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I consider the list to be a historical document (for me at least!).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.