12-27-2009, 07:37 AM
12-27-2009, 07:39 AM
12-27-2009, 07:40 AM
12-27-2009, 07:44 AM
12-27-2009, 07:58 AM
Originally Posted by Mah'chew
12-27-2009, 09:01 AM
12-27-2009, 09:11 AM
Originally Posted by ngeso
Corrrrrrrr, filthy thoughts.
12-27-2009, 09:13 AM
12-27-2009, 09:16 AM
Bring back Top of the PopsSpare us the meritocratic myths of X-Factor. We need to recapture the old spirit of Top of the Pops embodied
There's one thing the BBC can do to win back a nation's shattered trust, and that's to bring back Top of the Pops. No auditions, no criticism, no profiteering from the hopeful efforts of the tone-deaf. Just lights, camera, action, pop. The X Factor and its ilk, which sell the myth of meritocracy in pretty much the same way that Norman Tebbit sold the myth of job-hunting by bicycle, need some competition.
By comparison, Top of the Pops was democracy in action. No act on TOTP was ever scrutinised with anything more than the arch of John Peel's eyebrow, disapproving or otherwise, unless he felt particularly moved to comment. Peel was the sort of presenter who felt free to introduce Big Country as "the band who put the tree back into country". Spontaneous irreverence of this sort tends not to come from Fearne Cotton, its most recent host and arguably the final nail of inanity in its once exalted coffin.
There are few more obvious signs to be found of the revolution in opportunities for working-class people born between 1945 and 1970 than in the backgrounds of pop stars of the period. The only member of the Smiths who didn't go to grammar school was Morrissey and the only member of the Beatles not to was Ringo. Joy Division, from Salford and Macclesfield, were all scholarship boys, as was Sting (whose dad was a milkman). Brian Eno, son of a postie, went to art school, as did the rest of Roxy Music.
That's not to endorse a return to the grammar school model, tempting though it may be when presented with such a list of culture-transforming talents. TOTP at its best performed the same horizon-widening role. Numerous artists, from the dancer Michael Clark to Ian McCulloch and Neil Tennant, are quoted as saying that watching David Bowie singing Starman on Top of the Pops in April 1972, when he flung his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson, changed their lives.
Pop is in danger of becoming another of the closed-shop professions that anyone without the breeding or the nous finds it impossible to enter. The charts are strewn with posh pop stars who could, frankly, have found gainful employment at the higher end of the civil service. What do Florence and the Machine, La Roux, Will Young, and Lily Allen have in common? A private education, of course, which affords them the galloping confidence and social network required to make their way in whichever field they choose to excel in.
Then there are the state-educated artists – Amy Winehouse, Adele, Katie Melua, the Noisettes – who learned the same tricks at the specialist Brit School in Croydon. The result of such fame-farming is that you end up with the Kooks when what we really need for inspiration are actual kooks. The one bucket-educated, self-made current star who has managed to steer his way through pop's Krypton Factor course completely on his own terms, without contacts, industry polish or the aid of reality television, is Dizzee Rascal.
How can pop stars any longer be at once the great inspirers and the great transformers when, thanks to stage schools and Simon Cowell, they're subject to a weekly time-and-motion study worthy of the Model-T Ford? Most of the Top 40 is guff at the moment to anyone over the age of 15, and no, it wasn't always thus: my parents used to get at least as excited as I did about the weekly countdown of 20 years ago. It needs the boot up the backside that only collective action can give: namely, a generation of kids turning the TV off at 7.59 every Thursday evening, calling their best friends, and saying, "We can do better than that!"
Should TOTP return at a time when downloading extends the shelf-life of popular tracks by weeks and often months, there would have to be an injunction to prevent the Kings of Leon appearing every week of the 59 they've so far spent in the Top 40 with the unerotic penile paean Sex on Fire. (Perhaps a ban on all songs with the word "sex" in them, which would have the added benefit of immediately raising quality control, while allowing Paolo Nutini through the net to sing about his Pencil Full of Lead.)
So in kindness to Mark Thompson, let's give him something else to think about other than the wisdom of giving fascists a platform. How's about: the return of TOTP every week, presented by BBC DJs from all its music stations, at 7.30pm every Thursday. Drop an episode – preferably all five – of EastEnders to make room; it won't kill you or "the brand". Resurrect the best showcase for British music talent we've ever had and see what it does for morale.
12-27-2009, 09:18 AM
12-27-2009, 09:23 AM
Entrepreneur whose cut-price pop compilations were so successful that rival labels had them banned from the charts
At an age when many hunger for retirement, Cy Leslie’s new career had a huge effect upon every household. He took on a lucrative incarnation as the worldwide purveyor of cut-price LPs, notably on the Pickwick label. Some material was leased from leading labels, and issued alongside his “soundalike” discs which, in such series as Top of the Pops, featured scantily clad women on the covers while the recordings of enthusiastic session-men and singers within the grooves of the albums meant that Cy Leslie was, unawares, an early patron of Lou Reed and Elton John (who could, within half an hour, switch between passable imitations of Stevie Wonder and Cat Stevens).
Born in 1922 in Brooklyn, to which his father had moved from Lithuania, Leslie was brought up in the Bronx and studied at De Witt Clinton High School, and at Syracuse University, where he met his future wife, Barbara Miller. When serving with the Army in the Philippines, he had the idea
for birthday records. On demobilisation, he set up as an electrical engineer and was soon married with three daughters. He settled on Long Island and duly pursued his record idea. This mutated into the creation in 1953 of Pickwick International. Leslie had cannily realised that supermarkets promoted impulse buys. He created numerous children’s records (enabling parents to placate squawling children), along with other discs.
Within four years he had sold 100 million copies by this means, and he was able to lease masters from leading labels happy to squeeze extra life from material they thought was deadened by Elvis’s arrival.
Leslie’s albums were no audiophile’s delight, but he was honourable — in a different world from William Barrington-Coupe who, with the Fidelio label, somehow acquired tapes, often from behind the Iron Curtain, and passed them off as the work of the non-existent Zurich Municipal Orchestra under the baton of the equally fugitive Wilhelm Havagesse — whose Tchaikovsky’s Fourth is, however, esteemed by some. Leslie had the idea of creating records that rode on trends. So in the Sixties, LPs offered pastiche songs redolent of California beach music or industrial Detroit.
Among those providing work such as Cycle Annie was Lou Reed; a homage perhaps in the soup-tin spirit of Reed’s future mentor, Andy Warhol, who directed the Velvet Underground. Pickwick never balked at the cash-in: its Simon and Garfunkel LP offered the duo’s earlier incarnation as Tom and Jerry, who sang Hey Schoolgirl and Two Teenagers. Pickwick never flinched from jolting old recordings into “electronically rechanelled stereo”.
In England the Top of the Pops LPs had huge sales. They had nothing to do with the television show, which featured the original artists but the modestly paid session men on Pickwick’s LPs achieved sales so huge that the records were banned from the charts lest they embarrass the creators of original artists. Elton John himself was duly impersonated while Queen’s long-gestated Bohemian Rhapsody was imitated in one session. Pickwick’s good run ended when big labels realised they could lease the original hits to labels such as K-Tel which squashed ten to a side.
By then another Pickwick staple was Elvis himself, compilations of whom were, in Phil Spector’s classic view of many albums, “two hits
and ten bits of junk”. These ended the with King’s death in 1977, when RCA began its continual reissuing of his work.
By then Leslie had created several companies including a distribution outfit, which had gone public. He sold his interest in them, and began to see video’s potential. He made a deal to form the MGM/UA Home Entertainment group. Such was the novelty of owning a movie that early titles were expensive but, through the Eighties, prices dropped, and in 1988 he sold the company. Leslie continued with business interests until the end as well as many philanthropic causes, such as the Scouts, Cancer Research, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP.
He is survived by his wife and daughters.
Seymour “Cy” Leslie, music label owner, was born on December 16, 1922. He died on January 6, 2008, aged 85
12-27-2009, 09:33 AM
NOTES ON THE ABOVE
Top of the Pops was conceived back in 1968 by Alan Crawford who pitched the idea of producing cheap alternative recordings of famous songs to Pickwick Records. They loved it, bought the idea and formed a committee to decide each month the 12 songs to pick that could be replicated as near as possible to the original recordings by hiring session musicians and laying down basic tracks in the quickest time possible. These would then be produced between 3 different studios: one for vocal, one for backing vocal, and one for overdubs. By volume 4 Bruce Baxter was brought on board and pretty much after Crawford's departure in 1970 (volume 15 onwards) was left to run the show by himself, arranging session musicians, finding suitable Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart sound-a-likes, etc., until he left in 1978 after volume 79. Having produced over 65 volumes of the series he knew when it was the right time to quit, for the series had had it by then and was steadily declining in sales. This was not helped by the ban on copy artistes in the charts, and the original artist compilation albums coming out around the same time which were by now much more competitively priced. By 1979, the subsidiary of Pickwick, Hallmark Records, who had specialised in producing the whole series, dropped the idea—although they regrettably tried to revive it in 1985. The resultant volume 92 was a flop, and Top of the Pops, which had been the forerunner of all the cheap and cheerful albums that were later to follow, with in excess of 3 million copies sold, was no more.
To demonstrate the rapidity with which the albums were produced once the series got into full swing, here are the release dates for the first 50 volumes: volume 1 (June 1968), volume 2 (September 1968), volume 3 (January 1969), volume 4 (March 1969), volume 5 (May 1969), volume 6 (July 1969), volume 7 (September 1969), volume 8 (November 1969), volume 9 (January 1970), volume 10 (March 1970), volume 11 (May 1970), volume 12 (July 1970), volume 13 (September 1970), volume14 (November 1970), volume 15 (January 1970), volume 16 (March 1971), volume 17 (May 1971), volume 18 (July 1971), volume 19 (September 1971), volume 20 (November 1971), volume 21 (December 1971), volume 22 (February 1972), volume 23 (April 1972), volume 24 (June 1972), volume 25 (July 1972), volume 26 (September 1972), volume 27 (October 1972), volume 28 (December 1972), volume 29 (February 1973), volume 30 (April 1973), volume 31 (June 1973), volume 32 (August 1973), volume 33 (October 1973), .volume 34 (December 1973), volume 35 (February 1974), volume 36 (April 1974), volume 37 (June 1974), volume 38 (August 1974), volume 39 (October 1974), volume 40 (December 1974), volume 41 (February 1975), volume 42 (April 1975), volume 43 (June 1975), volume 44 (August 1975), volume 45 (October 1975), volume 46 (December 1975), volume 47 (February 1976), volume 48 (June 1976), volume 49 (August 1976), volume 50 (October 1976), the last being a special 50th edition with four extra tracks (Wow!). On the whole, not bad going for this series considering it was only eight years old. This pace was pretty much maintained up till 1979 with one album being released every other month, each with a striking cover. The photos used for the covers, by the way, were taken from a standard agency portfolio of young, up-and-coming models, and were not, contrary to the rumour, especially shot for the sleeves.
After the initial success of the first seven albums, Hallmark decided to produce a 'Best Of The Year' series, starting in 1969. This was released December 1969 to tie-in with the Xmas sales. This trend was continued for another 12 years with a selection of the best 12 tracks of the year making it to each offering. They also came complete with a pin-up poster of a girl (different to the one on the cover) next to a calendar for the following year. Needless to say, copies of the 'Best Of' series can rarely be found with one of these inside, most of them probably being permanently fixed to some adolescent's bedroom wall. However, the Best of Top of the Pops for 1971 was originally released in a gatefold cover (see here). It was the only one of its type. In 2002, Pickwick re-released all the 'Best Of' series in CD format, including the 1971 edition replete with a foldout sleeve like the original LP. See here for the sleeves. They also re-released some of the original albums on CD. So far only four are available, as far as I am aware.
Incidentally, some retailers on the web are now selling the original LPs for exorbitant sums, especially if they are in good condition. I came across 'Sound and Pressure' the other day only to be staggered by how much they were asking for them, around £10 in near mint condition, none of the 'Best of' series having any calendars, needless to say. Other LPs, as featured on this site, are all pretty steep, and very indicative of the mark-up value, about £6-£8 for LPs I consider to be utter trash. Check out the site anyway, just for curiosity alone (www.sounds-and-pressure.com). Lastly, to end my ranting on the subject of Top of the Pops, I recently became aware that a serious music magazine, Mojo, actually did a piece on this series in their September 2000 issue. Entitled 'Better than the real thing?', I suspect it was full of praise for a bygone era, rather than outright condemnation. I have yet to read said article, but it's nice to know that even such a prestigious magazine as Mojo should doff it's cap to these items of disposability. (My reference is taken from Tony Rivers remembrances about his involvement with the project as one of the session musicians. See his site: Tony Rivers.) And yes, there are a few (only 17) missing from my collection, but hopefully it should be completed soon.
Last edited by Martin Red; 12-27-2009 at 09:35 AM.
12-27-2009, 09:45 AM
12-27-2009, 09:49 AM
Last edited by ngeso; 12-27-2009 at 09:57 AM.
12-27-2009, 09:56 AM
i've got snowblindness, who is it ngeso ?
12-27-2009, 10:03 AM
Originally Posted by Martin Red
Simple Minds / Up On The Catwalk / TOTP
12-27-2009, 10:13 AM
12-27-2009, 10:15 AM
12-27-2009, 10:21 AM
Originally Posted by Martin Red
i love this tune.........
just warhol it.
12-27-2009, 10:33 AM
Originally Posted by older&wiser
Formed in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Windjammer comprised of:
Kevin McLin (guitar / producer)
Roy Paul Joseph (guitar)
Chris Severin (bass)
Darrell Winchester (drums)
Carl Dennis (lead vocals)
and Fred McCray (keyboards).
Windjammer hail from New Orleans.
During 1977, Kevin McLin broke into a hotel and gave Tito Jackson, of The Jacksons, a Windjammer demo tape while riding an escalator.
Two years later Jacksons' father and manager Joe Jackson signed them to his management company.
A debut single 'Stay' sold well around New Orleans before the group were signed by MCA in 1982.
In 1983, their first album 'Windjammer' was released.
In 1984, 'Windjammer II' featured 'Tossing And Turning', a UK Top 20 hit.
The song was remixed and re-released by Debut Records in 1989.
In 1985, a final album for MCA was released, entitled (you've guessed it!), 'Windjammer III'.
The group have adopted a low profile since that release.
12-27-2009, 10:35 AM
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12-27-2009, 10:53 AM