FFS

Much has happened since I was last able to post anything here. The main thing was my good lady wife spilling water on my MacBook and drowning it unto death, so I no longer have a machine from which I can regularly update. If this post has actually worked then I should be able to post some more bits and pieces in the future.

Untitled Three – Clip

@verianthomas

I make repetitive music♬ original sound – Verian Thomas

Twin Peaks – Cover Location

Apparently locating where the pictures for album covers were taken is a thing. I was having a browse through some that a discogs group had put together and there was Twin Peaks, which reminded me that I’d been there. Not Twin Peaks, it isn’t a real place, but where it was filmed, namely Snoqualmie in Washington State which I visited in 1998 (Twin Peaks first aired 90-91).

It then occured to my that I have the album in which, or on which, the picture in question appears, namely this one:

According to the sleuths who track these things down this picture was taken at this location https://goo.gl/maps/NMMMTEDEWWp but to save you clicking here is what you will see:

And from there you can do street view and see for yourself, or just have a general look around if you feel like it. We went to the falls, which were pretty cool, and had a general drive around the town, some parts of which I recognised, particularly a Petrol Station where a scene from The Vanishing (Kiefer Sutherland/Jeff Bridges) was filmed, although I only recognised it after it was pointed out to me. I think they also filmed at the falls and in and around Seattle for that film.

It then occured to me that this is not the only copy I have, I also have the more recent remastered re-release in ‘Damn Fine Coffee’ coloured vinyl. This is it:

It has director approved artwork, is on 180 gram damn fine coffee colour vinyl, with 425 gram gatefold sleeve housed inside a bespoke white die-cut outer jacket with white spot varnish finish, complete with obi strip. It is still exactly the same music but it sounds a bit better.

This, other than perhaps the main theme, is probably the most recognisible track from the soundtrack:

It would be fairly odd if I had a third copy of this soundtrack. I do have a third copy of this soundtrack. It is a little different though as it is an interpretation by the band Xiu Xiu who are an American experimental band, formed in 2002 by singer-songwriter Jamie Stewart in San Jose, California. Currently, the line-up consists of Stewart (the only constant member since formation) and Angela Seo.

The album is titled Xiu Xiu ‎– Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks ad it was released exclusively as a Record Store Day release on April 16, 2016 by Polyvinyl in the United States and Bella Union in Europe. It was produced by former Xiu Xiu member Jherek Bischoff and mixed by Deerhoof member Greg Saunier.

The covers were originally commissioned by Queensland Gallery of Modern Art for a 2015 exhibition, “David Lynch: Between Two Worlds”. Following the live performances at the exhibition, the band decided to record the covers in the studio. As a comparison here is the same track, ‘Falling’ as performed by Xiu Xiu:

It is quite different but I like it, as I do the whole album as it does put a different spin on the music, difficult at times, but good.

It may seem that I am a Twin Peaks nerd by owning three copies of this, but I’m not, really, I’m not. Things just worked out this way. I may have a look to see if I have any other albums where the cover location is known, now that is where I clearly am a nerd.

Best Songs of 1978

Quite often I will listen to a song and remind myself when it was released by looking it up, I will then have a look to see what was released that same year and somehow end up making a list which results in a top xx of that year, this time it’s 82 tracks but if you would like to make it a round 100, give me another 18 songs! For reference, I was 11/12 in ’78. The vast majority of these songs were UK singles but I’ve thrown a couple of others in just because I can. So here goes (There is a spotify playlist at the bottom):

82 – Again and Again – Status Quo
I had the album this was taken from, ‘If you can’t Stand The Heat’, and this was pretty much the only decent song on it. Well, that’s not entirely fair, but this was the lead single and opening track and was the highlight of the album.

81 – Please Don’t Touch – Steve Hackett
I wasn’t that big on purely instrumental tracks back in 1978 but with Hackett being ex Genesis I gave this one a listen and liked it.

80 – Never Say Die – Black Sabbath
This was a very different Black Sabbath which reminds me more of the later Ozzy solo work than the Sabbath that had preceeded it, this initial incarnation of the band was probably on its last legs by now, which might explain it.

79 – Rush – Circumstances
I’m not sure this was ever a single but I’m pretty sure The Trees, taken from the same Hemispheres album, was and in my opinion this song is much better. I still find myself occasionally singing it in my head.

All the same
We take our chances
Laughed at by time
Tricked by circumstances
Plus ca change
Plus c’est la meme chose
The more that things change
The more they stay the same.

A odd lyric really as the two lines of French are translated into English in the following two lines.

78 – Don’t Kill The Whale – Yes
This is not my favourite Yes song taken from not my favourite Yes album, however, I still kinda like it. As a kid I would go to the local market and there was a record stall there which had this 7″ single and I would often pick it up, think about buying it and then not bother.

77 – Lucky Number – Lena Lovich
This period was a time of transition for me, moving into new musical areas such as indie and punk having previously been firmly in, what we now call, the Classic Rock camp. Singles were much more important as I was now buying them and could rarely afford to buy an album based on one song. This song was originally a B-side (of a cover of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, the same one covered by Tiffany) and was later released as an A-side. I had assumed it was also a cover, but it wasn’t.

76 – Oh What A Circus – David Essex
This might seem like a odd choice from me but it was huge at the time and was on the radio all the time so it buried into my flesh somewhat. It’s a song from the Evita soundtrack and appeared on his album ‘Imperial Wizard’, which is actually pretty good.

75 – Forever Autumn – Jeff Wayne
I loved War of The Worlds and this song, with the Richard Burton narrationn is great, sung as it is by the Moody Blues Justin Hayward. It was a hit single at the time and I can’t remember if we bought the album as a result of the song or already had it. I still listen to it fairly regularly all these years later.

74 – Every Day I Die – Tubeway Army
Taken from the first Tubeway Army album which was to be a standard guitar bass and drums affair but somebody left one of those new fangled synths in the studio and it changed the course of Gary Numans career and life.

73 – Because the Night – Patti Smith
I later played this song in a band I was in. It’s an odd one to me as it is a sort of straight ahead rock song and not what I thought Patti Smith was about at all.

72 – Angels with dirty faces – Sham 69
I used to love Sham 69 to the point that listening to a bootleg tape of a live gig that could have been almost anybody if it wasn’t for the occasional muffled ‘Hurry ‘up Harry’. The strange thing to me is that a lot of these punk songs that are supposed to be anti-everything, sound like really good pop songs now.

71 – Run for home – Lindisfarne
I’ve mentioned recently that, for a number of reasons, I rather like Lindisfarne and this track is probably one of their most accessible.

70 – 5-7-0-5 – City Boy
I used to hear this song on the radio a lot but never knew who it was. A few years ago I was at the Shakespeares Birth place visitors centre ad this song was being played in the gift shop on the radio, which is when I found out who it was, it’s a great pop song.

69 – Killing an Arab – The Cure
I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear this song until 1982, which made me late to The Cure I guess, but that’s OK. I had the 1980 compilation ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ at some point, which I just listened to again. It’s very good.

68 – Being Boiled – Human League
A friend of mine had this in his box of singles and, at the time, it sounded really very odd, but I liked it. Listening to it more recently I can see that it was a pretty groundbreaking sound, which they weren’t alone in creating but were in amongst the first.

67 – September – Earth, Wind & Fire
It’s a great song, ’nuff said.

66 – Rock Lobster – B-52’s
I discovered this long after the fact, probably in 1984, or around that time at least and bought their first album on cassette as a result. Although they are somewhat normalized now, that first album was some crazy shit, but great crazy shit.

65 – Dreadlock Holiday – 10cc
This was a huge hit of course and it is very catchy. Obviously there’s cultural appropriation and all that going on here, but in music this is how it works. Most modern music is a mish mash of multiple cultures, so that’s ok.

64 – Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric
I don’t know where I first heard this and had forgotton about it completly until a couple of years ago when I was watching the ‘Stiff Tour’ film on youtube and Eric got up on stage and sang this song, which I somehow knew really well, it bugs me still that I don’t know why. Regardless, cracking song.

63 – Mr Blue Sky – ELO
Everybody knows this one don’t they? It would probabaly be higher up but I’ve heard it so many times that its attraction has paled for me somewhat. I still find myself singing along if it comes on the radio though.

62 – Right Down The Line – Gerry Rafferty
I remember waiting for the record shop to open (it was one of those shops that sold record players, hoovers and other electrical equipment and had a small record section) to buy a Gerry Rafferty 7″ single, can’t remember which one it was though, it may have been this. Is he underated? probably as most of his work is overshadowed by Baker Street, but this is a great single in and of itself.

Having thought about it, I think I queued for ‘Get it right next time’ from the Night Owl album.

61 – Rat Trap – Boomtown Rats
There was a period where I thought the Boomtown Rats were amazing and I fully expected them to have a career on the scale of U2, that is until they stopped being good, which didn’t take long. After this they released ‘I don’t like Mondays’, their 6th single and the last thing that was ever worth listeing to. Shame really.

60 – Substitute – Clout
I don’t know why I like this as it feels like a song that one might put on a Guilty Pleasures compilation, but I like, so that’s that, I can’t help it.

59 – Ca Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand
I’m pretty sure I had this 7″ and loved it. It’s in French and I have never bothered looking for a translation as it’s the energy of it I like I think, it doesn’t matter at all what he is singing about.

58 – Denis – Blondie
I didn’t kow that this was a cover version but it wouldn’t have mattered to me then or now, in 1978 Blondie could do no wrong. The original was by Randy and the Rainbows, just in case you were interested and it was, well, a bit different.

57 – Stayin Alive – Bee Gees
The Bee Gees were huge in 77/78 of course, with Saturday Night Fever being such a massive success. I listened to the whole soundtrack many times but, for me, this is the best song on it and the only one I give any time to now.

56 – James & The Cold Gun – Kate Bush
Probably my favourite song from the Kick Inside album, which is one of the greatest debut albums ever by the way. I think I like it so much now because of the songs it sits amongst and because I paid it less attention at the time.

55 – Le Freak – Chic
Well how could one not, especially with the resurgence of the Nile Rodgers guitar sound with artists such as Daft Punk bringing it back to public attention.

54 – Tommy Gun – The Clash
I played this on 7″ a lot, even though I didn’t own the record. I would go to other peoples houses and play their copy repeatedly. I may have been quite annoying, I’m not sure, I didn’t really notice.

53 – Kentucky Avenue – Tom Waits
I really like Waits, and this song from this album in particular (Blue Valentine) but I do appreciate he is not to everybodys taste, that’s ok though, they are allowed to be wrong.

52 – Take Me Im Yours – Squeeze
While I heard the Squeeze singles as they were released it took me a long time to appreciate quite how good they were and I think that’s because I heard, and liked, ‘Cool for Cats’ first and expected everythig else to be just like that.

51 – Milk & Alcohol – Dr Feelgood
I still find myself humming this now and again. It’s the only track of theirs I’ve ever listened to as far as I can recall. I think that, despite beig described as Pub Rock, this particular track bled into the punk/post punk/new wave scene rather by accident. Wiclo Johnson on guitar of course.

50 – D.I.Y – Peter Gabriel
Taken from Gabriel’s second solo album after splitting with Genesis, this single didn’t trouble the charts at all, except in France where it reached number 55. The rest of the world ignored it. Which is a shame.

49 – Davy’s on the road again – Manfred Mann
I feel as though this was on the radio all the time back in ’78 and as a result it has burrowed into my subconcious, just through repetition. Listening to it again now it isn’t actually as good as it was in my memory.

48 – Germ free adolescents – X-Ray Spex
I saw this for the first time on Top of the Pops and it was part of a spirit of change that seemed to be infiltrating music. I loved it. It had that D.I.Y feel about it but was still a catchy tune.

47 – I love the sound of breaking glass – Nick Lowe
Another radio friendly song that I heard a lot but with the added kudos of Lowe’s involvemet with Stiff records.

46/45 – One Way Or Another / Hanging on the Telephone – Blondie
This was a hell of a year for Blondie, especially in my world. It seemed as though they were a hit single factory and I was enraptured by pretty much anything they released. One way or another wasn’t released as a single until ’79 but it was on Parallel Lines so I’d already heard it a lot. I also had no idea until many years later that Hanging on the Telephone was a cover of a song by The Nerves.


44 – Radio Radio – Elvis Costello
Believe it or ot this was origially written in 1974 by Costello and titled Radio Soul, inspired in some way by Bruce Springsteen. Costello dusted it off and re wrote it around the time of the album ‘This Years Model’ but it was released as a stand alone single, although it was added to later releases of the album.

43 – Shot by both sides – Magazine
The name of the song came from a political argument between Devoto and his girlfriend, in which his girlfriend said to him, “Oh, you’ll end up shot by both sides”. I was late to this song and didn’t ever hear it until several years after it was released.

42 – Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie & the Banshees
A fried of mine had this on 7″ so it got a fair amount of play when I was round his house, I really liked their sound. The song was named after the Hong Kong Garden Chinese take-away in Chislehurst High Street. Siouxsie Sioux was quoted as explaining the lyrics with reference to the racist activities of skinheads visiting the take-away:

I’ll never forget, there was a Chinese restaurant in Chislehurst called the Hong Kong Garden. Me and my friend were really upset that we used to go there and like, occasionally when the skinheads would turn up it would really turn really ugly. These gits would just go in en masse and just terrorise these Chinese people who were working there. We’d try and say ‘Leave them alone’, you know. It was a kind of tribute.

She also stated:

I remember wishing that I could be like Emma Peel from The Avengers and kick all the skinheads’ heads in, because they used to mercilessly torment these people for being foreigners. It made me feel so helpless, hopeless and ill.


41 – Hold The Line – Toto
I have no real idea why this appears here at number 41. I’ve been listening to the songs that preceeded it in this list and it probabaly should have been lower, but I can’t be bothered to re-number everything.

40 – Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC
Classic AC/DC and an opening riff that I could actually play, although I tended to get a bit lost after that.

39 – Miss You – Rolling Stones
Some songs are just comforting and for me this one of them as I remember hearing it in the car on the radio a lot when I was with my Dad.

38 – Leaving Louisianna in Broad Daylight – Emmylou Harris
It is much, much later in life that I have come to appreciate Emmylou and honestly wouldn’t have given this a moments listen back in 1978, but now I would, which is why it is here.

37 – Klu Klux Klan – Steel Pulse
I have conviced myself that I heard this somewhere back in the day, or heard about it, but I can’t quite pinpoint where or how. Maybe it is a false memory, I’ve no idea but I did see Steele Pulse at Reading Festival for 2 minutes before they were bottled off so maybe I’ve just got things mixed up.

36 – FM – Steely Dan
Taken from the soundtrack of the film FM and not on any of the Dan albums, except a best of, I really rate this song highly, though, in fairness, I rate most of them highly as they were magnificently crafted.

35 – Statue of Liberty – XTC
Amazingly, this was banned by the BBC for the lyrics “In my fantasy I sail beneath your skirt”, how bloody ridiculous.

34 – Nice ‘N’ Sleazy – The Stranglers
I liked The Stranglers from the first album (which is brilliant by the way, if you haven’t you should give it a go) and this track sort of felt as though it was coming from the same place as the tracks from their debut. The same album it is taken from contains their cover of ‘Walk On’ By so I’ve no idea what that was all about though.

33 – Is She Really Going Out With Him? – Joe Jackson
I associate this song, and may others in this list, with when I started in comprehensive school, as I was 11 for the second half of the year and I started to meet new people and, as a result, new music. Somebody, I don’t remember who, had the 7″ of this and we played it when I was around his house.

32 – Uptown Top Ranking – Anthea & Donna
I’ve mentioned somewhere before that I thought of this as a novelty song at the time but I was so wrog, it is fabulous, and the album it was taken from is well worth a listen as well. Some great tracks on it.

31 – The Man with the child in his eyes – Kate Bush
She was so very different from everything else that was out there at the time, and I do think I was probably caught up in the music being a joke along with lots of other people at the time, thinking the Not the Nine O’Clock News parody hilarious (I’ve recently re-watched it and it isn’t). She is a unique genius.

30 – Beast Of Burden – Rolling Stones
Another song I didn’t really appreciate at the time and I still blow hot and cold with the Stones, but this has become one of my favourite songs of theirs over the years.

29 – Do or Die – Grace Jones
Take from her second album ‘Fame’, which is classified as disco, and included on the Island Life compilation, this track just shows how marvelous she is. I know there are many people over the years who have not taken her seriously as a musician but I’d just like to confirm, if there were any doubt, they were wrong.

Interestingly, Eartha Kitt covered this song in 1989.

28 – Turn To Stone – ELO
The opening track of the album ‘Out of the Blue’ which was like a greatest hits without it originally being one. There are a ridiculous number of hit singles on that. Sadly, I don’t believe I had it at the time, though I taped the hits off the radio chart show.

27 – I Am The Fly – Wire
Another song I missed at the time, but, fortunatly I found it later and as a result it sounds fairly modern to me still and not over 40 years old.

26 – I don’t want to go to Chelsea – Elvis Costello
I think this may be my favourite song of his from this period, it certainly seems to be the one I listened to most, although, again, I didn’t have my own copy. At this point I probably had about 30 singles and a couple of cassettes, the first album I bought on vinyl was still a year away.

25 – I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones
It is easy for some to dismiss The Ramones, which I understand, but they are just pure pop wrapped up in a leatherclad image. Their songs are simple, short and catchy, and I like them.

24 – Who Are You – The Who
I have issues with The Who, namely that they have a great greatest hits but there is a lot of mediocraty to trawl through to get to those hits. This album is, to me, a perfect example, Who Are You, the title track, is the only really good song on it.

23 – Deacon Blues – Steely Dan
From the album Aja, which doesn’t have a bad track on it and any of them could sit here, but this one was actually released as a single. It could also be much higher but I’ve gone and applied some rules around ‘how I felt about it at the time’ which I will probabaly break later, if I haven’t already.

22 – Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
Now I know that certain songs get played so much they become irritating or they just become unlistenable through over familiarity, but no matter how many times I hear this song, I continue to like it and part of the reason for that is because I heard it so many times at this point in my life it is almost as though it is waypoint back in time to a world where I had no responsibilities, little pressure and the whole world in front of me.

21 – So Lonely – Police
I loved the Police, particularly the first two albums, actually, mostly the first two albums and it was a very stupid day when I moved away when I was 16 and gave away all my 7″ singles, this being one of them.

20 – Follow You, Follow Me – Genesis
It was odd to hear Genesis on the Sunday chart rundown as they weren’t really a singles bad until this point. From this album on it was as though they had become a different band, which in may ways they had but it was rather a treat to hear a band you like on the radio.

19 – (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding – Elvis Costello
I believe that it was around this time that I started wearing a Ban The Bomb badge, it may have been later though, regardless, the song resonated with me.

18 – Down In the Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam
I still regard this as one of the best songs The Jam ever did. It has atmosphere, attitude and a relatable story. It still sounds great to me.

17 – Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
I don’t know if this appears an odd choice or not but here it is anyway. I had the album and only ever played this song, jumping straight to it and just it. That was a bit of a mistake as it is an excellent album and is more than just this one song, but it is a great song.

16 – Public Image Ltd – Public Image
What I was hoping for when I first listened to this was more in the same vein as The Pistols, which I do think this is, it has a similar sound and attitude. Unlike the rest of the album, which is quite different, and quite brilliant. I was in WH Smiths somewhere with my Dad and wanted to buy a copy of this single but I got a resouding no.

15 – What A Waste – Ian Dury & the Blockheads
I could be a driver an articulated lorry which was true as my job prospects turned out to not be all that rosy, and this became a bit of a mantra later in life. Dury didn’t tend to put singles on albums, which I liked actually, why buy it twice?

14 – Sunday Girl – Blondie
Parallel Lines, the album from which this song is taken, remains one of the greatest pop albums ever recorded. That is all.

13 – Roxanne – Police
My second favourite single from the debut album. There was a time I scoured the back pages of music magazines, where record shops advertised their wares, looking for this single with the original red telephone cover. I saw it a few times but could never afford it. I could now but I can’t be arsed.

12 – White Man In Hammersmith Palais – The Clash
I think this may have only been a single and not included on any album and it’s quite interesting as it does, in many ways, echo what the police where doing, albeit with a completly different attitude, by using reggae guitar.

11 – Teenage Kicks – Undertones
I saw the Undertones in 1983 and they were tits but this song is undeniably iconic, particularly with the John Peel association.

10 – Ever Fallen In Love? – Buzzcocks
Another Iconic track from what many regarded as the thinking mans punks. I’m not sure that is entirely true but it certainly wasn’t the usual fare.

9 – One Nation Under A Groove – Funkadelic
I feel like this song has always been in existence and has dipped in and out of my view for 53 years, even though it isn’t as old as that.

8 – Lovely Day – Bill Withers
The recent passing of Bill Withers was a sad day, but look at what he gave us while he was here. It is impossible to not love and be uplifted by this song, unless you are dead inside, are you?

7 – Is This Love – Bob Marley & the Wailers
Taken from the album ‘Kaya’ and the opening track of the massive selling compilation ‘Legend’. Like so many other people, Marley was my gateway into reggae and this is one of the first songs I would have heard, although I have convinced myself I saw the Old Grey Whistle Test performance in 1973 even though I was 6 and definately didn’t.

6 – Take Me To the River – Talking Heads
From the album ‘More Songs About Buildings and Food’ I think it is fair to say that in the musical ladscape of 1978 Talking Heads were, comparitivly, a bit weird, and this is exactly what makes this song so good. It isn’t particularly complicated musically but the vocal delivery by David Byrne with vocal ticks and almost whispering at times gives the song it’s special character.

5 – Can’t Stand Losing You – Police

This is my favourite Police song from the first album, which is why it is higher than the others. A song that we correctly believed to be about suicide as 11 year olds, although it wasn’t exactly a hidden message with the cover showing a man hanging himself and the lyrical content being a dead give away.

4 – Heart Of Glass – Blondie

Disco Blondie! and why not? I like a bit of Giergio Moroder, Vangelis and Blondie and this sort of mashes those together into a track that Blondie early adopters complained about at the time with the whole ‘Sell Out’ accusations, which I get, but c’mon, it’s a classic.

3 – Das Model – Kraftwerk

There are some songs that never seem to age, that one doesn’t grow tired of, and this is one of them. Futuristic at the time and it still is in many ways, at least to me. When originally released in ’78 it didn’t impact the charts at all and it was its ’82 re-release, against the bands wishes, that took it to number 1 in the UK.

2 – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury & the Blockheads

I must have listened to this song a thousand times or more and I still love it. I remember pop magazines like Smash Hits repeatedly running pieces on what exactly was a ‘Rhythm Stick’ and probably published the lyrics at some point. It did reach number 1 in the UK singles charts but was initially kept from the top spot for two weeks by Village People’s Y.M.C.A, Donald Trumps favourite song it would seem after recent rallies. B-Side ‘There ain’t half been some clever bastards’ is pretty good too.

1 – Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush

There are a number of reasons why I have this at number 1. First and foremost is that I really like it, but I also have great admiration for her single mindedness in releasing it at all (James And The Cold Gun was the record companies choice as first single from the album), also the impact it made which was massive. Here was a weird woman with a weird voice harping on about Heathcliffe, and yet, despite ridicule from many quarters, it wet to number one in the UK charts and was the begining of a career in music that inspired so very many other artists.

And there we have it. Do you have any tracks to add that I may have missed? If so, let me know in the comments.

Lindisfarne – Magic In The Air

It was my Dad who bought this album, on cassette, and I have no idea what prompted him to do so as he wasn’t a big consumer of music, but buy this he did and it found its way to me at a time where I only had a cassette player and very few cassettes, so I played this pretty much every night as I fell to sleep for quite a few years, probably starting when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I listened to it most often on a mono headphone as I drifted off, it was shit.

When I left home at 16 I don’t remember taking it with me, though I do have a vinyl copy now that I bought for two or three pounds a few years ago.

Sometimes records, or just songs, evoke memories or feelings in a way that nothig else does. For me, this record takes me to a much simpler time, a time not without drama or pressure, but seen and felt through a different lens. As a teenager I didn’t worry about a job, or money or even school, because I, like so many teenagers, had no real idea what was coming in my future and was pretty indestructable and yes, I was an expert on everything, even things I knew nothing about, because youth.

From Rock Goes To College the same year, 1978, that the album was released is the opening track from ‘Magic In The Air’, Lady Eleanor.

The album version is better to be honest.

There was a time when I knew every word to every song, and still remember most even now, but the song that I always felt highlighted the incredible songwriting of Alan Hull was ‘Winter Song’. Even as a know nothing 13 year old I understood everything that was being conveyed through the words Hull wrote, and so did Elvis Costello, who performs the song below.

When winter’s shadowy fingers
First pursue you down the street
And your boots no longer lie
About the cold around your feet
Do you spare a thought for summer
Whose passage is complete
Whose memories lie in ruins
And whose ruins lie in heat
When winter comes howling in
When the wind is singing strangely
Blowing music through your head
And your rain splattered windows
Make you decide to stay in bed
Do you spare a thought for the homeless tramp
Who wishes he was dead
Or do you pull your bedclothes higher
Dream of summertime instead?
When winter comes howling in
The creeping cold has fingers
That caress without permission
And mystic crystal snowdrops
Only aggravate the condition
Do you spare one thought for the gypsy
With no secure position
Who’s turned and spurned by village and town
At the magistrate’s decision
When winter comes howling in
When the turkey’s in the oven
And the Christmas presents are bought
And Santa’s in his module
He’s an American astronaut
Do you spare one thought for Jesus
Who had nothing but his thoughts
Who got busted just for talking
And befriending the wrong sorts?
When winter comes howling in
When winter comes howling in

That’s poetry that is. Alan Hull wrote this around 1967 and it appeared on their album “Nicely Out of Tune in 1970”. It’s good that it is still being performed today, by Sam Fender, who released it as a christmas single:

The album title comes from the song ‘Dingley Dell’ which is from the album of the same name. There are many, many good songs in this live collection and while I am not here to try and convert anybody to the music of Lindisfarne I would urge you to give it a listen, you never know, you may like it.

The album is below, it’s part 2 starting with Lady Eleanor

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0ZEJnrAVfBHBLVaTzOSpbg

100 best Tracks of the 1970’s (Repost, just because)

I have no idea why I started this bloody list as it’s proven to be really difficult. I’m looking at mostly 45’s but have had to throw a few album tracks in there as well. Back in the 70’s I had a few 45’s, not that many though, so the majority of these I didn’t have. I heard most of them either on the radio in the kitchen, in the car or at a friends place, some I heard much later. We consumed music differently back then. Music was not as available as it is now and when a song hit it big it received lots of radio play, then that tailed off and then you’d hear it now and again, making it almost a special treat, unless you had bought the single or the album it came from of course, particularly on Top Of The Pops type albums which were compilations of the hits of the day.

Anyway, here goes, it’s my personal list so I’m sure there will be some ridiculous exclusions, but I make no apologies for that, they just hadn’t entered my life at the time or much since. Also, they are not in any particular order, they are numbered for convenience not to show preference. Let’s not forget that in the seventies I was 3 years old, and thirteen years old, and all the ages in-between.

100 Steely Dan – ‘Reelin In The Years’

I heard this on ‘The Friday Rock Show’, presented at the time by Tommy Vance, but I never heard the introduction so I had no idea who it was, and when the record was over, he never repeated it so I was left in the dark for quite a while. Some months later I found out who it was and have liked Steely Dan ever since, helped somewhat my my friend Dave, who loves them and whose brother, Pete, had several albums that we listened to in Dave’s bedroom. Bedrooms were where music was most often shared in the days before MP3’s, Before Spotify and youtube, you went to somebody’s house and they played you stuff.

99 The Pretenders – ‘Brass In Pocket’

I’d heard this on the radio several times before I ever saw them and I remember being quite confused by the whole waitress thing, but it was, and probably still is, my favourite Pretenders track, not that I’m a big fan.

98 James Brown – ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’

This was a re-issue that found the charts again in the 70’s. Who could not love it really, all that energy and he groove it finds, though I’ve no idea what prompted it to be re-released it was all over the radio.

97 Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘No Woman, No Cry’

This was probably the first time I became consciously aware of who Bob Marley was and I remember well that the video for the song was the lyceum concert. I’d heard Marley before, I’m pretty sure of that, but it was being combined with the visuals and it being played on Top Of The Pops that really made me sit up and take notice. I think this was 1975 so I was only 8 at the time and I’m convinced it was re-released at a later date but can’t find any record of it.

96 Kate Bush – ‘Wuthering Heights’

I, like many others, thought ‘What the fuck is this?’ when I saw it on TOTP and there followed much lampooning from comedians of the day, Kenny Everett and such like, but when you listened closely it changed, from what seemed like a one off novelty song to something with more substance and it grew on you until it, and subsequent releases, became part of the musical landscape at the time.

95 Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Hong Kong Garden’

Now here is a single that I actually owned and which I’d owned for some time before I even realised it was about a Chinese take-away, I had thought it all rather exotic until I listened properly.

94 The Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks’

This has become a rather important song since it’s release, helped by John Peel naming it as his faviourite song, although I think he had many and just named this one to shut people up because they were always asking him. I liked it, Feargal Sharkey was rather odd looking and it had energy.

93 Dead Kennedys – California Über Alles

I actually found this track ( and the album it came from) in the early eighties, influenced by a group of Punks I hung out with then. Punk had long passed but these guys had yet to realise it and were trying to support a whole local punk scene that was dying on its arse to be honest. They were 4 years too late at least, but they seemed happy to be part of something.

92 The Jam – ‘David Watts’

At the time I had no idea this was a Kinks cover but I thought it was a great track, and either it was the songwriting or the performances or maybe both that caught my attention. At this point I had no idea what I liked, I’d listen to anything if I thought it was good while sticking strictly to a single genre if ever questioned (this was a sort of rule back then)

91 Free – ‘Alright Now’

This single was in our house and it was played to absolute death, partly because it was good, but also because we didn’t actually have that many records so there wasn’t much choice. This was a time for me, where the possibility of playing what I wanted to listen to when I wanted to listen to it was starting to become, in a small way, a reality. We had a record player, the old sort with the built in speaker that you could stack 10 singles on and they would drop one after the other and later, we had a stereo, with a turntable, radio and a cassette player. Our next door neighbour had an 8 track in his car, which was crazy, listening to something other than radio in the car? Wow! Then we had a cassette player in the car and it really was revolutionary.

90 Madness – ‘One Step Beyond’

This was huge at my comprehensive school with loads of people getting into the whole ska revival thing, and some just liking the songs but not adopting the fashion. I seem to remember liking ‘Night Boat To Cairo’ more later but this was my first hit of Madness.

89 The Specials – ‘A Message To You Rudy’

The song that really got me interested in The Specials was ‘Too much too young’ which was a 5 track E.P consisting of ‘Too Much Too Young’, ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘Skinhead Symphony’, ‘Longshot Kick The Bucket’, ‘Liquidator’ and ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’, it was released in 1980 though so I can’t include it, ‘A Message To You Rudy’ is a great track though so that’s OK.

88 The Kinks – ‘Lola’

I’m pretty sure that we had this 45 in the house and it got played an awful lot for the same reason as before, not having that many records. I had no idea what it was about of course.

87 Stiff Little Fingers – ‘Nobody’s Hero’

There were a load of SLF tracks that I could have thrown in here, ‘Alternative Ulster’, ‘Suspect Device’ etc but this was probably my favourite. I didn’t have a copy but a friend did and it was another track repeatedly listened to in a bedroom.

86 The Undertones – ‘My Perfect Cousin’

I feel sure I had this single, although memory is hazy. It certainly had the piss taken out of it at school, mostly by my friend Dave who liked to push his nose to the side with one finger and sing it in a terrible Feargal Sharkey expression, in fact, he still does that nowadays.

85 Buzzcocks – ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’

Vague memories of this track as I wasn’t that aware of The Buzzcocks, but I liked it.

84 Joni Mitchell – ‘Big Yellow Taxi’

Another track that we had on 45 in the house, there were actually 3 singles that I played the most, which were this, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ by Charlie Rich and return To Sender’ by Elvis. All three would go on the record player, drop one by one and then I’d put them on again, and again, and again.

83 Althea & Donna – ‘Uptown Top Ranking’

This was a rather odd track at the time, at least for me as it was a genre that I rarely came into contact with, but one has to admit, it’s catchy as hell.

82 Jean Michel Jarre – ‘Oxygene part IV’

I’ve lost count of the number of times I heard this track, it seemed to be everywhere at one point. I seem to remember it even being the theme for a Science Show. I just looked it up, apparently it was alled ‘Where There’s Life’, which I remember now.

81 Chic – ‘Le Freak’

Well it’s a classic, and remains relevant with the latest Daft Punk release drawing heavily on the sound of Nile Rodgers, well, he actually plays on the Daft Punk album so you can’t really draw more heavily than that. This would be a track that I listened to without actually admitting I liked it, but how could I not like it?

80 Blondie – ‘Picture This’

Like so many teenage boys I had a planet sized crush on Debbie Harry, but she was more than just a look, and the band as a whole weren’t just bubblegum. I’ve harped on about just how good ‘Parallel Lines’ is before and I could easily include the whole damn thing, but will, instead, just pick a few tracks, this being one of my favourites.

79 The Jam – ‘The Eton Rifles’

Much like Boris Johnson I had little idea what this song was about, I thought it a song about war as I had never really listened to the lyrics closely. “The song recounts a street battle Paul Weller had read about in the newspapers concerning elements of a right-to-work march through Slough in 1978 breaking off to attack pupils from Eton who had been jeering the lunchtime marchers (hence “Hello, Hooray, an extremist scrape with the Eton Rifles”)”

78 The Stranglers – ‘Peaches’

There’s no official video for this so above is a live version. The single was a double A-side with pub rock song “Go Buddy Go” which was played on UK radio at the time and also on the band’s BBC TV Top of the Pops appearance because the sexual nature of the lyrics of “Peaches” caused the BBC to ban it. Hilarious really, but what a bass line.

77 Justin Hayward – Forever Autumn’

I was a huge fan of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds back around ’78 or ’79 and I’m pretty sure we had a copy, possibly on cassette. This was a track from it that made the charts sung by Moody Blues front man, Justin Hayward. I think it was preceded on the album by the voice of Richard Burton, which gave it a certain gravitas.

76 Supertramp – ‘The Logical Song’

It would appear there has been some litigation as the original video is not available. Another album that we had at some point, it was probably my brothers. I do remember that I listened to it a lot and I think we had it on vinyl. It has a good set of tracks on it, the ones I best remember being the title track, ‘Breakfast In America’, ‘Goodbye Stranger’ & ‘Take The Long Way Home’.

75 10cc – ‘Good Morning Judge’

Oh how I loved this album (Deceptive Bends) and played it to death, we had the cassette version and now I have the vinyl version which I picked up at a record fair for £3.50. It’s an undervalued piece of work I think and 10cc were pretty huge at one point but sort of faded away when they were expected to be bigger than Zeppelin.

74 Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – ‘Blinded By The Light’

This is from the album ‘The Roaring Silence’ which you may recall is the one where the cover has an ear with a screaming mouth in it. I didn’t know at the time that it was written by Bruce Springsteen and thought it was their own song, which doesn’t actually matter, it’s a really good performance. It was another of my brothers albums I think but I have my own copy now, which, again, was £3.50 from a record fair.

73 XTC – ‘Making Plans For Nigel’

Nigel, what a dick, or that’s pretty much how I saw it when this single was out, also, his parents, dicks. The truth was that nobody was making pans for me and nobody seemed to want only what was best for me. Sad really.

72 The Who – ‘Who Are You’

I suppose I must have seen this on TV and heard it on the radio, I definitely didn’t own it, although I did later get ‘Face Dances’ which contains a good opening track and nothing else, I defy anybody to try and defend ‘Don’t let go the coat’. The song is one of those that always seems to have been there.

71 The Rolling Stones – ‘Fool To Cry’

This was on a tape that we had in the car and ‘Fool to cry’ was quite an appropriate truth at the time.

70 Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Jamming’

I completely fail to see how anybody could not love this song, and yes, it is how I like my doughnuts. It was all rather exotic at the time as I had never met anybody who wasn’t white at this point, it was another world.

69 Sparks – ‘No 1 Song In Heaven’

Now I’m pretty sure we had this in the house as a 12″ single, when it was number one. This was the first thing I ever heard by Sparks and it was very different, I think I was 12 at the time.

68 The Clash – ‘Tommy Gun’

A friend of mine had the 7″ of this and I feel reasonably sure that I somehow ended up with it at some point. What I do know is that the damn thing got played to death, and I’m still not bored of it.

67 Blondie – ‘Denis’

and on the 7th day God made Debbie Harry. Did I care that this was somebody else song? Nope. Do I care now? Nope. This was the first time I both saw and heard Blondie and I was, and still am, captivated.

66 Ram Jam – ‘Black Betty’

Didn’t everybody love this? It was only later that the guitar solo started sounding to me like the music from the Benny Hill Show during the inevitable chase sequence.

65 George Harrison – ‘My Sweet Lord’

I was 4 when this reached number 1, so I probably re-discovered it later, and when I did I played it until there was nothing left in the grooves to play. I remember being young and how some music felt rich and full and it just needed to be played time and again to keep experiencing the pure joy of it. I also remember that I thought the outro was too long.

64 Peter Gabriel – ‘Solsbury Hill’

1977, 10 years old, ‘Grab your things I’ve come to take you home’ were lyrics I found very pertinent.

63 Van Halen – ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’

Their debut album was, and still is, just brilliant. I never saw this video at the time as it wasn’t played anywhere that I had access to. All I knew was what was on the album cover, which all seemed very glamorous.

62 Gary Numan – ‘Cars’

Carefour, the first big supermarket in Britain, I was at one in Caerphilly and we bought the album there, although I think I wanted ‘Slow Train Coming’ by Bob Dylan, but this  was all very futuristic. I still listen to it today and for me, it really hasn’t aged a moment.

61 Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’

This was in my singles collection and was played a hell of a lot. I’ll talk later about exactly what happened to my 7″ singles, but this was definitely one of my favorites, and I loved the cover as well!2654066

60 Elvis Costello – ‘Oliver’s Army’

I listened to this only this morning in an Apple playlist ‘Hits of 1979’ which also contains things like ‘Peaches & Herb’ & ‘Abba’ with ‘Chiquitita’, which highlights the wide variety of different genres that used to populate the singles charts back then.

59 The Ruts – ‘Babylons Burning’

I actually have no idea why I liked this as much as I did. I actually bought a Ruts best of CD just for this track and was somewhat disappointed when I played it (some 20 years after it was originally released) because it wasn’t as I remembered it. It’s here anyway because I know I loved it at the time.

58 Genesis – ‘Follow You Follow Me’

From the album ‘and then there were three’, which followed the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, it was about the first proper hit that Genesis ever had and seeing them on TV was a real rarity until this point. Clearly when it came to picking a musical clan to hang my flag to, I went for the several flags option, it was a good single though, and album.

57 Squeeze – ‘Up The Junction’

Difford & Tilbrook wrote some really fabulous songs, but at the point this hit the charts it felt a little bit like a novelty single. Yes it spoke of teenage pregnancy and was hardly bubblegum, but nobody new then what the band was going to be and how good their future output would be. There was also ‘Cool For Cats’ which had a siniliar vibe, both reached number 2 in the UK charts, but probably my favourite track is coming up in a while.

56 The Police – Can’t Stand Losing You’

I had this in Blue vinyl, loved that, loved the cover and loved the song, including the B Side, ‘Dead End Job’. While many might pick ‘Reggatta de Blanc’ as their faviourite album, it will always be ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ for me, there’s only one bad song on it, which is ‘Sally’, it’s shit. I guess this is because, as I remember it, we were buying the singles before the album came out, with Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You and So Loneley having originally been released in 1977, the album came out in 78 and the first two singles were re-issued.
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55 David Dundas – ‘Jeans On’

I was 9, it was 1976 and I loved this and I seem to recall it was used to advertise Brutas Jeans, which possibly don’t exist as a company anymore. It is a pretty good song actually, I think I still love it. I’m sure I had a copy and it the cover was tied in with the advert, I’m going to look for it now……..I didn’t find it, but just because the internet doesn’t have it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

54 Elton John – ‘Rocket Man’

I didn’t really appreciate this at all initially, until my brother and his friend recorded an instrumental version of it on a Revox Reel to Reel that I thought sounded really good, so I gave the original more attention and, despite not being a huge Elton John fan, particularly his later work, I do really like this one.

53 Ian Dury & the Blockheads – ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)’

A list of things Ian Dury liked, what could be simpler? And what a song:

“Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good golly Miss Molly and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley and nanny goats
18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camels
All other mammals plus equal votes
Seeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
Being rather silly, and porridge oats
A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You’re welcome, we can spare it – yellow socks.”

My mate Dave had the lyrics on his wall, it’s always good to have happy things on the wall.

52 Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Obviously this was massive, it was everywhere and it, possibly, marketdthe beginning of the music video era, or at least gave it a big leg up. It isn’t my faviourite track by Queen as I have always felt, with some justification, that they had 3 unfinished songs and just stuck them together, but it does seem to work.

51 The Stranglers – ‘No More Heroes’

The stranglers released 4 singles in 1977 and they were all brilliant, Rattus Norvegicus is a brilliant album, but this wasn’t from that,it was from the next album, it has Leon Trotsky, Lenny Bruce, William Shakespeare and Sancho Panza mentioned. which you did’t tend to get in most singles of the time, and the keyboard riff is just wonderful. This is the track that Elastica’s ‘Waking Up’ was taken to court for being overly influenced by.

50 Elvis Presley – ‘Way Down’

I do believe that had Elvis not died this track would probably have sunk without making much of an impact, maybe appearing at number 40 in the charts for a week and then it’s gone, however, it went to number 1. From my perspective it was deserved regardless of increased sales due to his passing. I had been an Elvis fan since I was a small kid, rather proud of knowing all the words to ‘Return To Sender’, even though I actually didn’t, I just thought I did.

49 The Clash – ‘London Calling’

The best this track did in the charts was number 11 back in ’79 when it was released but that really didn’t matter as that was enough to cause it to still be around today and widely considered as a classic, because it bloody well is.

48 Bob Dylan – ‘Stuck inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again’

I bought this in a newsagents as a 45″, I can’t remember what the b-side was (I just looked it up, it was called ‘Rita May’ and I don’t remember it at all). This got played a little bit at the time and it was much later that I actually started to like it. The version I bought was released in 1977.

47 Nick Lowe – ‘I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass’

I remember the ‘Live Stiffs Tour’ and I think Lowe was on it with Ian Dury and maybe Elvis Costello, so I paid attention tot his and really rather liked it. I do have the 7″ of this but not in a picture sleeve.

46 ELO – ‘Mr Blue Sky’

I could and possibly should have picked more ELO songs, but this was THE ONE, above all others that I liked. I could include any of the following, “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Turn to Stone”, “Wild West Hero”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “It’s Over”, “Shine a Little Love”, “The Diary of Horace Wimp”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Confusion” or “Last Train to London”, they had a lot of hits in the 70’s and I loved all of these.

45 Blondie – ‘Hanging On The Telephone’

‘I’m in the phone booth, it’s the one across the hall, If you don’t answer, I’ll just ring it off the wall’ Another Blondie hit that turned out to not be their own song, but I don’t care, I heard this version first and they sort of own it.

44 Deep Purple – ‘Smoke On The Water’

Oddly enough I don’t actually like this song that much, not any more anyway. This will be the first time I’ve listened to it in years. It was great for the long haired denim clad kid I once was, but two pf those things are no longer true so it just doesn’t fit. At the time of course, the riff was so easy to play, everybody did, including me. It made me feel like a proper guitarist.

43 The Cure – ‘A Forest’

At the same newsagent I bought the Dylan single ‘Stuck inside of mobile….” I bought this, I think they may have been ex-jukebox singles as some were in picture sleeves, some weren’t, and there was a series of singles which I think were called ‘Old Gold’, there were a few of them, so a mish mash really. When I got this home and played it I found it all rather creepy, because it was, and still is.

42 T. Rex – ‘Get It On’

I have a really vague memory of watching the Marc Bolan TV show, I’ve seen it on youtube since but I’m sure that I saw it broadcast live. I also once decorated an entire apartment on my own while listening to Marc Bolan greatest hits on cassette, it was the only cassette I had with me at the time and it took me a week to decorate, so the songs are ingrained in my brain now. I probably should have chosen 20th Century Boy.

41 The Jam – ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’

This is still a favourite of mine, it is all rather British and the picture it paints is so vivid. “”Hey boy” they shout, “have you got any money?”
And I said, “I’ve a little money and a take-away curry
I’m on my way home to my wife.”

40 The Knack – ‘My Sharona’

Oh how Kurt Cobain and I loved The Knack, although Kurt probably loved them more than me as I still really only know this one song, but what a song!

39 Bee Gees – ‘Stayin’ Alive’

1977 and Saturday Night Fever was everywhere, although I really only saw clips of it in music videos as I was only 11 and wasn’t allowed in to the cinema to see it. This added some mystery to the whole thing and of course, John Travolta was the coolest cat in the world then. The follow up movie, well, he was then the least cool cat on the planet.

38 Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’

John Lydon is a fairly inflammatory character, as evidenced by this slice of rebellion, which, in it’s day, really was quite a revelation. It was an angry, anti-establishment rant, and though I probably didn’t understand it in full at the time, I do think it managed to, in a diluted fashion, make me distrustful of large corporations and governments in general, along with George Orwell’s ‘1984’.

37 Public Image Limited – ‘Death Disco’

I thought this was a pile of shit after seeing it performed on Top of the Pops, it was a million miles away from the debut single and absolutely not connecting in any way with what I thought of as listenable music, and then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t. I had a copy of the 7″ from somewhere, it may have been somebody else’s even and it was a wholly different listen to the TOTP performance. I loved it.

36 Squeeze – ‘Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)’

I’m not absolutely sure when I started liking this, it wasn’t immediately, but it wasn’t recently either, so at some point in the last 30 something years I started looking back on it fondly and was able to appreciate the quality of the song writing.

35 The Police – ‘Roxanne’

I was a huge fan of the Police, the first two albums at least, they lost me with Zenyatta Mondatta, specifically “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”, but this, well this was something else. I would have been 11 or 12 when I first heard it and and loved everything about it, even the single cover, there was, at the time, just something quite captivating about the sound.

34 Dave Edmunds – ‘Girls Talk’

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this, I just liked it, along with Nick Lowe, I think they were on the same label or something.

33 The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Everybody knows this one don’t they? It was a huge number 1 of course and it had an interesting, although macabre, back story. They had a two year run of hits from 1977 to 1979 but everything after that was a bit crap I thought. I’d be surprised if many people could name any single from 1980 onwards. This though, well, it was pretty damn good.

32 Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’

This seemed, to me, to be the first rock/metal (or whatever) track that had any success as a single, and it was so damn heavy in comparison with everything else that was around at the time. Also, I could just about play it on guitar, so that was a plus.

31 Gerry Rafferty – ‘Baker Street’

This was special, and I still think it is. Great songwriting, instrumentation and delivery, it really deserved to be as massive as it was. It’s instantly recognisable and that saxophone, and the guitar sole, just brilliant. It was always worth waiting through the chart run down to get to this at number one. The album, ‘City to City’ is pretty good as well.

30 The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star’

I have a tale to tell of this song. So a mate of mine and I bumped into a guy who was a year older than us, in the park, and got talking. He told us he had a load of singles and we went over to his place to listen to some of them, the first of which was ‘Video killed the radio star’, we then listened to a few more and while doing so his younger brother came in, went to the corner of the room, dropped his trousers, took a shit on the carpet, and left the room. Nothing was said, absolutely nothing, so we made some excuse about having to be somewhere and left. Never went back.

29 Dr. Feelgood – ‘Milk & Alcohol’

Pub Rock done exactly right. I’m so glad I remembered this one. Things were confused from a genre perspective at the time, not that it really mattered, but this sort of fell in with punk somehow, at least in my mind it did.

28 Kraftwerk – ‘The Model’

It was so different both in sound and presentation, I seem to recall not knowing if they were even a group or not or whether it was all created by a computer (which were highly mystical things back then). I’m still listening to it all these years later and it still somehow feels futuristic.

27 BA Robertson – ‘Bang Bang’

Another single I had, I thought it the greatest thing ever at the time and ate up all Robertson related information from TV and magazines. He turned out to be pretty much a one hit wonder, I think there was also ‘Kool in a Kaftan’ or something like that. My interest faded quickly.

26 Joe Jackson – ‘Is she really going out with him’

Jackson didn’t really sit well in the genres of the time, it was sort of New Wave but not quite, however, he did put out some great songs and I still listen to this now and again having bought the vinyl, another £3.50 album at a record fair.

25 David Bowie – ‘Life On Mars?’

So different, so special. I hadn’t exactly forgotten about this track but it was revived for me by the TV series of the same name. It really is incredibly moving despite seemingly being complete gibberish.

24 AC/DC – ‘Highway To Hell’

It was this or ‘whole lotta Rosie’.

23 Tubeway Army – ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’

That this still sounds fresh to me even today is testament to the impact it had when it was originally released. There has been much talk about Numan appropriating this or that from various places, but nobody did this like he did this. He’s still going strong and still releasing good music.

22 Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Christine’

She is not playing that guitar. I was quite the fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and almost went for ‘The Staircase Mystery’ but this one resonated with me a bit more I think, probabaly becasue I like the line “Christine, the strawberry girl,
Christine, banana split lady” and no, I have no idea why.

21 M – ‘Pop Muzik’

This popped up the other day in a documentary about Electronic Music, apparently it was all originally written on guitar. It still pops up on Radio 6 now and again and was just a damn fine single.

20 The Specials – ‘Gangsters’

Ska, Pop, Punk, it’s all in there and they are the best band ever to come out of Coventry. I had a drink in the same bar they were in once, in Coventry, I never said hello, though I wish I had. Terry Hall wasn’t there.

19 Queen – ‘We Are the Champions / We Will Rock You’

I had a chopper bike and a little tape recorded. I would ride up and down the street with the tape player strapped tot he handlebars playing a cassette of ‘News Of The World’, which contained both of these tracks almost as one. It’s probably still my favourite Queen album.

18 Ian Dury – ‘Hit Me With Your Rythm Stick’

Genius, pure and simple. I have loved it since the first moment I heard it and was delighted when I saw him live and he didn’t turn his back on his hits. “In the deserts of Sudan/ And the gardens of Japan/ From Milan to Yucatan/ Every woman every man”, hearing those opening lyrics is still a joy, and it has a really bloody good guitar solo.

17 Donna Summer – ‘I Feel Love’

It’s Giorgio Moroder and it’s infectious. This did so much for shaping the music that was to come and is arguably the best Disco song ever created.

16 Stealers Wheel – ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’

I didn’t hear the original first, I heard a version by Denis Waterman on his 1976 album ‘Down Wind Of Angels’ that belonged to my mum. Yes, the Denis Waterman who “wrote the theme music, sang the theme music”. This caused me to find the original, which is far superior, and included Gerry Rafferty again.

15 Stevie Wonder – ‘Superstition’

I think it was the keyboard part that really got me on this, it sounds like a funky bass. I seem to remember that Wonder actually played all the instruments on this, great song, very talented bloke.

14 Pink Floyd – ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part 2’

Despite the double negative in the lyrics, “we don’t need no education”, it is a tiny bit of genius. I suspect Roger Waters knew all about the double negative and it is meant ironically. As I was at school at the time it resonated and was not at odds with the punk and new wave songs that were also around at the time. Not to me anyway.

13 Terry Jacks – ‘Seasons In The Sun’

This is just one of those that was on the radio all the time, possibly during a ridiculously long and hot summer, and I’m stuck with it in the memory bank.

12 John Lennon – ‘Imagine’

Although I think it is overrated as a song, that doesn’t mean I think it is bad, I just don’t think it is the greatest song ever written, which is a title it has claimed a few times.

11 Fleetwood Mac = Tusk

I wanted the album that this came from so badly, but it was a double, and it cost more, and I had no money whatsoever to buy it. This track made the whole thing seem very mysterious and I just wanted to hear the rest of it to find out what was going on.

10 Wings – ‘Band On The Run’

I was very into this at the time but it’s interesting now to see the celebrities that were on the album cover, many haven’t really endured and I doubt that most young folk would know who they all were. Other than the band they were James Coburn, John Conteh, Clement Freud, Kenny Lynch, Christopher Lee & Michael Parkinson.

9 Sex Pistols – ‘God Save The Queen’

Am I remembering right but didn’t this get to number 1 in the charts but was never officially acknowledged as such. Maybe there were fixing allegations. I know BBC radio wouldn’t play it. Understandable at the time really but it just made more people buy it. The cover was amazing, I definitely remember having a copy of this one.

8 The Motors – ‘Airport’

Another from when music was accessible mostly via the radio, we were at the mercy of the BBC. It was a cross over period where I started defining what I did and didn’t like and began to see that being told what is good and what isn’t was limiting, and I didn’t always agree of course.

7 Public Image Ltd – ‘Public Image’

I still think this is one of the greatest 45’s ever released, though few would probably agree with me, but I remember being in Woolworths and picking it up. It had a fake newspaper cover and, again, I really wanted to buy it, but couldn’t. I have followed P.I.L ever since and have every album on vinyl nowadays. Sometimes bands just connect with the listener, there is no explaining it really.

6 Blondie – ‘Heart Of Glass’

I care not for the ‘Sold Out’ accusations that were thrown around at the time, this is a brilliant single taken from a brilliant album and just served to deepen further my crush on Debbie Harry.

5 Lindisfarne – Run For Home

I appropriated a cassette from my Dad of Lindisfarne Live and fell asleep listening to it every night for years, so they have a special place in my memory. This wasn’t on the live album, but it is my favourite track they released as a single.

4 David Bowie – ‘Ashes to Ashes’

What the hell is this? Oh my god this is amazing, look at the visuals – were some of the things I may have said when this was out. In hindsight the video is a bit crap, but not at the time, it was all rather groundbreaking. It was an extraordinary single for a singularly extraordinary artist.

3 The Clash – ‘London Calling’

Well it’s the Clash, and it is London Calling and it had to be here somewhere. There are many many songs I’ve left out that could easily have made up another 100, but not this one, the song along with the video, well, it’s bloody iconic.

2 Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi

Yeah, I know, Plastic indeed, but at the time I loved it and still do to some degree, it is catchy as hell, and no, I’ve no idea what it is about. It was this or ‘Gordon Is A Moron’ by Jilted John

1 City Boy – 5709

I have been singing this in my head for about 35 years off and on and have never been able to remember who it was by, I had to look it up for this. It isn’t number 1, these aren’t ranked. I’m not even sure if this was much of a hit but I must have heard it a lot at some point for it to stick in my brain for so long.

Here are all of them in a playlist, just in case anybody wanted to play them all at once, I can’t imagine why anybody would except me, it is the soundtrack to my childhood I guess ater all:

So what happened to all my records? I moved from Didcot to Leamington Spa when I was 16 and I gave everty single one of them away, for free. What a fucking idiot.

Verian Thomas – Untitled (With Crows)

Show 15 – 2020

Verian Thomas – Untitled One

I have recently been working on some new music which is quiet and reflective. It has been some time since I’ve done anything much musically and in this lockdown year of 2020 it is important to have some form of creative outlet, this is mine. I enjoy repetition and this is the keystone of what I am trying to create, simple, repeating patterns that don’t insist on the listeners attention.

The first track is pretty much complete and it is down below for anybody who would care to give it a listen. There will, eventually, be enough tracks for a full album and I will add them here as they are done, probably.

The Best Albums of 1984

If I have missed anything obvious please make it known. In 1984 I was 17/18 and had been working for a year, so I had a little money, not a load, but enough to buy a few albums, but many of these I would have listened to after their actual year of release.

62 – The Specials – In The Studio

I listened to this for the first time today. I’d been aware of it but just never got around to actually listening to it other than the two tracks ‘Nelson Mandella’, ‘What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend’ and I’m pretty sure I have heard ‘Racist Friend’ before. Having now finally given it some time I think it will almost certainly grow on me and move up this list at some point in the future.

61 – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – History, Mystery and Prophecies

Perry can do little wrong for me, even at his most ridiculous he still manages to produce something I really like. I don’t know this release very well but, as expected, I really like it.

60 – Marillion – Fugazi

Not my favourite Marillion album, I think that will always be their debut, and I haven’t really listened to anything since Fish left. I remember well the opening two tracks, ‘Assassing’ and ‘Punch & Judy’ and had seen them live at the Reading Festival the year before and they played ‘Assassing’ but nothing else from the album I don’t think.

59 – Dead Can Dance – Dead Can Dance

Love Dead Can Dance and was very much into 4AD artists back in 84, although I didn’t have this one and heard it much later. There is something timeless about the music that they create and Lisa Gerrard’s voice is wonderful. This album is much more indie in style than the later albums.

58 – Everything But The Girl – Eden

I’m not sure that any of the tracks from this, their debut album, are very well known, but the laid back, jazzy, almost easy listening sound of the album makes it a very sound start to the success they would later achieve.

57 – Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Goodbye Cruel World

A great songwriter and an album of well crafted songs. No big stand out hits but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it allows the album to be approached with no pre-conceptions.

56 – John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Milk & Honey

I’ve always thought Lennon’s solo releases were a bit patchy and this, released 4 years after his death, is probably made up of tracks recorded for Double Fantasy and presumably rejected. Still, it is Lennon so it is worth a listen.

55 – Roger Waters – The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

I remember seeing this in Our Price and very nearly buying it, I can’t remember what I bought instead. Stand out track is probably 5:01AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking Pt 10) which references Yoko Ono who is the previous entry. So that’s a nice coincidence.

54 – Madness – Keep Moving

I think Madness were on the decline somewhat at this point, although their last few recent releases have been excellent and albums such as ‘The Liberty Of Norton Felgate’ are highly recommended. This album contains ‘Michael Caine and ‘Wings of a Dove’, both of which bothered the singles charts.

53 – Gary Numan – Berserker

Numan’s career took a downward path similar to that of Madness and, also similarly, he has released some excellent albums recently. This album was on the downward curve but he hadn’t bottomed out as yet so there are plenty of listenable tracks here.

52 – Eurythmics – 1984

I’ve always been able to appreciate the music of the Eurythnmics, but I can’ say I’ve ever really been a fan. I do like what they did with this George Orwell interpretation, which was tied in with the film I think. The hit from this one was ‘Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)’ but I think, for me, the extended mix of ‘Julia’ is the stand out track.

51 – Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward

Depeche Mode mostly passed me by at this point and it is more recently that I’ve really bothered giving them a good listen. The singles are the stand out tracks on this I think, ‘People Are People’ and ‘Master And Servant’.

50 – Howard Jones – Human’s Lib

I know this album well as this guy I know, who is called Daniel or Dave, something like that, had a copy and I’m pretty sure I now have it, well I know I have the album but I think it’s his copy. I think this was a commercial high watermark for Jones with the hits ‘What is love?’ and ‘New Song coming from this album.

49 – Thomas Dolby – The Flat Earth

I’m pretty sure Daniel or whatever his name is, had this one as well, it doesn’t appear to have ended up in my collection though. When listening to it today having not done so for decades it surprised me how good it was, though the single, ‘Hyperactive’ does seem to have been tacked on at the end as it doesn’t fit very well with the other tracks.

48 – Black Uhuru – Anthem

I like Black Uhuru (Uhuru is Freedom in Swahili) and have a couple of their earlier albums, but not this one yet. It won a Grammy for best reggae album and with Sly and Robbie as the rhythm section, you know the standard will be high.

47 – Thompson Twins – Into The Gap

I read an interview recently with Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, he released a single under a pseudonym and it was doing really well until people found out he was involved and it stopped selling. There seems to have been quite a lot of dislike directed at the band but this album contains hit after hit and somebody must have been buying them back in ’84. I saw them live supporting Peter Gabriel and they were pretty good to be honest, even though the crowd wasn’t theirs. This has the tracks ‘Doctor! Doctor!’, ‘You Take Me Up’, ‘Hold Me Now’, and that’s the opening 3 songs, all hits. I think ‘Sister of Mercy’ was a hit as well. Music snobbery is stupid, this is a fine album.


46 – Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Red Hot Chili Peppers

I liked what they were doing at this point in their career, the music had an underground and experimental feel about it as well as that rap/rock/inde/funk crossover melting pot that they seemed to dip into. Later releases lost that I think.

45 – Big Country – Steeltown

I’d seen the band live the year before and that is where I think they really excelled, on the stage, so here is one of the stand out tracks, ‘East of Eden’ as performed on The Tube.


44 – Billy Bragg – Brewing Up with Billy Bragg

Bragg’s delivery may not be to everybody’s taste, and sometimes the subject matter, but he knows how to write a good song. I align with quite a lot of his political views so I’m good with it all.

“When you wake up to the fact that your paper is Tory, just remember there are two sides to every story”

43 – Mike Oldfield – Discovery

For fans of Oldfield’s earlier instrumental works this album doesn’t sit well alongside them, lots of songs, short ones, with singing no less. There is a 12 minute track called ‘The Lake’ which harks back to the old days. A couple of singles were taken from the album, ‘To France’ and ‘Trick of the Light’.

42 – The Alan Parsons Project – Ammonia Avenue

I have never paid any attention to The Alan Parsons Project, I wasn’t even very sure what it was but I saw a couple of albums in a used bargain bin some time back and picked them up, just out of curiosity, this was one of them. I think that had I heard them back in 1984 I would like them, and this, a lot more than I do but it’s still pretty good.

41 – Harold Budd & Brian Eno – The Pearl

I suspect I am doing this album a disservice by not placing it higher. I picked up a copy at a record fair in Rugby for £5 but haven’t listened to it since that day and right now so I know I like it, I know it’s good, but I haven’t lived with it enough yet.

40 – The Psychedelic Furs – Mirror Moves

I like their earlier albums more but there is still a lot to like on this album, I think the single ‘Heaven’ did ok and, apparently, ‘Heartbeat’ was a dance hit, who knew? The cover design was dedicated to Barney Bubbles, who had died the year before.

39 – Prefab Sprout – Swoon

Paddy McAloon writes really interesting songs, certainly more cerebral than much of the fare we were treated to in ’84. This was the bands debut album and less immediate and accessible than their later albums, but excellent still.

38 – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA

I have nothing against this album, but at the time I reached saturation point with it and even now I am like a full sponge that needs ringing out. Songs from it played everywhere, I couldn’t get away from them and wouldn’t choose to listen to them again, not yet anyway, even all these years later. Undoubtedly a really good album, hugely popular, well crafted and all that so it has to be included, though I know on many lists it would be top 3.

37 – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – From Her to Eternity

It’s extraordinary to me what came after this album, some of my favourite songs were to follow. This was the debut solo album of Cave after The Birthday Party disbanded and it is a visceral affair, but there is more subtlety which makes it a more effective set of songs.

36 – The Cult – Dreamtime

Dreamtime was released on 10 September 1984, their debut album, originally with a nine-song live album titled Dreamtime Live at the Lyceum, recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in London on 20 May 1984, and also released in the UK with different artwork, this is the one I have. I’ve heard all the criticisms aimed at The Cult, but I like them, so there you go.

35 – Lou Reed – New Sensations

This is his 13th solo album and it is not his worst, nor is it is best, it is a solid Lou Reed release with stand out tracks being ‘I Love You, Suzanne’ and probably ‘My Red Joystick’.

34 – David Bowie – Tonight

The 16th studio album from Bowie, which has one of my favourite album covers, received pretty crappy reviews at the time of release but they were, for the most part, undeserved I think. Opening track ‘Loving the Alien’ is good as is ‘Blue Jean’ and who wouldn’t want a cover of the Beach Boys ‘God Only Knows’ by Bowie?

33 – KUKL – The Eye

Before The Sugarcubes and before Bjork there was KUKL. I only heard this for the first time last year and I love it. So much so that I’m going to put a video with this one. The album received excellent reviews and had I known about it at the time I would have raved about it. I am now on the lookout for a copy of my own.


32 – The Pretenders – Learning To Crawl

I had this one at the time and I do feel like it was a high watermark for the band with tracks like ‘Middle of the Road’, ‘Back on the Chain Gang’, ‘Thin Line Between Love and Hate’ and ‘2000 Miles’.

31 – Leonard Cohen – Various Positions

Well it has ‘Hallelujah’ on it, which has been covered so many times now that, for me, it has completely lost its soul. This is not Cohen’s fault of course, and there are other good songs on it, ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ for example.

30 – Sade – Diamond Life

This is a great album that suffers somewhat from appropriation by restaurants and other businesses who would play it as muzak to demonstrate that they, like Sade, had a bit of class. I used to find it annoying.

29 – Holger Czukay – Der Orten Is Rot

Czukay, in case you didn’t know, was a founding member of Can. This album is rather odd at times but I like it a lot.

28 – Carmel – The Drum Is Everything

When this album was released I honestly believed that Carmel were going to be huge, they weren’t, but had moderate success. I think they were just too early, people weren’t ready for it I guess but had they emerged around the time of Amy Winehouse and that whole jazz revival, they would, I’m quite sure, have been at the forefront.

27 – Madonna – Like A Virgin

Do I need to say anything about this one? Probably not.

26 – Van Halen – 1984

Not my favourite Van Halen album to be honest, this being the one where keyboards became prevalent, as evidenced by the hit ‘Jump’, again, not my favourite track from them but overall the album is pretty good and I bought a copy at the time, which I still have, so there we are.

25 – Simple Minds – Sparkle In The Rain

I wasn’t very keen on Simple Minds at the time but listening to them again over the last few years, I came to realise that some kind of music elitism was in play, in my head, they have some great songs, many on this album and I wish I’d given them the attention they deserved at the time.

24 – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Rattlesnakes

‘Perfect Skin’ was the first thing I heard by Lloyd Cole, as a single, but it also opens this album. It is worth not stopping with track 1, there’s some really good songs on this album.

23 – The Fall – The Wonderful & Frightening World of the Fall

I have the 2016 re-issue of this and for that reason it is where I start looking into more detail at the next choices in this list, it isn’t a good reason, I have lots of the albums already mentioned, nonetheless it is a reason, much like when parents answer a question with ‘Because I said so’.


22 – Laurie Anderson – Mister Heartbreak

This is Anderson’s second album and it contains the track ‘Excellent Birds’, which was produced by Peter Gabriel and a version appeared as a bonus track on his album ‘So’. I thnk the version here is better.

21 – Xmal Deutschland – Tocsin

I was a big fan of the Cocteau Twins so went looking to see who else was on the same record label, 4AD, on the assumption it would be similar music, it was and it wasn’t but I liked it regardless, in fact I still have my copy of this that I bought in 1984, and another of theirs. Most of it is in German, but I don’t care.

20 – Rush – Grace Under Pressure

At the time I bought this album I had just moved to a new town and, essentially, lived in a bedroom with my collection of about 40 records. I didn’t like it very much initially, but as it was played a lot due to limited choices it grew on me and even now when I play it I am reminded of how wrong I was on those initial albums, it was a gradual departure in style for them from the earlier prog-rock days but I still like the songs.

19 – Julian Cope – Fried

I was absolutely mad about Cope for a long time, until 1996 with ‘Interpreter’ being the last album I was really interested in, after that I wasn’t so keen on what he was releasing, but this I liked. It was his first release following the end of ‘The Teardrop Explodes’ and it was very different, although there were some upbeat tracks such as ‘Sunspots’ and ‘Holy Love’ that, with the addition of a horn section, could have passed for Teardrops.

18 – Julian Cope – World Shut Your Mouth

Hot on the heels of ‘Fried’ came this album, which doesn’t contain the hit single of the album title, that was actually on the next album ‘St.Julian’. What it does contain is a series of excellent songs exept one, this being ‘Greatness & Perfection’, which seems to be a Teardrops song that was never used as it could sit on either of their first two albums without seeming out of place. Tracks such as ‘Elegant Chaos’ and ‘Strasbourg’ contain mature writing and there is a darkness that weaves through the majority of tracks.

17 – Siouxsie & the Banshees – Hyaena

I bought this when it was released, and still have it, and it was at least a year before I noticed that Robert Smith of The Cure played on it. It is an incredibly consistent album, good all theway through, with some highlights being ‘Swimming Horses’, Dazzle’ and ‘Bring me the head of the preacher man’.

16 – King Crimson – Three Of A Perfect Pair

This album was the conclusion of a trilogy, begining with ‘Discipline’, followed by ‘Beat’ and concluding with this album. Now that may not be thhe official view, but it is how it has always felt to me. This is the most up to date release from them I have, nothing after 1984. Not sure if that says something about me or the band, but on this, and the two prior releases I really like the guitar work and sound.

15 – Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome

In 1984 this was everywhere and spawned hits such as ‘Relax’, ‘Two Tribes’, ‘Power of Love’ as well as T-shirts. While it’s true they courted controversy and wrung every ounce out of every possible piece of publicity they could get, the album itself is masterfully produced by Trevor Horn and if you haven’t listened to it lately, or ever, give it a spin, you may be surprised.

14 – REM – Reckoning

The first time I became aware of R.E.M was 3 years after this album was released with the album ‘Document’ and the two better known songs from it ‘The One I Love’ and ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’ (apt at the time of writing) so skipping back to ’84 I listened to this for the first time this year. It’s sometimes difficult to listen to songs produced over 35 years ago and not judge them on todays production techniques and whatever the current zeitgeist in music is, but these stand up incredibly well and it was a pleasure getting to know this album.

13 – The Cure – The Top

I bought this album the week it was released, and still have it. For me, at the time, it was a mixed bag and I seem to recall that the reviews when it was released were not particularly favourable. Nowadays I have a different view, it is a wonderful album with a consistent mood and songs that are both quirky and dark, it is classic cure and yet not quite alinged with what had come before.

Doesn’t Bob look young!


12 – XTC – The Big Express

This is not generally considered as their best album, which it isn’t, however it does still contain some excellent songs, including the single ‘All You Pretty Girls’. Of course the problem with being XTC is being judged against XTC, who created, in ‘Senses Working Overtime’, one of the best pop songs ever written.


11 – Echo And The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain

Due to there being a feud between Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes) and Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen I didn’t really listen to them all that much as I fell firmly on Cope’s side, even though I had absolutely no clue as to what had gone on. As it turns out this was fortuitous as I then was able to hear all these songs for the first time much later and they were new to me, bonus.

10 – Public Image Ltd – This is what you want…this is what you get

I have a great deal of difficulty with the third P.I.L album onwards as the first two were so close to perfect that anything less will always contain some measure of dissapointment for me. There are three brillinat songs on this album, ‘Bad Life’, ‘This is not a love song’ and ‘The order of death’. The other tracks are all fine but those three are the stand outs I think.

The song “The Order of Death” appears in the 1990 science fiction-horror film Hardware and on the soundtrack to the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project. It was also featured in the Miami Vice episode “Little Miss Dangerous” and the Mr. Robot episode “eps2.7_init_5.fve”.

9 – This Mortal Coil – It’ll End In Tears

It’ll End in Tears is the first album released by 4AD collective This Mortal Coil, an umbrella title for a loose grouping of guest musicians and vocalists brought together by label boss Ivo Watts-Russell. It features many of the artists on the 4AD roster at the time, including Cocteau Twins, Colourbox, and Dead Can Dance; as well as Howard Devoto.

I had it on cassette, ad may well still have it somewhere but I have sice bought the vinyl version so I’m in no particular hurry to find it. Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’ with vocals by Elizabeth Frasier is a stunning track.


8 – Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

I don’t usually include live albums but this one is so good that I couldn’t leave it out. There was a film that accompanied the album and you can see the whole thing on youtube. It opens with Psycho Killer which was the first song I think I ever heard of theirs, on the Old Grey Whistle Test. I thought it was weird, but cool.


7 – U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

This period was the pinacle of U2’s musical output, along with the Joshua Tree, well according to me it was and their later work I have found to be a little dissapointing. I remember when this was released and how its sound seemed fuller and more crafted that earlier releases which made it more accessible to a wider audience. This was a new production team of Eno and Lanois which was incredibly successful for U2.


6 – Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain

Technically this is a soundtrack of course, but I’ve always had the feeling that the songs came first and the film was built around them, a film which is terrible by the way. I liked it at the time, mostly because of the songs, but it doesn’t stand the test of time. Ignoring the movie, it is a fantastic collection of songs opeing with Let’s Go Crazy, closing with Purple Rain with each track inbetween being good.

5 – David Sylvian – Brilliant Trees

If this best of was decided by the number of copies of a record that I own then this would be number 1 as I have the original release, a re-issue from a couple of years ago and a CD for the car. I liked Japan as well so it was quite natural for me to move on to his solo work, although I’ve had conversations with a few folk who never really liked it, despite being huge Japan fans, I fail to understand why.


4 – Talk Talk – It’s My Life

I feel like the title track, being so good and popular upon it’s release, overshadowed the rerst of the album somewhat, so if you happen to have never listened to it all the way through, jump mon spotify or your streaming service of choice and give it a go. Mark Hollis was a fantastic writer and, to quote track 2, it is such a shame he is no longer with us.


3 – The Blue Nile – A Walk Across The Rooftops

I’ve been regularly listening to this album since it was first released and am yet to grow bored of it. It is at times quiet and contemplative, at times more upbeat and at all times just full of great songs. Paul Buchanan has such a wonderful voice, so emotive and I have no idea who the bass player is but I love his playing. If you have not taken the time to investigate the Blue Nile catalogue then start with this album and move straight on to ‘Hats’, together they are amazing.


2 – The Cocteau Twins – Treasure

There aren’t many records that, to me, are magical, but this is one of them. Bass player Simon Raymonde alluded to the album being rushed and unfinished, while guitarist Robin Guthrie referred to it as “an abortion” and to the period in which it was made as “arty-farty pre-Raphaelite”. They would know best of course but once an album is released into the world it no longer belongs to the group and the world will make of it what they will. In this case it is may people’s favourite album of theirs. It is ethereal and wonderful and I am questioning myself as to why I haven’t put it at number 1.


1 – The Smiths – The Smiths

And here we are at my number 1 album of 1984, is it controversial? I don’t think so, what else could it possibly be? Now I know that many folk won’t even listen to the Smiths, considering them miserable bastards, a pre-conception that is a shame as there is so much joy in the songs despite the sometimes grumpy Morrisey lyrics. This album, their debut, contains 11 tracks and every single one of them is brilliant, without exception.

FKA Twigs – Sad Day Video – Wow!

33 1/3 Radio: Show 14 – Alternative 80’s

Like most of the 33 1/3 radio shows I play mostly what I’ve been listening to since the last show, this time I play what I was listening to in the 80’s as an annoying teenager and on in to my annoying twenties.

1001 Other Albums – 17 – Howlin’ Wolf – Moanin’ in the Moonlight

Moanin’ in the Moonlight was the debut album by Howlin’ Wolf. The album was a compilation of previously issued singles by Chess Records and it is a stone cold classic. Smokestack Lightin’ is just about as close to a perfect blues song that it is possible to get, in my opinion that is, which is the only one that really counts as far as this blog post is concerned.

This is the only known filmed version of “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin’ Wolf. This was shot in England during the famed American Folk Blues Festival tours and features the legendary Hubert Sumlin on guitar.

33 1/3 Radio: Show 13 – Reggae

Nearly 3 hours of Reggae tunes, interupted only by some idiot.

Rankin Roger

I’m very late in posting this but I was just looking at some of my youtube uploads and re-found a video from 2016 of The Beat from the summer of 2016 where the band, fronted by Rankin Roger and his son (in the suit), put on a fantastic show as the support for P.I.L.

I was suprised and saddened in March 2019 to hear that he had passed away having undergone surgery for two brain tumours that January, and was undergoing treatment for lung cancer. His energy, for a guy 3 years older than me (he was 53 when I saw him) was amazing and I enjoyed their support slot more than P.I.L that night. If I had run and jumped about the stage like that I would have needed a month to recover. The post I made back then is here.

This is his Wiki page if you wanted to find out more about him.

And here is a faviourite of mine which could be re-released today as Stand Down Boris:

I said I see no joy
I see only sorry
I see no chance of your bright new tomorrow

So stand down Margaret
Stand down please
Stand down down down down down
Down down down down down

You tell me how can it work
In this all white law
What a short sharp lesson,
What a third world war
I sometimes wonder
If I’ll ever get the chance
Just to sit with my children
In a holiday jam
Our lives seem petty in your cold grey hands
Would you give a second thought
Would you ever give a damn, I doubt it
Stand down Margaret
Awar!
Everybody shout it
Stand down Margaret! Work, white law
Shell shock

Stand down please

1001 Other Albums – 16 – Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue

Little Girl Blue (also known as Jazz As Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club) is the debut album by Nina Simone, released by Bethlehem Records in February 1959. Simone was in her mid-20s and still aspiring to be a classical concert pianist. Unfortunately, she immediately sold the rights for the album to Bethlehem Records for $3,000 (This is the equivalent of around $27,000 today) which would eventually cost her over a million dollars in royalties.

Though Simone would go on to write many great songs, (think of ‘Mississippi Goddam’, ‘To Be Young Gifted And Black’ or ‘Ain’t Got No, I Got Life’.) she didn’t write any that were included on this album, including her biggest hit ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ which was helped by being included in a 1987 Chanel advertisement.

In my list of Best Albums of 1959 I placed this at number 9 and there will be more from that list appearing in this one, because it was a hell of a year.

Full List

1001 Other Albums – 15 – Sonny Rawlings – Saxophone Colossus

Saxophone Colossus is the sixth studio album by Sonny Rollins. Perhaps Rollins’ best-known album, it is often considered his breakthrough record. It was recorded on June 22, 1956, with producers Bob Weinstock and Rudy Van Gelder at the latter’s studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. Rollins led a quartet on the album that included pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Max Roach. Saxophone Colossus was released by Prestige Records to critical success and helped establish Rollins as a prominent jazz artist.

In 2017, Saxophone Colossus was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.”

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1001 Other Albums – 14 – Miles Davis – ‘Round About Midnight

The Birth Of Cool and Kind of Blue were already both taken, but it matters not as this 1957 release is right up there. It wasn’t universally well recieved when initially released with one reviewer suggesting it was just a contractual obligation album and the The Penguin Guide to Jazz said that “the material is fine but somehow fails to cast quite the consistent spell which the Prestige recordings do” and Ralph Berton of The Record Changer called the album “orthodox, middle-of-the-road conservative progressive jazz.” They were both wrong.

Bob Rusch of Cadence wrote, “everything about this date, from the black-and-white cover photo, washed in red, of Miles Davis, removed in thought behind dark glasses, to the performances, is classic. Not surprisingly, careful packaging and exquisite artistry have created a legend and, in this case, one of the essential recordings in the history of recorded music.” I agree with Bob.

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1001 Other Albums – 13 – Ray Charles – By Ray Charles

This is the first release on LP by Ray Charles. It was originally released in 1957 on Atlantic Records but it was also know as “Hallelujah I Love Her So” as it was re-released under this title in 1962. A number of the tracks had already been hit singles for Charles in the preceding years, such as “Mess Around” in 1953, “A Fool for You” and “I Got A Woman” in 1955, “Drown In My Own Tears” and “Hallelujah I Love Her So” in 1956.

You may well recognise ‘I’ve Got A Woman’ from Kanye West’s 2005 single in which it is sampled and, hopefully, pointing a lot of folks back in time to other work by Charles, so much of which is worth exploring.

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1001 Other Albums – 12 -John Coltrane – Blue Train

Blue Train was John Coltrane’s only recording for Blue Note. It was the first album where he chosef the musicians he wanted to record with and it is the album in which he gets closest to hard bop, whicvh is a category that I don’t really understand. There are sub-categories in Jazz and if you asked me to listen and then tell you which category an album falls into I wouldn’t really know.

It has been said that “Blue Train” is uncharacteristic of Coltrane’s music and that it makes too many concessions to the Blue Note ‘sound’. Again, I really wouldn’t know, I just like it. I can certainly see the difference between this and the magnificent ‘Giant Steps’ but I can also see the difference between ‘Hard Days Night’ and ‘Let it Be’, and if there were no real difference then that would be a dissapointment.

At the time of recording, Coltrane had recently beaten his addiction to heroin that had been ongoing since 1953 and which had been overlaid on an earlier acquired addiction to alcohol and cigarettes, and much of the music on ‘Blue Train’ seems quite upbeat and, to me at least, has a sense of joy to it, a sense of release.

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