When are the Last Trains to London?

Beat of the M60 finds an excuse to combine trains with music

“It was 9.29, 29… 9.29 back street, big city/The sun was going down, there was music all round, it felt so right.”

Last Train to London, Electric Light Orchestra (1979)

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Stalybridge Old Band getting ready for their deportment march.

You Know You’re Pining for Brass Band Music When…

The middle Saturday in May means Spring Festival day

Since the pandemic began last March, any form of normality was put on hold. Pub pints became dependent on the weather (till the 17th May at least). Theatres and cinemas went dark; concert halls, likewise.

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Interim Report, March 1979: A Beat of the M60 Music Review

Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan’s stunning album

It is a shame that so few great bands have named themselves after civic functions. The only one that springs to mind is The Chicago Transit Authority. They dropped the Transit Authority bit when they started climbing up the charts. After 1976’s If You Leave Me Now, their fame went stratospheric. I only wish I was a Child of the Seventies, who bided their time with Stalybridge Old Band and the as-yet-unrealised Chicago tribute act, SELNEC Southern.

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Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 26. Mr Blue Sky

ELO’s most famous work in brass band form

  • Piece: Mr Blue Sky;
  • Composer: Jeff Lynne;
  • Arranger: Christopher Wormald.

“More…” You want more… For this year’s Brass Banding Advent Calendar, we finish off our virtual concert with an ELO song from 1977. One that is as well known by toddlers as it is with grandparents and great grandparents.

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Happy Ball EM60

Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 25. Happy

A Merry Christmas to you all with a modern day classic

  • Piece: Happy;
  • Composers: Pharrell Williams;
  • Arranger: Michael Pilley.

Well, you have shouted and clapped loud enough for the encore set. Let’s start with a modern-day classic, one that has increased in popularity over recent years.

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Elvis Presley

Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 24. An American Trilogy

Sorry folks, I couldn’t find any brass band pieces related to elves…

  • Piece: An American Trilogy;
  • Composers: Various (arranged by Mickey Newbury);
  • Arranger: Goff Richards.

We have come to the last door of our Brass Banding Goes Pop Advent Calendar. We thought it was rude not to have an Elvis Presley classic in our virtual concert, either. Apart from that, we understood there was a need to cover another Welsh band besides The Cory Band.

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Trafford Centre, Regent Court, Dumplington

Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 23. Don’t Stop Me Now

The ultimate feel good song in brass band form

  • Piece: Don’t Stop Me Now;
  • Composer: Freddie Mercury;
  • Arranger: Philip Harper.

What can we say other than “a Happy Christmas Eve Eve to you all”? Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now encapsulates excitement in a little under three minutes. From the 1978 LP Jazz, it has pure pop sensitivities whilst retaining the Queen sound. Despite this, Brian May had little love for the song, because he felt it eulogised Freddie’s hedonistic lifestyle.

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Generic Euphonium picture

Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 22. Music

John Miles’ best known chart single, another concert classic

  • Piece: Music;
  • Composer: John Miles;
  • Arranger: Derek Broadbent.

Music, so to misquote the Jarrow-born composer of the said song, is our first love and our last love. On East of the M60, we have written about its future and its past in some way, shape or form. Live or recorded.

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Yerevan Cascade

Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 21. She

A brass band transcription of Charles Aznavour’s most famous work

  • Piece: She;
  • Composer: Charles Aznavour/Herbert Kretzmer;
  • Arranger: Alan Fernie;
  • Soloist: Mark Wilkinson.

Charles Aznavour is probably the only French-Armenian born singer to top the UK Singles Chart. His most famous song, She, did just that in 1974 with a four-week stay at the top.

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Thin Crispy Pizza

Brass Banding Goes Pop: EM60’s 2020 Advent Calendar: 20. The Fairytale of New York

The Pogues’ most famous (or infamous) contribution to Christmas playlists?

  • Piece: The Fairytale of New York;
  • Composer: Kirsty MacColl;
  • Arranger: Jock McKenzie.

In the last three decades, The Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl’s Christmas song has topped many a personal Christmassy playlist. From mixtape to MP3 and Spotify, it is a must at Christmas parties, pub jukeboxes and supermarket aisles.

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