Click on the link here for Audio Player – Steve Hillage – In Concert at the BBC Paris Theatre – December 4, 1976 – BBC Radio 1 In Concert
Another artists synonymous with a decade and genre of music. Steve Hillage was associated with a number of influential artists and bands during the Progressive Rock era of the early 1970s, including Kevin Ayers and most notably, Gong.
When he finally went solo after leaving Gong in 1975, his debut release, Fish Rising was much anticipated and well received.
As times and tastes changed however, so did Steve Hillage. He dabbled in the Punk scene for a while, playing guitar on stage for Sham 69 during the 1976 Reading Festival and becoming a Producer in the 1980s, working with such bands as It Bites, Simple Minds and Robyn Hitchcock. In 2006 he returned to Gong and has been with them more or less since then.
Tonights Concert features the Steve Hillage recorded at the fabled Paris Theatre on December 4th 1976, during the time of the release of his follow-up album L.
(Sorry about the hissy sound of the broadcast. It’s an old tape and it’s seen better days, but it tried its best).
Made the transition to Glam in the early 70s and everything exploded.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Mott The Hoople – In Concert at The Paris Theatre – 1971 – BBC 6 Music
Sometimes I run into a dilemma, of sorts, over what to post for the “roundtable” feature. Tonight it was choice over whether to run the scheduled piece (Mott The Hoople at The Paris Theatre in 1971) or the kick-off European tour concert by The Pixies, who performed earlier today at The Olympia in Paris.
Tough choices. So I threw it out to a vote. And even though it was close, the squeaker was Mott.
So there you have it.
Tonight it’s a performance by venerable Brit-rockers Mott The Hoople, just before their emersion into the Glam genre, right around the time of the release of Brain Capers (one of my favorite albums), in 1971. The concert was recorded, as always, by the ever-present (and thank god), BBC.
Tomorrow night it’ll be The Pixies, I promise. For now, it’s Death May Be Your Santa Claus and a bunch of other great tunes.
Play very loud.
Overlooked, even by their own admission.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Call – live at The BBC – 1983 – BBC In Concert series – BBC Radio 1
Finishing up 80s week – for now.
If you go to The Call’s website, you’ll be struck by an phrase – one you hear over and over throughout the years: The Most Underrated Band In The World. In the Call’s case, they’re almost right.
The four piece band from Santa Cruz, California probably had a bigger reputation overseas than they did at home. They became something of a band’s band. Admired by everyone from Bono and Peter Gabriel to Simple Minds. They toured considerably, and did achieve Arena status, but as a support band – not as a headliner. It was the one aspect of success that eluded them, even though they were widely respected, they had numerous successes, and a number of successful albums and singles, they never quite got that final push into household name category they should have received. Fronted by Michael Been, formerly a member of the 60s Psych band Aorta (another wildly underrated band) and a resurrected H.P. Lovecraft (called simply Lovecraft), Been was the driving force behind The Call and responsible for the unique musical directions they followed.
Tragically, Been collapsed and died of a massive heart attack backstage at the Pukkelpop Music Festival in Belgium while working as a sound engineer in support of his son’s band The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. That was in 2010.
Tonight it’s the band early on. A set recorded by the BBC for their In Concert Series in 1983 that is both inspired and high-voltage. It perfectly captures the uniqueness of the band and recalls a great band that almost made it to the top, but fell short.
Enjoy – as always, play loud. It’s Friday anyway . . .
XTC – It would not be the 80s without them.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – XTC In Concert At Hammersmith Palais – February 7, 1981 – BBC In Concert Series – BBC Radio 1
You can’t have a week of 80s music without including a concert by XTC. They pretty much defined the decade (at least the first half) for me. One of the most instantly identifiable and influential bands to come out of that period. XTC were labelled all kinds of things – but they insisted on being considered a Pop band.
They embodied the craft of tight, well-executed song-making. From brilliant lyrics to instrumental lines, XTC were one of the most competent and successful bands of the period.
Listening to this concert, recorded on February 7, 1981 at the Hammersmith Palais in London, every song carries with it an indelible mark. And it’s amazing how many memorable hits they had during their tenure, and the energy level borders on Mach One. This goes under the heading of “Classic Concert”.
So as a reminder of how great this band was, here is XTC in concert as recorded by the ever-present BBC for their In Concert series for Radio 1.
I don’t think I need to tell you to crank this one up very loud.
On top of everything else; the loss of an icon. (photo: Jan Olofsson)
Click on the link here for Audio Player: BBC Radio 4 – PM – September 12, 2003
News for this day ten years ago had much to do with a world in turmoil, but the loss of an American Music icon added a poignancy to September 12th.
On this September 12th in 2003, news of the lifting of UN sanctions against Libya, in place since the terrorist bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lacherbie Scotland and the killing of 243 passengers and 16 crew had many in the White House skeptical over the vote. Libya was still considered a major player in the “War on Terror” and aides to Bush were quick to point out the sanctions lift didn’t really change all that much with respect to the U.S. position on the Khadafi regime.
And the situation in Iraq dragged on with news from Fallujah that 8 Iraqi security personnel were mistakenly killed by U.S. troops. And new agitation was going along with the anxiety over the allegations of an Iranian Nuclear program and what that would mean for the region.
Since the newscast for this day comes via the BBC, much news was spent on the comings and goings of the Green Party in the UK, and their plans for the rest of Europe in the coming elections. Also, the economic situation with the EU and the problems with some member nations.
But the sad news came from Baptist Hospital in Nashville, with word that American music legend Johnny Cash had died at the age of 71 from complications associated with Diabetes.
The tributes poured in and this episode of PM offered a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Man In Black who was extremely popular in the UK.
And that’s part of what went on in the world this day, as reported by BBC Radio 4’s PM program for September 12, 2003.
Mixing it up, musically.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – UB40 In Concert – June 13, 1981 – BBC In Concert Series – BBC Radio 1
Continuing with the 80s tonight and a concert by UB40 from June 13, 1981. Recorded, as always, by the venerable BBC Radio as part of their In Concert Series.
Part of the Reggae/Ska movement of the late 1970s/early 80s UB40 were, in many ways, a breed apart from the beat-driven frenetic sounds of The Specials or the high-voltage energy of Madness. UB40 took it down a few notches and offered up some luxurious song-writing that factored high on many “music to shag to” lists in the early 1980s. They were hugely popular throughout the world and were voted Best British Band in 1984. All told, UB40 have sold some 70 million records during their long career.
They’ve gone through many career ups and downs and have weathered numerous personnel changes over the 30+ years, but they’re still together and still gigging.
This concert, from 1981 captures them during their formative years. Already with a string of hits, the best was still yet to come.
So, as a reminder of just how the 80s rolled . . . .
80s Electronica and then some.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – OMD In Concert – March 11, 1984 – BBC In Concert Series – BBC Radio 1
Keeping the 80s going this week with a concert from Electronica/New Wave pioneers OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) in concert from 1984.
Successful practically from the get-go with a string of memorable hits, OMD became a household name with their single Joan of Arc, along with the milestone video that got almost non-stop play on the then-fledgling MTV. They also figured prominently in the teen-angst films of John Hughes, with If You Leave, written especially for Pretty In Pink landing the group in the Top-5.
Cited as a major influence by a number of bands in later years, OMD covered a wide range of musical genres. Not crazy about the idea of being pegged a “synth-pop-techno band”, they embraced New Wave and experimental music throughout much of their early careers. And even though the band broke up in 1996, as tastes and audiences changed towards conventional Brit-Pop, they reformed in 2006 and have been successfully playing the festival circuit the past few years (I ran an OMD concert from a 2011 Pinkpop Festival in Holland not long ago). And have been discovered by a new and enthusiastic audience.
Tonight it’s the earlier incarnation of the band – not quite at their peak, but well on their way.
And a reminder of how versatile the 80s really were. And how interesting MTV actually were before they went south.