The Assembly – Never Never

After a few stormy years with Depeche Mode and YazooVince Clarke‘s third attempt at a group was The Assembly, formed with Yazoo‘s producer (and provider of the first album title) Eric Radcliffe. It was a short-lived project, which supposedly was intended to consist of collaborations with multiple vocalists, but after the follow-up with Paul Quinn failed to break the charts, Clarke moved onto Erasure, and the rest is history.

So the lovely Never Never sadly never made it onto an album. Released thirty-five years ago this week, barely a year and a half after Yazoo had disbanded, it peaked at number four on the UK charts. As a standalone hit, it’s largely forgotten now, but it’s worth remembering from time to time.

It’s a great song, for the first time on a Clarke production featuring some very audible acoustic guitar work, and also including some early pre-echoes of Erasure‘s early work. But the overriding mood here is of Yazoo‘s unfinished business – you can’t help but wonder whether Clarke wrote this intending that Alison Moyet would be delivering the vocal. Instead, it’s Feargal Sharkey who does the honours, and he does a great job.

Side B brings us the brilliantly syncopated instrumental Stop/Start. Again, this would have fitted perfectly on the tail end of Yazoo‘s imaginary third album, and it’s hard to stop thinking about that now, but there’s also a fairly different feel to this track that maybe would prevent it from fitting in quite so well with Upstairs at Eric’s and You and Me Both.

The 12″ version of the single just gives us two extended versions – Never Never gains a long introduction which honestly sounds exceptional, and Stop/Start also gets some extra bits at the front, although they don’t add a huge amount in this instance. They also seem to have left the radio on in the background for the extra part of this recording, for some reason.

It’s a short, compact single, with just two tracks on each format, but you have to wonder slightly what might have happened if an album had followed. Instead, Clarke found peace and sold millions of records as half of Erasure, and Never Never was largely forgotten.

The 1996 CD reissue of Never Never has long since fallen out of print, but you can still find it as a stream or download.

Preview – Yazoo

Yazoo’s story essentially goes something like this:

  • 1982: Upstairs at Eric’s
  • 1983: You and Me Both
  • 1986-1996: CD reissues of singles and albums, and a nice remix of Situation
  • 1999: ropey “best of” compilation, and ropey remixes of Only YouDon’t Go, and Situation
  • 2008: lovely In Your Room CD box set and reunion tour, random remix singles Reconnected EP and Nobody’s Diary
  • 2010: live album
  • 2017: random remix of Only You
  • 2018: interesting looking vinyl box set Four Pieces, also inexplicably available on three CDs

The last thirty-five years have been a bit odd, so hopefully this mess all gets mopped up properly at some point… but for now, this:

Chart for stowaways – 22 September 2018

Here are the latest top singles!

  1. Ladytron – The Island
  2. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom
  3. Tiefschwarz – Never
  4. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  5. Electribe 101 – Talking with Myself 
  6. Ladytron – The Animals
  7. The Future Sound of London – Collapsed Structures
  8. Tiësto / Dzeko / Preme / Post Malone – Jackie Chan
  9. David Bowie – Zeroes
  10. Keep Shelly In Athens – Our Own Dream – EP

Q Awards 2018

We looked at the nominees for this year’s Q Awards, and then the ceremony took place on 18th October this year! So now we’re in a position to let you know how everybody got on.

Q Breakthrough Act presented by Red Stripe

  • Amyl & The Sniffers
  • Goat Girl
  • Tom Grennan
  • The Magic Gang
  • IDLES
  • Bugzy Malone
  • Nakhane
  • Novelist
  • Nadine Shah
  • Jorja Smith
  • Rejjie Snow

Winner: jointly presented to IDLES and Goat Girl

Q Best Track presented by Firestone

  • Love It If We Made It – The 1975
  • This Is America – Childish Gambino
  • Girlfriend – Christine & The Queens
  • The Man – Goat Girl
  • Make Me Feel – Janelle Monae
  • Bells & Circles – Underworld & Iggy Pop

Winner: Underworld and Iggy Pop

Q Best Album

  • Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino – Arctic Monkeys
  • Hunter – Anna Calvi
  • Who Built The Moon? – Noel Gallagher
  • Joy As An Act Of Resistance – IDLES
  • Marauder – Interpol
  • I’m All Ears – Let’s Eat Grandma

Winner: Let’s Eat Grandma

Q Best Live Act presented by The Cavern Club

  • David Byrne
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  • Liam Gallagher
  • Stefflon Don
  • Taylor Swift
  • Wolf Alice

Winner: Wolf Alice

Q Best Solo Artist presented by Absolute Radio

  • Christine & The Queens
  • Drake
  • Noel Gallagher
  • Janelle Monae
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Sophie

Winner: Noel Gallagher

Q Best Act In The World Today presented by Rocksteady Music School

  • The 1975
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Florence & The Machine
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • St Vincent
  • Paul Weller

Winner: Paul Weller

Q Best Festival/Event presented by Pretty Green Clothing

  • All Points East
  • British Summertime
  • Isle Of Wight Festival
  • Latitude Festival
  • RIZE Festival
  • Spotify Presents: Who We Be

Winner: Spotify Presents: Who We Be

Innovation in Sound

Winner: The Streets

Classic album

Winner: The Kinks, for The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

Maverick

Winner: Lawrence

Fender Play Award

Winner: Simon Neil

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Winner: Noel Gallagher

Q Legend

Winner: Nile Rodgers

Q Inspiration

Winner: Trojan Records

Q Icon

Winner: Ian McCulloch

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Brett Anderson

Crash Test Dummies – God Shuffled His Feet

Somewhere, a quarter of a century back in history, lie the Crash Test Dummies. You may or may not remember the singer’s deep baritone from the hit Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. If not, there’s a little slice of Canadian pop history that you should probably acquaint yourself with.

As it should be, the title track and final single God Shuffled His Feet comes first. It’s a great pop-rock song, with sweet bass work and a strong performance from the backing singers.

It’s immediately apparent from the track titles, and even the name of the band, that Crash Test Dummies have a slightly wicked sense of humour. Second UK single Afternoons and Coffeespoons talks of the steady march towards old age, with a bit of a wry smile. If you don’t get all the references (those of us outside Canada probably don’t), you can still enjoy a fun pop-rock song.

Then it’s the turn of the opening single, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, which appears to be something about miracle faith healers. Whatever the content, it’s another great pop song, and peaked at number two in the UK, hitting the top spot in various countries.

You could perhaps criticise Crash Test Dummies somewhat though, as Brad Roberts has an extremely distinctive voice, which he could easily use to debunk the common trend that always seems to exist in pop music that male singers can only use higher registers. He has, but he seems to have intentionally brought his delivery another octave or so lower, which can make them a bit of a novelty. It’s not too surprising really that their global hits barely lasted beyond this one album.

It’s generally a good album, though – In the Days of the Caveman, and Swimming in Your Ocean are both strong songs in the vein of those two or three hit singles. It’s not until Here I Stand Before Me that the quality really drops – how nobody could have spotted that this is essentially a bizarre medley of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm and Afternoons and Coffeespoons is difficult to fathom.

Things do start to look up at the beginning of the second half though – I Think I’ll Disappear Now is good, but you do have to fight the feeling that you’ve heard this all before by this stage. But then there’s some weird production on How Does a Duck Know?, as it features some very uncomfortable panning and mixing – so much so, in fact, that it’s pretty much impossible to notice whether the lyrics are as witty as the title suggests. Honestly, this track is a total mess.

After that, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to turn the whole thing off, but with a bit of effort – When I Go Out with ArtistsThe Psychic, and Two Knights and Maidens, and the untitled final track are all a bit forgettable, to be honest. It’s strange really – this album starts so promisingly, but somewhere, about half way through, it just stops delivering. But it’s worth having for those couple of good songs. Crash Test Dummies may have been just a two or three-hit wonder for most of the world, but it wasn’t too bad while it lasted.

You can still find God Shuffled His Feet from all major retailers.

Chart for stowaways – 8 September 2018

We’re back up and running! Here are the albums:

  1. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  2. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  3. Pet Shop Boys – Behaviour
  4. The Human League – Secrets
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Very
  6. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
  7. Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual
  8. Tunng – Songs You Make At Night
  9. The Beloved – X
  10. Justice – Woman Worldwide

Ivor Novello Awards – The 1970s

Having discovered popular music in the mid-1960s, the Ivor Novello Awards seem to have taken a bit of a step back in the 1970s, by becoming obsessed with musicals and jazz, and ignoring the stuff that people were actually listening to.

Ivor Novello Awards 1970

Fifteen ceremonies in, the Ivor Novello Awards entered the 1970s on 10th May 1970, at Talk of the Town. The ceremony was broadcast on TVR.

  • The ‘A’ Side of the Record Issued in 1969 Which Achieved the Highest Certified British Sales: Get Back, performed by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • The Most Performed Work of the Year: Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, performed by The Beatleswritten by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • The British Songwriter of the Year: Tony Macaulay
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Noel Coward
  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Where Do You Go To My Lovely, written by Peter Sarstedt
  • Best Score from a Film or Musical Play: Madwoman of Caillot, written by Michael Lewis
  • The Year’s Outstanding Light Orchestral Arranger / Composer: Ernest Tomlinson
  • British International Hit of the Year: Love Is All, written by Barry Mason and Les Reed
  • International Artist of the Year: Tom Jones
  • Special Award for Originality: Space Oddity, written by David Bowie
  • Special Award for The Most Contemporary Song: Melting Pot, performed by Blue Mink, written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway

Ivor Novello Awards 1971

The 1971 ceremony was the sixteenth.

  • British Songwriters of the Year: Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Cliff Richard
  • The ‘A’ Side of the Record Issued in 1970 Which Achieved the Highest Certified British Sales: In the Summertime, performed by Mungo Jerry, written by Ray Dorset
  • The Most Performed Work of the Year: Yellow River, performed by Christie, written by Jeff Christie
  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Something, performed by The Beatles, written by George Harrison
  • Best Theme from Any Film, Television Programme or Theatrical Production: Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler, written by Jimmy Perry and Derek Taverner
  • The Best Ballad or Romantic Song, Musically and Lyrically: Home Lovin’ Man, performed by Andy Williams, written by Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway and Tony Macaulay
  • The Best Pop Song: Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), performed by Edison Lighthouse, written by Tony Macaulay and Barry Mason
  • The Best Novel or Unusual Song, Musically and Lyrically: Grandad, performed by Clive Dunn, written by Herbie Flowers and Ken Pickett
  • The International Hit of the Year by British Writers: In the Summertime
  • Light Music Award: March from the Colour Suite, written by Gordon Langford

Ivor Novello Awards 1972

The 1972 ceremony was introduced by Robin Boyle, and broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 28th June 1972.

  • British Songwriters of the Year: Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Jimmy Kennedy
  • The ‘A’ Side of the Record Issued in 1971 Which Achieved the Highest Certified British Sales: My Sweet Lord, written by George Harrison
  • The Most Performed Work of the Year: My Sweet Lord
  • Entertainment Music: Ron Goodwin
  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Don’t Let It Die, written by Hurricane Smith
  • The Best Song and/or Theme Score from any Film, Television Programme or Theatrical Production: I Don’t Know How To Love Him, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
  • The Best Ballad or Romantic Song, Musically and Lyrically: No Matter How I Try, written by Gilbert O’Sullivan
  • The Best Pop Song, Musically and Lyrically: A Simple Game, performed by The Moody Blues, written by Mike Pinder
  • The Best Novel or Unusual Song, Musically and Lyrically: Ernie, written by Benny Hill
  • The International Hit of the Year by British Writers: Jesus Christ Superstar, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

Ivor Novello Awards 1973

On 3rd May 1973, at the Connaught Rooms in London, the Music Publishers Association Lunch hosted the eighteenth Ivor Novello Awards.

  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Vivian Ellis
  • British Songwriter of the Year: Gilbert O’Sullivan
  • The Most Performed Work of the Year: Beg Steal or Borrow, written by Tony Cole, Graeme Hall and Steve Wolfe
  • The ‘A’ Side of the Record Issued in 1972 Which Achieved the Highest Certified British Sales: Mouldy Old Dough, performed by Lieutenant Pigeon, written by Nigel Fletcher and Rob Woodward
  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Without You, performed by Badfinger, written by Tom Evans and Peter Ham
  • The Best Song and/or Theme or Score from any Film or Theatrical Production: Diamonds Are Forever, written by John Barry and Don Black
  • The Best Song and/or Theme from any Radio or Television Programme: Colditz, written by Robert Farnon
  • The Best Ballad or Romantic Song: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, performed by Roberta Flack, written by Ewan MacColl
  • The Best Pop Song: Oh Babe What Could I Say, written by Hurricane Smith
  • The Best Novel or Unusual Song: The People Tree, written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
  • The International Hit of the Year by British Writers: Without You

Ivor Novello Awards 1974

BBC Radio 2 broadcast the 1974 ceremony on 17th May, introduced by Alan Black.

  • Songwriters of the Year: Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Tolchard Evans
  • International Hit of the Year by British Writers: Power to All Our Friends, performed by Cliff Richard, written by Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett
  • Most Performed British Song: Get Down, written by Gilbert O’Sullivan
  • Best Selling British Record: I Love You Love Me Love, written by Mike Leander
  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Daniel, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • The Best Score from any Film or Theatrical Production: Jesus Christ Superstar, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
  • The Best Song or Theme from any Radio or TV Programme: Galloping Home, written by Denis King
  • The Best Ballad or Romantic Song: Won’t Somebody Dance with Me, written by Lynsey De Paul
  • The Best ‘Pop’ Song: You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me, performed by New Seekers, written by Tony Macaulay and Geoff Stephens
  • The Best Novel or Unusual Song: Nice One Cyril, performed by Cockerel Chorus, written by Helen Clarke and Harold Spiro
  • The Best Beat Song: Rubber Bullets, performed by 10cc, written by: Lol Crème, Kevin Godley and Graham Gouldman

Ivor Novello Awards 1975

The 1975 ceremony took place at the Dorchester Hotel, London and was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 22nd May 1975. The awards were introduced by Len Jackson.

  • Songwriters of the Year: Phil Coulter and Bill Martin
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Vera Lynn
  • Most Performed British Song: Wombling Song, performed by The Wombles, written by Mike Batt
  • Best Selling British Record: Tiger Feet, performed by Mud, written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn
  • The Best Light Orchestral Work: Four Dances from Aladdin, written by Ernest Tomlinson
  • The Best New Musical: Treasure Island, written by Cyril Ornadel and Hal Shaper
  • The Best Song: Streets of London, written by Ralph McTell
  • The Best Pop Song: Kung Fu Fighting, written by Carl Douglas
  • The Best Theme from a Film or a Stage, Radio or Television Production: No Honestly!, written by Lynsey De Paul
  • The British International Hit of the Year: The Night Chicago Died, written by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray

PRS Ivor Novello Awards 1976

The 1976 ceremony too place on 11th May at the Dorchester Hotel, London.

  • Songwriters of the Year: Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington
  • Music Publisher of the Year: Geoffrey Heath
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Dick James
  • Most Performed British Work: I’m Not In Love, performed by 10cc, written by Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart
  • Best Selling British Record: Bohemian Rhapsody, performed by Queen, written by Freddie Mercury
  • Best Middle of the Road Song: Harry, written by Catherine Howe
  • Best Pop Song: I’m Not In Love
  • Best Theme from TV or Radio: The Edwardians (Upstairs, Downstairs Theme), written by Alexander Faris
  • Best Film Score: Murder on the Orient Express, written by Richard Rodney Bennett
  • Best British Musical: Great Expectations, written by Cyril Ornadel and Hal Shaper
  • International Hit of the Year: I’m Not In Love
  • Best Instrumental Work: Introduction and Air to a Stained Glass Window, written by John Gregory
  • Best British Work for Children: Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo, written by Michael Flanders and Joseph Horovitz

Ivor Novello Awards 1977

The 1977 ceremony took place at Grosvenor House, in London.

  • Best Pop Song: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Also nominated: Heart On My Sleeve, performed by Gallagher and Lyle, written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle; We Do It, performed by R&J Stone, written by Russell Stone
  • Best Middle of the Road Song: Music, written by John Miles. Also nominated: Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber; Miss You Nights, performed by Cliff Richard, written by Dave Townshend
  • Best Theme from Radio or Television Production: Sam, composed by John McCab. Also nominated: Bouquet of Barbed Wire, by Dennis Farnon; The Sweeney, by Harry South
  • International Hit of the Year: Save Your Kisses for Me, performed by Brotherhood of Man, written by Tony Hiller, Martin Lee and Lee Sheriden; Don’t Go Breaking My Heart; You Should Be Dancing, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb
  • Most Performed Work and Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Save Your Kisses For Me. Also nominated: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
  • Best Instrumental Work: Rain Forest, written by Biddu; Theme from a Non-Existent TV Series, by Elton John and Bernie Taupin; The Sweeney, by Harry South
  • Special Award for their Contribution to British Music: Led Zeppelin (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant)
  • Special Award for the James Bond Theme: Monty Norman
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Adrian Boult
  • Songwriter of the Year: Biddu

Ivor Novello Awards 1978

The 1978 ceremony took place at Grosvenor House, in London.

  • The Best Pop Song: Mull of Kintyre, performed by Wings, written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine. Also nominated: How Deep Is Your Love, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice GibbBoogie Nights, performed by Heatwave, written by Rod TempertonDon’t Cry for Me Argentina, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Also nominated: Sam, performed by Olivia Newton-John, written by John Farrar, Hank Marvin and Don BlackHow Deep Is Your Love
  • The Best Theme from a Radio or Television Production: Poldark, composed by Kenyon Emrys-Robert. Also nominated: Wings, by Alexander FarisLove for Lydia, by Harry Rabinowitz
  • The Best Film Music or Song: How Deep Is Your Love. Also nominated: The Duellists, by Howard Blake; The Scarlet Buccaneer, by John Addison
  • The Outstanding Lyric of the Year: Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs, performed by Brian and Michael, written, written by Michael Coleman and Brian Burke. Also nominated: Don’t Cry for Me ArgentinaHeaven on the 7th Floor, performed by Paul Nicholas, written by Dominique Bugatti and Frank Musker
  • The Best Instrumental or Popular Orchestral Work: Cavatina, composed by Stanley Myers. Also nominated: The Snow Goose, by Ed Welch and Spike MilliganLove Transformation, by Roger Greenaway
  • The International Hit of the Year: Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Also nominated: How Deep Is Your LoveAngelo, performed by Brotherhood of Man, written by Tony Hiller, Lee Sheridan and Martin Lee
  • The Most Performed Work: Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Also nominated: Don’t Give Up On Us, by Tony Macaulay; I Don’t Want to Put a Hold On You, by Berni Flint and Michael Flint
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Mull of Kintyre. Also nominated: Don’t Cry for Me Argentina; Don’t Give Up On Us, performed by David Soul, written by Tony Macaulay
  • The Best British Musical: Privates on Parade, by: Denis King and Peter Nicholls
  • Special Award: Bee Gees (Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb)
  • Award for Outstanding Services to British Music: Harry Mortimer
  • Songwriter of the Year: Tony Macaulay

Ivor Novello Awards 1979

The 1979 ceremony took place at Grosvenor House, in London.

  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Baker Street, written by Gerry Rafferty. Also nominated: Wuthering Heights, by Kate BushCan’t Smile Without You, performed by Barry Manilow, written by Chris Arnold, David Martin and Geoff Morrow
  • The Best Pop Song: Baker Street. Also nominated: Wuthering Heights; Night Fever, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • The Best Theme from a Radio or Television Production: Lillie, composed by Joseph Horovitz. Also nominated: Fawlty Towers, by Dennis Wilson; Hong Kong Beat, by Richard Denton and Martin Cook
  • The Best Film Score: The Silent Witness, composed by Alan Hawkshaw. Also nominated: Watership Down, by Angela Morley, Mike Batt and Malcolm Williamson; The 39 Steps, by Ed Welch
  • The Best Film Song: Bright Eyes, performed by Art Garfunkel, written by Mike Batt. Also nominated: Grease, perfoemd by Frankie Valli, written by Barry Gibb; Stayin’ Alive, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • The Outstanding British Lyric: The Man With The Child In His Eyes, written by Kate Bush. Also nominated: Railway Hotel, by Mike Batt; Baker Street
  • The Best Instrumental or Popular Orchestral Work: Song for Guy, composed by Elton John. Also nominated: Dr. Who, by Ron Grainer; Heartsong, by Gordon Giltrap
  • The International Hit of the Year: Stayin’ Alive. Also nominated: It’s a Heartache, performed by Bonnie Tyler, written by Ronnie Scott and Steve WolfeDreadlock Holiday, performed by 10cc, written by Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman
  • The Most Performed Work: Night Fever, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb. Also nominated: Mull of KintyreThe Floral Dance, performed by Terry Wogan, written by Kate Moss
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Night Fever. Also nominated: Rat Trap, performed by The Boomtown Rats, written by Bob Geldof; Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs
  • The Best British Musical: Evita, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
  • Award for Outstanding Services to British Music: George Martin
  • Special Award for Services to British Songwriters: Victor Knight
  • Special Award for their Contribution to British Music: Jeff Lynne
  • Songwriters of the Year: Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb

Further Reading