Record Companies – ZTT

Few record labels hold the allure that ZTT do. Zang Tumb Tuum (or one of the other variations on the name that they have used from time to time) were formed in 1983 by Trevor Horn, his wife Jill Sinclair, and Paul Morley. Apart from an impressive range of artists, they came to be known for their videos and artwork, and remain influential to this day.

Created to release ABC‘s The Lexicon of Love, the label has gone on to house numerous huge names, including Art of Noise, 808 State, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Roy Orbison, Propaganda, Adamski, Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, Seal, and Lisa Stansfield.

ZTT is part of the BMG group, so their minimal website is here:
https://www.bmg.com/de/artist/ztt-records

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Stowaway Heroes – Shep Pettibone

One of the most important names of the 1980s is Shep Pettibone. You’ll know him from multiple remixes and production credits, but there’s a good chance that you don’t actually know anything about him. Me neither, frankly, so let’s start with something we can all agree on – the brilliance of his 1986 remix of Love Comes Quickly, by Pet Shop Boys:

The New York-based DJ would work with Pet Shop Boys a number of times between 1986 and 1988, working on ten tracks in total. But by 1986, Pettibone was already half a decade into his career, having cut his teeth on Afrika Bambaataa‘s Jazzy Sensation in 1981:

His CV for the late 1980s is impressive to say the least, including remixes and production work for Art of NoiseThe B-52sBee GeesBrosDavid BowieDepeche ModeDuran DuranDusty SpringfieldElton JohnErasure, FalcoGeorge MichaelJanet JacksonNew OrderRun DMCWhitney Houston and many others. But his most prolific collaborator seems to have been Madonna, who used his services no less than sixteen times between 1985 and 1993. Here’s Into the Groove:

His mixes were undeniably of their time, with huge drum fills and solos, and a lot of orchestral hits – so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that his remix work dried up somewhat in the 1980s. But if you’re looking for someone who heavily impacted the sound of a particular era, Shep Pettibone should be very high on your list.

Preview – Art of Noise

One of the most important and often forgotten artists in the world of music made a surprise reappearance last week with a little box set of rarities and live recordings. You may well not know about (The) Art of Noise, but they have a most accomplished back catalogue, including tracks such as this one, The Holy Egoism of Genius, which appears on this new collection:

Chart for stowaways – 17 May 2014

We haven’t covered the albums much in detail recently, and there still isn’t a huge amount going on over there, but here are this week’s top ten:

  1. Moby – Innocents
  2. B.E.F. – Music of Quality and Distinction, Vol. 3 – Dark
  3. DARKSIDE (Nicholas Jaar) – Psychic
  4. Dirty Vegas – Let the Night EP
  5. De La Soul – Stakes is High
  6. Tiga – Ciao!
  7. Skywatchers – The Skywatchers Handbook
  8. Soulsavers – The Light the Dead See
  9. Ladytron – 604
  10. Art of Noise – Influence

Pet Shop Boys hold onto the top spot for a second week on the singles with the Flourescent 12″ single.

Record Store Day 2014

Despite all my reservations about Record Store Day (mainly, the fact that only eBay sellers actually seem to get anything out of it), it’s hard not to get excited. So given the chance, you should probably think about finding your local record shop this Saturday, and seeing what might grab your fancy.

Here are some of the more interesting releases this year:

  • Amorphous Androgynous (sometimes also known as The Future Sound of London) – The Cartel & Remixes (2xLP, UK only)
  • Art of NoiseLive at the End of a Century (LP picture Disc, 500 copies, UK / Germany / Netherlands / Belgium only)
  • David Bowie1984 Picture Disc (7″, 4,000 copies, US / Canada only) and Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide (picture disc, Germany / Netherlands / France / Belgium only)
  • ChromeoEzra’s Interlude / Over Your Shoulder (7″, Germany / Netherlands / Belgium only)
  • CHVRCHESRecover EP (12″, 2,500 copies, US / Canada only) and We Sink (7″, UK / Germany only)
  • Cut CopyIn These Arms of Love / Like Any Other Day (10″, 2,000 copies, US only)
  • DevoButch Devo and the Sundance Gig (Vinyl / DVD, 1,750 copies) and Live at Max’s Kansas City – November 15, 1977 (12″, 2,000 copies, US only)
  • Everything But the GirlEden (30th Anniversary Edition) (gatefold clear LP, UK / Germany / Netherlands / Italy / France / Belgium only)
  • Gemma RayDeath Disc (7″ picture disc, Germany / Netherlands only)
  • Inspiral CarpetsDung 4 + The Cow EP (LP + 7″, UK / Germany only)
  • Joy DivisionAn Ideal for Living (1978) (12″, 7,500 copies, US / Canada / Italy / France / Belgium only)
  • LCD SoundsystemThe Long Goodbye (LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden) (5×12″, 3,000 copies)
  • David LynchThe Air is on Fire (LP, 1,000 copies) and The Big Dream Remix EP (12″, UK / Germany / Netherlands / France / Belgium only)
  • MGMT – Congratulations (180 gram 2xLP, 1,000 numbered copies) and Oracular Spectacular (180 gram LP, 1,500 numbered copies)
  • Kylie MinogueGolden Boy (7″, Germany / Netherlands / Canada / France only)
  • The NotwistRun Run Run (12″, 1,770 copies)
  • Nova Nova & Peter HookLow Ends (Original and Slabb Remixes) (7″, UK only) and Low Ends (Thierry Criscione Remixes) (7″, UK only)
  • Pet Shop BoysFlourescent (12″, UK only)
  • The SpecialsSock it to ’em J.B. / Rat Race (7″, 1,000 copies, certain US / Canada / Belgium locations only)
  • Tears for FearsReady Boys & Girls (10″, 3,000 copies, US only)
  • Sébastien TellierL’Incroyable Vérité (LP, UK / Germany / Canada / France only)
  • The TheGiant (12″, 2,000 copies)
  • Tracey ThornMolly Drake Songs (7″, UK only)

I’ve done my best to get the territories right, but you’ll probably want to cross-check with the lists here if there’s something specific you’re after…

Last year’s list, if it’s still of interest, was here.

The BRIT Awards 1989

Oh yes, 1989. The single most important year in the history of the BRITs. Broadcast live from London’s Royal Albert Hall, it’s the pop music event of the year. Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood famously presented for the first year that it was even called the BRIT Awards.

If you think that pairing a miniature Page Three model with an enormous Fleetwood Mac baldy might be a bad idea, you have little idea of the shambles which would follow. So disastrous was it, that the event wouldn’t be broadcast live for another decade. But on the plus side, we can watch the whole thing thanks to YouTube. So let’s sit back and enjoy the event of a lifetime in full. Part 1:

The show opens relatively poorly with Gloria Estefan, before the bizarrely paired hosts stumble on stage, eventually find their way to the microphones, and stumble their way through the show introduction.

Best British Single

Phil Collins arrives to put the hosts out of their misery, but disappointingly fails to kill either of them. Julian Lennon, although announced by the hosts, does not. Nominees:

  • Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid
  • Fairground Attraction – Perfect
  • Robert Palmer – She Makes My Day
  • Tanita Tikaram – Twist In My Sobriety
  • Tom Jones & Art of Noise – Kiss

Cue some embarrassed filling by the hosts while the winners try to find the stage.

Winner: Fairground Attraction.

Best British Group

Presented by the fabulous The Fo… the wonderful The Four… the brilliant The Four Tops. Oh, it’s Boy George. Nominees:

  • Christians
  • Def Leppard
  • Erasure
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Wet Wet Wet

Winner: Erasure.

Best International Male Solo Artist

This time, with a bit of culture (you know, because he was in Culture Club) it’s Boy Geo… oh, OK, The Four Tops. Nominees:

  • Alexander O’Neal
  • Luther Vandross
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Terence Trent D’Arby

A clean sweep for… why on earth did he feel it necessary to bring race into it? The Four Tops steal the award, claiming they’ll pass it onto the winner “at some point”.

Winner: Michael Jackson.

At which point Fairground Attraction start doing bird impressions.

Best International Female

In possibly the worst introduction yet, we learn that Madonna has been busy glorying in her bask. Presented by Michael Hutchence and John Farris out of INXS. Nominees:

  • Anita Baker
  • Enya
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Tracy Chapman
  • Whitney Houston

Winner: Tracy Chapman.

Best British Album

Presented by Carol Decker and Mike Rutherford. Nominees:

  • Aztec Camera – Love
  • Fairground Attraction – First of a Million Kisses
  • Pet Shop Boys – Introspective
  • Steve Winwood – Roll With It
  • The Pasadenas – To Whom It May Concern

Winner: Fairground Attraction.

Best International Group

Whose turn is it? Um… no idea, let’s just fade the hosts out. Presented by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme out of 10cc. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • INXS
  • U2
  • Womack & Womack

Winner: U2.

Next up, Yazz, who sat on top of the chart for five weeks. Which must have been uncomfortable. Then Mark Knopfler and Alan Price bang on about the BRITs School for a bit.

Best British Newcomer

In an interesting move designed to completely outfox (ha!) the presenters, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman turn up with a mystery third person, without having shown us a list of “possibilities”. So the only nominee we know about is:

  • Bros

What a dreadful acceptance speech. Thanks Mum.

Winner: Bros.

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox out of Eurythmics, who seem to have locked the winner in a studio. Nominees:

  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Enya
  • Michelle Shocked
  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa
  • Tracy Chapman

Winner: Tracy Chapman.

Def Leppard turn up for some heavy, heavy metal. And massive perms.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Courtney Pine and Mica Paris. Nominees:

  • Andre Previn – Violin & Viola Concertos: Walton
  • Jeffrey Tate – Opera Arias – Mozart – Kiri te Kanawa
  • Phillip Brunelle – Paul Bunyan – Britten
  • Simon Rattle – Symphony No 2 – Mahler
  • Trevor Pinnock – Messiah – Handel

Handel has been totally up there for loads of years.

Winner: Trevor Pinnock.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

If we’re not careful then the whole show might grind to an abysmal and moody halt. Which would leave everyone feeling very pleased, probably. Presented by Justin Hayward, someone else out of The Moody Blues, and Belinda Carlisle.

  • Buster (various artists)
  • Good Morning Vietnam (various artists)
  • Hairspray (various artists)
  • Rattle and Hum (U2)
  • The Princess Bride (Mark Knopfler)

Winner: Buster, accepted by Phil Collins and The Four Tops.

Tanita Tikaram then performs in a suit.

Best Music Video

Voted for by viewers of Going Live on BBC1, and presented by Jools Holland, outshouted by Ken Russell. Nominees:

  • Bananarama – Nathan Jones
  • George Harrison – When We Was Fab
  • Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
  • The Christians – Harvest for the World
  • Wet Wet Wet – Temptation

Winner: Michael Jackson.

Best British Male Solo Artist

By this stage we’ve pretty much settled into a pretty dreadful style. Presented by Joan Armatrading and Joe Elliott. Nominees:

  • Chris Rea
  • George Michael
  • Phil Collins
  • Robert Palmer
  • Steve Winwood

Winner: Phil Collins.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Tina Turner, complete with the kind of sexist introduction that you’ve never seen in any tabloid newspaper. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Mica Paris
  • Sade
  • Tanita Tikaram
  • Yazz

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Bros follow with a lot of jumping around.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by the chairman of the BPI Peter Jamieson, who should really have been hanging his head in shame by this stage.

Winner: Cliff Richard. After an appallingly pseudo-religious speech, Cliff deservedly leaves the stage to almost total silence.

Which artist could be singled out to close a show like this? I think we’d agree, no one. Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman and the BRITs Supergroup close the show with a song which even the performers don’t even seem to be enjoying, and finally the thing comes to an end.

Performances

  • Bros – I Owe You Nothing
  • Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
  • Fairground Attraction – Perfect
  • Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – Rhythm Is Gonna Get You
  • Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman and the BRITs Supergroup – Falling in Love
  • Tanita Tikaram – Good Tradition
  • Yazz – Got to Share

Further Reading / Viewing