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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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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Breakfast In America for Beginners: A Duffers’ Guide to Supertramp’s 1979 LP

(Almost) everything you need to know about Breakfast In America, Supertramp’s sixth album which is 40 years old this year

  • Album: Breakfast In America;
  • US Release Date: 29 March 1979 (#1);
  • UK Release Date: 31 March 1979 (#3);
  • US Chart Singles: The Logical Song (#6), Breakfast In America (#62), Goodbye Stranger (#15), Take The Long Way Home (#10);
  • UK Chart Singles: The Logical Song (#7), Breakfast In America (#9), Goodbye Stranger (#57);
  • Producers: Peter Henderson/Supertramp;
  • Management: Dave Margerson, Mismanagement;
  • Supertramp: Richard Davies (vocals, keyboard), Roger Hodgson (vocals, lead guitar), John Anthony Helliwell (saxophone, backing vocals), Dougie Thomson (bass guitar), Bob C Benburg (percussion).

As pivotal dates go, the 29th of March 1979 really pushed the envelope. Britain was in election mood as James Callaghan’s Labour Government lost a vote of no confidence by one vote. This would lead to a General Election on the 4th May and a Commons Majority of 40 for Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative party.

Over in Los Angeles, the 29th of March 1979 was a pivotal date for an Anglo-American rock group. One of the said group’s earlier albums may have inspired a front page headline in The Sun: Crisis? What Crisis? Which was supposedly said by the departing PM during the Winter of Discontent whilst on holiday.

Continue reading “Breakfast In America for Beginners: A Duffers’ Guide to Supertramp’s 1979 LP”

Have Yourself a Merry Disco Christmas: A Cheesy Tunes Special

Reflections on Mirror Image? A spin with the Roller Disco Orchestra? Cheesy Tunes bites back

Christmas: such a great period to spend time with our family, or put aside a few musical differences. Or the good use of a few days or fortnight away from work (unless the Tories use Brexit to stop this). At this time of writing, it looks as if Ed Sheeran is set to have this year’s Christmas Number One single. A world away from when cheesiness used to dominate the pop charts at Christmas. Continue reading “Have Yourself a Merry Disco Christmas: A Cheesy Tunes Special”

The Essential Electric Light Orchestra: The Not So Perfect Twenty

In celebration of Jeff Lynne and ELO: a super sized Not So Perfect Ten

What a difference three years makes. Especially if your name is Jeff Lynne (and you realise how popular you are with your audience after a lengthy hiatus). In the last three weeks I have become the proud owner of his latest work, Alone In The Universe. A somewhat ironic title given NASA’s news of life on other planets, and possible Earth like bodies in the cosmos.

In the last two months we have had a backlog of Not So Perfect Tens, hence this double helping. With my recent acquisition, and Jeff Lynne’s birthday being today, a chance to make ELO this month’s subject. Continue reading “The Essential Electric Light Orchestra: The Not So Perfect Twenty”

Forgotten Local Bands of the Noughties: When Animals Attack

East of the M60 looks at a local unsigned group from the early noughties

When Animals Attack's début album.
When Animals Attack’s début album. Please note that the fuzziness is consistent with 2003 era digital cameras. Which I have done purposely in the post-processing stage.

Thursday 30 August 2001, The Witchwood, Ashton-under-Lyne. The writer of this piece, then a young 22 year old wannabe Lester Bangs type (powered by real ale and Hollands Meat Pies of course), went to see a friend’s group. Topping the bill that night was his friend’s group Scapa Flow. They were supported by two other groups. Continue reading “Forgotten Local Bands of the Noughties: When Animals Attack”

The Duffers’ Guide to Watching Tribute Acts

East of the M60’s cut-out-and-keep guide on how to watch your favourite group or singer immortalised by another one.

Saturday 21st July 1990, in the living room of East of the M60 Towers (well it would have been East of the A627 back then as the M60 wasn’t finished till October 2000), one of Granada Television’s most fondly remembered light entertainment shows began. The first person to sing among five others was a Kylie Minogue soundalike. A former Crackerjack presenter anchored each half hourly episode. Continue reading “The Duffers’ Guide to Watching Tribute Acts”

Acceptable in the 1990s: An A to Z of the Decade’s Popular Culture

A slightly irreverent look at a decade which spawned the internet, Cones Hotline and Gladiators

In the 1980s, local and national radio stations’ Golden Hour/Solid Gold Hour/whatever type of Golden Oldies slot would have focused on the 1950s and 1960s. Which was 20 – 30 years ago. Fast forwarding to 2013, the music of 20 – 30 years ago would include early Take That, the Pet Shop Boys, Bananarama and Duran Duran. The people who were nostalgic for Manfred Mann or The Beatles in 1983 may well have been in their 20s – 30s. Today they would have children who have flown the nest. Today’s twenty to thirty somethings may well be similarly nostalgic over the Shamen, East 17, and Boyzone.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

On With The Medley: The Fabulous Medley Craze of 1981

‘You can boogie like disco, love that disco song…’

1981 was a terrible year for most of us: high unemployment, high inflation, in fact high everything. Even bus fares went up along Greater Manchester and London, which led to GMC and GLC becoming Labour controlled in September. Musically, independent record labels like Postcard, Factory and Rough Trade made for a diverse music scene. Alongside what was Real Indie Music on Real Indie Labels, were the New Romantics and Dollar.

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Rebellious Mixtape #5: Music for Barbecues

At last, the sun has arrived!

East of the M60 are celebrating the sun’s debut for the two thousandth and twelfth year of our Lord. The last two days has seen the sunshine make a welcome appearance to our often rain sodden skies. So much so that our rebellious mixtape should be called Briquette Rocking Beats.

Without further ado, pop pickers… Continue reading “Rebellious Mixtape #5: Music for Barbecues”