Wednesday, 2 September 2020

40 years on: Top 10 albums of 1980

 Top 10 albums of 1980 (in chronological order)

  1. John Foxx - Metamatic
  2. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  3. Genesis - Duke
  4. The Human League - Travelogue
  5. Gary Numan - Telekon
  6. David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
  7. Simple Minds - Empires & Dance
  8. Japan - Gentlemen Take Polaroids
  9. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Organisation
  10. Mike Oldfield - QE2

Sunday, 12 July 2020

It was 40 years ago today...

Another occasional series!

So many 'fortieth anniversaries' this year as, yes you've worked it out right, it's 40 years since that magic year of 1980, the year that the Future really began.

As well as being a crucial year for me as I reached 16 years of age, did O levels, left secondary school, did some proper work for the first time, and moved on to 6th Form college and the Big City, there was some great music too, stuff which really went on to shape my tastes and my life in general.

Luckily I also kept a very interesting and fairly detailed diary in that year, mostly noting down what I was up to, the banalities of routine, school, parents, friends, and of course music which I was hearing, listening to and eventually buying whenever 'pocket money' allowed it!

An important entry came about half way through the year, on 12th July, a Saturday. I'd finished my O levels, left school (waiting to go to 6th form) and was grafting hard out in the fields strawberry picking and crucially earning my own money! Thus I'd saved uo enough to buy my very first radio cassette player. I could now tape stuff off the radio! Revolutionary!

That very same day I also bough both Smash Hits and the NME, which featured Phil Oakey of The Human League, with his characteristic haircut, on the front cover (see pic.) with a group feature and the famous 'consumer guide to synthesisers' on the inside. The band also featured in Smash Hits (full issue here) with an interview, the lyrics to Empire State Human and the memorable full page colour pic/poster of the four members looking down into the camera lens (pc. left). I had the brilliant idea of sticking this page onto my bedroom ceiling directly above my bed, so for many weeks I had the Human League watching over all I did on and in my bed  (!).

Although I and many others didn't know it at the time, these press articles were a last ditch attempt to get some kind of commercial success for what would be this 'first version' of The Human League who had some critical acclaim but not so many sales, especially in the lucrative singles sector. Their "Holiday 80" EP/double 7"/singles package had failed to chart (some consumer confusion?) even after lead track Rock n Roll had been performed on prime-time TOTP, and Virgin were now trying again with the Empire State Human single release, a track from not the latest but thie debut album dating back to almost one year ago. Alas, we know how it all went, the group split into two in the autumn and the rest is history.

But going back to my radio/cassette recorder/player, NME also ironically enough carried an article about home taping which was 'killing music'. Forty years into the Future and although music has not been completely killed, it's certainly more easily avaiable to all, which basically was what we were aiming at with home taping, be it either with cassette copies of LPs or songs recorded off the charts, fingers ready on pause/rec button as appropriate.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

6 Music: 28.01.2019

Another week ahead for BBC 6 music as the new schedule settles in. We're still not used to hear Keaveny in the afternoon although his morning absence is in part atoned by Hawkins' extra half-hour. They seem to be 'over-promoting' themselves a bit still, as if people were really thick and not realising Laverne is now in the breakfast slot etc. She was even on The One Show this week to promote her own show. Desperate?
Anyway this week Lammo is on his travels as he visits 'independent' venues around the UK starting with Edinburgh on Monday, York on Tuesday, Worcester on Wednesday, Bedford on Thursday and winding up at the 100 Club on Oxford Street no less for the Specials, er, special live performance. Good to see they've chosen the not so obvious usual cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Brum et al.)

This week's playlist begins to see some new stuff at last although 2018-veterans Maribou State, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stealing Sheep and Lizzo are still coming up more or less every hour - not that we disdain any of those of course. However, the best new track of 2019 so far seems to be this new one from Foals which is very catchy and even has a kind of 80s-production vibe to it. It's rightly on the A list (and on Radio 1's B list). New album coming in March (and another in the autumn!) Meanwhile,enjoy:

Thursday, 10 January 2019

6 Music: 07.01.2019

The much anticipated new daytime schedule is already in full swing on 6 Music with - if you needed reminding - the following line-up as from Monday 7th Jan.:

  • 5.00 - 7.30 am Chris Hawkins (extra 1/2 hour)
  • 7.30 - 10.30 am Lauren Laverne "Breakfast Show"
  • 10.30 am - 1.00 pm Mary Anne Hobbes Morning Show
  • 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm Sean Keaveny "Lunchtime Show"

Hawkins seems to be dealing quite well with the extra half-hour (he calls it the new conservatory extension), which is also quite welcome. He's introduced the new "Exit Music" feature towards the end of the show (penultimate track played) whereby listeners can request a song for leaving the house in the morning.
Laverne is trying very hard (too hard?) with the arduous task of taking over from Keaveny although of course it's practically an impossible task and she is quite rightly doing her own thing. We here at LiM are still sadly missing the earworms, the Parkinson theme, Hill Street Blues and even Let's Play..Pontoon! (and Georgie).
Admittedly we haven't been listening to Hobbes or even the new Keaveny properly in order to pass any judgement. Time will tell.
Lamacq plods on and this week is featuring forgotten 80s tracks (thanks for reading our mail, Steve). Roundtable Thursday afternoon and Friday Free For All carry on as usual.

Radcliffe & Maconie (sans Maconie, for now) take over the weekend Breakfast Show but we're not expecting any big surprises there, although wondering how he/they will cope with the early start!

25 Years of Rock has been extended to include the extra 5 years of 30 Years of Rock, which finishes on Friday, to be replaced by Alan Freeman's epic 1994 series The Story of Pop starting Saturday.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Movement 2019

New Order have announced a bumper re-issue package for their 1981 debut album Movement. A series of replica 12" singles from the same period, characteristically not included on the original album, will also be issued in the run-up to the Movement box-set date, 5th April 2019.
The 12" re-issues are:

  1. Ceremony (version 1) / In A Lonely Place  
  2. Ceremony (version 2) / In A Lonely Place 
  3. Everything's Gone Green / Cries And Whispers, Mesh
  4. Temptation / Hurt
The Movement "definitive" four disc box set contains the original album both on 180 gr. vinyl and on CD (remastered?), a second CD of 18 previously unreleased tracks (demos, rehearsals etc.), and a DVD of live concerts, TV performances of Movement tracks. The box is currently available to order with a price tag of around £110.00.

More details here and here

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Solo Sylvian re-issues

The first three solo albums by David Sylvian, Brilliant Trees (1984), Gone To Earth (1986) and Secrets of the Beehive (1987) and the "intermediary album" An Index of Possibilities (1985) are all to be re-issued on 180g 'deluxe vinyl' in 2019. Although it's not specified if the audio has been remastered in any way, there are some changes to the artwork and presentation. Whiole retaining the same front cover photo, the solo debut Brilliant Trees is now housed in a gatefold sleeve, while the other three LPs all feature brand new artwork with printed inner bags. The revised artwork has not found favour with many die-hards although via facebook, the man himself had this to say:
As the original art for my albums had been lost/destroyed on its journey from one label's stewardship to another, I decided against scanning pristine copies of the original vinyl covers (as Universal did with the recent Japan reissues) and instead create a series that works as a ‘collection’ incorporating new photographic prints and design elements. With no budget, but access to Yuka's archives and Chris’ design contributions, we feel we've created something beautifully expansive as will be evident once the set is seen in its entirety.
(full statement here, more details and ordering here)

The re-issues are scheduled for 22 February 2019.
Gone to Earth 2019 gatefold sleeve

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

6 Music: week ahead (17-23.12.18)

the first in an occasional series..

After the nearly-Christmas 'end of an error' festivities on Friday, 6 Music starts off the week running up to Christmas with quite a few 'stand-ins' as presumably folks are off to do their Christmas shopping.

  • Chris Hawkins had plenty of time off just recently so he's back in his early morning slot (5.00-7.00 am) and apparently already has his Christmas show 'in the can'. Plink Test, Wednesday whines, etc. continue as normal, although there's an Apollo 8 special programme coming up on Friday.
  • Shaun Keaveny is still contractually billed in The Breakfast Show although Nemone is standing in all week. Earworms are still featured although of course we will sadly miss Hill Street Blues, Dead Zone and other audible tomfoolery.
  • More sitting-in mid-morning with Tom Ravenscroft standing in for Lauren Laverne, who is presumably limbering up for her daunting new Breakfast Show assignment.*
  • Business as usual for Radcliffe & Maconie, although of course it's still a one-man show as the countdown to the New Year and their new weekend slot continues.
  • Steve Lamacq launches the TV Quiz Themes World Cup. His programme site still publicises the 25 at 25 feature although the audio recordings are no longer available (plenty of reading to do though). Thursday's Roundtable is a best of 2018 edition.
  • Marc Riley picks up where he left off last Thursday with his best of 2018, tunes and sessions, continuing until this Thursday. He'll then be back in the New Year
  • Gideon Coe continues relentlessly with archive live recordings and sessions and still manages to break the record for the number of bands featured that you've never heard of. The Jam in concert at the 100 Club in 1977 on Tuesday should be a good one. Wednesday & Thursday see special Christmas shows and on Sunday 30th there will be special 2018 Obit show.
  • The excellent 25 Years of Rock documentary series continues. Amazing to think this was first broadcast in 1980. It ends with 1979 on Friday although hurrah! - the series morphs into 30 Years of Rock taking us from 1980 to 1984 on Christmas Eve. Tape recorders at the ready.
  • The Wish You Were There? vintage live concert reviews also get a re-run starting Monday. Queen's Hyde Park performance in 1976 is featured on Friday.
  • Liz Kershaw has a special Xmas request show on Saturday. Followed by the much-plugged (ratings down?) Giles Peterson, who in turn is followed by Craig Charles and his Funky Festivities, if you like that sort of thing. This GP show in particular is being plugged, "celebrating 10th anniversary of Brain Feeder"
  • Actor Cillian Murphy returns on Sunday, playing his favourite artists in a special pre-Christmas show. Expect a lot of Irish music. At midnight (into Christmas Eve) there's also a repeat of a Murphy show from back in April when he stood in for Iggy Pop.
  • Followed by Amy Lamé who is joined by non other than Tony Visconti, "ahead of a solo album in 2019".

  • Full schedule can be found starting here.
*errata corrige: LL is back from Tuesday, TR having stood-in one day only. That's not to say she wasn't preparing her new Breakfast Show mind.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Review of 2018: 1 - BBC 6 Music

I can't remember why I started listening to BBC 6 Music on a regular basis but I know I started around May of this year (2018 AD), a few weeks before their Biggest Weekend in Belfast. I'm quite an avid radio listener and have gone through various phases over the last few years, especially as far as listening during my one-hour (or more) morning commute to work is concerned. I've listened to various Italian stations (including a unusually entertaining economics/politics show on Radio 24, the host of which suddenly and mysteriously 'disappeared') but they are on the whole dominated by annoying adverts, which are a pet hate of mine, even on UK commercial stations. You can't avoid them here because they're on the state broadcaster radio & TV stations too.

A few years back I moved on to BBC Radio 3, especially the Breakfast show, and became particularly fond of Clemency Burton Hill, who much to my chagrin found a rich husband, bore a child and then moved off to NYC. Clemmy aside, I enjoyed at least trying to listen to and appreciate classical music via R3 (a lifetime goal, still unrealised), also due in part to the fact that I was disillusioned with the state of modern music, which seemed of little interest to me.
I've also been through various Radio 4 programmes, especially the quizzes, plus In Our Time etc.. For most of 2017 my morning listening routine was Farming Today, Tweet of the Day, Today ...then over to R3 Breakfast. I had become the perfect late middle-aged, cultured, listener of 'posher' radio.

I had approached 6 Music listening on an irregular basis over the last 7/8 years or so, but what they were playing seemed a long, long way from my musical tastes, which were sadly very much connected to stuff I'd been listening to during my late teens/early twenties. I just didn't get new 'alternative' music just as I didn't get the mainstream pop/charts music. However, for some unknown reason I switched on to BBC6 last Spring and have been hooked ever since to some of their regular shows. The early-risers Chris Hawkins and Sean Keaveny* have become my favourites over the year, but even via the youngster Tom Ravenscroft (imagine my surprise when I discovered who his father was) and others such as Lauren Laverne. Nemone and the somewhat more annoying Steve Lamacq and Radcliffe & Maconie, I have at last got my finger, at least partially, on the pulse of modern 'alternative' music which seems to be in a fairly healthy state.

For the first time in many many years I have been able to create a decent playlist of songs from a  current year. I'll be reviewing a few of the best from 2018 over the next few posts, so, er, stay tuned.

*It was announced a few months ago that BBC 6 would be undergoing some major changes in 2019, including Sean Keaveny leaving his breakfast show slot to move to the afternoons. Apparently after 11 years and 8 months he was knackered. This was quite a blow for me as his show really did make my morning commute a lot easier. The man has even read out some of my 'earworm' emails over the past few months, even choosing mine to be played on one occasion. We have also exchanged e-mails, which I thought was really good of him. As I write, I am listening to his last ever Breakfast Show. Thanks Sean - it's been a privilege and a laugh.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Spotted on Spotify: David Sylvian compilation albums

David Sylvian's compilation albums Everything and Nothing and A Victim of Stars 1982-2012 are available for streaming on Spotify for the first time from today.

Digital downloads of both are also available on amazon with issue date 03 November 2017 although not sure if they've been available before today.

Spotify 'em here:

Friday, 28 July 2017

You Only Tell Me You Like Me When I'm Remastered: the new PSB re-issues

Pet Shop Boys re-issue three more of their albums today following in the remaster plus 'Further Listening' bonus material Catalogue series. The three albums Nightlife (1999), Release (2002) come in bumper 3 disc editions while Fundamental (2006) is a two-disc item.

As I never really took to either Release or Fundamental, Nightlife is perhaps the last PSB album I ever fully appreciated. Listening to it on Spottyfly (where not all of the bonus tracks are available - never quite understood why that sometimes happens) this morning it still sounded sounded good even though I was already used to a pristine sounding 1999 CD. But I'm sure they've added bits and stuff on some tracks. Little synth parts on the opening For Your Own Good and Closer to Heaven were unexpected. Singles I Don't Know What You Want... and You Only Tell Me You Love Me.. aside, Radiophonic and Footsteps remain favourites.

The wee Radiophonic video I made for youtube was taken down last  year for 'copyright' reasons, so here's one with Spanish subtitles which is obviously perfectly acceptable and does not infringe any copyright at all.

Details and tracklistings on Superdeluxeedition.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

John Peel Mixtapes #2: Peel 79-05

Another Peel mixtape this time from May 1979 when a lot of interesting new stuff was coming out. I've stretched it to a C90 this time and waived the one track per artist rule (Tubeway Army, Undertones) and there ar no sessions. As always, I'm limited to what is documented on the Peel Wiki and what's available on Spotty-fy. Anyway, enjoy!


  1. The Undertones - Jimmy Jimmy
  2. XTC - Life Begins at the Hop
  3. David Bowie - Boys Keep Swinging
  4. Minny Pops - Footsteps
  5. L.K. Johnson - It Noh Funny
  6. The Tourists - Blind Among the Flowers
  7. Tubeway Army - Replicas
  8. Tubeway Army - It Must Have Been Years
  9. Elvis Costello - Accidents Will Happen
  10. The Human League - The Dignity of Labour pt. 3
  11. Lene Lovich - Say When
  12. The Specials - Gangsters
  13. Fischer-Z - Acrobats


  1. Stiff Little Fingers - Gotta Gettaway
  2. The Pop Group - Blood Money
  3. The Undertones - I Gotta Getta
  4. Gang of Four - At Home He's a Tourist
  5. Skids - Masquerade
  6. The Damned - Love Song
  7. Magazine - Feed the Enemy
  8. Iggy Pop - Don't Look Down
  9. Devo - The Day My Baby Gave Me a Big Surprise
  10. Steel Pulse - Babylon Makes the Rules
  11. Shoes For Industry - Can't Help It/Falling in Love Again
  12. The Adverts - My Place
  13. Dalek I - Freedom Fighters
  14. Capital Letters - Run Run Run

Further reading: 

  • Smash Hits, May 3 1979 (Billy Idol cover) incl. Bitz: 'Idol Chat', Granny Pursey, Bowie in punch-up, Return of The Damned; Interviews: J-J Burnel; Lyrics: I'm an Upstart, Singles - reviewed by L. Lovich: Jimmy Jimmy, Say When, Boys Keep Swinging, Does Your Mother Know; Albums: Second Hand Daylight, Manifesto, Music for Aiports; Gigz; Back page: Squeeze.

  • Smash Hits, May 17 1979 (David Bowie cover) incl. Lyrics: Say When, Boys Keep Swinging (incl. A pictorial history of David Bowie), Roxanne, Jimmy Jimmy, Love Song Bitz: The Police, Mike Oldfield, Angelic Upstarts; Features: Sex Pistols Past Present and Future (D. Hepworth), Singles: Accidents Will Happen, The Cost of Living EP, Sunday Girl; Albums: Black Rose, Life In A Day, Live at the Witch Trails (Fall); Gigz; Back page: the Police.

  • Smash Hits, May 31 1979 (Debbie Harry cover) incl. Lyrics: Number One in Heaven, Life Begins at the Hop, Shine a Little Love, Capital Radio/I Fought the Law, Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Features: Undertones - Parka Power; bitz: Blondie, Mods, Gary Numan/Tubeway Army, Sparks, Damned, Ian Dury; Centrespread. Bowie; Singles: Getta Gettaway, Masquerade EP, Life Begins at the Hop, Are 'Friends' Electric?, Wake Up + 3; Albums: Voulez-Vous, Mission Accomplished But the Beat Goes On, Lodger; GigzBack page: Lene Lovich.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

John Peel Mixtapes #1: Peel 80-01

Here's my first playlist / mixtape of tracks from John Peel shows, from January 1980. Rules are that tracks (singles, album tracks sessions etc.) were played for the first time around the stated period, and try to keep it to  max. 60 mins (30 mins each side), and one track per artist (unless there are more worthy of playing, eg. in the case of a session..). Playlist available on Spotify.


  1. Simple Minds - Premonition (session)
  2. The Cure - Play For Today (new album, Seventeen Seconds)
  3. Pretenders - Tattooed Love Boys (new album Pretenders)
  4. Magazine - A Song From Under the Floorboards (session)
  5. Silicon Teens - Judy In Disguise (single)
  6. John Foxx - He's a Liquid (album Metamatic)
  7. The Selecter - James Bond (B side)
  8. The Durutti Column - Requiem for a Father (new album The Return of..)


  1. Siouxsie & Banshees - Drop Dead/Celebration (B side)
  2. The Flying Lizards - TV (single)
  3. Martha & the Muffins - Echo Beach
  4. Madness - In the Rain (B side)
  5. OMITD - Red Frame/White Light (single)
  6. Bauhaus - Dark Entries (single)
  7. The Vapors - Turning Japanese (single)
  8. Simple Minds - Room (session)

Further reading:

  • Smash Hits January 10 1980 (Pretenders cover), incl. Lyrics Tears of a Clown, Too Much Too Young, My Girl, What Do I Get?, John I'm Only Dancing; Bitz: Inmates, Two-Tone, clash, Sex Pistols, Skahe, John Foxx, The Cure, XTC; features: Pretenders, Madness, Mike Oldfield, Selecter, Centrefold. Pink Floyd. Singles. My Girl Albunms: none! Back page poster. Clash

  • Smash Hits 24 January 1980 (Sparks cover): lyrics: Angels (L. Lovich), Someone's Looking At You, Three Minute Hero, Sweet Suburbia, 7teen. Bitz: Paul Weller, Hugh Cornwell, Elvis Costello, Madness, SLF, Regents, PIL, Squeeze, Tom Robinson, features. Sparks, Beat, Centrespread. Pretenders; Gigz.