INDEX OF ALL 700+ POSTS
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did.
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb, 1983)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
An “invaluable website” — historian Dominic Sandbrook, 2012
A UNIQUE HISTORY➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s
➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates
➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU AT TOP to go deeper into the past
➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH, see the sidebar below
❏ Header artwork by Kat Starchild shows Blitz Kids Darla Jane Gilroy, Elise Brazier, Judi Frankland and Steve Strange, with David Bowie at centre in his 1980 video for Ashes to Ashes
TOLD FOR THE FIRST TIME
◆ Who was who in Spandau’s break-out year of 1980? The Invisible Hand of Shapersofthe80s draws a selective timeline for The unprecedented rise and rise of Spandau Ballet –– Turn to our inside page
- ➤ Sullivan’s manifesto for the Rebel Rebel life
- 2019 ➤ For three nights only, Ziggy’s stylist Freddie stars in his own musical
- 1967 ➤ Secret of how Scott Walker achieved a new adult voice as he went solo
- ➤ Elms the storyteller on why some stories are ‘too good to check’
- 2019 ➤ Spandau vocalist Ross rocks fans by announcing his own new band Mercutio
- 2019 ➤ George Michael’s art for sale: funky, X-rated and naughty as you’d expect
- ➤ A personal tale about the genius staring out from a painting expected to sell for £30m tonight
- ➤ My own Rondo moment immortalised by Sullivan, the grand Wag of Soho
- ➤ Bowie TV trilogy triumphs thanks to candour and a few tears
- ➤ Thanks, Steve, for my invitation to the Swinging 80s
- ➤ Four years on: How the Blitz Kids paid magnificent tribute to Steve Strange
- ➤ Topical issues enliven Leave to Remain, an innovative stage musical about gay romance
SEARCH our 700 posts or ZOOM DOWN TO THE ARCHIVE INDEX
NEWS — OLD FACES, NEW MIXES FOR THE 20-TEENS
✱ The new track Dance In The Hurricane from Toyah Willcox’s album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen is out now. If you pre-order the album via the iTunes store (for a special pre-order price of £4.99), it’s available as an instant download. Or stream now on Spotify… Toyah is touring throughout 2019 – full details at Toyah’s own website
✱ Watch out for the April launch of ex-Wag Club supremo Chris Sullivan’s book Rebel Rebel for £11. It runs to 320 pages with his own illustrations of the likes of Bowie, Iggy and Robert Mitchum. Cheapest bought from Waterstones
✱ Latest from legendary Blitz Club deejay and remixer Rusty Egan: Welcome to the Remix at Bandcamp, plus Welcome to the Beach in which Austrian producer HP Hoeger and Egan have taken last year’s Welcome to the Dance Floor and transformed it for the beach with additional musicians joining in and adaptations and spoken word. . . More Egan mixes at Mixcloud. . . and personal playlists at Soundcloud. This man seems to own the interweb.
✱ Jeff Young on Jazz FM last year made the new 18-track Siren his album of the week. This January it won the Bright Star Music Award for Best Soul / R& B Album 2018, brainchild of Colourful Radio. It was superbly crafted by Londoner Robb Scott, with strong supporting lineup, for the Expansion label. Soul Brother Records says: “A collection of classy soul/jazz grooves on that has jazz at its heart but with some superb soulful brushstrokes applied.” Purchase directly from the artist’s store
UNTOLD BLITZ STORIES
✱ If you thought there was no more to know about the birth of Blitz culture in 1980 then get your hands on a sensational new book by an obsessive music fan called David Barrat. It is gripping, original and epic – a spooky tale of coincidence and parallel lives as mind-tingling as a Sherlock Holmes yarn. Titled both New Romantics Who Never Were and The Untold Story of Spandau Ballet! Sample this initial taster here at Shapers of the 80s
LANDMARK FAREWELLS. . . HIT THE INDEX TAB UP TOP FOR EVERYTHING ELSE
✱ “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah – Obituaries and key videos on the godlike one
Archive — Many publication dates are arbitrary, so click and take pot luck!
Tag Archives: Phil Spector
➢ WHILE WE’RE WITH THE RONETTES, WHAT’S THE SMASH THAT CHANGED THE SOUND OF 60s POP?
♫ ♫ CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO …
❚ BRIAN WILSON OF THE BEACH BOYS has declared Be My Baby by the Ronettes his own all-time favourite, and the greatest pop record ever: “The choruses blew me away.” Whoa-oh-oh-oh-ohhh! In August 1963 it changed the game entirely. Be My Baby swept into the charts with a lush new approach to orchestration called the “Wall of Sound” that was to bring down a cleaver between rock and pop. Both however were infected by the sheer musicality introduced by its creator, the record producer Phil Spector. He layered pianos, guitars, reeds, brass and most daringly strings, adding studio overdubs and echo, plus any number of people on percussion — famously, castanets. His own description was “little symphonies for the kids”.
Be My Baby took 42 takes to complete, and its spine-tingling intro is unbeatable. The Ronettes’ original has been immortalised in the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress for being the quintessence of the dense Spector sound that influenced all who followed, including The Beatles on Let It Be, and the output of Trevor Horn in the 1980s.
The song was co-written by one of the many writing partnerships based in New York’s Brill Building — Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry — with a few finishing flourishes added by Spector. The Ronettes themselves were three hot girls from Spanish Harlem, the sisters Estelle and Ronnie Bennett (who later married Spector), and their cousin, Nedra Talley. Their trademarks were beehive hair-dos, eye makeup in the Cleopatra style and tight skirts. Spector signed the Ronettes to his Philles record label and subsequently managed them. Other smash hits included Baby I Love You, The Best Part of Breaking Up, and Walking In the Rain with Spector’s classic storm effects (covered memorably by the Walker Brothers in 1967).
♫ ♫ View video of Brian Wilson playing Be My Baby live — In Q Magazine’s 1001 Best Songs Ever Wilson said: “This is a special one for me. What a great sound, the Wall of Sound. Boy! First heard this on the car radio and I had to pull off the road, I couldn’t believe it. The choruses blew me away; the strings are the melody of love. It has the promise to make the world better.”