the next night and get them to let down their hair a bit. I’m sure I made a smart comment about hairspray and how difficult that might literally be to pull off…

So back to the next night’s mission. I got a call from Sandi to tell me that she and Mimi had been out after work and stopped by a 99¢ Store and purchased a bunch of plastic water pistols that we would be bringing with us to the club. They were dead set on getting the Brummie Boys to get into the spirit whether they liked it or not. I thought, oh yeah this should be fun!

Later that night we arrived at Limelight, sometime close to Midnight. The Library was buzzy, but not crowded, as it was a Thursday night. We spotted Perri Lister and Billy Idol and sat with them, letting only Perri in on our plan. She was certainly game and excited to see how things unfolded.

Not much more than a half-hour after we had arrived, Simon and John arrived and Nick came with his wife Julianne. Nick and Julianne sat a bit separate from Simon and John, but still within chatting distance and they were all on sofas on the opposite side of the room from us.

Perri Lister started to pester us about when the fun was going to begin. I wanted to it to go off right and not seem like an unwelcome ambush. To this end I asked Christine and Perri to go fill the bag of water pistols in the ladies room and the rest of us would take the opportunity to chat with Simon and John. You could tell Nick and Julianne were a bit more preoccupied so it made sense to leave them be. After a few pleasantries, I could tell the guys were in a much looser and friendly mood and this would play right into our hand. Mimi met up with Christine and Perri coming back from filling the pistols with “ammo” and as they came back over to where Sandi and I were with Simon and John, Perri shout “alright, this is a stick up!” and threw a water pistol each to Sandi and I and we all just stood there pointing our pistols at Simon and John.

Simon began cracking up and John actually raised his hands up in the air. Mimi then pulled out another two water pistols and threw them at the boys. Well that was all that they needed to break out of their shells! Before any of us to squeeze our triggers, Simon started shooting a steady stream of water at Sandi and I.

Next thing you know we all scattered around The Library using the sofas as barricades and taking shots at each other. After a couple of minutes I realized that Nick and Julianne were hysterically laughing and so I offered my pistol to Nick so he could join in. He was all about it! Rather than go after one of The Girls, he went straight for John! I found refuge with Billy Idol who at this point was laughing hysterically and slapped me so hard on my back that I flew off the sofa on to the floor.

mp3: Duran Duran – Wild Boys

Thing really got going once Neville persuaded Mimi to give him a pistol and he started running around quoting lines from spaghetti westerns (he was of course a would-be actor). Neville would gather up any empty pistols and recharge them with water from behind the bar and the next thing you knew everyone in The Library was calling for a pistol to have a go. Having recovered from my moment on the floor and a few Jack and Cokes in me, I grabbed two of the pistols and challenged Billy Idol to a duel.

Fred heard my challenge and at the top of his lungs yelled out “Hold Your Fire! We have a duel!” Fred proceeded to choose each of us seconds and cleared the center of the floor. He put Billy and myself back to back and had us walk 5 paces (they were water guns after all) and turn before firing. Well I did have revenge on my mind and as soon as I turned I began firing right at Billy’s face. He just broke up in laughter and never got a shot off! In fact, it seemed like everyone in the room with a water pistol began firing in his direction!

mp3: Billy Idol – Don’t Need A Gun

This water pistol melee continued for about an hour and at some point many of the pistols seemed to have either Vodka or Whiskey in them. So by the end, most people were just shooting those pistols directly in their own mouths. Simon, John and Nick were all as drenched as any of us and had great fun. I remember that Julianne had managed to stay relatively unscathed in all the fracas.

Around 2:30am, Claire O’Connor arrived in The Library and Fred Rothbell-Mista told him of the goings-on she had missed. She ran over to me and I thought, right I’m done for. First words out of her mouth was “DID ANYONE TAKE PICTURES?” to which I replied in the negative. She just slumped on the sofa next to me. Then she sprang back to life and asked me if I thought Page Six would run the item even without a picture? Now I was a regular source of nightlife gossip to Page Six of The New York Post (sorry did I forget to mention that in the setup?), so I told her I could only offer the story and see if they ran with it.

I went with her to her office and called the night editor at The Post and found that I had missed the deadline for the second edition of the next day’s paper, but he liked the story and would see if he could get it in the following Monday’s edition. Claire was disappointed, but I told her that they ran a lot of my blind items.

Come the Monday, I bought a copy of The Post on the way into the subway heading to a morning of classes on Music Theory and Political Science and opened to Page Six as I sat down on the #7 Train. There it was, second item down titled “Water Pistols At Dawn!” As much as I would love to embellish and say I was listening to Duran Duran on my Walkman on the trip into Manhattan from Queens, I can guarantee it was more likely The Bunnymen, Simple Minds or Talking Heads.

On the way up from classes, and before heading to work in midtown that afternoon, I stopped by The Limelight and headed up to Claire O’Connor’s office to be greeted by a big hug and kiss and her famous loud laughter. I looked over, after being released from her bear hug, to see Peter Gatien sitting on the couch in her office and he looked up at me and said thanks for the story in the Post.

mp3: Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know

In the new year, I would find myself with the role of junior publicist at The Limelight, thanks to that night of wet and wild with Duran Duran. I worked with The Limelight on the club’s Rock and Roll Church nights where we booked acts like Johnny Thunders and a secret gig by Guns And Roses, a 4th of July show with Batcave veterans Specimen and later Communion at Limelight where Goth and Industrial bands would play to a packed house.

But my favorite job was joining in and instigating the fun in The Library at Limelight.



JC writes……..

A few years back, my friends Echorich and Jonny the Friendly Lawyer collaborated on a short series of posts celebrating life and growing up in New York City.  I’ve kept the link to all three parts over on the right-hand side of the blog (if on a laptop) or underneath (if you’re scrolling down on some other device) under the heading of Everyone’s Your Friend In New York.

Almost four years after the third installment, the dynamic duo have returned with part 4, which I’ve split into two sections over today and tomorrow.  Jonny sets the scene rather well today while Echorich’s tale, if my reaction to reading it is anything to go by, should generate a great deal of amusement and awe in equal measures.

My thanks, again to the two of them for sharing such amazing and precious memories.  It’s another reminder that the guest contributions, whether through postings or comments, are really what makes this little corner of t’internet seem that bit more special.

Over now to Jonny………………….

The Limelight was a huge, 19th century Gothic deconsecrated church on the corner of 20th Street and 6th Avenue. It opened as a nightclub around 1982. A fair number of famous bands played there but the place was really more known as a dance club. Actually, in its day it was THE dance club in NYC—ground zero for 80’s scenesters and a farm league for star DJ’s. This 2-part episode of Everyone’s Your Friend in New York City focuses on your humble authors’ personal experiences with this hallowed venue which, by the way, is still standing on the same Chelsea corner in all its grim-faced stone glory. You can read all about the venerable edifice (and the crimes and films and legends that grew out of it) here:

I passed by the Limelight all the time because I lived nearby on 23rd St. It was a massive, byzantine structure that was always jam-packed, with a line around the block to get in. I went there a few times, as did everyone in the city in the 80’s, but not too often. I wasn’t what you’d call a club boy or much of a dancer back in the day. But when the chance arose for my band, Chronic Citizens, to play there you can bet we jumped at it.

It was impossible to get gigs in the city (it still is). There are only so many venues and there are 10,000 bands trying to get a look in. There was no way to get your name out apart from wheat-pasting flyers to walls and phone poles in the dead of night. No local radio station would play your music, even if you could afford to record and press any. You could hang around CB’s and bug Hilly until he put you on the bill, but only because he had a kind heart. The major indie venues—The Ritz, Peppermint Lounge, Knitting Factory, Danceteria—were booked solid with famous international acts. So, it was a very big deal to get the nod to play the Limelight, even if it wasn’t the main stage.

Unlike other dives the Citizens played, the Limelight was a proper venue with a major-league green room. The five of us and assorted girlfriends and comrades piled in, where we met our opening act, a group of scrawny kids from New Jersey called, if I remember correctly, the Orphans. They were a four-piece but their bassist hadn’t arrived yet. We were all shocked when the door opened and bus trays were delivered filled with beer on ice! Unknown bands were treated like shit as a matter of policy in the city, and here we were having beer delivered to our dressing room! Not only that but a quart of milk and a pot of coffee for the road crew we didn’t have. We descended on the beer like locusts and, in short order, an impromptu jam began. I can’t recall what else we did but I distinctly remember one song in particular: We plugged in our amps and played a 20-minute version of Sweet Jane, with about 12-15 of us slamming in on the chorus.

mp3: The Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane

We sort of got carried away with our rock star fantasy because someone from the venue politely entered and advised that we were supposed to be performing in the club, not getting plastered in the green room. This proved to be a bit of a problem for the Orphans, whose bass player was still on the wrong side of the Hudson. So we decided to open for ourselves. We broke down the drum kit and amps and set them back up in one of the antechambers or side chapels or whatever you call the ancillary rooms in churches adjacent to the main cathedral. There was always a good crowd in the Limelight and it was just fun playing a set with the knowledge that, when it was over, we could say we’d done it.

I don’t remember too many of the details of the show as we were decently uninhibited by the largesse of the management. I was also distracted by the presence in the audience of the sister of an old school friend. We’d recently met up at a party and she’d hinted it might be fun to get together without her brother around, an idea I was very much in favor of. The performance was a bit of a blur, if I’m honest, me pretending to be a rock star who played famous venues where the management showered us with booze and young ladies turned up so we could leave together. That wasn’t true, but it was true for a night anyway. I know we would have played our theme song.

mp3: Chronic Citizens – Chronic Citizens

We finished up and piled back into the green room to see if the Orphans had left any of the complimentary libations. They were looking pretty forlorn as their bassist still hadn’t shown up. The singer approached me and asked if I’d sit in for their missing mate. I declined—I didn’t know their songs and had a rendezvous I was eager to keep. The rest of them pleaded with me; they were going to miss their chance to play the Limelight!

So I agreed to play the only song from their set I knew: ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ by Johnny Thunders. As they were setting up the singer sheepishly admitted that he didn’t actually know the words. Right. I found a pen and looked for something to write on, the minutes passing uncomfortably. The only thing I could find was the carton of milk sent by the Limelight angels, so that’s what I used. And so it came to pass that I played the Thunders classic at the Limelight, trying not to laugh and screw up the bass part while the singer squinted at my scrawled lyrics on the side of a milk carton he was holding aloft in the dim light of the stage.

mp3: Johnny Thunders – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory

That was more than enough for me. I packed up my gear and headed toward home three blocks west, still jazzed by the whole experience. I only played a few more shows with the Citizens before the band split and I put my fledgling music career on hold for thirty years. But I could always say I played the Limelight! The image of the hapless Orphans’ frontman holding a mic in one hand and the milk carton in the other still makes me smile. And it was unforgettable being treated like rock royalty.

It would be decades, and only through the good offices of our host JC, before I learned that the beer trays had been sent to the Limelight green room by…Echorich.

Jonny the Friendly Lawyer


July 1990.  The beginning of the second summer of love.  I know that a few of you out there were heavily involved in all that was happening in clubs and fields;  I am, in some ways quite jealous, but at the same time I don’t think I’m prepared to any accept offer from a time machine operator to experience the late 80s/early 90s and in doing so lose everything I’d gone through ten years previous.

In due course, the UK singles charts would begin to increasingly reflect what was going on out there in the fields, but for the most part they remain this month packed with the sort of dross, pap and utter shite that clogged up the airwaves of most radio stations.

The month began with Elton John in the middle of what would prove to be a five-week run at the top with Sacrifice, managing against the odds to fend off Luciano Pavarotti whose Nessun Dorma had gained huge exposure on a daily basis as the theme of the BBC coverage of the 1990 World Cup.  The fact that Elton would be displaced eventually at the top with a tune called Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme (and yes, like the rest of you I can’t recall this one at all), gives you an indication that the area around top of the charts wasn’t vintage this month. Further down, there were some gems waiting to be unearthed amidst a ginormous pile of horse manure.

Come Home – James

The band’s hard work over the previous years was beginning to bear fruit.  How Was It For You? had earlier in the year provided a Top 40 hit while new album Gold Mother had gone int at #16, albeit it fell down the placings the following week.  Fontana Records were aware that some of the back catalogue stood a great chance of success, in the same way as had been enjoyed by contemporaries such as Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, and so the 1989 single that had flopped when issued by Rough Trade was handed to uber-producer Flood.  It came in on 1 July at #32 but that was as high as it managed.  James‘s commercial ascendancy lay further down the road.

The Crying Scene – Aztec Camera

Roddy Frame had delivered a new album to WEA that they were a bit flummoxed by.  The previous album, Love (1987) has been slick and glossy. providing in due course a huge hit in Somewhere In My Heart.  The new album, Stray, was more slow-paced, introvert and had just one real candidate for a single, if you chose to ignore the potential of a  collaboration with a former member of the Clash.   Not surprisingly, the label issued the song most likely to get airplay, even though it wasn’t that great, memorable or distinct a number.  Despite being issued on 7″, 10″ and CD format, The Crying Scene limped in at #73 in the first week of July before going up to #70 the following week and then disappearing into the bargain bins.  The b-side offered up a cover of a Cyndi Lauper hit single which is so lovely that I have to include it here.

True Colours – Aztec Camera

And that, was as good as it got for new entries in the first week of July 1990.  The second week saw this come in at #4

One Love – Stone Roses

Up until now, all the chart hits for Stone Roses had been re-releases of old material. One Love was different and it entering the charts at #4, offered an indication that mainstream success for what was previously underground was a distinct possibility.  The single didn’t go Top 3 but it did hang around the lower and middle reaches for a further six weeks.

I’m Free – Soup Dragons (feat. Junior Reid)

Those of us up here in the Glasgow area who had watched Soup Dragons be part of the twee, occasionally shambolic but always guitar-based Bellshill scene (along with the likes of BMX Bandits and Teenage Fanclub) were stunned, bemused and delighted to see the band take the singles charts by storm by hitching their wagon to the Madchester sound.

To be fair, lead singer Sean Dickson was now pursuing his real love in terms of music, and the dance-floor is where he has remained over the past 30 years, never remotely interested in going back to the style his band had previously been best known for.  I’m Free was a cover of a relatively little-known album track recorded in 1965 by the Rolling Stones.  This version came in at #28 and eventually went to #5.  Junior Reid, the lead vocalist for UK reggae band Black Uhuru, provided the distinctive toast verse in the middle of the song.

Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

The crusties and the grebos were also beginning to enjoy some commercial success, thanks in many ways to the old fashioned method of the bands going out on the road, gigging constantly and earning a fanbase who loved the energy of the shows.  Ned’s Atomic Dustbin cracked the lower end of the charts with their sophomore single – it also went to #1 in the Indie Singles Chart.  It’s a barnstormer of a tune, and while they would have bigger hits in later times, this has proven to be their signature tune.

Beef – Gary Clail On-U Sound System (12″ version)

An ode to vegetarianism from the Bristol-based singer/producer.  On-U Sound had been around for much of the decade, founded by Adrian Sherwood and specialising in dub/reggae music, although this minor hit leans more towards Italian house. The main lyric is a rework of Bring The Noize with “Bass! How low can you go? Death row, what a brother knows” becoming “Beef! How low can you go? Hear the cattle cry, death row.”

Despite not getting much in the way of airplay, Beef did reach #64, while Gary Clail would enjoy a top 10 hit in 1991 with Human Nature.

There’s not a huge amount to write home about in the charts of 15 and 22 July, albeit twenty-eight singles first entered the charts over those two weeks. These have some merit….

Return To Brixton – The Clash

Long after the band had broken up, CBS continued to shove out material for cash-in purposes. Beats International had used The Guns of Brixton as the basis for Dub Be Good To Me (as featured in a previous edition of this series) and just to prove that very point, and to promote a newly remastered edition of London Calling some 10 years after the original, a slight remix of the original was issued as Return to Brixton.  It entered at #57 on 15 July but got no higher.

Tom’s Diner – DNA featuring Suzanne Vega

The American songstress had enjoyed a very minor hit in 1987 with a song celebrating a New York restaurant that she often frequented.  Three years later, the vocal was taken by two British record producers who went by the name of DNA and mixed with the tune from Keep on Movin’ by Soul II Soul.  It was initially pressed up as a club track only but as soon as the bosses at A&M Records heard it, they turned the screw on the producers and took ownership of the track, releasing it as a bona fide single which came in at #13 on 22 July and eventually went to #2 where it spent three weeks (which I’ll return to next month).

Incidentally, and I only learned this while researching for this piece, Tom’s Diner was the song the electrical engineer and mathematician, Karlheinz Brandenburg, used for the testing process as he developed and refined the audio compression scheme that we know as mp3.

Velouria – Pixies

The profile of the Boston-based band had rocketed from the adoration heaped on them by the critics, many of whom had named Doolittle as the best album of 1989.  Velouria was the first new song since then and it smashed into the charts at #28 on 22 July.

It’s On – Flowered Up

Another band whose reputation was down to live shows, critical acclaim and making the sort of music that fitted in perfectly with all that was happening around them.  The debut single made the charts at a time when many other bands usually needed two or three goes to get it right, entering at #64 on 22 July , eventually peaking two weeks later some ten places higher; not bad given it wasn’t played much on daytime radio.

The chart of 29 July 1990 had plenty of new entries – 14 in all – but once again (as was illustrated last month) they should, in the interests of good taste, mainly be skipped over:-

Visions of Love – Mariah Carey (#74)
Saxulaity – Candy Dulfer (#63)
Hey There Lonely Girl – Big Fun (#62)
Pure – GTO (#57)
Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz (#55)
For Her Light – Fields of The Nephilm (#54)
Nobody – Tongue’n’Cheek (#45)
Blaze of Glory – Jon Bon Jovi (#42)
Amanada – Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (#36)
Hardcore Uproar – Together (#24)
Violence of Summer (Love’s Talking Over) – Duran Duran (#23)
She’s A Little Angel – Little Angels (#21)
Tonight – New Kids on the Block (#17)

The highest new entry, is worth a passing mention, albeit it wasn’t one of his most memorable.

Thieves In the Temple – Prince

Thieves In The Temple would rise into the Top 10 the following week, becoming the ninth Prince single to achieve such lofty heights. He would go onto have six further such successes during the first half of the 90s, including his only #1 hit, The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, which hit the top in April 1994, although it was released by Symbol rather than Prince……….

I’ll be back in around four weeks time with another look back at the 45s which were being bought by the great British public.

Velouria…..30 years old now.  Can’t quite get my head round that one.

(aged 57 years and 1 month)