East of the M60’s 2021 Advent Calendar looks at a killer pop classic – for a town 60 miles from London

In a galaxy far far away, everybody thought it was a good idea to jump on the Star Wars bandwagon. Talk about UFOs were heard at many a dinner table from Ashton’s Wimpy bar to to Sunny Rose Café. Space Invaders was pretty big business back in the day; the Electric Light Orchestra went full Star Wars on their Out Of The Blue LP; and many a Briton laughed at the Cadbury’s Smash® alien adverts.

In a Development Corporation office far far away, the delightfully named Basil Bean hit upon a new way to sell Northampton to the world. With UK single sales at an all time high in 1979, Northampton Development Corporation decided to cut a disc. The answer was Energy In Northampton.

The single’s premise is an extraordinary one: aliens decide to set up home in Northampton. They love its proximity to London. They wax lyrical over its road and rail links, though they might have parked their UFO in Billing Aquadrome or King’s Heath. They might have had a swinging time at Wicksteed Park. Or they could have found work at the Carlsberg plant.

Back to the song called Energy In Northampton: the single was released in September 1979 and sung by Linda Jardim. A month later, Ms. Jardim’s vocals were heard in The Buggles’ Number One single Video Killed The Radio Star. In the promo video, she is seen coming through a tube in full view of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes.

During its release date, punk was still a thing, though dying off commercially. Cliff Richard had a Number One hit with We Don’t Talk Any More. ABBA, The Police and Supertramp were big that year – as were the Electric Light Orchestra. (The Police’s first two Number Ones came in 1979 – Message In A Bottle and Walking On The Moon).

Before we open the next door, we shall leave you with this clip on the song from About Anglia. Dig that semi-patronising patter (we never got that in Granadaland with the late great Tony Wilson).

S.V., 01 December 2021.

Image by Whowe!, 2009 (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported).

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