Classic Hits

Gary Numan’s daughter shares debut single

Gary Numan’s daughter shares debut single

Raven Numan releases gothic video for debut single My Reflection Gary Numan’s daughter, Raven Numan, has unveiled the video for her brooding debut single, My Reflection. A beguiling statement-of-intent, the… The post Gary Numan’s daughter shares debut single appeared first on Classic Pop Magazine. ... Continue Reading
Isobel Campbell reveals details of her new album Bow To Love

Isobel Campbell reveals details of her new album Bow To Love

Isobel Campbell with pink guitar
Image © VV:NKD:RH

Scottish singer-songwriter Isobel Campbell unveils first single from new album

Isobel Campbell’s new album, Bow To Love, is set to be released on 17 May via Cooking Vinyl.

To accompany the announcement Campbell has shared a captivating video for first single 4316 directed by Richard Heslop, Vee Vee and Natalya KD. Heslop has previously made videos for The Cure, Queen, Sinead O’Connor, New Order, Happy Mondays and more, but stopped making them around 20 years ago.

The video was shot in and around Hastings – watch below:

Sign Of The Times

Campbell was first noticed as a teenage founder member of Belle & Sebastian, before she released two dream-folk solo albums under the name The Gentle Waves and left B&S in 2002. Two records under her own name followed, leading to a union with late Mark Lanegan for three albums of  Americana duets.

On Bow To Love, a soft-spun yet sharp-edged set of reflections on modern crises that doesn’t stop at diagnosing the problems, the singer asks how we might progress from our tense and conflicted times.

Hope & Despair

With all the dexterity the Glasgow-born singer-songwriter and cellist is known for, the result is a deeply personal record, poised between hope and despair.

“The album is about what we’re all in right now, and my response to that and my life as a microcosm within that,” says Campbell, before suggesting how exposing modern horrors might prove purgative. “I think there’s a quote from A Course In Miracles which says, ‘Love brings up everything unlike itself for the purpose of healing and release.’ Maybe these horrible things are coming up and out so we can get rid of them and things can be better.

“Anyone with two eyes, a brain and a heart can see that people are struggling, and I suppose I have a lot of thoughts about that. And it’s this album.”

Human Touch

Technology is touched on with first single 4316. Favouring “honest, decent communication” over AI, Campbell takes a dim view of our “friend, unfriend, block, unblock” culture. “I know what I love and it ain’t that,” she says. “I was talking to an Uber driver the other day and I said, ‘I don’t want to be living in a video game.’ And he said, ‘Well, we are.’ I feel like I’m offering a human element in these transhuman days of artificial intelligence.”

The looping sing-song swing of the title track applies that open, complex thinking to myths about love: “It’s not enough to bow to love” is the full lyric, offering a grown-up take on the matter. “I grew up loving The Beatles and All You Need Is Love,” Isobel says, “but sometimes love’s not enough. Sometimes love can get a bit wonky. Love brings up everything – good, bad, ugly – and it can push your buttons.”

Tracklisting:

1. Everything Falls Apart
2. Do Or Die
3. Spider To The Fly
4. Second Guessing
5. Bow To Love
6. 4316
7. Dopamine
8. Keep Calm Carry On
9. Saturday’s Son
10. Take This Poison
11. Om Shanti Om
12. You
13. Why Worry

Bow To Love is an album that also has thoughts about how the future remains unwritten. Campbell said: “I feel like we’re living in some kind of dystopia, but I think it’s up to us what we buy into and what we react to. We do have a choice, even if sometimes we think we don’t. You can still see acts of great kindness. In all the bleakness, that’s what I hang on to. We are co-creators. Where we go next is up to us.”

The first edition of Bow To Love on CD will include an exclusive bonus disc featuring French translations of the songs from the album. There will also be a limited edition vinyl version of the album, with the vinyl available in both blue and yellow formats.

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Flowered Up’s A Life With Brian remastered and reissued

Flowered Up’s A Life With Brian remastered and reissued

Flowered Up’s debut album ‘A Life With Brian’ reissued for the first time since its original release in 1991

Flowered Up’s debut reissued with remixes by Everyone You Know and Beyond The Wizards Sleeve

Flowered Up’s debut album, A Life With Brian, will be reissued for the first time since its original release in 1991.

The newly remastered edition will be available on double LP and CD, extended digital and limited coloured double LP on 19 April.

Including new sleevenotes by Heavenly’s Robin Turner, the release adds their seminal 1992 single Weekender to the album package plus a host of previously unreleased tracks and remixes, including newly commissioned remixes by Everyone You Know and Beyond The Wizards Sleeve.

Upcoming duo Everyone We Know’s thrilling contemporary take on Crackerjack is available now, listen here:

Get Fresh At The Weekend

They comment: “Taking inspiration from some late 90s Ibiza tunes and early rave stuff, this is our remix of Crackerjack. We were honoured when Flowered Up reached out to us for the remix. At first we weren’t sure what direction to take it in but the longer we sat with the stems it became obvious it needed something for the clubs and DJ’s.”

Beyond The Wizards Sleeve remix Weekender, the first remix in seven years from DJ/Producer duo of Erol Alkan and Richard Norris. They comment: “Flowered Up’s Weekender is a work of a very special magic, of a particular time, place, feeling that you can hear busting out of the speakers. It was a challenge to take on such an iconic work, but we attacked it and pulled it into a few new shapes which nod to the original while taking it someplace else. Do you believe in magic?”

Flowered Up's A Life With Brian album cover artEarly 90s Rave Culture

Emerging out of London’s Acid House scene, Flowered Up were heralded as the Capital’s answer to the Happy Mondays and were so hot that they made the cover of both NME and Melody Maker before they’d even released a record. The 10 tracks on A Life With Brian represent a snapshot of a band who perfectly reflected their environment – the London streets they grew up on and the clubs they came of age in.

Released the following Summer, Flowered Up’s Clive Langer-produced 13 minute masterpiece Weekender is included on the album package for the very first time. The single was accompanied by a ground-breaking short film directed by Wiz, whose raw depiction of a weekend of clubbing is perhaps the single greatest document of early 90s rave culture and was the subject of the acclaimed 2022 Heavenly Films documentary I Am Weekender.

Flowered Up black and white band picture

The album remastering was overseen by Flowered Up keyboard player Tim Dorney, and A Life With Brian now sounds the way the band always wanted it to sound. “Modern mastering techniques have made it sound so much better,” explains Tim. “We went through the original 1/2″ tape track by track and using a mix of modern software and some classic analogue pieces, we made it louder, wider and punchier all round.”

CD1

01 Sunshine
02 Take It
03 Crackerjack
04 Mr Happy Reveller
05 Hysterically Blue
06 It’s On
07 Silver Pan
08 Phobia
09 Egg Rush
10 Doris… Is A Little Bit Partial
11 Weekender
12 Weatherall’s Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit Partial mix)

CD2

01 Weekender (BTWS Re-Animation)
02 It’s On (Feel Pain Mix)
03 Phobia (Paranoid Mix)
04 I’ll Be Your Dog
05 Take It (Pure Sexy Dub)
06 Flapping
07 Crackerjack (Clive Langer Version)
08 Don’t Talk Just Kiss
09 Better Life
10 Take It (Edge Of The Box Mix)
11 Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial)
12 Crackerjack (Everyone You Know Remix)

Double LP

A Side
01 Sunshine
02 Take It
03 Crackerjack
04 Mr Happy Reveller
05 Hysterically Blue
B Side
01 It’s On
02 Silver Pan
03 Phobia
04 Egg Rush
05 Doris… Is A Little Bit Partial
C Side
01. Weekender
D Side
01. Weatherall’s Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit Partial mix)

To pre-order click here

Read more: 90s dance – the essential playlist

 

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Who’s Afraid Of The Art Of Noise? Interview

Who’s Afraid Of The Art Of Noise? Interview

J. J. Jeczalik and Gary Langan reflect on the formation of Art Of Noise

In 1984, Art Of Noise unwittingly created some of the  most memorable tunes by maxing out the technology of the day. And thanks largely to their efforts – and a series of extraordinary events –  they created a DIY ethos that to this day means anyone can make music.

The year 1984 won’t be remembered for an Orwellian society where humanity was repressed by a totalitarian regime. Instead it could be the opposite, perhaps marked as the year when the human race started enjoying more freedom: or at least when everyone could start creating music, no matter what their background. In 1984 music production came within reach of the masses and Art Of Noise were the conduit.

Through a series of fortuitous events – “cadences” as we will discover – the band took technology and manipulated it into something sonically new. Such was the impact, they opened the door for the DIY producers of today. Now, anyone with an ounce of creativity can produce music, and AoN were the first to prove it was all possible.

Making History

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, as none of this was initially intentional. AoN only came together through a series of ‘right place, right time’ events. Oh, and ‘right technology’, too. That tech was the Fairlight CMI sampler, a hugely expensive – as in ‘more than an average house’ expensive – instrument that allowed you to record any sound, edit it and play it back.

The Fairlight was as complex as it was expensive, and only a few musicians had the resources to own one. One was Trevor Horn but it would be his cohorts, engineer Gary Langhan and programmer J.J. Jeczalik, who got to know the machine well enough to make history.

“There were lots of cadences,” Jeczalik recalls of the series of events that led him to be Trevor Horn’s Fairlight guru. Firstly he’d been working with Geoff Downes, with whom he’d learned about the instrument. Then Langhan recommended that Trevor Horn buy the instrument, but Horn found the Fairlight too difficult to master. Jeczalik remembers: “Trevor bought one, played it for 20 minutes and went, ‘I’m not a programmer’ and got me in!’”

Yes Men

Along with Langhan, Jeczalik started using the machine on high profile, Horn-produced projects. Gary picks up the story: “J.J. and I were working on the Yes 90125 album, and they were trying to cut a track. The drums sounded amazing but Yes never finished it. In those days Trevor used to erase anything that wasn’t used. But I couldn’t bear to do that as these drums sounded so good. Something inside me said, ‘We can do something with these.’”

Langhan and Jeczalik put the unused Yes drum recordings into the Fairlight and ended up sampling a whole loop. Then, as J.J. explains, “We got it looping and it sounded incredible – I remember going, ‘I’ve never heard anything like it!’”

Jeczalik started adding more unusual sounds to the Yes drums. “I had all these other sounds that I had tried to put on other people’s music, but they’d said, ‘No, we can’t put that on.’ So I had the car start, bells, crashes and this sort of stuff. And that’s why Art Of Noise started: we had found a home for these sounds.”

Gary and J.J. had unwittingly started Art Of Noise, a combination of world class drum loops, and these more unusual sounds. Another fortuitous event would bring their new sound to the masses.

The Horn Section

Soon after, Langhan was travelling with Trevor Horn to recut ABC’s Lexicon Of Love album. During the car journey, Trevor explained to Gary that he had just been asked to start a record company by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

“Trevor didn’t know who to sign,” Langhan recalls. “So I had the nerve to say, ‘Well, J.J. and I were fooling around with the Fairlight and have come up with these loops.’ I said, ‘It’s Alan White, I didn’t erase the drums’. I thought, ‘Oh well, nothing to lose!’

“I slammed the cassette into the car stereo and Trevor was riveted, so much so that he gave it to Chris Blackwell who was flying to New York. He’d heard nothing like it. That weekend he went to Danceteria, the dance club in New York, persuaded one of the DJs to play it and the dancefloor lit up. Blackwell said to Trevor, ‘I don’t know what this is but sign it’, so we became the first act signed to ZTT!”

Beat Box

Trevor suggested getting more melodies on the track, so keyboard player Anne Dudley was added to AoN and the track Beat Box started to form, which would be remixed into Close (To The Edit), a huge hit in 1984.

J.J.: “Initially it was just ‘thump, crash, thump, crash’ and lots of percussive stuff. Anne thought, ‘I don’t know what they’ve done, it sounds mad but I’ll go with the flow.’”

Anne added more sounds, melodies and helped the track’s groove, ironing out an issue with Langhan and Jeczalik’s initial loop which started on the wrong beat.

“She said, ‘You know this starts on ‘3’ but it sounds good,’” J.J. explains. “And that was how we always operated. ‘If it sounds good we don’t care if it’s 4/4, 6/8 or whatever.’ So if you listen to Close (To The Edit), she puts the ‘car start’ on the note before the riff starts.”

Art Of Roles

As the first Art Of Noise tracks came together for the EP Into Battle With The Art Of Noise, each member took defined roles. Gary, J.J. and Anne composed and programmed, Trevor produced and Paul Morley dealt with the artistic direction.

“I think one of the strong points was that everybody was doing their thing and doing it well,” says Jeczalik. “People say, ‘Well, what did Paul Morley do?’, but he came up with the name of ‘the Art Of Noise’, and the title of Moments In Love – pivotal moments that levered on top of these rackets that we were creating. He created all of the imagery as well.”

With the band’s first EP becoming successful, the pressure was suddenly on to produce more music.

“They said we’ve got to do an album,” Langhan recalls. “It wasn’t a problem but I remember it being daunting. The first track [Beat Box/Close (To The Edit)] wasn’t formulated, just certain cadences that came together. If you were a band you have a singer and songwriter. Here we had a new palette and didn’t really understand the full workings of how to use it.”

Huge Hit

The album Who’s Afraid Of The Art Of Noise? came together pretty quickly though, with the Fairlight at the centre of everything. It became a huge hit along with singles Close (To The Edit) and Moments In Love. J.J. and Gary didn’t have time to particularly appreciate their new found limelight as they continued with their studio day jobs, but they do recall it being an incredibly creative time.

“Because we weren’t all in a band travelling up the M1 in a Transit,”  Jeczalik remembers, “everyone came in with fresh ideas. So every time we got together there was an energy and it just got better. Every time was a new experience.”

Gary: “That’s how it started: as an experience. So when we had to do Top Of The Pops and when J.J. and I did interviews like this, it was a whole new experience which neither of us ever thought we would be doing.”

“And never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would be having an interview where we’d be talking about it 40 years later!” Jeczalik laughs.

Extension Of Punk

Which brings us nicely to our concluding question: the fact that we are talking about it 40 years later, means that Art Of Noise must have created a huge legacy. How do they sum up the impact they made?

“For me it is about being a non-musician,” says Jeczalik “The impact was that when the gear got cheaper, it became more readily available, and if you had an idea you could start creating tracks – that was the pivotal moment for me. Before you had to be a bass player, read dots and all that. Soon after us, you could get this box, plug it into your parents’ hi-fi, jam with some mates and off you went.”

Langhan agrees: “It was almost like an extension of punk. We made a statement and said, ‘You can do this.’ The word ‘won’t’ has now changed into ‘can’. We showed people that you could do anything you want, and technology was now supporting that.

“Within a few years any family could go down to PC World or Currys and buy a laptop with something in it that gave young Johnny the opportunity to make something. We made the statement that said, ‘Yes you can’”.

For more on AoN click here

Read More: The Art Of Noise remember In Visible Silence

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Kylie to headline BST Hyde Park 2024

Kylie to headline BST Hyde Park 2024

Image © Erik Melvin

Kylie Minogue announced as headline act for this year’s BST Hyde Park

Pop icon, Kylie Minogue, will headline American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2024 in London on Saturday 13 July.

With a full line-up still to be announced, tickets for the concert go on sale Wednesday 21 February, 10am GMT.

Kylie said: “I can’t wait to return to BST Hyde Park this summer. My last appearance at this iconic event was in 2015 and it was a truly unforgettable experience. So excited to see you all again!”

BST24 Kylie Hyde Park artwork

Global Superstar

Kylie’s glittering career has seen her amass sales of over 80 million records worldwide, 5 billion streams, seven UK No.1 singles and nine UK No.1 albums. Kylie is the only female artist to score a No.1 album in five consecutive decades in the UK.

Her multiple awards include three BRIT Awards, 18 ARIA Awards, two MTV Awards and two Grammy Awards. In September 2023, she released her No.1 album, Tension, which features the international smash hit single, Padam Padam, which earned Kylie her second Grammy Award earlier this month for Best Pop Dance Recording.

Read more: Top 40 Kylie Minogue songs

In November 2023, Kylie kicked off her first ever run of headline shows in Las Vegas at Voltaire – The Venetian Resort’s new nightlife sensation. In an exclusive US residency, she has been performing tracks from her new album, Tension, alongside many of her greatest hits.

BST Hyde Park 2024

The lineup for American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2024 is set to be truly spectacular, with Kylie joining previously announced headliners :

Andrea Bocelli (5 July)
Robbie Williams (6 July)
Shania Twain (7 July)
Stray Kids (14 July)

This announcement follows the tremendous success of BST Hyde Park 2023, featuring legendary acts such as P!NK, Guns N’ Roses, Take That, BLACKPINK, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, and Lana Del Rey.

Presale begins at 10am GMT on Friday 16 February. General on sale at 10am GMT on Wednesday 21 February. For details click here

Read more: Album By Album – Kylie Minogue

 

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Crowded House announce details of new album

Crowded House announce details of new album

Crowded House 2024
COURTESY OF BMG

Crowded House announce details of new album and special London show

Following the recent release of their latest single Oh Hi, Crowded House have now revealed details of their new album, Gravity Stairs.

Released on 31 May and produced by the band with Steven Schram (Paul Kelly, San Cisco), Gravity Stairs is the band’s eighth studio record and follows 2021’s Dreamers Are Waiting.

CROWDED HOUSE GRAVITY STAIRS

Gravity Stairs Tracklisting:

Magic Piano
Life’s Imitation
The Howl
All That I Can Ever Own
Oh Hi
Some Greater Plan (for Claire)
Black Water, White Circle
Blurry Grass
I Can’t Keep Up With You
Thirsty
Night Song

“It’s a metaphor for getting a little older and becoming aware of your own mortality, your own physicality,” Neil Finn says of the title. “Things are getting a little harder, and there’s more determination needed to get to the top, but there’s still the same compulsion to climb them.”

The album announcement comes as the band unveil the music video for lead single Oh Hi, watch below:

Finn said: “I love the way kids dance; I wish I could move like that. This fanciful video by Frank and Beans Pictures is about as close as I’ll ever get.”

Gravity Stairs launch show

To celebrate the release of Gravity Stairs, the band will play an exclusive album launch show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, on 13 June. Ticket pre-sale available from 21 February at 9am here

The band will be also appearing at venues throughout the UK this summer. 

Live in the UK:

12 June Eden Project, St Austell
13 June O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
15 June Lincoln Castle, Lincoln
16 June Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
17 June The Mount At Wasing, Aldermaston
19 June The Piece Hall, Halifax
20 June Cardiff Castle
21 June Isle Of Wight Festival, Newport, Isle Of Wight

Originally founded by Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, and the late Paul Hester, the group’s self-titled debut in 1986 went platinum and was aided by iconic smash hits Something So Strong and Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Now comprising Finn, Seymour, Mitchell Froom, and Finn’s sons Elroy and Liam, Gravity Stairs is available to pre-order now on cloudy blue vinyl, CD and limited signed vinyl and CD here

Read More: The wizards of Oz – How Australian music conquered the world

 

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David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album set for 50th anniversary reissue

David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album set for 50th anniversary reissue

David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
Image © Terry ONeill 1974

David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs will get a limited edition 50th anniversary reissue

To celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, Parlophone Records has announced that the classic LP will be reissued later this year.

The Diamond Dogs repress will come out on 24 May, the exact day of the 50th anniversary of the album’s original release in 1974.

Issued as a limited edition, half-speed mastered LP and picture disc, the record was cut on a customised late Neumann VMS80 lathe with fully recapped electronics from 192kHz restored masters of the original master tapes, with no additional processing on transfer. The half-speed was cut by John Webber at AIR Studios.

Diamond Dogs Tracklisting:

SIDE ONE
Future Legend
Diamond Dogs
Sweet Thing
Candidate
Sweet Thing (Reprise)
Rebel Rebel

SIDE TWO
Rock ’n’ Roll With Me
We Are The Dead
1984
Big Brother
Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family

Urban apocalyptic scenario

Conceived during a period of uncertainty over where his career was headed, Bowie was inspired to write the songs after he was unable to secure the rights for a theatrical production of George Orwell’s 1984 and the work of William S. Burroughs.

The tracks created an urban apocalyptic scenario while the controversial cover art depicts Bowie as a half-man, half-dog hybrid. Painted by the Belgian artist Guy Peellaert, from photos by Terry O’Neill, the sleeve is one of the most iconic in the musician’s catalogue.

Read More:  No smoke without fire – The 80s rebirth of David Bowie

News of this fresh pressing of Diamond Dogs comes after Parlophone Records announced a new ‘Ziggy Stardust’-era Bowie album will be released for this year’s Record Store Day.

Waiting In The Sky (Before The Starman Came To Earth), comes out on 20 April and is taken from the Trident Studios 1/4″ stereo tapes dated 15 December, 1971, which were created for the then provisional tracklisting for what would become The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars album.

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Classic Pop Reader Survey 2024

Classic Pop Reader Survey 2024

Complete our Reader Survey 2024 and be in with a chance of winning a huge prize bundle

We’ve got a huge prize bundle from Live Here Now – worth £340 – up for grabs! To be in with a chance of winning, just complete the Classic Pop Reader Survey 2024 and let us know your thoughts.

Whether you read our content via the print magazine, digital editions, through our website, or on social media, we need your feedback. We’d really appreciate you taking a few moments to let us know your thoughts, and in return you will be entered into our prize draw to win a bundle of beautifully packaged collector’s edition vinyl and deluxe CD releases.

The prize bundle comprises:

ABC – The Lexicon Of Love Live At Sheffield City Hall, Triple Coloured 180g Vinyl / Deluxe 2CD

Erasure – The Neon Live – O2 Manchester Apollo, Triple Heavyweight Coloured Vinyl / Deluxe 2CD

OMD – Atmospheric & Greatest Hits – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, Triple 180g Vinyl / Deluxe 2CD

Soft Cell – Non Stop Erotic Cabaret… And Other Stories: Live – Live In London, 4LP Purple Sparkle
Heavyweight 180g Vinyl / Deluxe 2CD

Take our Reader Survey 2024 here

 

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Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It celebrates 30th anniversary with reissue

Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It celebrates 30th anniversary with reissue

Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It Reissue

Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It soundtrack album will be reissued for 30th anniversary

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It, a brand new series of special edition albums will be reissued in April.

A 4CD/1DVD boxed set will include the original album remastered on CD one, with CD two featuring a collection of edits, remixes and acapellas. CD three and four features Tina’s live show at the Blockbuster Pavilion in 1993 remastered which can also be watched on the DVD along with three music videos.

4CD 30th Anniversary Edition Tracklisting
CD1

1 I Don’t Wanna Fight
2 Rock Me Baby
3 Disco Inferno
4 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight?
5 Stay Awhile
6 Nutbush City Limits
7 (Darlin’) You Know I Love You
8 Proud Mary
9 A Fool In Love
10 It’s Gonna Work Out Fine
11 Shake A Tail Feather
12 I Might Have Been Queen
13 What’s Love Got To Do With It
14 Tina’s Wish

CD2

1 I Don’t Wanna Fight (Single Edit)
2 Disco Inferno (7″ Edit)*
3 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight? (7″ Single Edit)
4 Proud Mary (Edit)
5 I Don’t Wanna Fight (Urban Mix)
6 Disco Inferno (12″ Version)
7 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight? (Tony Dofat Remix)
8 I Don’t Wanna Fight (Holiday Inn Lounge Mix)
9 I Don’t Wanna Fight (Clubhouse Mix)
10 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight? (Tony Dofat 7″ Edit)*
11 I Don’t Wanna Fight (Jerry Moran Dance Mix)
12 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight? (Instrumental)
13 I Don’t Wanna Fight (Urban Radio Instrumental)
14 Disco Inferno (12″ Dub)
15 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight? (Acapella)
16 Proud Mary (Acapella)*
*Previously Unreleased

CD3

1 Steamy Windows
2 Typical Male
3 Foreign Affair
4 Undercover Agent For The Blues
5 Private Dancer
6 We Don’t Need Another Hero
7 I Can’t Stand The Rain
8 Nutbush City Limits
9 Addicted To Love
10 The Best

CD4

1 I Don’t Wanna Fight
2 Let’s Stay Together
3 What’s Love Got To Do With It
4 Proud Mary
5 Legs
6 Better Be Good To Me
Encore
7 Disco Inferno
8 (Darlin’) You Know I Love You
9 Why Must We Wait Until Tonight

The boxed set also includes a poster and 24-page booklet.

Additional album formats include a single LP, a double-CD and available to digital stream. Released on 26 April, the special editions can be pre-ordered here.

Tina What’s Love

Originally released on 15 June 1993, What’s Love Got To Do With It was a commercial and critical success. Featuring the hit singles I Don’t Wanna Fight, Disco Inferno, and Why Must We Wait Until Tonight, the album was the soundtrack for the Tina Turner biographical film of the same name and reached No.1 in the UK.

The singer, who passed on 24 May 2023,  has sold more than 200 million records and was the first female artist to have a Top 40 hit in six consecutive decades in the UK.

Read More: Making Tina Turner – Private Dancer

 

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Classic Pop Issue 86 is on sale now!

Classic Pop Issue 86 is on sale now!

In the new issue of Classic Pop we have an exclusive cover feature interview with Paul Young as his hugely influential 1983 LP No Parlez gets the deluxe reissue treatment. We also talk to the record’s producer Laurie Latham, bassist Pino Palladino and backing vocalists The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts.

Elsewhere, James reveal all about their stunning new studio album Yummy and Classic Pop catches up with Mike Scott who joins us in taking a deep dive into The Waterboys1985 boxset, sourced from sessions for the band’s This Is The Sea.

We also talk to former Style Councillor Dee C. Lee ahead of the soul singer’s much-anticipated return with her first new album in 26 years, Just Something. Also on the comeback trail with new studio LPs are The Zutons and Starsailor – we chat to both bands as they serve up new material.

Kim Wilde’s back catalogue goes under the microscope for our Album By Album feature and we meet Squeeze’s Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook as they celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band.

Our latest classic album is Adam And The AntsKings Of The Wild Frontier and we also showcase The WoodentopsGiant in our Forget Me Not feature.

In a packed reviews section we give our verdict on new album releases including James, Liam Gallagher & John Squire, Dee C. Lee, Karl Bartos and Gossip plus on the reissues front we have Bananarama, Cutting Crew, Orbital, Kylie Minogue, Climie Fisher, Pete Wylie and much more. We also check out live shows by Suede and The Loveless.

In our packed reviews section we give our verdict on new album releases including Peter Gabriel, Trevor Horn, UB40, Black Grape and Joe Jackson plus there’s a comprehensive reissues section featuring Portishead, Tina Turner, Milli Vanilli, Depeche Mode, Go West, Belinda Carlisle and much more. We also check out live shows by The Chemical Brothers and Holly Johnson.

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Inside the album art of 1984

Inside the album art of 1984

 

cover art for 1984

How the album art of 1984 created a lasting legacy

In 1984 many artists chose to fuse pop and art on their record sleeves, with plenty opting out entirely from a cover appearance.  Here we look at examples of who did it best and others who took  a more traditional approach, all of which comprise key contributions  to a lasting legacy of exemplary album cover creativity.
Words by Andrew Dineley

After a few years of synthetic sounds reigning supreme, 1984 could be seen as the year in which a substantial and tangible stylistic shift became apparent in the UK pop charts. Mechanical music, that had once sounded like the future, was now softening as synth-pop gave way to sophisti-pop and a whole crop of new acts emerged, some inspired musically and visually by decades previous.

Sade – Diamond Life

Sade’s debut album, Diamond Life, is a perfect visual representation of the time, ultra-modern, yet stylishly retro. “The designs I did for Sade were very influenced by the jazz sleeves of Reid Miles and Blue Note records,” says graphic designer Graham Smith. “All über-cool, classic, understated and sophisticated… It has a timeless, elegance and simplicity to it that summed up the style of Sade and the decade. It still looks the part today.”

The Style Council – Café Bleu

Parisian Style

The Style Council’s sleeve designer took design inspiration from similar sources, evident on the sleeve of Weller and Talbot’s Café Bleu album. “This was 1984, before the word paparazzi became part of our everyday language,” reflects Simon Halfon. “Back then the word evoked a glamorous, bygone era… It was the idea of a stolen moment that was the inspiration behind the album cover shoot. And it conveniently doubled up as a nice holiday in Paris for all of us.”

Everything But The Girl EDEN
Everything But The Girl – Eden

Expressionistic Artwork

After brief spells as solo indie artists, Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn released Eden, their jazz-infused debut album as Everything But The Girl – a slogan taken from Turners, a furniture shop in Hull. Its sleeve art was created by Jane Fox, a former member of the Marine Girls, a band that Thorn herself had been part of. The three-dimensional, expressionistic artwork is a collage comprising hand-drawn and painted elements combined with torn paper, glued into place. Apparently, the duo’s label didn’t quite know what to do with the piece when presented with it, but it worked well for the duo’s first album.

The Smiths 1984
The Smiths – The Smiths

Duotone Debut

Fellow indie stars The Smiths released their self-titled debut album this same year, also choosing not to appear on its sleeve – an iconic visual statement implemented with prior singles and every subsequent release for the band until their 1987 demise. Their much anticipated debut featured a duotone image of actor and Andy Warhol protégé Joe Dallesandro on its front cover. The close crop was taken from Warhol’s art film Flesh, in which Dallesandro played a New York street hustler. The actor perhaps more famously also appeared on the sleeve of The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album, designed by Warhol, that featured the actor’s denim-clad crotch and derrière, again in close-up, for both sides of the sleeve.

Red Alert

As a new crop of artists appear, others fade away, and Soft Cell’s implosion was publicly on display with the release of their third studio album, This Last Night In Sodom. It was raw, more visceral, and had a bloody sleeve to match, created by Almond with friend and longtime cover designer, Huw Feather.

Soft Cell – This Last Night In Sodom

Early on, Almond had stated that he preferred working with people he knew and trusted. Says Almond: “We’d rather a friend did it than some faceless person in an office who has to churn out six a day: ‘Well, I’m doing Status Quo this morning, but I’lI try and fit Soft Cell in between Demis Roussos and Yes’. Later elaborating more specifically: “The album title was intended as an apocalyptic statement, to suggest that this was our final night of freedom before the impending catastrophe. God, in this case, was substituted by Thatcher. The cover artwork was a drawing by a psychotic, schizophrenic girl whose work I’d found in a textbook about insanity.”

“The simple, yet powerful images really spoke to us,” adds Huw Feather. “We were fascinated by tattoos and all that kind of imagery and were keen to come up with something that would cause intrigue. The colouring was intended to look like a bar of Bournville chocolate. I loved the contrast of those weird images with the sumptuous gold and red, it was designed to provoke a reaction. On the record racks next to other releases at the time it really stood out.”

The Age Of Consent
Bronski Beat – The Age Of Consent

Pink Triangle

Marc Almond would go on to duet with Bronski Beat, a band who released their debut album, The Age Of Consent, in 1984. Its sleeve may be unfairly judged as formulaic 80s graphic design with its neon hues and angular shapes, but there is more behind its conception. The pink triangle, central to the image, was originally devised by the Nazis in World War II to identify homosexuals in concentration camps and was later appropriated as a symbol of gay pride, years before the LGBT+ rainbow.

It was a defiant and brave statement to make during a challenging political period for the gay community and a bold move for Bronski Beat who extended the idea inside the album with Bruce Gill at Green Ink design studio. “There were some issues with typesetting the inside sleeve of the album,” says Gill. “As well as the lyrics, we also listed ‘European laws regarding minimum age for lawful homosexual relationships between men’ with a telephone number for gay legal advice. One of the outside companies we commissioned for typesetting objected to the content and refused to do it!”

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome

Best Dressed Sleeve

This year saw Frankie Goes To Hollywood conquer the album charts with their debut, Welcome To The Pleasuredome, an extravagant statement in every sense: the art, production, double format and hype. Its sleeve design was as impressive as it was unexpected.

For their first album they were rendered as cartoons by the illustrator Lo Cole for XL Design, the house design team for ZTT: “When I received the call inviting me to do the sleeve artwork for Welcome To The Pleasuredome, I was more than happy to accept – what a coup! A gatefold, fully illustrated double album for the number one band of the time. To my knowledge, I wasn’t pitching against anyone else and it was just me – my job to get right. I was initially briefed by Paul Morley whose concept for the album centred around Coleridge’s Kubla Khan poem. I remember meeting the band to do initial sketches and then having a week to provide roughs.

“At that time my work was influenced by Picasso’s line drawings and those of Jean Cocteau. All went well and I was a given a further week to produce the final artwork. Another week without sleep, several failed attempts, sore hands and the final pieces were ready to go to print. The album became the No.1 album of the year and I was particularly pleased to see it voted NME’s Best Dressed Sleeve of 1984.”

Spandau Ballet Parade
Spandau Ballet – Parade

Pop Art

Spandau Ballet upped the visual ante with their fourth album, Parade. The eventual cover image was an elaborate combination of props, painting and a coterie of costumed friends, celebrities and family. “I wanted to return to making the record sleeve important,” says Gary Kemp. “So much has been done with videos, while the sleeve’s just been passed over, the record sleeve is an important part of an album. Unlike a promotional video, it’s something permanent, something you can keep…

“One of the original ideas for the sleeve was to recreate The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper sleeve using people in the entertainment business, sport and politics who sum up the best of the 80s. But it was too short notice to get it together… When David Band and me get together to discuss new artwork ideas it’s never done like a meeting. We just go out and get smashed and come up with loads of ideas.”

The respect between the musical artist and sleeve artist was mutual. “I’d been working on a painting of a man holding a megaphone for the album sleeve when Gary came up with Parade,” says artist David Band. “That sparked off all the different images. It was good for me to get into painting with oils, rather than the felt pens of the True sleeves, and Parade gave me that opportunity because Gary’s into art as well. He’s really good to work with, because unlike a lot of people he’s interested in all the arts – not just music.”

Howard Jones - Human's Lib
Howard Jones – Human’s Lib

Monochrome Set

The cover of Howard Jones’ debut album Human’s Lib could be seen as the antithesis of 80s excess with its monochromatic cover image and neo-classical restraint. Echoes of Peter Saville’s 1980 sleeve for Closer by Joy Division may be in evidence, but behind the enigmatic simplicity lies a deeper narrative. The three fictional characters shown with Howard in the cover illustration by Steg are Ruth, David and Dennis.

Jones is reported to have shared a complex tale around the time of the album’s release at at least one live concert, where he elaborated on the friends’ imaginary tangled lives. A tale that was said to involve marriage, betrayal, bus driving, complex affairs and misadventures spanning continents. Merchandise was even sold at early gigs in the form of a set of three individual button badges, each featuring the names of Ruth, David and Dennis.

Talk Talk - It’s My Life
Talk Talk – It’s My Life

Dreamlike Seascape

Conversely, some record sleeve concepts may at first appear to have deep meaning, only for the reality to be somewhat different. One such example of this is Talk Talk’s second album, It’s My Life, impeccably painted once again by the band’s longtime creative collaborator, James Marsh. In his book Spirit Of Talk Talk, Marsh elaborated on the cover image: “The decision to release It’s My Life was quite sudden, affording little time to produce a concept, let alone any artwork. Given only the title by way of information, I suggested an existing image I had that I thought might work in this particular context.

“The painting I presented was originally created for a wraparound hardback book jacket titled The Facts Of Life by Robert Nye, published by Hamish Hamilton the previous year. On the face of it, the underlying theme is the same, which is why it seemed so appropriate. The painted collage incorporates a pastiche section of a well-known painting, The Boyhood Of Raleigh by Millais, within the dreamlike seascape and floating puzzle pieces. Needless to say, they used it but it probably explains why this cover design looks slightly out of context alongside the other main albums.”

Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis never was a fan of appearing on his own record covers, explaining at the time: “We use illustrations because it says a lot more about the music than having us three on the front, smiling.”

Queen - The Works
Queen – The Works

Old School Style

Getting the balance right for the creative talent behind the sleeve and those featured on it isn’t always easy. Bill Smith worked with Queen on concepts for their album The Works and remembers how the eventual design came together. “It’s not often you get to work with true superstars, so to get the chance to work with Queen was a pleasure,” Smith says. “I came up with quite a few visuals, some using band images, some using images that gave an idea of ‘works’. It was decided to use a shot taken by Hollywood photographer George Hurrell.

“He was ‘old school’ and had been shooting portraits and stills for big movie studios MGM and Warner Brothers since 1920… The front cover layout was fairly simple but I wanted to get ‘work’ into the cover somehow, so selected a photo of some cogs by a Russian Constructivist artist called Aleksandr Rodchenko. To me it was more representative of the title than the cover shot, which felt more like boy scouts sitting round a campfire.” The cogs did make it onto the back of the sleeve.

David Bowie - Tonight
David Bowie – Tonight

Romantic Hero

David Bowie is an artist that cared passionately about art and his own visual presentation. This included how his records were packaged. In 1984 he worked closely with sleeve designer Mick Haggerty on the cover of Tonight, inspired in part by Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Green Lady painting from 1952. “He talked about the mood of that painting, stories of the Holy Grail, about stained glass windows and the artist as Romantic Hero,” says Haggerty.

“He was the easiest and most interesting artist to work with. Playful, passionate and totally secure. I was already experimenting with my own makeshift image compositing system that I had built inside a closet at home, using a backlit vintage  8×10 camera. Before computers, there was no other way to make complex photo images, than to cut and paste together paper prints made from film negatives, using scissors and glue, and then retouch with paint. I could shift registration and easily paint and interfere with the image. It was laborious and slow, but the result looked nothing like the retouched images of the day.

“David and I met about a month later in New York, and I shot lots of Polaroids of him in his hotel room at The Carlyle. From those I made a graphite drawing, which I tinted Yves Klein blue. I shot traffic and lights around Times Square, and later flowers and oil paint smears in my studio and assembled it all in my closet. We were both quite amazed at the results I recall.”

Alison Moyet - Alf
Alison Moyet – Alf

Not So Invisible

If a photograph is strong enough, it can effectively be the album sleeve, and part of the talent of a good designer is to know whether additional graphical elements are required, or is the image in itself enough to sell the package? Prior to being a solo artist, Alison Moyet hadn’t appeared on any of her record sleeves, so it was interesting to see her step from the shadows, almost, for her debut album, Alf, created with Rob O’Connor of Stylorouge.

“We were there almost from the start with Alison, she’d had one single and she didn’t like the cover,” he says. “She wanted something simpler, so we created a looser look with that hand-drawn logo. I worked with the photographer Simon Fowler on the cover of the first album. We created the look of a barn in the studio with some old film props and we lit it with blue lights and smoke.”

Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward

Industrial Experimentation

Moyet’s ex-label mates Depeche Mode were, in 1984, on their fourth album release in as many years and again opted to work with the late Brian Griffin, the photographer responsible for all of their previous albums. The sleeve of Some Great Reward, visually connected with the band’s ongoing industrial experimentation, evident in its photo session shot in a West Midlands industrial works that was familiar to the photographer.

“This part of the massive Round Oak Steelworks still exists in Brierley Hill,” says Griffin. “This factory I could see from my bedroom window growing up in the Black Country as a boy.” The graphics supplied by Martyn Atkins’ T&CP design studio naturally referenced the same industrial themes with schematics and mechanical parts introduced as an integral part of the complementary graphic identity.

OMD - Junk Culture
OMD – Junk Culture

Floating Florals

Another prolific act that came to prominence at the dawn of the 1980s was also on a roll of yearly releases in 1984, and they too had a quality pedigree with their album art. Junk Culture was the fifth album by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and for this release, the band again entrusted the album’s art to Peter Saville. The sleeve appears to build upon the designer’s post-modernist floral interests, evident also in his concept for New Order’s Power, Corruption & Lies from one year earlier.

For OMD, Richard Haughton was commissioned to shoot vividly coloured floating flowers. Haughton’s work is largely portrait-based so this unusual commission is one he remembers 40 years on: “As I remember it was shot specifically for the cover and the soft focus/blur effect was something I came up with, pulling focus on the enlarger while exposing Cibachrome prints,” Haughton says. “Don’t think I ever did that again when I think about it – I’m surprised I remembered that instantly, not having thought about it at all since then, even though I like the sleeve a lot.”

From abstract to intimate and decadent to borderline demonic, this selection of 1984’s sleeve designs provide us with a fantastically imaginative body of work from a changing decade that has now reached its middle-age.

Classic Pop Presents a deep dive look into 1984

Read more: The story of 1983 in music

 

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The Pretenders reschedule UK tour with additional dates

The Pretenders reschedule UK tour with additional dates

Chrissie Hynde in seated wearing Elvis shirt Credit Ki Price_Chrissie Hynde
Image © Ki Price

The Pretenders UK tour rescheduled due to injury

A knee injury sustained by singer Chrissie Hynde has forced The Pretenders to reschedule their UK headline tour.

Due to take through February and March, the tour will now take place in October 2024.

The newly announced shows will begin on 11 October at Portsmouth’s Guildhall before closing at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on 28 October.

The tour will take in 13 performances across the country, including four new dates at Portsmouth’s Guildhall (11 October), Hull’s Connexin Live (19 October), a third night at London’s Palladium (2h October), and a show at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre (26 October).

The October 2024 tour will follow The Pretenders’ latest album Relentless, their highest-charting record in 23 years and 14th UK Top 40 release. Out now, Relentless is available on baby pink vinyl, CD and digital download.

Pretenders Relentless Album Artwork showing painting of a child wearing boxing gloves

‘Champing At The Bit’

In a message to fans shared via The Pretenders’ social media channels, Chrissie Hynde said:“We’re champing at the bit to get back on the road, but looks like we’re gonna have to hold tight for a while. I have a knee injury which will have to be dealt with first. I was hoping I could limp through the next 6 weeks, but it’s just getting worse.”

The singer added: “We will be rescheduling the postponed shows to later in the year. So sorry for the inconvenience but look forward to seeing you then.”

Existing ticket holders are reassured that all tickets will be valid for the rescheduled date. Any customers unable to come to the revised date can contact their point of purchase for a refund.

UK Tour Dates:

October
11 Portsmouth Guildhall – NEW DATE
12 Bristol Beacon
13 Oxford New Theatre
16 Edinburgh Usher Hall
17 Gateshead The Glasshouse
19 Hull Connexin Live – NEW DATE
20 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
22 London Palladium (tickets from Wednesday 28 Feb valid for this date)
23 London Palladium (tickets from Thursday 29 Feb valid for this date)
24 London Palladium – NEW DATE
26 Ipswich Regent Theatre – NEW DATE
27 Birmingham Symphony Hall
28 Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Tickets for the 2024 UK headline tour dates are available from 16 February at 10am GMT. Book here

Win tickets to see UB40 in concert

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor announces biggest ever headline show

Sophie Ellis-Bextor announces biggest ever headline show

Sophie-Ellis Bextor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor announces On The Mount at Wasing 2024 headline show

Sophie Ellis-Bextor to play her biggest headline show

Kitchen Disco diva, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, will play her biggest ever headline show on 26 June at On The Mount at Wasing 2024.

The singer’s announcement comes as her song, Murder On The Dancefloor, sits at No.2 on the UK Top 10 Singles Chart.

The tune’s resurgence in popularity comes after its memorable appearance in the closing scene of the film Saltburn starring Barry Keoghan.

Originally released as the follow-up single to Take Me Home in 2001, Murder On The Dancefloor is lifted from her debut solo studio album Read My Lips and will be re-released on limited edition 7″ vinyl and CD on 16 February.

A magical and surreal time

Ellis-Bextor celebrates this success with her biggest ever headline show at On The Mount at Wasing in Berkshire.

On her exclusive headline show, the singer said: “It’s been a magical and surreal time for me in the last couple of months, let alone the last few years! It’s going to be really special having our own massive celebration at On the Mount at Wasing, tucked away from the world in the middle of the Berkshire countryside.”

The one night only show and ultimate countryside disco party features special guests Princess Superstar and Fat Tony.

Previously announced for On The Mount at Wasing 2024 are Australian rock icons Crowded House who will kick off the shows on 17 June, London electronic duo Jungle who will perform with their explosive full live band on 27 June, and dance icons Underworld who will headline on 29 June.

On The Mount At Wasing 2024 line-up:

17 June Crowded House
18 June Paolo Nutini
20 June Wasing Presents: Solstice At The Mount (featuring Nick Mulvey and Rodrigo Y Gabriela)
27 June Jungle
26 June Sophie Ellis-Bextor
29 June Underworld

Tickets available here

Win tickets to see UB40 in concert

 

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Win tickets to see UB40 in concert

Win tickets to see UB40 in concert

Win tickets to see reggae legends UB40 in concert

Classic Pop and TEG Live Europe are giving you the chance to win one of 4x pairs of tickets to see UB40 in concert this November!

The world’s biggest selling reggae group, UB40, take to the road with Grammy Award winners Soul II Soul for a special UK arena tour in 2024. Prepare for the party of all parties, as two multi-million selling behemoths combine for an evening of timeless chart hits and tireless performances.

Tour dates are:

01 Nov Ovo Arena Wembley, London
02 Nov M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
07 Nov Utilita Arena, Cardiff
09 Nov Resorts World Arena, Birmingham
15 Nov First Direct Arena, Leeds
16 Nov Ovo Hydro, Glasgow
21 Nov Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
23 Nov SSE Arena, Belfast

One of Britain’s best-loved groups, UB40’s hits include One In Ten, Red Red Wine, Kingston Town, Higher Ground, King, The Earth Dies Screaming, Don’t Break My Heart, (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You, Rat In Mi Kitchen and Homely Girl, as well as the smash singles I Got You Babe and Breakfast In Bed recorded with Chrissie Hynde.

Special guests are Soul II Soul who scored Top 10s with Keep On Movin’, Back To Life (However Do You Want Me), Get A Life, A Dream’s A Dream and Joy.

To book tickets click here

COMPETITION

To win one of 4x pairs of tickets, standing or seated at a venue/date of your choice, answer the easy question to be entered into our prize draw. Good luck!

ENTER HERE

T&Cs: The winner will be required to make their own way to the event, travel costs are not included. To be in with a chance of winning, simply submit your answer and details using the form provided. The winner will be notified by email and will have five working days to claim their prize. The full competition T&Cs can be found here on the Anthem Publishing website. The editor’s decision is final. This prize draw is open to UK residents only. Closing date is 25 March 2024.

 

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Tom Bailey reflects on the Thompson Twins’ Into The Gap

Tom Bailey reflects on the Thompson Twins’ Into The Gap

The Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey looks back at the band’s fourth studio album Into The Gap

The Thompson Twins released their fourth long-player,  Into The Gap, in February 1984. Here, frontman Tom Bailey reflects on the band’s biggest-selling album…

1984 was quite the year for the Thompson Twins with the band – consisting, at this point, of Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway – at the top of their commercial game. Not only did they enjoy four Top 20 UK hits that year, they also hit No.1 for the first and last time with their two times platinum album, Into The Gap.

“I remember New Year’s Eve 1983,” Bailey tells Classic Pop via Zoom from his home in New Zealand, “as we were doing an MTV concert in New York with Billy Idol. There was just a sense in which things were going to be good for us in the coming year…”

Thompson Twins Into The Gap Cover

Thompson Twins really broke through in 1983, so do ’83 and ’84 blend into one for you?

A little bit, yeah. It was a continuous kind of take-off period, and very exciting, in the sense that a party is going on all the time. Also, I guess it’s where you learn to get the measure of it and say, “You can’t do this every night of the year otherwise something will implode…”

Were you a hard partier at the time?

By that stage, I’d given up drugs and drink completely. I was Mr Sober, which put me in a kind of very select club in rock’n’roll. Most people around me were going for it, so I had a rather strange view of everything. I never woke up thinking, ‘Jeez, that was a heavy night’. It wasn’t like that for me, whereas everyone else seemed to be doing that.

I always say, kind of jokingly, that in America that it turned me on to country music because when you’re touring after the show, if you’re on a bus, everyone’s in the back of it partying, whereas I was up front with the driver. And drivers in America always listened to country and western music so it exposed me to this music that I’d never been interested in.

You released Into The Gap in February ’84, by which time you were averaging an album every 12 months. Was it important to keep up the momentum?

I never thought of it that way. But I guess the management of the record company had an eye on those things because they make hay while the sun shines. There was definitely a ‘record, then tour, then go back into writing as fast as you can’ approach.

We got lucky with Into The Gap in the sense that we’d matured as songwriters after the previous album, so it was quite an easy record to write. We followed our recording pattern in as much as we went and cut the basic tracks in the Bahamas at Compass Point. We’d done that on the previous album, and we thought, it works, let’s use the same plan with the same people, basically.

How long did the writing take? I presume by this point you’d gotten it down to a fine art.

I can’t remember exactly how long it took, but it wasn’t a long torturous process. I think it was maybe four weeks of writing. What we would do is rent a place in the countryside to get away from distractions, so there were no clubs, no parties, no dinner engagements, we just locked ourselves in. And we had a rule that we needed four hits before we could relax.

We came up with Hold Me Now, Doctor! Doctor!, Sister Of Mercy and probably You Take Me Up, and we thought, now we can be a little bit more experimental, because we’ve ticked those boxes. That’s the thing you aim for creatively, to cover the deadlines and the requirements so you can then be free to try out some things that perhaps might be a bit more risky. So it went perfectly in that sense – we wrote four obviously catchy songs, and then went on to try out some other more interesting things.

Let’s talk about some of the other singles. Sister Of Mercy is amazingly dark as a single. Did you feel any trepidation releasing that?

I didn’t feel any trepidation because it was a good song. The inspiration was all Alannah’s idea. She said there was this story of a French woman who had murdered her partner because he was so cruel to her over a long period of time. And in France, that falls into the category of something that we didn’t have in the UK legally, which is called the crime of passion, which carries a less severe penalty. And I suppose her feminist perspective was that that was a good idea, that when domestic violence was involved against partners, that they should be excused. And that’s what the song was about – it was the story of that woman.

I think it was cutting edge. I mean, most of the band’s work had a kind of liberation agenda behind it. People accused us of being saccharine and all the rest of it but we always had this idea that we were trying to make people’s lives and the world a better place, and personal politics came into that very, very strongly. I still like performing it these days, actually.

What about Doctor! Doctor!? At the time that was your highest-charting song.

I didn’t write that one, Alannah did. It’s another track in the tradition of seeing love as an illness and how it can be cured. There are lots of those and it’s a kind of a blues classic, isn’t it. But the fact is, I came from a medical family. I was having big fights at the time with my father who was a doctor and so maybe she was thinking about that when she wrote the song. But I think mostly the first explanation is the best. It’s just in the tradition of lovers’ sickness.

You Take Me Up was a big hit here (UK No.2), but its flip, Passion Planet, became a popular song on American radio. When you found that out, did you think, “Ah, we should have put that on the album…?”

It was just a bonus I think. Other songs were like that as well. Sometimes you get a freak response for reasons that you could never really explain. Passion Planet’s a really throwaway piece of work, it is a B-side in terms of its songwriting, but it has a catchiness about it.

There are just nine tracks on the album overall. Were there many left over that you just thought didn’t quite fit?

I can’t remember the discussion that took place about that at the time. What I do remember was that there was an absolute quality limit at 20 minutes per side. When we’re talking vinyl, the longer time on an album, the lower the quality reproduction, and 20 minutes was normally considered to be the borderline that you mustn’t cross. So maybe that was it – we just couldn’t add another song.

Apart from the singles, are there any deeper album cuts you particularly love?

Deep cuts is an interesting thing because we’re going to tour the album because it’s the 40th anniversary. I did this once in the UK in 2022 and then a short tour of Australia, performing the album just to see how it felt, and it’s really good. So we’re gonna do a tour of that and other things, obviously. But it means I had to dig out the songs I hadn’t listened to for a long time. And I must say there’s nothing on there that I think, ‘Oh, this is a bit tedious’. In some way, they all sparkle for me.

In those days, we all listened to albums as a whole, so it’s not just about the hits. So much so that I don’t perform the album in the order of the recording or of the pressing, for various reasons. One of which is I like to finish with Hold Me Now, because it’s a big singalong event, a very emotional thing at the end of the show.

But of course on the record, that’s not the last track. Some people get upset about that, but there are theatrical reasons why the order has to be changed for the live show. I really enjoyed rediscovering some of those, one of which was the title track, Into The Gap. We’ve decided to do it with an unusual line-up, so we have Middle Eastern drums, cello and bass, rather than all the keyboard parts.

Will you be doing little twists on other songs?

I’ve always done that, since getting back into live performance and with a new band. I took that as an opportunity to reinvestigate and contemporise the arrangements and the music. Partly because of technology – we have a lot of computer assistance in these things now that we didn’t back in the 80s.

Thinking back to 10-12 years ago, when the idea of performing again came up for me, I really was in a position of ignorance – I hadn’t listened to those works for a long time. I actually went out and bought a Thompson Twins CD to check them out.

I remember, on the tube going home, I made a mental note of which songs were the ones I wanted to sing. That was a strange moment, re-encountering your own work. It’s like reading an old diary, I guess, ‘cause it reminds you of things you’d completely forgotten that you suddenly realise are a big part of your identity.

For more on Tom Bailey’s 2024 live plans, head here

Read more: Thompson Twins / Tom Bailey – album by album

 

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The Cure’s Paris live album to be reissued with unreleased tracks

The Cure’s Paris live album to be reissued with unreleased tracks

Cover for The Cure Paris 30th Anniversary Edition
Paris, The Cure’s double live album, will be reissued with two unreleased recordings on 22 March

The Cure to reissue Paris live album with previously unreleased recordings

The Cure’s double live album, Paris, turns 30 this year and to celebrate a remastered 2LP and 1CD version will be reissued featuring two bonus tracks.

Remastered by Robert Smith and Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios, the LP is being issued on black vinyl for the first time since 1993.

The 14-track album was recorded over three nights at Le Zénith de Paris in October 1992 and includes the singles Lovesong, Catch, A Letter To Elise, Charlotte Sometimes, Close To Me and  live favourites Play For Today and One Hundred Years.

The Cure’s 30th anniversary re-issue of Paris has now been expanded with the addition of two recently discovered previously unreleased tracks Shake Dog Shake and Hot Hot Hot!!! which now top and tail the album. The album running order has also been reconfigured accordingly.

Listen to Shake Dog Shake below:

Paris Track Listing:

Side One
Shake Dog Shake
The Figurehead
Play For Today

Side Two
At Night
In Your House
One Hundred Years

Side Three
Apart
Lovesong
A Letter To Elise

Side Four
Catch
Charlotte Sometimes
Dressing Up
Close To Me
Hot Hot Hot!!!

The Cure Paris 2LP set
The Cure remastered Paris 2LP live album set

CD
Shake Dog Shake
The Figurehead
Play For Today
At Night
In Your House
One Hundred Years
Apart
Lovesong
A Letter To Elise
Catch
Charlotte Sometimes
Dressing Up
Close To Me
Hot Hot Hot!!!

50 percent of the recording royalties from the sale of Paris will be paid to the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.

Paris was the second of two live records documenting the band’s 1992 tour in support of their ninth album Wish. The first album Show was released in September 1993 and reissued in July last year.

The release comes as a timely stop-gap for fans waiting for further news on The Cure’s new studio album, Songs Of A Lost World.

Released on 22 March, the album is available to pre-order here

Read more: Making The Cure – Disintegration

 

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Wham! to re-release classic albums on vinyl

Wham! to re-release classic albums on vinyl

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in black and white
Image © Tony McGee

Wham!’s Fantastic and Make It Big albums to be reissued on vinyl

Wham!’s Fantastic and Make It Big albums are going to be re-released on vinyl for the first time in over 30 years.

The LPs, available on both limited edition colour and black vinyl, will be available from 22 March 2024 and can be pre-ordered here.

Wham! Fantastic red vinyl
Wham!’s Fantastic will be available on red vinyl

Lasting Legacy

Of the release, Andrew Ridgeley said: “It’s a wonderful testament to the enduring nature of Wham!’s music that our legions of loyal fans and the younger cohorts of music fans desire to own the music in their original formats.”

George Michael Entertainment added: “We are delighted that these two classic albums are once again available on vinyl for a whole new generation to enjoy.”

Wham Make It Big white vinyl product shot
Wham!’s Make It Big will be reissued on limited edition white vinyl

Global Stardom

Fantastic debuted at No.1 in the UK, sold millions of copies worldwide, and hits such as Bad Boys, Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do) and Club Tropicana, catapulted the duo to global stardom.

Their follow-up release, Make It Big, which will celebrate its 40-year anniversary this year, included the smash singles Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Everything She Wants and Freedom.

The release follows a huge year for the duo who released their special Wham! The Singles: Echoes From The Edge Of Heaven boxset, unveiled a Netflix documentary, and finally scored a Christmas No.1 for Last Christmas.

Check out our deep dive into the story of George Michael & Wham! in Classic Pop Presents 

 

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Portishead’s Beth Gibbons to release debut solo album

Portishead’s Beth Gibbons to release debut solo album

Beth Gibbons announces debut solo album and releases single, Floating On A Moment
Portishead’s Beth Gibbons has released solo single Floating On A Moment

Portishead’s Beth Gibbons announces debut solo album and releases single

Portishead’s Beth Gibbons has announced details of her debut solo album, Lives Outgrown, which promises to be her most personal work to date.

The result of a period of sustained reflection and change, the record features 10 new tracks recorded over a period of 10 years.

“I realised what life was like with no hope,” says the Portishead singer. “And that was a sadness I’d never felt. Before, I had the ability to change my future, but when you’re up against your body, you can’t make it do something it doesn’t want to do.”

Beth Gibbons seated in a field
Beth Gibbons Image © Netti Habel

Songs touch on motherhood, anxiety and the menopause as well as, inevitably, mortality. “People started dying,” says Beth. “When you’re young, you never know the endings, you don’t know how it’s going to pan out. You think: we’re going to get beyond this. It’s going to get better. Some endings are hard to digest.”

But emerging from this decade of change and realignment has left Beth with what feels like a renewed purpose. “Now I’ve come out of the other end, I just think, you’ve got to be brave,” she says.

Produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, The Last Dinner Party) and Gibbons with additional production by Lee Harris (Talk Talk), Lives Outgrown will be released on 17 May 2024.

Lives Outgrown track listing:

1. Tell Me Who You Are Today
2. Floating On A Moment
3. Burden Of Life
4.  Lost Changes
5. Rewind
6. Reaching Out
7. Oceans
8. For Sale
9. Beyond The Sun
10. Whispering Love

The video for first single, Floating On A Moment, was directed by Tony Oursler. He said: “When I first heard Floating On A Moment it literally transported me from place to place, filling me with kaleidoscopic emotions and visions. If possible, I wanted to capture that psychic liquid in this video. Beth’s work is so powerful it can lead us through life’s forests and fires, revealing glimpses of possible futures. With a voice and music like that I knew we had to make images which are open, somehow speculative.”

Watch Floating On A Moment below:

Lives Outgrown will be available on: standard LP, deluxe LP (Tip-on Gatefold sleeve, heavyweight vinyl, 4 page booklet, 12 page A5 studio scrapbook), standard CD and deluxe CD (casebound book).

Beth Gibbons will be performing the following concerts in the UK and Europe in May and June.

Beth Gibbons tour:

27 May – La Salle Pleyel, Paris
28 May – Theater 11, Zürich
30 May – Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona
31 May – La Bourse Du Travail, Lyon
02 June – Uber Eats Music Hall, Berlin
03 June – Falkonersalen, Copenhagen
05 June – TivoliVredenburg (Main Hall), Utrecht
06 June – Cirque Royal, Brussels
09 June – The Barbican Centre, London
10 June – Albert Hall, Manchester
11 June – Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Tickets available on 16 February.

UK pre-orders of Lives Outgrown via the official Beth Gibbons store will be eligible for ticket pre-sale, starting on 14 February at 10am GMT. Click here

Read More: Classic Pop visits Bristol 

 

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The Manics celebrate 20 years of Lifeblood

The Manics celebrate 20 years of Lifeblood

Manics - Lifeblood
The Manics celebrate 20 years of Lifeblood with special anniversary editions

The Manic Street Preachers set to reissue Lifeblood… their ‘most estranged album of all’ 

The Manic Street Preachers have announced details of a 20th anniversary edition of their seventh studio album Lifeblood.

Described by bassist Nicky Wire as, “our most estranged album of all,” the record originally came out in November 2004 as the band were reflecting on what they had become and what they could be.

It was a time when the band looked to the music they had liked when they were young for inspiration: New Order circa Low Life, Prefab Sprout Steve McQueen, Thomas Dolby The Flat Earth, early Simple Minds.

James Dean Bradfield, singer and guitarist, commented, “I loved making Lifeblood, because it was interesting. I loved chasing these other versions of what we were trying to do.”

Manics Lifeblood - vinyl

Scheduled for release on 12 April 2024, the new reissues feature numerous remastered tracks, B-sides, demos and outtakes, new liner notes by John Harris and unseen pictures by Mitch Ikeda.

The special edition is available on a variety of formats including CD, 3CD bookset, double vinyl, double coloured vinyl, and digital.

For complete listings and pre-order details, click here

The Manics, who are currently working on their 15th studio album, will embark on a co-headlining tour with Suede in the summer.

UK and Ireland Tour Dates

28 June Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod *
29 June Eden Sessions, St Austell**
02 July Dublin – Dublin Trinity College **
05 July Cardiff  – Cardiff Castle *
06 July Cardiff – Cardiff Castle *
10 July Edinburgh – Edinburgh Castle *
12 July Manchester – Castlefield Bowl *
13 July Leeds – Millenium Square **
18 July London – Alexandra Palace Park **
19 July Margate, Dreamland **

*Manic Street Preachers close the show **Suede headline

Tickets are on sale now. Click here

Read More: Into the valleys – The Sounds Of Wales

 

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Listen to Sia and Kylie’s new collaboration

Listen to Sia and Kylie’s new collaboration

Dance Alone Sia & Kylie Minogue
Sia’s new single, Dance Alone, is a collaboration with Kylie Minogue

Sia and Kylie have joined forces on new single Dance Alone

Sia has teamed up with Kylie Minogue again for her new single Dance Alone. The pair have reunited 10 years after previously collaborating on Kylie’s Kiss Me Once album and the single is lifted from Sia’s new album Reasonable Woman. 

Listen to Dance Alone below:

The single release comes days after Kylie won the inaugural Grammy for best pop dance recording for her global hit Padam Padam.

The Chandelier singer’s first solo full-length album in eight years will be released on 3 May and features appearances from Chaka Khan, Labrinth, Tierra Whack, Kaliii, Jimmy Jolliff and Paris Hilton.

Sia - Reasonable Woman Artwork
Sia’s Reasonable Woman

Reasonable Woman track listing:

Little Wing
Immortal Queen (feat. Chaka Khan)
Dance Alone (Sia and Kylie Minogue)
I Had A Heart
Gimme Love
Nowhere To Be
Towards The Sun
Incredible (feat. Labrinth)
Champion (feat. Tierra Whack, Kaliii, Jimmy Jolliff)
I Forgive You
Wanna Be Known
One Night
Fame Won’t Love You (feat. Paris Hilton)
Go On Rock
Balloon

In addition to the guest vocalists, the album was created with a number of top collaborators, producers, co-writers and engineers including: Jesse Shatkin, Greg Kurstin, benny blanco, Jim-E Stack, Rosalía, bülow and Mark “Spike” Stent.

Sia’s last commercial pop record was This Is Acting in 2016 which featured the singles Alive, Cheap Thrills, The Greatest, Move Your Body, Reaper and Unstoppable. In 2017 she released a Christmas album, Everyday Is Christmas, and 2021’s Music – Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture was based on the musical she directed.

Pre-save Reasonable Woman here

Read more on Kylie’s Kiss Me Once in our Album By Album guide

 

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