INDEX OF ALL 700+ POSTS➢ 2009 till now : Everything at Shapers of the 80s.
Now in our tenth year.
Thanks for 1.7 million visits.
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
- ➤ Ross leaps out of the Ballet into the cauldron of grunge
- 2019 ➤ This would have been Steve Strange’s 60th birthday
- 2019 ➤ Another Spandau bombshell – Kemp Brothers drive out Ross their ‘perfect’ new singer
- ➤ 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
SEARCH our 700 posts or ZOOM DOWN TO THE ARCHIVE INDEX
NEWS — OLD FACES, NEW MIXES FOR THE 20-TEENS
✱ Party Time! The current B-52s European tour takes in the UK 29-30 June and 2-3 July, and returns to the States 26 July until September
✱ Visit Radio2 online before 25 June to catch up on this sweeping three-hour musical panorama of what made the Swinging 80s so compelling a chapter in British youth cultural history. Stars among the guests on Martin Kemp’s New Romantics are veteran motormouths, the broadcaster Robert Elms and Wag club director Chris Sullivan, who remind us energetically why they are rightly key Shapers of the 80s. We hear other great stories from Blitz Club deejay Rusty Egan, Blitz Kid and clubbing legend Princess Julia, journalist Paul Simper, ex-Bananarama member Siobhan Fahey, deejays Mark Moore (S’Express/Mud Club) and Playground’s Fat Tony. High-octane playlist of 35 tunes demonstrates the innovative range of sounds that fuelled our dance-floor excesses. Abs no rock.
✱ The new track Dance In The Hurricane from Toyah Willcox’s album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen is out now… Toyah is performing live dates through summer to her Crimson Queen autumn tour – details at Toyah’s own website
✱ Watch out for ex-Wag Club supremo Chris Sullivan’s new 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
✱ 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: Wall of sound
➢ 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.”