The Greatest Cover Versions by The Toy Dolls: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten “must-listen to” cover versions by Sunderland’s finest musical export

Nellie the Elephant
An elephant, in South Africa. Supposedly called Nellie. Image by Chris Hills, 2010 (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved).

Hagiographies of punk and new wave music in Northern England seldom breach the Standedge Tunnel’s Diggle end. Lazily, history tells us about the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Slaughter and the Dogs, and the Sex Pistols’ gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Fewer column inches are devoted to the Liverpool groups, or the Leodisian contributions of the Gang of Four and The Mekons. What about the North East of England? Usually Penetration and another band famous for the cover of a soppy elephant song. Continue reading “The Greatest Cover Versions by The Toy Dolls: The Not So Perfect Ten”

More Forgotten Great Songs of the 1980s: The Not So Perfect Ten

More underrated gems from the decade often associated with Duran Duran, Margaret Thatcher and Sinclair C5s.

The 1980s: a pretty pants decade for the working class at the very least, but one of our greatest decades musically. Eclectic to say the least, a decade which started out with The Pretenders and ended with Live Aid II. New Wave and Stock, Aitken and Waterman in other words.

Continue reading “More Forgotten Great Songs of the 1980s: The Not So Perfect Ten”

A Cheesy Tunes Case Closed: Whatever Happened to The Scoop

Long time mystery solved as to the whereabouts of an obscure group

Namechecked on this blog and the creator’s other social networking accounts more often than is necessarily healthy is a certain new wave band from Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Another pet subject of his involves the whereabouts of an obscure band which featured on his cherished copy of Chart Hits ’81. A fellow commuting friend introduced him to the band by means of a lovingly constructed mixtape, handed over to him one morning at Stalybridge railway station. Continue reading “A Cheesy Tunes Case Closed: Whatever Happened to The Scoop”

Forgotten Great Songs of the 1970s: The Not So Perfect Ten

Back to the days when buses, electrical appliances and living rooms were orange and white.

I was born in 1979, so can legally claim to be a Child of the 1970s (only just). Musically, it was a decade of seismic shifts in musical fads from folk to new wave, via prog rock, punk and disco. Whilst the Osmonds, the Bay City Rollers or the Sex Pistols graced many a 1970s record collection, groups like Voyager and Mr Big are forgotten in the mists of time.

Continue reading “Forgotten Great Songs of the 1970s: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Forgotten Great Songs of the 1980s: The Not So Perfect Ten

Underrated gems from the decade often associated with Duran Duran, Margaret Thatcher and Sinclair C5s.

“I’m Stuart Vallantine, I fell off my Grandma’s bed and ended up in 1981. Am I mad? Or is it my comeuppance  for listening to Ultravox’s Rage in Eden album ad infinitum? Somehow I’ll find my way home and expect to see an orange, brown and white bus in Piccadilly Gardens… (SV checks pocket for SaverSeven ticket)”

Some of the greatest songs never made the dizzy heights of the Top Ten or the Top 75 of the music charts themselves. I have noticed this from my personal collection of compilation albums and the joys of the internet. Continue reading “Forgotten Great Songs of the 1980s: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Gig Review: Half Man Half Biscuit, 17 February 2011

The Plug, Matilda Street, Sheffield

“We were going to have ourselves a beautiful evening. Everything was in order…” as me and a couple of fellow HMHB fans headed to Plug for our second gig on the other side of the Pennines. Continue reading “Gig Review: Half Man Half Biscuit, 17 February 2011”