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  • Thought for the day

    From today's Guardian review of Fame Academy live:

    "Fame Academy is 2003's equivalent of those early 1970s Top of The Pops albums, which featured the hits of the day performed by game session musicians. Like those albums, its shoddy bargain-basement stuff, destined for history's dustbin."

    So just what hidden gems are lurking on the Fame Academy album?

    Rich, you must know.

    Colin
    http://www.myspace.com/colinmillar

  • #2
    a grand total of...........................................O
    SECRET RUSSIAN ROMANTIC GUITAR PSYCH BREAKS

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    • #3
      Wrong concept from the Guardian folk - early 70s TOTp/12 Tops/etc were pretty honest, cheapo 'here's the tune if you ain't bothered about much else' products churned out for pence: Fame academy is a targeted, multi-media tie-in with squillions behind it charging FULL PRICE at EVERY stage. Leo Muller & co were honest scammers...Fame Academy & the rest are ORGANIZED CRIME & serious corruption!! There is no comparison to be made! At all...

      (OK, rant over....)

      (& hey, I like good pop... I'm happy to listen to shakira & sugababes & er, well...I'll stop there before I get thrown off the board altogether....)
      a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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      • #4
        Those 'Top Of The Pops'-type covers LPs are in no way shoddy (well, maybe a couple of them....)
        Just consider the talents who have at least one of these albums in their CVs - Johnny Harris, Alan Hawkshaw, Barry Morgan, Herbie Flowers, Barbara Moore, Big Jim Sullivan, I could (and probably will) go on.

        And even the very worst performance on these LPs (which is 'See My Baby Jive' on 16 Chart Hits vol. 6, do listen to it - it's dreadful) is infinitely preferable to David Sneddon.

        Sorry, bit of a pet subject, them covers LPs - stay tuned for an article when I can find the time......

        Comment


        • #5
          </span>
          Originally posted by [b
          Quote[/b] ]Quote: from Colin Hero on 8:20 pm on April 17, 2003
          From today's Guardian review of Fame Academy live:

          &quot;Fame Academy is 2003's equivalent of those early 1970s Top of The Pops albums.............&quot;
          <span =''>

          some very true comments in this thread! again, this quote goes to show that most so-called music writers don't have a sodding clue about what they're writing about. a good writer is the exception rather than the rule these days.

          to make the comparison between fame academy et al with the totp albums is obviously flawed on every level. but when the hack's record collection probably consists of 20 albums (all on cd) what do you expect?

          sorry, i'm generalising, but i'm slightly pissed off by this standard of writing.

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          • #6
            </span>
            Originally posted by [b
            Quote[/b] ]Rich, you must know.
            <span =''>Just caught this - grrr. Good question and I agree with Lord Thames, Wooly and Wayne that the writer is making a flawed comparison.

            Nevertheless, there's a better question he could have addressed in there. When we asked a certain producer what interests him in the business these days he answered that he enjoyed Pop Stars and would like to work with Celine Dion or Anastacia?!? Which leads to the same point that I always make when anyone finds it odd that I can listen to Kylie or Justin Timberlake or Kylie or defend S.A.W - the music business is just that, a business. It's always been about making money and for every artist we worship there's another musician we hold in equal esteem who was probably equally talented but driven by other motives than just self expression. How different were Stock, Aitken and Waterman from Motown? And did the creators of those dinky little discs that change hands for silly money really want to create grimey sounding music in their backroom, with a distribution of 500 copies?

            The only way I can reconcile the apparent differences between the charts of today and times of yore is that these days the 'artists' see fame and fortune as the end, and 'playing the game' is the way to achieve that whereas I like to think that previously artists saw recognition and money as the end (yes) but relied on musical ability to get them there. Or maybe that's hopelessly romantic of me.
            You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

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            • #7
              Cat, pidgeons........here goes...

              While I'd happily agree that all sorts of great music turns up in the most unexpected of places, I think that you may need to check yourselves a little bit on this one.

              Yes, there are some great cheap comps from the 70's out there with fantastic and surprising covers, and yes, the analogy is a shoddy one. However, for most people, Top of the Pops albums and their ilk were cheap and cheerful alternatives to the real thing, and were a quick cash in on then currently sucessful chart hits, not labours of love by talented musicians. They also fooled many people at the time into thinking that they were getting the real thing only to be disappointed when they got it home (me as an 8 year old included).

              Those people who still remember these lp's who aren't posting here will pretty much remember them as disposable tat, some enjoyable, some not. While more cynical and polished in terms of marketing, that is pretty much what reality tv is also. Take it or leave it, just like covers Lp's.

              Without having read the article, I cannot say whether this is lazy journalism or not, but would be cautious about dissing someone for not being aware of the hidden gems unearthed by dilligent digging - it's hardly a mainstream hobby after all. Perhaps someone should email the writer and invite them along to the next Fresh Brillo and explain just how good TOTP lp's can be.....

              I don't wish to offend anyone here, but the only way to spread the word is to invite people in, not scorn their ignorance.
              Stop wasting your money on records and get a proper hobby.

              Comment


              • #8
                Personally, I think it's simpler than that: up until about 1978 the business (&amp; it always was a business: look at blokes like Larry Parnes, Berry Gordy &amp; the rest) was unpredictable: nobody knew what would sell, or why it did when it did, so pretty much anything went. Sometimes you'd get production line pop (Brill Building, Bacharach/David, Andrew Loog-Oldham, Mickie Most, Motown, Philly) sometimes 'self-expression', sometimes 'art' (Psychedelia, Mod) sometimes just plain scamming &amp; chancing of arms (Leo Muller, Jonathan King). The difference post new-wave, IMO, is that the business started to nail pretty consistent strategies for scoring 'hits', so started streamline their A&amp;R to fit their marketing - and finding that the strategy worked time &amp; time again. SAW was one of the models (inspired by Motown, &amp; not by untalented guys - heard 'Roadblock'? - but totally driven by marketing to a niche, nobody outside which is of any interest. Cross-overs have reduced in significance because they can't be targeted, so happen (as ever) purely by chance: but the mainstream of the business is now seeking to niche-market rather than create crossovers, and various things (like the way the industry was able to create huge profits from reformatting back catalogue through the 80s &amp; 90s so less dependent on new artists to generate income, and the decline in sales that means a niche market can comfortably score high enough short-term sales to secure chart placings/airplay etc) have pushed things in this direction. I think everyone making music wants it to be played &amp; heard by as many people as possible whether doing pop, hip-hop, beats, folk, whatever...but the advent of music designed solely to be sold to a narrow demographic, with nothing in it for any other demographic, is what Fame Academy etc is all about: Boyzone sell to mums &amp; kids, basically, &amp; the appeal can afford to be that narrow in a way that the equally manufactured Monkees or Motown (who had to sell far more records to make an impact) couldn't. That, I think (plus the fact that nobody knew how the market worked anyway, really) led to everything being experimental - a bit of a shot in the dark - whether it meant to be or not. Maybe in 1966 or 76 the business thought it was selling music; these days, it's selling packaging &amp; column inches. The encouraging thing, I guess, is that the mainstream actually includes fewer people than ever before, and is just one scene among many others. Doubt it'll be too long before the business - faced with declining sales eaten up by escalating marketing budgets - wakes up to that.
                a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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                • #9
                  I think Wayne's pretty much summed all that shit up innit.
                  Stop wasting your money on records and get a proper hobby.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    </span>
                    Originally posted by [b
                    Quote[/b] ]I don't wish to offend anyone here, but the only way to spread the word is to invite people in, not scorn their ignorance.
                    <span =''>That's far too brotherly for us 'he's got a job on a national and I could have written a better article than that - *sob*' types.



                    And, yes, I think Wayne's got it nailed!
                    You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can I have a job on a national now, please?
                      a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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                      • #12
                        Come up before, I'm sure and might be better as a new thread but . . .

                        Which TOTPS do people reckon are tops, and for which tracks . . . ?

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                        • #13
                          Oh yes, I realise I may have got a bit over-enthusiastic with my post earlier - I certainly wouldn't say the covers LPs are magnificently crafted works of art, but I do think they get rather a bad press.

                          Plus, were it not for the covers LPs, Johnny Harris would probably never have done 'Movements', so at least give them credit for that.

                          I don't want to seem as though I'm having a go at the journo in question - to be honest, he's probably right. I doubt Fame Academy will ever produce anything of lasting merit, (and I don't think David Sneddon will be able to afford that flat once the year's up), and likewise the TOTP LPs were basically quick cash ins, there's no point in denying it. But they were usually well done, performed a useful function of bringing the hits of the day to people who couldn't afford a full run of singles, kept the nation's session men out of the dole queue and, dammit, I like them, and that's what counts!!

                          Check out the sleevenotes to the RPM 'Hot Hits' compilation CD for a very reasonable defence of this sort of thing.



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