In September 1983, a young man from Southampton made his first appearance on Top of The Pops. Armed with a then state of the art synthesiser, huge pineapple shaped haircut and a visual aid in the form of a bendy mime artist, he requested we “throw off our mental chains” and made an instant impression with many teenagers watching. That man was Howard Jones. His debut hit single ‘New Song’ was at the cutting edge of the synth pop movement and his gift for a catchy chorus quickly set him apart from hundreds of other potential electronic pop stars. With the help of subsequent hits ‘What Is Love’ and ‘Pearl In The Shell’, Jones became one of the biggest stars of the following year.
When Smashing Pumpkins made their one and only UK stop in London on the first leg of the much anticipated ‘Shiny & Oh So Bright Tour’, it was an utterly thrilling experience. A mammoth three hour audio-visual extravaganza, the set made fantastic use of video screens and costume changes. Despite being in a huge, impersonal venue, it truly felt special – a show in every sense. [A full review of the night can be found here.]
In 2005, the unexpected happened. Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and Lou Barlow buried the hatchet after several years of not speaking to each other. This led to the previously unthinkable happening – completed by Murph on drums, the band headed back into the studio. Their 2007 comeback record ‘Beyond’ was a great return.
Most people expected the reunion to be short-lived, but more albums and tours followed: ‘Farm’ was possibly even better than ‘Beyond’; ‘I Bet On Sky’ melded a rough production style with some great songs and while 2016’s ‘Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not’ could be considered the band on autopilot, it featured a classic Dinosaur sound throughout.
For years, Prince fans held their breath for the Purple One’s extensive catalogue to appear on music streaming services. It seemed about as likely to happen as a set of deluxe reissues of his classic albums. For Prince, everything seemed to be about living in the moment; creating music under his own terms and music for the right now, with no looking back.
Following his untimely death in 2016, a long rumoured deluxe edition of ‘Purple Rain’ was released, which gave fans reason to rejoice whist dealing with the sadness of his passing. A well curated set, the four disc version included the essential ‘Prince & The Revolution LIVE!’ VHS on a DVD format for the first time. His classic albums from 1978-1994 also appeared on Spotify and other streaming platforms.
In 2010, back when Real Gone was in its embryonic stages, we received an email from a musician in the US asking if we’d review the then new album by his band The Great Affairs. That man was Denny Smith, singer-songwriter and previously a member of rock band fORMER. When he contacted us again approximately five months later, he had the distinction of being the very first artist to approach Real Gone for repeat coverage. Almost ten years on from that first contact, Denny dropped by to tell us all about the new album, his extra-curricular projects and more besides. The Great Affairs’ current album, ‘Ten & 2’ could be their best yet…