The Decca Records Dowager Duchess celebrates 90th Birthday

One of the most iconic record labels in the world, Decca Records, turned 90 years old earlier this year.

Since its formation, on 28th February 1929, Decca Records has burgeoned from a prosperous British company to a fully-fledged international recording powerhouse, in the process being christened ‘The Supreme Record Company’.

Decca Records has been the home to a cornucopia of musical legends from Luciano Pavarotti to David Bowie, Dame Vera Lynn to Bing Crosby, Tom Jones to Billie Holiday, The Rolling Stones to Mantovani and is now providing the platform for a new generation of ambitious artists at the forefront of their scenes – names such as Andrea Bocelli, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and one of my favourite contemporary artists, Gregory Porter, who continue to represent the label’s cultural legacy.

Decca President Rebecca Allen recently explained: “Decca Records has been the soundtrack to many historical and cultural moments…Even as we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we continue to push the boundaries; to seek out artists who stand out from the crowd.”

The author’s introduction to Decca Records arrived around the age of six, when I discovered my parents’ 7” vinyl single record collection. In amongst all those black plastic 1960s records with their flamboyant, brightly coloured labels was a royal blue one, showcasing the dulcet tones of a Welsh chap by the name of Tom, who for some inexplicable reason my Mum swooned over every time his voice pealed out from the Dansette record player!!

The record label was Decca Records and the artist was of course Tom Jones. Within the record collection, there were Decca / Tom Jones triplets – “Delilah”, “Green Green Grass Of Home” and the less memorable and not-so-catchy “Not Responsible”. The quality of the music made the Decca Records label stand out for a young me. Several years later I discovered that The Rolling Stones were Decca stablemates of Tom Jones and I was somewhat baffled and mystified as to why Mum and Dad weren’t Rolling Stones fans as well. There’s no accounting for lack of taste!!

When I became a confirmed music fan in 1974, Decca also facilitated my recording of the Radio 1 Solid Gold Sixty / Top 20 rundown on a Sunday evening with Tom Browne. For my 12th birthday, Dad bought me a Decca Radio Cassette Recorder from Comet…….And the Decca circle of music was completed.

So to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Decca Records, here is a Top 20 Best Songs recorded on Decca Records and subsidiary label Deram Records–


Top 20 Best Songs recorded on Decca Records and subsidiary label Deram Records

  1. Rolling Stones – Paint It Black ( 1966 )
  2. Tom Jones – Delilah ( 1968 )
  3. Rolling Stones – Satisfaction ( 1965 )
  4. Casuals – Jesamine ( 1968 )
  5. Procol Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale ( 1967 )
  6. Alan Price – Put A Spell On You ( 1966 )
  7. Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
  8. Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual ( 1965 )
  9. Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin ( 1968 )
  10. Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun ( 1970 )
  11. Lulu – Shout ( 1965 )
  12. Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow ( 1967 )
  13. Neil Reid – Mother Of Mine ( 1972 )
  14. Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil ( 69 )
  15. Marianne Faithfull – As Tears Go By ( 1965 )
  16. Cat Stevens – Matthew and Son ( 1967 )
  17. Zombies – She’s Not There ( 1964 )
  18. Tom Jones – What’s New Pussycat? ( 1966 )
  19. Honeybus – I Can’t Let Maggie Go ( 1968 )
  20. Junior Campbell – Hallelujah Freedom ( 1972 )


Throughout 2019, Decca Records have been celebrating its nine decades of excellence with a number of special releases, events, concerts and more taking place across Europe. Events in Paris and Berlin have already taken place, as well as an official launch in London, which included performances from Decca signees Fieh, Jess Gillam, J.S. Ondara and Imelda May.

During 2019, Decca Records has been marking its 90th anniversary occasion with a series of events –

  • The Supreme Record Company: The Story Of Decca Records 1929-2019 Book: A lavishly illustrated, first comprehensive history of the label.
  • Pavarotti Feature Film: A milestone full-length documentary directed by Ron Howard telling the true story of Decca’s global superstar.
  • V&A Event: London’s prestigious V&A opened its doors to Decca on Sunday 5 May (as part of the V&A Performance Festival 2019) for a day of family fun and music.
  • A Return to Decca’s Lost Recording Studio: Decca’s West Hampstead studios, a hidden historical gem, opened its doors again in July for just a few nights, offering an array of different activities, from one-off performances to unseen artworks and exhibitions.
  • Reissues and Rarities: 90 physical and digital releases that embrace the spirit of the label. The first Friday of every month for the whole of 2019 has been nominated as ‘Decca Day’ with a new release.
  • Performances: A unique series of concerts in London, Berlin and Paris continued throughout 2019. Decca 90 also celebrated at key UK arts and music festivals such as Love Supreme, all four Cheltenham events and Village Green.
  • Record Store Day 2019 (13 April): A series of exclusive vinyl releases were on offer for this global celebration of independent record shops.
  • Rare David Bowie Videos: Six Deram-era clips restored to 1080 HD by the UMC team were released monthly from 8 March.
  • Radio: Two programmes on BBC Radio 2 (available globally on the BBC Sounds app) that chart 20 of the most iconic Decca recordings of all time.
  • Podcasts: 45 unique 90-second podcasts – 45 RPM (Recorded Podcast Moments) that outline key aspects of the label’s history, to appear on

Top 10 Space Travel Songs to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

Is it really half a century since my Dad woke me in the middle of the night to watch the historic first moon landing on the 20th July 1969?

I was awoken from my slumber and obediently filed into my parents’ bedroom to watch a very grainy black and white picture on their portable TV of the first moon landing as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin alighted on the grey dust on the moon’s surface.


Even now 50 years on, the process of Neil Armstrong leaving the landing capsule and descending down the ladder seemed to take an age. With the benefit of hindsight, this was almost certainly a deliberate act for maximum artistic and theatrical effect for the global TV audience.

I was very nearly seven, so I understood importance of the historic moment and the fact that it’s one of the few memories I have from the 1960s endorses the fact that even at that tender age, the significance of the occasion was not lost on me.

Nor was it lost on music producers……Was it just a coincidence that Thunderclap Newman was at No1 in the UK with “Something in the Air”? One thing is for sure, the subsequent Apollo mission moon landings spawned a comprehensive catalogue of chart hits about space travel in the next decade and most notably launched and fuelled the early career of a fella called David Jones aka David Bowie.

In fact the explosion of space travel themed songs seems to have happened at the point that NASA terminated their missions to the Moon in 1972. Perhaps it was only then that the world realised the magnitude of what man had achieved!!

Whatever the reason or motivation, NASA’s trips to the moon inspired some of the greatest songs and hits as illustrated by this magnificent Top 10 space travel themed songs I have compiled in order to mark and celebrate the 50th anniversary of man first landing on the Moon.

Top 10 Space Travel Songs

  1. David Bowie – Life On Mars ( 1973 )
  2. David Bowie – Starman ( 1972 )
  3. Elton John – Rocket Man ( 1972 )
  4. David Bowie – Space Oddity ( 1969 )
  5. Chris De Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling ( 1976 )
  6. Police – Walking on the Moon ( 1979 )
  7. Babylon Zoo – Spaceman ( 1996 )
  8. Kinks – Supersonic Rocket Ship ( 1972 )
  9. Carpenters – Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft ( 1977 )
  10. REM – Man on the Moon ( 1991 )

Bros: When the Screaming Started ( The story of a Brosette )

I’ve only just got round to watching Bros: After The Screaming Stops,  in the last couple of weeks.

Back in the band’s heyday – the late 1980s seeing Bros reach the  peak of their success – I could never have imagined waiting weeks to  watch something starring my idols. 

As I touched on briefly in in The Soundtrack of my Life: Bros came along and I was smitten… The full shebang, the whole  teeny-bopper cliche, that was me in spades; once those pretty boys  burst onto the pop scene I was a goner.

I was nothing short of obsessed. And I was far from alone. Hordes of teenage girls around the globe were as dazzled as I by the dashing  Goss twins from South East London, and their one-time sidekick, Craig  Logan.


The song that started it all off, When will I be famous reached number  two on the UK singles chart in 1987. I can clearly recall hearing it  on the radio for the first time when on a sleepover at a friend’s  house. All I can remember, from that day, is thinking that the lead  singer sounded like a girl. Perhaps I was listening to the backing  vocalist’s part at the time…


I can’t actually remember anything in between that first time I heard Bros first hit, and falling for them hook, line and sinker. Matt  Goss, in particular. As I touched upon in my musings on Missing George  Michael: I’m not exaggerating when I say that I felt, then, that if I didn’t  meet, marry and live happily ever after with Matt Goss, I might as  well die. To my eternal embarrassment now, I do – really clearly –  remember thinking that (*hangs head in shame*).

I loved all three, though. I really did, and can actually recall  sobbing my heart out when I heard that Craig wasn’t going to be at the  upcoming concert at Whitley Bay Ice Rink. My mam asked me what was the  matter – and I snapped at her for not knowing. Of course it was the  end of the world – and Craig wasn’t even my favourite.


It’s difficult to picture now, as a forty-something wife, mother and  homeowner, the sheer levels of hysteria that Bros induced  at the very height of their fame.

Their late mother, Carol, deserved a medal for what she put up with.  You would hear whispers, through the fan network, that someone had got  hold of their home phone number. There were no mobile phones to speak  of and no internet then, all fans could do was camp out by their  mother’s house – and they did just that. Armies of them. Apparently  Carol simply smiled and served up cups of tea and bacon sarnie. What a  woman. No wonder those boys miss her so.

Then, one day, it was announced that Bros were coming to the North  East, to play Whitley Bay Ice Rink. I was going, of course. My cousin  and I spent all out free time listening to, talking about and  generally obsessing over Bros, so it was a foregone conclusion that we  had to get tickets.


With no online sales in those days, our only option was to queue  outside Newcastle City Hall from the early hours. We were up at some  insane hour to make our way to the box office, yet the queue was still  already so, so long. When it did finally start to move, Chinese  whispers made their way back along the line, filling us with fear that  the tickets would be long gone by the time we made it to the front.

Enter our knight in shining armour. I’ll let him remain anonymous, but suffice to say he knew just the right people. He plucked our wads of  notes from our fingers and disappeared through the throng ahead. A  little later – though it certainly seemed like an eternity – he  returned and wordlessly withdrew us from the line, trying not to  attract any attention.

He’d secured us our two tickets. We were finally going to see our  darlings. In the flesh.


As well as dreaming of the day Matt would finally turn to me, smile  and get down on one knee, I spent a lot of time (and a considerable  sum of money) tracking down rare 12 and 7 inch records. Ah, those  halcyon days of vinyl. What pleasure there was to be had, rifling  through the racks at Grainger Market or Pet Sounds in Newcastle,  unearthing a hidden treasure like a limited edition sleeve, special 12  ” remix or complete, sealed 7″ badge pack.

I’d take my precious finds back home on the bus, clutching the carrier  bag tightly. When I was back in my room, my fortress, I’d play them on  my record player, revelling in the heady sensation of possessing  something rare.

If they were badge packs, however, they stayed intact, and still do to  this day. Somewhere, up in our loft, they are stashed, waiting for  that day when they might see daylight once more.

If the latest Bros news is anything to go by, they might even be worth  money. Rumour has it that the brothers are in talks with a huge record  company, with a brand new deal in the offing. If they prove true, who  knows. I might be digging out that vinyl and giving it another spin.  Or a first spin, even, in the case of the sealed packs. If it’s not  worth a mint, that is…


Fashion was all part and parcel of being a Bros-ette (or Brole as the  males were known, though they seemed to me to be few and far between).  The uniform was a faded, ripped Levi 501s with funky belt buckles,  worn with black Doc Martens. No ordinary DMs, though – they had to be  fastened with a Grolsch bottle top instead of laces, just like Matt,  Luke and Craig’s were. No, I’ve no idea why, either.

I did the 501s, I did the shoes, I had Bros t-shirts – but I drew the  line at the bottle tops. Or perhaps I just didn’t know anyone, then,  who drank dutch beer…


It didn’t last forever, of course. I saw my heroes Bros live – and was  lucky enough to get to go again (yep, that mystery knight delivered  once more). I screamed myself hoarse, happy just too have been in the  same room as the twins. Even though, before the concert, I’d been  plotting how to meet them and wondering how on earth I’d cope if that  didn’t happen.

My letter was printed in the fan club newsletter – no I’m not sharing! Thank you the ‘Bros Front’. Battlelines were certainly drawn. Fans  could get very competitive where their boys were concerned, and  Shirley Lewis, Luke’s now-wife, was an object of huge hate and  derision. Just borne from jealousy, that’s all.

By the time the second Bros album was released, my interest was starting  to wane. University beckoned, along with my first real love. Life went  on, and I don’t think I even bought the third album, Changing Faces.

It wasn’t just me. Sales of Push, their first album, were  stratospheric. (Not surprising perhaps, as I, like many fans bought it  twice: as part of a Limited Edition ‘Christmas Box’ second time  round.) The Time plummeted in comparison, then 1991’s Changing Faces  sold far fewer than that. In 1992, Bros went their separate ways.


I didn’t get tickets for the Bros Reunion gig at the O2 in 2017. I didn’t  really want to. Whenever I’ve tried to relive some sort of glory days  in my life, it’s just never been the same second time around. I didn’t  want to sully the memory of those happy, late 80s days.

When I watched When The Screaming Stops, though, I did feel a pang of regret. What must it have been like, to stand there before the boys  once more, at the mighty O2? ‘totes emosh’ is the modern-day adjective  that springs to mind. The crowd certainly looked like they enjoyed it.

I’ll always have a fondness for Matt, and Luke – and Craig too. Will I  ever see them perform again, or finally open up those badge packs I so treasured? Who knows. They do seem like lovely, humble individuals. Damaged, too? Unquestionably. A little intense, perhaps in Matt’s  case; while Luke appeared a little too cool.

They sure did pay a price for their fame, and I only hope this return  works out as they hope. If it repairs the brothers’ fractured  relationship, then I’m sure they would consider it worthwhile.


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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


Tribute bands: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Make it Big

In the grand scheme of things, there really aren’t that many musicians  who ‘make it’. By which I mean churning out chart-toppers, bedding  down a string of groupies or even hurling TVs from hotel room windows.

Those who do join that exclusive club of wealthy, famous singers or  bands often spurn clones of themselves – and in far greater measure  than duplicate or triplicate.

The King
The most obvious example is Elvis. How many men impersonate ‘The  King’? According to ABC News there are over 35,000. And that’s in the  US alone. Goodness knows how many men across the globe are donning  their blue suede shoes and cultivating their sideburns.

In Nevada, the King certainly reigns. Numerous wedding chapels, from  ‘Elvis Chapel’ to ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘Graceland Chapel’  ), the King  will even marry you. To someone else, of course.

My first tributes
So Elvis is big business, especially across the pond. Who else? Well,  pretty much anyone who’s anyone will have their own imposters  replicating their every move. During my Fresher’s Week, I saw Bjorn  Again (Abba) and No Way Sis (Oasis) perform live. The former are still  going strong; the latter had their own UK Top 40 hit in 1996.  Apparently, I was lucky to see them in 1992. Just a few years later,  between 1995 and 1998, No Way Sis could barely keep up with demand for  their live shows. Meaning that they performed more-or-less  continuously for those three years.

I wannasee…
Moving on to more recent times, my father and his partner spent a  whole weekend watching tribute acts last year. They were at the  ‘Wannasee’ festival in Cumbria. By the summer of 2018, ‘Wannasee’ was  in its sixth year and already selling tickets for 2019. With more  locations soon to be announced, according to their website.

At ‘Wannasee’ you can see The Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson,  David Bowie and Guns ’n’ Roses. For £45 for the entire weekend –  including camping. Wow. What’s the catch? They’re tribute acts of  course. Some of the best in the business, too – Bootleg Beatles, anyone?

Compared to a whopping £248 (plus £5 booking fee) to attend  Glastonbury 2019, that’s a steal. Add to that the hefty price tags on  food and drinks in Pilton, Somerset and you’re looking at a tidy sum.  By contrast, I heard that buying a bite to eat and a few beverages in  Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith was very reasonable. They even state on  their website that’s there’s a ’great range of food & drink at real  value for money prices’ ( ).

Local greats
This summer, I saw ‘George Michael’ down at my local caravan park.  Previously, I’d seen ‘Queen’ there. We also recently saw a great band  there called ‘Hitpinch’ who covered all sorts of classics through the  decades.

Such an act is a different kind of tribute band altogether. Even  though many people might not think of them in those terms. They’re not  calling themselves after the band, or necessarily dressing up in their  style, but many of the singers and groups who play at holiday parks,  weddings, parties and pubs are indeed performing famous folks’  material. Just like a tribute act.

They’re not just to be found at holiday parks or parties, either.  Resorts like Blackpool are filled with hotels that feature tribute  acts from all over the country – sometimes, even, the world.

Formerly famous
Worthy at least of a mention, here – if not an entire piece of their  own – are those artists that some refer to as ‘hasbeens’. They once  played on Top of the Pops and Radio One, graced the cover of Smash  Hits and played scores of sell-out concerts, but they are no longer  household names. Yet many of these people are still very active  performers. ‘Sonia’ appeared at my local caravan park this summer,  though sadly I missed her.

Nathan, formerly of Brother Beyond (big in the second half of the  1980s), is soon to sing live at another holiday park close to my home.  He’s playing Butlin’s during the same month, too. His website homepage  shows a video of him covering The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500  miles)’   ). Not ‘The Harder I Try’, then. Presumably, the further  away from he that’s slipping.

A tribute album
Robbie Williams is one artist to have released an entire album, paying  homage to acts from before his time. Sinatra sang ‘Mack the Knife’ in  1958, and Williams wasn’t born until 1974 (the same year as me,  incidentally). ‘Swing When You’re Winning’ was pretty well received –  both critically and commercially, and includes a few original Willams  numbers in addition to the covers. There’s also a few duets on there.  Even with Sinatra, whose voice was sampled for the track. Apparently,  Williams is a huge fan of the old ‘swingers’ – Frank Sinatra, Dean  Martin and their ilk – so this work was created in tribute.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Where would wedding singers, pub bands and holiday park entertainers  be, if they could not pay tribute to their favourite stars by  imitating them? This may be by simply singing one of their tunes – in  the vein of the original, or otherwise. They may perform a track ‘in  the style of’. Or they might go the whole hog and dress up as Queen,  The Beatles, George Michael, Robbie Williams or Elvis.

If they’re really keen, their moniker might even echo a song title, or  the band or singer’s own name. Absolute Bowie, The Marley Experience,  Guns or Roses all perform at ‘Wannasee’, while Elvin  Priestley even sang and strutted his stuff on British TV in ‘Don’t  Tell the Bride’.

They make money and hopefully, enjoy what they do, too. We have a good  night out, of fond nostalgia, at a cut-rate price. What’s not to love?  It’s big business, and for us, a far more affordable way to access our  favourite musicians. Well, almost…


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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

Celebrating the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin as she prepares to abdicate

On the day Madonna celebrates her 60th birthday, I find myself writing this blog article celebrating the life of Aretha Franklin.

At the time of writing, Aretha Franklin is still with us but there is a sad inevitability that her life is drawing to a close, so it is with a heavy heart that I’m preparing this obituary.

Just as Madonna’s 60th birthday is life affirming, it is very arguable that she would not have had a music life and career had female soul artists like Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield not paved the way in the 1960s.

Although the Tamla Motown record label gave us black soul female stars like Diana Ross and Martha Reeves in the 1960s, they were part of girl group ensembles, The Supremes and The Vandellas respectively. But Tamla Motown artists were seen as pop stars – Aretha Franklin was the real deal, with genuine soul credentials following in the footsteps of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Nina Simone.

Aretha Franklin stood alone and tall as a female soul singer in the mid to late 1960s. For this reason, Aretha Franklin is the architect of modern day R ‘n’ B, which is why Beyoncé paid tribute to her the other day on stage. She forged the path for all those R ‘n’ B singers that have followed and not just the female ones.

When researching this piece, I was amazed to find the all empowering “I Say A Little Prayer” didn’t reach No1 in the UK charts when it was released in 1968 – it was No4 over here and even more surprisingly only reached No10 across the “Big Pond” in the USA. Aretha Franklin had to wait nearly 20 years for her only No1 in the UK and US, her duet with George Michael “I Knew You Were Waiting ( For Me )”.

However as the Queen Of Soul prepares to abdicate, it will be Aretha Franklin’s signature tune “I Say A Little Prayer” that we will all turn to for solace and comfort at the point of her departure. I’m sure music fans across the world will be joining me in a private or public vigil, by saying a little prayer for Aretha Franklin and her family and friends.

Thanks for the music and the memories Aretha!!

Footnote ( after Aretha’s death ):

I Say A Little Prayer for you Aretha Franklin – not because you need it now you are in a better place, but because you deserve it for all the joy you gave so many during your lifetime. You will always be the Queen of Soul.

The Wacky World of One Hit Wonders or were they?

Ah, one hit wonders. Who knew that Martine McCutcheon was at number  one for 2 weeks in 1999? Not me, until I started researching this  piece. Mercifully, I’d also forgotten Glenn Medeiros and his only hit  single, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change my Love for You’, which held the top  spot for 4 weeks in mid-1988. That’s 4 weeks of my Top of the Pops  peak viewing time I’ll never get back. (Maybe it should have been  renamed ‘Top if the Plops’ for that 4 weeks, thinks the childish part  of my brain…)

Anyway. One hit wonders or one trick ponies, if you prefer – who can we count among their number? Some  surprised me; songs that I was sure were one-off hits for certain acts had a bridesmaid follow up. The most unexpected example, for  me, was undoubtedly Robson and Jerome. Yes, we all remember ‘Unchained  Melody’ (whether we want to or not), which was at number one for 7  weeks from May 1985, but did you know that the ‘Soldier, Soldier’  stars also had 2 other number ones, in November 1985 – for 4 weeks, no  less. They followed this with another, a year later, which was at the  peak for 2 weeks. Who knew? Not me (and I’m a Geordie, like Robson, if  that makes any difference).

Perennial wedding favourite ‘Come on Eileen’ wasn’t Dexy’s Midnight  Runners’ only number one hit, either; they’d scored another, 2 years  previously, in 1980 when ‘Geno’ spent 2 weeks at the top. I can’t  recall ever having heard that one (but I was only 6 at the time, so  perhaps that explains it).

Often, one hit wonders could be described as novelty songs. From ‘Kung  Fu Fighting’, released in the mid-1970s, via the Spitting Image  ‘Chicken Song’ of 1986. Then Right Said Fred said ‘I’m Too Sexy’ in  the early 1990s, before 1997 brought us both the ‘Teletubbies’ ditty  and ‘Barbie Girl’. Yeah, thanks 1997. All but Right Said Fred reached  the top spot; Fred had to be content with number 2.

There are a lot more where those unique anthems came from, but many  were penned for a specific reason – as a charity single, a Christmas  song or for a film. Some were written as sporting chants; others  specifically to dance to – in a very precise, strictly choreographed  pattern.

Band Aid had one of the most memorable charity singles ever, firstly  in 1984, when the original topped the chart for 5 weeks. 5 years  after, Band Aid II managed 3 weeks at the peak. The 1980s were big for  fund-raising records – USA for Africa scored a number 1 for 2 weeks  with ‘We are the World’, right in the middle of the decade. 2 years  later, in 1987, Ferry Aid managed 3 weeks at the chart’s pinnacle,  raising money in the wake of the Zeebrugge disaster, when the Herald  of Free Enterprise capsized.

More cheerily, some novelty songs were made simply to dance to –  Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night (1984), the ‘Macarena’ in the 1990s, then  ’The Ketchup Song’ in the early noughties. All had in common that they  inspired scores of people to hit the dancefloor and throw very  specific, highly synchronised shapes.

From throwing shapes to kicking balls, some one hit wonders are still  hugely popular with sporting fans at present-day fixtures. New Order’s  1990 hit ‘World in Motion’ is still oft-heard whenever England are due  to play, as is ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba (1997). The most relevant  example right now, though, has to be 1996’s ‘3 Lions’, which recently  re-entered the UK charts during England’s most successful World Cup  campaign for decades. (I guess we can’t strictly call that a  one-hit-wonder, then.)

Some songs are released to coincide with a film in which they feature,  and can be huge hits. In 1982, ’The Eye of the Tiger’, from Rocky III,  reached number one, as did Berlin’s ‘Take my Breath Away’, from Top  Gun, in 1986. That was rapidly followed by ‘Stand by Me’ (from the  film of the same name) and ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now’ by Starship,  in 1987, from the movie ‘Mannequin’. ‘Show me Heaven’ – from another  Tom Cruise film, ‘Days of Thunder’ – scored 4 weeks at the top in the  first year of the the 1990s.

Christmas rounds off each year nicely, and also rounds off this list  of novelty song choices – although not every yuletide one-trick-pony  is particularly festive. A case in point being the acapella ditty  ‘Only You’, which grabbed the coveted Christmas numero uno in 1983. It  enjoyed 5 weeks in the spotlight, before The Flying Pickets sank into  oblivion. ‘There’s no-one quite like Grandma’ wasn’t especially  festive, either, but it was a massive surprise hit for Christmas 1980  – presumably because everyone had to buy it for their Nan. I know I  (or rather, my parents) did. The Christmas hit phenomenon has been  immortalised in novel and celluloid form as well as vinyl; Nick  Hornby’s book ‘About a Boy’ tells the tale of a man who lives on the  royalties from his father’s one and only hit tune – which fortunately  for Hugh Grant’s character – happened to be a Christmas song.

Not all one hit wonders are novelty songs, though; there are many more  which range from dire, to good and great – or even absolute classic.  This piece was inspired when I happened to hear House of Pain’s lively  anthem ‘Jump Around’ on the radio. It wasn’t a huge hit here, reaching  number 8 in 1992, although it fared better across the pond, achieving  3rd place. I love that tune and am always happy to hear it.

How songs perform, chart-wise, here in the UK isn’t always reflected  in the US Billboard. I was surprised that some lists I stumbled across  classified A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ as a one-hit-wonder, when I recalled  those boys from Norway having successive, massive hits over here. The  animated, sketch-style video, in fact, was apparently what catapulted  A-ha to the top of the Billboard across the Atlantic.

Another song I’m pretty fond of is ‘My Sharona’, released in 1979 by  the Knack, which peaked at number 6 here, but managed to secure the  top spot stateside – another of those one hit wonders. American artist Billy Ray Cyrus had a big hit with  ‘Achy breaky heart’ both here and in the US. Although he didn’t get to  number one in either, the song endures (possibly because it’s  profoundly irritating). Cyrus’s daughter Miley, aka Hannah Montana, is  far more famous than he these days.

Some real decade-defining tracks were but one hit wonders. In the  1970s, Wild Cherry had a number 1 in the US (number 7 here) with ‘Play  that funky music’, a song that still pops up on pretty much every funk  compilation album. Synth hot-hit ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ took us  into the 1980s, though I had to look up who even performed it (Bruce  Woolley). Toni Basil’s ‘Mickey’ was so fine in 1982, and is a tune  favoured by compilers of 80s hits albums, even though it didn’t quite  reach number one (it peaked in second place). 1982 also brought us  ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, which roared for 3 weeks at number 1,  before Tight Fit disappeared into obscurity. Thankfully, some might say.

In 1983, Men at Work were ‘Down Under’ up top for 3 weeks; in ’84  Nena’s ’99 Red Balloons’ was a stratospheric, worldwide smash. 1985  brought us ‘na na na na 19’ by Paul Hardcastle, which topped the list  for 5 weeks. ‘You Spin Me Round’ only managed a week, but is very much  fondly and clearly remembered, judging by the airtime it still gets.  In fact, 1985 seems to have been THE year for one hit wonders, with  Jennifer Rush and Feargal Sharkey scoring number ones with ‘The Power  Of Love’ and ‘A Good Heart’ respectively.

By 1986 I was in the full throes of my first massive crush – on Nick  Berry from ‘Eastenders’, who hit the top spot with ‘Every Loser Wins’.  Not one that I ever hear these days, unlike ‘The Final Countdown’ by  Europe, which actually spent less time at number 1 – 2 weeks for the  latter as opposed to 3 for the former.

Rick Astley – who apparently has a new album out, right now – had a  huge 5 weeks at the top of the charts in 1987 with ‘Never Gonna Give  You Up’. Few people have forgotten him (alas, some might add). Most  will have forgotten his Stock, Aitken and Waterman peer Sonia, who had  one big hit in 1989.She’d completely slipped my mind, until I saw a  sign advertising her performance at my local holiday park a couple of  months ago…

Something of a Scottish anthem, The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500  miles)’ peaked just outside the top 10 – at number 11 – in 1988. It’s  hard, now, to believe that this song, still heard so often now, didn’t  even make the top ten. Although it made number 3 in the US – and  number 1 in New Zealand.

By the end of the 1990s, things had something of a Latin flavour, with  Ricky Martin ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ for 3 weeks in July 1999, swiftly  followed by Lou Bega’s ‘Mambo no. 5’ which spent a fortnight at the  top a couple of months later.

By the time we reached the year 2000, I was 26 and my interest in new  music was already waning. Simon Cowell was poised to take the music  world by storm (a dire, dark, threatening type of storm in my book, at  that). I can’t really speak of music from that point on with any  authority, so I’ll stop right here.

Suffice to say that the world of music would not be the same without one hit wonders. Better, perhaps, maybe worse; it would definitely be  different. For me, variety is the spice of life. One good song is  still a good song, and the rich tapestry of music history may well be  somewhat less colourful without those one-off hits and misses.


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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

Top 5 Best LGBT Anthems / Gay Anthems that graced Brighton Pride 2018

There was never a better time to spend a weekend by the seaside than the 4th and 5th August 2018 in Brighton. The lethal cocktail of a summer heatwave, unparalleled since 1976, and Brighton Pride 2018 meant there was only one place to be on the first weekend in August 2018. But it’s the LGBT anthems / Gay anthems that will linger longest in the memory.

However as the colour and flamboyance of the Brighton Pride 2018 parade fades and diminishes, as it inevitably will, the residue that will remain after the pomp and pageantry is incarcerated in the memory bank, will be the music soundtrack.

A cacophony of LGBT anthems / Gay anthems emanated from all the floats and vintage double decker buses, but these were the five that stood out for the Record Press author –


Top 5 Best LGBT Anthems / Gay Anthems that graced Brighton Pride 2018

1) Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out

This comes in at No1 as it formed part of Nile Rodgers / Chic headline set at the Brighton Pride Love BN1 Fest at Preston Park on Sunday Niles Rogers co-wrote the Diana Ross classic and his gig with Chic was the perfect conclusion to the weekend.

2) Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

This gay anthem rang out several times during the parade on a hot sultry, weekend when it was only ever going to rain men as opposed to water / H2O droplets

3) Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real

Admittedly nostalgia has played a part for including this in the Top 5 Best LGBT Anthems / Gay Anthems as I’m old enough to remember this tune being a hit in 1978. Gay or straight, this is one of the greatest dance / disco tunes

4) Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

Again, gay or straight, this song empowers all that encounter it. I defy anyone to say that they don’t find the Gloria Gaynor standard uplifting and inspiring. It’s impact was immediate for me, so much so that I still remember lying in the dark in my bedroom one night in April 1979 and hearing the song for the first time on Radio Luxemburg ( Fab 208 )

5) Cher – Believe

Diva and song combine to make this one of the definitive LGBT anthems / Gay anthems

What are your favourite LGBT anthems / Gay anthems? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
You can order your LGBT anthems / Gay anthems as a framed and mounted vinyl single like the Cher “Believe” one ( to the left ). If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW…..

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. 



Poetry in music: 10 of the best song lyrics

Sometimes, I hear a song I love, but I just cannot wait to get to the  juicy bit in the song lyrics – that one-liner or verse that makes you nod your head and  sing along at the top of your voice. Its hits you right in the solar  plexus and you shout, “yes indeed!”

It can be because the lines are poetry that speak to your very soul,  or it can be simple because you love the cleverness of the word-play.  Some of my favourites, I love because they are realistic, down to  earth and sum up a particular aspect of life so aptly.

Here, pop people, are some of my top picks.

The Beatles – Penny Lane

Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play,
She is anyway

I love this, because it sums up the song so very well. Penny Lane is  just one street in suburban Liverpool; apart from being immortalised  in vinyl by the biggest band ever to grace the planet, it’s nothing  special. I lived in the area during my early twenties – the graduate  years – and apart from a  nice, proper local pub called The Dovedale  Towers, there is nothing else that I can clearly recall about the road.

That, though, is the point of the song. Penny Lane isn’t about anyone  or anywhere special, just day-to-day human life, with all the quirks  and the mundanities that entails. It’s just people going about their  business in one very small part of the world, yet it is poetry in  motion. Life is special – joy can be found in the smallest of daily  activities and in the pokiest corners of the globe.

INXS – Never Tear Us Apart

We could live
For a thousand years
But if I hurt you
I’d make wine from your tears

From everyday suburban life to the most fanciful of notions, now. I  mean, as if? Who would make wine from tears? My Grandad made wine out  of some odd ingredients – most memorably, dandelions – but I don’t  think even he would have considered using someone’s eye emissions as  an ingredient.

No-one lives for a thousand years either, Messrs Hutchence and  Farriss. Of course they don’t. It’s the romance conveyed by these  lines that strikes me. He wants to live with me for a thousand years!  If he hurt me, he’d actually drink my tears! It speaks of such  passion, and prior to the INXS songwriters, only Heathcliff himself,  surely, really embodied such strength of feeling. It was probably this  very intensity that led to Hutchence’s untimely death, too.

Carly Simon – You’re So Vain

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

It is, though isn’t it Carly? About ‘him’ – he, who is rumoured to be  Warren Beatty, with whom Carly Simon had a fling some years ago? The  singer has since confirmed that part of the song is indeed about Mr  Beatty – but not all. On this excerpt, the chorus, she was silent.  Having dated several other high-profile men, including James Taylor  (to whom she was wed) and Mick Jagger, we can but wonder.

We’ve all known one, or more, though, haven’t we, girls? (To be fair,  the boys probably have known some, too.) Those individuals that think  everything revolves around them? Or those who are simply acutely aware  of the power bestowed upon them, having been blessed with Greek God  like looks. I’ve certainly known one of those. He was English, like me  – but it was on holiday to a Greek Island… my lips are sealed.

Oasis – Cigarettes and Alcohol

Is it my imagination
Or have I finally found something worth living for?
I was looking for some action
But all I found was cigarettes and alcohol

Cigarettes, admittedly, are less of a part of everyday life than in  decades past – simply because of a rapidly dwindling population of  smokers – but for some, the enjoyment in life could pretty much be  grimly summed up by the opening verse of this song by one of Britain’s  superbands.

You might get through day, or the week, by the skin of your gritted  teeth, but come the evening or weekend, it was playtime. Smoking and  drinking, which often led to action of another kind, on the dance  floor or in the bedroom. The very stuff of life, indeed; romantic the  notion is not, but countless human lives have actually been created on  the back of fags and booze – and many more sustained by those simple  pleasures.

Pulp – Common People

You’ll never live like common people,
You’ll never do whatever common people do,
You’ll never fail like common people,
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view,
And dance and drink and screw,
Because there’s nothing else to do.

Very much leading on from the last listing, the lyrics once again  reflect the grainy reality of survival for many folk. They dance, they  drink, they fornicate – because where else do they find pleasure in  the everyday matter of living?

I think it’s a message to the monied classes, too. If you’ll always  have back-up, then you simply cannot fail in the same way that those  without can and do. If they take a big business risk, for example,  they might lose everything and, for example, never be able to buy  their own home again, becoming reliant on others – landlords – to  house them. With family money and backing, someone more fortunate can  give things a go without the stakes being so very high.

George Michael – A Different Corner

Take me back in time, maybe I can forget
Turn a different corner and we never would have met

I love this, because it has real resonance for me and how my life has  turned out so far. I literally turned a different corner – took  another trip – earlier than planned when travelling in Australia. That  led me to a hostel in Adelaide, where I almost immediately met my  husband. It took us some years to figure it out, but here we are now,  homeowners on the sunny south coast of England, with an elderly cat  and a daughter soon due to start school.

I know for many there will not be such an extreme example, but I bet  you there are some. Who hasn’t gone to a party or even business event  and met an important person or contact, that has somehow had an impact  – huge or otherwise – on their life? Which leads me neatly onto the  next one…

Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

Oh there ain’t no love no, Montagues or Capulets
Just banging tunes ‘n’ DJ sets ‘n’
Dirty dance floors and dreams of naughtiness!

I love loads of lines from this song, but I the clever nod to  Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers is my favourite. The cleverness of  these lyrics belies the age of Alex Turner – who penned the ditty –  when he wrote it. He was only 20 when the album from which it came,  ‘Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not’, was released. He is  the son of two teachers though, which possibly  explains the shrewd  nod to Romeo and Juliet.

Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We’d roll and fall in green
You had a temper like my jealousy
Too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you, too

This song always sends shivers up my spine. I’m not really a Kate Bush  fan, so this song bypassed me when I read Emily Bronte’s masterpiece  in my late teens. When I heard it, one day later in life, I was  suddenly blown away by how well Bush had reflected the novel so  completely in her lyrics and the music.

Cathy and Heathcliff are the absolute embodiment of the often cited  fine line between love and hate, their relationship the very  definition of tempestuous. As for the passion – wow. Just wow.

ELO – Mr Blue Sky

Hey there mister blue
We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Everybody smiles at you

As I write, we’re in the midst of that rarest of events in Britain – a  heatwave. The sun is constantly shining, parks and beaches are crammed  with unusually scantily clad bodies, desperate to soak up a few of  those feel-good rays during a rushed lunch break or precious,  sun-soaked day off.

The lyrics of this song just sum it up perfectly – look how happy we  are to see the sun! A blue sky, too! No wonder people used to worship  the sun; why these days a lack of sunshine is even recognised as the  cause of a specific kind of mood disorder – SAD (Seasonal Affective  Disorder).
Mr Blue – we are indeed very pleased to be with you.



This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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


What are your favourite song lyrics? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
You can order a favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single or CD single. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW…..

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. 



My Super Seven Soundtracks

Our regular guest blogger Polly Taylor reflects on afternoons and evenings lost in the fantasy arena of the cinema / movies, aided and abetted by great soundtracks……

Lost Boys (1987)

Let’s face it, any album containing 2 INXS tracks was always going to  win me over. The opening duet, ‘Good Times’, sung by Michael Hutchence  and Jimmy Barnes (of Australian band Cold Chisel), is a corker. If  there’s one song that I’d love to hear performed live, it’s this one.  Not just anywhere, though – it would have to be at the Coogee Bay  Hotel in Sydney, where both the former band and the latter artist have  played in years gone by; in fact the Australian National Portrait  Gallery even has a picture of Barnes, singing on that very stage.

That will never happen now, of course – barring someone inventing a  time travel machine that works (DeLorean or otherwise), to transport  me back to 1984 (rather then 1985) when the aforementioned photo was  taken, and Hutchence was still alive.

I also love Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘People are Strange’ and the theme  tune ‘Cry little Sister’. All the tunes are good, with no sign of  filler tracks whatsoever. They evoke the kitsch horror of the movie  perfectly; the motion picture and accompanying soundtrack in perfect  harmony.

Grease (1978)

I know, I know – from the cool as Lost Boys to the super cheesy  Grease? You have a point, but hear me out. If you’ve ever been a  teenage girl – and there’s fairly good odds that you might have been,  at some stage – you should understand. Singing your heart out to the  jolly ditties ‘Summer Nights’,  ‘We go Together’, or ‘You’re the One  that I Want’; the grittier (and dirtier) ‘Greased Lighting’; or the  slushy, soppy song that is ‘Hopelessly Devoted’ – it’s all part and  parcel of female puberty and frankly, an essential rite of passage.

Trainspotting (1996)

From Rydell High School to the grubbier parts of Edinburgh now, for  what is possibly THE film soundtrack of the 1990s. Released right in  the midst of the dance club and Britpop band ‘Madchester’ era, this  film was huge, making massive stars of director Danny Boyle and actors  including Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle. Jonny Lee Miller was even  married to the mighty A-lister Angelina Jolie back then.

The track list reads like a Who’s Who of the mid-1990s – Blur,  Sleeper, Primal Scream, Leftfield, New Order, Pulp, Elastica… even the  ‘Godfather of Punk’ Iggy Pop has two tracks on there. Lou Reed’s  ‘Perfect Day’, used as it is in the film, is pure genius. If you think  it glorifies drug-taking, just keep watching, until the very bitter  end, of this groundbreaking movie.


The Beach (2000)

Phew. From the frenetic, gritty backstreets of the Scottish capital to  a tropical paradise. ‘The Beach’ is set on a picture postcard Thai  island, boasting the most pristine peach of a beach. Things gradually  start to sour, though, until the benign ‘cancer in the corals’ of Alex  Garland’s novel turn malignant. The clear blue waters become sullied  by blood, and the islanders begin to lose their grip on their Utopian  universe. The soundtrack fits both the film and the book beautifully,  from ‘Pure Shores’ to ‘Spinning away’, ‘Brutal’ and ‘Out of Control’.



Romeo and Juliet (1996)

This modern take on Shakespeare was released the same year as  Trainspotting, and despite being a love story, it also shines a light  on the grimier side of life. Mostly filmed in Mexico City and Boca del  Rio (also in Mexico), parts were also shot in Miami; a city almost as  infamous for its seedier side, as it is renowned as a sunbaked holiday  spot.

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, after all. Some songs are, as you might  expect, all ‘Young hearts run free’; while ‘Kissing you’ seems like  something of a lament. My favourite is the Wannadies’ ‘You and Me  song’, and not only because I once spent a crazy evening with one of  my backpacking chums, literally jumping up and down on the floor like  kids on a bed in a Sydney flat-share. We caused the manager of the  block to hammer on our door and tell us to belt up. Perhaps not my  finest hour, but it was one of the funniest…

The Doors (1991)

I first watched ‘The Doors’ film some months before the mad half hour  in Sydney had even happened, on a farm in South Australia near the  Murray river, where I spent a few happy months picking apricots,  scoffing peaches and mixing (for a change) with real Australians.

Atmospheric is the word that springs to mind; both for the film and  for the Doors’ musical output, ‘Riders on the Storm’ being the  ultimate – but not the only – case in point. ‘Light my Fire’ is of  course a veritable anthem, although it is ethereal, as opposed to  downright eerie, which I find ‘Riders on the Storm’ to be. Eerie isn’t  a bad thing; I love a bit of gothic horror, and the Doors could  deliver that in spades through their songwriting and performance. Not  to mention the trance-like, hypnotic quality of much of their music.

Val Kilmer, previously known to me as ‘Iceman’ in Top Gun, was  brilliant and a thoroughly convincing Jim Morrison, and his Top Gun  co-star Meg Ryan nailed it, too. Great film, intriguing story and a  fabulous soundtrack to boot.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

The release of this perennial girls’ film favourite coincided  agreeably with my entering my teens – I was 13 when it came out. I was  developing physically, and mentally, was starting to discover the  power of a serious crush. All the girls, in 1987, had a crush on  Patrick Swayze, but it wasn’t only his hip-swivelling that gripped our  hearts (and nether regions). The movie’s music was utterly  captivating, too.

I must point out, at this juncture, that the edition you want – if you  so desire – is ‘Ultimate Dirty Dancing’, rather than the ‘Original  motion picture soundtrack’. The latter omits Solomon Burke’s ‘Cry to  Me’, for one thing – the very song to which Johnny and Baby finally  get it on. A heinous crime (the omission, I mean, not the getting it  on).

‘Do You Love Me’ is missing, too – the very song that plays, right  there in that oversized barn-type place, where the whole love story  begins and we first see some proper dirty dancing. Otis Redding is  even disregarded, which is, frankly, unforgivable. ‘Ultimate Dirty  Dancing’ is one of my top picks; what a shame the bigwigs saw fit to  omit some of the most seminal tracks from the official version.


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @



A favourite romantic film, framed and mounted, makes a unique wedding gift for the bride and groom or alternatively an original birthday present for your girlfriend / wife. You can personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 



Kenny Rogers’ international appeal & storytelling transcends his Country & Western roots

Recently the Record Press author posted a BBC article on social media announcing that Kenny Rogers had sadly been forced to cancel the remaining dates on his Farewell Tour due to ill health and then I thought little more of it……

A few hours later I returned to Twitter and Facebook, to be inundated by over a thousand responses to the sad news that Kenny Rogers had been forced to prematurely bow out of his final encore on the road. The fact that people on both sides of the “Big Pond” ( aka the Atlantic Ocean ) felt compelled to comment & convey not only shock and sadness but good wishes, demonstrates the love, affection and high esteem with which Kenny Rogers is held in throughout the world.

This in turn made me re-examine my relationship with Kenny Rogers. Like many in the UK, we were first introduced in the early summer of 1977  through a mutual friend, Lucille. The song “Lucille” stayed in the charts having peaked at No1 for many weeks, but the resonance of the sad story of the father and “four hungry children” she abandoned, lived on much longer in our hearts and minds. What Kenny Rogers proved in that moment and on that 7″ vinyl single was that not only was he a great vocalist, but also a great story-teller and raconteur.

My love of Kenny Rogers was cemented in 1979 and 1980 when he released the beautiful, poignant and moving ballads “She Believes in Me” and “Lady”, the latter a No1 in the USA. He also reached No1 in the USA in 1983 when he teamed up with good friend Dolly Parton with the classic duet “Islands in the Stream”.

Kenny Rogers has also had two No1s in the UK – the aforementioned “Lucille” in 1977 and “Coward of the County” two years later in 1979. Interestingly the two songs are great examples of storytelling as is “The Gambler”.

The news that Kenny Rogers’ health may be failing, possibly heralding the end of his active musical career, focussed my mind sufficiently for me to realise how much of a significant part Kenny has played in my life and the soundtrack of that life. So much so, that I have compiled this Record Press Top 5 Best Kenny Rogers Songs –

Top 5 Best Kenny Rogers Songs


1) Lady ( No12 1980 )

2) She Believes in Me ( No42 1979 )

3) Islands in the Stream ( No7 1983 )

4) Lucille ( No1 1977 )

5) The Gambler ( No22 2007 )


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

Fans of Kenny Rogers can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single like this one ( to the left ). If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW…..

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. 



Robert Smith marks 40th anniversary of The Cure as Meltdown Festival Cure-ator

Robert Smith has revealed to the NME that he’ll be performing at his own curated Meltdown Festival this summer, which has also inspired him to write new material for The Cure.

Following in the well-trodden footsteps of distinguished figures like David Bowie, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker, Robert Smith has hand selected the acts heading to the Meltdown Festival at London’s Southbank Centre this June. Last month the initial line up was revealed, including Deftones, The Libertines, Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo, The Psychedelic Furs, 65daysofstatic, Alcest, The Anchoress, Kristin Hersh, Kathryn Joseph, MONO, and The Notwist all announced for the 25th edition of the iconic Meltdown Festival.

Recently the reclusive Robert Smith gave a rare interview to Matt Everitt on BBC 6 Music, where he discussed the Meltdown Festival, and what the future holds for The Cure: “It might just be a reaction to the fact that in the modern world, people talk endlessly about nothing,” Robert Smith said to explain his media silence in recent years. He said that he was simply waiting for a “focal point to a new project”, claiming that without that “the whole notion of doing an interview becomes redundant” without new material to discuss.

Robert Smith’s research into acts to play the Meltdown Festival has inspired him to go back into the studio. The process of curation has “reinvigorated his creativity and made him want to do something new.” Robert Smith explained: “I’ve listened to more new music in the last six months than I ever have. I’ve suddenly fallen in love with the idea of writing new songs, so it’s had a really good effect on me. I booked some time to do some demos next month. Some of it’s really good, some of it not so good.”

Robert Smith will be performing on the closing Sunday of the Meltdown Festival with a selection of collaborators. He elaborated: “It will be me and four other people that I know really well, and some others,” he said, adding that they’d be playing “primarily Cure songs” and interpretations of tracks by the band with “different instrumentation”, with a set “completely different to the Hyde Park show” and “a little bit more weird.”

The Record Press author can’t believe that it is 40 years since Robert Smith and The Cure released their first single. My introduction to Robert Smith and The Cure was their 1980 single “A Forest”, which was one of the few songs guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor in the early 1980s, along with “Sanctuary” by The Cult and New Order’s “Blue Monday”. For me Robert Smith and The Cure were two sides of the same coin with Siouxsie Sioux and The Banshees. I’m sure Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux were separated at birth.
Since 1980 I have always adored the tortured, melancholic and morose vocals of Robert Smith and for this reason I can forgive him for accidentally smudging his red lipstick every morning!! Lest we forget the brilliance of Robert Smith and The Cure, here is our Record Press Top 5 Best The Cure Songs –
Top 5 Best The Cure Songs
1) A Forest ( No31 1980 )
2) The Love Cats ( No7 1983 )
3) Friday I’m In Love ( No6 1992 )
4) Fascination Street ( Non hit 1989 )
5) In Between Days ( No15 1885 )
6) A Strange Day ( Non hit 1982 )
7) Boys Don’t Cry ( No22 1986 )
8) Killing An Arab ( Non hit 1978 )
9) Let’s Go To Bed ( No44 1982 )
10) Close To Me ( No24 1985 )
What are your favourite The Cure songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of Robert Smith and The Cure can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single like this one. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW…..

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW……..



Steve Ellis of the Love Affair to release new album on 50th anniversary of Everlasting Love

Steve Ellis, formerly lead vocalist with 1960s band Love Affair has collaborated with Paul Weller on a new album “Boom! Bang! Twang!”, to be released on vinyl and CD on the 20th April 2018.

The album is released 50 years after Steve Ellis had a huge hit with the classic “Everlasting Love” with his band Love Affair and sees a return to the label behind that single, CBS (via Sony).

The album has been co-produced by long-time fan and friend Paul Weller, with the album also featuring Paul Weller and Andy Crofts and Ben Gordelier (The Moons) and numerous other alumni of the rock and pop hall of fame.

The finished product will be a combination of new songs and covers, with the first single off the album, Lonely No More, co-written with Paul Weller, described as a ‘glorious Northern Soul-esque shaker’. As for the covers, they take on tunes from William Bell, Gerry Marsden, Jimmy Cliff and Tim Hardin.

For the Record Press editor, Steve Ellis has one of the great white British soul voices of the 1960s, only matched by Steve Winwood ( Spencer Davis Group & Traffic ) and Steve Marriott ( Small Faces ). A holy trinity of “Sixties Steves”! To prove the point check out this Top 5 Best Love Affair / Steve Ellis Songs –


Top 5 Best Love Affair Songs


1) Bringing On Back The Good Times ( No9 1969 )

2) Everlasting Love ( No1 1968 )

3) Rainbow Valley ( No5 1968 )

4) A Day Without Love ( No6 1968 )

5) One Road ( No16 1969 )


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


The wedding first dance song is de rigueur but is it absolutely necessary?

Inspired by Record Press author Simon’s recent post on funeral songs ( albeit a sombre subject ), I  thought a post on the wedding first dance song might uplift things a little. Such a  joyous occasion, a wedding; with all the fabulous flowers, divine  dresses, delicious food and, usually (sometimes regrettably) more than a little fizz!!

Mister and I didn’t have a wedding first dance song as such. We had a  Ceilidh first, before the DJ did his disco set. We chose to have  traditional country dancing to start things off, as we’d seen  previously what a great ice-breaker it could be, and as many of our  families and friends had not met before, that seemed ideal.

So the “wedding first dance song” was a Gay Gordon’s or Strip the Willow – something  like that, I can’t quite remember – and everyone joined in. We didn’t  really want to smooch around on the dance floor, dozens of pairs of  eyes boring into our backs, so we gladly forsake the first dance in  favour of a structured group fling.

We’re not really traditionalists. We had the speeches before the  wedding breakfast, too – simply to calm my Dad’s nerves. I knew he  wouldn’t enjoy his food if his stomach was churning at the thought of  making a speech, and he breathed a huge sigh of relief when we  suggested switching things around.

The other factor is Mister and his musical tastes. My musical taste is  very eclectic; I’m not a huge fan of ballads in general and I draw the  line at thrash metal, but the latter cannot be said about Mister. To  me, Napalm Death sound like someone vomiting; for him they deserve a  place in music history, if not quite in his music collection.  (Although he does have a couple of White Zombie CDs.)

It takes two to have a wedding and therefore a wedding first dance song, but for the purposes of this piece  it’s mainly my views I’m sharing, though there is of course more than  a nod to Mister’s musical tastes here. The thing is, we do share a  dislike of sugary sweet, fluffy ballads, and both prefer something  with a bit more grit, a little edgier.

So, what to choose? This is a tricky one, and I’ve had to peruse our music collection at length in pursuit of some answers. Age comes into it, too, of course; we wed in 2002, so any music released after that  date is out. The music of the 1980s and 1990s was what we grew up  with, so that’s what I have to draw upon. Stock, Aitken and Waterman  excluded, of course. Kylie and Jason’s ‘Especially for you’ is out,  then, darn it.

Much of the music of those decades is out, in fact, because much of it  is upbeat pop that just wouldn’t suit a slow, lingering dance.  Anything too frisky is no good, either, frankly, as it’s highly likely  that, after a verse or so, an Uncle will drag a bridesmaid onto the  dance floor. Granny might even join in at some point. I can’t see her  swaying her creaking hips to anything too sultry.

There’s an element, then, of one size fits all. The wedding first dance song should mean something to, and/or be loved by, the couple, but be suitable for all who share the occasion. It’s not easy, is it? I can see why – with a  zillion other things to organise, working full-time and living over 350 miles away from our wedding venue – we opted out of picking a  smoochy little number.

Then there’s the wording. Many ballads might sound right, in terms of tune, but once you listen to the words they’re simply not at all  suitable. The lament of a jilted lover is totally at odds with  lifelong promise made during the wedding ceremony. Think Adele’s  ‘Someone Like You’. You see what I mean? Not to mention that it was  released long after 2002 – Adele was only 13 when we wed.

INXS are one of the obvious contenders. They’re my all-time top band,  and Mister is also a fan. They’re Australian, too, which is relevant  because we met down under – even though we’re both British. Obviously  we’re not looking at ‘Devil Inside’ or ‘Suicide Blonde’; I’m thinking  more along the lines of ‘Never Tear us Apart’. Coincidentally, this was one the  songs Record Press Editor Simon chose to see him out in his aforementioned funeral songs article.

It’s definitely a contender for a wedding first dance song, but is it suitably joyous and uplifting?  It is all about love, but there’s an allusion to future hurt in there.  ‘If I hurt you, I‘d make wine from your tears’ is one of my very  favourite song lyrics ever, but it sits there in the middle of the  song, like a slightly shadowy warning. Maybe not the number one  choice, then.

I love George Michael, and he is King of the ballad. Boy,  could that man’s voice make a ballad utterly searing and soulful, while sounding completely effortless. ‘Careless Whisper’, though, is  once again essentially an effigy to a lost love. ‘Jesus to a Child’  is, too – as well as painfully raw and far too personal to George. ‘I  Want Your Sex’ is out, obviously – that’s more of a one for the  private, than the public, domain – and ‘Father Figure’ is not right,  either, for obvious reasons. Which leaves ‘A Different Corner’, but  like ‘Careless Whisper’ and Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, the words are mournful. Not only that, but that song forever reminds me of the Brits  2017 and Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirlie lamenting their lost  friend. Besides, Mister isn’t anywhere near as big a fan as me.

Which takes me right back to the very first wedding first dance song I thought of. It’s not  one that you might typically associate with weddings – but it’s  absolutely perfect. For us, anyway. It opens with the lines: “I’ll protect you from the hooded claw. Keep the vampires from your door”.

Gothic, admittedly, but there’s also a romantic undertone. It’s a  tender sentiment, really, wanting to protect the one you love, even if  the mention of vampires is a little fanciful. ‘Sparkling love, flowers and pearls and pretty girls’ couldn’t (frankly, Frankie) be more  appropriate for a wedding. The song speaks of love as a ‘force from  above’, proclaiming ‘undying, death defying love’. What could be more pertinent than lyrics that proclaim ‘I’m so in love with you’? Yet the  most fitting line, for me, is ‘make love your goal’. What’s heading  into the future together, to embark upon married life about, if not that very premise from Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power  of Love’?…..


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @


In a recent poll, these were the most popular Wedding First Dance Songs…….

So if you have got a Wedding coming up and you are struggling to think of a unique wedding gift / original wedding present, then order the Bride & Groom’s Wedding First Dance Song in a vinyl single / CD single format; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir of the “Big Day”. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 



Call me morbid, but I’ve already selected my funeral songs and here they are……

Recently my 78 year old mother organised her funeral with the local undertakers or funeral directors as they are commonly called these days. The only thing she did not determine or specify is her funeral songs / soundtrack.

Mum opted for a natural burial and a secular ( non religious ) service in keeping with her atheist beliefs. Logistics organised ( I know that makes her sound like a pallet of goods!! ), the only gaps in the service appear to be the music, which will be left to my siblings and myself. And because it will be a secular affair, the occasion will afford us the opportunity to intersperse the service with pop music rather than hymns.

Selecting Mum’s favourite songs will be “easy peasy” as her favourite songs from the 1960s & 1970s stand out like beacons on the landscape of my childhood memories. The funeral soundtrack would comprise of Al Martino “Spanish Eyes” ( 1973 ), Charles Aznavour “She” ( 1974 ), “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton ( 1975 ) and “Begin the Beguine” by Julio Iglesias ( 1981 ).

As you may have noted Mum’s favourite songs / 7″ vinyl singles from the 1970s tended to have a ballad bias, when perhaps she was going through a more pensive, philosophical phase in her thirties. Her vinyl record collection from the 1960s reflected the energy and vitality of someone in their twenties, but I think we might get away with one raunchy song within her funeral service. “Delilah” by Tom Jones ( 1968 ) is a possibility although my choice would be Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” ( 1966 ) as the coffin and cortege process down the aisle and out of the church into the graveyard ( That would amuse Mum!! ).

There is one glaring omission from my Mum’s funeral songs / soundtrack and that’s a Shirley Bassey number. Although there was no Shirley Bassey singles in her record collection; there were a number of Shirley Bassey albums. As kids there was many a night that my sister and I drifted off to sleep, with the smell of cigar smoke and the sounds of Dame Shirley wafting up the stairs to our bedroom as Mum and Dad entertained friends downstairs in the lounge.

The designated Shirley Bassey song would be one of three: her cover of the Beatles / George Harrison’s “Something” ( 1970 ), the James Bond theme “Diamonds Are Forever” ( 1972 ) or the tormented “Never Never, Never” ( 1973 ). Now that will be a difficult choice when the time comes.

Of course whilst planning Mum’s funeral songs / soundtrack, inevitably I started musing on the options for my own funeral service soundtrack. It didn’t take me long to collate the list and here they are –

My Funeral Songs / Soundtrack


1) Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun ( 1974 )

2) Guns ‘N’ Roses – November Rain ( 1992 )

3) Genesis – Snowbound ( 1978 )

4) INXS – Never Tear Us Apart ( 1988 )

5) Pink Floyd – Time ( 1973 ) 

6) Hubert Parry – Jerusalem ( 1916 )

7) Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond / Great Gig In The Sky ( 1973 )


Which funeral songs would you opt for and why? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

On a happier note, framed vinyl singles ( like my Mum’s favourite “She” by Charles Aznavour – adjacent image ) with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW……..

Musicians I Miss the Most: Polly Taylor raves about heroes in their graves!!

I’ve already waxed lyrical on the loss of George Michael, but he’s far  from alone in being taken from us far too soon. In fact, in the same  year alone, David Bowie and Prince departed many months before Mr  Michael slipped away on Christmas Day 2016.

I didn’t really feel a huge sense of loss when any of the above left  us, to be honest. For me, it’s been more of a slow burner. I hear a  song on the radio, or select a song from my extensive and eclectic CD collection, and suddenly I’ll feel a genuine, deep-seated sadness  right in the pit of my belly, that makes me almost have to catch my  breath. It is the same feeling that I get when I suddenly miss my  mother. It can be just as strong, and it almost always takes me  completely by surprise.

My mother died at 57, the same age as another of the deceased that I  miss dearly. I think it might be pushing it to call him a musician;  nevertheless he was a major feature of my teenage life – and  fantasies. I’m talking about old swizzle-hips himself, the one and  only Patrick Swayze, the guy who could pin me into a corner any time  he chose.

Patrick Swayze did, in fact, record one of the songs for the soundtrack of  ‘Dirty Dancing’.  (See one of our happy customers below with her framed “Dirty Dancing” film DVD which we created as a birthday gift for her from her family. For more info go to the website……. ). As far as I was previously aware that was  his only flirtation with singing. I was wrong. He is described, in  fact, on the ubiquitous Wikipedia as an ‘actor, dancer and  singer-songwriter’. I’m not here to praise his musical talent – of  lack thereof – though. I recall his connection to music in his dancing  to it rather than his singing of it. He could certainly dance. Mmm…

Patrick Swayze isn’t top of my list. He lies somewhere beneath an  Australian rocker (that I’d love to have lain beneath) who is probably  the artist I miss the most of all. INXS are my all-time favourite  band, and I loved everything about Michael Hutchence. Yep, even that  whole tortured-soul thing he had going on, that was almost definitely  the cause of his demise in one way or another. It almost certainly  played a large part in causing my crush on him, too.

Oh, to have been Paula Yates, on that bed on the “Big Breakfast” with him in 1994!! To have  seen INXS play live at the Coogee Bay hotel, a Sydney boozer in which  I spent far too much time and money, for a few brief months in 1996.  Furthermore, imagine bumping into the man himself in that crowded,  raucous joint… I think I’d better stop right there, this is a public  place.

There’s a big connection building here, isn’t there? The artists I  miss the most, seem to be those I lusted after the most. Which takes  me right back to George Michael, the subject of my earliest teenage  stirrings. He was the first musician I can remember who awakened those  feelings in me, but I think it’s more than just physical. With music,  I’d argue that there’s a mental connection too. Through melodies,  lyrics, harmonies and poetry, the artists speak to something deep in  the soul, and I think that’s why they become so very much admired –  and later, when they pass – very much missed.

After all, crushes in our early adult life are supposedly practice for  the real thing; a rehearsal for out later years when we might fall in  love, commit and in many cases, reproduce. It’s said that the first  cut is the deepest, referring, I presume, to our first real-life love;  but surely that depth of feeling for our musical idols – the practice  run – would mean that their loss would leave, at least, a deep scratch?

I’d say, yes, indeed, the first cut is indeed the deepest and leaves  the biggest scar, like the cut below my knee from a minor car crash in  the 1980s. The nasty scratches I got when taking a cross-country  shortcut through brambles during my school days may now be invisible,  but they took years to disappear, and surely there might be some  permanent damage to the skin beneath? It can no longer be seen,  granted – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I wish Prince and Bowie were still around, but I can say that without  intensity of feeling. It’s a real shame they’re not around to make  wonderful music any more, but that’s where it ends. I don’t feel that  connection with them, as I did – and do to this day – with George  Michael, Patrick Swayze and Michael Hutchence. I do feel that they  were part of my life. My mood changes, in a more serious way, when I  hear ‘Praying for Time’, ‘Cry to Me’ (by Solomon Burke, from the Dirty  Dancing soundtrack), or ‘Never Tear us Apart’ (See the framed vinyl copy of INXS “Never Tear Us Apart” below; a wedding first dance gift we created recently. For more info go to I experience a profound  sense of loss, in a way that just doesn’t happen with other late  greats, who I miss purely for their musical output. Prince’s ‘1999’  will always make me want to get out and party, while Bowie’s ’Changes’  will make me feel a little sad – but not gut-wrenchingly so.

There’s an artist, though, who for me lies somewhere between the two  extremes, and that is Michael Jackson. His music featured hugely  during my schooldays, and I have very fond memories of my sister and I  singing (or rather, yelling) along to the ‘Thriller’ video, trying  (and failing miserably) to copy Jackson’s signature dance moves.  There’s another one who could move, for sure – but could not move me,  in the way that Patrick Swayze could. I look back upon Michael  Jackson’s life and work with affection, and a measure of palpable  emotion, but I suspect that’s down to my connection with my sister and  what we shared, than down to any emotional relationship with the man  himself.

I grew up with George Michael, Patrick Swayze and Michael Hutchence, and they will always be  very dear – and feel very familiar – to me. Therefore I will always  regret their loss, just like I will always yearn for my mother and  grandmother. When you grow up with people, they leave a lasting  impression on your life and things will never be quite the same again  when they’re dead and gone. Even if you never met them.


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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

Nick Drake induction into the Radio 2 folk hall of fame is so richly deserved

During his tragically short life, Nick Drake recorded some of the most influential music ever to come out of the British folk scene.

To mark and celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday, Radio 2 has announced Nick Drake will be inducted to its Folk Hall of Fame. Nick Drake’s sister, actress Gabrielle Drake, will accept the award in April. She commented: “I think Nick would have been quietly amazed, amused but above all, honoured. And, indeed, grateful. As I am on his behalf.”

The honour will be bestowed at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

Nick Drake was inspired by Bob Dylan to take up the guitar and started gigging in London while studying English at Cambridge.

One of his performances, at Camden’s Roundhouse in 1967, was attended by Ashley Hutchings, bass player with English folk-rock group Fairport Convention, who introduced him to the band’s acclaimed producer Joe Boyd.

Joe Boyd, along with engineer John Wood, were to prove instrumental in the short life of Nick Drake, producing his first two albums on Island Records – his 1969 debut, Five Leaves Left, and Bryter Layter, released the following year.

Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter  showcased Nick Drake’s “gentle, plaintive meditations on love and longing, pairing his ethereal voice and melancholic vision with sweeping strings and jazzy orchestrations.” ( BBC )

Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter were well-received by critics but didn’t sell well, allegedly sending Drake into a bout of depression which worsened when Boyd left for the US. In late 1971, Nick Drake recorded what was to become his final album – Pink Moon. A darker collection of songs, they stripped away Boyd’s production, leaving Drake’s delicate voice alone with his acoustic guitar, almost symbolic of the artist’s increasing isolation.

As the Pink Moon album sales stuttered to little more than a few thousand copies, Nick Drake retreated to his parents’ home in Tanworth-in-Arden. Sadly it was there, in his childhood bedroom, that he died on the 25th November 1974, aged 26, after taking an overdose of prescribed anti-depressants.

I love Nick Drake’s hauntingly beautiful & deeply sensitive vocals and lyrics……The ephemeral and fragile nature of his lyrics and vocal style mirrored his tragically short life, which ended with his suicide at the age of 26 in 1974. This is why this accolade is so richly deserved.

If you are not familiar with Nick Drake, you should retreat to a darkened room and listen to Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter and I defy this experience not to enrich and change you in some way……..Unlike poor Nick, you will be able to turn the lights on again and continue your life, the richer for this man’s artistic sensibilities and sacrifice….. R.I.P Nick Drake ( 1948 – 1974 )


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this BBC4 documentary on the best cover versions – “Better than the Original: the Joy of the Cover Version”


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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

Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs to come out of Newcastle

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

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

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

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

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

Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle


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

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

3) Bryan Ferry – In Crowd ( No13 1974 )

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

5) Dire Straits – Private Investigations ( No2 1982 )

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

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

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

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

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


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



Elton John says Goodbye Yellow Brick Road as he quits touring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Best Elton John Songs

1) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ( 1973 )

2) Candle In The Wind ( 1974 )

3) Little Jeannie ( 1980 )

4) Your Song ( 1970 )

5) Rocket Man ( 1972 )

6) Sartorial Elegance ( 1980 )

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

8) Someone Saved My Life Tonight ( 1975 )

9)  Tiny Dancer ( 1972 )

10) Crocodile Rock ( 1972 )

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

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

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



The Smiths are not the Smiths without Morrissey & Johnny Marr

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

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

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

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

The Smiths without Morrissey and Johnny Marr are not the Smiths

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @

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


AC/DC: From Pacific Highway To Highway To Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Top 5 Best AC/DC Songs


1) Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution 

2) Highway To Hell 

3) Hells Bells 

4) Rock and Roll Damnation

5) You Shook Me All Night Long 


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

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


framed acdc vinyl single

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

7am – 9am Noel Edmonds 

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

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

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

5pm – 7pm Dave Lee Travis

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

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

Who remembers the Noel Edmonds Radio 1 Breakfast Show in the 1970s?”……

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

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


The Definitive Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s

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

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

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

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

Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s


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

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

3) Small Faces – Tin Soldier ( No9 1967 )

4) Traffic – Paper Sun ( No5 1967 )

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 ) Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever ( No2 1967 )

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

13 ) Yardbirds – For Your Love ( No3 1965 )

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

15 ) Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze ( No3 1967 )

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

17 ) Donovan – Sunshine Superman ( No2 1967 )

18) Pink Floyd – Arnold Layne ( No20 1967 )

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

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


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Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell rides off into the sunset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Best Songs from 1967 


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

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

3) Small Faces – Tin Soldier ( No9 )

4) Traffic – Paper Sun ( No5 )

5) Pink Floyd – See Emily Play ( No6 )

6) Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever ( No2 )

7) Small Faces – Ichy Coo Park ( No3 )

8) Move – Flowers In The Rain ( No2 )

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

10=) Rolling Stones – Dandelion ( No8 )

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 5 Best Bucks Fizz Songs


1)  When We Were Young ( No10 1983 )

2)  Now Those Days Are Gone ( No8 1982 )

3)  The Land Of Make Believe ( No1 1981 )

4)  My Camera Never Lies ( No1 1982 )

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


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Saturday Night Fever was a better disco jukebox than film

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

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

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

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

Top 5 Best Songs from Saturday Night Fever


1) Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive

2) Bee Gees – How deep is your love?

3) Trammps – Disco Inferno

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

5) Tavares – More than a woman


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

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

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

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

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


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

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



Top 5 Best albums of all time

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

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

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

4)  Beatles – Revolver ( 1966 )

5)  Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell ( 1978 )


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

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