The Great 70s Project: 1971

Welcome to a look back at some of our favourite music from 1971. In some ways, it seems the perfect continuation of 1970, with the hard rock pioneers releasing some of the best albums of the careers.

Looking elsewhere, though, things are perhaps more interesting…

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Real Gone’s End of Year Round Up 2015

We’ve reached the end of 2015. It hasn’t been as thrilling a year for new music as 2014 had been, but there has been plenty to entertain. We’re still waiting on the proposed deluxe edition of Prince & The Revolution’s classic ‘Purple Rain’ (we could be waiting a long time) and those promised UB40 deluxe editions. Another year has passed without the arrival of Real Gone favourite Mick Terry’s second album. Lots of people in the UK have been (over)-excited by Steven Wilson’s ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’, but most of what’s impressed us the most at Real Gone – as is so often the case – is often just a little more underground.

Here are our year’s top picks…

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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Incomplete (or rambling thoughts on collecting from an obsessive music fan)

Right up to the 1980s, things were fairly simple as a music fan.  Your favourite bands released singles and albums and, as a loyal fan, you bought them knowing you’d kept to your end of the bargain.  Sometimes singles weren’t part of albums and in that case you got something extra.   Things started to change in the 1980s when the picture disc started to make regular appearances, thus meaning an occasional extra purchase.  Labels like ZTT (run by business-minded Trevor Horn and Paul Morley) were quick to capitalise on marketing strategies – with bands like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, they made sure that different formats had different mixes and different edits.  In the case of the fledgling cassette single, they even went an extra step by including unreleased bits and pieces from the cutting room floor, often to fans’ bemusement and eventual delight.

Not everyone was as keen to play the game.  Towards the end of the decade, Morrissey – in a spiteful lyrical snide against his then record company’s repackaging of Smiths material – gave us the lyrical legend “reissue, reissue, repackage…re-evaluate the songs, extra track and a tacky badge”. Some bands stuck rigidly to the old model of single release followed by album…and then a couple more singles (often with something extra on the b-side, sure; but once that was done, you knew that was it, at least until the next outpouring of new material in a couple of years).

By the mid-90s, albums would occasionally appear as special editions.  This usually involved a bonus disc containing a handful of extra songs (or in the case of The Beautiful South’s excellent ‘Carry On Up the Charts’ anthology, a whole disc of hard to find b-sides) or live material.  Another easy choice for the consumer: you chose to buy either the standard release or fork out a few extra quid for that bonus disc – job done, everybody happy.  Bon Jovi’s ‘Keep The Faith’ was among the first to mark a shifting tide towards fan-testing, record company greed when the special edition appeared months after the original album’s release.  This staggered release ensured almost everyone had purchased ‘Keep The Faith’ already…but would they buy it again?  Of course they would – if not everyone, then at least a good proportion of the die-hards would want that extra material.  Why wouldn’t they?  The floodgates were open.

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STORM THORGERSON: 28 February 1944 – 18 April 2013

In the world of rock music sleeve art, one artist’s name can be found cropping up time and again: Storm Thorgerson.  His graphic design companies Hipgnosis and Storm Studios were responsible for so many instantly recognisable pieces of art. Some of them are now so much part of popular culture, they are almost taken for granted by music lovers.

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