Monday, 28 April 2014

1983: Rip it up and start again

Over at the Vinyl Villain today JC has written about Simon Goddard's new book Simply Thrilled - The preposterous story of Postcard Records.  Seems like a good time to post this offering from the Villain:

When asked to make a guest contribution or two to this very fine series my first reaction was to go with 1979 as it was the year that I lost my gig-going virginity at the age of 15 and it also was the year when I really cemented what has become a lifelong obsession with music thanks to having money, via a paper-round, to indulge my desires for vinyl. And with the post-punk, new-wave era in full swing, there's never really been a better time to be a fan of non-rockist guitar-driven pop music.
But instead I've turned to 1983.
Now if you look at the singles and album charts for the year this might come as a huge surprise as they were dominated by such dullster solo stars like Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Bonnie Tyler, Lionel Ritchie and Paul Young. The more critically-acclaimed hitsters include Michael Jackson, David Bowie and the Eurythmics, all of whom released great songs that have stood the test of time in a 21st Century Smooth Radio sort of way but quite frankly, anyone looking up 1983 hit music on Wiki will be, for the most part, hugely disappointed.
So why am I, a self-confessed music snob, so excited about what appears to have a particularly bad and bland year?. Here's my own Reasons To Be Cheerful (1-2-3)
1. 1983 was the the year when the most important band of my g-g-g-g-eneration came to prominence.
2. 1983 was the year that the most memorable musical TV programme established itself and changed the viewing habits of a g-g-g-g-generation
3. 1983 was the year that some of the bands previously involved in the most important record label of my g-g-g-g-generation came to the attention of a wider public.
We'll go to Reason to be Cheerful (3) first (obviously).  Tune in next Monday for Reason 1.  Or 2.
Part 3
Orange Juice - Rip It Up TOTP John Peel intro
In February 1983, Edwyn Collins finally achieved his lifetime's ambition when 'Rip It Up' stormed up the charts and got Orange Juice two appearances on TOTP.

    Orange Juice - Rip It Up TOTP not Peel
 Little did we know that it would another 12 years before he would make a follow-up appearance on the programme.
Edwyn Collins - A girl like you TOTP 1995
Later that same year, Roddy Frame followed him onto the programme when Oblivious became a deserved hit at the second time of asking.

Aztec Camera - Obvlivious

Roddy wouldn't have to wait quite as long as Edwyn before making back onto the show, and indeed its fair to say that many of us soon got sick of seeing him on telly in 1988 churning out yet another mimed performance of his mega-hit 'Somewhere In My Heart'.
Aztec Camera - Somewhere in My Heart
The great thing about the mainstream success of these former Postcard acts was that it sparked off a rush of A&R men to Glasgow and other parts of Scotland seeking out the natural successors. This meant the music papers of the new year of 1984 were full of articles about bands from round my way who were going to be 'the ones to watch' as major labels tripped over one another in the rush to find the next Edwyn or Roddy. The sad thing however, was that many promising bands were signed up only to find that the music the label bosses wanted to come out of the studio bore no resemblance to the demos and live versions that had brought them to attention in the first place. But that doesn't take away from the fact that for much of 1983, my home city and the city in which I was 'studying' and having a fantastic social life, was where the UK music scene was centred. It was a great feeling.....
Josef K - Sorry for laughing
(from 1981 - Josef K had split up by 1983, denying them a mention in JC's contribution above.)
Note:  The image at the top of the page is the cover of the first Orange Juice album, not released on Postcard at all. Also not released in 1983, but 1982.  The cassette version of this album was the soundtrack to most of my car journeys during that year (in a Citroen Ami with a CND bumper sticker). 
Josef K (another alumni of the Glasgow School) may have been the inspiration for . . . and the Native Hipsters' Not That Song Again 
outside looking for a scrap yard
walk two young men looking industrial
Black shirt and trousers over thin white bodies
Joy Division albums under their arms
occasionally one thinks of a joke
but you'll never see him smile
what do they do at night
that gives them receding hairlines?
could it be that they hate interviews
or the fact that they're never asked?
maybe they're too busy
reading their Kafka novels
suddenly a soft spoken version runs by
doesn't want to do an encore
and when he's home
he'll stand all alone
and try to sing like David Bowie
ooh look there goes a long mac again
ooh look there goes a long mac again
... and the Native Hipsters from Caged 433 on Original Copy

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