This ad from 1981 is one of those rare occasions when advertising is touched with genius.
The pop charts in the post-punk era was not only a golden age for the 45 but also for record company marketing gimmicks. Singles came in coloured vinyl, picture discs, wrapped in newspapers, with double grooves, and multiple sleeves and stamps.
They didn’t always work though, even for established bands like The Skids. In 1980 their third album The Absolute Game made the Top Ten of the album charts but all the singles from it tanked despite being given a gimmicky promo push by Virgin Records. The first single “Circus Games” was wrapped in a poster of the band but only got to #32, while “A Woman In Winter” which stalled 10 places lower came with an 11-page comic called Pirate Gold which starred the band in a ripping yarn about lost treasure.
It’s not exactly Stan Lee and Jack Kirby but still a clever idea and a sign of just how creatively healthy and competitive the pop scene was at the time. Those were the days when a noisy post-punk band like The Skids could appear on the cover of Smash Hits and I guess the comics and glossy posters were an attempt to sell the band to that crowd instead serious young men in overcoats.
It’s not as if these were bad records either, “Circus Games” was stonkingly catchy and “A Woman In Winter” was glorious, uplifting stuff with guitar work by Stuart Adamson that sounds like a rehearsal for Big Country. Should have been an Xmas hit. I bought it with the comic but would still have done if it came in a gravy-stained brown paper bag. Maybe Virgin should have asked Richard Jobson to make his lyrics more coherent instead.
Download: A Woman In Winter – The Skids (mp3)
I hate it when Christmas becomes too commercialized. Except when I do it.
NEW DESIGNS POSTED! ALL SHIRTS ONLY $14!! THE PERFECT XMAS PRESENT!! BUY! BUY! BUY!
Download: I’d Like You For Christmas – Julie London (mp3)
As summer is over I wasn’t going to put up any new t-shirt designs until next year, but I’ve sold a few in the past month so I guess it must still be warm somewhere. As usual this is only $14 for a limited time so get it now. Early Christmas presents maybe?
Download: Procession – New Order (mp3)
This was New Order’s second single but is less well known than it’s b-side “Everything’s Gone Green” probably because the latter points more toward the direction the band was to take. It’s a slight song but I always liked it, especially those lovely synth washes.
Two new designs for your wearing pleasure down the Funky Disco. Get them while they’re only $14.
Download: Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On – The Temptations (mp3)
One look at an old photo of London will tell you the past was a dirtier place: Soot-covered buildings, smog, everyone smoking. But I never knew it was so bad that sweets came in specially reinforced, anti-dirt wrappers.
Download: Trash 2 – Roxy Music (mp3)
This was the b-side of Roxy’s 1979 comeback single “Trash” and is a mellower take on the same song. I prefer the original but I quite like the broody atmosphere of this version.
New t-shirt designs on sale. As usual get them while they’re hot and only $14.
Two new designs on sale, get them while they’re hot and only $14.
I have more planned in this range. Any requests for other genres? Funk? Prog? Handbag House?