When Record Store Day first began, it was a great idea. Those who were regulars at independent record shops like Avalanche in Edinbugh and Resident in Brighton could potentially get their hands on very limited, exclusive items. It was a celebration of record buying culture, more than anything. Over the years the event has grown. After all of the major labels sensed a potential cash cow, it increasingly became about reissuing stuff en masse at inflated prices.
Record Store Day has become an event full of mixed feelings. There are now tales of people not actually visiting their local (and favourite) stores on RSD as the crowds of unfamiliar faces have made the experience quite stressful. People queue for hours in the hope of finding one of the many artificially created rarities – a lot of which seem to appear on ebay just hours later at even more inflated prices. In recent years, there have even been dealers “pre-selling” their RSD wares on the internet up to two days before the event that was supposed to get people into their shops.
One of the more overlooked items within Richard Wright’s back-catalogue, perhaps even more so than his two solo recordings (1978’s ‘Wet Dream’ and 1996’s ‘Broken China’), ZEE was a one-off project. A collaboration with Fashion’s Dave Harris, the band only released one album, but 1984’s ‘Fashion’ is an album that’s continued to be ignored over the years. Perhaps this is due to it not sounding like anything his fans were used to, but maybe it’s place as the elephant in the room of Floyd history runs deeper. Even Wright himself later considered ZEE “an expensive mistake“.
On December 1st 1976, UK TV history was made. On Bill Grundy’s Today show, the Sex Pistols and a couple of their associated chums shocked a nation. Their behavior was quickly seen as inappropriate for most of the 1970s public and by the time their interview concluded with Steve Jones calling Grundy “a fucking rotter”, things had moved from merely “inappropriate” to “causing outrage”.
At the midpoint of the decade, 1974 appeared to have no definite dominant genres, but that allowed for a very varied singles chart. 1975 very much follows that trend, but pushes some of the focus back to great albums.
Roger Waters, ex-Pink Floyd bassist, songwriter and heavy-handed social commentator, released his third solo album, the rather grand ‘Amused To Death’ in 1992. A concept piece about media propaganda and news coverage, the album was one of the best sounding records of the year. It blended a few familiar Floydian motifs with the more atmospheric elements of his own ‘Pros & Cons of Hitch-Hiking’ and resulted in a cult classic. From then on, very little was heard from Waters with regard to studio material. It was perhaps wise to take some time out, of course, for to follow such a near-perfect record (at least for the style) would have been a fools errand.