This is the first, and potentially also last, mention here for an unlikely Stowaway Hero. Ian Levine is a divisive personality, who has been involved in three main spheres that are relevant to this blog: first and least relevant is northern soul. If you’re not familiar with what that means… well, frankly, you are:
Yes, Fatboy Slim joins the ranks of Soft Cell and many others who have appeared on this blog previously as acts who have been influenced by northern soul, the gentle black American pop music that surprisingly took the north of England by storm in the late 1960s.
By the mid-1970s, Levine was one of the better known DJs who was bringing northern soul to Blackpool, and in more recent years, he has put his name to several compilation albums covering the era.
Over the decade or so that followed, he also made his name in the world of television show Doctor Who, writing the theme for the 1981 spin-off K-9 and Company, and also being responsible for this awful and rather tasteless charity single to try to persuade the BBC to bring the main series back in 1985:
Astonishingly, Hans Zimmer helped out on fairlight for that recording, along with a lot of people for whom this hopefully wasn’t the highlight of their career.
More specifically though, for this blog, Levine was the man who produced this hit single for Evelyn Thomas, later also covered by Erasure:
While the electronic parts of the song are almost depressingly simple, there’s a lot to be said for the vocal performance. His subsequent remixes for Pet Shop Boys (of Paninaro and It’s a Sin) definitely deserve to be forgotten, as does this (subsequently deleted) shockingly misogynistic tweet about the casting of a female Doctor Who:
CHRIS CHIBNALL MAKES ME WANNA VOMIT He has put the final nail into Doctor Who. RIP
But for all of that, I think we can agree that Ian Levine has influenced this blog in his own way, and for that we should be grateful!