To cover or not to indulge in cover versions: that is the question?

Can you imagine the music business without cover versions? Yes, many  new releases are fresh, original songs, but many are also reworked  versions of someone else’s former hit – or miss. Some are fresh and  original covers, that do something new with the tune; sometimes so  much so that it becomes almost unrecognisable. Others are just a  rehash, and barely indistinguishable from the original.

A typical example of the latter is ‘Uptown Girl’, first recorded in  1983. It is something of an anthem of my youth and the uplifting  melody and simple premise are very appealing. It was a big hit, making  the top 20 bestselling singles list – of the entire decade. To date,  well over a million copies have been sold worldwide.

‘Uptown Girl’ was covered by Westlife, who released it in 2001. Now, I  can see why Westlife would want to record it, it’s a great tune. But  why we would want to buy it, I have no idea. The song is sung in the  same way as Joel’s original, but the vocals, and backing music, seem  to me to be lacking in a certain something that made the Joel version  sing with quality.

Why cover a song, if you’re not going to do anything new with it?  What’s the point? For Westlife, the point, presumably, was money.  Maybe, they’d also lay claim to attempting to bring a great song to a  younger audience. Fair enough, I guess. That doesn’t quite cut it for  me, but perhaps that’s my problem, not theirs.

We all seem to claim that the music we grew up with was the best –  well, my parents certainly did, singing the praises, in particular, of  the Beatles and Deep Purple – among many others – all of whom came  from the swinging sixties and glaring, flare-clad seventies.  Apparently, my Dad saw Jimi Hendrix perform in Newcastle in the early  1970s. Really? He barely mentions it…

I favour the eighties and nineties, no doubt because I grew up with  the music of those decades. Florence and the Machine’s 2009 cover of  ‘You Got the Love’ annoyed me intensely; from the get-go I much  preferred Candi Staton’s first version from 1986. I was 12 in 1986; by  2009 I was 35. Too old for very much new music perhaps, by then, let  alone for substandard (as I saw it) new versions of the tunes that  accompanied me, like old friends, through puberty, school, exams and  university and into the grown-up worlds of work, travel, relationships  and flat sharing.

Cover versions certainly don’t have to be good to be successful.  Robson and Jerome’s version of ‘Unchained Melody’ had some sort of  appeal that is invisible to the naked, suspecting eyes of many people,  yet it was the top-selling single of 1995. ‘Good’ is clearly in the  ear of the beholder. No offence Robson, who’s from my own stomping  ground – I do love your ‘Tales from Northumberland’, but that hit was  just altogether too cheesy for my tastes. But give me pudding over a  cheese-fest any day; each to their own. Either way the 1990 re-release of the Righteous Brothers’ far superior 1960s rendition of ‘Unchained Melody’ ( as part of the movie soundtrack from “Ghost” ), made the version by Robson and Jerome redundant.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate all cover versions. I am fond of  Alien Ant Farm’s 2001 cover of Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit ‘Smooth  Criminal’. It’s a far rockier, grungier version, and I like both  more-or-less equally. Both have their own merits, and Alien Ant Farm  made the song their own by covering it from a whole new angle.

Only relatively recently, did I discover that The Communards’  chart-topping hit, ‘Don’t Leave me this Way’ was not an original. The  song was in fact first recorded in 1975, and was a hit both then and  shortly after, in 1997. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ version, the  original, reached the top 10 in both the UK and America, peaking at numbers 5 and 3 respectively. Thelma Houston’s rendition was far more  popular across the pond than here in Britain; it failed to reach our  top 10, peaking at number 13 here, while in America it made number 1.  I’m not familiar with the earlier versions, but The Communards’ cover  is an absolute triumph. Praise be to the Reverend Coles and Mr  Somerville.

The late, great George Michael even experimented with cover versions. He sang  ‘Killer’, which had previously been a huge hit for Adams and Seal, in  1991 at Wembley, and it was later released as part of the ‘Five Live’  EP, along with Michael’s rendition of ‘Papa was a Rollin’ Stone’ and  two duets – ‘Somebody to Love’ with Queen, and ‘These are the Days of  our Lives’ again with Queen and also featuring Lisa Stansfield. All  but the latter appeared on ‘Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George  Michael’, as well as ‘Don’t Let the Sun go Down on Me’, another duet,  this time with Elton John. Michael also, of course, could be said to  have covered one of his own songs, when he recorded ‘Freedom ’90’,  following Wham’s ‘Freedom’ in 1984. Though the 2 songs are very  different, both in terms of tune, lyrics and subject matter, the ’90  in the second title was added to differentiate between them.

Not a lot of time separates The Zutons’ ‘Valerie’ and Amy Winehouse  and Mark Ronson’s version, but the renditions are very different  indeed. I’m a fan of both the 2006 original and the 2007 cover, so  perhaps all is not lost. I didn’t stop liking all new music after the  1990s ended, and in fact I liked the cover very much, too. It would be  very hard to pick a favourite: both The Zutons and Ms Winehouse’s  renditions feature in my personal music collection.

As for a song that sounds like it must be the original, I can’t think  of a better example than The Mike Flowers Pops cover of ‘Wonderwall’.  Even Noel Gallagher was reportedly asked by the media whether he had  indeed penned the ditty. The cover is in the easy listening genre and,  although I grew up during the 1990s indie, ‘Madchester’ and Britpop  years, I do respect the Flowers version, simply because he dared to  put his own spin on a veritable pop classic from one of the UK’s  biggest bands ever.

Not all cover versions are released as singles, or make it into the  charts, of course. Many covers have a place in popular culture, and  our lives, though other means. One of the very best covers I’ve ever  heard was an uptempo, swing rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, which  featured on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, performed by Dave Arch’s orchestra. ‘Wonderful!’, as Brucie himself would have proclaimed.

In the press recently, I read an interview with a semi-professional  heavy metal guitarist, who claimed that one of his band’s stock covers  was Britney Spears’ ‘(Hit me) Baby One more time’. The mind boggles.

Are cover versions a good or a bad thing? It very much depends on the  rendition – and the listener. If I really like the artist, then I’ll  probably like the cover. I was never going to dislike George Michael  singing any decent song, for example. The best covers, I think, are  those that do something fresh and new with the original material.  After all, isn’t that what being an artist is all about?

 

This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com

Check out Polly’s blog……There are some very entertaining and informative articles on a diverse range of subjects & topics. For instance her home made recipes are mouth watering and delicious!!

Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs to come out of Newcastle

When it comes to rock and pop music from the 1960s to the present day, the North East of England never seems to get a mention. All the plaudits go to the north west music powerhouses of Liverpool and Manchester.

But let’s spare a thought for Newcastle because this most northern of cities helped shape music, especially in the 1960s and 1980s. The first band from “Geordieland” to come to prominence was Eric Burdon’s blues orientated Animals. The Record Press author rates Eric Burdon’s vocals very highly – in my opinion only matched in the 1960s blues vocals performed by a white man category by Steve Marriott ( Small Faces ) and Steve Winwood ( Spencer Davis Group ).

The 1970s saw something of a hiatus for Newcastle bands, although folk ensemble Lindisfarne had some chart success, whilst Geordie Bryan Ferry’s solo sabbaticals away from Roxy Music spawned some classic cover versions.

However the 1980s were the golden age for dominance of the UK charts by Newcastle bands, with Dire Straits dominating the first half of the decade and the Pet Shop Boys taking over that mantel from 1985 onwards. Dire Straits literally handed over the chart success baton to the Pet Shop Boys in late 1985 when the latter premiered with their zeitgeist classic West End Girls, depicting the rise of the “Yuppie” East End City brokers in Thatcherite London. Dire Straits last big hit, earlier that year, Money For Nothing was also something of a zeitgeist song, depicting the shallow values of 1980s materialism and commercialism epitomised by MTV in the USA.

So although intermittent over the past half century, make no mistake Newcastle bands and solo artists have made a huge impact on British, European and US culture. This is exemplified by this Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle:

Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle

 

1) Animals – House of the Rising Sun ( No1 1964 )

2) Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls ( No1 1985 )

3) Bryan Ferry – In Crowd ( No13 1974 )

4) Alan Price – I Put A Spell On You ( No9 1966 )

5) Dire Straits – Private Investigations ( No2 1982 )

6) Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This? ( No2 1987 )

7) Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood ( No3 1965 )

8) Dire Straits – Money For Nothing ( No4 1985 )

9) Pet Shop Boys – It’s A Sin ( No1 1987 )

10) Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing ( N08 1979 )

 

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

 

Elton John says Goodbye Yellow Brick Road as he quits touring

Elton John has announced he will stop touring to spend more time with his young family.

He made the announcement in New York, explaining he would say goodbye to fans with a series of 300 dates spanning three years. He commented: “I always thought I was going to be like Ray Charles, BB King – on the road forever. My priorities have changed. We had children and it changed our lives. That doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to be creative. But I’m not going to travel.”

Elton John continued: “Last year I picked up an infection and I was very ill and it knocked me sideways,” he admitted. But I still did 96 shows. Believe me – if you ever do 300 shows, you’re not in ill health.”

Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road will kick off in the US this September, just months after he ends his six-month residency in Las Vegas.

He added: “I don’t want to go out with a whimper, but a big bang,” he said, promising “the most fantastic show I’ve ever done”. Significantly he added the caveat that after his tour he might consider another residency “like Kate Bush,” who played 22 dates at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in 2014.

And this is why the Record Press author is sceptical. I think this could be “The Long Goodbye” in the words of the title of Raymond Chandler’s novel. Elton John is a consummate performer and entertainer and when push comes to shove, I suspect he simply won’t be able to quit permanently from live performances.

I’m sure he is genuinely torn between performing and parenthood ( with partner David Furnish ) when he says: “David and I sat down with a school schedule and I said, ‘I don’t want to miss too much of this’. I’m not stopping music. I’ll hopefully be making more records. I’ll be writing more musicals. But mostly, I’ll be taking my kid to soccer academy – which is the most important thing. Life is all about change.”

Elton concluded his press conference by saying he would be “creative up til the day I die” and that his farewell tour would be “a wonderful way to thank people”. But that’s the point, you can take the boy out of Pinner, but you can’t take the performer off the world stage……

Let’s remind ourselves of Elton John’s brilliance, with this Record Press Top 10 Best Elton John Songs

Top 10 Best Elton John Songs

1) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ( 1973 )

2) Candle In The Wind ( 1974 )

3) Little Jeannie ( 1980 )

4) Your Song ( 1970 )

5) Rocket Man ( 1972 )

6) Sartorial Elegance ( 1980 )

7) Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word ( 1976 )

8) Someone Saved My Life Tonight ( 1975 )

9)  Tiny Dancer ( 1972 )

10) Crocodile Rock ( 1972 )

What are your favourite Elton John songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of Elton can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

 

The Smiths are not the Smiths without Morrissey & Johnny Marr

Former members of The Smiths will reunite on stage for the first time in more than 30 years this summer.

Original members Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon have collaborated with Manchester Camerata Orchestra on the Classically Smiths performances. They have been reworking the band’s catalogue for a series of concerts.

All three Smiths members will perform with the orchestra on three planned gigs.  Former drummer Mike Joyce commented: “I’m massively excited to be playing with Andy and Craig again, but introducing a full orchestra into the mix takes this to another level.” He hinted at a cocktail of Smiths classics and songs that the band never performed live, “in a way they’ve never been heard before”.

Notable absentees from this so called reunion of The Smiths are lead singer Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr. Smiths’ songs will be performed by guest vocalists, who are yet to be announced.

The Smiths without Morrissey and Johnny Marr are not the Smiths

In the words of one of The Smiths’ best songs, what difference does it make? Well a hell of a lot as far as the Record Press author is concerned. What’s the point? The Smiths without Morrissey and Johnny Marr are not the Smiths. Just as Oasis without Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher would simply be an arid desert – in other words Oasis-less!! Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but Smiths’ songs without Morrissey’s trademark melancholic vocals and Johnny Marr’s signature twanging guitar chords amounts to no more than karaoke.

What are your favourite Smiths songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of The Smiths can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque.

ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

A Christmas No1 is not just for Xmas, but for life!!

The Record Press guest blogger Polly Taylor takes a look at that peculiarly British phenomenon and institution known as the Christmas No1…….

So, Ed Sheeran did it. He secured the coveted Christmas 2017 number 1  spot on the singles chart, despite stiff competition from Eminem, who  Ed pipped at the post, forcing the American bestselling artist of the  noughties into 2nd place. A campaign to win Wham the top spot saw them  take 3rd, behind Ed and Eminem.

Wham peaked at number 2 on the New Year chart a week later, matching  the best position ‘Last Christmas’ achieved back in 1984, when the  success of the original Band Aid’s ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’  meant that George and Andrew had to settle for number 2. George also  sang on the Band Aid record, meaning that he is 1 of only 3 acts ever  to have simultaneously featured on the top 2 singles. The other 2 are  Ed Sheehan, who has just joined this exclusive club with his own 2017  number 1, ‘Perfect’, and his vocals on Eminem’s track, ‘River’, which  took number 2. The Beatles, in 1963 and again in 1967, held the top 2  places on the Christmas charts of those years.

Although I supported the Wham campaign, I was perfectly happy to see  Mr Sheeran secure first place. Why? Well, it meant that X Factor  didn’t have anything to do with number 1 – nor in fact any of the top  3. The 2017 winners were at number 9 by Christmas, having spent the  previous week at number 6, after entering the chart the week before at  number 2.

Last Christmas, 2016, Clean Bandit took number 1 and it was Rag ’n’  Bone Man who secured 2nd. X factor winner Matt Terry was at number 8  by Christmas week, having previously peaked at number 3. In 2015,  Lewisham & Greenwich NHS choir beat Justin Bieber to the number 1  spot, although he could be comforted by the fact that he held number 3  as well as 2, with ‘Sorry’ and ‘Love Yourself’ respectively.

In contrast to previous X Factor winners, then, over the last 3 years  the top 3 have not been held by the X Factor. Before that, they  dominated the coveted festive top spot, when Simon Cowell’s darlings  quickly followed coming first in TV’s music competition by seizing the  Christmas number 1. The chart cherry, on top of winning the X factor  (the cake).

Since 2005, over decade ago, the Christmas number 1 has been taken by  a succession of victorious X Factor contestants, starting with Shayne  Ward, who triggered a 4-year run of success for the show’s winners who  followed him – Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson and Alexandra Burke took the  top slot in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Then, in 2009, there was a backlash. Some punters were utterly fed up  with the X Factor and its perceived effect on the music business.  Hankering, perhaps, for the days when the ultimate Christmas present  on any artist’s wish-list was the hotly contested seat at the top of  the British singles chart, they came out in force – by backing a  campaign to get Rage Against the Machine to prime position.

In 2010, Matt Cardle flew the flag for Mr Cowell and bore it all the  way to the top of the Christmas chart again, but I think the doubt had  started to creep in. There was something else, people who’d grown up  with a string of X Factor Christmas number ones began to realise;  theirs weren’t the only contenders.

In 2011 and 2012 the hugely popular Military Wives’ choir and the  Justice Collective grabbed the festive top slots, both with their  charity singles in aid of various Armed Forces and Hillsborough  disaster funds. In 2013 and 2014 X Factor winners triumphed once more,  but 3 years have now passed since those successes and I think – I hope  – that that Christmas N01 spot has become an open contest once  more.

Quite rightly so, in my book. It was so exciting, back in the 1970s, 1980s  and 1990s, when I grew up, waiting to see who’d made it. By the time  they announced who was number 2, it was all over – weeks of watching  Top Of the Pops to hear this year’s festive offerings, picking a  favourite, then waiting for the Sunday night chart show with bated  breath to see if the nation agreed with you.

I’m not alone, it seems. Last month, the 2017 Christmas top 20  featured an unprecedented 8 ‘old’ Christmas songs – from Band Aid,  Brenda Lee, Shakin’ Stevens, Elton John and Chris Rea as well as Wham  and the ever-present Pogues and Mariah Carey tunes. The year before  there were 4; and in every year for the preceding decade – i.e.  between 2005 and 2015, there were between 1 and 3. Is this the start  of a new seasonal trend, where the classics make a massive impact on  the UK’s Christmas top 20?

It wasn’t to be for Shakin’ Stevens back in 1982 with his ‘Blue  Christmas’ EP, which got to number 2; he had to wait until 1985 to  make it with ‘Merry Christmas everyone’. In 1987, absolute Christmas  classic The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl’s ‘Fairytale of New York’  was beaten into 2nd place by the Pet Shop Boys.

The Pogues are, in fact, the only artists to feature in every  Christmas top 20 since 2005. Their position has varied; they climbed  to number 3 in 2005, then 6 in 2006 and 4 in 2007. Between 2008 and  2016, they charted yearly between numbers 10 and 20, then in 2017 they  climbed into the top 10 once more, spending yuletide at number 7. It  is, seemingly the UK’s favourite Christmas song, topping various media  polls time and time again, and holding court as the most played  Christmas song in Britain.

Mariah Carey, ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ is another massive  Christmas hit, but like the Pogues, it didn’t ever reach number 1 on  the British singles chart; like them, Mariah only made number 2 in  1994. She has featured in festive top 20s almost every year since, and  this single is the 11th best seller of all time. It is astonishing, to  me, that both of these ever-popular Christmas classics didn’t even  peak at number 1. Can you imagine such songs being released now, tunes  that would become irrepressible – and irresistible – festive favourites?

Take That missed out in 1993, when Mr Blobby snatched number 1. Mr  Blobby wasn’t the only incongruous one; in 2000 Bob the Builder saw  off another boy band, Westlife, after the second half of the 90s was  dominated the Spice Girls, who secured 1st place with 3 successive  Christmas hits in 1996, 1997 and 1998. In 1997, at least, this was a  good thing, keeping the Teletubbies snapping at their towering heels  in second place.

Mr Blobby, Bob the Builder, the Teletubbies – bring them on, I say. It  just makes the big Christmas No1 reveal all the more thrilling.  As long as it’s an open contest open more, to peak on the Christmas  chart could once more be a very real dream for up and coming  singer/songwriters and bands who play proper instruments. Hallelujah,  Amen and thank the Lord for the likes of Ed Sheeran. Perhaps in future  he can be joined by more of his kind, and we won’t have to rely only  upon the great, but well-worn, Christmas tunes to prop up the festive top 20.

 

This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com

Check out Polly’s blog……There are some very entertaining and informative articles on a diverse range of subjects & topics. For instance her home made recipes are mouth watering and delicious!!

 

AC/DC: From Pacific Highway To Highway To Hell

This is the Record Press tribute to Malcolm Young who passed away on the 18th November 2017 – RIP Rock & Roll Man……

AC/DC were the pioneers of Australian rock and pop music: created in Sydney and exported via the Pacific Highway to the USA and the rest of the world.

Yes you could argue that the Easybeats as forerunners were technically the pioneers of Australian rock and pop music. The Record Press author would argue that the Easybeats were the catalyst with their international 1965 hit Friday On ACDCMy Mind, but beyond that did not have the longevity or sustained impact to really be classed as Australian rock and pop music pioneers.

No the Australian rock band AC/DC, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, brothers of Easybeats guitarist George, should take the plaudits for Architects of Aussie Rock. If the Record Press author were being a provocative “Pom”, I might argue that brothers Malcom, Angus and George Young emigrated to Sydney from Glasgow in 1963 and therefore the real architects of Australian rock and pop music were “Poms”. However I would not be that churlish!!

Although AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album High Voltage on the 17th February 1975, Malcolm and Angus Young were always the lynchpins in the band. For five years AC/DC had a settled line up until months after recording the album Highway To Hell lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on the 19th February 1980 after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. AC/DC had achieved so much in those five short years but there was much more to come.

Such was Bon Scott’s charisma and influence, AC/DC considered disbanding, but encouraged by Bon Scott’s father, acdc highway to hellthey decided to find a new lead vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Bon Scott. Later that year, the band released the new album, Back in Black, which was recorded as a tribute to Bon Scott. The album launched them to new heights of success and became their all-time best-seller.

AC/DC’s next album For Those About to Rock We Salute You was their first album to reach No1 in the USA where they were to forge incredible success over the years: AC/DC have sold more than 200 million records worldwide but of those  71.5 million albums have been sold in the USA alone, making them the tenth-best-selling band in the US. Back in Black has sold an estimated 50 million units worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-selling album by any artist and the third-highest-selling album by any band.

And to think AC/DC were the original Aussie pub rock band who with no precedent to model themselves on became one of the world’s largest rock bands: For That Reason, AC/DC We Salute You………

Here’s a reminder why we salute AC/DC, with this Top 5 Best AC/DC Songs –

 

Top 5 Best AC/DC Songs

 

1) Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution 

2) Highway To Hell 

3) Hells Bells 

4) Rock and Roll Damnation

5) You Shook Me All Night Long 

 

What are your favourite AC/DC songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate your love of AC/DC, by ordering your favourite AC/DC song as a framed and mounted vinyl single. If it’s intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque.

ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

framed acdc vinyl single

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion ie a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

Madchester years – from someone who was actually there & lived it!!

The class of ’92 were gathered for the last time, our high school  leavers’ dinner. We sat down to a 3-course meal to celebrate finishing  our A-levels, looking forward to our impending results with feelings  varying between nervous excitement and sheer terror, ready at last to  spread our wings and speed off to various universities around the  British Isles, rushing with indecent haste towards adulthood.

“Oops upside your head” was played, we all sat on the dance floor;  long, swaying lines of teenagers dressed up in their finest. “Sit  down” by James followed, which I will forever remember as the anthem  of that night. My friend completely ruined the dress she’d hired – a  full-length, off- the-shoulder, blue ballgown. An expensive date indeed.

I didn’t know it then, but I should have taken that song as an omen. I  thought I was heading for Liverpool and English Literature, but  A-level results that fell short of my expectations meant that fate and  clearing conspired to send me to study Sociology in Manchester instead.

Last-minute nerves aside, freedom beckoned and I could not wait. The  Soup Dragons’ cover of “I’m Free” played on an endless loop inside my  head. I couldn’t quite believe my luck. I was about to be allowed to  come home as late as I liked; in fact I could stay out all night and  no-one could stop me. If I wanted to exist on nothing but toast,  ditto. No one could tell me my skirt was too short or my hair too  messy. As I got nearer and nearer to my new home, I was high on  trepidation and elation.

What a place to be. Manchester, smack-bang in the middle of where it  was all happening right then. “Madchester” was the genre of the  moment, and I landed right in the middle of where it was all going on,  the twin strands of the indie music scene and clubbing culture running  parallel and sometimes, almost completely intertwined.

In 1993, my second year as a student, I got a bar job at the  Boardwalk, one of Manchester’s most popular clubs at the time, a place  that very successfully capitalised on the popularity of both indie and  house music. James had played the venue, as had the Stone Roses, the  Happy Mondays, the Charlatans and the psychedelically-named Inspiral  Carpets. Oasis even made their live debut there. DJ Dave Haslam had a  weekly slot, hosting the club’s legendary “Yellow” night every Friday.  It wasn’t all about the Hacienda, although Haslam did DJ there too. He  clearly remembers the Boardwalk very fondly; “you get that kind of  club once in a generation”, he says on his website (davehaslam.com).

One of my classmates dabbled in DJ-ing, and spent many absorbed hours  in the city’s record shops, the infamous Affleck’s palace and the Corn  Exchange, rooting through racks of vinyl for rare 12 inch remixes.  Vinyl was at the time petering out in popularity among the masses,  making way for smaller, shinier, tougher CDs, but it was still the  medium of choice for those who manned the decks every weekend, drawing  huge crowds of clubbers in from across the North West and even further  afield.

They say youth is wasted on the young. I’m not sure if I agree with  that – I certainly enjoyed my younger years – but one thing I do know  is that I did not realise, or therefore appreciate, how much I was  immersed in music history as it was being made. I showed up for my  shifts, I pulled pint after pint, mopped floors and replenished the  toilet rolls, and, while I enjoyed it, the music was really just  something that was going on in the background while I toiled;  something that kept me awake after I got back to my student flat, my  ringing ears rendering me wide-eyed and alert, unable to unwind at 3am.

By the time I graduated in 1995, the sounds of Madchester were morphing into Britpop, with the explosion of Blur, Oasis, Pulp and  their like onto the scene, all still to this day some of my favourite  bands of all time. Though I may have been blissfully unaware of it at  the time, high as I was on freedom and making my own way in the world,  the Madchester scene must have seeped into my consciousness and  influenced my musical preferences – the word ‘eclectic’ probably sums  up my music collection very accurately.

In 1996, just a year after I left Manchester, the IRA bombed the city  centre, changing it irrevocably. The entire city centre was  remodelled; two medieval pubs in which I’d spent many a happy hour  were even moved, brick by brick, to a new location for the old  Shambles Square, 70 metres away from its original site. The people of  Manchester were shaken, but stirred into action. Today, the city  thrives – it is industrious, modern and upbeat. The Corn exchange is  now a restaurant complex and Affleck’s Palace, safely tucked away in  the Northern quarter, is still going strong.

The Hac (“hass”) – as it was known locally – closed its doors for good  in 1997, Dave Haslam joining Elliot Eastwick on the decks for the  final swansong. The club had been plagued by financial problems for  some time and was apparently subsidised by funds from Factory records  and New Order, the label’s biggest band. Ironically, New Order’s “Blue  Monday”, the biggest selling 12 inch single of all time, lost about 5  pence per copy sold due to the intricate die-cast sleeve costing so  much to produce.

The 2002 film “24 hour party people” documents the rise and fall of  the Hac, the latter allegedly largely down to ecstasy use and the  detrimental effect of this on drink sales. It also reportedly brought  gang-related violence to the already troubled club.

The Has is no more, the building was razed to the ground in 2002 and  there are now flats where it once stood, which were marketed with the  controversial slogan, “now the party’s over, you can come home.” The  Boardwalk closed in 1999 and the building still stands – converted,  predictably, into luxury apartments. A blue plaque marks the building;  “1984-1999. The Boardwalk. Madchester venue nightclub and rehearsal  rooms.” Underneath, the notorious yellow acid house smiley face.

Funkademia, started at the Boardwalk in 1995, has become Manchester’s  longest running club night – it is now held at the Mint Lounge in the  Northern Quarter, so something of those 1990s Manchester clubbing days  still lives on.

People now play out their everyday lives where clubbers and gig-goers  once had the time of theirs. Perhaps some have no idea that the likes  of the Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses and Oasis once played right  there, where they sleep, eat or wash – or even where they host their  own parties.

Recently, I saw photos of old school pals – the same ones from that  1992 leavers’ dinner – at Hacienda Classical in Newcastle, and I  really did get the feeling that things had come full circle. The same  feeling that I get when I see today’s teenagers, rifling through racks  of vinyl just as I did in the 80s and early 90s. On Saturday 25th  November, Hacienda Classical will return to Manchester once more,  following rave (ahem!) reviews of the summer events.

The teenagers and twenty-somethings of the 1990s might be all grown  and mortgaged up these days, but good music will always live on.  Hurrah for the likes of the “Madchester” bands that gave us something  to dance to, to sing along to, and the city and its clubs that gave  them venues in which to hone their talent, to blossom, before bursting  out into the wider world. They also gave a lot of happy, smiley people  nights out to live for – the time of their lives. A precious gift  indeed.

This article was written by Polly Taylor, our first Record Press guest blogger.

We welcome Polly aboard the Good Ship Record Press and her sister the Good Gift Shop MyFirstRecord.co.uk….. “Making the Past the Present”

Check out Polly’s blog @ bloggerbythesea.com/……There are some very entertaining articles on a diverse range of subjects & topics

 

Who were your favourite DJs as we celebrate Radio1 50th anniversary?

In the autumn of 2017 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Radio1; but this institution is far from being in the autumn of it’s lifespan as it’s longevity is based on it’s ability to re-invent itself and refresh it’s modernity thus keeping it relevant to each new generation of music radio listeners.

Radio1 first hit the airwaves at 7am on Saturday 30th September 1967, famously hosted by Tony Blackburn, opening with Flowers in the Rain by The Move. Radio 1 came about as a result of Harold Wilson’s Marine & Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967  which in effect sunk the pirate ship radio stations in the North Sea, by outlawing offshore broadcasting. The BBC then decided to fill the void with the launch of Radio1 and Radio2.

As the pirate ship radio station disc jockeys found themselves shipwrecked, they were easy prey for the BBC in terms of recruiting them to the newly formed Radio 1. As Radio1 established itself as a monopoly pop music radio station, the Radio 1 disc jockeys became household names and huge stars in the late 1960s and 1970s, both on radio and TV via the weekly edition of Top Of The Pops.

We all have our era and for the Record Press author it would have to be my formative years of listening to pop music from 1973 to 1977. The daily Radio1 schedule is etched in my memory and I can recite it thus –

7am – 9am Noel Edmonds 

9am – 12pm Tony Blackburn ( replaced by Simon Bates in 1977 )

12pm – 2pm  Johnnie Walker ( replaced by Paul Burnett in 1976 )

2pm – 5pm David Hamilton ( replaced by Tony Blackburn in 1977 )

5pm – 7pm Dave Lee Travis

The Radio 1 DJs became our close companions – they were all genial friends, but we had “besties”!! I had a particular affection for Paul Burnett, who had a particularly dry wit. My other “DJ Bestie” was Noel Edmonds. In 2017 it is fashionable to lampoon and mock Noel Edmonds, but from 1973 to 1983 he was one of the most inventive and creative of radio presenters.

In 2012 and 2013 I paid tribute to Noel Edmonds in these two blog articles…..

Who remembers the Noel Edmonds Radio 1 Breakfast Show in the 1970s?”…… http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/recordpress/radio/who-remembers-the-noel-edmonds-radio-1-breakfast-show-in-the-1970s/

“Like Doctor Who, everyone has their favourite Radio1 Breakfast Show DJ”…….. 

http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/recordpress/tv/like-doctor-who-everyone-has-their-favourite-radio1-breakfast-show-dj/

To mark and celebrate the Radio1 50th anniversary, we invite you to tell us about your memories of Radio1 in the Reply Box below. Who were your favourite Radio1 disc jockeys ( DJs ) and radio programmes and why?

 

The Definitive Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s

For the Record Press author the three abiding passions in terms of music genres throughout my life have always been heavy rock, soul and funk and that most niche of all niches, psychedelia.

It is almost impossible to say which band launched the psychedelic music movement but as the influence of the drug LSD took a vice like grip on the cultural counter movement emanating from the UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road, Soho in 1966,  it meant that psychedelic music spectacularly peaked in 1967.

What I love about psychedelic songs is that they take you on a surreal, mystical, magical journey that otherwise could only be gained in the fantasia of childhood novels or dreams…..Or through mind altering drugs, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to go down that route.

The psychedelic path was well trodden by the majority of the leading bands of the time like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Small Faces, Rolling Stones and Traffic. They all appear in this definitive Record Press Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s –

Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s

 

1) Procol Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale ( No1 1967 )

2) Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds ( Non hit 1967 )

3) Small Faces – Tin Soldier ( No9 1967 )

4) Traffic – Paper Sun ( No5 1967 )

5) Pink Floyd – See Emily Play ( No6 1967 )

6) Rolling Stones – Paint It Black ( No1 1966 )

7) Small Faces – Ichy Coo Park ( No3 1967 )

8) Beatles – A Day In The Life ( Non hit 1967 )

9) Move – I Can Hear The Grass Grow ( No2 1967 )

10) Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow ( Non hit 1967 )

11 ) Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever ( No2 1967 )

12) Who – I Can See For Miles ( No10 1967 )

13 ) Yardbirds – For Your Love ( No3 1965 )

14 ) Simon Dupree & Big Sound – Kites ( No8 1967 )

15 ) Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze ( No3 1967 )

16) Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin ( No9 1967 )

17 ) Donovan – Sunshine Superman ( No2 1967 )

18) Pink Floyd – Arnold Layne ( No20 1967 )

19 ) Move – Flowers In The Rain ( N02 1967 )

20 ) Zombies – She’s Not There ( No12 1964 )

 

Framed vinyl singles with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell rides off into the sunset

Country and Western artist Glenn Campbell has died at 81 due to Alzheimer’s Disease

The singer-songwriter, who was born in Arkansas, sold over 45m records over the course of a career that spanned more than 60 years. A statement from the Campbell family on his website read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Primarily Glen Campbell was known as a Country and Western singer. Among his 80 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 or Billboard Country charts were hits such as Rhinestone Cowboy, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and his cover of Gentle on My Mind. Glen Campbell recorded his final studio album, Adios, in Nashville in 2012 and 2013 after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis; Appropriately Adios was released in June this year.

Glen Campbell dropped out of school when he was 14, moving first to Wyoming and then to Los Angeles, where in the early 1960s he appeared as a session musician on the records of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Merle Haggard, Beach Boys, Mamas & the Papas and the Byrds. His first hit in his own right came in 1967 with By the Time I Get to Phoenix, written by Jim Webb. Their collaboration continued for many years on numerous records such as Wichita Lineman and the ballad Galveston.

Dolly Parton referenced the depth and versatility of Glen Campbell in this tribute: “Well Glen Campbell was special because he was so gifted. Glen is one of the greatest voices there ever was in the business. And he was one of the greatest musicians. He was a wonderful session musician as well, a lot of people don’t realize that. But he could play anything and he could play it really well. So he was just extremely talented.”

Celebrate your love of Glen Campbell by ordering your favourite Glen Campbell song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque….ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

It’s the 50th anniversary of the best year for music: 1967

As we all know music taste is a very subjective thing but from a relatively young age the Record Press author has had a close infinity with 1967.

There are several reasons for this – my younger brother Dominic arrived in the family brood and all my earliest recollections only go back as far as 1967. The five year old me had a total obsession and love affair with John Steed and Emma Peel’s adventures in the TV series The Avengers – Patrick MacNee was suave and urbane, only matched by the debonair Simon Templar aka The Saint.

The impact of TV programmes often diminish with time; so often when you see  repeats years later they are an anti climax and don’t measure up favourably to your cherished memories of them. This is not true of music, especially the psychedelic sound of the late 1960s and specifically the chart music of 1967.

1967 was of course the year that gave us the hippie movement, coalescing into the “Summer of Love”. It was a year inevitably dominated by The Beatles who provided the signature anthem for that summer with their global telecast song “All You Need Is Love”. The Beatles provided the greatest high and greatest low of that summer 50 years ago with the release of their seminal, ground breaking album “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in early June and the death of their charismatic manager Brian Epstein at the end of August. The Beatles bookended the “Summer of Love”.

However lest younger generations think that the Beatles completely dominated 1967, that could not be further from the truth. Although the “Fab Four” may have laid the pavement, the psychedelic path was being well trodden by bands like Pink Floyd, Small Faces, Rolling Stones and Traffic. They all appear in this Record Press Top 10 best songs from 1967 –

Top 10 Best Songs from 1967 

 

1) Kinks – Waterloo Sunset ( UK Chart Position No2 )

2) Procol Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale ( No1 )

3) Small Faces – Tin Soldier ( No9 )

4) Traffic – Paper Sun ( No5 )

5) Pink Floyd – See Emily Play ( No6 )

6) Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever ( No2 )

7) Small Faces – Ichy Coo Park ( No3 )

8) Move – Flowers In The Rain ( No2 )

9) Simon Dupree & Big Sound – Kites ( No8 )

10=) Rolling Stones – Dandelion ( No8 )

10=) Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow ( Non hit )

 

What illustrates the sheer depth of chart music in 1967 is that only one song in this top 10 was a No1 in the UK charts ( Procol Harum “Whiter Shade Of Pale”), although many would argue, including myself, that No2 hits, Beatles “Strawberry Fields Foreverand “Waterloo Sunset” by the Kinks merited No1 status.

1967 may now be half a century ago, but the music from that year remains just as vibrant and relevant – well certainly to this listener.

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Bucks Fizz are to reform with first album for over 30 years

1980s pop group Bucks Fizz have announced that they are to reform and record again, 30 years after they last released new music.

The 1981 Eurovision winners, who had a hat trick of UK No1s, have been back in the recording studio recently and will release their new album, The F-Z of Pop, later this year, following the release of a new single Dancing in the Rain on Tuesday.

Bucks Fizz have had to re-launch and rebrand as simply The Fizz after a bitter legal battle with former member Bobby G, who now legally owns the rights to the original name. Bobby McVay has now joined the band in his place, joining established band members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston.

The last Bucks Fizz album, Writing on the Wall, was released back in 1986 but only reached No89 in the UK charts. It was re-released in 2004 and then again for a second time in 2012, but failed to make much of a chart impact.

“I cannot tell you how happy I am to have been back in the studio, my favourite place,” said Cheryl Baker. Jay Aston added: “Despite the challenges over the years, we are more united than ever. The fans have been with us all the way.”

Bucks Fizz are best known for their debut Eurovision-winning single Making Your Mind Up, after which they released five studio albums between 1981-1986. However in the less than humble opinion of the Record Press author, their music got better and certainly became more sophisticated as this Top 5 best Bucks Fizz songs illustrates –

Top 5 Best Bucks Fizz Songs

 

1)  When We Were Young ( No10 1983 )

2)  Now Those Days Are Gone ( No8 1982 )

3)  The Land Of Make Believe ( No1 1981 )

4)  My Camera Never Lies ( No1 1982 )

5)   If You Can’t Stand The Heat ( No10 1982 )

 

Celebrate your love of Bucks Fizz by ordering your favourite Bucks Fizz song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque….ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Saturday Night Fever was a better disco jukebox than film

Is it really 40 years since Saturday Night Fever was released on an unsuspecting cinema audience?

I say unsuspecting because Saturday Night Fever introduced  a mass audience to the phenomenon of disco and John Travolta ( making his film debut ). As the film opened to Tony Manero aka John Travolta strutting down a sidewalk in New York carrying a pot of paint, there was little to suggest that John Travolta would paint the “Big Apple” red on the dance floors of New York night spots. In fairness he looked more like a lothario than a “DIY Dad”, but nevertheless nothing prepared us for his moves on the dancefloor!!

Nor was there any hint that Saturday Night Fever would become a cultural and music phenomenon that would ingratiate it’s way into the hearts and souls of my generation and generations to come. The film plot / storyline is thin at best but where the movie excelled was in John Travolta’s dancing and athleticism, but most of all the musical score / soundtrack, spearheaded by the Bee Gees.

So let’s celebrate the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever, with this top 5 best songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack –

Top 5 Best Songs from Saturday Night Fever

 

1) Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive

2) Bee Gees – How deep is your love?

3) Trammps – Disco Inferno

4) Yvonne Elliman – If I can’t have you

5) Tavares – More than a woman

 

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever by ordering your favourite Saturday Night Fever song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

 

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

 

 

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary does not mask the hype!!

It was 50 years ago today on the 1st June 1967 that the Beatles and EMI / Parlophone released the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album.

For most of the intervening years Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band has been lauded as the Beatles’ seminal and most iconic album. At the risk of being controversial ( God forbid!! ) the Record Press author does not concur with this viewpoint.

Undoubtedly Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band has three of the Beatles finest songs on it – the dream-like “A Day In The Life”, the psychedelic “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and the atmospheric “She’s Leaving Home”.

These superlative tracks are backed up by good songs in the form of the title track “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” and “With a Little Help from our Friends”. At best I would suggest the remaining songs on the album are mediocre and almost feel like album fillers.

 

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band would have been far stronger for the inclusion of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” which EMI decided not to include on the album, preferring to release them as a “Double A” side single. This decision backfired horrendously when the single was kept off the No1 spot by the cheesy “Release Me” by Englebert Humperdinck!!

I would argue that Rubber Soul and Revolver completely overshadow Sgt Pepper and are far superior albums……On this basis Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band would not get into this Record Press Top 5 best albums of all time –

 

 

Top 5 Best albums of all time

1)  Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon ( 1973 )

2)  Genesis – And Then There Were Three ( 1978 )

3)  David Bowie – Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust ( 1972 )

4)  Beatles – Revolver ( 1966 )

5)  Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell ( 1978 )

 

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band and your love of The Beatles by ordering your favourite Beatles song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Procol Harum are definitely not a whiter shade of pale after 50 years

As Procol Harum celebrate the 50th anniversary of their debut and biggest hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale with a UK tour, I can report that a half century on the band live on stage are anything but lack lustre!!

In the very week Procol Harum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the release of their seemingly timeless No1 A  Whiter Shade Of Pale, I went to see them in concert with a certain apprehension that the experience might be a major anti-climax.

The Record Press author should not have worried – it became patently clear after a couple of minutes in the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, that Procol Harum are a band of very accomplished  musicians with an eclectic back catalogue of songs.

I didn’t go into the gig blind or deaf to the fact that the Procol Harum sphere of influence goes well beyond their iconic 1967 No1 A Whiter Shade Of Pale. I’ve always loved their atmospheric, haunting 1975 hit Pandora’s Box in particular, along with Homburg and Conquistador.

What I wasn’t expecting was for lead singer and songwriter Gary Brooker to still be such a fine vocalist. The intervening half century since Procol Harum had such a massive hit with A Whiter Shade Of Pale in the feted “Summer Of Love” have not diminished Gary Brooker’s vocal range in the least.

Gary Brooker’s bluesey vocals were perfectly complemented by the blues drenched lead guitar play of Geoff Whitehorn. Infact Procol Harum delivered a very tight set and if there are tickets still available for their 50th anniversary UK tour I would recommend you go and see them.

Procol Harum’s influence on music cannot be underestimated – along with Pink Floyd, Procol Harum innovated the psychedelic sound in 1967 and as such were the forefathers of “Prog Rock”. If you are only familiar with A Whiter Shade Of Pale and the Prog Rock tag doesn’t put you off, then go onto Spotify and check out this Record Press top 5 best Procol Harum songs. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!  –

 

Top 5 Best Procol Harum songs

1) A Whiter Shade of Pale ( No1 1967 )

2) Pandora’s Box ( No16 1975 )

3) Homburg ( No6 1967 )

4) Grand Hotel ( Non hit 1973 )

5) Conquistador ( Non hit 1972 )

 

Celebrate your love of Procol Harum by ordering your favourite Procol Harum song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Bananarama are to reform for their first ever tour

Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward as Bananarama were the biggest girl band of the 1980s.

Although Bananarama had numerous hits including Cruel Summer, I Heard a Rumour, Venus, Shy Boy and Love In The First Degree, the trio never toured before Siobhan Fahey left the band to form Shakespears Sister in 1988. The split was acrimonious, but the members recently reconciled and have announced a 15-date UK tour for this winter. Having seen Bananarama at the Splendour festival in Nottingham in July 2015, the Record Press author can recommend them wholeheartedly!!

“This is the first time we’ve performed live together – with the exception of getting onstage with a cassette when we were 18!” Keren Woodward explained.

Speaking about the  Bananarama reconciliation, Fahey said: “I was really touched because it wasn’t for any other reason than we love each other and really loved what we did. These were my formative years. I never thought it would happen again.”

Formed in 1979, Bananarama took their name from two of their biggest inspirations: the kids TV show The Banana Splits ( one of the Record Press author’s favourite childhood shows ) and the Roxy Music song Pyjamarama.

Bananarama got their first taste of chart success by providing backing vocals for the Fun Boy Three on the single, It Ain’t What You Do, It’s the Way You Do It. A couple of months later, Fun Boy Three reciprocated the favour by joining the girls on their song Really Sayin’ Somethin, a cover of the 1965 Velvelettes song that was the first of Bananarama’s 26 UK chart hits.

Bananarama went on to sell more than 40 million records, including these in this Record Press Top 5 best Bananarama songs –

Top 5 Best Bananarama Songs

1) I Heard a Rumour ( No14 1987 )

2) Cruel Summer ( No8 1983 )

3) Venus ( No8 1986 )

4) Robert De Niro’s Waiting ( No3 1984 )

5) Love In The First Degree ( N03 1987 )

 

Celebrate your love of Bananarama by ordering your favourite Bananarama song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Ed Sheeran settles £16m lawsuit for the song Photograph

Ed Sheeran has reached a £16m plagiarism lawsuit settlement for his song Photograph……Or was it his song? Apparently not!!

Ed Sheeran was accused of copying “note-for-note” from a song called Amazing, released by the X Facor winner Matt Cardle five years ago. Songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington sued Ed Sheeran, accusing him of “unabashedly taking credit” for their work.

The songwriters claimed the chorus of Photograph and Amazing shared 39 identical notes and that the similarities were “instantly recognisable to the ordinary observer”. “This copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying, [and] makes up nearly one half of Photograph,” they said in a complaint lodged in the US in July.

Photograph, released from Ed Sheeran’s album X, reached No 15 in the UK singles chart. Its video has more than 300m views on YouTube. Matt Cardle’s song Amazing, meanwhile, peaked at No 84 in the UK in 2012.

Harrington, who has written hits for Kylie Minogue, 5ive and Emma Bunton, sued along with Leonard for damages in excess of £16m. They said Ed Sheeran and his songwriting partner, Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol, had “copied and exploited, without authorisation or credit … on a breathtaking scale”. Lawyers for Ed Sheeran initially said the lawsuit made “scandalous allegations” and argued that it was “too complicated”.

It is the second plagiarism lawsuit taken out against Ed Sheeran in recent months, with an another ongoing case accusing him of plagiarising the melody, harmony and composition of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On in his track Thinking Out Loud.

Check out the videos above. You decide whether Ed Sheeran is guilty of plagiarism…..

 

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary launches with a film

It was 50 years ago that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play; the band in question being the Beatles.

As part of the Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary celebrations there’s a new documentary film celebrating the landmark event in popular music history.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond is due for release in UK cinemas on 26th May. The documentary film focuses on the 12 months of recording of what is widely debated as the most iconic album ever produced. Director Alan G Parker utilises rare archive footage to tell his story, along with a series of interviews with subjects including original drummer Pete Best, John Lennon’s sister Julia and Hunter Davies.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond examines the Beatles disillusionment with touring and the controversies that dogged the Beatles from drugs to blasphemy. The film give several first-hand accounts of what would become the world’s first concept album.

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond is in cinemas from 26th May, including special Q&A previews. It will be released on digital on 1st June and DVD on 3rd July. In the meantime, here’s a taster…… https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/05/sgt-pepper-is-50-new-documentary-beatles-alan-g-parker

Celebrate your love of The Beatles by ordering your favourite Beatles song as a framed vinyl single or CD single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

MyFirstRecord.co.uk Pick of Record Store Day 2017 Releases

MyFirstRecord.co.uk is all about vinyl, retro and contemporary, but we are inclined to recommend Record Store Day 2017 releases with a bit of nostalgia attached them.

So here are the MyFirstRecord.co.uk Pick of Record Store Day 2017 Releases –

1) David Bowie: Cracked Actor 

The Record Press author makes no apologies for including David Bowie. He transcended music, art and culture in general. Cracked Actor (Live in Los Angeles 1974) is a three-album set recorded on the “Philly Dogs” leg of his Diamond Dogs tour.

Over five sides of vinyl, you’ll hear material from Diamond Dogs ( 1974 ) and Aladdin Sane ( 1973 ); as well as a handful of tracks intended for (but eventually dropped from) the soul orientated Young Americans ( 1975 ).

The sixth side of the three-album set features an etching of Bowie.

 

2) Sex Pistols: God Save Sex Pistols

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the seminal Never Mind The Bollocks album, this release contains slightly different renditions of the key tracks and completely different artwork.

 

3) The Smiths: Boy With The Thorn In His Side

A prime example of what Record Store Day is all about – The Smiths releasing a previously unheard version of one of their best singles.

The limited edition 7″ also contains an early version of Rubber Ring, the original B-side to Boy With The Thorn In His Side.

 

4) Deee-Lite: Groove Is In The Heart

I make no apologies for nominating this psych-pop disco party song, as a nod to my rave days and love of psychedelic 1960s pop art designs and culture. Album and single sleeve / cover artwork is missed as much as the vinyl records they housed and protected and 50 somethings like me will find this particular record artwork evocative and reminiscent of the 1960s / 1970s TV cartoon Wacky Races.

This record has been out of print on vinyl ever since it was denied the number one spot by the Steve Miller Band’s Joker in 1990. Re-released as a solid pink 12″, the song is backed by the original B-side, What Is Love?

 

Framed vinyl records with a personalised engraved plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

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Chuck Berry, father of rock’n’roll, dies at age of 90

The legendary guitarist Chuck Berry, who fused blues and swing and thereby created early rock’n’roll, died on Saturday aged 90, according to Missouri police.

St Charles County police said in a post on Facebook they responded to a medical emergency at a home at approximately 12.40pm local time: “Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques. Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1.26pm.”

Musicians of all genres and ages paid tribute to the legend: “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” said Bruce Springsteen.

Chuck Berry was born the son of a deacon in a middle-class neighborhood of St Louis in 1926, and picked up the guitar in high school, playing at parties and developing his flourishes as a performer. As a teenager he was arrested for attempted robbery and served three years in reform school, after which he worked on an assembly line at a General Motors factory.

He turned to music full-time in the 1950s. His break came in 1955 when he met blues musician Muddy Waters and producer Leonard Chess, who formed the Chess record label in Chicago. For the remainder of the decade Chuck Berry merged the country and blues songs of the south with pop sensibilities starting to echo on the radio. He recorded some of his most famous hits in the 1950s, including Rock & Roll Music, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B Goode, Maybellene and School Days.

Chuck Berry’s music was a hugely influential figure for generations of rock musicians who followed him, many of whom recognised him during their lifetimes. “If you had to give rock’n’roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry,” John Lennon once famously said.

In 1972, he released his only No1 single, the novelty My Ding-a-Ling, which for my generation born in the 1960s is the song most synonymous with Chuck Berry. He continued playing sporadic concerts, often with the most famous rock stars of each era. Alongside his continued success, though, Chuck Berry continued running afoul of authorities.

In 2016, he announced his first studio album since 1979, to be titled Chuck and featuring his children on guitar and harmonica. “My darlin’ I’m growing old,” Chuck Berry said in a press release for the record, speaking to Toddy Berry, his wife of 68 years. “I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

And a few months later in March 2017 he hung up his shoes and guitar for the last time…..RIP Chuck Berry.

Celebrate your love of Chuck Berry by ordering your favourite Chuck Berry song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

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Kasabian announce new album For Crying Out Loud

Kasabian have announced that their new album For Crying Out Loud will be released on the 28th April.

The new Kasabian album will feature 12 tracks including the first single, ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’, which is out now.

Serge Pizzorno recently claimed that the album is about “saving guitar music from the abyss”.

He informed Magazine: “I was listening to ESG and Talking Heads and in that kind of world, then it just took on a life of its own. I just wanted to make a guitar record that was relevant and important.”

Kasabian have announced a UK and Ireland tour that will build up to the album’s release. They headline Reading and Leeds Festival this summer.

The Record Press author is a little conflicted about Kasabian. I love the band and still remember the watershed moment when I clapped eyes and ears on the band for the first performing their first hit single Club Foot in 2004. It was one of those defining moments where you go “wow” – the previous time that had happened had come ten years earlier when I first saw the Oasis video for Live Forever.

Of course Kasabian were initially seen as natural bed fellows to Oasis both as guitar based band with attitude, but they quickly forged an identity in their own right.

Kasabian are the only band I have seen twice live – my reasons for being conflicted are very trivial. Basically it comes down to the East Midlands football rivalry!! Kasabian are Leicester City fans; I’m a Nottingham Forest fan. But the good news is that my love for music is greater than my love of football, so I easily overcame my parochial partisanship.

Lest we forget the energy and power of Kasabian, here is a top 5 best Kasabian songs –


Top 5 Best Kasabian songs

1) Club Foot ( No19 2004 )

2) Empire ( No9 2006 )

3) Shoot the Runner ( No17 2006 )

4) Cutt Off ( No8 2005 )

5) Fire ( No3 2009 )

 

Celebrate your love of Kasabian by ordering your favourite Kasabian song as a framed vinyl single or CD single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

We are less of a family as Joni Sledge, of Sister Sledge, dies

Joni Sledge, who with her sisters recorded the definitive dance anthem We Are Family, has died.

Joni Sledge, 60, was found dead in her home in Phoenix, Arizona, by a friend on Friday, the band’s publicist, Biff Warren, said on Saturday. A cause of death has not been determined. The statement read: ” yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. We welcome your prayers as we weep the loss of our sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin.”

While it celebrated their sisterhood, the 1979 hit so also became an anthem for female empowerment. It would become their signature song and was nominated for a Grammy. Both the song and album sold more than 1million copies.

Sister Sledge also had hits with Lost in Music, which for me is one of the definitive dance tunes of all time ( along with the Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers penned Good Times for Chic )  and Thinking of You – the latter in particular revered by critics. In 1985, their song Frankie became their only British No 1, though it fared less well in America, only reaching No 75.

But for most of us Sister Sledge will be defined by We are Family and Joni’s sisters will be truly “lost in grief”. Our thoughts are with you……

 

Top 5 Best Sister Sledge songs

 

1) Lost in Music ( No4 1984 )

2) He’s The Greatest Dancer ( No6 1979 )

3) We Are Family ( No8 1979 )

4) Mama Never Told Me ( No20 1975 )

5) Frankie ( No1 1985 )

 

 

Celebrate the life of Joni Sledge and your love of Sister Sledge by ordering your favourite Sister Sledge  song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

 

Half the Beatles reform for a whole album

The two surviving members of the Beatles have recorded music together for the first time in seven years.

Clearly suffering from a classic case of the seven year itch Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are collaborating on a new project. The pair released photos of themselves in Ringo Starr’s home studio over the weekend. Apparently Paul McCartney will be making a guest appearance on Ringo Starr’s latest record, a follow-up to 2015’s Postcards from Paradise.

Ringo Starr appeared on Twitter to thank Paul McCartney for joining him in the recording studio, saying: “Thanks for coming over man and playing great bass. I love you man – peace and love.”

Also joining the former Beatles in the studio was Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, who Ringo Starr said had “come out to play”.

Bruce Sugar, who is producing Starr’s latest album, posted a photo of him with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on Facebook, with the caption: “Magical day in the studio today with these two.”

It is the first time since 2010 that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have collaborated on a music project, when McCartney played bass on Ringo Starr’s track Peace Dream, and contributed his vocals to Walk With You.

What are your favourite old Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr / Beatles songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate your love of the Beatles by ordering your favourite Beatles song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

 

Duran Duran to resume legal battle over US song rights

Duran Duran are to renew their legal battle over US rights to some of their most famous songs, including Hungry Like the Wolf and Girls on Film.

In December, Duran Duran lost their fight against publishers Gloucester Place Music, part of US business Sony/ATV, to prevent them terminating copyright agreements related to their first three albums.

Mr Justice Arnold in the high court ruled that English laws of contract prevented the band from reclaiming the copyright of their songs. Somewhat bizarrely the same judge has now given permission for an appeal against his decision. One of the many peculiarities of the legal system – who was it who once said “the law is an ass”?!! No date has yet been set for the hearing.

Duran Duran have issued a statement saying they were “particularly pleased to get the go-ahead as the ruling had an impact on the wider creative community and particularly their song writing peers.”

Duran Duran founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: “It was enormously disappointing that Sony/ATV decided to mount this aggressive and unexpected action against us to try to prevent the simple principles and rights afforded to all artists in America regarding their copyrights after 35 years. We are relieved and grateful that we have been given the opportunity to appeal this case because the consequences are wide-reaching and profound for us and all other artists.

Nick Rhodes added: “In his judgment Mr Justice Arnold stated that his decision was not made without hesitation; we were heartened by this sentiment because we felt it was an acknowledgement that something was truly flawed about the premise and reality of what is at stake. We remain hopeful that the ultimate outcome will be fair and measured to take into account and support our case and all artists’ rights.”

Whatever happens, nothing will detract from the brilliance of Duran Duran. Lest we forget here’s a top 10 best Duran Duran songs –

Top 10 Best Duran Duran Songsduran-duran-save-a-prayer-vinyl-single

1)  Save a Prayer

2)  Rio

3)  Girls on Film

4)  New Moon on Monday

5)  A View to a Kill

6)  The Wild Boys

7)  Hungry Like the Wolf

8)  Is There Something I Should Know?

9)  Union of the Snake

10)  The Reflex

 

Celebrate your love of Duran Duran by ordering your favourite Duran Duran song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

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John Lennon and Yoko Ono love story movie to be made

The relationship of John Lennon and Yoko Ono will form the basis of a new film from the writer of the Stephen Hawking movie, The Theory of Everything.

“The story will focus on ripe and relevant themes of love, courage and activism in the US – with the intention of inspiring today’s youth to stand up for and have a clear vision for the world they want,” said producer Michael De Luca, whose previous credits include The Social Network, Captain Phillips and Moneyball.

It is thought that the film script is likely to depict John Lennon and Yoko Ono  as a celebrity couple throughout the 1970s, Lennon’s drifting away from the Beatles, the couple’s music together ( which began with the anti Vietnam War anthem Give Peace A Chance ) and John Lennon’s murder in 1980.

In 2009, the life of John Lennon as a youth growing up in Liverpool was brought to the screen by Sam Taylor-Johnson in Nowhere Boy, where he was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Yoko Ono was supportive of the finished product and was “flabbergasted” at how good it was, as was the Record Press author. If you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend Nowhere Boy.

Celebrate your love of John Lennon by ordering your favourite John Lennon song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

 

David Bowie to be commemorated on Royal Mail stamps

The life and work of David Bowie is to be commemorated with a full set of ten postage stamps issued by the Royal Mail.

The David Bowie stamps, which go into circulation from the 14th March, commemorate six Bowie album covers as well as four of his tours.

Explaining the decision for the tribute to David Bowie, Philip Parker of the Royal Mail commented: “For five decades David Bowie was at the forefront of contemporary culture, and has influenced successive generations of musicians, artists, designers and writers. Royal Mail’s stamp issue celebrates this unique figure and some of his many celebrated personas.”

 

The Royal Mail has paid tribute to musicians before, when last summer it featured Pink Floyd on a set of stamps, which also featured six album covers and four performances.

The David Bowie album covers featured on the stamps are Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Heroes, Let’s Dance, Earthling and Blackstar. The tours marked are the 1973 Ziggy Stardust tour, the 1978 Stage tour, the 1983 Serious Moonlight tour, and the 2004 Reality tour.

You can pre-order various presentation packs of the stamps from the Royal Mail now.

 

If you love David Bowie memorabilia, you can get a favourite David Bowie song as framed vinyl single to hang on your living room wall. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER HERE…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Paul McCartney to sue Sony for rights to Beatles classic songs

Paul McCartney has filed a lawsuit against Sony/ATV to retrieve the rights to classic Beatles songs.

In a complaint filed in New York, it details Paul McCartney transferring rights of songs he wrote with John Lennon to various music publishers throughout the 1960s. In the 1980s, Michael Jackson bought the rights to many of these songs, including Hey Jude and Let It Be. The singer then bought shares in Sony/ATV and after his death, and his estate sold them back for $750m. This bundle included many Beatles tracks.

The ownership of the songs is set to be Paul McCartney’s again in 2018 but he claims that he hasn’t received confirmation this will happen without a legal fight despite numerous attempts to contact the company.

Paul McCartney will be concerned in light of the fact that Duran Duran fought and lost a similar fight with Sony/ATV last December. A judge ruled that English laws of contract barred them from seeking to reclaim rights over their own works.

“Rather than provide clear assurances to Paul McCartney that Defendants will not challenge his exercise of his termination rights, Defendants are clearly reserving their rights pending the final outcome of the Duran Duran litigation in the UK,” the complaint reads.

 

The Carpenters are getting “chippy” over unpaid royalties

Richard Carpenter has said he is owed at least £1.6m in royalties for the hits he wrote and recorded in The Carpenters, including Yesterday Once More.

He claims Universal Music have only paid the band a “miniscule fraction” of the money they were owed from downloads on sites like iTunes and Amazon. The musician is suing for compensation, according to legal documents filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The claim is also filed on behalf of his sister, Karen, who died in 1983.

Richard Carpenter hired accountants to examine financial statements from Universal Music and its subsidiary, A&M Records, which has released The Carpenters’ music since their debut album in 1969.

He says they found multiple errors, and that the labels “improperly classified” revenue from digital downloads of The Carpenters’ music as sales of physical records – which attract a lower royalty rate. He also claims that digital downloads were undercounted.

In a statement, Richard Carpenter said he had been unable to resolve the dispute without suing: “The Carpenters recordings are among the best sellers in the history of popular music, and after 48 years continue to contribute a substantial amount to [Universal’s] annual bottom line. It seems only fair that these companies account fairly to my sister’s estate and to me.”

Specialising in radio-friendly soft rock, The Carpenters sold millions of records in the 1970s. The brother-sister duo won three Grammy Awards in 1970 and 1971, including best new artist and best vocal performance for the ballad (They Long to Be) Close to You. The Carpenter’s career was cut short when Karen developed anorexia nervosa in 1975. Although they continued to record, the condition eventually led to her death, from heart failure.

Lest we forget their brilliance, here’s a Top 5 Best Carpenters Songs –

Top 5 Best Carpenters Songs

 

1) Yesterday Once More ( 1973 )

2) ( They Long To Be ) Close To You ( 1970 )

3) We’ve Only Just Begun ( 1970 )

4)  Only Yesterday ( 1975 )

5) Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft ( 1977 )

 

Which are your favourite Carpenters songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

 

Celebrate your love of the Carpenters by ordering your favourite Carpenters song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

 

 

 

Ed Sheeran greets new year with new material

Ed Sheeran has announced the end to his sabbatical from music, with new material due to be released this Friday.

Ed Sheeran posted a video on Twitter in which he waves to fans while smiling and holding up a piece of white A4 paper with the words “New music coming Friday!!” scrawled on it. He then puts the sheet of paper in his mouth and drops it.

Ed Sheeran announced a year ago that he was “taking a break … to travel the world and see everything I missed”, but promised fans he would be back with his third album, which he called “the best thing I have made so far”. He also announced he would disappear from “my phone, emails and all social media for a while”, saying he had started to “see the world … through a screen and not my eyes”.

Ed Sheeran penned this year’s X Factor winner’s single, When Christmas Comes Around, which debuted at number three in the charts.

Ed Sheeran gave his first official return performance for a charity gig at the Natural History Museum at the end of November, days after it was reported that Princess Beatrice had accidentally lacerated his face when a prank went horribly wrong as she pretended to knight the singer James Blunt with a ceremonial sword.

Showing off a scar on his cheek, Ed Sheeran told the audience: “It’s nice to be back. I’ve had a whole year off. I went to Japan for about a month and hung out with Japanese people. Got my face cut open, anyone read about that?”

Which are your favourite Ed Sheeran songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate your love of Ed Sheeran by ordering your favourite Ed Sheeran song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!! 

 

UK sales of vinyl records peak with a 25-year high in 2016

UK sales of vinyl records in 2016 reached a 25-year high as consumers continue to embrace physical music formats .

More than 3.2m vinyl albums sold in 2016, a rise of 53% on the previous year and the highest number since 1991 when Simply Red’s Stars was the bestselling album. This was also the first year that spending on vinyl records outstripped that spent on digital downloads.

The deaths of some music world giants such as David Bowie and Prince was a key driver in vinyl sales, as people invested in records as mementos. After David Bowie’s death he became the bestselling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums posthumously featuring in the UK top 30. His album Blackstar, which was shortlisted for a Mercury prize, was the most popular selling album of the year, while The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Nothing Has Changed and Changes One were also popular vinyl album purchases.

The statistics, compiled by BPI, show that this is the ninth consecutive year that vinyl record sales have increased, in part due to events such as Record Store Day, and the increase in national chains and independent shops selling vinyl records. Supermarkets such as Tesco now stock vinyl records and both HMV and Rough Trade have created extra floor space to accomodate more vinyl records.

At least 30 albums sold more than 10,000 copies in 2016, a stark contrast to 2007 when digital downloads began to take hold and a meagre total of 200,000 LPs were sold overall.

Geoff Taylor, the chief executive of the BPI and the Brit Awards, said: “Growth in UK music consumption in 2016 was fuelled by the explosive rise in audio streaming, which has increased 500% since 2013, and relative resilience from physical formats … We believe this performance is indicative of the promise of a new era for music, where recorded music’s investments in a digital future fuel compelling benefits for fans, artists and the entire music ecosystem.”

Simon Sterland, Record Press Blog author and owner of online framed vinyl record gift retailer MyFirstRecord.co.uk, points out: “The vinyl record industry is going from strength to strength, year on year. This is comprehensive proof, if it were needed, that there is a growing customer base for old school physical copies of music in a technology driven world. I can only see this trend for vinyl record buying continuing as clearly the music download is a poor substitute for the tactile warmth of the vinyl single or album, not to mention the decorative album cover artwork. Put simply, vinyl has a personality all of its own.”

 

 

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