the jason shergold music collector site
Sunday, 15 February 2015
Hello there and welcome to the "Jason Shergold Music Collector Site".
This blog features articles about various bands and singers, and how to go (more or less) about collecting their records. In the main, the articles will be aimed at people trying to get a collection together from scratch, looking at shortcuts to doing so where they exist, but some articles will be a bit more specialised, with features of video releases, Japanese pressings, etc. As it's built using a Blogger template, it can - at times - look a bit DIY, just think of it as the internet version of "Sniffin' Glue".
As a UK based music fan, most of these articles will revolve around UK discographies, but not necessarily just for UK bands. Although, for some artists featured, their discographies will continue to grow, the post-iTunes scenario is that you can more or less guess what formats albums and singles will be released on nowadays, so these blogs in the main will help to fill in the gaps when multiple physical formats were all the rage.
The blog will be updated at least once every month - if you find that the homepage does not show the Tamla logo above, it will be that the site is being updated, and may not be available for viewing for an hour or two. The updates are expected to occur initially at the start of each month, any later blogs to be published that month will appear at random as the weeks progress. You will be able to click on older editions using the menu buttons in the top right.
The February 2015 edition is now online, with a look at Echobelly.
The blog is also home to my "novel within a website", 'How I Learned To Hate Record Collecting', looking at the workings of the UK record industry. Click on any month from 2014 to view one of the twelve parts that form the whole article.
Please note: If you ever notice "newer" pages listed top right, this will be the new issue "in progress" - if you click on it, the whole page will not load. When the new issue is ready, it will be mentioned on this page. You can click on previous years tabs to get previous articles. Once you have selected that year, you can click on a different month to look at different acts.
The acts featured appear in the months listed below:
Adam And The Ants - October 2013
All Saints - February 2014
Lily Allen - August 2010
Ash - April 2014
Atomic Kitten - June 2013
Badly Drawn Boy - November 2014
The Beatles - September 2011
The Beautiful South - December 2014
Beyoncé - May 2013
Biffy Clyro - June 2014
Blondie - January 2011 / September 2013
Blur - August 2011 / July 2012 / October 2013
David Bowie - September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / January 2011 / June 2012 / September 2014
Kate Bush - July 2013
Buzzcocks - December 2011
Belinda Carlisle - October 2013
The Charlatans - February 2014
The Clash - May 2011
Elvis Costello - January 2013 / September 2013
Sheryl Crow - June 2013
The Cure - December 2011
Deep Purple - March 2010
Depeche Mode - May 2012
The Doors - December 2013
Bob Dylan - November 2013
Echobelly - February 2015
Sophie Ellis-Bextor - August 2011
Embrace - November 2013
The Flaming Lips - November 2011
Foo Fighters - May 2014
Peter Gabriel - August 2013
Genesis - April 2011 / January 2014
Girls Aloud - August 2010 / November 2013
Goldfrapp - August 2013
Green Day - June 2014
Deborah Harry - January 2011
Jimi Hendrix - September 2010
Inspiral Carpets - April 2012
The Jam - May 2013
Elton John - August 2012 / September 2012 / October 2012 / November 2012
Joy Division - March 2011
Kenickie - October 2010
The Kinks - November 2010 / April 2011 / May 2013
John Lennon - May 2013
Pixie Lott - February 2011
Madness - November 2011
Madonna - April 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / March 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / November 2011 / March 2012 / November 2012 / January 2013 / November 2013 / March 2014
Mansun - August 2011
Dannii Minogue - September 2011
Morrissey - April 2014
Kate Nash - February 2011
New Order - October 2012
Nirvana - June 2011 / December 2012
Oasis - April 2013
Pet Shop Boys - May 2011 / June 2011
Pink Floyd - January 2011 / July 2011
P!nk - April 2012
Elvis Presley - March 2011 / October 2011 / November 2013 / December 2013 / January 2014
Prince - January 2015
Pulp - August 2011
Queen - December 2010 / September 2011
Cliff Richard & The Shadows - July 2011
Rolling Stones - July 2010 / October 2010 / March 2011
The Saturdays - April 2011
Siouxsie & The Banshees - March 2013 / July 2014
Slade - May 2012
Sleeper - December 2013
Smashing Pumpkins - June 2012
The Smiths - June 2010
Britney Spears - November 2010 / December 2010
Bruce Springsteen - February 2012
Status Quo - January 2012
Cat Stevens - February 2012
Rachel Stevens - July 2011
The Stranglers - February 2010 / December 2011 / May 2013 / September 2013 / December 2013 / July 2014 / October 2014
Suede - August 2011
Sugababes - August 2012
Super Furry Animals - September 2014
Supergrass - August 2014
TRex - December 2010
Theaudience - August 2011
Thin Lizzy - February 2013
Tin Machine - December 2010
U2 - March 2012 / December 2012
The Velvet Underground - October 2010
The Walker Brothers - June 2011
Scott Walker - September 2010 / February 2013
Paul Weller - December 2014
The Who - May 2010 / August 2012 / July 2013
Kim Wilde - October 2013
To return to the homepage, you can click on the tab for the current year. Several blogs are in production, with articles on The Beatles and Neil Young due over the next few months.
You can email me using the link above, and if you can add any information, you can add comments to the blog using the link at the bottom of the relevant page. Regards, Jason.
Frankie say NO to downloads!
My wife is a bit older than me, and her claim to fame is that she used to live with various stars of the indie world from the 80s. She has flexi discs of bands where she used to know the bass player or something, and because I am younger, they are from before my time - I have never heard of any of them.
There is a possibility you may be thinking the same thing here - either you have stumbled onto this page and are thinking, “who?”, or perhaps you are genuinely here because you like Echobelly. But it’s been nearly 20 years - yes, really - since they were regular chart botherers and Top Of The Pops guests, and so for the current crop of indie kids, this is probably totally over your heads. But it’s not just me who is showing interest in this band at the moment. Their first two albums were both reissued in expanded form last year, suggesting that there is a fan base still around who are interested in such things.
Like Sleeper, Echobelly emerged as part of the “scene that wasn’t a scene”, where the music papers lumped all of the female fronted bands emerging in the UK in the early nineties into one big pot. But Echobelly were slightly different. In singer Sonya Aurora Madan, they had one of the few popstars who had an ethnic background, as she had been born in Delhi before moving to the UK as a child. Even without trying, it gave Echobelly something of a USP that other guitar bands simply didn’t have. Madan would reference her “immigrant” status on several occasions in her lyrics, as well as being photographed for a magazine article in a customized T-shirt which read “England - My Home Too”. She formed the band with a Swedish guitarist she had met in 1990 called Glenn Johansson, and between them, they would remain the nucleus of the band for their entire career.
The first line up of the group was a five piece which included ex-Curve guitarist, Debbie Smith. In 1993, they signed a one-single deal with indie label Pandemonium, and released an EP called “Bellyache”. The title track was later re-recorded for the band’s debut album (indeed, re-recorded songs of everything else on the EP later surfaced across various releases) and the interest surrounding the EP led to the band signing a deal with Rhythm King, an indie label of sorts but one who were bankrolled by Epic Records. The band‘s music was due to come out on the Fauve label, an imprint which seemed to have been set up exclusively to release the band‘s material.
The first single release on Rhythm King/Fauve was the “Insomniac” single, accompanied by a promo video in which Madan wore another customized t-shirt as an anti racist statement (a white shirt with a big union jack on the front, with the scribbled “my country too” legend across the middle). Musically, it slotted in with the better ranks of the upcoming Britpop crowd, nice bouncy guitar pop, but in Madan, they had a singer with a smooth-as-honey voice, which automatically gave them an advantage that, say, Marion didn’t have. Many critics noted that the vibe of the single recalled The Smiths and Morrissey - both he and the band were mutual admirers of each other.
The single got some late night MTV rotation, and only just failed to hit the top 40. It raised the band’s profile just enough to create interest in the group, and the follow up single, the gloriously catchy - and tongue in cheek - “I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me” became their first top 40 hit. Helped, possibly, by different formats coming in different sleeves, it again showed that the band were not just second rate Britpop - the intro is a simple drum beat, that suddenly speeds up and breaks into some high energy guitar pop, whilst the middle eight has an almost Sgt Pepper-esque brass driven interlude. In these days of Professor Green and Ed Sheeran, it actually sounds even more left field and better now than it did in 1994.
Debut album “Everyone’s Got One” (initials, “EGO” - very clever) may not have reinvented the indie wheel, but it’s a glorious blast of guitar pop, that more than stands up alongside it’s rivals, and did actually pre-date the likes of Sleeper’s “Smart” and Pulp‘s “Different Class“. It was much loved by the press, being listed in “albums of the year” polls in the NME, Melody Maker and the much missed Select. It created a wave of interest that went way beyond the UK, with the likes of Madonna and REM expressing their adoration for the band. The album went top 10, although another single designed to plug the album, “Close”, stalled outside the top 40 when issued at the tail end of the year.
By the following summer, Echobelly were ready to return with their second album, “On”. The joyously upbeat romp that was “Great Things” was issued as lead single from the album, and was promoted by a now (in)famous TOTP appearance, where Sonya dressed up as a saucy schoolgirl - which I seem to recall incurred the rath of the feminist brigade, whilst simultaneously delighting the indie boys (and perhaps, some of the indie girls). Nobody was holding a gun to her head, and the Melody Maker were obviously not that fussed, even using an image of Sonya in said get-up on a free poster some time later (I think she may have reused this outfit on tour, and the picture was actually from a period gig). In a blatant attempt to push the single into the upper reaches of the charts, it was issued on two different CD editions, each laden with bonus tracks, including two which referenced the forthcoming long-player (“On Turn Off” and “On Turn On”). It worked - the single dented the top 20, and to date, remains the band’s highest charting single.
A promo CD, entitled “4 Track Sampler From The Forthcoming LP”, was released in industry circles, which included the band’s next two singles - the equally euphoric guitar pop of “King Of The Kerb” and the almost psychedelically trippy “Dark Therapy”. For the latter, the band logo which had been in situ from “EGO” onwards was abandoned, and it became the first single from the LP which was not issued on two CD editions, the band obviously having run out of what it considered to be suitable B-sides. As for “On”, it garnered the same positive reviews that the debut record had, but that didn’t stop bass player Alex Keyser from leaving the group once the promo campaign was over.
After a UK tour in Feb 1996, and a trawl around the festival circuit that summer, the band went relatively quiet due to “various issues”. Rhythm King changed their label association to join up with Arista, but the band were unhappy with the decision, and so moved “sideways” onto Epic. With a new bass player in the form of James Harris, the group’s next album was 1997’s “Lustra”, previewed by two singles, “The World Is Flat” and “Here Comes The Big Rush”, the latter the subject of a radio edit mix that remained commercially unreleased, and also the subject of much remixing for the CD2 edition of the single.
All variant pressings of the singles, and the album, came in similar packaging - the band name and record title printed on a piece of card being held up to the camera, with various background images just visible behind the card depending on what release it was. The band’s profile, having been raised through their Britpop links, saw them getting TV slots on mainstream shows like “The Jack Docherty Show”, but maintaining the interest of all the media outlets was getting hard. “Here Comes The Big Rush” failed to make the top 40, despite being “new” material, as the new album was released a week or two later, and the band seemed to grind to a halt. After the release of “Lustra”, Smith left the group and the band were dropped by Epic after the album also failed to get into the top 40.
The band initially disappeared into the void that is the “where are they now” pile. But come 2001, and the group returned with a new EP, “Digit”, on their own Fry Up record label. Three of the four songs were later included on the band’s fourth LP, “People Are Expensive”, which spawned two further single releases, “Tell Me Why” and a remixed “Kali Yuga“. The latter release included re-recorded versions of two of the songs that had appeared on the band’s debut EP, which sort of brought the story full circle. The band lineup continued to shuffle about, James Harris leaving and being replaced by new bassist Ruth Owen before the release of a fifth LP, 2004’s now hard to find “Gravity Pulls”.
Since then, it has mostly gone even more quiet. The band seemed to just disintegrate, no “official” announcement was ever made about their demise (or not), and Sonya and Glenn formed a new band, Calm Of Zero, that seemed to struggle to get off the ground. In recent years, they have performed informally under the Echobelly banner, one would guess that’s quite a good way to sell more tickets, but the future seemed slightly uncertain as to which group was going to continue. But in mid January, news filtered through that the band were one of a number of groups appearing at the 90s-indie-centric “Gigantic” festival. Totally retro perhaps, but anything to rescue us from the horror of Bruno Mars has to be applauded.
Anybody starting afresh with Echobelly, or for the completists amongst you, will be well advised - for the first two albums - to go for the expanded reissues on Cherry Red. Each come with a bonus disc of B-sides and radio session material, but contrary to popular belief, the session material is NOT all previously unreleased. The expanded “EGO” (2xCD, Cherry Red 3RANGE 24) includes material that had in fact appeared on music paper freebies in the first half of the 90’s, with “Father Ruler King Computer” having previously appeared on “Select Tracks 2” (Cassette, no cat no) and “Give Her A Gun” on “Hold On” (CD, MM/BBC CD 97-99). Still, that does leave two tracks exclusive to this reissue, so indulge yourself.
The amount of bonus material generated by “On” means that the reissue of that one adds bonus tracks to disc 1, alongside the second disc of rarities (2xCD, Cherry Red 3RANGE 25). Disc 2 includes material from the band’s gig in New York on 9th September 1995, which includes everything from the CD2 edition of the “King Of The Kerb” single, plus more. As nice as this all is, it still doesn’t tick all the boxes, as more material from freebie music paper releases are not included - such as the Mark Lamarr session version of “Car Fiction” which was included on two different “Vox” magazine freebies, and the demo of “Pantyhose And Roses” included on the Melody Maker’s “Basement Tapes” in late 1996.
I have listed below the original album releases, for those of you who are interested - of course, three of these are still the only versions available. As for the 45’s, I have listed all formats that will be of interest to anybody owning/wishing to own the Cherry Red releases, if not, you will see it was usually the 12”/CD editions that originally included most of the rarities, with only a handful of 7” releases being excitable pressings at the time. There have also been a few best of sets, “I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me” and the obviously titled “The Best Of”.
Everyone’s Got One (LP, Fauve FAUV 3 LP, some copies with poster [FAUV 3 LPS])
Everyone’s Got One (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 3 C)
Everyone’s Got One (CD, Fauve FAUV 3 CD)
On (LP + 7”, Fauve FAUV 6 LX, 7“ includes selected b-sides from “Great Things“ single, later copies omit the freebie [FAUV 6 LP])
On (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 6 C)
On (CD, Fauve FAUV 6 CD)
Lustra (Cassette, Epic 488967 4)
Lustra (CD, Epic 488967 2)
People Are Expensive (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 003)
Gravity Pulls (CD, Fry Up/Takeout TRCD 1003-2)
Bellyache EP: Bellyache/Sleeping Hitler/Give Her A Gun/I Don’t Belong Here (12“, Pandemonium PANN 3)
Bellyache EP: Bellyache/Sleeping Hitler/Give Her A Gun/I Don’t Belong Here (CD, Pandemonium PANN CD 3)
Insomniac/Talent (7”, Fauve FAUV 1)
Insomniac/Centipede/Talent (12“, Fauve FAUV 1-T)
Insomniac/Centipede/Talent (CD, Fauve FAUV 1 CD)
I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me/Venus Wheel (7”, Fauve FAUV 2)
I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me/Sober/Venus Wheel (12”, Fauve FAUV 2-T, unique p/s)
I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me/Sober/Venus Wheel (CD, Fauve FAUV 2 CD, unique p/s)
Close...But/So La Di Da (7”, Fauve FAUV 4)
Close...But/So La Di Da (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 4 C)
Close...But/So La Di Da/I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me (Evening Session Version)/Cold Feet Warm Heart (Evening Session Version) (12“, Fauve FAUV 4-T, initial copies in sealed “mailer envelope“ pack with poster, badge and sticker)
Close...But/So La Di Da/I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me (Evening Session Version)/Cold Feet Warm Heart (Evening Session Version) (CD, Fauve FAUV 4 CD)
Great Things/Here Comes The Scene (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 5 C, red sleeve)
Great Things/Here Comes The Scene/God’s Guest List/On Turn Off (CD1, Fauve FAUV 5 CD)
Great Things/On Turn On/Bunty/One After 5am (CD2, Fauve FAUV 5 CDX, different p/s)
King Of The Kerb/Car Fiction (French Version)/On Turn On (Acoustic Version)/Natural Animal (Acoustic Version) (CD1, Fauve FAUV 7 CD)
King Of The Kerb (Live NYC Wetlands)/I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me (Live NYC Wetlands)/Insomniac (Live NYC Wetlands)/Great Things (Live NYC Wetlands) (CD2, Fauve FAUV 7 CDX, unique p/s)
Dark Therapy (Single Version)/We Know Better (Blue Vinyl 7”, Fauve FAUV 8, sleeve lists extra b-sides by accident)
Dark Therapy (Single Version)/We Know Better/Atom/Aloha Lolita (CD, Fauve FAUV 8 CD)
The World Is Flat/Holding The Wire/The World Is Flat (Remix) (CD1, Epic 664815 2)
The World Is Flat/Drive Myself Distracted/Falling Flame (CD2, Epic 664815 5, different p/s)
Here Comes The Big Rush/Tesh/Mouth Almighty (CD1, Epic 665245 2)
Here Comes The Big Rush (LP Version)/(Dave Angel Vocal Mix)/(Dave Angel Instrumental)/(Midfield General Vocal Remix)/(Midfield General Dub) (CD2, Epic 665245 5, different p/s)
Digit EP: Kali Yuga/Digit/Kathmandu/A Map Is Not The Territory (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 001)
Tell Me Why/I Am Awake/When I See Red (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 002)
Kali Yuga (Remix)/Sleeping Hitler (New Version)/I Don’t Belong Here (New Version) (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 004)
Sunday, 4 January 2015
There have long been stories of Prince attempting to shut down websites which use his image, or which use imagery connected to him. So for some time, I figured I would have to avoid doing a Prince blog. But given that sites like Discogs have photos of all his records, I thought “well, if they can get away with it, so can I”. Because I have decided I can no longer not talk about this man. Because Prince is a genius.
In May last year, I saw Prince play in Birmingham as part of his “Hit And Run Part 2” tour, a tour notable for tickets going on sale just days, or weeks, rather than months, in advance, with the tour itself being a mix of impossible to get into secret club gigs, and larger (but still sell out shows in) arenas, but all with one common feature - the Purple one reminding people just how incredible he is.
A magnificent concoction of (at least) James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, Prince is monumentally talented. During that Birmingham show, he played - at various points - lead guitar, keyboards and bass. He opened the show with a 4-song whammy of “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Take Me With U”, “Raspberry Beret” and “U Got The Look” - impressive, you have to admit. He pulled out routinely magnificent guitar solos throughout, and after the closing “Purple Rain”, as the house lights went up and people started to file out, he came back on, and rattled through a 20 minute heavy funk encore including “I Would Die 4 U”, “What’s My Name” and “Housequake”. It looked like he was just going to carry on playing all night, and as the staff tried to clean the venue, the now half full arena witnessed a man at the top of his game. It was quite incredible to witness. It was astonishing to watch. It will remain in my memory forever.
When the Glasto organisers then announced they were going to reveal their Saturday night headliner once “contractual issues” had been sorted, it seemed like obvious code for “Prince is headlining”. After all, there had been rumours about him playing there for years, and with the man about to release a new LP, it all made sense. So imagine the shock and disbelief that greeted the announcement that it was Metallica who were playing instead. Once the final arena shows in the UK were completed, everybody was in total agreement - the Eavis’s had missed a trick by not booking Prince. Although it was later claimed Prince had been semi-booked, and then pulled out, because he had only wanted to play as a sort of “surprise” act, and the circulating rumours meant it wasn’t going to be so much of a surprise if he actually did play. Shame - he would have outshone the entire 3 day long bill.
So to celebrate the man’s highly successful return to the world stage, it is time I think to look at the releases in the UK by the master of P-Funk. There is a brief career overview, detailing most of the important Prince album releases since he emerged in the late 70s. Catalogue numbers are given of the standard pressings of these albums, in most cases, these are the same copies you are likely to still find on the net or in your local record emporium. Prince has rarely ever gone back and reissued old records, instead preferring to always look to the future. At the end is a list of Prince UK Singles, and just looking at some of those A-sides should remind you just how much of a towering presence he has had over so many of his contemporaries during the 80s and 90s. Oh and the image above, of course, is the Batman logo, meaning I have technically managed to do a blog without using a genuine Prince image. Just as cheeky and subversive as the man himself, I might say.
Prince’s debut LP, “For You” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 27348 2), went relatively unnoticed when it was issued in 1978. In the USA, it was promoted soon after it’s release by the release of Prince’s debut US 45, “Soft And Wet”, but in the UK, Warners opted to release no singles from it at all. Instead, the debut UK Prince 45 was 1979’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, issued to promote his second album, simply titled “Prince” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 27404 2), a record that was noticeable for the inclusion of “I Feel For You”, later popularised by Chaka Khan. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” was issued in a standard Warner Brothers bag, rather than a picture cover, and just failed to hit the top 40.
By the time Prince issued 1980’s “Dirty Mind” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 27408 2), the Purple one was starting to get a reputation as something of a pop perv, posing on the cover in some tight briefs, and recording songs like “Head”. Come 1981’s “Controversy” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 23601 2), and he was beginning to use his own “shortened” alphabet, by using single numbers or letters instead of full blown words (“Jack U Off”). Meanwhile, the near success of “I Wanna Be Your Lover” had been followed by a never ending run of flop singles, including the stand alone “Gotta Stop”, all of which are now worth a few quid due to their rarity status.
In 1982, Prince formed a new band, called Prince And The Revolution, the first of a number of outfits that would feature Prince as the front man - although many of the releases by these bands were still marketed as if they were Prince solo outings. He/they immediately hit pay dirt with “1999” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 23720 2), the beginning of a decade long run of hit singles, mega selling albums, and critical adoration. Originally issued as a double LP, some countries opted to release a bizarre “highlights” mini album, including the UK (LP, Warner Bros W 3809).
1984’s “Purple Rain” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25110 2) saw Prince attempt a dual career as a pop star and movie star, and was the first of several studio records to double up as the soundtrack to his latest movie, although in most cases, the critical reactions to the LP’s have survived the intervening years better than the reaction to the films. 1985’s “Around The World In A Day” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25286 2) was the first album to be co-released on his own Paisley Park imprint, with a song of the same title appearing on side 1 of the album. It was also released as a UK single, where selected copies of the 12” were mispressed, and featured one of the B-sides twice. It was followed by 1986’s “Parade” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25395 2), the soundtrack album to the “Under The Cherry Moon” film, and the last album by The Revolution.
For many, 1987’s “Sign O The Times” (2xCD, Warner Bros 7599 25577 2) remains Prince’s standout moment - an 80 plus minute exploration of futuristic, socially conscious, R&B (the title track), left field soul-pop (the gender spinning “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man“) and hi energy uber-funk (“Hot Thing”, “Housequake”). But 1988’s “Lovesexy” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25720 2) wasn’t too far behind, with lead single “Alphabet Street” a genius piece of minimalist dance-pop. Whilst a lot of acts struggled to come to terms with 80s technology, and often ended up issuing wildly overproduced and bland offerings, Prince was simply able to use the technology perfectly to create music that was leaving his contemporaries in the shade - I’m sorry, but “Bad” had nothing on what Prince was doing at the same time.
The turn of the late 80s/early 90s saw Prince back in soundtrack land again, staring with 1989’s “Batman” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25936 2), an album that has been somewhat lost in time, partly due to licensing issues preventing singles from the album to ever be reused on subsequent compilation albums. Shame, because the movie sampling lead 45 “Batdance” is astounding, all slap bass, funky guitar, and as innovative as a single as you will ever hear. 1990’s “Graffiti Bridge” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25395 2) was also plugged as a Prince solo effort, but is actually the first soundtrack album to feature singers other than the man himself, but given he is all over the record in other ways (producer, arranger, composer, and indeed seemingly playing all instruments), it’s always been viewed as the follow up to “Batman”, and is an essential buy as the majority of the Prince songs are unavailable anywhere else. (Note: A later soundtrack to the “Girl 6” movie, in 1996, despite also being heavily indebted to Prince, was instead issued as a “Various Artists” set, as a number of ‘non-Prince sung’ songs got included, and the only genuine Prince songs were old hits. Even a single released with Prince on co-lead vocals was credited instead to “The New Power Generation“).
But 1991 did seem to herald a real comeback, as if these albums weren’t really “proper” Prince albums, and Prince returned with the sublime “Diamonds And Pearls” (CD, Warner Bross 7599 25379 2), which was also issued in some countries in a “3D” hologram sleeve. It veered between beautiful laid back vintage soul (“Money Don’t Matter 2 Night”, the title track) and deliciously filthy smut (the incendiary groove driven monster that is “Gett Off”). By now, Prince was fronting another “new” band, the aforementioned New Power Generation.
The fall from grace, if you want to call it that, that has sort of overshadowed Prince’s career in the last 20 years, can be traced back to 1992’s untitled album, which featured no name but simply a logo which was designed to be a cross between the male and female gender symbols, earlier versions of which had featured on older Prince records and memorabilia. The album is generally thus known as “Lovesymbol” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45037 2), again issued in snazzy packaging Stateside (a big, thick, gold box, with the symbol emblazoned on the front). Despite featuring some monumental pieces of faultless P-Funk (the riotous “My Name Is Prince”, the catchy ultra sleaze of “Sexy MF”), Prince came to view the sales of the album as something of a failure, and laid the blame at Warner Brothers door for not promoting the album properly.
Prince and the label were not really seeing eye to eye now, and after some years of trying, Warners finally managed to release a greatest hits album the following year - against his wishes. In fact, they managed two - “The Hits 1” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45431 2) and “The Hits 2”, (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45435 2), which both provided a non chronological overview of the man’s entire career, and both included new songs, album mixes and single edits. Amongst the “new” songs was a cover of (his own) “Nothing Compares 2 U”, originally written for another of Prince’s pet projects, the mid 80s outfit The Family, and included on their first (and last) LP in 1985. The performance on “The Hits” was from a recent live gig, whilst a triple disc release called “The Hits / The B Sides” (3xCD, Warner Bros 9362 45440 2) coupled together both albums with a third CD of selected B-sides - several songs were omitted, whilst to avoid repetition, where a particular flipside had been subjected to an extended remix, it was the “original” short version that got the nod. Anybody trying to find an entry point into the man’s career should really start with this one, as it is near flawless. In the UK, several singles were issued to plug the records, including a repressing of previous chart flop “Controversy”. The singles were issued as 2-CD sets including hits that had failed to get onto the main LPs, with “Controversy” coming backed with a remix of “Batman” track “The Future”, which had appeared as a single in it’s own right in Germany in 1990.
And so now the problems really kicked in in earnest. Warners were worried that Prince was simply recording too much, and cited “market saturation” as their excuse to try and get him to reign his creative juices in. He changed his named to the Lovesymbol, I understand, as a way to try and get around it - Warners had signed “Prince” in 1978, not “The Symbol”. His next Warners effort, 1994’s “Come” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45700 2), an album consisting of songs with one word titles only, famously came in a sleeve of the man standing in front of some cemetery gates, and featured the legend “1958-1993”, signifying the death of Prince, and his rebirth as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”, or “TAFKAP” as most people tried to pronounce it. “The Artist” got adopted as a shorter alternate version, and at one point, fans even began referring to him as “Victor”, after a song title on the “Lovesymbol” LP called “The Sacrifice Of Victor”. The first release as “TAFKAP” had surfaced earlier that year, when Prince was able to make arrangements for the release of the stand alone “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” single on his own NPG record label. It became the biggest hit he had had for some years, although there were stories of mass purchasing of the single being conducted by people close to the label to help push the single skywards up the charts, as a sort of two fingered salute to Warners. A remix EP, “The Beautiful Experience”, surfaced several months later.
In an attempt to try and riggle out of his Warners deal, Prince authorised the release of 1988’s unreleased LP “The Black Album” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45793 2), pulled in favour of “Lovesexy” for being too dark, but now prepped for release so he would be one LP nearer to fulfilling his contract. It was marketed as a limited edition pressing, and sold quite poorly, and is one of the more obscure pieces of the back catalogue. In 1995, “The Most Beautiful Girl” was included on the first Warners release by TAFKAP, who had now taken to scribbling the legend “SLAVE” onto his face as another form of anti-Warners propaganda. That record was the critically acclaimed “The Gold Experience” (CD, Warners 9362 45999 2), and Prince toured the UK for the last time (save for occasional London dates) for what would be a nearly 20 year long gap. Several more singles were released from the LP, but all appeared on the Warners imprint, as opposed to being issued independently by NPG. However, in an attempt to get more material out ‘whilst they weren’t looking’, Prince adopted another persona called Tora Tora, and had a number of new songs recorded by The New Power Generation, who included Tora Tora as part of their line up. They released an album that year called “Exodus” (CD, NPG 0061032NPG), which featured Prince throughout, although most lead vocals (but not all) were handled by another member of the NPG. Prince appeared as “Tora Tora” on UK TV, wearing a chain mail mask, and usually conducting “interviews” where he didn’t speak, but let the rest of the band speak for him. Presumably another Warners related “thing”. Despite not handling lead vocals on it, the single “Get Wild” was played on several TV shows at the time, with “Tora Tora” on lead, if my memory serves me correctly. The singles discography below lists the NPG singles from this period, as I consider them an important part of Prince history.
Prince’s/Tora Tora’s get out of jail card was played on Warners with 1996’s “Chaos And Disorder” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 46317 2), another near forgotten record that felt a bit like a quickfire grab bag of leftovers, done to escape from the shackles of the majors. The album disappeared from view quite quickly, although Warners did try to promote it with the “Dinner With Delores” single, even though B-sides were not forthcoming and they had to pad the release out with tracks from the album. No sooner had that one surfaced than Prince, now free to resume releasing material on his own NPG imprint, appeared with - get this - a triple album, the 3 hour long “Emancipation” (3xCD, NPG CDEMD 1102). Kate Bush made a cameo, the first time she had ventured near a recording studio for two years, and although it had a sort of home made, slightly messy feel to it (the artwork looked quite enthusiastic, but did seem as though it had been done on Microsoft Paint, obviously the art budget was less than they had at Warners), the UK release was actually conducted via another major label - EMI. The album was promoted by a cover of “Betcha By Golly Wow!”, representing the first time Prince had decided to record a cover for a studio record, issued as a AA with another track from the LP, “Right Back Here In My Arms”. In a deliberate chart assault by EMI, follow up 45 “The Holy River” turned up as another 2-CD set, with remixes of “Somebody’s Somebody” on the flipside.
Despite his desire to get away from Warners so he could release more music, Prince now actually suddenly went a bit quiet. He announced details of a mail order album called “Crystal Ball”, but copies would only be produced once enough pre orders were received to ensure it would not be made at a loss. As such, it was not until 1998 that “Crystal Ball” (4xCD, NPG CRCL 80005-8) finally surfaced. In an attempt to say sorry for the delay, the original triple album was bolstered by a fourth CD of acoustic recordings called “The Truth”. Retail copies came in both standard jewel casing, and in a “circular” ball design, whilst the mail order copies included a second bonus album, a fifth CD called “Kamasutra”, previously issued as a mail order only Cassette through NPG in 1997. “Crystal Ball” included a remix of an older promo only single called “Love Sign”, a duet with Nona Gaye that had previously appeared on the Prince-helmed Various Artists set, “1-800-NEW-FUNK”. This title related to a phone line that Prince had set up for the mail order releases, as was designed as a showcase for other acts on the NPG label. The same year saw another NPG release, “New Power Soul” (CD, RCA 74321 60598 2), this time with Prince on lead vocals throughout, and his image - minus mask - proudly displayed on the LP cover.
As 1999 approached, Prince material started trickling out from various places. Warners reissued 1999 (again) as a single, whilst Prince re-recorded it for the US only mini album “1999 - The New Master”. Another album of offcuts appeared on Warners titled “The Vault: Old Friends For Sale” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 47522 2), a curious record that seemed to have been issued without Prince’s input, but which consisted of songs that he seem to have authorised for release - at least one song got wheeled out for a subsequent tour. Prince’s next “proper” album was through another major, “Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic” (CD, Arista 07822 14624 2), including a Sheryl Crow cover amongst other things, and housed in a strange plastic digipack sleeve, giving it - like “Emancipation” - a sort of “home made” feel (in my opinion). Prince was still sort of a little bit underground - lead single “The Greatest Romance” hadn’t been a huge seller, and the album stalled way outside the top 100 in the UK - but come the start of 2000, something happened. The Symbol got dropped, Prince became Prince again, and there seemed to be a bit of a buzz about the man once more. Warners even issued another Best-of set in 2001.
The next studio album was a genuine NPG label release, “The Rainbow Children” (CD, NPG 70004-2), issued in the USA and several overseas countries, but only available in the UK on import. Prince quite happily played chunks of it the following year when I saw him at the Hammersmith Apollo, although by this point, he had released a new mail order only album, the now impossible to find “One Nite Alone”. A live album documenting this tour, the triple disc “One Nite Alone...Live” (3xCD, NPG 2193 CD 0213/15) appeared at the end of the year, technically another US only import.
“One Nite Alone” (CD, NPG no catalogue number) was the first release of new material through the NPG Music Club, although a companion remix album to the “Rave Un2...” release had surfaced in 2001, entitled “Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic“ (CD, NPG 85337 20002). Thereafter, Prince began issuing material for downloading through the website, including several new “albums” such as 2003’s “Xpectation”. A number of “digital only” records surfaced in the intervening years, with the only physical release being 2003’s experimental “NEWS” (CD, NPG 85337 70712-8), an instrumental offering with just four songs (“North”, “East”, “West” and “South”) each exactly 14 minutes in length. This release had also started as a mail order only release, but even the retail copies are now hard to find. Prince continued to issue digital only albums through the club until it was closed in 2006.
In 2004, Prince signed to Columbia and issued “Musicology” (CD, Columbia 517165 2). This helped to really re-raise his profile, and he released his first proper UK single for some five years in the form of “Cinnamon Girl”, which nearly dented the top 40. Meanwhile, the LP went top 5, suggesting that Prince, with the help of a major label again, was starting to get his career back into public view in quite a big way. In 2006, he released the equally impressive “3121” (CD, MCA 985207 2), with several singles issued to help push it on it’s way, including the glorious minimalist funk strut of “Black Sweat”, possibly the best thing he had recorded in the last 20 years.
The album went top 10, and Prince was back. In 2007, he announced a series of shows at the enormodrome that is London’s O2, with tickets priced at £31.21. Every time the shows sold out, he added several more dates, resulting in a near month long residency. Not bad for somebody who was viewed to be dead and buried a decade before. The shows were later documented in a book called “21 Nights” - the number of shows he eventually ended up playing there - which included a free live CD inside called “Indigo Nights” (CD, Simon & Schuster/NPG ISBN 1847373836). Prince, for some years now, had been notorious for his secret gigs and after show parties, and played a number of such shows at the nearby Indigo club during the O2 period. The album was compiled from some of these shows, with live recordings of old songs, covers and brand new material.
The O2 shows were part of a tour dubbed the “Earth Tour”, relating to the fact that Prince had a new LP ready for release. “Planet Earth” (CD, NPG PrinceUP1) was famously given away as a newspaper freebie later the same year, which allegedly infuriated his UK label so much they dropped him. It was home to another fantastic latter period classic, the Led Zepp-esque “Guitar”, and the album was later given a proper release back in the USA on the NPG label, with enhanced artwork and with a slightly altered front cover image.
Warners, meanwhile, were still in the background. In 2006, they released the - admittedly quite good - “Ultimate Prince” (2xCD, Warner Bros 8122 73381 2), notable for including a second CD of hard to find 12” mixes. A number of Warners era singles were also reissued in the UK in 2007, using the same artwork and track listing (usually) as the originals, but with new catalogue numbers, making the likes of the extended mix of “Hello” available again on a “new” release for the first time in twenty odd years.
Thereafter, Prince once again decided to do things his own way. With the NPG site closed in 2006, and then “Planet Earth” surfacing the year after in the form it did, maybe he was now looking at how to issue new material outside of the usual channels. 2009 thus saw another “US only” release in the form of “Lotusflow3r” (3xCD, NPG 7586-CD). Reports somewhere suggest Warners arranged for European copies to be made available, but the copy I got from Amazon was the original NPG release. It consisted of two new albums, “Lotusflow3r” and “MPL Sound”, along with a bonus album by Prince’s - at the time - latest protégé, Bria Valente (following on from the likes of Carmen Electra). One of the songs, “Chocolate Box”, shares it’s name with an old Prince bootleg dating from the early 1990s.
Another newspaper freebie, was 2010’s - well - “20 Ten” (CD, NPG Up20TEN 001). Unlike “Planet Earth”, this one hasn’t been dished around so freely, and remains unavailable in the US. You do wonder if this was done deliberately to make up for the failure to release “Lotusflow3r” in the UK, or maybe, Prince just likes the idea of releasing oddball albums, and watching people scramble around trying to track them down. It was issued, still as a freebie, in several other European territories.
All of which brings up to now. The last few years have seen the release of various download singles, but it is only now that Prince and his latest band, 3rd Eye Girl, have actually released new material. Late 2014 saw the release of both a “normal” Prince LP, “Art Official Age” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 49333 0) and one credited to Prince & 3rd Eye Girl, “Plectrum Electrum” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 49444 5). A quick look at those cat numbers will show you he now seems to have made up with Warners, and seems quite happy to acknowledge his past. Whenever he plays, he will happily remind you that he has “lots of hits” - and that is indeed true. The last few years may have seen him come in and out of public view, but perhaps now, with 5 star reviews for that recent tour, we can confirm without a doubt that Prince is back.
OK, this is quite intense, but here we go. The basic albums are above, as discussed. Now follows the UK 45s. I have listed any Prince single that, when first issued, included something rare - a 7” edit, a 12” mix, or a non album B-side. I have then listed, where appropriate, a later release that hoovered up said rarity. If this means another, less important format, thus becomes more interesting, then this is also shown. Where a single exists but is simply absent, it is because it contained absolutely nothing rare at the time of release, other formats contain something important, and is thus omitted for clarity. Picture discs and singles in special sleeves are only noted where generally considered important enough to warrant a mention.
I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit)/Just As Long As We’re Together (7”, Warner Bros K 17537, a-side later included on “The Hits 2“)
I Wanna Be Your Lover/Just As Long As We’re Together (12”, Warner Bros K 17537 T)
Sexy Dancer (12“ Version)/Bambi (12”, Warner Bros K 17590 T)
Do It All Night (Edit)/Head (7”, Warner Bros K 17768)
Do It All Night (Edit)/Head (12”, Warner Bros K 17768 T)
Gotta Stop/Uptown (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros K 17819, b-side later included on “The Hits 1“, later copies play “I Wanna Be Your Lover“ (Edit)” instead)
Gotta Stop/I Wanna Be Your Lover/Head (12”, Warner Bros LV 47, different p/s)
Controversy (Edit)/When U Were Mine (7”, Warner Bros K 17866, a-side later included on 1993 reissue)
Controversy/When U Were Mine (12”, Warner Bros K 17866 T)
Let’s Work (Edit)/Ronnie Talk To Russia (7”, Warner Bros K 17922)
Let’s Work (Dance Remix)/Ronnie Talk To Russia (12”, Warner Bros K 17922 T, a-side later included on “Ultimate Prince“)
1999 (Edit)/How Come U Don’t Call Anymore (7”, Warner Bros W9896, a-side later included on “The Hits 1“)
1999/How Come U Don’t Call Anymore/DMSR (12”, Warner Bros W9896 T)
1999/Uptown/Controversy/Dirty Mind/Sexuality (Cassette, Warner Bros W9896 C)
Little Red Corvette (Edit)/Horny Toad (7”, Warner Bros W9436, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Little Red Corvette/Horny Toad/DMSR (12”, Warner Bros W9436 T)
Little Red Corvette (Edit)/Lady Cab Driver (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W9688, late ‘83 reissue in new p/s)
SINGLES 1983 - 1986
When Doves Cry (Edit)/17 Days (7”, Warner Bros W9286, a-side later included on “The Hits 1“)
When Doves Cry/17 Days (12”, Warner Bros W9286 T)
When Doves Cry/17 Days/1999/DMSR (2x12”, Warner Bros W9286 T / SAM 199)
Twelve Inches On Tape: When Doves Cry/17 Days/1999/DMSR (Cassette, Warner Bros W9286 C)
Let’s Go Crazy (Edit)/Take Me With U (7”, Warner Bros W2000)
Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)/Take Me With U/Erotic City (12”, Warner Bros W2000 T, a-side later included on “Ultimate Prince“, b-side later included on “Girls & Boys“ 12-inch)
Purple Rain (Edit)/God (7”, Warner Bros W9174)
Purple Rain (Edit)/God (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W9174 P)
Purple Rain (12” Version)/God - Love Theme From Purple Rain/God (12”, Warner Bros W9174 T)
I Would Die 4 U (Single Version)/Another Lonely Christmas (7”, Warner Bros W9121, both tracks later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
I Would Die 4 U (Single Version)/Another Lonely Christmas/Free (12”, Warner Bros W9121 T)
I Would Die 4 U (US Remix)/Another Lonely Christmas (US Remix) (Remix 12”, Warner Bros W9121 TE, unique p/s)
1999 (Edit)/Little Red Corvette (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W1999)
1999/Little Red Corvette (12”, Warner Bros W1999 T)
Paisley Park/She’s Always In My Hair/Paisley Park (Remix) (12”, Warner Bros W9052 T, shaped picture disc also exists which plays first 2 tracks only)
Raspberry Beret/Hello (7”, Warner Bros W8929, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Raspberry Beret (New Mix)/Hello (Extended Remix) (12”, Warner Bros W8929 T)
Pop Life/Girl (7”, Warner Bros W8858, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Pop Life (Extended Version)/Girl (Extended Version) (12”, Warner Bros W8858 T)
Kiss (Single Version)/Love Or Money (7”, Warner Bros W8751, a-side later included on “The Hits 2“)
Kiss (Single Version)/Love Or Money (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8751P)
Kiss (Extended Version)/Love Or Money (12”, Warner Bros W8751 T)
Mountains/Alexa De Paris (7”, Warner Bros W8711)
Mountains (Extended Version)/Alexa De Paris (Extended Version) (White Vinyl 10”, Warner Bros W8711 TE)
Girls & Boys (Edit)/Under The Cherry Moon (7”, Warner Bros W8586, a-side later included on “Peach“ CD2)
Girls & Boys (Edit)/Under The Cherry Moon/She’s Always In My Hair/17 Days (2x7”, Warner Bros W8586 F, b-sides later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Girls & Boys (Edit)/Under The Cherry Moon (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8586 P)
Girls & Boys/Erotic City (12”, Warner Bros W8586 T)
Girls & Boys/Erotic City (12” + poster, Warner Bros W8586 TW)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Edit)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W8521)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Edit)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit) (Posterbag 7”, Warner Bros W8521 W)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Edit)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit)/Mountains/Alexa De Paris (2x7”, Warner Bros W8521 F)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Extended Version)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (12”, Warner Bros W8521 T)
SINGLES 1987 - 1988
Sign O The Times (Edit)/La La La He He Hee (7”, Warner Bros W8399, both tracks later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Sign O The Times/La La La He He Hee (Highly Explosive) (12”, Warner Bros W8399 T)
Sign O The Times/La La La He He Hee (Highly Explosive) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8399 TP)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)/Shockadelica (7”, Warner Bros W8334, both tracks later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)/Shockadelica (Posterbag 7”, Warner Bros W8334 W)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)/Shockadelica (Pink Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W8334 E)
If I Was Your Girlfriend/Shockadelica (Extended Version) (12”, Warner Bros W8334 T)
If I Was Your Girlfriend/Shockadelica (Extended Version) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8334 TP)
U Got The Look/Housequake (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W8289)
U Got The Look/Housequake (Edit) (Cassette, Warner Bros W8289 C)
U Got The Look (Long Look)/Housequake (7 Minutes Moquake)/U Got The Look (12”, Warner Bros W8289 T)
U Got The Look (Long Look)/Housequake (7 Minutes Moquake)/U Got The Look (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8289 TP)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Fade)/Hot Thing (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W8288, a-side later included on “The Hits 1“)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man/Hot Thing (Edit)/(Extended Remix) (12”, Warner Bros W8288 T)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man/Hot Thing (Edit)/(Extended Remix) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8288 TP)
Alphabet St (Edit)/(Part 2) (7”, Warner Bros W7900)
Alphabet St (Album Version)/(This Is Not Music This Is A Trip) (Cassette, Warner Bros W7900 C)
Alphabet St (Album Version)/(This Is Not Music This Is A Trip) (12”, Warner Bros W7900 T)
Alphabet St (Album Version)/(This Is Not Music This Is A Trip) (CD, Warner Bros W7900 CD)
Glam Slam (Edit)/Escape (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W7806)
Glam Slam (Remix)/Escape (Free Yo Mind From This Rat Race) (12”, Warner Bros W7806 T)
Glam Slam (Edit)/Escape (Edit)/Glam Slam (Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W7806 CD)
I Wish U Heaven/Scarlet Pussy (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W7745, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides")
I Wish U Heaven/Scarlet Pussy (Edit) (Posterbag 7”, Warner Bros W7745 W)
I Wish U Heaven (Parts 1, 2 & 3)/Scarlet Pussy (12”, Warner Bros W7745 T)
I Wish U Heaven (Parts 1, 2 & 3)/Scarlet Pussy (12” + poster, Warner Bros W7745 TW)
I Wish U Heaven (Parts 1, 2 & 3)/Scarlet Pussy (CD, Warner Bros W7745 CD)
Note: “Alphabet St” and “Glam Slam” were issued on vinyl in clear sleeves, meaning that the artwork between each format effectively differs.
SINGLES 1989 - 1990
Batdance (Edit)/200 Balloons (7”, Warner Bros W2924)
Batdance (Edit)/200 Balloons (Cassette, Warner Bros W2924 C)
Batdance (The Batmix)/(Vicky Vale Mix)/200 Balloons (12”, Warner Bros W2924 TX, Picture Disc also exists which replaces first two tracks with LP version only of “Batdance“)
Batdance (The Batmix)/(Vicky Vale Mix)/200 Balloons (CD, Warner Bros W2924 CDTX)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (12”, Warner Bros W2814 T)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W2814 TP)
Partyman (The Purple Party Mix)/(Partyman Music Mix)/(The Video Mix Edit)/Feel U Up (Short Stroke) (Remix 12”, Warner Bros W2814 TX)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (CD, Warner Bros W2814 CD)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (Collectors Edition CD, Warner Bros W2814 CDX)
Partyman (The Purple Party Mix)/(Partyman Music Mix)/(The Video Mix Edit)/Feel U Up (Short Stroke) (Remix CD, Warner Bros W2814 CDT)
The Arms Of Orion (Edit)/I Love U In Me (7”, Warner Bros W2757)
The Arms Of Orion (Edit)/I Love U In Me (Cassette, Warner Bros W2757 C)
The Arms Of Orion/I Love U In Me/The Arms Of Orion (Edit) (12”, Warner Bros W2757 T)
The Arms Of Orion/I Love U In Me/The Arms Of Orion (Edit) (CD, Warner Bros W2757 CD)
The Arms Of Orion/I Love U In Me/The Arms Of Orion (Edit) (Collectors Edition CD, Warner Bros W2757 CDX)
Thieves In The Temple (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (7”, Warner Bros W9751)
Thieves In The Temple (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (Cassette, Warner Bros W9751 C)
Thieves In The Temple (Remix)/(House Mix)/(House Dub) (12”, Warner Bros W9751 T)
Thieves In The Temple (Remix)/(House Mix)/(House Dub) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W9751 TP)
Thieves In The Temple (Remix)/(House Mix)/(House Dub) (CD, Warner Bros W9751 CD)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (7”, Warner Bros W9525)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (Cassette, Warner Bros W9525 C)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2)/Melody Cool (By Mavis Staples) (12“, Warner Bros W9525 T)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2)/Melody Cool (By Mavis Staples) (12“ Picture Disc, Warner Bros W9525 TP)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2)/Melody Cool (By Mavis Staples) (CD, Warner Bros W9525 CD)
SINGLES 1991 - 1993
Gett Off (Single Remix)/Horny Pony (7”, Warner Bros W0056)
Gett Off (Single Remix)/Horny Pony (Cassette, Warner Bros W0056 C)
Gett Off (Urge Mix)/(Thrust Mix) (12”, Warner Bros W0056 T)
Gett Off (Single Remix)/(Urge Single Edit)/(Purple Pump Mix) (CD, Warner Bros W0056 CD)
Cream/Horny Pony (7”, Warner Bros W0061)
Cream/Horny Pony (Cassette, Warner Bros W0061 C)
Cream/Horny Pony/Gangster Glam (12”, Warner Bros W0061 T, final track later included on 2007 reissue of “Gett Off“)
Cream/Horny Pony/Gangster Glam (CD, Warner Bros W0061 CD)
Diamonds And Pearls/Q In Doubt (7”, Warner Bros W0075)
Diamonds And Pearls/Q In Doubt (Cassette, Warner Bros W0075 C)
Diamonds And Pearls/Housebangers/Cream (NPG Mix)/Things Have Gotta Change (Tony M Rap) (12”, Warner Bros W0075 T)
Diamonds And Pearls/2 The Wire/Do Your Dance (KC’s Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0075 CD)
Diamonds And Pearls/2 The Wire/Do Your Dance (KC’s Remix) (Hologram CD, Warner Bros W0075 CDX)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (Edit)/Call The Law (7”, Warner Bros W0091, a-side later included on “Peach“ CD1)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (Edit)/Call The Law (Cassette, Warner Bros W0091 C)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (12“, Warner Bros W0091 T)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (12“ Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0091 TP)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (CD, Warner Bros W0091 CD)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (Hologram CD, Warner Bros W0091 CDX)
Thunder/Violet The Organ Grinder/Gett Off (Thrust Dub) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0113 TP)
Sexy MF/Strollin’ (7”, Warner Bros W0123)
Sexy MF/Strollin’ (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0123 P)
Sexy MF/Strollin’ (Cassette, Warner Bros W0123 C)
Sexy MF/Strollin’/Daddy Pop (12”, Warner Bros W0123 T)
Sexy MF/Strollin’/Daddy Pop (CD, Warner Bros W0123 CD)
My Name Is Prince (Edit)/2 Whom It May Concern (7”, Warner Bros W0132, a-side later included on “Peach“ CD2)
My Name Is Prince (Edit)/2 Whom It May Concern (Cassette, Warner Bros W0132 C)
My Name Is Prince/Sexy Mutha/2 Whom It May Concern (12”, Warner Bros W0132 T)
My Name Is Prince/Sexy Mutha/2 Whom It May Concern (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0132 TP)
My Name Is Prince (Edit)/Sexy Mutha/2 Whom It May Concern/My Name Is Prince (CD, Warner Bros W0132 CD)
My Name Is Prince Remixes EP: Original Mix Edit/12” Club Mix/House Mix/Hardcore 12” Mix (12”, Warner Bros W0142 T)
My Name Is Prince Remixes EP: Original Mix Edit/12” Club Mix/Sexy MF (12” Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0142 CD)
7 (Album Edit)/(Acoustic Version)/(After 6 Edit)/(After 6 Long Version) (CD, Warner Bros W0147 CD, 12“ Picture Disc exists which plays only selected versions)
The Morning Papers/Live 4 Love (7”, Warner Bros W0162)
The Morning Papers/Live 4 Love/Love 2 The 9’s (CD, Warner Bros W0162 CD)
SINGLES 1993 - 2006
Peach/My Name Is Prince (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W0210)
Peach/My Name Is Prince (Edit) (Cassette, Warner Bros W0210 C)
Peach/Mountains/Partyman (Edit)/Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (Edit) (CD1, Warner Bros W0210 CD1)
Peach/I Wish U Heaven/Girls & Boys (Edit)/My Name Is Prince (Edit) (CD2, Warner Bros W0210 CD2)
Controversy (Edit)/The Future (Remix) (7” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0215 P)
Controversy (Edit)/The Future (Remix) (Cassette, Warner Bros W0215 C)
Controversy (Edit)/The Future (Remix)/Glam Slam/DMSR (CD1, Warner Bros W0215 CD1)
Controversy (Edit)/Anotherloverholenyohead/Paisley Park/New Power Generation (Part 2) (CD2, Warner Bros W0215 CD2)
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (Edit)/Beautiful (Edit)/(Extended Club Version)/(Beats) (12”, NPG 0060150NPG)
The Beautiful Experience EP: Beautiful/Staxowax/Mustang Mix/Flutestramental/Sexy Staxophone And Guitar/Mustang Instrumental/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (12”, NPG 0060210NPG)
The Beautiful Experience EP: Beautiful/Staxowax/Mustang Mix/Flutestramental/Sexy Staxophone And Guitar/Mustang Instrumental/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (CD, NPG 0060212NPG)
Letitgo (Edit)/Solo (7” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0260 P)
Letitgo (Edit)/Solo (Cassette, Warner Bros W0260 C)
Letitgo (Caviar Radio Edit)/(Cavi’ Street Edit)/(Instrumental)/(On The Cool Out Tip Radio Edit)/(Sherm Stick Edit)/(Album Version) (12“, Warner Bros W0260 T)
Letitgo (Edit)/Solo/Alexa De Paris (Extended Version)/Pope (CD, Warner Bros W0260 CD)
Purple Medley (Edit)/(Full Length)/(Kirk J’s B Sides Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0289 CD)
Get Wild (Single Version)/Beautiful Girl/Hallucination Rain (12“, NPG 0061040NPG)
Get Wild (Single Version)/Beautiful Girl/Hallucination Rain (CD1, NPG 0061045NPG)
Get Wild (Money Maker)/(Kirky J’s Get Wild)/(Club Mix)/(In The House)/(Single Version)/(Money Maker Funky Jazz Mix) (CD2, NPG 0061195NPG)
The Good Life (Platinum People Edit)/(Platinum People Mix)/(Dancing Divaz Mix)/(Bullets Go Bang Remix)/(Big City Remix)/(Album Version) (CD, NPG 0061515NPG)
I Hate U (7” Edit w/o Guitar)/(Album Edit)/(Quiet Night Mix by Eric Leeds)/(Extended Remix)/(Album Version) (CD, Warner Bros W0315 CD)
Count The Days (Edit)/New Power Soul (Edit) (Cassette, NPG 0061339NPG)
Count The Days (Edit)/(Album Version)/New Power Soul (Edit) (CD, NPG 0061335NPG)
Gold (Edit)/Rock N Roll Is Alive! (And It Lives In Minneapolis) (Cassette, Warner Bros W0325 C)
Gold (Edit)/Rock N Roll Is Alive! (And It Lives In Minneapolis)/I Hate U (Extended Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0325 CD)
Gold (Edit)/Rock N Roll Is Alive! (And It Lives In Minneapolis)/I Hate U (Extended Remix) (Limited Edition CD in gold case, Warner Bros W0325 CDX)
Dinner With Delores/Had U/Right The Wrong (Single Edit) (CD, Warner Bros W0360 CD)
Betcha By Golly Wow!/Right Back Here In My Arms (Cassette, EMI TCEM 463)
Betcha By Golly Wow!/Right Back Here In My Arms (CD, EMI CDEM 463)
Betcha By Golly Wow!/Right Back Here In My Arms (CD + poster, EMI CDEMS 463)
The Holy River (Radio Edit)/Somebody’s Somebody (Edit)/(Livestudio Mix)/(Ultrafantasy Edit) (CD1, EMI CDEMS 467, with 4 prints)
The Holy River (Radio Edit)/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (Mustang Mix)/Somebody’s Somebody (Edit)/On Sale Now! (CD2, EMI CDEM 467, green p/s)
Come On (Radio Edit)/(Remix)/(Late Nite Mix) (CD, RCA 74321 634722)
1999 (Edit)/How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore (Cassette, Warner Bros W467 C)
1999/How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore/DMSR (12“, Warner Bros W467 T)
1999 (Edit)/How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore/DMSR (CD, Warner Bros W467 CD)
The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (Radio Edit)/(Album Version)/(Radio Edit feat. Eve)/(Adam & Eve Remix) (CD, Arista 74321 70664 2)
Cinnamon Girl/Dear Mr Man (Live)/United States Of Division/Dear Mr Man (Video) (CD, Columbia 675142 2)
Black Sweat/Beautiful Loved And Blessed (Alternate) (12” Picture Disc, MCA MCST 40457)
Black Sweat/Beautiful Loved And Blessed (Alternate)/Black Sweat (Video) (CD, MCA MCSTD 40457)
Fury/Te Amo Corazon - Fury (Live, 2006 Brit Awards) (12“ Picture Disc, MCA MCST 40462)
Fury/Te Amo Corazon - Fury (Live, 2006 Brit Awards)/(Video) (CD, MCA MCSTD 40462)
Note: other internet resources will list other singles and other formats other than those listed above as UK releases, but I believe such items were European pressings never intended for release in the UK, although they may have been available as imports.
These are the Warners “cash in” releases that surfaced en masse in 2007, coinciding with the O2 gigs. 12 such singles were repressed, using the original artwork but with new catalogue numbers either on a barcode sticker that was used, where possible, to cover over where the original catalogue number was, or simply scratched into the running grooves. All were usually standard repressings of the original UK release, with the exception of “Gett Off”, which was a repressing of the original US 6 track maxi single, and “Let‘s Go Crazy“, which was based on the US 2 track original 12. A number of these mixes had never been available on a UK Prince single before.
I Wanna Be Your Lover/Just As Long As We’re Together (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799687 1)
When Doves Cry/17 Days (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799686 4)
Sign O The Times/La La La He He Hee (Highly Explosive) (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799685 7)
Kiss (Extended Version)/Love Or Money (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799683 3)
Raspberry Beret (New Mix)/Hello (Extended Remix) (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799681 9)
Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)/Erotic City (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799680 2)
1999/Little Red Corvette (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799679 6)
Purple Rain/God (Instrumental)/(Vocal) (12", Warner Bros 8122 799678 9)
I Would Die 4 U (Single Version)/Another Lonely Christmas/Free (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799677 2)
Gett Off (Extended Remix)/(Houstyle)/Violet The Organ Grinder/Gett Off (Flutestramental)/Gangster Glam/Clockin’ The Jizz (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799676 5)
Sexy MF/Strollin’/Daddy Pop (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799675 0)
Diamonds And Pearls/Housebangers/Cream (NPG Mix)/Things Have Gotta Change (Tony M Rap) (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799674 1)
And remember. His name is Prince. And yes, he is funky.
Saturday, 27 December 2014
Listed below are the bands and singers featured for each month in 2014. The December 2014 blogs can be found due right, and include articles on The Beautiful South and Paul Weller.
The complete list for the year is shown below:
January 2014 - Genesis / Elvis Presley
February 2014 - All Saints / The Charlatans
March 2014 - Madonna
April 2014 - Morrissey / Ash
May 2014 - Foo Fighters
June 2014 - Biffy Clyro / Green Day
July 2014 - Siouxsie And The Banshees / The Stranglers
August 2014 - Supergrass
September 2014 - David Bowie / Super Furry Animals
October 2014 - The Stranglers
November 2014 - Badly Drawn Boy
December 2014 - The Beautiful South / Paul Weller
To look at blogs from January to November, click on the relevant month, then for the blog you wish to look at, click on the relevant link that will then appear. Each month of 2014 is also home to part of a 12 month long article called "How I Learned To Hate Record Collecting", looking at the marketing techniques of the UK record industry. Jan 2014 is part 1, Feb 2014 is part 2, and so on and so forth.
"Well I've met God, and he had nothing to say to me"
Friday, 26 December 2014
The Beautiful South were always an odd proposition. On the one hand, they seemed to peddle a rather mainstream, almost AOR brand of pop, and in the 20 odd years they existed, didn’t sound particularly different at the end to what they had sounded like at the beginning. But on the other hand, there was always something far more daring going on underneath - the lyrics were often clever, or biting, or just plain vicious. Even the band name was a sneering grumble about those London-centric types. They didn’t always hit the spot - even members of the band themselves thought the anti page 3 girl diatribe “36D” was going for the wrong target - but overall, they left behind some decent records, including some genuinely classic 45’s. The group are sort of still going, albeit in two halves, but it’s the original stuff that we are looking at here.
The group were formed in 1989 out of the ashes of Hull based political indie types The Housemartins, and were signed to the same label, Go! Discs. They were formed as a five piece around the dual vocalist pairing of Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, but by requiring a female singer for several numbers, Briana Corrigan was employed as an additional member for the first album, before later “officially” joining the group. Their debut 45, “Song For Whoever”, set out their stall from the off - an almost polite and polished piece of music, but the lyrics were of the clever-clever variety (maybe too clever for some...”I love you from the bottom of my pencil case...oh Cathy, oh Alison, oh Phillipa, oh Sue, you made me so much money I wrote this song for you“). B-side “Straight In At 37” was a sly reference to the lesser performing chart heroes of the day.
Debut LP “Welcome To The Beautiful South” caused upset to some, as it was originally housed in a controversial sleeve depicting a photo of a woman with a gun in her mouth - later copies replaced this with a “Cuddly Teddy Bear and Fluffy Rabbit” sleeve. Once again, this showed that the music was actually masking a more sinister band. “Straight In At 37” was added to Cassette and CD copies as a bonus track, whilst all three singles from the album went top 40. It was followed by 1990’s “Choke”, the album which spawned the band’s only chart topper, a duet between Corrigan and Hemingway called “A Little Time”. The b-side of the extended play versions of the single, “What You See Is What You Get”, was included on selected pressings of the album, but not all - the copies that do include it seem to be German editions with a slightly different catalogue number to the UK ones.
Late 1991 saw the release of the first single from the band’s next LP, “0898 Beautiful South” (0898 was a premium telephone dialling code number in the UK at the time). “Old Red Eyes Is Back” was a storming comeback of a 45, melodically powerful, complete with lyrics about a character deep down in the gutter, a regular subject matter for the group. Future singles stuttered, even though the quality of said 45’s were not in question. Work began on the follow up album in early 1993, but Corrigan was beginning to fail to see eye to eye with some of Heaton’s lyrics, and after hearing rough copies of some of the new material, decided to quit the band. She was replaced by an unknown singer, Jacqui Abbott, whom Heaton had seen sing at a party some years before, and was very impressed. When Corrigan left, Heaton contacted Abbott and asked her to join - she was working in a supermarket at the time, and was amazed that Heaton remembered who she was.
1994’s “Miaow” was both the rebirth of a revitalised band, sales wise, but was also the start of a troubled period in Heaton’s life resulting in some bleak lyrics on this and follow up album, “Blue Is The Colour”. “Miaow” was originally housed in a sleeve mimicking the famous HMV “Nipper” image, but HMV cited copyright theft, and subsequent pressings used a completely different “dogs in a boat” image. The first two singles featured Abbott quite significantly, indeed, she was the sole vocalist on their cover of “Everybody’s Talkin”, released as the next single after the LP had been issued. First single from the LP, the horn driven blast of “Good As Gold”, became one of the band’s most recognizable singles.
By the end of the year, the band prepared to release their first “hits” set, “Carry On Up The Charts” - again, using a pop culture reference, this time to the Carry On films. A new song, “One Last Love Song”, was included on the set, which was also issued as a single. As well as being issued as a VHS collection, double disc pressings were made with a second disc of random B-sides, with some copies playing an alternate version of “Let Love Speak Up Itself” as well.
Rather confusingly, the following summer saw a “new” Beautiful South song hitting the airwaves, when the band’s cover of “Dream A Little Dream” was sent out on a promo. It was released commercially in numerous overseas countries, and had been included in a movie called “French Kiss”, but it would take until 1996 for the track to receive a proper UK release, when it surfaced as a B-side. Equally confusing was that the next UK single was a stunning stand alone release called “Pretenders To The Throne”, not found on the recent hits set.
The very title of 1996’s “Blue Is The Colour” should give you an indication as to where Heaton’s head was at. The record did, at times, veer off the tried and tested path - opening track (and future 45) “Don’t Marry Her” was completely filthy, whilst Heaton attempted to channel Tom Waits on “Liars Bar”, amazingly later released as a single. It represents a strange period in the band’s career - whenever I look at this record, it does conjure up an image, rightly or wrongly, of a band in the middle of a mid life crisis, a miserable looking album that I want to avoid, but the fact was, the band were actually huge at the time - lead single “Rotterdam”, a gentle waltz like shuffle, remains one of their biggest hits, the band had recently supported REM on their stadium tour, and they were now in the middle of the whole Britpop thing, and were gaining a sort of second wind. It just seemed that this LP was that much darker than what had come before, and so seemed less welcoming than the previous releases.
1998’s “Quench” seemed to put the “pop” back into the band, as heard in the vibrant bounce of lead single “Perfect 10”. Initial copies of the album came in a die cut slipcase, thus more or less obscuring the “normal” album cover. It transpires that the artwork was by a painter called Peter Howson, who sued for damages (and won) after claiming the imagery was used without his permission. I am not sure if the slipcase was done to try and “reduce” the amount of damaging being done? Follow up 45s “Dumb” and “How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry” both dented the top 20, and the band played Glastonbury in the summer of 1999, yet again blurring the lines between their links to the indie world and their “boring“ persona. In what seemed to be another attempt to show their Northern roots, a number of b-sides from the period were old BS hits played by the East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band.
2000’s “Painting It Red” was initially released in the UK as a double album, the running time of the 20 tracks just pushing it beyond the boundaries of a single CD. I listened to it recently, and can confirm it’s a bit of an underrated gem, the slightly sprawling nature of the thing allowing for a myriad mixture of styles, but all with the underlying melodic pull of the band in place throughout. Only two singles were issued, the second being a double A side of bouncy pop outing “Just Checkin’” and the astonishing tearful big ballad “The River”, which failed to dent the top 40 and which thus saw the promo campaign promptly stopped in it‘s tracks. Either that or the band had run out of B-sides for anymore singles, having shoehorned so much stuff onto the LP in the first place.
A second best of set, the modestly titled “Solid Bronze”, surfaced in 2001. It included radio edits, previously stand alone 45s and new songs in the form of a remixed “The Mediterranean” and “The Root Of All Evil”, the latter issued as a single to help promote the set. It would turn out to be a release that marked another major change in lineup, as Abbott had announced her departure due to family commitments just after the release of “Painting It Red“, making this album something of a signing off point. Shows in late 2000 were conducted without any female singer on stage at all. Her replacement was (eventually) “Lady” Alison Wheeler, so dubbed due to her Cambridge education being in direct contrast to the more working class background of the rest of the group.
Thereafter, the band seemed to fall off the radar slightly. Radio play moved from Radio 1 to the more MOR driven Radio 2, and the attendant singles were generally charting lower, but the pop nous of the group remained intact, with the likes of “Just A Few Things That I Ain‘t“ and “Let Go With The Flow” from 2003’s “Gaze” retaining the trademark sound. A covers album, “Golddiggas Headnodders And Pholk Songs” followed in 2004, although one of the so called covers was simply a Beautiful South original, with the band concocting a fictitious story (and webpage) about the so-called group who had allegedly recorded it originally.
2006’s “Superbi” would turn out - retrospective releases aside - to be the band’s final stand. The final single from the album was backed with a b-side called “Farewell”, suggesting that the band had their finale planned well in advance. They famously split due to “musical similarities” the following year, before a chunk of the final lineup reformed as “The New Beautiful South“, later shortened to “The South“. Heaton and Abbott have also recently recorded an album together.
The Beautiful South once got referred to as making “Mondeo Music”, Mondeo being a make of car. This is sort of reflected in their discography - the band, almost always, included bonus tracks on the CD editions of their singles, making the 7” and Cassette pressings worthless, as they were missing these songs. In their earlier days, the band did actually used to issue 12” singles that had identical track listings to the CD editions, but yes, it is possible to own the band’s entire back catalogue on the Yuppy-esque CD format.
I have listed below the “EP” styled singles that the band issued, as in many instances, these still remain the only way to get some of the flipsides. There were occasional releases on 7” and Cassette which were released as maxi singles, mirroring the track listing of their cousins, and these are also shown. Not shown are any singles which came in special packaging - the Cassette pressing of “Closer Than Most” used a different cover to the CD editions, whilst a number of early period 7” singles were pressed as special editions, with altered artwork - but with selected B-sides still missing. You can see the artwork differences by looking at the BS entry on the 45cat.com website. The only other 45s listed are those which were missing b-sides when first released, but whose interest factor is now greater after said b-side(s) turned up on the double disc “Carry On” release.
As for the albums, the CD pressings are probably the easiest to find, as you can buy pretty much all of them on Amazon in this form still, so I have listed the original compact disc pressings only for clarity. The pre-2001 ones are available on Cassette, and vinyl pressings exist of everything up to “Solid Bronze”, although finding them might be a bit harder. Video releases also exist but I would hope to cover these in a later feature rather than squeeze them in here.
Welcome To The Beautiful South (CD, Go! Discs AGODCD 16, “gun” p/s)
Choke (CD, Go! Discs 828 233-2)
0898 (CD, Go! Discs 828 310-2)
Miaow (CD, Go! Discs 828 507-2)
Carry On Up The Charts (2xCD, Go! Discs 828 569-2)
Blue Is The Colour (CD, Go! Discs 828 845-2)
Quench (CD, Go! Discs 538 179-2, later copies without slipcase have alternate catalogue number)
Painting It Red (2xCD, Go! Discs 548 266-2)
Solid Bronze (CD, Go! Discs 586 444-2)
Gaze (CD, Go! Discs 9865694)
Golddiggas Headnodders And Pholk Songs (CD, Sony 5186329, in hardback book style sleeve, later pressings in jewel case and with alternate catalogue number)
Gold (2xCD, Go! Discs 06024 9836292 1)
Superbi (CD, Sony 82876 831132)
The BBC Sessions (2xCD, Mercury 9845873)
At The BBC (3xCD+DVD, Mercury 5333213)
Song For Whoever (Edit)/Straight In At 37/You And Your Big Ideas (12”, Go! Discs GODX32)
Song For Whoever (Edit)/Straight In At 37/You And Your Big Ideas (CD, Go! Discs GODCD32)
You Keep It All In/You Just Can’t Smile It Away/I Love You (But You’re Boring)/It’s Instrumental (12”, Go! Discs GODX 35)
You Keep It All In/You Just Can’t Smile It Away/I Love You (But You’re Boring)/It’s Instrumental (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 35)
I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Edit)/(LP Mix)/But Til Then/I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Orchestral Mix) (White Vinyl 10”, Go! Discs GODT 38)
I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Edit)/But Til Then/I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Orchestral Mix) (12”, Go! Discs GODX 38)
I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Edit)/(LP Mix)/But Til Then/I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Orchestral Mix) (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 38)
A Little Time/In Other Words I Hate You/What You See Is What You Get (12”, Go! Discs GODX 47)
A Little Time/In Other Words I Hate You/What You See Is What You Get (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 47)
My Book (Edit)/Big Beautiful South/Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better/Speak To Me (12”, Go! Discs GODX 48)
My Book (Edit)/Big Beautiful South/Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better/Speak To Me (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 48)
Let Love Speak Up Itself (Edit)/Danielle Steele (The Enemy Within)/Love Wars/Headbutting Husband (12”, Go! Discs GODX 53)
Let Love Speak Up Itself (Edit)/Danielle Steele (The Enemy Within)/Love Wars/Headbutting Husband (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 53)
Old Red Eyes Is Back/Fleet St BC (7”, Go! Discs GOD 66)
Old Red Eyes Is Back/Fleet St BC (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 66)
Old Red Eyes Is Back/Fleet St BC/Diamonds (12”, Go! Discs GODX 66)
Old Red Eyes Is Back/Fleet St BC/Diamonds (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 66)
We Are Each Other/His Time Ran Out (7”, Go! Discs GOD 71)
We Are Each Other/His Time Ran Out (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 71)
We Are Each Other/His Time Ran Out/I Started A Joke (12”, Go! Discs GODX 71)
We Are Each Other/His Time Ran Out/I Started A Joke (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 71)
Bell Bottomed Tear/A Thousand Lies/They Used To Wear Black (7”, Go! Discs GOD 78, with 4 postcards)
Bell Bottomed Tear/A Thousand Lies/They Used To Wear Black (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 78)
Bell Bottomed Tear/A Thousand Lies/They Used To Wear Black (CD1, Go! Discs GODCD 78)
Bell Bottomed Tear/Woman In The Wall (Live)/You Should Be Dancing (Live) (CD2, Go! Discs GOLCD 78, different p/s)
36D (Edit)/Throw His Song Away/Trevor You’re Bizarre (7”, Go! Discs GOD 88, with 4 postcards)
36D (Edit)/Throw His Song Away/Trevor You’re Bizarre (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 88)
36D/From Under The Covers (Live)/You Keep It All In (Live)/36D (Live) (CD, Go! Discs GOLCD 88, b-sides later included on "At The BBC")
Good As Gold/Love Adjourned/Minicorrect (Demo Version) (CD1, Go! Discs GODCD 110)
Good As Gold/Frank And Delores/One Man’s Rubbish (CD2, Go! Discs GOLCD 110, different colour p/s)
Everybody’s Talkin’/A Way With The Blues/Let Love Speak Up Itself (BBC Radio 1 Emma Freud Show March 1994) (7”, Go! Discs GOD 113)
Everybody’s Talkin’/A Way With The Blues/Let Love Speak Up Itself (BBC Radio 1 Emma Freud Show March 1994) (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 113)
Everybody’s Talkin’/A Way With The Blues/Let Love Speak Up Itself (BBC Radio 1 Emma Freud Show March 1994) (CD1, Go! Discs GODCD 113)
Everybody’s Talkin’/Nearer To God/A Piece Of Sky (CD2, Go! Discs GOLCD 113, pink p/s)
Prettiest Eyes (Remix)/The Best We Can/Size (CD1, Go! Discs GODCD 119)
Prettiest Eyes (Remix)/Why Can’t I/Missing Her Now (CD2, Go! Discs GOLCD 119, different colour p/s)
One Last Love Song/Right Man For The Job/Java (7”, Go! Discs GOD 122)
One Last Love Song/Right Man For The Job/Java (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 122)
One Last Love Song/Right Man For The Job/Java (CD1, Go! Discs GODCD 122)
One Last Love Song/Mr Obsession/You’re Only Jealous (CD2, Go! Discs GOLCD 122)
Pretenders To The Throne/Virgin/A Long Day In The Field (Cassette, Go! Discs GODMC 134)
Pretenders To The Throne/Virgin/A Long Day In The Field (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 134)
Rotterdam/A Minute’s Silence/Pollard (CD, Go! Discs GODCD 155)
Don’t Marry Her (Single Mix)/God Bless The Child/Without Her (CD1, Go! Discs GODCD 158)
Don’t Marry Her (Single Mix)/Dream A Little Dream/Les Yeux Ouverts (CD2, Go! Discs GOLCD 158, different p/s)
Blackbird On The Wire/Lean On Me (Live)/You Just Can’t Smile It Away (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”) (CD1, Go! Discs 582 125-2)
Blackbird On The Wire/I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”)/The Sound Of North America (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”) (CD2, Go! Discs 582 197-2, unique p/s)
Liars Bar (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”)/Dumb (Original Version)/You’ve Done Nothing Wrong (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”) (CD1, Go! Discs 582 239-2)
Liars Bar (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”)/The Opening Of A New Book/Hold On To What? (Live from “Later With Jools Holland”) (CD2, Go! Discs 582 241-2, yellow p/s)
Perfect 10/If/I’ll Sail This Ship Alone (performed by the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band) (CD1, Go! Discs 566 481-2, cassette copies exist minus track 3 [566 480-4])
Perfect 10/Loving Arms/One Last Love Song (performed by the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band) (CD2, Go! Discs 566 483-2, different p/s)
Dumb/Suck Harder/Especially For You (performed by the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band) (CD1, Go! Discs 566 753-2, cassette copies exist minus track 3 [566 752-4])
Dumb/I Sold My Heart To The Junkman/Blackbird On The Wire (performed by the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band) (CD2, Go! Discs 566 755-2, different p/s)
How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry (Edit)/(Remix)/Perfect 10 (Acoustic) (CD1, Go! Discs 870 821-2)
How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry (Edit)/Big Coin (Acoustic)/Rotterdam (Acoustic) (CD2, Go! Discs 870 823-2, unique p/s)
The Table/Old Red Eyes Is Back (Acoustic)/Your Father And I (Live) (CD1, Go! Discs 562 165-2)
The Table/Don’t Marry Her (Acoustic)/Look What I Found In My Beer (Acoustic) (CD2, Go! Discs 562 166-2, different colour p/s)
Closer Than Most/Moths/The Table (Live, Cambridge Folk Festival 29.7.2000) (CD1, Go! Discs 562 967-2)
Closer Than Most/The State That I’m In/Blackbird On The Wire (Live, Cambridge Folk Festival 29.7.2000) (CD2, Go! Discs 562 968-2, unique p/s)
The River (Edit)/Just Checkin’ (Remix)/Valentines Day W**k (CD1, Go! Discs 572 755-2)
Just Checkin’ (Remix)/The River (Edit)/Little Chef (CD2, Go! Discs 572 756-2, green p/s)
The Root Of All Evil/Free For All/Perfect 10 (Video) (CD1, Go! Discs 588 870-2)
The Root Of All Evil/Chicken Wings (Original Version)/Rotterdam (Video) (CD2, Go! Discs 588 871-2, different p/s)
Just A Few Things That I Ain’t/Cheap/Care As You Go/Just A Few Things That I Ain’t (Video) (CD1, Go! Discs 981 303-8)
Just A Few Things That I Ain’t/The New Fence/A Long Time Coming (CD2, Go! Discs 981 303-9, different p/s)
Let Go With The Flow/Skool Daze (CD1, Go! Discs 981 5083)
Let Go With The Flow/Don’t Stop Movin’ (Live)/Song For Whoever (Live) (CD2, Go! Discs 981 5084, pink p/s)
Livin’ Thing/I’m Living Good (CD1, Sony 675371 1)
Livin’ Thing/Lovin’ You/Another Night With The Boys (CD2, Sony 675371 2, different colour p/s)
This Old Skin/Lipstick Traces (CD1, Sony 675684 1)
This Old Skin/Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now/Livin’ Thing (Video) (CD2, Sony 675684 2, different colour p/s)
This Will Be Our Year/For The Good Times (CD1, Sony 675746 1)
This Will Be Our Year/Never Mind/This Old Skin (Video) (CD2, Sony 675746 2, different colour p/s)
Manchester/If Teardrops Were Silver (CD, Sony 82876 831132)
The Rose Of My Cologne/Farewell (CD, Sony 82876 872892)
Sunday, 7 December 2014
When I started this website back in 2010, the record industry was in a state of flux. On the one hand, the album had been resurrected by the invention of the deluxe edition reissue, and although there was a continual threat that the CD was on it’s last legs, the end never came. As for the single, well, sales had reached pitiful levels, but some bands seemed to be unaware that this was the case.
The cost of vinyl singles had risen - mainly because their popularity was so niche, that very few were actually selling, and so labels had to raise the price to cover any losses they might have otherwise incurred had they still been knocking out 7 inches at 99p a pop. The CD single was still hanging on, the latest wave of pop princesses like The Saturdays still opting to issue physical releases on the format. That photo above, of Frankie, is just a blatant picture to allow you to join me in worshipping at her altar.
Anyway, I digress. The original inspiration for the site was drawn from this situation - I remember buying a Stephen Malkmus 7” for £4.99 and thinking that the price tag must have been some sort of admin error. The cost of singles was rising so much overall. I had, in my collection, numerous CD singles boxsets, where old 45’s were repressed on CD, housed in a reprint of their original sleeve, and then all shoved into one big box. For anybody just discovering a band, or simply wanting to play catch up, these boxsets were glorious things to own. Coldplay, The Stranglers, The Smiths, large swathes of bands and singers were issuing them at one point, and in some respects, made the concept of trying to hunt down the original pressings slightly pointless. In the Coldplay box, they included a reissue of their “Blue Room” EP, the original of which was valued at MORE than the boxset! So, as a sort of half hearted two fingered salute to the record industry, this website was set up to - at times - showcase these “shortcuts”, to highlight some of these boxsets and how you could kill two, three, or maybe four birds with one stone in buying them - as well as saving a bit of money at the same time.
OK, so not every article has explicitly gone down this route, but my articles on Deep Purple, Buzzcocks and Depeche Mode all showed how, with a well timed hunt on eBay or Amazon, you could grab yourself a big chunk of the band’s history at a cut down price. There are still some articles in the planning stage as I write this that will follow a similar path. My love of these boxsets was two fold - I loved music, and I loved owning music in a physical form, and whilst I am anti streaming, and anti downloading, this still didn’t mean I was prepared to give my blessing to the likes of EMI to charge any old amount for any old tat. The idea was to show, where possible, how you could avoid throwing money away to the eBay scalpers, or buying records still being sold as “new” on Amazon, albeit with the price tag hiked up since it’s original release date. Just look at the OTT prices being attached to former Record Store Day releases that you can still find online - in many instances, these are nothing more than reissues of something that probably cost LESS when it first came out!
I developed something of a love/hate relationship with record collecting soon after I started the blog. By the summer of 2010, the three HMV’s that were located in Birmingham were acknowledging the death of the 45 by becoming rather selective about what they would or would not stock. One of them just stocked the CD singles of acts it thought would have a decent chance of cracking the charts, the biggest one stocked nothing. The other stocked most of what was being released, when it could be bothered, but decided to hide them behind the headphones section. It once took me two weeks to find them. There was a curious situation going on - the price of the average vinyl single was obviously far too high, but such was their relative rarity status, that I couldn’t resist buying the ones I wanted when I found one. I hated the labels for hitching the prices up, but the collector in me couldn’t stop from going back for more. I was like Keith Richards circa 1977, but substituting Heroin for Vinyl.
One day, I found myself in HMV’s flagship London store on Oxford Street. I couldn’t believe what I saw. There was a huge singles section, row after row of vinyl - it was obvious that the ones in Birmingham had been VERY selective about what they had been stocking. I needed to buy something, but the choice was so huge...I ended up picking up slightly randomly some numbered Yeah Yeah Yeahs 45, on the basis it was likely to become quite rare if I didn’t. And then, when I was back in Birmingham the next week, it was back down to earth with a bump. A miniscule selection of 45’s and CD singles. It was almost as if there was a provincial divide between what the shops in the capital would stock, and what everyone else would.
When I did my Pixie Lott article in early 2011, it was inspired by the fact that Lott had filmed, by that point, about five or six music videos, but had only “released” about two physical singles. It was becoming increasingly obvious that the single was being phased out, or at least, run down - and this meant that my local HMV’s were in danger of possibly even stocking LESS than what they already were. I made another trip to the Oxford Street store - but something had changed. The singles section had been heavily depleted - it was hidden near the back of the store, with a reasonable chunk of imported/deleted CD singles on one side, but the new releases were limited to being displayed around a pillar in the middle of the floor. The 7” single section was heartbreaking - a random, non alphabetical, mini selection, unceremoniously dumped at the end of the vinyl LP section. There were about 40 or 50 singles, but not 40 or 50 individual titles - 40 or 50 in total! About 10 Imelda May ones for her latest release, some others I didn’t want, it was all a bit of a comedown to what I had seen about 6 months previous. It wasn’t a north south divide after all - the 45 really was now a “specialist” format.
Whilst I was on the one hand bemoaning the murdering of the single, it was also becoming increasingly hard to “love” record collecting at the same time. It became more of a job - and one that I wasn’t very good at either. I still remember my jaw dropping when one of the Birmingham HMV’s decided to stock Moz’s “Glamorous Glue” 45 in the spring of 2011 - of which there were two vinyl editions, both at £6.99 each. An extortionate amount of money to pay for an album track backed with a half hearted demo recording, but I was still a music fan, and still a (often lapsed) record collector, so I had to still buy at least one of the formats. Because I knew that this was the future. Vinyl had quite quickly become even more niche than it already was, and the labels had to hitch up the prices even more to cover the fact that so few copies were required to be pressed to meet the “demand”.
It’s been more or less like this ever since. The invention of the Super Deluxe boxset finally finished me off, in terms of being a “completist”. Being asked to rebuy, at inflated prices, records I already owned usually incurred the wrath of god within me. This, coupled with most new albums appearing as “limited edition, buy now or else!” releases with price tags more than the “not as limited” edition, made it doubly hard to keep up. And then, as the CD Single quietly slipped away, to the point where the one HMV left in Birmingham saw no need to even have a CD Singles section left in the shop, vinyl curiously took over as THE format of choice as regards the old 45. We had, in the space of 40 odd years, simply gone back to where we had started. Except the 7” single now cost the same as an old back catalogue album you could find elsewhere in the same store. The value for money aspect of the single was completely gone. Things of beauty yes, but without doubt, completely overpriced for what you actually got in terms of MUSIC. Even Frankie and her friends sort of semi-ditched the format, moving instead to releasing mail order only autographed CD singles that, once sold out, surfaced second hand on the likes of Amazon where they retailed for more than the cost of their latest LP. Go on, try and find a copy of "Disco Love" for less than a tenner now.
My approach to record collecting now is, at times, a bit random. There is still the desire to own every album, and every single, but the cost implications of getting absolutely EVERYTHING, such as all the mail order live albums and compilations, or getting the biggies on the “most special” format, can at times can be frightening. I have decided that the new Dylan release will be purchased on the cheap 2-CD edition rather than that overpriced boxset - it comes with a slightly different title, so at least I feel like I am getting something special for my money. Occasionally, I will stumble across things seemingly only available online, and so will decide not to buy them because they are “not proper releases”. Cheating, I know, but my house, my rules. Freebie 7” singles with new albums? At £20 a throw? Sorry, once you have one (such as, say, “Walk On By” by The Stranglers), you don’t really need anymore. Not at that price.
It’s still in the blood though, and it always will be. I have just gone through something of a Beatles phase again, which saw me buy “Revolver” in Mono on LP for £25, because five of the songs are different to their stereo brothers. Yes, I know, a lot of money to pay for something I TECHNICALLY ALREADY OWN, but these things happen. I still love music, and I am still fascinated by alternate mixes, foreign releases, and different sleeves - I just have to be a bit more “selective” about what I buy. I quite like the idea of picking “favourites”, rather than trying to have it all. I have just read an interview with Sophie Ellis Bextor, who collects dolls, but only those she “likes the look of”. So why not try it with music? In an attempt to live within my means, I feel I have no choice.
As I have mentioned before, I guess those with bigger disposable incomes and/or more narrow minded musical tastes have it easier. People often come round our house and say, “you have a lot of CD’s”, only for us to say “in your opinion, maybe - the trouble is, the collection is actually only half complete”. The industry has simply made it harder. In 1992, all you had to do a lot of the time was buy somebody’s latest album on CD, each of the accompanying singles on CD, and nine times out of ten, that often did the job. But now? There is a dividing line between the rich and poor - if you want to get each album with all it’s bells and whistles, it’s going to be £30 for a deluxe boxset, or £80 for a super deluxe. For the latest physical single release - well, apart from those CD singles you see on Amazon at a fiver a go, that may or may not actually just be Polish imports and not proper UK singles - you are looking at a release on vinyl only, which because of it’s “niche” situation, is nowadays likely to set you back a tenner. Ouch. For people who don’t really like music, the people who download left right and centre, and even then only selected tracks, “the hits”, well, they have it easy. Because everything is cheaper on iTunes, especially if you are not even downloading full albums. But for those of us who have kept the faith, our reward is to be asked to pay over the odds for basically the same material. This seems a bit unfair. It’s like asking a football season ticket holder to pay for entry again every time they go to a match. But if it is in the blood...well, sometimes, it’s difficult to resist. Or to at least go for the cheaper option, as long as it is still in physical form.
This may explain why some of the articles on here can be a bit ramshackle - why my U2 blogs list the original album releases as opposed to the expanded CD reissues that came later. I’d already bought the bloody things on vinyl fifteen years before, I couldn’t afford to go and get them all again! (Except “War”, because I couldn’t resist it. As I say, it's in the blood.)
And so that really is how I learned to hate record collecting. The constant stream of new product, old product, new “old” product - I only earn so much money, and I can’t give it all to Bono. The concept of record collecting, which was born out of a record industry that did things that caused certain things to become collectable, had the tables turned on it - labels began making records designed to BE collectable from day one, and it eventually got out of hand. I still collect records - always have done, and always will. If I hear somebody talking about “streaming from the internet”, I may give them a slap. But it’s not always a very enjoyable hobby, more of a chore at times. Yet I can’t really give it up. I’ve started, so I will attempt to finish. Yes, the ludicrousness of the Super Deluxe Edition has turned record collecting into, at times, a hobby for the rich boys, but somewhere, the music still remains. Unblemished by the industry’s disdain for the fanbases, and still as good as it ever was. You just need to find a way to enjoy hunting it down. Remember, downloading doesn’t count. And streaming certainly doesn’t. Keep it real. And even though it is hard, keep the faith.