1978 – The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo compilation review

24 08 2020

1978 – The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo is a new 3 CD set from Cherry Red, released on 28 August 2020.

The 79 tracks (from a marketing view-point, maybe there should have been 78 tracks!) cover the well-known punk and new wave hits from the year, along with lesser-known regional acts from Manchester, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The collection also includes an entertaining 48-page booklet that includes details on every track included in the compilation.

The first CD features some of the era’s big-hitters. Opening with Sham 69’s Borstal Breakout from January 1978, followed by one of the hardest-hitting singles by The Stranglers, 5 Minutes. The percussive Emergency by 999 is another highlight, as is the early Gary Numan release – Oh! Didn’t I Say by Tubeway Army.

Automatic Lover by The Vibrators fits in with the short-lived power pop movement of bands such as Tonight (Drummer Man) from the Spring of 1978. She’s So Modern by The Boomtown Rats reminds you what a powerful force the band were from 1978 to around 1981, with an amazing run of pop / new wave hit singles.

A pre-fame Japan offer Don’t Rain On My Parade and are a world away from the sound they settled on from Quiet Life in late 1979, that showcased their move from new wave guitars to something more sophisticated on the cusp of the 80s synth-pop explosion.

Concrete Jungle by The Coventry Automatics is an early track from the band that would soon become The Specials, with their mix of new wave and ska already starting to develop into the style they would use so successfully from 1979 onwards. The Only Ones Another Girl, Another Planet was unbelievably never a hit but is a classic single from this year, and sits well in this collection.

Magazine contribute the early single Touch And Go. Irish band Pretty Boy Floyd And The Gems Spread The Word Around is a song I missed at the time, but is worthy of inclusion here. The Steve Lillywhite produced When The Tanks Roll Over Poland Again by The Automatics has a great guitar sound and Jilted John’s only hit single (produced by Martin Hannett!) is one of the biggest selling tracks on this album.

The second CD opens with the track that gave the compilation it’s name, X-Ray Spex with The Day The World Turned Day-Glo, a song that has aged well. What a guitar sound! Up Against The Wall by the Tom Robinson Band is driven by a powerful guitar riff from the late, great Danny Kustow.

Tyne and Wear band The Carpettes (who I saw at least once in my local venue, Woolwich Tramshed) supply 2ne1, whilst the Midge Ure fronted Rich Kids offer the title track from their only studio album, Ghosts Of Princes In Towers, an album I still love.

Another couple of favourites sit on CD 2 – the John Foxx fronted Ultravox with Slow Motion and the Status Quo pastiche / Mike Oldfield mentioning Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie by Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. I’ve still got a double 7″ vinyl of this single somewhere. I must dig it out.

The third and final disc opens with my favourite Public Image Ltd song, their debut single Public Image. Stiff Little Fingers 2nd single Alternative Ulster and Life’s A Gamble by Penetration are also highlights. Penetration’s Pauline Murray releases a new solo album in the Autumn.

Johnny Thunders full-length album version of You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory is included here, although I prefer the short, stripped back Pete Wylie (Wah!) version, as part of the Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me) single in 1983. The Saints Are Coming by the Skids features some of Stuart Adamson’s earliest incendiary guitar lines. Again, the compilers choose a deeper cut from one of the era’s biggest bands with In The Crowd from The Jam’s All Mod Cons album.

The punk-pop of Destination Venus by The Rezillos is a forgotten tune from this era. Flashing In The Subway by pub-rockers Tyla Gang comes from the more blues / Dr Feelgood side of new wave rock. RIP Sean Tyla. 10:15 Saturday Night by The Cure is a less obvious choice for this compilation, and so stands out amongst some of the more standard new wave blueprint tracks.

If you are a fan of punk and new wave and want to delve deeper than the hit singles, this Cherry Red compilation offers good value for money and is an entertaining collection from a vintage year for music.

Buy 1978 – The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo on Amazon

Disc One

Borstal Breakout – Sham 69
5 Minutes – The Stranglers
Emergency – 999
Don’t Tango On My Heart – The Doll
Oh! Didn’t I Say – Tubeway Army
Automatic Lover – The Vibrators
I’m A Boy – Cyanide
Bad In Bed – The Electric Chairs
Lost Lenore – Attrix
Stuck With You – Zones
Party Clothes – Subs
You’re A Disease – The Outcasts
She’s So Modern – The Boomtown Rats
I’m Civilised – Menace
Moonmidsummer – The Freshies
The Kids Are Alright – The Pleasers
Don’t Rain On My Parade – Japan
Concrete Jungle – The Coventry Automatics
Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones
Touch And Go – Magazine
Spread The Word Around – Pretty Boy Floyd And The Gems
When The Tanks Roll Over Poland Again – The Automatics
Stella’s Got A Fella – Social Security
Chloroform – The Bleach Boys
Jilted John – Jilted John
Rat Up A Drainpipe – The Members
Glandular Angela – The Exits
Why Don’t You Do Me Right? – Alternative Tv

Disc Two

The Day The World Turned Day-Glo – X-Ray Spex
Up Against The Wall – Tom Robinson Band
Central Detention Centre – Gyro
Ain’t Got A Clue – The Lurkers
The Backstreet Boys – Patrik Fitzgerald
Nobody Loves You When You’re Old And Gay – Dead Fingers Talk
I Can’t Resist – The Reaction
I Can’t Wait – The Jolt
Kinnel Tommy – Ed Banger
Loving A Killer – The Stoat
A.C.A.B. – The Rowdies
Start All Over Again – No Sweat
I Believe – The V.I.P.S
2ne1 – The Carpettes
Ghosts Of Princes In Towers – Rich Kids
Kung Fu International – John Cooper Clarke
Ringing In The Streets – The Ripchords
Slow Motion – Ultravox
Love Is Blind – Nightshift
Rock’n’roll Ain’t Dead – The Questions
Cortina Cowboys – Blue Steam
Birmingham Reggie – The Others
Live In A Car – UK Subs
It’s Alright – The Turn
Teenage Vice – The Teardrops
Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie – Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias

Disc Three

Public Image – Public Image Ltd
Alternative Ulster – Stiff Little Fingers
Light At Your Window – The Detonators
Fibre – Spizzoil
Life’s A Gamble – Penetration
28/8/78 – Scritti Politti
Europeans – Europeans
Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.) – Wreckless Eric
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – Johnny Thunders
The Saints Are Coming – Skids
It’s The New Thing – The Fall
Alphaville – The Monochrome Set
In The Crowd – The Jam
Starry Eyes – The Records
Weekend Girl – The Bozos
Destination Venus – The Rezillos
Flashing In The Subway – Tyla Gang
10:15 Saturday Night – The Cure
Larger Than Life – The Parrots
Wrong Street – Nicky & The Dots
New Town – The Vitamins
Love Song – Passage
What She Wants, She Needs – Eater
Never Met Suzi – Time Machine
White Christmas – Slush





Musik Music Musique 1980 – The Dawn Of Synth Pop album review

22 06 2020

Musik Music Musique is a 3 CD compilation from Cherry Red, chronicling the beginnings of the synth-pop music revolution that was to dominate the charts for years to come. Whilst containing well-known names from the era (Buggles, The Human League, Ultravox and Spandau Ballet) the tracks chosen from these artists are not the obvious big-hits.

The real discoveries and delights in this compendium are the more obscure tracks, from the likes of XYNN, Nick Nicely and other acts who often released just a handful of songs before disappearing forever.

The first of the 3 CDs contains one of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s finest earlier songs, the naggingly addictive Messages. The Human League are represented by their cover of Mick Ronson’s Only After Dark, taken from the final album produced by the line-up that featured Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who left the League to form Heaven 17 with Glenn Gregory later in 1980.

Victims of the Riddle was the debut single from Toyah (it was actually released in 1979, but we will let that slip!). A keyboard driven song, with minimal guitar, it sits well on this compilation. Waiting by Ultravox is a good choice, as is Hazel O’Connor’s Sons And Lovers, with tribal drums offsetting the sax and synth squelches.

My favourite track on Disc One is from one of the most under-rated albums of the 80s, Sympathy from the debut (and only) album from Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls. Pauline was the vocalist in new wave band Penetration, and this Martin Hannett produced album saw Murray move in a more electronic direction. If you haven’t heard this album, its definitely worth investigating.

The compilation’s title track is from Zeus aka producer Zeus B. Held (Fashion’s Fabrique, John Foxx’s The Golden Section, Pete Wylie Sinful) and is a charming vocoder delivered pop song. XYNN (German multimedia artist Michael Winter) delivers the sparse and haunting Computed Man.

Gina X Performance (another Zeus B. Held collaboration) is represented by Vendor’s Box, a fuller arrangement than a lot of the purely electronic tracks on this compilation.

Lawnchairs by US band Our Daughter’s Wedding uses a similar synth sequence to the OMD track that kicks off the first CD, and is a regular on alternative 80s compilations / 80s themed radio.

Two of my favourites (from the songs I was unaware of previously) sit on the first CD. Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne by Suicide was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars, and DCT Dreams by Nick Nicely is a lo-fi masterpiece, overflowing with more than it’s fair share of pop hooks.

The second disc opens with a key early Spandau Ballet track Glow, and a hidden gem from Robin Scott’s M in Official Secrets (avoiding the obvious Pop Muzik, great song as it is).

Galactica from French space-rock band Rockets is well sequenced next to Kim Wilde’s album track Tuning In Tuning On and Landscape’s European Man, which pre-dated their most well-known song from 1981, Einstein a Go-Go. Admit it,that song is stuck in your head now, isn’t it?

Melbourne band The Metronomes provide a “Ray Bradbury inspired tale of star-crossed love between two computing devices” with their contribution A Circuit Like Me, that cosies up to one of John Foxx’s early, icy slice of the future singles No One Driving.

The most well-known track on this compilation is the Midge Ure assisted Philip Lynott (Thin Lizzy) single Yellow Pearl, a song that was used as the theme for Top Of The Pops during the first half of the decade.

Dalek I Love You (Destiny) by Liverpool’s Dalek I is a premium slice of electronic new wave influenced pop. French band Taxi Girl contribute an early single in Mannequin. Fans of The Stranglers will remember Taxi Girl from the 1981 La Folie tour and the JJ Burnel produced / Jet Black featuring Seppuku album in 1982.

This World Of Water, a no 31 with a bullet UK singles hit by New Musik, a band formed by producer Tony Mansfield, sits in the track list just before one of my favourite Japan songs, the Roxy Music Manifesto influenced Quiet Life.

The third and final disc opens with one of Buggles finest songs, Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade). Last year there were rumours of a new, third Buggles album. Here’s hoping….

The second song titled Mannequin is from Glasgow’s Berlin Blondes, with a great mixture of new wave basslines and electronic synth lead lines. Yello supply a scratchy, discordant Bimbo and the pure-pop quota is increased by The Lonely Spy from David Balfe and Bill Drummond’s Lori And The Chameleons project.

Blood Donor serve up a quirky Doctor Who homage and The Korgis Drawn And Quartered highlights a different side to the band who had a huge hit with the dreamy Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.

The debut album from Visage was so influential, and single Mind Of A Toy features here. The handclaps and slap-bass mutant funk of Mataya Clifford and the track Living Wild adds a wild sense of fun to the final disc.

Karel Fialka’s The Eyes Have It was a near-hit in 1980, and received lots of radio play at the time. The Russians Are Coming by The Red Squares is a short track driven by cold war paranoia.

The compilation ends with La Düsseldorf and their boozy sounding Dampfriemen, drawing on early Kraftwerk and what sounds like too many visits to Bavarian Bierkeller’s. Dampfriemen is the only song on the album featuring a kazoo solo along side the electronic instruments, so a fitting end to this entertaining glimpse into the birth of 80s synthpop.

Disc one

Messages – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Musik, Music, Musique – Zeus
Coitus Interruptus – Fad Gadget
Computed Man – XYNN
Metal Love – Rod Vey
Vendor’s Box – Gina X Performance
Lawnchairs – Our Daughter’s Wedding
Tokyo – Science
Only After Dark – The Human League
Victims Of The Riddle – Toyah
DCT Dreams – Nick Nicely
Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne – Suicide
Waiting – Ultravox
Money – Moebius
Falling Years – The Fallout Club
Da Vorne Steht Ne Ampel – Der Plan
No, Nothing, Never – Dark Day
Sons And Lovers – Hazel O’Connor
Sympathy – Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls

Disc two

Glow – Spandau Ballet
Official Secrets – M
Chip n Roll – Silicon Teens
Galactica – Rockets
Tuning In Tuning On – Kim Wilde
European Man – Landscape
Can’t You Take A Joke? Ha Ha Hi Hi! – Henriette Coulouvrat
A Circuit Like Me – The Metronomes
No One Driving – John Foxx
Kebabträume – D.A.F.
Harmonitalk – Gary Sloan And Clone
Yellow Pearl – Philip Lynott
Dalek I Love You (Destiny) – dalek I
Mannequin – Taxi Girl
This World Of Water – New Musik
Quiet Life – Japan
Chase The Dragon – Kevin Harrison
Diskomo – The Residents

Disc three

Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade) – Buggles
Mannequin – Berlin Blondes
A Certain Way To Go – The Passage
Between – Sic
Bimbo – Yello
Images Of Delusion – Genocide
The Lonely Spy – Lori And The Chameleons
Lucy – Craze
I’m A Computer – The Goo-Q
Doctor …? – Blood Donor
Brushing Your Hair – Alex Fergusson
Drawn And Quartered – The Korgis
Mind Of A Toy – Visage
D’ya Think I’m Sexy – British Standard Unit
Living Wild – Mataya Clifford
Private Lives – Systems
The Eyes Have It – Karel Fialka
Suis-je Normale – Nini Raviolette
China Blue Vision – Eyeless In Gaza
The Russians Are Coming – The Red Squares
Dampfriemen – La Dusseldorf

Released on 31 July 2020.

Buy Musik Music Musique 1980 – The Dawn Of Synth Pop








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