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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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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Record Player Stand

S.V.’s Formative Years Festive 50 (1983 – 1984)

The Fifty Tracks of My Years from September 1983 to August 1984

Popular music can take us to a particular point in our lives. It is the soundtrack of our youth, birth, marriage, Bar Mitzvah, schooldays or not-so-happier times. Throughout my life, music has played a massive part. You can either see this on East of the M60 in written form, or in my professional capacity with Future Directions CIC on Fun Time Friday.

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Leyland Titan, Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally, 2013.

Bus Boarding Beats: A Brief Look at Sounds In Motion

Do you remember when background music on buses was a thing?

In the last 40 years, bus operators across the UK have tried to find creative ways of making local bus routes pay. Route branding with dedicated liveries is one answer, positioning everyday bus routes as product lines in their own right. Another answer is advertising. Initially done by local contractors, most of today’s on-bus advertising space is managed by Global. Yes, the owners of countless commercial radio stations like LBC, as well as outdoor poster sites.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

Twice the Pleasure: Our Top 1980s 12″ Tunes: The Not So Perfect Ten

Our semi-definitive guide to the greatest 12″ singles of the 1980s

Sometimes, the radio edit of a chart single may lack that extra something which the 12″ version has. At the other end, some singles are better suited to the traditional two to four minutes of a seven inch 45.

The long single (in excess of five minutes) can fulfil a few other functions. It could either be a floor filler, as part of a series of different mixes to maintain its lofty chart position, or a convenient addition to the playlist. In other words, it is a suitable length to accommodate the DJ’s toilet break, or anything else s/he may do (which is best left to one’s imagination).

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Stalybridge Old Band getting ready for their deportment march.

Don’t Forget our Brass Bands!

East of the M60 hopes brass band music isn’t forgotten by HM Government funding pledge

On a normal Monday night, I would be writing a review of the previous night’s concert at Boarshurst Band Club. Since lockdown, The Mecca of Brass Banding has been quiet, leaving a significant cultural void in the hearts of brass band players and concertgoers.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

The Other UK Singles Chart: 2. The New Musical Express Singles Charts

A beginners’ guide to the NME Charts, the UK’s original Hit Parade

The UK’s first singles chart, like its American pioneer owes its existence to an iconic music magazine. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, it is the Billboard Singles Chart that was (and remains to this day) compiled by Billboard Magazine. In the United Kingdom, the New Musical Express magazine led the charge.

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The Untied Shoelaces Show graphic (SV version)

Less Remembered 1980s Children’s Programmes #3: The Untied Shoelaces Show

BBC Scotland’s early 1980s summertime treat

The fusion of popular music and children’s television programming has been a solid formula for public service and commercial broadcasters around the world. In the United Kingdom, its commercial potential was seen in programmes like Lift Off With Ayshea (Granada Television) and Saturday Scene (London Weekend Television). By the 1980s, Razzmatazz and Hold Tight! assumed that role on ITV.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

The Other UK Singles Chart: 1. Independent Local Radio Music Charts

A beginners’ guide to chart tracking on ILR stations from 1974 to 2008

If you mention the UK singles chart, the first thing that springs to mind in the Official Charts Company’s countdown. This goes out every Friday on BBC Radio One. Before then, it used to go out on Sunday afternoons and, prior to October 1987, Tuesday lunchtimes.

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Phoenix, Boarshurst Silver Band (2019)

The Phoenix Has Risen! Introducing Boarshurst Silver Band’s Second Album

An exclusive review of Phoenix, Boarshurst Silver Band’s second LP

Hot off the success of their first LP, Images, Boarshurst Silver Band have another hit on their hands with the long-awaited follow-up Phoenix. Taking the name of a Peter Graham piece, it symbolises two things. One is the band’s triumph over adversity. The other is their return to the Championship Section in 2020, breaking a 29-year absence from brass banding’s top flight.

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