Saturday, June 20, 2015

No More Heroes - CDs to be won!

No More Heroes

I have to confess that I didn’t have a particularly big record collection growing up. My parents couldn’t afford a lot of pocket money, so I didn’t have a lot of disposable income for singles – and certainly not for albums; it was easier to spare 25p or 30p for Smash Hits every fortnight than to buy records on a regular basis, which is why I have been able to spend the last six years sharing my collection on this archive.

Ever since I first dived into my Smash Hits collection and began reliving those times, the question I have asked repeatedly has been: "Did we realise how lucky we were?" We were spoiled. During my formative years, the charts were bursting with great music; there was so much variety and invention in the British top 40 of the late seventies and early eighties – an explosion of talent that has never been repeated to such a degree.

No More Heroes tackles the well-nigh impossible task of distilling the spirit of those heady days into three discs. Listening to its sixty tracks is a whirlwind spin through the golden age of punk, post-punk and new wave. Chart-toppers from The Jam, The Specials and Ian Dury rub shoulders with classics from Madness, Buzzcocks and Adam and the Ants; American acts like the Ramones, Modern Lovers and Talking Heads pogo with Generation X, XTC and X Ray Spex. Alongside the more familiar titles are things you might have forgotten: I am particularly excited by the inclusion of Back Of My Hand by the Jags – why wasn’t that a bigger hit?!!?

From calls to action by the likes of Sham 69 and Secret Affair to the endearing goofiness of the Toy Dolls and Tenpole Tudor, this is a reminder of that incredible outpouring of energy. Some of these acts cast long shadows; others crashed and burned spectacularly, but from the unmistakable opening of Teenage Kicks to Jona Lewie’s anthem for wallflowers, there’s hardly a dull moment here.

No More Heroes is an ideal way to fill some of the gaps in your collection – or a great introduction to the great sounds of a great moment in musical history. It doesn’t claim to be all-inclusive, but what it does include is good enough for me: Blondie, The Fall, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bow Wow Wow, Dr. Feelgood....Realising that some of these songs were recorded forty years ago should make me feel old, but listening to them puts a spring in my step. So go ahead, open up a copy of Smash Hits, crank up the stereo and enjoy!

No More Heroes is available from Amazon UK and iTunes....but keep reading to find out how you could win a copy for yourself in our very first competition!

No More Heroes

The makers of No More Heroes have given us three copies of the boxset to give away to fans of this Smash Hits archive. To have a chance of winning, go to our Facebook page and leave a comment listing your three favourite tracks from the compilation and three songs which you think should have been included. Everybody who posts a comment listing six titles will be entered into a draw - three names will be selected and those winners will get the CDs.

Disc: 1
1. Teenage Kicks - The Undertones
2. Going Underground - The Jam
3. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – Ramones
4. If The Kids Are United - Sham 69
5. No More Heroes – Stranglers
6. Public Image – PIL
7. Do Anything You Wanna Do - Eddie And The Hot Rods
8. Ever Fallen In Love - The Buzzcocks
9. Turning Japanese - The Vapors
10. Neat Neat Neat - The Damned
11. Germ Free Adolescents - X Ray Spex
12. Automatic Lover - The Vibrators
13. Swords of A 1,000 Men - Tenpole Tudor
14. Go Wild In The Country - Bow Wow Wow
15. Into The Valley - The Skids
16. Top Of The Pops – Rezillos
17. 2 4 6 8 Motorway - Tom Robinson
18. Blank Generation - Richard Hell and The Voidoids
19. Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand
20. Is Vic There? - Department S

Disc: 2
1. Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie
2. Lust For Life - Iggy Pop
3. Pretty In Pink - Psychedelic Furs
4. The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
5. Time For Action - Secret Affair
6. Shake Some Action - Flamin' Groovies
7. I Got You - Split Enz
8. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
9. Back Of My Hand - The Jags
10. Making Plans For Nigel – XTC
11. Sound of The Suburbs - The Members
12. Kings Of The Wild Frontier - Adam And The Ants
13. I Think We're Alone Now - The Rubinoos
14. Lucky Number - Lene Lovich
15. Another Girl, Another Planet - The Only Ones
16. A New England - Kirsty MacColl
17. Ghost Town - The Specials
18. 7teen - The Regents
19. Drowning In Berlin - The Mobiles
20. One Step Beyond – Madness

Disc: 3
1. Road To Nowhere - Talking Heads
2. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury And The Blockheads
3. Roadrunner (Twice) - Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers
4. Rich Kids - Rich Kids
5. Babylons Burning - The Ruts
6. Jimmy Jimmy - The Undertones
7. Hersham Boys - Sham 69
8. Miss The Girl – Creatures
9. New Rose - The Damned
10. The Day The World Turned Day Glo - X Ray Spex
11. Drummer Man – Tonight
12. King Rocker - Generation X
13. Butcher Baby - The Plasmatics
14. Homicide – 999
15. Cherry Bomb - The Runnaways
16. Nellie The Elephant - The Toy Dolls
17. Get Rhythm - Dr Feelgood
18. Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric
19. It's The New Thing - The Fall
20. You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties - Jona Lewie

Friday, June 19, 2015

June 19 - July 2, 1985

Smash Hits, June 19, 1985

(click on the image to see the full issue)

Cover: Tears For Fears
Centrespread: Paul Young
Back cover: Jesus And Mary Chain
Interviews: Fine Young Cannibals; Tears For Fears; Sting; Style Council; Nick Heyward
Lyrics: Johnny Come Home - Fine Young Cannibals; Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury; Life In One Day - Howard Jones; Sex Machine - James Brown; El Vino Collapso - Black Lace; Head Over Heels - Tears For Fears; Suddenly - Billy Ocean; Laura - Nick Heyward; She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult; Tomb Of Memories - Paul Young; Remember I Love You - Jim Diamond
Personal File: Claudia Brucken  
Bitz: Gary Crowley, "Poparound"; John Rocca, Freeez, Pink Rhythm, "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love"; Sister Sledge; Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe, "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)"; Nils Lofgren, "Flip", Bruce Springsteen; Kraftwerk, "Autobahn"; Ramones, "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg"; Paul Hardcastle, "19", "Rainforest" / "Forest Fire"; Smiths, "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"; "Greenpeace", Tears For Fears, Nik Kershaw, Depeche Mode, Pretenders; Prince, "Paisley Park" / "She's Always In My Hair"; Godley & Creme, "History Mix Volume I", 10cc, Trevor Horn; John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Power Station, Robert Palmer, Bernard Edwards, "Miami Vice", Chaka Khan; Jesse Johnson, "Can You Help Me?"; Joolz, "Home Sweet Home"; "You'll Never Walk Alone", Gerry And The Pacemakers, Gerry Marsden, Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Bob Geldof, Live Aid; Mai Tai, Jettie Wells, Caroline De Windt, Mildred Douglas; ABC, "Vanity Kills"; Billy Ocean; Level 42, "A Physical Presence"; Scritti Politti; Huey Lewis, Tears For Fears, "like punk never happened"; OMD, "Jobs For A Change", GLC, Aswad, Working Week; Smash Hits Fruit Bat, Fluffy, Sarah Mattacks; Paul McCartney, Simon Le Bon, George Michael
Single reviews (Chris Heath): The Broken Years - Hipsway; The Goonies 'R' Good Enough - Cyndi Lauper; You Don't Need A Reason - Galaxy featuring Phil Fearon; Soul Passing Through Soul - Toyah; Rain Forest - Paul Hardcastle; Heart Of Stone - Roaring Boys; One Day - Vince Clarke / Paul Quinn; Come To Milton Keynes - Style Council; What I Wouldn't Give - Pink Industry; Sally Maclennane - Pogues; Angel - Madonna; Money For Nothing - Dire Straits; (Burn It Down) Bring It Down (This Insane Thing) - Redskins; Rolling Dany - The Fall; He's On The Beach - Kirsty MacColl; All My Love (Ask Nothing) - Spear Of Destiny; In Too Deep - Dead Or Alive; Shadow Of Love - Damned
Album reviews (Simon Le Mills / Paul Mathur / Vici MacDonald / Linda Duff / Maureen Rice / Chris Heath / Ian Cranna / Lisa Anthony / Neil Tennant): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - A View To A Kill; Stronger Than Reason - Person To Person; Two Hearts - Men At Work; Empire Burlesque - Bob Dylan; Little Creatures - Talking Heads; Oil And Gold - Shriekback; The Dream Of The Blue Turtles - Sting; Boys And Girls - Bryan Ferry; Despite Straight Lines - Marilyn
Nights Out: The Cult
Other: Pop Stars' exam results

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Return of Zitty Ben!

Zitty Ben

Strange Tales From A Music Paper was the comic strip that ran in Smash Hits 1980 - 1981. The strip's creator, Mark Casto, believed that all his work was lost until he discovered this archive and was able to read his strips for the first time in thirty years.

Mark's new blog collects The Adventures Of Zitty Ben in one place - and he has taken up his pens and pencils to draw the first new Zitty Ben strips since the early eighties.

As if that weren't exciting enough, I am delighted to find that yours truly makes an appearance in this cartoon - as the angelic being who reawakens Zitty from his slumbers!

Friday, June 5, 2015

June 5 - 18, 1985

Smash Hits, June 05, 1985

(click on the image to see the full issue)

Cover: China Crisis
Centrespread: Duran Duran
Back cover: The Cult
Interviews: Scritti Politti; Depeche Mode; Marillion, Fish; China Crisis; Bryan Ferry
Lyrics: Loving The Alien - David Bowie; Out In The Fields - Gary Moore & Phil Lynott; History - Mai Tai; If You Love Somebody Set Them Free - Sting; Free Yourself - Untouchables; Vanity Kills - ABC; The Live EP - Gary Numan; Paisley Park - Prince and the Revolution; The Perfect Kiss - New Order; Let It Swing - Bobbysocks; Heaven - Bryan Adams; Obsession - Animotion; I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen
Personal File: Jimmy Nail
Bitz: Queen, "Live In Rio"; Bruce Springsteen, "I'm On Fire"; Run-D.M.C.; Animotion: Astrid Plane, Paul Antonelli, Frenchy O'Brien, Charles Ottavio Bill Wadhams, Don Kirkpatrick; Strawberry Switchblade, 250,000 Love Hearts; Nick Laird-Clowes, Dream Academy, "The Tube"; Mark Stewart And The Maffia, "Hypnotised" / "The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade"; King Kurt, "Billy" / "Back On The Dole"; Yngwie Malmsteen, "See The Light Tonight"; Steve Norman's leg operation; "The Book Of Beatle Lists", Bill Harry; Jean Michel Jarre, "Zoolookologie", Charlotte Rampling; "Legendary '60s bores The Doors"; Deep Purple; Nick Heyward, "Laura", Haircut 100; Paul Hardcastle, "19", Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Change, "Oh What A Feeling"; Simply Red, James Brown, "Money's Too Tight"; Paul Young, "Tomb Of Memories" / "Man In The Iron Mask"; Philip Lynott, Gary Moore, "Out In The Fields"; Thompson Twins, Tom Bailey, Nile Rodgers; Thomas Leer, "No. 1", "The Scale Of Ten"; "David Bowie: The Pitt Report", "Stevie Wonder: The Illustrated Discography", "Bob Marley: The Illustrated Discography"; Prince, "Paisley Park" / "She's Always In My Hair"; Izzy Royal,
"Coronation Street"; Nile Rodgers, "B-Movie Matinee", "Let's Go Out Tonight"; Howard Jones; Men At Work, "Two Hearts", "Everything I Need", Colin Hay; "The Breakfast Club"; Morgan McVey: Cameron McVey, Jamie Morgan; Al Corley, "Dynasty", "Square Rooms"; Billy Idol, "Vital Idol"; Steve Strange; Pink Industry, Jayne Casey, Ambrose Reynolds, "New Beginnings", Morrissey, "What I Wouldn't Give"; Tears For Fears, "Head Over Heels"; The Go-Gos split; Propaganda; "Massive", Smiley Culture, Barrington Levy, Aswad; 10,000 Maniacs, "Can't Ignore The Train"; Culture Club, Marilyn, Diana Ross, Boy George; Dead Or Alive, "In Too Deep", "Youthquake"; The Sensible Jerseys, "Right And Wrong"; Millie Jackson, Elton John, "Act Of War"
Single reviews (Maureen Rice): Money's Too Tight - Simply Red; Ways To Be Wicked - Lone Justice; If You Love Somebody Set Them Free - Sting; Vanity Kills - ABC; Life In One Day - Howard Jones; Tomb Of Memories - Paul Young; Pray For That Sunshine - Marilyn; Head Over Heels - Tears For Fears; I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen; Goodbye Bad Times - Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder; Loving You - Feargal Sharkey; A Bad Town - Big Sound Authority; Hot For Teacher - Van Halen; Everything I Need - Men At Work; Where Our Love Begins - David Grant; Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick / Reasons To Be Cheerful / Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll / Wake up - Ian Dury And The Blockheads; Time After Time - Miles Davis; Johnny Come Home - Fine Young Cannibals; Can't Ignore The Train - 10,000 Maniacs
Album reviews (Simon Mills / Vici MacDonald / Paul Mathur / Linda Duff / William Shaw / Ian Cranna / Simon Braithwaite / Maureen Rice / Chris Heath / Tom Hibbert): When The Boys Meet The Girls - Sister Sledge; Cupid & Psyche 85 - Scritti Politti; The Rythmatist - Steward Copeland; No Rest For The Wicked - New Model Army; The Firstborn Is Dead - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds; Crush - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark; The Lost Weekend - Monochrome Set; Del Amitri - Del Amitri; Fables Of Reconstruction - REM; Never Never Lan… - Joolz; Misplaced Childhood - Marillion; Katrina And The Waves - Katrina And The Waves
Nights Out: ZTT, "The Value Of Entertainment": Andrew Poppy, Art Of Noise, Anne Pigalle, Propaganda; Nik Kershaw
Other: Pop Stars' Heights