Friday, 17 August 2012

500 singles (pages 5,6 and 7) and a Smash Hits bonus

As a special treat for you today – 3 pages of the ‘500 singles’ list and a bonus picture of a 30 year old copy of Smash Hits found in the loft in the same box as the singles list.
It’s not just any old Smash Hits mind, it’s the Japan break-up edition. Contained inside is an interview with David Sylvian in which he is generally pretty miserable and moans about some of his earlier music – fairly representative of every David Sylvian interview I’ve ever read!
As usual, Mick Karn looks cool.
If you’re well behaved you might get more from this issue of Smash Hits at a later date as it also includes features on A Flock of Seagulls and Blancmange, a competition to win a Commodore VIC20 and a ‘what on earth has happened to The Rubettes’ question on the letters page – but for now it’s back to pages 5, 6 and 7 of the ‘500 singles’ list.
Page 5, as you can see starts with ‘Save the last dance for me’ by Drifters and ends with ‘December 1963’ by The Four Season. At least that’s what the list says – I’m fairly sure that there was more than one of them!
The Inbetweenies (Copyright Ian Dury) on page 5 are three by Duran Duran (before they were rubbish – sorry BT kids!), one by the aforementioned Ian Dury, Sheena Easton (I’m not proud of this), three by Echo and the Bunnymen (I am proud of this), Elias and his zigzag jive flutes (Tom Hark), four by ELO (including ‘Sweet talkin’ woman on purple vinyl), ‘The original bird dance’ by The Electronicas (rather than the vastly inferior remake), The Eurythmics (Sweet dreams), the fantastic ‘Wikka Wrap’ (list spelling rather than correct spelling I think) by The Evasions, The Everly Brothers, Falco (Junge Roemer not Rock me Amadeus), Fall out Club (nearly missed and included in the margin as an afterthought), five by The Farmer’s Boys (I loved The Farmer’s Boys – still do!), Bryan Ferry, Fischer Z, Fleetwood Mac (Tusk, still a revolutionary single), three by the amazing Flying Lizards, Eddie Fontaine, Foreigner and a very lonely Four Season.
I’ve given a lot of thought to my favourite page (which I know is rather sad) and I think I’ll choose at the end, but I hope you’ll agree that page 6 will be a serious contender. It has quality and variety, but it may also have, in number 186 (D.I.S.C.O. by Grops) the worst single on the whole list.
Page 6 starts with John Foxx, which I hope you’ll agree is always a good thing and moves on through Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Fun Boy 3, Funkapolitan (‘As the time goes by’ one of the world’s great under-rated singles), Future Daze (two by them but not sure why), Peter Gabriel (2), Genesis (Many to many, which I now know is spelled incorrectly), Robin Gibb, Ginger (not Baker just Ginger!), Glass Torpedoes (never seen another copy of this), ‘Angel Face’ by The Glitter Band (who of course started life as G**y G*****r’s backing band), God’s Toys (Everybody’s got a mother), Peter Godwin (only one because most of my Peter Godwin collection is on 12” singles, yours is probably the same!), Graham Gouldman (from the soundtrack to a cartoon that I can’t remember the name of), two by Grandmaster Flash (‘the message’ and ‘it’s a shame’ which is not the same as the Talk Talk track of them same name), Zaine Griff, Grops (with their vastly inferior version of D.I.S.C.O. – a fairly clever feat to pull off), H2O, George Harrison, Havana let’s Go (check them out on YouTube – you’ll love them! Unfortunately only ‘Torpedoes’ seems to be available), three by Heaven 17, Trevor Herion (also worth checking out), two by Nick Heyward, Jennifer Holiday, Honey Bane (her version of the Supremes’ ‘Baby love’) and Hot Chocolate.
Page 7, as you will understand if you know me, is dominated by The Human League and Japan but there are some other treasures too (and rather too many by Engelbert Humperdinck for comfort);
As you will see both my numbering skills and my grasp of the alphabet seems to dessert me on page 7, where we start with five by The Human League (all brilliant, but Empire State Human just gets better and better as the years go by ), three by Engelbert Humperdinck (more by ‘The Hump’ than by John Foxx – something’s very wrong here), two by Icehouse, two by The Icicle Works (including ‘Nirvana’), The Imposter (Declan to his Mum), In Embrace, ‘Steamhammer Sam’ by Intaferon (only the second single ever to use the ‘mouldy old dough’piano), I start Counting, three by Michael Jackson (he was very good, but the ‘King of Pop’ was actually Anthony Newley who features on page 10), The Jacksons, Rick James (is it me, or are a lot of the people on these three pages dead now?), six (SIX!) by Japan (including ‘Second that emotion’ on pink vinyl), and then, in no specific alphabetic order, Billy Joel, Gloria Jones (Tainted love – what else!), Grace Jones, Johnny Pearson Orchestra, France Joli and Tom Jones – there’s more Tom on page 8.
Join me soon for pages 8 and 9 when we reach the halfway point (sneak peak – Joy Division – Mick Karn – Leisure Process – M – Kate and Anna McGarrigle – Modern Romance – Naked Eyes and many more!)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

500 singles (pages 3 and 4)

Long, long ago, in the days before @helendisneygirl was a twinkle in the eye of @mummypace and me (@boxofpeppers), a disparate (and probably also desparate) bunch of us held a 24 hour record playathon type thing.
500 singles in 24 hours, all lovingly written on a list that has been hidden in a box in various lofts for around 27 years.
You already know about numbers 1 to 66, so here, as you can see, are numbers 67 to 132, David Bowie (Rebel, Rebel) to Dramatis (Ex Luna Scientia) and all points in between including Phil Collins before he was uncool.
As you can see from the attached pages 3 and 4, this section includes (as usual) some good stuff along with some decidedly indifferent stuff!
This section starts with two from Bowie, Box of Toys, Boystown Gang (the definitive version of ‘ain’t no mountain high enough), The Brecker Brothers, Bette Bright, The Bureau (with Mick Talbot), Kate Bush, The Buzzcocks, Irene Cara (Flashdance, not Fame), The Cars, CaVa CaVa (cruelly forgotten), Cerrone (got to be Supernature), Cheap Trick, China Crisis, Petula Clark (why not?), six by The Clash, Coati Mundi, Nat King Cole, Paul Collin’s Beat, Phil Collins (‘in the air tonight’ so not too bad!), Russ Conway (I love Russ Conway, I’m just not sure why), Elvis Costello (four in total),

Bing Crosby (‘White Christmas, naturally), Culture Club, The Daintees (two of theirs, ‘roll on summertime’ and ‘trouble town’), England Dan and John Ford Coley, Bobby Darin, Darts, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick and Titch (Xanadu), Dead Kennedys (only 14 places away from Phil Collins!), Desmond Dekker, Delta 5 (the fabulous ‘anticipation’), Depeche Mode, Devo, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Dickies (seven by them, all no more than about two minutes long, five on coloured vinyl), Dire Straits (only one), Lonnie Donegan (you can’t say this isn’t varied), Donovan, Dr Calculus (aka Stephen ‘tin-tin’ Duffy), Die Doraus & Die Marinas (‘Fred vom Jupiter’ on Mute records) and last, and definitely not least, ‘Ex Luna Scientia’ by Dramatis.
Join me soon (ish) for pages 5 and 6, from The Drifters to Tom Jones – not very 1985!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

500 singles (pages 1 and 2)

Way, way back in 1985, in the days before mobile phones, laptops and iPods a small group of us decided to hold a sponsored 24 hour marathon to play 500 7” singles. Every now and then I come across the photographs, but yesterday, while rummaging in the loft, I found the list!
The list includes most (but not all) of my 7” singles at the time, all of which still live happily (with thousands of more recent friends) up in the aforementioned loft.
I consider the list to be a historical document (for me at least!). It’s not a list of my favourite singles by any means, just 500 that I happened to own at the time.
On twitter recently a number of ‘Top 100s’ have appeared. I’ve enjoyed them immensely as, like most music addicts, I think nothing reveals more about anybody than their taste in music. So I thought I’d do something slightly different and blog my ‘500 singles' list.
The list was originally handwritten by me (@boxofpeppers on twitter) and my wife, Susan (@mummypace on twitter) who wasn’t my wife then! Then we typed a second copy of the list on my Olympia typewriter (sadly long gone).
We borrowed the double disco decks as we often did for discos at the time and on some long forgotten date (presumed to be 1985 by the presence of Band Aid’s ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’) my little brother Andrew (@PANDASOURCING on twitter) and me played these records in a church hall to a group of fifteen people all sponsored to endure my singles for 24 hours. I presume that the church hall venue explains why none of my Sex Pistols singles feature on the list – The Dead Kennedys ‘California Uber Alles’ is included at number 110 though. For musical balance Des O’Connor’s ‘I pretend’ puts in an appearance at number 302, nestling between Gary Numan and Hazel O’Connor (no relation!).
At the end (once I find a decent optical character recognition programme) I will include a full list of the 500, but the handwritten lists seem much more exciting so they’ll be the ones included until the publication of the full list.
Pages 1 and 2 will feature today, starting inevitably with ABBA (Knowing me, knowing you) and ending with David Bowie (Let’s dance). As you can see in between those musical colossi (or colusses?) we played singles by Adam and the Ants, Afraid of Mice, The Alarm, Albania (the group not the country!), Herb Alpert (the mighty ‘Spanish Flea’), two singles by Laurie Anderson (I bet many didn’t realise she made more than one!), Paul Anka, Artery, The Associates, Aztec Camera, the B-52s (four singles, back-to-back), The Babys, Bad Manners (‘Special Brew’ – hooray!), Bananarama, Band Aid, Barracudas (the excellent ‘Summer Fun’), three singles by Bauhaus (which I’m sure went down a treat), The Beat, The Beatles, The Beautiful Americans, The Bee Gees, The Beverley Sisters (‘Little Donkey’, obviously), Big Country, Mr. Acker Bilk, Bim (whatever happened to……), Cilla Black, Black Lace (sorry!), Blondie, The Blow Monkeys, The Blues Band, Blue Zoo (the brilliant ‘Love moves in strange ways’ mine may be the only copy that still exists, and may be the only copy that ever existed), B Movie (Remembrance Day), Boomtown Rats (five singles), Pat Boone (‘Speedy Gonzales’), Bop and David Bowie who spans over from page 2 to page 3.
Not all of these are great as you can see, but many of them are. If any of your favourite artists are missing (Blancmange for example) the most likely reason is that I only had their works on 12” single instead!
Tune in over the next few days and weeks for pages 3-16. Don’t worry if you’re hoping for ‘Justice not vengeance’ by Popular History of signs, it’s right there at number 335 on page 11. I may also be persuaded to show the photos too.