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Aug 11

KWS – “Please Don’t Go”/”Game Boy”

Popular177 comments • 13,014 views

#676, 9th May 1992

It’s hard to muster much love for “Please Don’t Go” – a barely adequate trot through a good song. “Begging” has never sounded so thoroughly rote. It’s a good example, though, of one of the nineties least-regarded, most revival-immune style, the generic dance cover version.

Dance music is notorious for its stylistic interbreeding, its rapid mutation: a music constantly in flux. Tracks like “Please Don’t Go” are what happens when dance stands still: the basic chassis of house music turned into a plastic mould that can be applied to any old song. From KWS to Mad House’s Madonna versions, any given 90s chart seemed to have a handful of these things in it. Pundits now complain about the effects of instant access to (almost) anything on popular culture, but let’s not forget that when people can remember something and not access it, the resulting gap doesn’t always produce productive mis-rememberings. It also produces cheap knock-offs. “Please Don’t Go” isn’t quite as deathly as the king of the dance cover version, Undercover’s formica take on “Baker Street”, but it’s never memorable. That this nullity got five weeks at the top says more about the immobile singles chart than any double-digit run.

A quick shout-out, though, to its notional double A-Side, the unremembered “Game Boy”, which is as near as we’re ever going to come to a hardcore track in Popular. As ‘ardkore goes, it’s poor, a collection of five years of weary dance tropes in search of even one good hook – Beltram-style hoover noises, house piano, cut-up vocal samples, a dubby bassline, none of them sticking around long enough to make an impact. It reminds me more of cover-mounted CD-Rs (“100 Banging Sounds”) on computer music mags than any kind of clubbing experience. But it’s there.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Weej on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Welcome back, Tom! I’ve missed Popular this last month.
    As for the song, it’s not just an assembly-pack cover version, but an identikit copy of an assembly-pack cover version – i.e. this one, which was a hit all over Europe but didn’t get released in the UK quickly enough and got pipped to the post by KWS. KWS have a much better singer, so no loss at all there.

  2. 2
    Sam on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Hate to be a pedant, but I’m pretty sure you mean Undercover, not Underworld. Although I would be keen to hear Messrs Smith, Hyde and Emerson take on Jerry Rafferty…

    On the topic of cheap knock-off dance versions, though, surely these records were just as opportunistic as Jive Bunny and the like, and with the same audience in mind: aimed at children, who would think the tracks were originals (as I did when I first heard Undercover’s Baker Street), rather than teens and grown-ups who might be indulging in some nostalgia?

  3. 3
    punctum on 15 Aug 2011 #

    One of the more regrettable, and therefore one of the most profitable, aspects of the early nineties dance music boom was the trend for excavating old AoR staples, squaring them off rhythmically and speeding them up to make them danceable. An offshoot of the Hi-NRG approach to ballads, but without any of the latter’s deliriously delicate subtexts, this enabled such 1992 hits as East Side Beat’s “Run Like The Wind,” Rage’s “Run To You” and worst of all Undercover’s approach to “Baker Street” (Rafferty, sensibly, shrugged it off and counted the royalties).

    This entry not only falls into this category but also confirms that, with the commercial ascent of dance music, a venerable tradition returned to life, namely that of the quickfire soundalike British cover version cash-in of an international hit. “Please Don’t Go” was of course originally a hit, and a rare ballad, for KC and the Sunshine Band right at the end of the seventies, but its 1992 dance reconstitution was due to Italian duo Double You, whose version was that year’s big Eurodance smash, topping the charts everywhere in the Continent apart from Britain, where Midlands opportunists KWS rush-released their Woolworths xerox reading and bagged the domestic number one.

    That having been said, there really is nothing to get excited about here; the words are flatly sung in strangulated, regulated voices, the beats are flaccid and the record essentially sits there, on permanent loop repeat (that’s why I thought Popular took so long to come back; Tom must be listening to the 12-inch, which lasts approximately 85 years). “Game Boy” is a forgettable two-peas-and-a-chip-core instrumental whose meme replicated itself in a couple of other 1992 tack-dance top tenners; “Tetris” by Doctor Spin (another Andrew Lloyd Webber project) and “Supermarioland” by the Trades Description Act-invoking Ambassadors Of Funk, and you’ve probably guessed where both of these go, viz. nowhere.

  4. 4
    Tom on 15 Aug 2011 #

    #2 haha FREUD TO THREAD, I don’t like Underworld at all but yes I like them more than Undercover.

  5. 5
    Tom on 15 Aug 2011 #

    #3 I have a terrible feeling I HAVE been listening to the 12″, not that it would change the mark much.

  6. 6
    Mike Atkinson on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Second ever Nottingham Number One! The first being Paper Lace, and (arguably) the third coming in eight years time. As I recall, this was meant to be a plea, directed at a Nottingham Forest player who was thinking of leaving the club? His name escapes me – which is a bit bad, as I once enjoyed a hilarious night out on the Nottingham gay scene with his ex-wife. KWS got a “best new act” Brits nomination on the back of this, you know – going head to head with Undercover – clash of the Titans!

  7. 7
    Kat but logged out innit on 15 Aug 2011 #

    I was debating whether or not to add Undercover’s ‘Baker St’ to the playlist on Friday! You’ll all be sad to hear it has not made the cut.

    But what’s on Friday, you ask? WELL:

    HOPTIMISM PRESENTS: HANDPUMP THE VOLUME
    DJ Chlorine and The Barnet Ape present an evening of rave classics, chart bosh and euro bangers at Mason & Taylor E1 (near Shoreditch High St tube). M&T do good beer, hence the laboured booze puns. I will endeavour to play as much stuff off Rave ’92 as possible.

    All the info here: Friday 19th August, 9pm-2am, free entry and all the 2 Unlimited you can drink! All welcome!

  8. 8
    Scott M on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Great to have you back, but I’m going to have to be another pedant and tell you that Mad’house made the charts in 2002. (Sorry.)

    I don’t actually mind this, though I prefer the Double You version it was copying.

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 15 Aug 2011 #

    I think I bought the KC version of the song when it first came out and it’s the original melody which earns this any points from me. There’s a distinct lack of invention in the arrangement but they seem to be having fun in the video.

  10. 10
    Billy Smart on 15 Aug 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: KWS performed ‘Please Don’t Go’ on Top Of The Pops on five occasions. Details of the Christmas edition shall be provided anon;

    7 May 1992. Also in the studio that week were; Curiosity, 2 Unlimited, Kim Wilde and Morrissey, plus a live appearance by satellite from ZZ Top in Texas. Adrian Rose & Femi Oki were the hosts.

    14 May 1992. Also in the studio that week were; Shakespeare’s Sister, Del Amitri, Kriss Kross, Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson and Ce Ce Peniston. Mark Franklin & Claudia Simon were the hosts.

    21 May 1992. Also in the studio that week were; Ce Ce Peniston, Richard Marx and Elton John, plus a live performance by satellite from The Levellers in Paris. Tony Dortie & Adrian Rose were the hosts.

    4 June 1992. Also in the studio that week were; Take That, Lionel Ritchie, Utah Saints and Erasure. Tony Dortie & Claudia Simon were the hosts.

  11. 11
    Izzy on 15 Aug 2011 #

    This was the most dismal of #1s. There’s nothing to prompt so much as a listen here, let alone five weeks at the top. Even the meaningless three-initial name is pure generic 90s fodder. I remember earlier ‘I Got You Babe’ keeping ‘Running Up That Hill’ (well) off the summit, one suspects and hopes there weren’t such riches below KWS.

    ‘Ride Like The Wind’ though, that were a bangin’ tune.

  12. 12
    Cumbrian on 15 Aug 2011 #

    I was 11, so I ask the following questions in all seriousness:

    The sleeve proclaims this as a “Dance Club Classic ’92”. For those that were there, was it?

    If yes, what were you all thinking?

    If no, what was a “Dance Club Classic ’92”?

  13. 13
    anto on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Welcome back Tom.

    This track and several other upcoming number ones make that common mistake of 90s dance music (actually scrap that this goes for 90s pop and indie as well) the assumption that a positive vibe will cover for weak material.
    Admittedly were I the person leaving I would find Mr Kws’ cajoling pleas more persuasive than KCs stark emotional fascism but I would say that’s what makes the original superior. On the KC and the Sunshine Band version the listener is put in the lovers position (in a manner of speaking) the neediness feels uncomfortable and so a relatively song stays with you. This cover is not so much simple as
    perfunctory.

    re: Undercover. Mid-92 was one of those periods where there was some comment on the amount of covers in the charts and this dull band were among the main culprits blithely attempting to build a chart profile on such weedy versions of old tunes that they inevitably made listeners that bit fonder of the originals

  14. 14
    Dan Worsley on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Have to say that Mike’s story about the Forest players wife is a darn sight more entertaining than KWS’s work. It wasn’t Teddy Sheringham’s wife by any chance?

  15. 15
    thefatgit on 15 Aug 2011 #

    It was inevitable that we would encounter the domain of the “plastic raver”. It’s an elitist term within the ‘ardkore community, which sounds disingenuous, when you consider some examples of chart-friendly club bangers which endure. This example is extremely beige and unengaging. And in a way, you’d have to reappraise KC and The Sunshine Band’s distinctly average PDG as er…pretty damn good in comparison.

    We’re only a few weeks away from Vision at Popham airfield with 40,000 hardcore ravers causing 20 mile tailbacks along the M3. I’m pretty certain KWS didn’t grace any turntables there.

  16. 16
    Billy Smart on 15 Aug 2011 #

    #11 The #2Watch for KWS’ 5 week reign of terror spans four runner-up records; the second and third week of three for SL2’s ‘On A Ragga Trip’, a week of Guns ‘N’ Roses interpretation of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’, a week for Shut Up & Dance’s ‘Raving I’m Raving’ which might possibly have replaced them if it hadn’t been immediately deleted, and finally one week of Kris Kross’ ‘Jump’. I’d say that two of those records are classics that tell you quite a lot about 1992, one is a silly bit of harmless pop fizz and the other is a howling abomination on every level – but which is which?

  17. 17
    Izzy on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Oh wow, that’s horrific – who the hell would buy KWS when On A Ragga Tip was next to it in the racks? Even the worst GnR track of all would’ve at least given us something to talk about.

    Come on Tom, invoke the ‘special circumstances’ rule and give us an entry for Shut Up And Dance. I’ve had it in mind for quite a few popular years now, and I’m frankly appalled that it was KWS who got the cream that week.

  18. 18
    Alan on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Nostalgia overkill reading the indie arse end of the charts. nibbling at the edge of the chart are Flowered Up, St Et (Join Our Club), Arrested Development. more chart-successful stuff slipping out of top 10 (under the RSF era) include Sisters of Mercy and Carter, with Weddoes at 10 (the week ^^ went to #1) with one of the better songs from their year of singles.

  19. 19
    Ed on 15 Aug 2011 #

    #16 ‘Raving I’m Raving’ is another AOR cover, of course, albeit with new words. And it is a classic.

  20. 20
    Billy Smart on 15 Aug 2011 #

    1992 is the early period of the charts being cluttered up with cover versions, but the trend hadn’t yet become so dominant or pervasive as it went on to be. Also in the top 40 when ‘Please Don’t Go’ was number one;

    Marc Almond – The Days of Pearly Spencer
    Curiosity – Hang On In There Baby
    ZZ Top – Viva Las Vegas
    Alison Jordan – The Boy From New York City
    Guns ‘N’ Roses – Knocking On Heaven’s Door
    Take That – It Only Takes A Minute
    Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing
    Tia Carrare – Ballroom Blitz

    In every single instance, I’d suggest that the artist had a greater hit with an already half-familiar song of proven quality than they would have had with original material. Almond and Take That strike me as the only ones who both chose their material carefully and did good things with it out of this lot.

    And then there’s the next number one, of course…

  21. 21
    chelovek na lune on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Well, SUAD (and indeed their label) had real talent and a knack for the (mostly) successful experiment and mixture of sounds, still remembered affectionately 20 years on.

    It was £10 to get in… nah it’s ‘ad a remix… and Rum & Black (the sampled chorus line of their single “F**k the legal stations” – “Turn OFF that motherf**kin’ radio!” being the natural response to this take on “Please Don’t Go”, while it’s AA side, “I’m Not In Love” wedded one sampled line and intro of Joan Armatrading with a low bass surprisingly effectively). And (oh yeah) The Ragga Twins…”‘ooligan sixty-nine” Nicolette “I’d like to wake you up…”… all this was the sound of East London to my teenage ears

    KWS though…just make me want to turn their initials into an obscene acronym. Terrible, charmless, dross. Just why why why?

  22. 22
    Mike Atkinson on 15 Aug 2011 #

    I have remembered the name of the Nottingham Forest footballer!

    (Clue: it rhymes with “Bez Stalker”.)

  23. 23
    Steve Mannion on 15 Aug 2011 #

    Whereas the B-side was a portent aimed at Dave B(ph)easant.

  24. 24
    Ed on 15 Aug 2011 #

    #20 That is a pretty dismal clutch of covers. Makes 2011 look positively Futurist by comparison. Am I the only one who likes G’n’R’s ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’, though? It is totally punk in its ugliness, and resonates with an echo of “Dylan goes electric” fury. I always wonder whether they heard Television’s version on ‘The Blow-Up’, which is not entirely dissimilar. Certainly with Slash I would think it was possible. It is pretty amazing that it got to number 2. What was the British public thinking?

  25. 25
    Erithian on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Welcome back Tom, and a friendly nudge to Mike as we’re awaiting his Number 4s…

    Trying to be fair, which I wasn’t particularly minded to be at the time, this sounds OK for a short while when the groove kicks in (and again when that nice little bubble of bass brings it back in midway through the track) but soon outstays its welcome, although it’s not the worst culprit among rave hits of the time. Then again I was never the target audience for rave. I turned 30 while this was number one, and my party featured plenty of Blondie as I recall, and me and my buddy Paul singing along drunkenly to the Pogues’ version of “Dirty Old Town” well before we were even drunk.

    The performance video shows the frontman in full “touch me I’m an idol” mode, whereas the TOTP performance shows him in regrettable shorts and the keyboard player on the left looks like a Forest steward off-duty. Speaking of which, Bez Stalker left the club for Sampdoria after Euro 92 and Forest were relegated a year later in Cloughie’s last season.

  26. 26
    swanstep on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Yep, a flavorless redundancy this one. 3/10 for the pretty excellent original song which does still shine through sounds about right I suppose.

    I’d add that ‘slap a house beat on it’ travesties were also something that lots of artists effectively did to themselves. The supposed ’empty space’ at the end of cd versions of (originally 35-45 minute) albums led to encrustations of lame-o, house-d up new versions of original danceables. You’d be hard pressed to find a ’70s or ’80s pop act that didn’t scar up its legacy in this way. Even people’s greatest hits packages often drowned in this muck. (Chaka Khan did a 1989 album that doubled down, containing nothing but unlistenable house/dance remixes of her danceables. Ouch.)

  27. 27
    AndyPandy on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Cumbrian at 12: I suppose it was played in mainstream clubs and people danced to it so it sort of satisfies the trades desription act. However as for being played in more underground clubs or at raves I think there would have been the same chance of hearing it as hearing 2 Unlimited/Ebenezer Goode/Oceanic/Trip To Trumpton/Sesame Street/N-Trance etc etc – ie no chance.
    It was dance music for the under 15s and also those who got pissed and went on the pull at High street pop nightclubs.Nothing wrong with that but not really part of the rave culture.

  28. 28
    Cumbrian on 16 Aug 2011 #

    I see – I imagine we’re going to run into quite a few of these sorts of records over the coming years (across different genres) that would be looked on fairly sniffily by the hardcore who were into whatever it was the record in question was diluting for the mainstream audience (UK garage being the main one from when I was old enough/young enough to go to clubs).

  29. 29
    Mike Atkinson on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Yes, it was a mainstream nightclub record, nothing more and nothing less – as evidenced by the video location: the Black Orchid in Nottingham (later renamed Isis), which was never even remotely a part of underground club culture.

  30. 30
    LondonLee on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Yet another in a very long line of records I either don’t remember or remember with contempt (the latter for this one) which was making me think I must have given up on the UK charts long before I moved to the States (in October of ’92) but the mention of ‘Join Our Club’ above lifted my spirits.

  31. 31
    ace inhibitor on 16 Aug 2011 #

    memorable only for soundtracking a gaggle of teenish boys at manchester airport that summer who were chanting along like football fans to their battery-powered beatbox and doing the straight-arm pointy thing in unison on the ‘PLEASE’, each time

    it set the tone for a pretty dismal holiday, if I remember rightly

  32. 32
    abaffledrepublic on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Echoing the general opinion on this one. This bunch of chancers had a go at Rock Your Baby as a follow-up, and duly ruined that as well. It’s hardly believable that this tedious cover, of a song that’s hardly Casey and Finch’s best work, spent five weeks at the top of the charts. It’s even less believable that On A Ragga Tip was one of the records it blocked (although I can remember that being No1 on the ITV chart show) and credibility is stretched to breaking point by the fact that in its last week at the top, this still had the legs to outsell what would have been one of the all-time great number ones. Not only is Raving I’m Raving a staggeringly brilliant record from a group, and genre, that produced more than its fair share of them. But like Ghost Town and Two Tribes, it’s a record that tells you everything about the scene and the times that produced it, all in five minutes.

    But it wasn’t to be. However many copies were pressed before Marc Cohn and his lawyers stepped in, it seems they weren’t enough to shift KWS, and the next bunnied No1 was straight in at the top the following week.

    But rave will have its day at the top of the charts. It’s another two and a half years on Popular before we get there, does anyone know which record I’m talking about?

    It was about Des Walker and it didn’t work. He was transferred to Sampdoria, and the following year Forest were relegated and Brian Clough retired.

  33. 33
    Ed on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #32 It is indeed a real injustice that ‘Raving I’m Raving’ never got there. Anyone know why Marc Cohn (or, presumably, his record company) was such an arse about it? Surely they could have worked something out. By this point the law on sampling had become reasonably well-established, hadn’t it?

  34. 34
    fivelongdays on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Just to point out that, while this was at number one, what is quite probably my favourite single of all time, ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ by Manic Street Preachers came out. It got to number 17. Hey Ho.

    Obvs there’s more to be said about that later.

  35. 35
    punctum on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #33: They hadn’t obtained clearance to use the song before putting it out.

  36. 36
    MarkG on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Yes, but they did at least allow SUAD to release and sell the already produced records/CDs so as not to go bust, and I’d assume they’d have got 100% of the publishing in any case.

    There was a bunch of people yelling “hypocracy” when Cher did a straight cover version of “Walking in Memphis” which has a (ahem) disco feel not unlike the SUAD version. Then again, she didn’t change the lyric so maybe that was the deciding factor. Songwriters are funny like that. See Bruce Springsteen/Kevin Rowland for an example.

  37. 37
    AndyPandy on 17 Aug 2011 #

    re36 yes as far as I know anyone can do a cover version but as in the case of the Wurzels being stopped doing there version of one of Oasis’s hits you have to have permission to change the words and in that case Noel Gallagher refused. So instead the Wurzels just put it out in their usual style with his words.

    I’m surprised with all the love for “On A Ragga Tip” on here – I always thought it was a particularly annoying novelty record and the worse thing SL2 ever did – something that might be born out by its absence from the average oldskool site or mix.

  38. 38
    glue_factory on 17 Aug 2011 #

    re36 and changing lyrics, you might be on to something there. I quite like this era of dance music but even I wince when I hear the phrase “raving shoes”.

  39. 39
    MarkG on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Which one?

    “Some moight say, the plough follers the tractor….”

  40. 40
    Erithian on 17 Aug 2011 #

    In a zoider zupernova in the skoi?

  41. 41
    enitharmon on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Can somebody please explain something that has long puzzled me, at least ever since I visited the Virgin Megastore in Bristol trying to find music to practice lerocing to and failed to find anything suitable in the section labelled “Dance Music”?

    As far as I can see, all popular music is intended for dancing to whether a medieval galliard, a classical minuet, The Dark Town Strutters Ball, Johnny B Goode or Help Me Make It Through The Night. So what makes Dance Music more dance music than the rest? It’s about the least erotic kind of dancing ever devised.

  42. 42
    Erithian on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Ah – Google reveals it was “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and someone commented “look, this is just better than the original”.

  43. 43
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #41 – It’s a wonder that in a quest for “Dance Music” you weren’t directed to the Victor Silvester section. Now that’s REAL dance music for you!

  44. 44
    thefatgit on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #41 Now there’s a thing, “dance” as a catch-all kind of term, sort of usurped “disco” after it fell from grace in the early ’80s. I think the dance music of the pre-rock & roll era was big-band/ballroom which most of my grandparents’ generation would have understood dance music to be. I remember the “Now! Dance” compilation coming out, pre-House, with gussied-up New Pop 12″ remixes as well as Brit-Soul and club-mixes.

    Interestingly, “Now! Dance 92” throws up some good examples of the commercial stuff that filled up the charts at this time:

    LP/Cassette 1, side 1

    1.Was (Not Was) : “Shake Your Head” (12″ Mix)
    2.Undercover : “Baker Street” (Extended Mix)
    3.East 17 : “House of Love” (Pedigree Mix)
    4.BUNNIED
    5.Utah Saints : “Something Good” (12″ Mix)
    6.U96 : “Das Boot” (Techno Version)
    7.Bizarre Inc : “I’m Gonna Get You” (Orig. Flavour Mix Radio Edit)
    LP/Cassette 1, side 2

    1.U2 : “Even Better Than the Real Thing” (The Perfecto Mix)
    2.Stereo MCs : “Connected” (Full Length)
    3.BUNNIED
    4.Neneh Cherry : “Money Love” (The Perfecto Mix)
    5.Inner City : “Pennies from Heaven” (Kevin’s Tunnel Mix)
    6.Wag Ya Tail : “Xpand Ya Mind” (Hendrix 7″ Mix)
    7.Soul II Soul : “Joy (Brand New Heavies Remix)”
    LP/Cassette 2, side 1

    1.CeCe Peniston : “We Got a Love Thang” (Silky House Thang)
    2.Shanice : “I Love Your Smile” (Driza Bone Club Thang)
    3.Dina Carroll : “Ain’t No Man” (Lowmac 12″ Mix)
    4.Incognito : “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” (Album Version)
    5.Loose Ends : “Hangin’ on a String” (Frankie Knuckles Radio Edit)
    6.Brand New Heavies : “Don’t Let It Go to Your Head” (12″ Version)
    7.Innocence : “One Love in My Lifetime” (7″ Edit)
    LP/Cassette 2, side 2

    1.KWS : “Rock Your Baby” (Boogaloo Investigator Mix)
    2.Salt-n-Pepa : “Start Me Up” (Radio Edit)
    3.SL2 : “On a Ragga Tip” (Original Mix)
    4.Messiah featuring Precious Wilson : “I Feel Love” (7″ Mix)
    5.K-Klass : “So Right” (Pearl Edit)
    6.Bassheads : “Back to the Old School” (Desa Basshead Edit)
    7.2 Unlimited : “Twilight Zone” (7″ Version)
    8.Dr Spin : “Tetris” (7″ Mix)
    9.Rage : “Run to You” (Vital Organs Mix)

  45. 45
    thefatgit on 17 Aug 2011 #

    I don’t remember “Rock Your Baby” at all, by the way.

  46. 46
    fivelongdays on 17 Aug 2011 #

    I have an awfully big soft spot for ‘On A Ragga Tip’, but I can’t understand the serious love for ‘Raving, I’m Raving’. Maybe you had to be there.

    Any thoughts?

    FLD

  47. 47
    Mike Atkinson on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #41: You could argue that medieval galliards, classical minuets, The Dark Town Strutters Ball, Johnny B Goode and Help Me Make It Through The Night weren’t conceived specifically with dancing in mind, whereas “dance music” is a good deal more functional in its purpose, i.e. it’s directly geared at club dancefloors.

  48. 48
    thefatgit on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #46 I think stuff like “On A Ragga Tip” has a direct link to something the raver community may already be familiar with (well, at least the London-based ravers will have rubbed shoulders with Ragga afficionados). With “Raving, I’m Raving”, the connection is more obscure, but perhaps the tendency was to assimilate a lot of AoR within the “dance” sphere as the means to an end, as if to deliberately choose the least likely (most uncool) candidates to cover and in turn lay over a 4/4 beat or sampled breakbeat and reinvent them anew. Or you could look at it another way, that even the most turgid and laboured AoR had at least 1 hook worth stealing, in order to poppify a repetitive beat/bassline and a DJ or producer could make some decent money off it (not forgetting the original songwriter either).

  49. 49
    MarkG on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Also, in the case of “Walking In Memphis”, the lyrics transpose with the minimum of alteration to describe the whole balearic / rave scene. “Do I really feel the way I feel?” indeed!

  50. 50
    jeff w registered on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Re #46 – is there a version of the original “pulped” Raving I’m Raving floating around on the web that someone can discreetly point me too? I think I only heard it once before the roof fell in on SUAD. I kicked myself for not picking up a copy when I had the chance. Memories can be faulty but I have a feeling half of the attraction of the track was the Cohn-b(a)iting. The reworked version on the Death Is Not the End LP is pants.

  51. 51
    punctum on 17 Aug 2011 #

    The CD single of Cher’s version featured a SUAD remix.

    #41 – “Highway Code” by the Master Singers.

  52. 52
    MarkG on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #50 Easy to find, on Youtube. I was due to fly out on holiday the exact day it was due to be issued, but I managed to get to t’shops in the morning and got the 12″.

  53. 53
    wichita lineman on 17 Aug 2011 #

    I managed to snaffle a seven inch and cd of Raving I’m Raving on the Saturday (theoretically the last day it was available). And I was blissfully unaware of the re-recorded version until Cispontine played it to me.

    God, I love SUAD. “Raving shoes” is meant to be funny, I’m sure. Their records – at the birth of a genre – have the same sense of giddy fun, irreverent humour, and primitive NOISE that original R&R had. Way closer to Tutti Frutti than Please Don’t Go.

    As with most pop genres, the joy went out of it for me when it got too self-aware and serious. SUAD could do serious (Green Man) and sensual (Nicolette’s Waking Up – maybe Rosie should give it a try?) but were never in danger of being mistaken for “intelligent drum and bass”. I know there are a lot of Simon Reynolds knockers on here, but I’m in almost total agreement with him on this one. And Nik Cohn before him. On the whole. With some reservations. Just covering my skinny ass there.

    Also intrigued to know when “dance” became a genre. On the Chart Show?

  54. 54
    Kat but logged out innit on 17 Aug 2011 #

    My 2p on Shut Up And Dance: http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2008/12/19-shut-up-and-dance-im-ravin-im-ravin/

  55. 55
    abaffledrepublic on 17 Aug 2011 #

    #33 and #36: it may well have been the publishers and lawyers that got the hump, rather than Cohn himself. But what really sunk SUAD was the fact that having heard Raving I’m Raving, the major labels suddenly started chasing them for all the other uncleared samples they’d used over the previous two years. The irony for SUAD was that if they hadn’t scored such a big hit in the charts, chances are nobody would have been bothered.

    #48: this was very much the case. Check out almost anything by Acen or Noise Factory from around this time, there were also the spoken word samples on tracks like Valley of the Shadows, Scottie and The Dark Stranger, although that’s jumping ahead a bit.

  56. 56
    Mark M on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Re 47: what then of waltzes, The Twist or La Bamba? Reels? Polka? While Rosie might be pushing it to claim that “all popular music is designed for dancing”, a huge amount of it has been, often very explicitly.

  57. 57
    Steve Mannion on 17 Aug 2011 #

    I’d file this Dance Music query away with ‘where were the Blues in so much R&B of the digital age?’ or ‘how come a lot of Indie isn’t even on independent labels?’ personally.

  58. 58
    lonepilgrim on 17 Aug 2011 #

    I’m always irritated by the ‘urban’ label

  59. 59
    enitharmon on 17 Aug 2011 #

    And, indeed, what has the R&B of the digital age to do with the R&B of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett etc.

  60. 60
    ace inhibitor on 17 Aug 2011 #

    UK garage sounds nothing like the Sonics. Or ‘Garageband’

  61. 61
    wichita lineman on 17 Aug 2011 #

    What has the Pop of the digital age to do with the Pop of Lita Roza, Adam Faith etc? There’s nothing especially noble or set in stone about R&B. It’s an evolving form. Not necessarily progressing, just evolving.

    Re 58: Urban. Not as horrid a term as Churban.

    Re 60: Bit disingenuous, there. Paradise Garage* vs actual garage practice rooms, same name different genre. Modern R&B is still related to the Amos Milburn R&B.

    *please shoot me down if this isn’t the case

  62. 62
    hardtogethits on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Flippin ‘eck Tucker.

    I’ve just researched and written for 90 precious minutes on the use of the term “Dance” as a genre in the UK. Pressed “submit comment” – unknown error, comments lost forever.

    How can I synopsise? Difficult.

    1983 / 4 – Use of “Dance” in compilation album titles to distinguish content from mainstream pop (not just to describe the content as dance-able).
    1985 – Release of Now Dance.
    1986 – Chart Show Dance chart.

    All the above as far as I can see had big broad definitions of dance, but began to suggest the notion of something more specific than mainstream pop – even if it was just a 12″ mix that wouldn’t get airplay but might get played by a DJ in a club.

    Sometime before 1990 and I can’t work out when, Music Week ran charts under the headings “Dance Singles” and “Dance Albums” based I THINK BUT AM NOT SURE on sales in specialist outlets. These charts were more niche than the contemporaneous “Now Dance” albums. SUAD “Dance Before The Police Come” a no.1 Dance Album though not a chart hit.

    Other key points I’m afraid I’m too tired to retype, but there’s an awkwardness here in that I’m sure others would look firstly at the world outside the UK and see if the term may have been quite consciously imported (As a label for a genre).

    Oh yeah, one point I ought to return to: Dance as an umbrella term seemed ultimately to elbow out all of Nightclub, Disco, Hi-NRG and Eurobeat – some of which were broad, some narrow.

  63. 63
    Ed on 18 Aug 2011 #

    @41 Good point. Record shops should really have had a section labelled “Non-Dance Music”, where they could have filed Penderecki, Sunn 0))), Miles Davis, Rush and the Young Marble Giants.

  64. 64
    Izzy on 18 Aug 2011 #

    The US has had official separate dance charts for aeons, but they don’t appear to signify much beyond ‘no guitars’, or even ‘no loud guitars’. I don’t think R&B is allowed, they get their own ghetto.

  65. 65
    AndyPandy on 18 Aug 2011 #

    53: and SUAD were making (or very near making) what became known as hardcore as early as 1989 check out their singles from then for the breakbeats/bass etc and – at least a year or 2 before just about anyone else – as early as being bang in the middle of the Acid House era for goodness sake!

    59: R&B was what American blacks have always called their contemporary vocal music – what the UK always called soul – a cursory read of any ‘Blues And Soul’ magazine from the 1980s will show that where US ‘soul’ singers are being interviewed they never called their music ‘soul music’ always R&B and what we have now is just a continuation of that.

    I remember ‘dance’ being used from the period in the early-mid 1980s when with the rise of Britfunk (and I suppose disco before it) and then hiphop there was a massive influx of people into what had up to then been the soul/funk scene.So big that in the area I know about (ie the south east of England) ‘dance’ became the default musical option for just about any working-class youngster.
    And as a genre as someone said the New Romantic/New Pop biggin up of dance/black music forms over white rock must have fed into the need for a new more inclusive term.

    People forget the influx was well before the advent of house music.
    The soul weekenders started becoming ‘dance’ weekenders – Morgan Khan’s Streetsounds empre as always described as being ‘dance’ rather than soul or jazz or funk

  66. 66
    enitharmon on 18 Aug 2011 #

    AndyPandy @ 65

    Although Arthur Conley sang of Sweet Soul Music in 1967. Maybe that was before your time.

    Oh, and what was it that the Beatles, Stones, Animals, Who, Them and so on were up to, twenty years before New Romance, than “biggin’ up dance/black music forms” and giving them their own (white, european) inflexions?

  67. 67
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Re 67: “Soul” was used as a term by R&B singers and jazz musicians well before Arthur Conley – by Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, and Sam Cooke among others.

    Andy and HTGH – thanks again for facts and recall. Now Dance predated the Chart Show, I’d never have guessed.

    Does anyone know when Record Mirror’s “UK Dance Chart”, still labelled as such in ’81, changed its name?

  68. 68

    Conley wasn’t singing in praise of a new and exciting marketed genre, though, he was singing about a quality some music had. The term soul was picked up as the name of a genre in the UK after a very famous and successful UK compilation transferred Conley’s title to the whole of a type of music — and this became the more favoured term over here. It fed back a little into US rock-critic usage via anglophiles — some early funksters called their new music “psychedelic soul” for a while — but R&B certainly never went out of use, and was certainly used in the US for a lot of music we automatically call soul here. The continuity — which essentially runs through the gospel talent competition circuit — is far more significant in in black US perspective (Whitney Houston as Cissy Houston’s daughter etc), than our UK sense of discontinuity, which is moulded by the UK aptitude for the abrupt fashion shift.

    This is complicated somewhat by Billboard’s various diktats and revisions over what its genre charts are called, and what they collect and record: I wonder if when R&B was being called “urban contemporary” in the 80s this reflected a specific decision to exclude the older form from the chart because of rereleases and such? Nelson George is probably the person to read here.

  69. 69

    The compilation was called THIS IS SOUL, and it’s an “answer record” to the question one of the songs asks: “What is soul?” — and it’s an interesting focus-shift, the question (which is about a quality in music) is answered by the presentation of a group of songs by various artists — as if to say “soul is the ineffable quality these songs share”. Marketing implication: ANY song you buy filed in this genre-section will have soul, so buy them all!

    Similar implication: all songs called “rock” ACTUALLY ROCK! And so on: it’s not a shift unique to this genre-term.

    But I think Andy is right to argue that R&B is the broad and long-lasting American black name for the music — soul is/was primarily considered a quality not a genre, and (more interestingly) it was actively cross-genre in application, hence Ray Charles and Charles Mingus using it for stuff that would not have got collected onto THIS IS SOUL or its many successors.

  70. 70
    Mike Atkinson on 18 Aug 2011 #

    #67 – I’m pretty sure that RM carried on calling their main club chart the “Disco” chart until 1987! It was then renamed the “Black Dance” chart. Not sure when it changed its name again, but it was still “Black Dance” at the end of 1988. There was a separate and smaller “Nightclub” chart for mainstream/high street clubs, but this mainly contained chart hits.

  71. 71
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Thanks Mike. Black Dance, eh? Think I prefer Disco as a catch-all.

  72. 72
    Erithian on 18 Aug 2011 #

    It is intriguing to see the shifts in the way labels are attached to music. “Rhythm and blues”, as imported by the likes of the Stones, Manfreds and early Fleetwood Mac and re-exported to the US, was sometimes abbreviated to R&B, although the modern connotation of R&B never spells out the words, appropriately as there’s not always much of a “rhythm” and the “blues” is incidental! Intriguingly I note that Wikipedia ascribes the coining of the term “rhythm and blues” to an individual, namely Jerry Wexler of Billboard magazine in 1948, describing it as a marketing term to replace “race music” which obviously didn’t have much of a future…

    Moving further forward, I remember seeing, in the Story of Pop magazine series published circa 1974, reference to Punk Rock, referring to the US garage bands such as ? and the Mysterians and The Kingsmen which formed in the wake of the British Invasion.

    And I’ve just remembered that Reg McKee, Erith and Belvedere FC’s star forward of the 1920s, attended a club event reported in the local paper in 1943 and was described as now being “a popular dance MC”…!

  73. 73
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Jerry Wexler’s Zelig-like story is unbelievable. I knew that he stopped Carole King in the street once and said “I got a song title for ya! Natural Woman!” But I also just read that when he was a Billboard reviewer in 1950 he recommended Tennessee Waltz to Patti Page’s manager Jack Rael – her version became one of the best-selling records ever.

    The version Wexler played Rael was an “R&B” version by Erskine Hawkins.

  74. 74
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Re SUAD: How many copies of Raving I’m Raving had they pressed? And that was Please Don’t Go’s FIFTH WEEK at the top? I smell a GSTQ rat. Wonder if it was number one midweek…

  75. 75
    Mike Atkinson on 18 Aug 2011 #

    So how and when did “R&B” replace “soul” in the UK? I’m pretty vague about this. I’d have called En Vogue “soul” in 1990 and Destiny’s Child “R&B” in 1999, but what did I call TLC in 1995? It’s all a blur!

    Another point to note: “raves” existed before “rave music” was coined as a term. A Norman Jay rare groove warehouse party in 1987 would have been called a “rave”. And I remember “drum and bass” being used as a term in, ooh, 1989/1990, to describe elemental, stripped down house tracks…

  76. 76
    MarkG on 18 Aug 2011 #

    #74 well, I did think that SUAD was going to be the first record to get to number one then disappear off the chart, but instead it got to number two then a lower down placing the following week (London stocks presumably sold out but Thurso hadn’t received theirs to sell I guess).

  77. 77
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    From the horse’s mouth… Raving I’m Raving was no.1 on the Thursday, which is when stocks ran out. They pressed 200,000 copies. Smiley thought it was a God Save The Queen situation – how could the BPI and BBC allow a record to be no.1 that you couldn’t go out and buy?

    On top of which, the old chart return shop story really comes into play here. SUAD didn’t/couldn’t let any copies go out until week of release, so specialist shops were clamouring for them. “It was scary to be honest”, says Smiley. “We were novices in the business, we weren’t businessmen, never wanted to be. And we were in the middle of the biggest hype, as if it was a Hollywood blockbuster, like Spiderman, not just a rave tune! The shops hated us. They wanted copies, they wanted us to bootleg it but we wouldn’t. It outsold everything that week.”

  78. 78
    thefatgit on 18 Aug 2011 #

    #74, Someone stated on YouTube,(not a reliable source, but would probably express an interest in raising the value of the vinyl) that there were only 5000 pressings of SUAD’s IRIR before the plug was pulled. Would that have been enough to get it into Top 5 on any given week back then? That figure doesn’t sound right to me.

  79. 79
    thefatgit on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Xposted Wichita’s comment @77

  80. 80
    MarkG on 18 Aug 2011 #

    I dug my 12″ out a couple weeks ago to play on my nice new Technics deck.

    I looked on ebay for interest’s sake, the 7″ and 12″ versions are not especially pricey but the CD single is on offer for around £13 or so.

    and I do see a bunch of bootleg 12″ versions on there as well, so *somebody* was bootlegging it.

  81. 81
    enitharmon on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Mike @ 75:

    So “drum and bass” isn’t descriptive of what Jet Harris and Tony Meehan were doing in 1963?

  82. 82
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Only if “Power ballad” is descriptive of what John McCormack was doing in the 1910’s.

  83. 83
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Only if “Power ballad” is descriptive of what John McCormack was doing in the 1910’s.

    ‘Rave’ dates back to the fifties in UK trad jazz terminology, probably further back in the US.

  84. 84
    The Lurker on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Mike@75: Was New Jack Swing the midwife between “Soul” and “R&B”? I think En Vogue was described as NJS at the time, and to my ears there’s a difference between En Vogue, Bobby Brown etc and the soul of the early 80s. Somehow the term NJS fell out of fashion and then in the UK we called TLC, Destinys Child etc R&B rather than Soul.

  85. 85
    thefatgit on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Ironically, Soul11Soul fits the current R&B template somewhat more so than the old ’80s Soul template.

  86. 86
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Aug 2011 #

    I thought of New Jack Swing as relating particularly to productions of Teddy Riley & back as early as the late 80s: performers like Guy, Keith Sweat, the “Don’t Be Cruel” album of Bobby Brown, yes, probably the 1st En Vogue album, Wrecks-N-Effect, and so on.

    What did we call SWV? Hmm. Maybe they were the last of the NJS, or the first of the new R&B.?

  87. 87
    Erithian on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Weren’t they called New Jill Swing?! Or was that TLC?

  88. 88
    wichita lineman on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Re 84: Wasn’t New Jack Swing/Swingbeat the bridge between eighties soul and modern R&B? Or is that what you mean?? I’d say it was, anyway.

    This was part of a pub conversation with Tom and Mark a few months back, and I think the conclusion was that Teddy Riley and Jam & Lewis used Hip Hop beats on R&B (even though it must have stunningly obvious thing to do) for the first time. No one else had done it before because R&B was largely aspirational by the mid 80s, as slick as AOR, and looked down on Hip Hop as too young, too grubby, too ghetto.

    This is definitely Nelson George territory.

    I think of SWV and TLC as New Jill Swing.

  89. 89
    The Lurker on 18 Aug 2011 #

    Re:88 – I do think it was the bridge between 80s Soul and R&B, but the theory I was floating was that it was this transition which led us in Britain to start calling Destinys Child etc R&B rather than Soul.

    Backing up Mark at 68 & 69, the Grammy categories for soul have always been called Rhythm & Blues/R&B ever since they were introduced in 67 (according to Wikipedia) and had the likes of Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Aretha and Sam & Dave as early winners.

  90. 90
    Kit on 19 Aug 2011 #

    The Beatles famous “lost track” Carnival Of Light was written for a rave:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_XDB3dfGGUPA/SeEwdcpBXEI/AAAAAAAAAQs/5orAJuFAmP8/s1600-h/L1150150.JPG

  91. 91
    El boludo on 19 Aug 2011 #

    Woo, Popular is back! And as usual it’s the cacky tracks that end up generating interesting debate. I hadn’t even heard OF this song (this has been true of a lot of the 90s entries so far) but it’s been interesting reading about genre names & how they come about.

    My take: I’m not even sure whether enitharmon is being entirely serious, but I think we’re getting into the territory of Louis Armstrong’s “it’s all folk music – I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song!” By which I mean: that was a pretty funny thing to say, but if we expand the definition of “folk” to include all music made by humans, it stops being a useful category.

    Nobody is claiming that the music labelled “Dance” is the only music people can move to, or that no music outside of the “Soul” genre can have soul (whatever that means). Naming a genre after a particular (perceived) quality in the music is not the same as saying no music outside of that genre can possess said quality. And yes, lots of songs contain both drums and bass, they just happen not to belong to the popular genre known as Drum & Bass! This all seems like stating the obvious to me.

    Another thing that interests me is the idea of “eroticism” as a prerequisite for dance music. While this quality is certainly not unknown in modern dance music (I would suggest UK garage (er, in the modern sense) as an example of sexy dance music), it’s definitely absent from quite a lot of the music labelled “Dance”. I would argue that there are many other reasons to dance other than getting it on, and they don’t all revolve around getting off your face – I mean, little kids dance. It’s a fun thing to do, if the music’s good.

    ^wow, sorry for waffle

  92. 92
    LondonLee on 19 Aug 2011 #

    The use of the word ‘Soul’ instead of R&B the 60s was also tied in with the Civil Rights/Black Power movements, it was akin to the growing of Afros. James Brown’s ‘Soul Power’ isn’t about a genre of music, it’s about being a black man and not a ‘negro’ (who might sing ‘R&B’)

  93. 93
    Ed on 19 Aug 2011 #

    @90 And kids still go to “raves”, at least in London, but as far as I know they don’t listen to SL2 and SUAD.

  94. 94
    AndyPandy on 20 Aug 2011 #

    AS has been noted it was around the time of Swingbeat’s dominance of the UK airwaves that R&B came into its own in this country to describe music that had loosely been called soul/funk over here before. And the Gap Band who are commonly seen as the progenitors/inspiration for New Jack Swing were never real seen as soul even in this country.

    We now have the strange situation where the only contemporary artists described as “soul” singers are white British singers (beloved by late middle-aged record company executives)like Joss Stone.

    Re 90: the expression ‘rave’ as a name for some sort of wild and off the wall all-nighter seems to have been briefly in vogue in about 1966 – (isn’t that the poster for the allnighter at Alexandra Palace that Pink Floyd played at?). As the above reference to 50s jazz shows like a lot of other mid-late 60s innovations (festivals, drugs etc)it seems to have come from jazz.

    It then seemed to disappeared for about 20 years – I’d love to know what the OED says about it first appearing again in print in the 1980s (as conected with house and its offshoots).

    AFAIK no-one talked about “raves” in 1988 although I know we talked about going “raving” in 1989 (although people never talked about going to a “rave” that far back). I then started losing touch with the scene as we moved into the 1990s so don’t know when people started using “rave” as the catch-all term for all night parties?
    Does anyone know when this happened?

    Incidentally when I reappeared on the scene in the mid90s the term “rave” was a bit dated and/or used ironically but it appears to have undergone a rennaissance in the last few years. Good thing too IMO because it does sum up a certain type of occasion which slightly embarrassing terms like “clubbing” don’t.

  95. 95
    Alan on 21 Aug 2011 #

    The wiki article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rave seems to imply Genesis P Orridge may have been instrumental in reviving the 50s/60s sense of ‘rave’ to cover Acid House Parties c1989

    And by “Where, were you in 92?” “It’s a RAVE, Lewis” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherubim_and_Seraphim it’s a mainstream term, and all downhill from there

  96. 96
    Alan on 21 Aug 2011 #

    ha. googling “It’s a RAVE, Lewis” gets you the reynolds book in google books!

  97. 97

    and it’s the yardbird being filmed in blow-up, isn’t it? that’s 1966, and a sort of italian moviemaker’s lame idea of a “rave-up”

  98. 98
    Billy Smart on 21 Aug 2011 #

    At the height of illegal rave moral panic in 1992 I always thought that somebody missed a trick in not making a track sampling ‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’ by The Small Faces: “Ah-wouldn’t it be nice to get on wiv me neigh-bours? But they make it very clear, they’ve got no room for ra-vers”

  99. 99
    hardtogethits on 21 Aug 2011 #

    #98. That’s genius. Even though it never existed other than in your imagination, I know exactly how the record proceeds, from the end of the sample you cite, right to its conclusion 3 minutes and 29 seconds later. The best record of its type, from this or any other year. Of course, I cannot articulate any of the musical detail, that could only lead to disappointment.

  100. 100
    Mark M on 22 Aug 2011 #

    I’m now scratching my head as to how we would’ve described say, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. People were certainly aware of the r&b multiple usage (‘hurumph, but there’s no blues in it’) but I don’t recall it seem like the obvious term until TLC. In the ’80s,

    I certainly remember using ‘suburban* soul’ to talk about the SOS Band or Cashmere, working on the Northern Soul idea of where it was being listened to – there being a magic point as you the train takes you south or east from the centre of London when the population starts to have a congenital response to the opening bars of Somebody Else’s Guy. I don’t think I was the only one who used it, but it was far from standard terminology either.

    *Obviously, it might be taken as patronising, but as someone who has lived most of his life in SE19, that wasn’t my intention, certainly.

  101. 101
    AndyPandy on 22 Aug 2011 #

    re 95 that Acid House article is a bit of a disaster being so full of inaccuracies (even by Wiki’s standards)that the kindest thing that could be done for it would be for it to be quietly put out of its misery.It sounds like its been written by people who possibly weren’t even born in the 80s and have got their “information” about 3rd or 4th hand!

    Re100:I can see what you’re saying with the term “suburban soul” but could your term be perhaps connected to the fact that much of the music was synonymous with the Chris Hill/Robbie Vincent “Soul Mafia” scene which tended to revolve around clubs in the London suburbs/rest of South East England? But which doesn’t take in to account the parallel (not that there wasn’t a lot of crossover) and far more black/inner city scene based around Greg Edwards, George Power, Steve Walsh etc and certain of the pirates. Most of the punters there were from the inner city either south London or Hackney etc in the north.

    I went to a few Greg Edwards/Steve Walsh-type nights at the Lyceum etc where the attendees were far more inner city but it was broadly similar music and SOS Band/Cashmere would have been big on both. Come to think of it the inner city massive even sometimes travelled to the suburbs as one of the nights was in Windsor at Blazers.

    And then there were the Brixton Frontline (soul tribe) who were firmly part of Chris Hill’s more suburban scene despite being from Brixton so its more confusing than it at first looks.

    I remember Lisa Lisa (especially at the time of “I Wonder If I Take You Home”) were thought of as electro.

  102. 102
    Steve Mannion on 22 Aug 2011 #

    Think I would’ve liked “Subsoul” as a term.

    #101 If you think that’s bad you should see the DnB wiki page…beyond redemption.

  103. 103

    also good:

    sibsoul: soul sung by brothers or sisters
    sobsoul: self-explanatory
    sybsoul: soul of a hedonistic or decadent type
    sabsoul: soul inspired by or redolent of WAR PIGS etc
    sebsoul: there is no such thing

  104. 104
    punctum on 22 Aug 2011 #

    There’s plenty of Sebsoul about. Who could beat the testifying of “I’m A Cuckoo”?

  105. 105
    Alan not logged in on 22 Aug 2011 #

    (i think that that same reynolds book is quite scathing about P Orridge’s impact on acid house/rave, so yeah, pinch o salt on wikip’s implication there)

  106. 106
    punctum on 22 Aug 2011 #

    That’ll be the same Reynolds who endlessly bigged up Jack The Tab in Melody Maker throughout 1988 saying it was everything acid house promised to be but wasn’t (see also the shortly-to-be-republished Blissed Out).

    Yes I know but I married young and had to get a proper job.

  107. 107
    Steve Mannion on 22 Aug 2011 #

    Saabsoul: Ten Sharp’s “You”

  108. 108
    Chelovek na lune on 22 Aug 2011 #

    So many reasons to avoid anything of an even potentially Kenny Thomas nature…and stick to Salsoul…

  109. 109
    AndyPandy on 22 Aug 2011 #

    Kenny Thomas no longer bothering the charts but now I believe what is called a “cult artist” on the modern soul (or should that be R&B?) circuit – something he definitely wasn’t back in his pop chart hit days. I don’t know how I know this seeing as I haven’t had anything to do with the world of soul/funk for the best part of 25 years but I think he headlined Caister or Southport (if that’s still going) a year or so ago.

    On a different subject now I’m going to listen to ‘Gameboy’ as I’ve never knowingly heard it and it says here it was a double A side.

  110. 110
    AndyPandy on 22 Aug 2011 #

    Bloody hell I’m shocked – I can’t think of the last time I tried to listen/diownload something and i couldn’t find it – yes there’s no “Gameboy” obn the web as far as I can see

    …did give Double You “Please Don’t Go” a listen though and I think it’s far superior to this one – brighter more engaging singer, better organ sound etc – and it was their idea. Would have given it a 5 rather than the 4 I gave this

  111. 111

    just came rushing here to say RIP the man who invented the term “rhythm and blues” — only to realise at the last minute i was muddling jerry wexler with jerry leiber

    anyway, rip jerry leiber

  112. 112
    Mark M on 22 Aug 2011 #

    Re 101: Yes, everything was electro for a while – White Lines, for instance. I’m inclined to think that Lisa Lisa was at the start of whatever came next – but still struggle to think what it was.

    I’ll bow to your far greater knowledge when it comes to the likes of Greg Edwards and so on – I’m basing my memories not on clubs but on school, birthday parties, the sounds coming out of car stereos etc…

    The suburbs start very soon after Brixton, mind.

  113. 113
    AndyPandy on 22 Aug 2011 #

    Re Mark at 112 – Probably at the time of her later hits ‘Let the Beat hit ‘Em” she was but I was thinking more of ‘I Wonder If I Take You Home’ with early rap/electro crew Full Force (I’ve just noticed there was about 6 years gap between that and her biggest hit!) which was a hit in early 1985 but had been around in clubs/imports/pirates for a quite a few months back into the real golden electro era of 1983/1984 the time of Shannon, ‘White Lines’, Hot Streak etc.

    Although the first time most people would have heard the term hiphop would have been spring/summer of 1983 with Man Parrish ‘Hip Hop Be Bop’ I should think that no-one in the UK talked about hip hop as opposed to electro and then just rap until about about 1986 although my memory could be playing tricks.

    PS Managed to track down ‘Gameboy’ as part of a mix on Youtube and like Tom says it is basically a collection of samples etc to “make your own hardcore record”.
    I also noticed from Polyhex that KWS managed to stretch their chart career to about 7 hits all or nearly all seemingly using the updating a 70s soul/disco hit with a post-house production template. They even got the Trammps to appear on their version of ‘Hold Back The Night’!

  114. 114
    Ed on 23 Aug 2011 #

    @113 I think that’s right about 1986. The Streetsounds compilations, which were how a lot of us discovered that music, were first called ‘Electro’, and then sometimes ‘Electro Hip Hop’, or ‘Hip Hop Electro’. Run-DMC felt like a decisive break: it became clear that they were not soul or funk any more, in a way that Cameo, say, still were. Partly because of the rockism, of course.

    @97 Good spot. IIRC, the Yardbirds thought Antonioni was an idiot. He was excited about The Who, but couldn’t get them, so booked the ‘birds instead, and made them smash their instruments, under protest.

  115. 115
    MarkG on 23 Aug 2011 #

    Well, that scene was a failure, as the music the Yardbirds played was not the sort that’d have an audience stare in non-moving stunnage, let alone make the band smash things up. Pink Floyd maybe, The Velvet Underground (who it nearly was but the entourage would have been too expensive for a trip from NY to Windsor, UK) would have been perfect…

  116. 116
    wichita lineman on 23 Aug 2011 #

    I moved from Croydon to Peterborough in ’85. There was a kid in the local HMV who gently told me that no one used the term ‘electro’ anymore, it was ‘hip hop’. I imagine the Street Sounds comps were slightly behind the ‘street’ on this, as was I. Besides, the early artwork was so crisp and beautiful it did feel like a shame to me, and presumably to Morgan Khan, when they shoehorned ‘hip hop’ into the title.

    Re 115: I love that scene! It looks like Jeff Beck is bored stiff with the performance, with the film, and probably hates Antonioni too, which adds to the blankness of it all. I imagine that’s exactly what Antonioni wanted. Great song, too, basically a cover of Train Kept A Rollin’.

  117. 117

    Am I alone in being a bit sceptical of all these things that nearly happened to the Velvet Underground: nearly signed by Epstein, nearly in Blow-Up, nearly toured Africa introducing Fela Kuti to the concept of funk…

  118. 118
    wichita lineman on 23 Aug 2011 #

    Not alone.

    Something else I don’t believe – Bowie and Eno hearing Scott Walker’s songs on Nite Flights and thinking “he’s done it”. Any contemporary proof of this? He was completely off the radar prior to the Julian Cope-compiled Fire Escape In The Sky in ’81.

  119. 119
    ace inhibitor on 23 Aug 2011 #

    seeing as the thread is still live… the TOTP clip of Please Don’t Go is an amazing example of the kind of total mismatch between words and performance that the generic-house-cover-version offers; someone described the uncomfortable neediness of KC’s original vocal as ’emotional fascism’ but clearly KWS couldn’t hear it – the cheery smiles, the bouncing, the summery shirts and shorts, the palm trees – good grief (so to speak). My favourite of this can’t-hear-the-words-cover-version genre was a (bunnied) madly grinning version of a Bee Gees song, but this pushes it close.

    Which is either deeply jarring, or its the cartoon pop version of the happy/sad tension at the heart of all (‘proper’) house music, or so I’m told by a friend who always said that the thing about clubbing in the 90s was that you had to keep dancing, because when you stopped and actually listened to the music it overwhelmed you with melancholy.

    Reggae can be good for the words/music mismatch too. I’m particularly keen on Jacob Miller’s ‘Sinners’, a bouncy rub a dub number with the heartwarming singalong chorus ‘Sinners! you’re gonna weep some more, cos the wages of sin is death!’ etc.

  120. 120

    Not completely: Nite Flights was well reviewed in NME (Angus Mackinnon maybe?)

    I bought a cheap European copy in a cut-out shop in Shrewsbury at the time it came out, so can’t entirely disbelieve that B/E had heard and liked it. I certainly don’t recall DB ever discussing SW back then the way he talked eg abt Neu — and I’m reasonably sure the NME review stated pretty bluntly that the Ws were jumping on the Bowie train, albeit rather well.

  121. 121
    punctum on 23 Aug 2011 #

    The point being: if they didn’t, then they should have, history being fluid and playful (otherwise why set it?).

  122. 122
    Steve Mannion on 23 Aug 2011 #

    #119 I think Rage’s cover of ‘Run To You’ mostly succeeds where this fails in that respect. Both stronger and deeper vocally and bass-wise, well contrasted by the dreamy synths and piano, all reflecting that dance-thru-melancholy vibe pretty well. Their ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ follow-up was unwise however.

  123. 123
    vinylscot on 23 Aug 2011 #

    Although I haven’t been able to follow a lot of what’s being discussed here, I’d like to thank all contributors – it’s been an education.

    From memory, I first heard the term hip-hop in late 84/early 85. Record Mirror seemed sure it was going to be the next big thing, and went on and on about Little Benny and The Masters “Who Comes To Boogie” along with some others about which I have completely forgotten. (Prince Charles, maybe~?)

  124. 124
    punctum on 23 Aug 2011 #

    “Who Comes To Boogie” was Go-Go.

  125. 125
    Ed on 23 Aug 2011 #

    ….and Prince Charles was Funk.

    According to the Soulfunkjazz blog, (Prince) Charles Alexander was a fascinating transitional figure through that evolution. The City Beat Band was funk (marketed as “punk funk” or possibly “funk punk” by ROIR, I seem to remember), and he then went on to work with Jodeci, X-Clan, Mary J Blige, Puff Daddy, Destiny’s Child and Alicia Keys, among others. He also teaches at NYU and Berklee.

    Cash (Money) is nearly 30 years old, but its mix of semi-rapped verses and sung choruses still feels bang up-to-date. The lyrics are all too contemporary, as well.

    Google Images gives you a lovely selection of those fantastic StreetSounds Electro album covers: http://bit.ly/pa6SGN

  126. 126
    MarkG on 23 Aug 2011 #

    #117, there is a direct comment from Epstein in the “UpTight” book that their first album was the only music himself and his boyf had on holiday, so had happy memories of it.

    That’s a long way from ‘nearly signed them’, so yeah.

  127. 127
    AndyPandy on 23 Aug 2011 #

    125: – those “Streetsounds” covers really bring it all back – the ‘ghettoblaster’ one of the original series (I forgot they didn’t have numbers)was especially ubiquitous (Spring 1983 I think)and for my generation I don’t ever remember any other compilations with quite such an all-pervasive reach as Streetsounds/Streetsounds Electro and the early ‘Deep Heat’s.

    ‘Streetsounds’ featured the full 12 inch mixes and even used to include imports and exclusive mixes – I remember the mix of Tyrone Brunson’s electro classic ‘The Smurf’ (on the generic ‘Streetsounds’ as Electro hadn’t quite been launched then)being particularly raved about that summer. And the 12 inch of D-Train ‘s ‘Music’ if that isn’t the sound of loud music coming out of someone’s car stereo at the traffic-lights early on a sunny Saturday night in the summer of 1983 what is?

    And unlike some of the ‘Deep Heats’ they very rarely let themselves down with complete pisstake filler tracks.

  128. 128
    LondonLee on 23 Aug 2011 #

    I used to go to the Steve Walsh nights at the Lyceum on Saturdays too. Wasn’t Greg Edwards only there on Friday as part of Capitol’s ‘Best Disco In Town’ night?

    First time I ever saw anyone body-popping was there, two black kids doing it to ‘Planet Rock’ (first time I ever heard that too, what a night). Apart from that my biggest memory is the kids with their whistles, ‘Peckham Funk Patrol’ t-shirts, Farahs and Lois jeans, and everyone dancing in formation to ‘Jingo’ by Candido.

  129. 129
    AndyPandy on 23 Aug 2011 #

    re Lee at 128 he (Greg Edwards)probably was as his ‘Soul Spectrum’ (which along with Robbie Vincent’s Saturday midday show on Radio London were THE radio programmes back then)was on Capital. Steve Walsh* used to do “The Best Disco In Town” with him when they were both on Capital IIRC.

    Those Lyceum nights are just the nights I’m on about – different scene to the more suburban soul scene (although Greg Edwards was also an earlier (before my time) member of the Soul Mafia too) which was quicker to get into electro etc

    The ‘Planet Rock’ time would have also been about he time of ‘ET Boogie’ (massive all over the South East even in the mainstream nightclubs but only ever an import due to the name ‘ET’ being copyright or something), all those mixes of ‘Walking On Sunshine’ and Gwen McRae ‘Keep the Fires Burning’.

    And I remember the Candido ‘Jingo’ formation dancing too – once again everyone knew that track and it was played (and sort of conga’d to) EVERY night (even in mainstream clubs) – I don’t think I ever went to Tuesdays or Oceans in Wycombe, Sluffs/Blue Lagoon in Slough or Regals in Uxbridge when it wasn’t played! And that was for literally years but it never made the pop charts.

    *I wonder what would have happened to Steve Walsh if he hadn’t sadly died in 1988 – with his personality, musical knowledge, and streetwise attitude and the fact that when he had the accident in Ibiza he was there with Danny Rampling it seems quite possible that he’d have become on of THE djs as the summer of 1988 started in earnest.

  130. 130
    LondonLee on 23 Aug 2011 #

    I won a bottle of champagne off Steve Walsh there one night. He played a “mystery” record the crowd had to guess and the mate I was with knew it was a Johnnie Kidd & The Pirates b-side (of all things!) but didn’t want to go up on stage so I went and claimed the prize.

    Walsh was always doing odd shit like that, once he had a competition to find the ugliest girl in the Lyceum.

  131. 131
    hardtogethits on 23 Aug 2011 #

    Re #113 and sundry subsequent others, and the origin of “Hip Hop” in the UK pop lexicon.

    As you can imagine, I’ve been digging round – and as ever, I hope someone can flesh out what I’ve found with further facts.

    Firstly, I think you’re right AP about 1983’s “Hip Hop Be Bop” being the first time the phrase came to many people’s attention, standing as a phrase in the title of the song. But, at the risk of stating the obvious (is this a trap?) the title was repeating the phrase right at the beginning of “Rapper’s Delight”. I can’t trace “Hip Hop” back (to a relevant record) any earlier than that – and though part of me thinks there must be a more important precedent than that, ever since the record came out I’d rather thought that the opening lines of the rap would have emerged from improvisation, and playful, pointless reduplication. Even now, I think this is more likely than a conscious reference to the type of music, and as such I now wonder if “Hip Hop” as a term only works because of that record. Could’ve equally started “click clack” or “boom zoom.”, which may not have lasted. I’m loosely aware that the lyric of “Rapper’s Delight” may have complex origins, beyond that of the Sugarhill Gang’s recording, but I’d be interested to know if there are any earlier important recordings which a) mention “hip hop” and b) could broadly now be considered “hip hop”.

    Separately, I’d wanted to find when the term came into use to describe a genre in a way that wasn’t self-referential. I found a mini-article from Record Mirror in 1984 which begins “Ask Neil Tennant about hip hop and he’ll rap you into next week. ‘Everyone in London says it’s last year’s thing, but it’ll never go away,’ says Neil”. It describes the first release of West End Girls (May 1984) as “a slice of Hi-NRG with hip hop elements.”

    So, that’s interesting (IMVHO, obv). Any contributors who were in or around London in 1984 – do you recall rejecting Hip Hop as last year’s thing? And / or celebrating it in 1983?

    And can anyone trace any earlier UK references?

    And well done to Neil Tennant for his far-sightedness.

  132. 132
    Ed on 23 Aug 2011 #

    Fantastic spot! That’s a great quote from Tennant. I don’t quite remember hip-hop being written off, but I do remember all the hipsters I knew in 1984 being into “rare groove”, which did for 70s funk what Northern Soul did for 60s stompers.

    And I remember House being over in 1986, after that one-off novelty hit ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’. That was clearly never going to lead anywhere, was it?

  133. 133
    LondonLee on 24 Aug 2011 #

    The Face and, I think, the trendier corners of the NME, were pushing Go-Go as the next big thing for a while and as you know they can only concentrate on one black music genre at a time so Hip-Hop may have been a casualty of that.

  134. 134
    swanstep on 24 Aug 2011 #

    @hardtogethits. The movie Beat Street (1984) is surely a good marker here. It was a horrible film and felt every bit like a too-late cash-in. The lead single from that by Melle Mel, ‘Beat Street Breakdown’ is good but no White Lines or The Message, and it had some irksome coignings that felt forced or like marketing rather than any real slang, e.g., ‘All you hip hops get on up’. In sum, if you wanted to believe that hip hop was over in 1984, there were definitely some signs that that was so.

    At any rate, I remember (a) being able to pick up the Beat Street soundtrack album almost instantly for very little ($2.99 IIRC), (b) really liking it at that price (at which point I could easily ignore all its duff tracks), and (c) defending my affection especially for the Melle Mel against people who thought that that whole style of music and sub-culture was over.

  135. 135
    Erithian on 24 Aug 2011 #

    LondonLee #130 – was the Johnny Kidd and the Pirates B-side titled “Ecstasy” by any chance? (B-side of “Hungry For Love”, November ’63). I was thinking about that upthread when we were talking about words cropping up in unexpected times. ISTR Mari Wilson and the Wilsations doing a song called “Rave” in the early 80s too.

  136. 136
    punctum on 24 Aug 2011 #

    The first Run-DMC album came out in the autumn of ’84 so I knew it was far from over. As with other important records of that period in different genres, e.g. Zen Arcade, almost completely ignored by music press of the time for not having Soul, Passion, Honesty, Neil Kinnock and/or Westminster School pedigree.

  137. 137
    thefatgit on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Regarding Run-DMC’s debut album, Robert Christgau’s Consumer’s Guide comment is telling: “…easily the canniest and most formally sustained rap* album ever, a tour de force I trust will be studied by all manner of creative downtowners and racially enlightened Englishmen”

    * presumably as opposed to Hip Hop?

  138. 138
    Mark M on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Re 136: You mean in the way that the NME ‘ignored’ Zen Arcade via a glowing 500-word review when it was import-only?

  139. 139

    Troubled as the 1984 NME certianly was, in terms of its evolving direction, the annoying element Marcello cartoons as “Soul, Passion, Honesty, Neil Kinnock” surely wasn’t yet its primary flaw? Zen Arcade got an excellent review (Andy Gill); and this was more its batcave Goth phase as I recall. Caveats as usual for the view from inside the beast: least perspective of all.

  140. 140

    haha oops did Andy Gill re-review it then — or is my memory this flawed? Also: unfair to call Biba “batcave” Goth: he’s the REAL THING.

    My sense of the paper’s problems at this moment was lack of sustained focus, a lot of different sensibilities, some of them high-end — RDCook’s reviews pages were excellent, he went to Wire in mid-85 — all rather stumbling over one another: what Marcello’s describing was the subsequent over-compensation.

  141. 141
    AndyPandy on 24 Aug 2011 #

    131: “hip hop being over in 1984” – it’s that usual thing of the ideas of a few hipsters in the media’s ideas being taken as what actually happened. And in reality often being about as wrong as possible.

    Even more annoying for non-hipster people from London as these scenesters often write things like “in London it was over” when it was no more over there for the vast majority of people than anywhere else.

    In this case 1984(along perhaps with some of 1983) was the highpoint of teenagers in shopping centres with their ghettoblasters, break-dance mats and electro tapes – so how could it be over?

  142. 142
    punctum on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Andy Gill reviewed Cupid And Psyche ’85 and hated it, wondering why Green was borrowing from (the quote went something like) “the most sterile and soulless form that black music has ever known.” Same as Gavin Martin dissed Music Madness by Mantronix in Nov ’86 saying that everyone should be made to listen to Aretha for half an hour every morning to teach themselves dignity and respect (subtext of both: stay slaves forever, we like you better that way).

    As for BK – “nobody gives a toss what they get up to in the dark and that’s their real problem”: review of Bronski Beat’s Age Of Consent, also in Sept ’84. I didn’t bother reading him too much after that so maybe that’s why I missed the Zen Arcade rave.

    Not so much Batcave Goth as Goth with a Master’s Degree, viz. Nick Cave, Foetus and what have you. Don Watson – where is he now (in best David Jacobs voice)?

  143. 143

    the central conundrum of pop cultural discussion — all along but i think very heightened in the early 80s in the uk — was finding a workable balance between “this is important because everyone’s buying/doing it” (which means “a lot of people” but never ever everyone) and “this is important because a far-sighted few are beginning to buy/do it”

    the debate at nme was — as much as anything — shaped by (i) the mod backgrounds of several of its writers, and (ii) a generational shift in the meaning and tastes of mod (the older mods not really in sync with the younger ones, tastewise): mods are hipster-scenesters par excellence, of course, and intensely given to declaring things “over” because they’ve got bored with them; but they’re also inclined to be hipster-scenesters who “make the scene”, as opposed to the more cautious writer-commentator, who observes and gathers info and artefacts

    watching al jazeera covering the battle of tripoli on sunday, you’d have seen the anxious need for journalists to be far more declarative about things being “over” than anyone has evidence for at that moment: the storyteller’s instinct is to tidy things up into a narrative with a beginning and an end (and this is what we pay them for, to be fair)

    then the historian has to come along after and correct everything that was wrong: not sure there’s ever be a way beyond this flawed sequence

  144. 144

    By 85/86 that cartoon tendency was absolutely in place, yes: but i don’t recall it had really got up speed in 84, which was in a way was closer to a botched dry run for where MM went subsequently… without the jazz or free improv of course

  145. 145

    worth noting perhaps also that gill/martin were not by 85 at ALL a decisive vanguard at the paper — AG resigned that year, when he didn’t get the job that went to Cosgrove — but something close to cranky professional rearguard fogeys explaining how it all used to be better when they were a lad… particularly disorientating from gavin, who is exactly my age and was barely out of his teens then

  146. 146
    punctum on 24 Aug 2011 #

    The irony being that the overegging of the Soul/Passion/Honesty pudding put a hell of a lot of people (Monitor folk most definitely included) off listening to James Brown, Aretha etc. for years and so the reported-as-it-happened history of where hip hop and R&B went next was distorted by this absence; although the abstractions of the mutating forms were still helpfully flagged up (Jam & Lewis, early Schoolly-D e.g.), the music’s context was gone/glossed over/ignored and thus the continued misunderstandings.

  147. 147
    LondonLee on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Re 135: Can’t remember the name of the Johnnie Kidd & The Pirates song but I’m fairly sure it was the b-side of ‘Shaking All Over’

    Suppose I could go and look that up but I prefer some things to remain a foggy memory.

  148. 148

    146 is absolutely true, though it very much underscores the monitor crowd’s parochial laziness as critics also — reacting ENTIRELY to/against the rhetoric of white folks of more or less their own class background, and damning vast reaches of the world’s music as a consequence

  149. 149
    thefatgit on 24 Aug 2011 #

    #146 I remember the Schoolly D issue of NME, adopting the “Yo-Boy” monicker to what was obviously gangster-influenced rap (we couldn’t know at the time, that Schoolly D was an originator of Gangsta Rap, but NME chose to over-simplify it or perhaps miss the point altogether). I can’t put my finger on who wrote that article, but he/she also coined the term “slur-rap”, for his style of delivery, again missing the point. If only the writer had looked further into what PSK actually meant.

    Of course, NME’s occasionally clumsy phraseology famously reaches a peak a little later with “sonic theft merchants”.

  150. 150

    i reviewed Schoolly D when he played in egham!

  151. 151
    Mark M on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Re 148: Indeed, early-ish Reynolds and Stubbs seem to be all about the epic battle of minds with… Pat Kane.

    149: I remember that issue, too, and think its wrongness was evident at the time, even for those of us who had been nowhere near the hip-hop heartlands.

  152. 152
    AndyPandy on 24 Aug 2011 #

    I only came into contact with the (rock) music press from the occasional copy I used to see left in the canteen (I was working in a supermarket at the time) at work by one of the blokes who used to work Saturdays and being me I’d glance through it (I’m sure it was the NME he used to get). This would have been the (early) mid 80s and being a fan of hiphop etc I would always I’d always be drawn to articles/reviews about that music – but invariably they’d always end up winding me up. As they seemed to end up seizing on some very mild fun teenage record along the lines of “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” (maybe not that exact record but in that area) and lambast it as the most unforgiveably sexist thing ever. I’d be thinking “why do they even bother?”.

    So yes I think they had a very dubious relationship with modern (post-about 1974!) black street music in general…

  153. 153
    Ed on 24 Aug 2011 #

    @151. Ah, but those were different times. You have to remember that in those days Pat Kane and people like him ruled the world, or at least the dominant discourse around British youth culture, which if you were a shallow pop-loving teenager amounted to the same thing. Stuart Cosgrove, for example, went on to be a big wheel at Channel 4, and some of the other fellow-travelers got into pretty influential positions. Certainly more than Reynolds and Stubbs did, anyway.

  154. 154

    “Pat Kane and people like him ruled the world, or at least the dominant discourse around British youth culture” <-- this is total nonsense Ed.

  155. 155
    Mark M on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Re 141: I get that, but the feeling that if you blinked, a whole pop cultural moment could’ve come and gone was certainly for me part of the fun of being a teenager in London in the 1980s.

  156. 156
    Mark M on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Also, to the casual punter, I can see that it might have been possible in, say, the year and a half between White Lines and The Show, to imagine that we might be coming to the end of (non-comedy) rap.

  157. 157

    I’ve made this pont before more forcefully, but there wasn’t a pin-downable one-note “they” running any of the rock papers: the effect on the reader was a consequence of an aggregate of very different voices and sensibilities vying with one another, with factions moving in and out of influence all the time. There were individual writers at NME who were very good on what Andy’s calling “black street music post-74” — but they weren’t necessarily dominant in any given week — and there were writers like Cosgrove who knew this stuff like the back of their hand, but often wrote about it in an offputtingly embattled and brittle way. (Cosgrove was the first editor to give me much of a break, so I’m always a bit conflicted by his writing: it was a strange mix of Burchillist style and left-academic polemic, generally in service of musics that neither of these would had much fondness for…) (He was a lot older than most of us, also, a determined and highly intelligent 70s scotnat soulboy).

    And he wasn’t a contributor in 84: he wrote for Black Echoes mainly then, and maybe Blues & Soul.

  158. 158
    Ed on 24 Aug 2011 #

    @154 Maybe. But for me as an NME-reading , Tube and TOTP-watching teenager, it felt that way. What was the year ‘What’s Going On’ was the NME’s official Greatest Album of All Time? 1985?

    And Pat Kane was a proper pop star, too, which made him seem like a much more important figure.

  159. 159

    Pat Kane did not make “What’s Going On”, Ed.

  160. 160
    thefatgit on 24 Aug 2011 #

    For an awful minute there I thought he was talking about Pat Sharp!

  161. 161

    he did rule the world

  162. 162
    punctum on 24 Aug 2011 #

    I pretty much gave up on the NME the same time Mark S did and I remember absentmindedly leafing through a copy in WH Smith about six months later and they were having a go at Ciccone Youth for giving their album a racist name (The Whitey Album) so no real change there, yet.

  163. 163
    MarkG on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Well, I ‘gave up’ as opposed to ‘gave up on’ the NME the week they gave the free Coldplay single. (That’s not why)…

    .. more because it really had nothing to say apart from “here’s a new band, they admit they’re not doing anything new but HEY THEY ARE FAB!”..

    Latterly, a change in editorship and style (not being afraid of anything recorded before “Nevermind” anymore helps) renders it readable once again, and I might get one once in a long while or so.

    “Renders it readable” ha, unlike my prose style, but hey I don’t get paid so hey.

  164. 164
    Tom on 24 Aug 2011 #

    I started buying it a bit after you and Mark gave up and there was plenty of cognitive dissonance going on – their review of Straight Outta Compton just ended up throwing up its hands and saying, look, this is a 10 but we can’t give it that (6).

    (Hello Popular people! I’m on holiday in France but I’ve just done the Erasure entry.)

  165. 165
    Tom on 24 Aug 2011 #

    #163 I think generally the NME is in a better place now than for a decade or so (not saying much at all) – the sheer number of Mojo-esque covers these days floors me a bit though.

  166. 166
    MarkG on 24 Aug 2011 #

    And yet, the circulation figures seem to suggest it’s only a matter of time…

  167. 167
    AndyPandy on 24 Aug 2011 #

    166: I read somewhere that they are the lowest figures since it was founded (below 30,000) – surely that isn’t sustainable as a mass magazine?

  168. 168

    Same problem right across print journalism though, if that’s counter-sales? I wouldn’t expect NME to be immune, but arguably — as a “cross-media platform” or whatever they’re called — it’s in a better position
    than publications that don’t come with a radio station attached.

    Last copy I read had D.Bowie on the cover, a fact I can’t quite parse even now (it was last year). It couldn’t be less like the mag I wrote for, but that was 25 years ago and vanishing under me.

  169. 169
    MarkG on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Maybe I’m a dull traditionalist, but the one thing I liked about it when I started reading it (Faces flexi – Dishevelment blues), was that it was a newspaper, i.e. printed on cheap newsprint like The Times, seemed to suggest that the stories and reviews had importance.

    Now, of course, it is heavily picture-bound, and like any other magazine.

  170. 170
    Mark M on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Re 166/7/8: Yes, the ABC figures are terrible (almost everyone’s ABC figures were terrible, but the NME’s were shocking) but as Mr Sinker says, their brand is stronger than ever. This is a problem all publishers are wrestling with: is the paper magazine (or newspaper) still necessary to lend aura to the rest of the products that bear its name?

  171. 171
    MarkG on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Well, “Top of the Pops” magazine is still going (strong?)

  172. 172
    LondonLee on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Saw the latest (?) NME this morning at a newsstand in Harvard Square (!) and thought it WAS Mojo for a second with its black and white pic of The Clash.

    I work in the mag business and it’s not so much sales that are bad but that advertising revenue has vanished. Our website makes more money than the print publication but taking that element away would seem to reduce the “brand” somewhat. There is still more prestige attached to a magazine than a website.

  173. 173
    AndyPandy on 24 Aug 2011 #

    I saw one earlier in Tescos (Undercliffe, Bradford) with Muse on its cover – weird as I hadn’t knowingly seen one for ages but maybe this thread brought its presence there to my consciousness.

  174. 174
    hardtogethits on 26 Aug 2011 #

    Many apologies if I missed this in any of the above; I’ve just found out this record went gold in the US (sales >500k) and made no 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

    Honestly, I’m staggered – not least because Double You had been so utterly successful in Europe (see comment #3).

  175. 175
    AndyPandy on 26 Aug 2011 #

    Maybe that American hit and the subequently raised profile’s how they got not just the Trammps but Teddy Pendergrass and Gwen Dickey (Rose Royce)to guest respecively on 3 of their later hits. Can’t think of any other production crew of that era who had that many relatively well known artists appear on their tracks.But it was obviously unusual for the average UK rave (or in this case vaguely ravey hit) to cross over to the US at all yet alone go Top 10.

  176. 176
    some highly on 24 Jul 2014 #

    Thanks for taking the time to post. It’s lifted the level of debate

  177. 177
    Cheree Penas on 28 Nov 2015 #

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