Win a Framed Doctor Who Vinyl Record in 50th Anniversary Competition

This year stages a massive 50th Anniversary……….It’s 50 years since Doctor Who’s Tardis first landed on our TV screens!! The first Doctor Who to emerge from the Tardis in November 1963 was played by William Hartnell, as a white haired eccentric mad professor type and that trend has prevailed ever since.

Anyone between the age of 5 and 65 will have grown up with Doctor Who, in one of his many incarnations. The Recordpress author’s particular Doctor Who was played by the cool, suave, debonair and urbane Jon Pertwee ( 1970-1974 ). Strictly speaking my Doctor Who viewing years spanned three Doctors, with the more eccentric Doctors played by Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker on either side of Jon Pertwee. But the latter was the Doctor Who I identified with.

I can still remember how saddened and traumatised I was when in early 1974 Jon Pertwee was regenerated into Tom Baker at the end of the series. It really was like losing a friend and father figure. I had grown up with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who and he had been with me from the age of seven through to eleven – those Junior school years when a delicate, impressionable schoolboy needs to be guided by a Time Lord!!

Whichever  Doctor Who you identify with, he has always been unflappable and instilled you with a feeling of well-being at the end of a harrowing episode. At some time or another, many of us have watched the programme, peeking from behind the sofa, cowering from the Daleks, Cybermen or some equally scary adversary of Doctor Who. But throughout we were confident that the Doctor would save us and mankind from the grips of the evil monster!! Here’s to many more “light years” of Doctor Who vanquishing evil across the Universe!!

 

Recordpress would like to hear from you. Answer the three questions below and simply enter our Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Competition ( Prize details below ).

1) Who was your favourite Doctor Who and why?

2) Who was your favourite Doctor Who assistant and why?

3) Which was your favourite enemy or monster and why?

The author of the best reply to these three questions will WIN A PRIZE OF A FRAMED VINYL COPY OF THE DOCTOR WHO THEME MUSIC ( with accompanying picture sleeve depicting your favourite Doctor Who, whether it be Tom Baker, Peter Davison etc ) WITH A COMMEMORATIVE DOCTOR WHO 50th ANNIVERSARY PLAQUE– see image adjacent.

E-mail your three answers to info@MyFirstRecord.co.uk  All entries must be submitted with your name and e-mail address by the 30th October 2013. The winner will be notified shortly afterwards.

Alternatively if you cannot wait to celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary in November 2013, you can order the Doctor Who Theme Tune in a vinyl single or CD single format; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 

ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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!!

 

Knights of the Round Building gather to pay tribute to BBC Television Centre

After 53 years, the legendary BBC Commissionaires will be closing the doors of BBC Television Centre for the final time on Easter Sunday, in order that it can be redeveloped into a hotel, flats, a cinema and office space.

The iconic circular building was allegedly inspired by a question mark scribbled on the back of an envelope by it’s architect, but far more importantly than it’s unique design and subsequent Grade II Listed status, BBC Television Centre became a creative hothouse and TV programme factory for some of the most iconic programmes on British television in the last 50 years!! As a flavour, these include Dad’s Army, I Claudius, Fawlty Towers, Top of the Pops, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Morecambe & Wise Show, The Two Ronnies, Blue Peter and Doctor Who, which only caresses the tip of this great monolithic iceberg!!

To pay tribute to the half century of programme-making at BBC Television Centre, on Friday night BBCFour brought together BBC luminaries and broadcasting veterans including Sir Terry Wogan, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir Bruce Forsyth, who  shared their TV Centre anecdotes with Sir Michael Grade. It wasn’t so much the “Knights of the Round Table” as the “Knights of the Round Building”!!

The general concensus of opinion expressed on BBC Four’s “Goodbye Television Centre” was that the BBC were making a terrible mistake closing the venerable institution that has been BBC Television Centre. The fact that this opinion was in the main expressed by septagenarian former presenters and actors, heavily steeped in nostalgia and sentiment for the “good old days”, doesn’t diminish the value of their opinion, but equally you would not expect them at their age to embrace change and progress willingly!!

However change, progress and new technology do not detract in any way from the wealth of high quality and high calibre programme making that took place between the walls of BBC Television Centre for over 50 years. As a reminder of the brillliance of the BBC and in tribute to BBC Television Centre, here are the Recordpress Top 5 Best BBC Dramas, Top 5 Best BBC Sitcoms & Top 5 Best BBC Light Entertainment Programmes –

 

Top 5 Best BBC Dramas

1) I Claudius ( 1976 )

2) The Six Wives of Henry VIII ( 1970 )

3) Elizabeth R ( 1971 )

4) Onedin Line ( 1971-1980 )

5) Abigail’s Party ( 1977 )

 

Top 5 Best BBC Sitcoms

1) Fawlty Towers

2) Only Fools & Horses

3) The Good Life

4) Porridge

5) Butterflies

 

Top 5 Best BBC Light Entertainment Programmes

1) Morecambe & Wise Show

2) Top Of The Pops

3) The Two Ronnies

4) Blue Peter

5) Multi Coloured Swapshop

 

Which are your all time favourite BBC Programmes / Shows and why? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Preserve your favourite BBC TV drama series, sitcom or light entertainment programme for posterity, by ordering the DVD of your favourite BBC TV show, framed with a personalised engraved plaque  ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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/

 

Top 10 Best Madness Songs as their gig closes BBC Television Centre

Madness brought the curtain down on BBC Television Centre with a concert outside the iconic circular building last night.  The ska band played a combination of old songs and new tracks in front of the venerable 60 year old building, which will close its doors for the final time after 53 years on Easter Sunday.

The Madness gig was screened live on BBC Four, followed by a special programme oozing nostalgia where a host of BBC stars shared and reminisced about their BBC Television Centre memories. It was fitting that Madness played, not just because they are the archetypal North London boys, but because their upbeat, happy music prevented the occasion becoming a maudlin, morose and melancholic one as it so easily could have done!!

The only thing that was missing was a Pickfords removals van, but the BBC Television Centre Closing Ceremony was a happy one with many BBC employees rocking and dancing to Madness songs at the windows of BBC Television Centre. As sad as it is for generations of BBC Television viewers to see BBC Television Centre close, on a another level it is great for the author’s generation to see Madness have a renaissance. Madness’ music became part of the soundtrack of my teenage years, from the moment I first saw them on Top of the Pops in 1979 singing “The Prince” and “One Step Beyond”, which of course was filmed and broadcast from BBC Television Centre.

The universal appeal and popularity of Madness is simply due to the fact that they are fun and funny. Their melodies are upbeat and their lyrics are witty. And of course the bands’ musicianship is also of the highest calibre. Madness have a timeless quality that means their music can easily transcend the generations. One of my happiest and memorable days was attending the first “Madstock” concert at Finsbury Park one Summer’s day in 1992, where Madness rocked North London!! My lasting memory was of fans bouncing around to the music on the roof of the beer tent / marquee, using it as a giant bouncy castle, illuminated by the lights within!!

So let’s celebrate the music of Madness with this Recordpress Top 10 Best Madness Songs –

 

Top 10 Best Madness Songs

1)  Embarrassment ( No4 1980 )

2)  It Must Be Love ( No4 1981 )

3)  Night Boat To Cairo ( No6 1980 )

4)  One Step Beyond ( No7 1979 )

5)  House Of Fun ( No1 1982 )

6)  Grey Day ( No4 1981 )

7)  My Girl ( No3 1980 )

8)  Our House ( No5 1982 )

9)  Baggy Trousers ( No3 1980 )

10) Tomorrow’s ( Just Another Day) ( No8 1983 )

 

Which are your favourite Madness songs and why? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate your favourite Madness song in your home or office, by ordering your favourite Madness song in a vinyl or CD format; single, album or album cover; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 

ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

You could order a framed Madness vinyl single as a gift for a number of different special occasions…..  ie “It Must Be Love” for a Wedding gift or an Engagement present or “House Of Fun” or “Our House” for an Housewarming Party gift!! Or how about a framed copy of “Driving In My Car” as a congratulatory gift for someone who has passed a driving test?!! ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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!!

 

It’s the 40th Anniversary of Virgin Records’ first album release, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells

May 2013 sees the 40th Anniversary of Virgin Records’ first album release – “Tubular Bells” by the then unknown instrumentalist Mike Oldfield.

Virgin Records was formed by Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell and Tom Newman in 1972. Richard Branson and Nik Powell had initially run a small record shop called Virgin Records and Tapes in Notting Hill Gate, London, specialising in “krautrock” imports like Kraftwerk, and as a legacy of the 1960s hippie movement, offering bean bags and free vegetarian food for the benefit of customers listening to the music on offer.

After turning the shop into a success, they evolved the business into a record label. Richard Branson, in his usual flamboyant style, bought a Manor House in Oxfordshire, part of which was then converted into a recording studio. The rest is history. Mike Oldfield’s idiosyncratic “Tubular Bells” was recorded there and became a multi million selling album. This was in no small part due to the opening piano solo being used as a soundtrack to the successful cult film “The Exorcist”, which was released the same year and as a result gained considerable radio airplay for “Tubular Bells”.

The heyday of Virgin Records was in the 1980s, when the record label became a global player, housing artists like Roy Orbison, Phil Collins, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz and The Smashing Pumpkins. Virgin Records was sold to Thorn EMI in 1992, to finance Richard Branson’s new venture, Virgin Airlines.

But let’s remember the heyday of Virgin Records, when Virgin Records artists styled and epitomised the “Decade of the 1980s”, releasing some of the most seminal electro pop albums of that era!! –

Top 5 Best Virgin Records Albums of the 1980s –

1) Simple Minds – New Gold Dream ( 1982 )

2) Human League – Dare ( 1981 )

3) Japan – Tin Drum ( 1981 )

4) Simple Minds – Sparkle In The Rain ( 1983 )

5) Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark ( OMD ) – Architecture & Morality ( 1981 )

 

Celebrate your favourite single or album in your home or office, by ordering your favourite recording in a vinyl or CD format; single, album or album cover; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 

ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Also available – the DVD of your favourite film or TV programme framed with a personalised engraved plaque  ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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!!

 

Daleks inventor departs Earthly life to become a Time Lord!!

Raymond Cusick, the designer of the Daleks from the BBC’s Doctor Who series, has died aged 84 after a short illness. The Daleks quickly became the iconic villains in Doctor Who, which marks it’s 50th anniversary later in the year. Of all Doctor Who’s enemies, the Daleks quickly became his ultimate and most enduring nemesis!!

Raymond Cusick gave form to the concept of the Daleks, created by Doctor Who screenwriter Terry Nation, which first appeared in series one of Doctor Who nearly 50 years ago.The BBC and media in general will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who later in the year and it is sad that Raymond Cusick will not be around to join in the celebrations. No doubt he will be looking down with pride as an honorary Time Lord with deceased Doctor Who’s William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee.

In Doctor Who folklore, the race of Daleks was said to have been developed by a scientist to survive a war on their home planet of Skaro. However, the scientist was later killed by his own creation. The Daleks, mutants encased in studded, tank-like machinery that appear to glide over the ground, became a cultural phenomenon, with generations growing to love their famous electronic command of “Exterminate”.

At the same time, of all Doctor Who’s adversaries, the Daleks struck fear into the hearts and minds of children in the UK and the author does not mind admitting cowering behind the sofa on many an occasion. The consolation was the knowledge that Daleks couldn’t climb stairs, so unless you lived in a bungalow, you were safe at bedtime!! The rational adult mind informs us that there is nothing to fear from an object inspired by a pepperpot, looking like a dustbin sporting a sink plunger!! However it was a different matter as an eight and ten year old between 1970 and 1972. However Doctor Who aka Jon Pertwee, our caped crusader, was always on hand to re-assure us with his calming and soothing words……..and the sexy Jo Grant always offered a pleasant distraction!!

What are your memories of the Daleks? Which was “your Doctor Who”? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Preserve your favourite TV programme for posterity, by ordering the DVD of your favourite TV sitcom, framed with a personalised engraved plaque  ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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/

 

Roobarb & Custard animator dies in the same week as it’s narrator!!

Bob Godfrey, the animator behind much loved cartoons “Roobarb & Custard” and “Henry’s Cat” has died aged 91. In a strange coincidence, he has passed away in the same week as actor Richard Briers, who’s velvety dulcet tones narrated “Roobarb & Custard”.

For those of the author’s generation, growing up in the 1970s, “Roobarb & Custard” was one of our staple diets at teatime, as we religiously watched the anarchic cartoon about a feuding cat and dog, with it’s catchy theme tune and “wobbly dog” animation. In a less sophisticated era “Roobarb and Custard” provided an innocent escape from the horrors of the school day and prefaced tedious homework with some levity. “Roobarb & Custard” wasn’t alone as it was part of a pantheon of great TV cartoons in the 1970s.

Here’s the Recordpress Top 10 Best 1970s TV Cartoons –

Top 10 Best 1970s TV Cartoons

1) Tom & Jerry

2) Scooby Doo

3) Wacky Races

4) The Flintstones

5) Roobarb & Custard

6) Top Cat

7) Mr Ben

8) Captain Pugwash

9) Yogi Bear & Boo Boo

10) Bagpuss

 

What is your favourite 1970s TV cartoon? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Preserve your favourite TV programme for posterity, by ordering the DVD of your favourite TV sitcom, framed with a personalised engraved plaque  ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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/

 

To mark Richard Briers’ death, here’s a Top 10 Best 1970s UK Sitcoms

Rarely, if ever when a celebrity dies, do they become the lead news story across all TV channels. Infact I can’t remember the last time this happened. But yesterday the death of actor Richard Briers was headline news across terrestrial and satellite news programmes. This is in no small part to the great affection with which he was held by the general public in the UK.

Although an esteemed classical Shakespearian actor on the stage, Richard Briers will be best remembered for his role as Tom Good in the 1970s sitcom “The Good Life” ( 1975 – 1978 ). The Good Life depicted the life of a disillusioned corporate man Tom Good, who with the support and backing of his wife Barbara ( played by Felicity Kendal ), gives up the rat race for a life of self sufficiency amongst the manicured lawns of suburbia in Surbiton, South London. The humour is derived through the interplay with snobbish next door neighbour, Margo Leadbetter (  Penelope Keith ) and her long suffering husband Jerry ( Paul Eddington ).

In conjunction with a good script, the key to the success and enduring appeal of “The Good Life” was the fantastic chemistry between the four actors and the fact that a life of self sufficiency away from the rat race strikes a chord and has a resonance with most of us at one time or another!! The “Good Life” ran for four years between 1975 and 1978 and 30 episodes. The 1970s was the Golden Era of the British Sitcom and if there is any doubting that statement, here’s a Top 10 Best 1970s UK Sitcoms –

Top 10 Best 1970s UK Sitcoms

1)      Fawlty Towers

2)      Rising Damp

3)      Yes Minister

4)      The Good Life

5)      Porridge

6)      Butterflies

7)      Open All Hours

8)      Dad’s Army

9)      Steptoe & Son

10)    Whatever Happened To The likely Lads?

 

What is your favourite 1970s TV sitcom? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Preserve your favourite TV sitcom for posterity, by ordering the DVD of your favourite TV sitcom, framed with a personalised engraved plaque  ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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/

 

As BBC celebrates “Golden Age Of The Album”, do you agree with this Top 5 Best Albums?

A recreation of one of the most the most iconic albums in pop music history will be the centrepiece of “The Golden Age Of The Album”, a two week celebration of the phenomenon of the vinyl LP across BBC Four, Radio 2 and 6 Music. On the 50th anniversary of the recording of the Beatles’ album “Please Please Me”, leading musicians including The Stereophonics, Mick Hucknall and Gabrielle Aplin will attempt to match the achievement, in the same 12 hour timescale, in the same Abbey Road studio.

The results will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 in exact order and timing on Monday 11th February and will be captured for a BBC Four special, “12 Hours To Please Me” on Friday 15th February. Stuart Maconie will host the 12 hour recording day from 10am to 10pm day, with Jo Whiley broadcasting her evening show from the Abbey Road.

50 years on, key personnel will tell the remarkable story of what happened that day with the Beatles, dispelling music industry myths and giving new insights. Studio engineer Richard Langham and Beatles press officer Tony Barrow are two such individuals who will be interviewed.

“The Golden Age of the Album” season begins on Tuesday 5th February with Danny Baker hosting a three-part series on BBC Four: During the three episodes of “The Great Album Showdown”, Danny Baker will be joined by music experts to discuss the best albums in rock, pop and R&B. The panel will debate which are the best and most influential albums of each genre.

On Radio 2, Jo Whiley will continue the debate each evening and invite listeners to get involved in proposing their favourite albums. Radio 2 listeners will also be asked to cast their vote in an online poll to find Radio 2’s Best Album – the results of which will be broadcast later in the year. You can vote by clicking on this link……. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/vote/top-albums/

Meanwhile on 6 Music, Steve Lamacq will be inviting listeners to re-create the covers of their most treasured album choice in Album Grand Redesigns, posting their artwork on 6 Music’s Facebook pages or tweeting them in to the show at @BBClamacqshow. Listeners’ contributions will be judged by former Designer of the Year, Mark Farrow and an overall winner crowned on Friday 8th February.

On BBC4 on Friday 8th February the documentary “Rocking All Over The World: The Golden Age Of The Album” explores the 1970s, the most important period for albums, when concepts and ideas were as important as melody and harmony.

To celebrate “The Golden Age Of The Album”, here is the Recordpress Top 5 Best Albums Of All Time and Top 5 Best Album Cover Designs –

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 – Sgt Pepper ( 1967 )

5)  Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell ( 1978 )

 

Top 5 Best Album Cover Designs

 

1)  ELO – Out Of The Blue ( 1978 )

2)  Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell ( 1978 )

3)  Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon ( 1973 )

4)  David Bowie – Young Americans ( 1975 )

5)  Pink Floyd – Animals ( 1977 )

 

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

Celebrate your favourite album in your home or office, by ordering your favourite album in a vinyl or CD format; album & album cover; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 

ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Also available – the DVD of your favourite film or TV programme framed with a personalised engraved plaque  ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records, framed CDs and framed DVDs 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!!

 

Which 8 Best Xmas Films would you nominate for Xmas on a desert island?

Allow yourself some creative licence in the build up to Xmas. Imagine there were was a radio programme called Desert Island DVDs……..And then imagine yourself marooned on that Desert Island at Xmas time, thousands of miles from civilization, never mind home………Which eight xmas film DVDs would you want to surround yourself with as a comfort blanket to cheer you up and act as reminder of cosy Christmases at home in the snow, with family and friends?

Alternatively, if you do not wish to indulge in the “Xmas on a Desert Island” flight of fancy, how about we are all caught up in a four day blizzard over Xmas and imprisoned in our cosy abodes due to heavy snowfall and accompanying snowdrifts. Which Xmas film DVDs would you want on hand to wile away the hours, whilst munching your way through a Bacchanalian feast of food and drink?

Here is the MyFirstRecord.co.uk Eight Best Xmas Films –

 

Eight Best Xmas Films for Desert Island DVDs

1) It’s a Wonderful Life

2) Elf

3) The Snowman

4) Santa Claus The Movie

5) Scrooge

6) White Christmas

7) Scrooged

8) Muppet Xmas Carol

 

Which are your favourite Xmas films? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

A favourite film DVD, framed and mounted, with a personalised , engraved plaque would make a great Xmas gift……. ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed film DVDs with a personalised plaque make unique presents or original gifts for other special celebrations  ie a Wedding, an Engagement Party, a House Warming Party, 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!!

 

ITV marks 60th year of the Charts with Nation’s Favourite Number One Single

2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the first ever UK singles chart. To celebrate this milestone, ITV over the last two weekends broadcast “The Nation’s Favourite Number One Single”. During the three primetime shows on ITV1, the channel chronicled the back stories of 60 memorable Number One singles. There were also interviews with chart-topping artists to discuss their favourite Number Ones and ascertain the ingredients that make a great single.

The poll of viewers wasn’t completely organic or spontaneous as the viewer was invited to vote from a pre-selected a shortlist of 60, picked by a panel of a dozen pop experts. Nevertheless the Top 60 seemed to be very representative and reflected a cross section of genres and decades. Perhaps not unsurprisingly Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” took the top spot.

The most significant thing is that ITV1’s Top 60 gave us a host of No1 songs that have defined our lives since the early 1960s and formed the soundtrack to our lives over the decades. However it occurred to me as I was watching the programmes, that because the poll was confined to No1 singles, it overlooked some classic songs that were pipped to the No1 spot. And believe me, there have been some fantastic songs that were cheated of a rightful No1 status. And to prove it, here is MyFirstRecord.co.uk ‘s Top 20 Best No2 Singles ( Songs that should have been No1 )

 

Top 20 Best No2 Singles ( Songs that should have been No1 )

 

1)  Kinks – Waterloo Sunset  ( 1967 )

2)  Beach Boys – God Only Knows ( 1966 )

3)  Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Xmas  ( 1975 )

4)  Queen – Killer Queen  ( 1974 )

5)  Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane  ( 1967 )

6)  Oasis – Wonderwall  ( 1995 )

7)  Hollies – Air That I Breathe  ( 1974 )

8 )  Sparks – This Town Aint Big Enough  ( 1974 )

9)  Ultravox – Vienna  ( 1981 )

10)  Sweet – Ballroom Blitz  ( 1973 )

11)  Slade – Far Far Away  ( 1974 )

12)  Queen – We Are The Champions  ( 1977 )

13)  Pulp – Common People  ( 1995 )

14)  Casuals – Jesamine  ( 1968 )

15 )  Kinks – Lola  ( 1970 )

16)  Tom Jones – Delilah  ( 1968 )

17)  Carpenters – Yesterday Once More  ( 1973 )

18)  Simply Red – Holding Back The Years  ( 1986 )

19)  Jay Z/Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind (2009)

20)  Pogues/K.Macoll – Fairytale Of New York (1987)

 

Which are your favourite No1 & No2 Singles from the last 60 years? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Singles Chart in your own home or office, by ordering your favourite vinyl single or CD single; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records with a personalised plaque, make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie 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!!

 

For full details of ITV1’s Top 60 from The Nation’s Favourite Number One Single…… www.itv.com/nationsfavouritenumberone/

Here’s a fully comprehensive list of every UK No1 since 1960……. www.numberonesingles.co.uk/
For the current Top 100 Singles Chart……. www.officialcharts.com/singles-chart/

 

James Bond is ten years off his bus pass as he reaches 50th Birthday!!

The first time a James Bond movie was shown on TV was in late October 1975, when ITV broadcast the first film in the James Bond franchise, “Dr No”. As we await the October release of the new Bond film “Skyfall”, this year we also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the release of “Dr No”; coincidentally it’s also the 50th Anniversary of the author of this blog!! I’m not sure who has worn better, myself or James Bond?! It’s a moot point, as Bond has metamorphosised over the five decades in terms of being played by six actors – Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and latterly Daniel Craig.

My earliest recollection of a Bond film was “Diamonds Are Forever” and sitting in Mum & Dad’s bed on a Sunday morning, as Dad recounted the stunt of James Bond driving a car along a narrow alleyway on two wheels that he had seen in the film at the cinema, the night before. My first experience of James Bond came the following year when my parents took me to see “Live & Let Die” for my 11th birthday in October 1973.

TV Premieres of a James Bond film in the 1970s and early 1980s was a big deal, in an era where the viewer in the UK was restricted to three terrestrial channels. Plus the genre was relatively unique at a time when you didn’t have a surplus of high octane action movies like the Die Hard and Mad Max series. Everybody has their favourite James Bond, although Sean Connery is almost universally regarded as the best James Bond. However opinion is much more disparate when it comes to favourite James Bond film!! In my opinion, the best Bond films were made in the 1970s in terms of plot, stunts and humour, and the best Bond movie themes were made in the 1960s and 1970s……

Top Ten Best Bond Films

1) Live & Let Die

2) Goldfinger

3) The Spy Who Loved Me

4) Man with the Golden Gun

5) A View To A Kill

6) Thunderball

7) You Only Live Twice

8 ) Diamonds Are Forever

9) Dr No

10) From Russia With Love

 

Top Ten Best Bond Themes

1) Paul McCartney & Wings – Live & Let Die

2) Shirley Bassey – Diamonds Are Forever

3) Tom Jones – Thunderball

4) Shirley Bassey – Goldfinger

5) Duran Duran – A View To A Kill

6) Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better

7) Lulu – Man With The Golden Gun

8 ) Nancy Sinatra – You Only Live Twice

9) Matt Monro – From Russia With Love

10) Gladys Knight – License to Kill

 

Which actor was your favourite James Bond and which are your favourite James Bond films and theme songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

You can immortalise your favourite James Bond, Bond film or Bond film theme in your own home or office, by ordering your favourite song on vinyl record or CD; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Also available – the DVD of your favourite James Bond film, framed with a personalised  engraved plaque……. ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records with a personalised inscribed plaque, make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie 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!!

 

Celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee With A Top Ten-uous Queen Songs

Never mind the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I can still remember the Queen’s Silver Jubilee as if it were yesterday……..the Village Gala with the trestle tables, the bunting and one big party held on that sunny day in a field behind the village hall, in the sleepy Nottinghamshire hamlet of Rempstone. I even remember as a 14 year old wearing my new “trendy” Gauloises french cigarette T shirt and checked jeans, in a forlorn attempt to impress the girls!!

When Her Majesty The Queen celebrated 25 years on the throne in 1977, folklore has it that the Sex Pistols were robbed of a No1 with their controversial anti establishment song “God Save the Queen”. Officially it reached No 2 behind Rod Stewart in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Summer of 1977, and therefore in recent months Sex Pistols fans have been running an online campaign to finally get “God Save the Queen” to No1 to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Sex Pistols fans set up an online campaign on Facebook to get the song back to the top of the charts again during the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but as we approach the big day there is no sight or sound of it!! When the Sex Pistols released “God Save The Queen” in May 1977, which featured a defaced image of the Queen on the cover, most radio and TV stations ( including Radio 1 and Top of the Pops ) refused to play it. Several major record chains also refused to stock the vinyl single.

No amount of bans and lack of airplay were going to stop the Punk underground movement and the Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” sold more than 150,000 copies, outselling Rod Stewart’s “The First Cut Is The Deepest” and reached Number One on the NME chart. However it has been suggested that figures were massaged by the Government in collusion with the British Market Research Bureau ( who collated the charts ) to make sure “God Save the Queen” only reached No 2 in the official UK Singles Chart, which is used by the BBC, in order not to offend the Queen and the Royal Family!!

Whilst the Sex Pistols were riding high at the top of the charts in June 1977, the rock group Queen were making steady progress up the charts with their EP featuring “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy”. Looking back at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Year of 1977, the UK / Great Britain was very much “a country fit for heroes”, occupied by old fashioned “lover boy” pin ups such as pop stars David Essex and David Cassidy, actors David Soul ( Starsky and Hutch” ), and Patrick Mower, and of course Barry Sheen and James Hunt, both Champions in the world of motor racing in 1977.

So as we celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, let’s all remember and celebrate the old fashioned world of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee back in 1977 and the intervening 35 years. Therefore here’s the flimsiest and most tenuous reason to post a Top 10 Best Queen Songs!!

Top 10 Best Queen Songs

1)  Killer Queen ( 1974 )

2)  Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy ( 1977 )

3)  Bohemian Rhapsody ( 1975 )

4)  The Show Must Go On ( 1991 )

5)  We Are The Champions ( 1977 )

6)  Don’t Stop Me Now ( 1979 )

7)  Under Pressure ( 1981 )

8)  Radio Ga Ga ( 1984 )

9)  Who Wants To Live Forever? ( 1986 )

10)  We Will Rock You ( 1977 )

 

You can immortalise Queen, the Sex Pistols or any 1970s music icons in your own home or office, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD; single, album or album cover; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records with a personalised plaque, make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie 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!!

 

A sad day as Blue Peter sets sail from the BBC1 port for the last time

The news that the Blue Peter ship is to finally give up it’s berth and mooring in it’s home port of BBC1, comes as a great surprise and a source of sadness for many generations of former viewers. There was something very soothing, reassuring and comforting about Blue Peter. For my early 1970s generation, returning home from school after a hard day in the classroom, you knew you could relax as soon as the theme music kicked in, followed by the trio of presenters Peter Purvis, John Noakes and Valerie Singleton ( later joined by Leslie Judd ) greeting you with a collective and individual “hello”. That twice weekly greeting on a Tuesday and a Thursday, was a source of great comfort only matched by PC Dixon’s “Evening All” at the end of “Dixon of Dock Green” on a Saturday early evening!!

Blue Peter is clearly the flagship ( pun fully intended!! ), but infact the rest of the BBC Children’s Programmes fleet is also to be scrapped from the BBC1 and BBC2 schedules as soon as the digital switchover is completed. Old school Blue Peter viewers like myself have only just come to terms with the programme being moved out of Television Centre to its new dry dock in Salford Quays and and the associated desecration of Percy Thrower’s lovely sunken garden in order to move it to it’s new home up north. So it was with a heavy heart, I sat down to pay homage to Blue Peter and BBC Television Centre, by watching a fitting tribute to the two on BBC4 on Thursday night!! First of all I immersed myself in a Blue Peter episode from 4th November 1974, which just happened to be legendary Blue Peter pet alsatian , Petra’s 12 birthday. This struck a chord with me because I had celebrated my 12th birthday only a month earlier on the 4th October – the first time I was away from my family on my birthday. Thankfully although Petra might have long gone, I’m still here to tell the tale!! Speaking of which, “Tales of Television Centre” followed at 9pm and was a wonderful hour and a half of amusing and incredible anecdotes from an A to Z lexicon of BBC celebrities from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. What really came across was the enduring love every TV presenter and actor had for not just the physical incarnation of BBC Television Centre, but also the affection they all had for the personalities of the ancillary staff, customs and culture that existed within that iconic circular building!!

BBC4 provided me with  a thoroughly wonderful trip into my childhood and evoked all those cosy TV memories of Z Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, Dr Who, Top of the Pops, Noel Edmonds’ Multi Coloured Swap Shop, Jackanory, Playschool and John Craven’s News Round. However matching, if not topping all of those were the majestic sails and flag of the Good Ship HMS Blue Peter. I’m sure all of you between the age of thirty and sixty, get goosebumps and a lovely warm feeling that all is well in the world, when you hear that familiar Blue Peter theme music!!

Celebrate Blue Peter, by immortalising this iconic BBC TV Show in your own home or workplace / office. You can order Mike Oldfield’s “Blue Peter” theme music on vinyl record single, framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ( If you wish you can send us your cherished Blue Peter Badge to be added to the memento, at no extra cost. ) …… ORDER NOW…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records with a personalised plaque, make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie 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!!

 

Engelbert for Eurovision – surely the last waltz & last resort for the UK?

I nearly choked on my cornflakes when it was announced on the radio this morning that 1960s corny ( but not flakey ) crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, is to represent the UK at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Bleary eyed and still half asleep, I immediately questioned whether it was the beginning of March or April and an April Fool prank!! Surely this is the last waltz & last resort for the UK?

The veteran 75-year-old singer Engelbert Humperdinck, is best known for his brace of 1967 No1’s “The Last Waltz” and “Release Me”, the latter preventing the Beatles having a further No1 with the Double A Side “Strawberry Fields Forever” / “Penny Lane”. I would like to see either of those No1s performed at the Eurovision Song Contest, but apparently Engelbert Humperdinck will perform a new song, to be recorded specially in London, Los Angeles and Nashville. It will be written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt hit “You’re Beautiful”.

Engelbert Humperdinck, who was born in Leicester with the name Arnold Dorsey, has sold more than 150 million records worldwide during his 45 year career. His last UK top 20 single was 40 years ago, titled somewhat appropriately “Too Beautiful To Last” which reached number 14. The singer has received four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year and is one of only a handful of artists with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Las Vegas Walk of Fame.

Engelbert Humperdinck is the oldest ever Eurovision contestant and if he wins, will be the UK’s first winner since Katrina and the Waves 15 years ago. And why not? We tried the younger, sexier 1990s boy band Blue last year and their attempt fell on deaf ears………so why not go to the other extreme and wheel out an old age pensioner, who happens to have a fantastic, middle of the road voice that will appeal to all those mobility scooter owners, viewing across Europe?!!

Katie Taylor, BBC head of entertainment and events, pointed out: “Not since the 70s have we had such an established international musical legend represent the nation”. In the 1960s and 1970s it was customary to have established pop stars represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest – Sandie Shaw, Lulu, Cliff Richard and the Shadows to mention a few.

This year’s competition will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on the 26th May in front of a global audience of 120 million viewers. Let’s face it, that’s less viewers than the number of records Engelbert Humperdinck has sold during his illustrious career……..so he will not be intimidated in the least!! I say good luck to him…………and hopefully he can buck the trend of recent years and overcome the political shenanigans and win the damn thing for the United Kingdom!!

Which are your favourite Engelbert Humperdinck songs, singles or album tracks? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

You can immortalise Engelbert Humperdinck in your own home or workplace / office, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD; single, album or album cover; framed and mounted as a picture disc. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a Wedding ( Wedding Song ), a 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!!

For further news and all other merchandise and memorabilia, go to the Official Engelbert Humperdinck Website…… www.officialengelbert.com/


I thought Sir Jimmy Savile would “fix it” with God and outlive us all…

It came as a real shock to hear that Jimmy Savile had departed this mortal coil, because I always thought that he was anything but mortal and would outlive us all. He seemed to be an omniscient presence in our Earthly lives, but fundamentally not of this world. And in that respect he came amongst us, but seemed to operate in another dimension of time and space, a bit like Doctor Who!!

Like Doctor Who, Jimmy Savile was an eccentric, tinged with brilliance, operating in his own vacuum and sphere of influence, destined to do great altruistic work for the good of mankind, but not meant to walk amongst us. Jimmy Savile’s clown like appearance, antics and inane ramblings belied a high level of intelligence, endorsed by his membership of MENSA. You knew that there was an innate kindness and compassion there, supported by his insatiable thirst for charity work and yet in Louis Theroux’s documentary in 2000, “When Louis Met Jimmy”, he came across as prickly, cantankerous, hostile, cold and aloof. Essentially he chose to portray himself as someone who had little time for his fellow man on a day to day basis!! In the end, we have to conclude that Jimmy Savile, like many complex people, was full of contradictions and leave it at that.

Like most of you, I will remember Sir Jimmy Savile for putting a smile on my face, whether it be through his regular appearances on a Thursday evening on BBC1 in the 1970s, as one of the hosts of “Top of the Pops”, or the fixer of childrens’ dreams on a Saturday evening on the BBC 1 institution that was “Jim’ll Fix It”. Like many, I sent him a letter, supported by a demo tape, to enquire as to whether he could “fix it” for me to do a guest spot as a DJ on Radio 1. In the event Jim couldn’t fix it – now whether this was beyond his powers I don’t know. More likely he wanted to spare Radio 1 listeners my amateurish broadcasting skills, but what impressed me was that the legendary Jimmy Savile sent me a personal handwritten letter acknowledging my request and apologising for not being able to fulfil my dreams!! It is safe to assume that every potential participant of “Jim’ll Fix It” also received a personal epistle and that was the stature of the man – nothing was too much trouble for him, when it came to helping others. Whatever his slightly odd foibles and idiosyncrasies, Sir Jimmy Savile richly deserved his knighthood and OBE for his unstinting, tireless work for charity that generated millions of pounds for good and great causes.

However my favourite and abiding memories of Jimmy Savile was as a DJ on Radio 1, as the presenter of the Sunday lunchtime show “Jimmy Savile’s Old Record Club”, where he played top tens from years gone by. It was the first radio show to feature old charts, something later adopted by Alan Freeman and Radio 2 in the 1980s, when Pick of the Pops was resurrected as a retro chart show. However the retro chart genre began with Jimmy Savile in 1973 as “The Double Top Ten Show”.

If you were a fan of “Jimmy Savile’s Old Record Club” and retro chart radio shows in general, you can possess your favourite vinyl record, single or album, framed and mounted as a picture disc. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

MyFirstRecord.co.uk will donate 25% of the proceeds to one of Jimmy Savile’s favourite charities between now and Christmas. 

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a Wedding, 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!!

 

As we mark the 75th Anniversary of BBC TV, do you recall these shows?

On Monday 2nd November 1936, the Postmaster-General officially launched BBC TV. In that fleeting moment in time, the world saw the advent of a phenomenon ( television ) that was to define the rest of the 20th Century, by bringing about a social and cultural revolution as massive in it’s impact as the two World Wars that cast a shadow over that century, and as radical as the Industrial Revolution in the previous century!!

To mark the landmark of BBC TV’s 75th Anniversary, I’ve been pondering which are my all time favourite TV shows in the standard and conventional TV Awards categories. Inevitably there were so many TV shows to choose from the late 1960s to the present day, but as I then reflected on my choices , I discovered that quite unintentionally every one, bar two, were a BBC production – which speaks volumes for the high calibre programming of the venerable broadcasting institution that the BBC has become over the past 75 years!!

These are the programmes that have made the biggest impact on the author since the late 1960s –

BEST SINGLE DRAMA – Abigail’s Party ( 1976 surburban satire, starring Alison Steadman as the infamous and appalling Abigail – I remember to this day, being in stitches for the duration of the programme )

BEST DRAMA SERIES – The Avengers ( 1960s surreal cult series starring Patrick Macnee & Diana Rigg as John Steed & Emma Peel )

BEST DRAMA SERIAL ( UK ) – I Claudius ( BBC TV in 1976 told the tale of life in the Imperial Palace in Ancient Rome during the reigns of the first four Emperors, who became gradually more deranged and corrupt – compelling acting & storytelling )

BEST DRAMA SERIAL ( US ) – Mad Men ( Current, on going drama set in a 1960s advertising agency in Madison Avenue, New York – beautifully crafted stories & great production values )

BEST SINGLE DOCUMENTARY – Fourteen Days In May (Incredibly moving, sad, harrowing & ultimately horrifying story of the last two weeks of the life of a man on Death Row in a US prison)

BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAMME – Panorama ( Unrivalled, peerless investigative journalism from BBC TV spanning over 50 years )

BEST TELEVISED SPORTING EVENT – Can’t make up my mind between two great, gripping sports matches –

1990 World Cup Semi Final – England v West Germany ( Remembered for Gazza’s tears & penalty shoot out misery for England players & fans alike )

1985 World Championship Snooker Final – Steve Davis v Dennis Taylor ( An incredible come back for Taylor having been 8-0 down. He was only ever ahead in the match when he potted the final black of the final 35th frame to win the championship. You couldn’t script a better climax to a sporting event!! )

BEST ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME – Morecambe & Wise ( All you need to say, is the nation’s favourites!! )

BEST COMEDY PROGRAMME – Fawlty Towers ( In 1975, John Cleese brought his own brand of mania and intelligence to the genre of slapstick & farce. The acid test of how funny this series is, is that you can watch it over & over again, with total familiarity of the storylines and gags, and the humour is never diminished in the slightest!! )

BEST MUSIC PROGRAMME – Top of the Pops ( Simply all over 35’s grew up with it as the definitive chart music programme )

BEST NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMME – Life on Earth ( 1979 groundbreaking comprehensive series fronted by the incomparable narrator David Attenborough )

Which TV programmes and shows would you choose as your favourites? They don’t necessarily have to be BBC TV productions. Let us know in the Reply Box below.

 

Talk of the return of BBC Test Card evokes memories of 1970s Children’s TV…

Apparently the BBC are considering bringing back the test card overnight in order to save £1.3 billion. According to a recent Daily Mail report, one proposal is for BBC 1 and BBC 2 to terminate broadcasting at 1am for several hours during the night. Will this also mean the return of the playing of the National Anthem at closing down time?

Will this also herald a return to the test card, the static image put on screen when channels were off air in the 1960s and 1970s? The BBC’s distinctive “Test Card F” image of the little girl with a toy clown, playing noughts and crosses on the blackboard was first used in 1967 and became an icon of the 1970s.

The image of the iconic Test Card immediately transport me back to my childhood and my favourite TV programmes. The BBC Test card would appear at various times of the day, but inbetween their were interludes of kids programmes. If my memory serves me correctly, in the mid mornings there were programmes like “White Horses” and “Skippy”, the tale of a mischievious Australian Bush Kangaroo. Of course this was in an era pre-dating Breakfast TV, so these were the first TV show broadcasts of the day. At lunchtime there were programmes for younger kids like “Pogle’s Wood”, “Mr Ben”, “Camberwick Green” and the neighbouring “Trumpton” featuring the legendary Windy Miller!! There would then be a gap in broadcasting, filled by the motionless Test Card, before Children’s TV would alight on our screens. Although not all of these programmes were on the BBC, children in the 1970s were occupied by “Blue Peter” and it’s ITV counterpart “Magpie” – although the latter was not as highbrow, these were the educational programmes!! After that it was pure entertainment courtesy of Gerry Anderson’s puppet stable of “Thunderbirds”, “Captain Scarlet”, “Stingray”, “UFO” and “Joe 90”. Then there the wacky shows like “Double Deckers”, “Banana Splits” and “Catweazle”. And of course there was the clever trick photography and filming in the incomparable “Land of the Giants”. Not to mention “Vision On” with Tony Hart and his plasticine friends, Johnny Morris talking to zoo animals on “Animal Magic” and papercutting patterns on “Origami”.

No Children’s TV afternoon was complete without an American Hanna Barbera cartoon such as the pre-historic “Flintstones”, the ghost hunting “Scooby Doo”, the cheeky “Top Cat” or “Wacky Races” where every week we willed Dick Dastardly and his loveable sidekick Muttley across that finishing line!! Of course it never happened – normally it was Little Miss Perfect, Penelope Pitstop who prevailed.

In the 1970s, Children’s TV came to an end with ahead of the News at 5-45pm, a 5 minute helping of the psychedelic, trippy “Magic Roundabout” – it’s 1960s drug influenced characterisation and script going over heads of the junior viewer!! If Dougal the Dog, Florence, Brian the Snail, Ermintrude the Cow, Dylan and Zebedee were off their faces, they were in good company with the woollen puppets in “The Clangers”!! And then there was the dubious set up in “Hector’s House”, where a dog named Hector co-habited in a cosy menage a trois with Za Za the Cat and Kiki the Frog. Personally I found the programme very creepy and sinister, not helped by dubious, dodgy dubbing from German!! Other shows bringing down the curtain on Children’s TV in the 1970s were “Crystal Tips and Alastair”, “Parsley the Lion” and “Captain Pugwash”, with it’s adult sexual references which would be unimaginable in these politically correct times!!

Early evenings in the late 1960s and early 1970s gave the older child a feast of adventure series like the suave Simon Templar aka Roger Moore in “The Saint” and the equally debonair and urbane Patrick MacNee as John Steed in surreal “The Avengers”, ably supported by Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, later replaced by Linda Thorson’s character Tara King. Another favourite was “The Champions”, whose three spy protagonists communicated through extra sensory perception. Just as wacky were the foppish, cravate wearing dandy, Jason King ( Peter Wyngarde ) in “Department S” and “Mission Impossible” with it’s self destructing taped messages!! As if this wasn’t enough, as the 1960s became the 1970s, we were treated to Roger Moore and Tony Curtis as Lord Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde respectively in “The Persuaders” and Robert Vaughan, Nyree Dawn Porter and Tony Anholt in “The Protectors”.

The early evening schedule on a Saturday gave us the reassuring presence of John Pertwee as “Dr Who” and Jack Warner as “Dixon of Dock Green”…….somehow the world seemed a safer place with them around, fighting alien creatures, Daleks, Cybermen and criminals and villains on our behalf!! That’s the beauty of nostalgia….it masks the defects and dons a wonderful pair of rose tinted spectacles that Elton John or Timmy Mallett would have been proud to wear in their  pomp!! This blog article has served no useful purpose other than to unashamedly reminisce about Children’s TV in the 1970s……I hope you have enjoyed the trip down Memory’s Cobbled Lane……and don’t get me onto the Hovis TV Commercials, not to mention “Mild Green Fairy Liquid”, “For Mash Get Smash” and “All because the Lady loves Milk Tray”……….that’s for another day and another roadtrip on the Memory Motorway………

 

The Internet and You Tube killed the MTV Video Star!!

MTV has reached manhood, or womanhood if you prefer, as it celebrates it’s 30th birthday this weekend. MTV was launched on 1st August 1981. The first images broadcast were the launch of the Apollo 11, which rather dates it now but would have been fresh in the recent memory at the time!! The opening video was the Buggles song “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Ironically 30 years on, the Internet and You Tube have killed the Video Star!!

MTV has undergone many changes and permutations in the past 30 years, but this weekend VH1 Classic will commemorate MTV’s 30th Anniversary with a three-day broadcast of footage from the 1980s, including a re-broadcast of MTV’s opening hour, kicking off tomorrow morning at 6am, Saturday 30th July.

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, VJ Mark Goodman recollects that he was a 28-year-old disc jockey when he auditioned for MTV in 1981. He recalls: “During one of the auditions I had to interview Robert Morton, who went on to produce David Letterman’s show, as he pretended to be Billy Joel. He was just being a total ******* asshole on purpose to make it the worst possible interview. In another round, I had to talk to the audience about the Eagles, whose photos were pasted up on a poster board on an easel”.

In the interview Mark Goodman remembers that it took some time for all the major artists to begin making videos and he explains the initial obstacles MTV faced – “I think we only had 300 videos at first, which is why you saw Andrew Gold every few hours. We also had lots of Rod Stewart, and even acts like Charlie Daniels. One of the early success stories were Duran Duran. We started playing ‘Planet Earth’ early on and it got them wide exposure. We started to hear about British bands coming to the States and being shocked by how many people showed up”.

In his Rolling Stone interview, Mark Goodman describes the massive significance of the advent of MTV to the record and music industry – “We sort of propped it up when there was kind of an indulgence in the industry. We were coming off Saturday Night Fever in 1979 and the industry had this gigantic bubble and then things got awfully quiet. We came along just in time and revitalised things, or at least opened people up to more music”.

In the UK, MTV launched the careers of Justin Collins, Davina McCall and Russell Brand who have all gone on to bigger and better things. In the UK we also had “Max Headroom”, which aired on a Saturday afternoon and showcased the latest music videos of the day. At the time, like MTV, it was cutting edge and it is easy to forget what an intrinsic part of the record industry’s promotion of it’s artists, the video was in the 1980s. So Many Happy returns to MTV….and thanks for the memories…….

You can capture, preserve and re-live the memories of the 1980s music and accompanying videos by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD, single or album, framed and mounted as a picture disc. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a Wedding, 40th or 50th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

 

Surely The Kinks’ Ray Davies was the Poet Laureate of Pop in the 1960s?

BBC4’s Rock Documentary last night “Kinkdom Come” shone a light on the oft overlooked brother in The Kinks – Dave Davies. It was a wonderful insight into a man often painted in the media, especially in the 1960s, as a hell raiser and a hooligan!! Dave Davies was the first to admit in “Kinkdom Come” that he had his moments of angst, hedonism and potentially self destructive behaviour. However the documentary revealed the Kinks lead guitarist, perpetually cast in the shadows of his older brother Ray, as a deeply thoughtful, cerebral, spiritual and sensitive man. Infact it occurred to me that he shares exactly the same character traits possessed by Ray Davies. This goes a long way to explaining why the Davies brothers have clashed so much over the years, especially when you add close sibling rivalry, competitiveness and jealousy into the mix!!

Some of the hostility that has manifest itself between Ray and Dave Davies is perhaps due to the latter’s dominance of their early hit records, and the former’s dominance and control of their later music. The Kinks’ first hits peaked at No1 and No2 respectively – “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night”, which showcased the belligerent and sexually charged guitar play of Dave Davies. The Kinks early hits and album tracks, epitomised by “I got love if you want it” were very much steeped in the Rhythm and Blues, like their contemporaries The Rolling Stones. It strikes me that as their early success faded, and 1964 turned in to 1965, Ray Davies’ melodic and melancholic influence and songwriting came to the fore with the No1 “Tired of Waiting for You” and the slightly psychedelic sounding “Set me Free”, “See my Friend” and “Till the End of the Day”. I think The Kinks could legitimately lay claim to being the Founding Fathers of Psychedelia and original deployers of the Citar, ahead of George Harrison and The Beatles!!

Somewhat ironically, as The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, Small Faces and Traffic became the exponents of a more psychedelic sound in 1966 and 1967, Ray Davies and The Kinks were already moving in another direction. This according to Dave Davies in “Kinkdom Come” was almost certainly in an attempt to tone down their act  for the American consumer and massive US record buying market!! They served a ban for two years in the mid 1960s, which saw them prevented from performing live in the USA. Whatever the motivation, The Kinks songs became more observational and wistful. At this juncture Ray Davies had come in to his element, drawing on all the suburban sentimentality of his childhood in Muswell Hill and Fortis Green, North London. Maybe he was also influenced by the “kitchen sink” dramas and films of the late 1950s and early 1960s like “Room at the Top”, “A Taste of Honey”, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning” and “Billy Liar” that depicted British industrial working class life and middle class surburban life so accurately and beautifully.

Whatever the motivation, what followed in 1966 and 1967 were the perfectly crafted and socially well observed “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”, Dead End Street” and “Autumn Almanac”. Interspersed amongst these Top 5 hits were the No1 “Sunny Afternoon”, which satirised their new found fame and rock star lifestyle, and the sublime “Waterloo Sunset” that was denied the No1 spot by the greatly inferior “Silence is Golden” by the Tremeloes – if only their music had been silent!! If ever a song should have been No1, it was the peerless “Waterloo Sunset”. The fact that it failed to reach the top of the charts is a crime of epic proportions, only matched seven years later when the Hollies’ “The Air that I Breathe” was kept in the No2 bay by Paperlace’s “Billy Don’t be a Hero”!!

The year 1970 saw The Kinks have their final two Top 5 hits with the beautifully observed and comical “Lola” and “Apeman”, which almost pre-empted the Glam Rock era that was to follow. There was one final excursion in to the Top 20 in 1983, which acted as a fitting Kinks chart encore – “Come Dancing” took us all back to a slice of suburban society in the early 1960s, showcasing the demise of The Palais, where Ray and Dave’s sister Gwen used to go dancing on a Saturday night. According to the song, the long lamented venue for dancing and courting had been replaced by a car park, which was symptomatic of appalling local government town planning in the 1970s that actually saw in real lfe the Cavern Club, home of The Beatles, demolished and replaced by a car park in Matthew St, Liverpool!!

But for the Beatles and the songwriting prowess of Lennon and McCartney, I believe that Ray Davies would have been crowned Poet Laureate of Pop in the 1960s!! Although nobody would deny the prolific brilliance of Lennon and McCartney, in this final paragraph I would like to state the case for why Ray Davies should be the Official Poet Laureate of Pop in the 1960s. The Kinks seminal, iconic album “The Village Green Preservation Society” perfectly epitomises, encapsulates and celebrates the quintessential English rural and suburban life in 1960s society. Ray Davies’ songwriting projects and conveys a tapestry of the traditions, trials and tribulations of English rural and suburban life. In terms of accurately depicting a sense of the society he lived in, he is up there  with novelist Thomas Hardy and painters Constable and Turner who captured the pre Industrial Revolution pastoral life. He is also a peer of LS Lowry and Sir John Betjeman who’s respective paintings and poetry caught the mood of a post Industrial Revolution society. Betjeman’s work was acknowledged and recognised by his appointment as Poet Laureate. On this basis, Ray Davies should be appointed Lyric Laureate for his contribution to music: and a plot should be allocated in St Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey for when he finally bows out from the world he has captured so well in words……

You can capture, preserve and re-live the memories of 1960s Society and the music of Ray Davies and The Kinks, by ordering your favourite Kinks vinyl record or CD, single or album, framed and mounted as a picture disc. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a Wedding, 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!!

MyFirstRecord.co.uk have most of The Kinks albums and singles available in their original vinyl record format on the Pye Records record label.

Select from this full list of albums –

1964 Kinks

(Released in the US as You Really Got Me)

1965 Kinks-Size

(US only album)

1965 Kinda Kinks

1965 Kinkdom

(US only album)

1965 The Kink Kontroversy

1966 Face to Face

1967 Something Else by The Kinks

1968 The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society

1969 Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

1970 Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround

1971 Percy (soundtrack)

1971 Muswell Hillbillies

1972 Everybody’s in Show-Biz

1973 Preservation: Act 1

1974 Preservation: Act 2

1975 Soap Opera

1975 Schoolboys in Disgrace

1977 Sleepwalker

1978 Misfits

1979 Low Budget

1981 Give the People What They Want

1983 State of Confusion

1984 Word of Mouth

1986 Think Visual

1989 UK Jive

1993 Phobia

 

If you would like any of The Kinks albums or any of their hit singles, framed and mounted, ORDER now by clicking on….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

For all other Kinks  merchandise and memorabilia, click on their official website…… www.thekinks.info/

Or you might like to visit the official Kinks Fan Club website…….. www.officialkinksfanclub.co.uk/

Or check out Ray Davies’ MySpace Page……… www.myspace.com/raydaviesofficial

Bob Harris & The Old Grey Whistle Test are to return, but this time on radio!!

In the 1970s and 1980s, The Old Grey Whistle Test was Top of the Pops for grown ups and those with a more sophisticated, discerning musical palate. The good news is that it is to return for a limited period. The bad news is that it will be on radio!! The 16 part series will run from August on Radio 2 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the programme’s inception.

The renaissance of The Old Grey Whistle Test will be on on Radio 2 rather than a late Friday night slot on BBC2, its home for 16 years before it was terminated in 1987. Surely a better fit would be for the programme to be in close proximity to BBC4’s 9pm Friday night retro music slot? However there will be some continuity with it’s original guise as original presenter “Whispering” Bob Harris will host the shows “which will comprise a mix of archive and new performances, alongside interviews with artists who appeared in the original series”. Bob Harris points out that the revived Old Grey Whistle Test will be “a massive reunion, featuring superstars of British and American music.”

Elton John and Robert Plant will help commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Old Grey Whistle Test. Paul Weller, Roger Daltrey, Mark Knopfler, Yusuf Islam ( Cat Stevens ), Emmylou Harris and Simple Minds are among the other artists who will appear.

In the 1970s and 1980s, The Old Grey Whistle Test was instrumental in launching the UK careers of overseas artists such as Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and Steely Dan, and gave British artists such as David Bowie their first national exposure. The programme’s format differed from the mainstream Top of the Pops in that it permitted artists to perform whatever they wanted, and was more album track orientated rather than focussing on the charts and single releases like it’s BBC1 cousin.

In the BFI’s list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes in 2000, The Old Grey Whistle Test came 33rd, a not inconsiderable achievement bearing in mind its primary focus on album tracks. Although in later years it was presented by Annie Nightingale, Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, the era that is best remembered is the Bob Harris years, parodied so perfectly by John Thomson’s Jazz Club presenter Louis Balfour on BBC2’s The Fast Show.

Having avidly watched the BBC3 re-runs of Top of the Pops from 1976 on Thursday nights since April, I can imagine that in 1976 The Old Grey Whistle Test was a sane release from the insanity and dire mire that was the chart music scene in that year!! On the basis that Top of the Pops has made a return, would it not make sense to re-run old episodes of The Old Grey Whistle Test?!! After all the BBC’s remit is all about presenting a balanced diet when it comes to programming!!

But what do you think? Should it return on BBC Radio 2 or should the original series be re-run on television on BBC3 or BBC4 in tandem with the “vintage” Top of the Pops programmes from 1976? Let us know in the Reply Box below…..

You can capture, preserve and re-live the memories of The Old Grey Whistle Test, by ordering your favourite songs from that era, in their original vinyl record or CD format, single or album, framed and mounted as a picture disc. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a Wedding present, 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday, a Silver or Ruby Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

 

Remember you were a Womble, and as a fan bought their records?!!

An event of epic international proportions and significance is taking place on Saturday 25th June…..Global Smurf Day!!!

The event is the brainchild of Sony Pictures and the company is looking to break the world record for the biggest ever gathering of little blue people. The initiative, designed to publicise the new Smurf film, will be taking place in the O2 Arena, which will be re-named “The O-Blue” for the occasion!!

The kids of today are about to be introduced to our little blue friends through the new Smurf film, but for those of a certain vintage, we remember our introduction to the phenomenon, with the PVC Smurf figurines that were given away as part of a National Garage petrol promotion in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and this is how the Smurfs first found their way into the hearts of my generation. Inevitably the petrol promotion came to an end and Smurfs disappeared from view, but not memory. However Smurf merchandise has continued to be produced in Germany, Hong Kong and other parts of the world, and in recent years the little blue chaps have been populating ebay with massive commercial traffic in second hand merchandise.

As if the visual impact of Smurfs wasn’t enough in the late 1970s, they invaded our ears with a series of hit records. Masterminded by Father Abraham, the Smurfs became regular visitors to the Top 20 in 1978, narrowly missing the No1 spot with their debut single, “The Smurf Song”, and backed up by “Dippety Day” and “Christmas in Smurfland”. By the late 1970s, the record buyer had got used to one off novelty records such as Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers’ “Monstermash”, David Bowie’s “Laughing Gnome” and the Wurzels’ “Combine Harvester, but in 1978 it looked like the Smurfs were going to give the New Wave bands such as the Jam, Stranglers, Buzzcocks and Sham 69 a good run for their money with a series of hits!!

However this wasn’t the first time in this decade that a novelty act had a sustained run of chart hits. It all began with the Wombles in early 1974, who took their TV success and rolled it out into a music / recording career, courtesy of producer and arranger Mike Batt. What should have been a one off novelty hit, “The Wombling Song” was followed up with four more Top 20 hits in that year – “Remember you’re a Womble”, “Banana Rock”, “Minuetto Allegretto” and “Wombling Merry Christmas”. The latter was only kept off the No1 spot by Mud’s “Lonely this Christmas”!! However unlike the Smurfs, the Wombles success continued beyond the Xmas stocking filler, with three more hit singles the following year, “Wombling White Tie and Tails”, “Super Womble” and “Let’s Womble to the Party Tonight”………but that was where the “Womble Party” came to an end, when the Chart and Music Police came around to their abode on Wimbledon Common and said – “Enough is enough!!”… In fairness the talented songwriter and composer Mike Batt had produced some very well crafted pop songs – hence the longevity of their chart success!!

Emboldened and inspired by the Wombles successful passage from TV to recording studio in 1974, The Goodies jumped on the proverbial bandwagon at the end of that year with a Christmas Bumper Double A Side Single, “The Inbetweenies / Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me”. Apparently driven on by Bill Oddie who was allegedly a frustrated musician / artist, Tim Brooke Taylor and Graeme Garden continued to perform with him as a musical trio in 1975 with further hit singles, “Funky Gibbon / Sick Man Blues”, “Black Pudding Bertha ( The Queen of Northern Soul )”, “Nappy Love / Wild Thing” and finished their chart careers with another Xmas hit, “Make a Daft Noise for Christmas”. As with the Wombles, the Goodies undoubtedly cashed in on the success of their TV show, but I would suggest that like the Wimbledon Litterpickers it was only because their music was creative and inventive, that they were able to sustain a run of five hit singles.

The 1970s was truly “The Golden Age of the Novelty Record”, and although we saw one off novelty hits in the 1980s courtesy of acts like Black Lace, Renee and Renata, The Tweets and Orville the Duck, the charts were to never again experience a sustained bombardment from a novelty act!!

You can capture, preserve and re-live the memories of the fun and wackiness of the novelty record / song, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD from that era, framed and mounted. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

 

Without Flick Colby there would’ve been no Pan’s People on 1970s TOTP!

The sad news of Flick Colby’s death at the weekend immediately evoked nostalgic memories of her dance troupe Pan’s People, from the days when Top of the Pops was in it’s pomp and at the peak of it’s powers.

When I first started watching Top of the Pops at the age of 11 in 1974, my pre-pubescent status meant that I was irritated by the three minute break for dancing by Pan’s People, because it delayed me from seeing my favourite acts like Slade, Sweet and Mud. Within a year or two, coinciding with my arrival into the world of adolesence, I was clammering for their three minute performance!! Pan’s People glided around the stage effortlessly, performing to a chart hit, where the act were not able to perform it in the studio that particular week. And Flick Colby was responsible for engineering the choreography for the Pan’s People routines.

Flick Colby formed Pan’s People in 1966 with Babs Lord, Ruth Pearson and Dee Dee Wilde. Louise Clarke and Andi Rutherford were recruited to complete the famous line up. Their performances on Top of the Pops were synonymous with a cheekiness that made their inherent sexiness and sensuality palatable and acceptable to a family audience.

It’s Legs and Co and Arlene Phillips’s Hot Gossip, the troupes who came after them, who are remembered for their risque and more blatantly sexual performances. But Pan’s People courted their fair share of controversy too, inciting the wrath of Mary Whitehouse when they corrupted the Jim’ll Fix It studio!! Their final performance on Top of the Pops was in April 1976, dancing to Silver Star by The Four Seasons – a performance that was aired a few weeks ago on BBC4’s re-run of Top of the Pops. Legend and folklore say that Pan was a Greek god that loved to play his pan pipes. He presided over the shepherds and their flocks, the mountains, hunters, and rustic music. Therefore there is a certain irony that Pan’s People bowed out from Top of the Pops a couple of months before Greek crooner, Demis Roussoss, appeared wailing like a Greek mountain goat, with his No1 hit “Forever and Ever”!!

Pan’s People were an integral part of Top of the Pops, at a time when the TV show had real clout and influence. A performance by a band or solo artist on the programme almost guaranteed chart success – and that Chart rundown / countdown at the beginning of the show, underscored by CCS’ “Whole Lotta Love” was what it was all about!! The unveiling of the new Top 30 between 12-45 and 1pm ( after Laurie Mayer’s Newsbeat ) on Johnnie Walker’s Radio 1 lunchtime show was a massive deal – adults and schoolchildren would be glued to their transistor radios in their lunchbreaks!!

But let’s leave the last thought and the last dance to Flick Colby, who brought glamour and chic to the institution that was Top of the Pops…….

You can capture, preserve and re-live the memories of the fun and frolics we all had watching Top of the Pops at 7-30pm on BBC1 on Thursdays in the 1970s, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD from that era, framed and mounted. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

It’s Official – Cheryl Cole becomes an eX Factor Judge and Panelist!!

The judging panel for the next X Factor has been confirmed, with Take That’s Gary Barlow, American singer Kelly Rowland, and Tulisa Contostavlos of the hip-hop outfit N-Dubz, joining patriarch Louis Walsh.

The announcement by ITV yesterday terminated speculation over whether Cheryl Cole would be involved, following her unceremonious “elimination” from the X Factor stateside, having appeared in just two episodes. Speculation has been rife as to why the Girls Aloud singer was dropped from the US show and explanations have included suggestions that programme makers feared American viewers would not understand her Geordie accent, to claims of a backstage showdown with fellow judge Paula Abdul.

It has been intimated that Cheryl Cole is believed to have been offered a place on the British X Factor panel as a consolation for her ejection from the show in the USA. Further gossip has expounded the theory that she declined the offer, in response to Simon Cowell being conspicuous by his absence in terms of coming to her defence in the USA.

Frankly I don’t care a jot!! Cheryl Cole is now an eX Factor Judge and Panelist!! So what? Yes, she’s a maternal and nurturing type, who was very adept at taking young “wannabees” under her wing. But in terms of her musical credentials, there are none!! Pretty beyond belief, sadly she cannot back this up with anything that could be described as coming close to talent……As irritating as Louis Walsh can be, his track record in developing successful acts stands close scrutiny. Clearly Gary Barlow will be a major asset to the X Factor, as one of the UK’s brightest songwriters and performers – Take That are far and away the most successful group to have emerged from the “Boy Band” mould.  Kelly Rowland is a talent in her own right, and the other girl I’m not familiar with, but no doubt she will bring hip-hop “street cred” to the show.

So although some “Doomsday merchants” might claim the UK X Factor will struggle without Cheryl Cole’s star quality, Simon Cowell seemed singularly unperturbed, when in ITV’s Press Release, he enthusiastically championed the new team of judges, stating –  “Each of them bring a different attitude. They have had a ton of hits between them, and they are all committed to finding a star. I have a feeling Louis and Tulisa will have slightly different points of view as to what the next star should look and sound like.” Gary Barlow said he was “extremely excited” at his new role, adding –  “I’ve always been a fan of the show and always enjoyed performing on it too. My goal is to find a global superstar. If I don’t find one, I won’t have done my job.”

Meanwhile London tourist attraction Madame Tussauds has prepared for Gary Barlow’s involvement with the X Factor by placing his figure in a special area dedicated to the show. Visitors can audition for the new judge in the “X Factor studio”, a re-creation of the audition space used for the show. They will also have a chance of having their efforts seen by the producers of the X Factor. The best audition from each day will be reviewed by the programme team as part of the selection process for this year’s series.

Nobody is indispensable in this world, and Cheryl Cole may wish to ponder that her stage act is as stilted and plastic as Gary Barlow’s waxwork model – as such her qualifications as an X Factor judge were dubious at best, and therefore she will soon be a distant memory, as the X Factor phenomenon rolls inexorably on…….

 

Are the Best TV Show Theme Songs of All Time from the Kitsch 1970s?!!

Is it just my age? Am I trapped in the inevitable “40 something” time trap of sentimentality and nostalgia for the 1970s? Maybe this is part of the dreaded phenomenon known as the “Mid Life Crisis” that I have been waiting to kick in for most of the past decade!! But somehow life seemed better and brighter in the 1970s……. The reality is almost certainly that that wonderful defence mechanism in the brain, called “selective memory” has kicked in!! Maybe it’s just that I was an adolescent and teenager in the 1970s, and life’s disappointments and failures had yet to dull and cynically corrupt my natural “joie de vivre”!!

So it is with caution that I suggest the premise that the best TV show theme tracks and songs emanated from those “golden days” of the 1970s. This is in no way a conclusion borne of scientific criteria, but I honestly believe that the rich diversity of music from the 1970s was reflected and mirrored by TV Show Theme Tunes of that decade. Please feel free to disprove my theory, and I invite all those that were teenagers in the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s to challenge my musings, and leave your comments and thoughts in the Reply Box at the end of this article….

My Top Five Favourite TV Show Theme Songs of All Time are as follows –

1) The Persuaders Theme by the John Barry Orchestra. Barry pulled out all the stops, in composing this masterpiece for Lew Grade’s wonderful ATV show that paired a post Saint and a pre-James Bond Roger Moore with Hollywood icon, Tony Curtis. The single should have reached No 1, but No 13 proved to be unlucky for it when it stalled and peaked in this position in the UK charts in early 1972!!

2) The Protectors – “Avenues and Alleyways” performed by Tony Christie, which completely overshadowed the elegant adventure show, starring Nyree Dawn Porter, Robert Vaughan and Tony Anholt . To my mind, still Tony Christie’s best song, not reflected in the single’s peak chart position of No 37 in March 1973.

3) Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads. The show’s catchy theme song, “Whatever Happened to You”, was written by Mike Hugg (of Manfred Mann) and series co writer Ian La Frenais, and was performed by Hugg’s session band under the name Highly Likely. It made the lower reaches of the UK Top 40, peaking at No 35 in  in May 1973. Mike Hugg also wrote the theme tune to the spin-off 1976 feature film, entitled “Remember When”. The catchy tune matched the cheeky innocence of the programme’s protagonists Geordie mates Bob and Terry, played by Rodney Bewes and James Bolam.

4) The Adventures of Black Beauty – Sunday teatime in the early 1970s was always brightened for me by this “beauty”…..not the horse, but a human, namely the beauty of the leading actress, Stacy Dorning!! The theme tune, “Galloping Home”, was written by Denis King and performed by the London String Chorale. It was released as a single and peaked at No 31 in the UK charts in February 1974. It was later used at the climax of the first series of I’m Alan Partridge, with Steve Coogan’s character dreaming of running through a field as Black Beauty does in the series’ title sequence.

5) Cheers Theme Tune – “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”. The theme song from the 1980s television sitcom Cheers was written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo and performed by Gary Portnoy. Not long after the show was first screened, Gary Portnoy went back into the studio to record a full-length version of the song that reached the outskirts of the UK charts, peaking at No 58 in March 1984.

All these fantastic theme songs surprisingly had very modest success in the charts when released as singles!! Significantly only one TV Theme Tune from the 1980s, therefore endorsing my flimsy theory that the best TV Themes were spawned in the 1970s. But what are your favourite TV show theme tunes of all time?

Get your favourite TV Show Theme Song in it’s original vinyl single or compact disc format, framed and mounted, by clicking on….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively you can buy a “TV Theme Song  Souvenir” for a family member, or friend……this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration ie a 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Mother’s or Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

Simon Cowell is one of the New Faces in Sunday Times Music Rich List

It has been revealed that X Factor creator Simon Cowell has a fortune worth £200m and this year joins Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Paul McCartney in the Sunday Times Music Rich List Top Ten.  Simon Cowell has made the Top 10 for the first time, positioned at No 6, up from 11 last year. The ongoing success of the X Factor in the UK, combined with the recent deal to launch the show in the USA, have undoubtedly boosted his wealth.

Clive Calder, co founder of Zomba Records and its subsidiary Jive, tops the list with £1.3bn, with Andrew Lloyd Webber in second place with £680m. The rest of the top 10 consists of Sir Cameron Mackintosh (£675m), Sir Paul McCartney (£495m), Simon Fuller (£375m), Sir Elton John (£195m), Sir Mick Jagger (£190m), Sting (£180m) and Keith Richards (£175m).

Ben Cardew, news editor of Music Week, questions whether Simon Cowell should be in the music list at all – “I’m slightly dubious about any of these lists but whatever his actual ‘fortune’ may be, it’s clear Cowell has done well financially over the past few years. For all his success with selling music, I would imagine most of his money comes from TV.” ( Quote from Guardian newspaper ). This attitude is typical of the prevalent opinion within the music industry, where Simon Cowell’s X Factor is frequently criticised for dumbing down pop music, and generally undermining the credibility of the music industry. Infact one of  Simon Cowell’s fellow Top Ten Sunday Times Music Rich List members, Sir Elton John, is one of the biggest critics of the X Factor. In fairness, he is entitled to express his opinion as one of the UK’s one successful and creative music acts!!

However the X Factor format is by no means a unique or new creation. Those of a certain vintage will remember Hughie Green’s “Opportunity Knocks” in the 1960s and 1970s, and it’s later spin off, ATV’s “New Faces”. Although neither talent show were purely and exclusively about championing music acts, they both spawned musically dubious groups that were to have chart success. Most notable were Paper Lace who had three hits in 1974, including “Billy Don’t be a Hero” which reached No1, keeping the sublime and superior “The Air that I Breathe” by the Hollies from reaching the summit of the charts ( a scandal and a crime for which they should have gone the same way as their hero, “Billy” who lost his life in the song!! ). Also in that year, New Faces winners Sweet Sensation reached No1 with “Sad Sweet Dreamer”, which is not a bad soul song – something that could not be said for the New Faces winners, Liverpool’s Our Kid, who reached No2 in 1976 with “You just might see me cry”. And indeed how we cried and shed tears at the appallingness of that particular song!!

Simon Cowell has also part modelled his X Factor pantomime villain personae on New Faces panelists, songwriter Tony Hatch and Rak Records owner and producer Mickie Most. Both were similar to Simon Cowell in terms of their scathing arrogance and caustic, dismissive put downs, but unlike Simon Cowell they had a better track record in producing enduring pop hits, outside the programme!!

However whether Simon Cowell should technically be in the Sunday Times Music Rich List, or whether the X Factor has any real musical worthiness, credibility or integrity are pretty irrelevant – twenty odd million viewers for last year’s X Factor Final are what really counts, and it is they that determine whether the show carries on, and Simon Cowell’s success continues!!

For those that can remember the nostalgic era of “Opportunity Knocks” and “New Faces”, you can permanently re-live the memories and the good times of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD, framed and mounted, by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/ …….. and this way your favourite song can be immortalised on your living room wall in 2011!!

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

The drought of Summer 1976 was reflected in the music of that year!!

Tucked away on BBC4 on Friday night was a curiosity that appealed to old music anoraks like me. The channel had an evening dedicated to the history of Top of the Pops, with a special emphasis and programming on how the show fared in 1976 ( “Top of the Pops – the story of 1976” ). BBC4’s focus on this particular year chimed with me because I have long thought that 1976 was the worst year of the seventies when it came to music. And so it was conclusively proven on the night!!

How the long hot summer of 1976 cried out for a memorable, classy  soundtrack, and what we got instead were a succession of horrendous Number Ones : JJ Barrie – “No Charge”, Wurzels – “Combine Harvester”, Elton & Kiki – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and Demis Roussos – “Forever and Ever”. Indeed the musical nightmare seemed to go on forever and ever, much like the soaring temperatures…….an eternity, as bland cheese oozed out of every musical pore during the heatwave of that summer. The sweltering temperatures finally gave way to cooler climes in early September, when my Mum recalls going outside to do a rain dance, ironically at the point that “Dancing Queen” acceded to the top of the charts, courtesy of Abba.

The truth is that the drought of Summer 1976 was reflected in the music throughout the whole year, not just the summer, with other obscene and monstrous No1s being Brotherhood of Man – “Save all your kisses for me”, Tina Charles – “I love to love”, Pussycat – “Mississippi”, Chicago – “If you leave me now”, Showaddywaddy – “Under the moon of love”………and so the depressing list continued. And there was no respite at Christmas, a time traditionally for a tongue in cheek, catchy ditty at No1!! No, instead we were subjected to the positively soporific Johnny Mathis’ “When a child is born”!! Infact the only highlight of the year was Abba cementing their place in history with three chart toppers – “Mamma Mia”, “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen”, which although commercial songs, fell on the acceptable side of the cheese grater!!

The reasons for this vacuum of decent, high quality chart music in 1976 are hard to explain, but I suspect that it was simply a no man’s land between the decline and fall of Glam Rock and the advent of Punk and New Wave. 1975 had seen the likes of Slade, Sweet, Mud, Gary Glitter and Marc Bolan bow out as major chart topping acts, but there was nothing in the least bit credible or charismatic to fill the void left behind by their departure. Punk was still an underground movement, that wasn’t to break into the charts until 1977 when the Sex Pistols, Stranglers and the Jam became regular visitors to the charts and the studios at Top of the Pops. And how they were to shake the foundations of the bland pop world, although they were unable to prevent Brotherhood of Man having another No1 with Angelo in August of 1977. This felony was further compounded when the “Brotherhood of Banal and Bland” was then succeeded at the summit of the charts by the equally appalling Floaters single, “Float On”!!

But for all these aberrations, the die was cast and the floodgates opened for a golden age of New Wave and Ska for the next three or four years!! And the musical crimes of 1976 were quickly forgotten…….well at least until last Friday night when BBC4 launched it’s new series of Top of the Pops 1976. Yes, the bad news is that the channel will be showing the remainder of the Top of the Pops episodes from that year, every week in the show’s original Thursday night slot of 7-30 to 8-10pm!! The good news is that from January 2012, BBC4 will have reached the 1977 episodes!!

You can capture and preserve all your memories of seeing your favourite acts on Top of the Pops through the decades, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD, framed and mounted. ORDER NOW by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

 

Monkees reform to celebrate their 45th Anniversary with a UK Tour

It is quite incredible that a band that were “manufactured” in the mid 1960s as the American answer to the Beatles have endured long enough to celebrate their 45th Anniversary. The Monkees were designed as a contrived, artificial band to appear in a  TV show in the 1960s, but like the post war short term accomodatiion fix, the pre-fabricated building, they are still standing long after their supposed sell by date!!

Original members Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork will celebrate this major milestone by performing the Monkees Greatest Hits, including ”Daydream Believer”, ”Last Train to Clarksville”, ”I’m a Believer”, over 10 nights commencing at the birthplace of the Beatles, with a gig at the Liverpool Echo Arena on 12th May.

The original life of the Monkees was relatively shortlived. ‘The Monkees’ TV series ran from 1966 to 1968, and after the show was cancelled they continued to release albums and tour until 1971. However their record sales put them up there with the music giants of the 1960s as they sold 50 million records worldwide. Their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was cemented when their icon, John Lennon described them as the ”Marx Brothers of Rock”. This summed up their zanyness perfectly – I always felt that they mirrored the wacky side of the Beatles, and had the Beatles been made up of four Ringo Starrs, the two groups would have been interchangeable. Although folklore and myth have suggested that the Monkees did not play their own instruments, the keystone to their success was their off the wall personalities. Their records may have been manufactured from plastic, but there was nothing manufactured and plastic about the band and their music!!

That said, the band’s music is very memorable. Everybody has their favourite song, and for the record ( if you will pardon the pun!! ) my favourites are “Daydream Believer”, “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You” and “Alternate Title”. What is your favourite Monkees song?

Why not mark the Monkees 45th Anniversary landmark and preserve some of the Monkees’ back catalogue for posterity as a souvenir?…………Get your favourite Monkees vinyl records or compact discs ( singles or albums ), framed and mounted, by clicking on….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Alternatively you can buy a Monkees “Song Souvenir” for a family member, or friend……this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration ie a 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday, A Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Mother’s or Father’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

MyFirstRecord.co.uk currently have some of the aforementioned Monkees singles and albums available in their original vinyl record format, on the RCA Label.  Select from this full list of albums ( those highlighted and imaged are currently in stock ) –

* The Monkees (1966)

* More of The Monkees (1967)

* Headquarters (1967)

* Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (1967)

* The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees (1968)

* Head (1968)

* Instant Replay (1969)

* The Monkees Present (1969)

* Changes (1970)

* Pool It! (1987)

* Justus (1996)

Have you selected the Monkees album of your choice? Order now, by clicking on…… http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/framed-albums/

Here are The Monkees UK Tour dates. Tickets available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk , www.ticketline.co.uk or www.viagogo.co.uk

May 12 Liverpool Echo Arena
May 24 Manchester Apollo
May 15 Newcastle City Hall
May 16 Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
May 19 London Royal Albert Hall
May 20 Sheffield City Hall
May 21 Birmingham NIA Academy
May 23 Plymouth Pavillions
May 24 Cardiff CIAgoodma
May 25 Nottingham Royal Centre

Monkees Official Websites…… www.monkees.net www.monkees.com

Davy Jones Website…………… www.davyjones.net

For those of a digital persuasion, for all your Monkees Mp3 downloads, click on…….. web2txt.co.uk

AS NME circulation drops further, is this the death knell for the music press?

It’s been revealed that NME’s ( New Musical Express ) circulation has fallen by 16.4%, and as such was the biggest circulation faller among music and film magazines in the second half of 2010.  IPC Media’s NME, which was the only title in the sector to report a double-digit year-on-year drop, now has a circulation of 32,166, and is a timely reminder that the music media icons of old were not cast in granite stone, but merely built on shifting sands.

When “I were a lad” in the 1970s and 1980s, the music fan avidly read New Musical Express, Melody Maker or Record Mirror to glean all the latest musical news, gossip and interviews. On TV, you switched on each week to watch Top of the Pops, The Old Grey Whistle Test or The Tube for your visual fix of chart and more credible music acts. However the digital and online explosion in the last 10 years, has meant that most of these music publications and TV programmes have fallen by the wayside.

That as they say is progress. But it may well be a progress that leads to a future devoid of the music press, as  Bauer Media’s music title Mojo’s circulation also decreased 3.9% year on year and another Bauer music monthly, Q’s circulation of 88,240, means it has dropped 6.9% year on year.

It seems that on line / the internet is fast becoming the one and only place to be for the music fans of today, with it’s instant Mp3 and You Tube downloads. The name of the latter is probably the closest we will ever get again to Channel Four’s Friday teatime music show “The Tube” from now on. But for all purist music and media fans, there is still the seminal “Later with Jools Holland”, so all is not yet lost!!

If you are a traditionalist and old enough to remember “The Old Grey Whistle Test” or Melody Maker, why not preserve some of these musical memories from the 1970s and 1980s by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD, framed and mounted? All you have to do is click on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/ …….. and this way bring some of the 1970s and 1980s into your living room in 2011!!

Alternatively this would make a unique present and original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th or 50th Birthday, A Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

For all the latest music news and articles from NME……. www.nme.com

For those of a digital persuasion, for all your Mp3 downloads, click on…….. web2txt.co.uk


Brit Awards prove that traditional 60s and 70s soul music is alive and well!!

As the new Brit Awards Trophy was unveiled following a makeover by Vivienne Westwood after 34 years, two of the recipients of the trophy in 2011 take us back 30 or 40 years, with a genuine retro feel to their music. Two of the main category winners at the Brits Awards 2011 have their roots firmly placed in the soul music of the 1960s and 1970s. Plan B aka Ben Drew won the British Male Solo Artist and Cee Lo Green International Male Solo Artist, and by doing so they are carrying on the legacy of the great Soul music legends from the great Soul record labels, notably Tamla Motown, Atlanta and Stax.

From the perspective of an “old” 40 something soul man, it is fantastic to see these contemporary artists taking the traditions of soul music and adapting them for a new and young audience; and equally it is very re-assuring to see that young audience appreciate it!! In the case of Plan B, I would love to see his “Plan A”, because his second string is pure genius!! His fusion of edgy urban rap with soft, sensitive soul is nothing short of brilliant. To marry the two genres so successfully and seamlessly takes some doing. Plan B might sound like Motown legends, Smokey Robinson or Stevie Wonder, but the content as so brilliantly illustrated by his stage show at the Brit Awards Ceremony, is all about urban tensions and disenfranchisement. Whilst Motown music was uplifting and optimistic, Plan B’s music is very much the reverse – mournful, morose and moribund.

Meanwhile Cee Lo Green is a more traditional soul singer, embracing the “campness” and white suits of the 1970s soul and disco scene, reminiscent of Barry White, Carl Douglas and George McCrae. And although his music, unlike Plan B, is less packaged for the youth market, the kids have nevertheless embraced it with equal vigour!! So the good news is that Soul music is alive and well, fifty years after Berry Gordy first implemented his vision when he founded the Tamla Motown record label.

If you are a traditional 1960s and 1970s Soul music fan, why not honour the memory of the late lamented James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Billie Holliday and so many others, by ordering your favourite Soul vinyl record or CD, framed and mounted, by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/ …….. and this way bring some soul into your living room in 2011!!

Alternatively this would make a unique present and original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th or 50th Birthday, A Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

For those who prefer digitalised music, download your favourite tunes from Brit Award winners and nominees, by clicking on……….. http://web2txt.co.uk/ Here is the full list of Brit Awards 2011 Winners –

British Male Solo Arist – Plan B
British Breakthough Act – Tinie Tempah
International Album – Arcade Fire, ‘The Suburbs’
Critic’s Choice – Jessie J
International Male Solo Artist – Cee Lo Green
British Single – Tinie Tempah, ‘Pass Out’
International Group – Arcade Fire
International Breakthrough Act – Justin Bieber
British Female Solo Arist – Laura Marling
International Female – Rihanna
British Group – Take That
Mastercard British Album Of The Year   – Mumford And Sons, ‘Sigh No More’

For more info, go to the Brit Awards website……. www.brits.co.uk/

Yell Ad takes us back to the days of the old school yard and record shops, paralleling Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity”

Yell’s new TV commercial, which updates the classic 1980s Yellow Pages commercial featuring Fly Fishing starring J.R. Hartley, has been remade for the digital era in 2011, but still cleverly transports us back to an era when the “internet” was something you used when fishing!!

The 2011 remake, entitled Day V Lately, follows a much more contemporary theme, with a new iconic character, a former DJ, embarking on the hunt for his lost 90s dance record, using Yell. According to a press release issued by Yell’s Marketing Department, “The ad not only taps into the nostalgia of those that remember the original version, but will bring a smile to the face of a new generation. It also reflects how Yell has evolved over the last three decades. The original advert, which launched in 1983, starred a loveable older gent who warmed the hearts of the nation towards Yellow Pages when, after an extensive and initially fruitless search, he managed to track down a copy of his book Fly Fishing, thanks to a listing in Yellow Pages”.

Mirroring J.R. Hartley’s search from 1983, the new TV commercial tracks Day V Lately, as he visits several real independent record shops trying to find a copy of the trance mix of his original track. Having drawn a blank with his search for the Holy Grail, Day V Lately returns home where his daughter  helps him in his search, suggesting he accesses Yell on her iphone to find a wider choice of independent record stores. Within minutes his search is fruitful. For those of us of a certain vinyl vintage, that feeling of euphoria borne from the success in tracking down an elusive vinyl record is palpable and strikes a resonance in our hearts!! However it begs the question, which planet is Day V Lately living on?!! In his world there appear to be a multitude of old record shops; in mine I can only think of one – Rob’s Record Mart in Hurt’s Yard, Nottingham. There was another, The Left Legged Pineapple in Churchgate, Loughborough, but that is now residing further down the lane in the graveyard of the Church from which the “Gate” gained it’s name!! Like so many independent record shops, it finally gave up the ghost of trying to retail vinyl records and CDs about three years ago, when digital downloads revolutionised the marketplace.

The irony is that Yell’s Digital Era DJ seeks to buy his elusive record from a high street independent retailer, whereas the majority of vinyl record anoraks would source it online via e-bay etc. However it suits Yell’s purposes for this to be so, because it evokes memories and nostalgia for the era of the record shop. These establishments had a life and aura all of their own, not least because of the pungent and peculiar plastic aroma emanating from the vinyl record!! Vinyl records had a life force and personality that CDs never emulated: they had an individual brightly coloured face aka the label, and a tactile feel that was comforting to the touch.

Nick Hornby perfectly captured the pure essence of the old vinyl record shop in his classic novel, “High Fidelity”. The only disappointment was that the subsequent film was made and set in the USA. Although Hollywood made a good fist of reproducing the book, and John Cusack was excellent in the lead role, this quintessentially English creation should have been made and located in the Holloway Road in North London. However the original novel can never be corrupted. At the time, Mick Brown of the Independent said – “High Fidelity is a book that leaves you  believing not only in the redemptive power of music but above all the redemptive power of love……it is modern fiction’s equivalent of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ Greatest Hits”.

Suzanne Moore of the Guardian described the novel perfectly – “Reading High Fidelity is like listening to a great single. You know it’s wonderful from the minute it goes on, and as soon as it’s over you want to hear it again because it makes you feel young, and grown up, and puts a stupid grin on your face all at the same time”. That’s what a well crafted, good book does, especially when it’s set in the nostalgic world of the vinyl record shop, and constantly references the mentality and passion of the vinyl record fan!! And of course passion and love is exactly what our favourite vinyl records evoke in all of us…………..

You can capture and preserve these vinyl memories, and re-live the good times, by ordering your favourite vinyl record or CD, framed and mounted, by clicking on…….. http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/ …….. and this way your favourite “great single or album” can be immortalised on your living room wall in 2011!!

Alternatively this would make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration  ie a 40th or 50th Birthday, A Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!

To catch up with the latest news from author, Nick Hornby, click on….. www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/minisites/nickhornby/