A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

Slowly but surely, we edge through a review of my record collection in chronological order…

…and here we are in April 1986, where, as far as I can glean, this was the only single I purchased.

One of only two records I own by Big Country – the other being their debut album “The Crossing” – this turned out to be their biggest hit in the UK, reaching the giddy heights of #7.

Whoever was the band’s stylist at the time was clearly at loggerheads with the person responsible for the photo-shoot for the single sleeve:

Photographer: Let’s put them in a bleak, wind-swept, wintry scene. It captures their innate Scottishness, plus it’ll look like Big Country are part of the big countryside!

Stylist: But I’ve told the lads to turn up dressed as if they’re appearing on Miami Vice….

Photographer: Ah, it’ll be fine, people love a good juxtaposition.

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Big Country – Look Away

It was also around this time that I picked up an album originally released in 1981 and which, by July 2016, had gone platinum twenty times, sold 6,120,000 copies in the UK alone, and had become the biggest selling album in the UK. Ever. So before any of you decide to take the piss, chances are you’ve owned a copy of it at some time or other too.

But, in my book, it shouldn’t count as the Biggest Selling Album Ever, because it’s a Greatest Hits album. Compilation albums were excluded from the normal UK Album Charts in January 1989, and what is a Greatest Hits album if not a compilation of the biggest selling singles released by one artist?

Anyway, whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely an album, and one that I bought in April 1986, and I know that I bought it then because I was swotting up ready to go to my first ever gig later that year, a gig which featured both acts on the line-up. But more about that another time.

Until then, here’s a song which, in the wee small hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, when we’d both had a few too many, Hel and I would belt out together in our old flat:

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Queen – Somebody to Love

Now, if you don’t want to read something a bit soppy, I suggest that you…er…”look away” now: Hel and her long-term partner Neil recently announced they’re getting married next year. So it seems to me that if you sing a song often enough, it can come true. Congratulations, both.

More soon.

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1985 and All That

So whilst I was busy buying godawful records by members of The Quo, at the same time I was racking up some unintentional points with Britannia Music.

Long-term readers may remember that I mentioned this particular company once before. In the mid-1980s, anytime you opened a weekend newspaper, a leaflet would invariably fall out, advertising Britannia’s 3 for £20 introductory offer, which I have to admit this teenage brain fell for.

Having succumbed, they would send you a booklet every month, detailing all of their wares (of which you had to buy a certain amount within a certain amount of time or…well, actually, as these were the days where you paid for any postal purchases by cheque, I’m not sure what the “or..” was. They’d tell my parents??) and bigging up their Album of The Month.

And here’s where the real money-spinner was for them: they just assumed that you would want to buy the Album of the Month. If you didn’t, you had to tick a box on a form and post it back to them by a certain date. Miss that cut off point, and suddenly you were the proud owner of…well, you’ll see.

You know me by now. I ended up with some stuff that I would not have ordinarily bought. Like this:

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Go West – Don’t Look Down

and this…

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Spandau Ballet – Highly Strung

…which contains one of the most cringe-worthy lyrics ever:

“She used to be a diplomat, but now she’s down the laundromat”

Although I can’t really complain, as it did mean I owned this, which is an absolutely belting New Romantic classic:

Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

Both of these inadvertent purchases would, in the fullness of time, actually prove their worth. I’ll explain that later.

So that’s my excuse for owning those. I have no such excuse, nor do I think I need one, for owning this:

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…which I intentionally bought, not so that I owned any of their guitars-as-bagpipes records (if you don’t know what I mean by that, then go YouTube “In a Big Country”), but so that I owned this, which I still adore to this day (and I don’t care what you think):

Big Country – Chance

I also bought this:

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…a collection of tracks by bands who had played at Live Aid, mostly because, if memory serves, it was only £1.99, but also because it contained this (and again, I don’t care what you think about me liking this either):

The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays

Has there been a greater record written about a shooting spree at a school? I think not, and let’s face it, there’s been plenty of opportunities for somebody to have a go at writing one.

But wait. Here comes the good bit.

Yet again, I can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by giving you this brilliant piece of Japanese pop, which samples the piano bit at the start of “…Mondays” (and, whilst we’re at it, the German bit from the start of  “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” by The Offspring, which in turn was sampling Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” which…heck, we could be here all day if I carry on). (By the way, you should watch the Def Leppard video, it is unintentionally, bum-wigglingly, hilarious. Spinal Tap was spot on.)

Anyway, if you only click one link on this blog, I urge you to make it this one. You won’t regret it:

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Puffy AmiYumi – Call Me What You Like

See? Told you.

More soon.