Nov 092011

The recent rifts over Billy Joel had me yearning for something that we all could agree on. I stumbled across this series of videos from an episode of Eight Days A Week, a British music talk show. Not only did it offer a well-spoken and coifed Green Gartside, a grey but tactful Nick Lowe, and rock critic/pseudo groupie Janice Long, but the discussion covered such a wide assortment of musicians circa 1984 that it seemed that we all could find something to love.

In part 1, we have the conundrum of a whether a member of Culture Club‘s solo attempt is any good. We move along to some footage of The Clash at Shea Stadium and discussion of the jettison of Mick Jones.

In part 2, we have fun the Liverpudlian way, with Echo and the Bunnymen.

And in part 3, we hear about Pogue Mahone and other pub bands of the time.

Along the way, we are also treated to references to Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello, The Moody Blues, and the latest band to jump the pond, REM.


Parts 2 and 3 follow after the jump!


  18 Responses to “Something for Everyone”

  1. Ahhh . . . Scritti Politti — his best work — Cupid & Psyche 85 was just months away! The track suit is great — and you can see why that retro Nike logo made a comeback. Lots of good stuff was happening in 1984!

  2. BigSteve

    I love Cupid&Psyche. It’s funny to see Green and Nick try not to be too negative about what they’re seeing and hearing, and the hair on both of them is amazing.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    BigSteve, I knew I could count on you.

  4. cliff sovinsanity

    I would have devoured a show like this as a teen. Though, I can see why a show like this would never fly in the States. My impression is that the Brits are sort of used to harsh criticism from their peers , or “taking the piss” out of someone. I can’t imagine a US version of the show with, oh I don’t know, Cyndi Lauper, Ric Ocasek and Todd Rundgren debating the merits of a Clarence Clemons solo album. Although that would be interesting.

    Thanks for posting. I’m going to do some research on those Shillelagh Sisters. I wonder how much Helen and the Horns debut album is selling for these days.

  5. I’m just getting a chance to watch this show. Great stuff – so simple. Why can’t we have rock tv like this with the exception of that heavy metal talk show I sometimes watch?

    I love how nice they are to Helen Terry’s single. The Scritti Politti guy even says it’s nice a few times.

    Now I’m onto pts 2 and 3!

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    I was sort of surprised that for such a man so outspoken about politics in his music, he can be so careful and polite in his criticism of others’ music. And that contrasts so much with the ruthless British music press of the day (and today?).

    I was hoping Happiness Stan would have some info about the show Eight Days A Week. I did a brief google search and came up with nothing.

  7. trigmogigmo

    Lowe’s comment: “The old Clash always did take a mean snap, you know. They look sort of Johnny Too Bad meets Kajagoogoo.” Now that description is a little hard to decode.

  8. BigSteve

    That expression confused me too, so I googled a bit. Apparently the ‘snap’ in question is a photo (i.e., snapshot). So he means that they had a good Look.

  9. Happiness Stan

    I would take that to mean “They looked fantastic in photographs, looking like a cross between Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront and a band with really stupid haircuts”.

  10. Happiness Stan

    Hi LadyM, I’ve not had a chance to watch the clip and have never heard of and the stuff on here is some way away from the scene that I was into at the time. I looked at it and cringed slightly, having lived through all this and wondering looking back if it was all a dream.

    I bought Scritti Politti’s first ep when it was released in about 1980 or thereabouts and tried to convince myself that it was listenable for a few months, then he went off down the pop route and I lost interest. I jumped off the pop bus with the arrival of the New Romantics, loathed Culture Club and all who sailed with them, and by the time the Clash reached Shea Stadium considered that they were nothing like the force of nature I experienced when they played Hastings Pier three winters running from 77 to 79. With that sort of background I doubt I would have noticed this show.

    Janice Long grew from a rather shrill and ghastly DJ, (appointed at about the same time as Annie Nightingale when the controller of Radio 1 had it pointed out that no woman had ever played a record on the radio and in these days of new fangled equality wouldn’t it be a good idea to get one or two in?) into a fairly convincing flag-waver for serious music, and preferable to anyone else I can think of who regularly presented Top of the Pops.

    John Peel was dragged out about four or five times to do it in about a thirty year period and even though it made for a memorable car-crash TV he clearly hated doing it. Unlike Jimmy Savile he had difficulty hiding his disdain for acts he didn’t like, and it was fairly obvious that he was quite contemptuous of everyone he was called upon to introduce.

    British TV (and radio) has always had an very tokenistic approach to yoof and their crazy music. The BBC have only ever done the minimum they can get away with because they were forced to when the Government outlawed the pirate radio stations, although in the last couple of years BBC Four has grown into a fantastic Arts TV channel and regularly shows the sort of music programmes we always dreamed of being able to watch when we were young – although because they are showing largely archive clips and documentaries about dead rock stars there is still nothing there to appeal to the yoof, who are presumably down the pub with fake id like we were at their age on a Friday night.

    ITV and Channel 4 exist only to attract advertising, so their music output tends to be geared towards twelve-year-old girls, stuck away in the middle of the night a good couple of hours after they have all gone to bed, and then ditched at the earliest opportunity when only three drunks and a goldfish watch it. I suspect that this was one of these – they get shown on one ITV region with no promotion at 11.30pm and last for three episodes.

    Top of the Pops (mimed pop pap), (Old Grey) Whistle Test (album tracks played live in the studio by people with lots of hair, later branching out into album tracks played live in the studio by people with short hair), The Tube (two hours of high octane pop/rock/art/comedy fun, the closest thing to an unmissable music show there’s ever been on Brit TV) and Later with Jools Holland (Dad rock played live) were/are the only music TV shows which ran for any length of time that could be watched country-wide – Bill Grundy’s Sex Pistols interview was on a regional news programme only shown in London, So It Goes was only shown on three ITV regions, others come and go and most of them have sets which look like the stills on the screens for these. Those who make and commission British TV can do chat shows with their eyes (and brains) closed, so even on pop/rock TV there are an awful lot of sofas involved.

    From the sofas visible on the screens, it looks a bit like Juke Box Jury, a format which has been revived off and on since the early 60s, where a panel comprising three polite people and another primarily famous for being rude (and almost invariably known for always being so drunk that people gasp at their continuing ability to remain upright) to discuss the merits of the latest releases. “Tonight we have the Archbishop of Canterbury, Barry Manilow, Marie Osmond and Mark E Smith to review the week’s releases, and our first disc is the new record by Lou Reed and Metallica…”

  11. misterioso

    HS, I like your thumbnail description of OGWT.

  12. misterioso

    I thought that was a great line, actually! Insightful fellow, that Nick Lowe. Nice hair, too. (Footnote: “Johnny Too Bad”=classic track from The Harder They Come.

  13. ladymisskirroyale

    I will be in London next week and will use your guide if I am considering tv options.

    Thanks for the thorough descriptions!

  14. ladymisskirroyale

    Thank you for posting that and not the Kajagoogoo.

  15. misterioso

    Yeah, I figured less said the better on that front.

  16. Happiness Stan

    BBC4 are doing Pearl Jam and grunge this friday, that’ll be something to look forward to!

  17. trigmogigmo

    That’s a good translation! I know what a snap is, but I could not connect an unfamiliar reggae song with that Lamahl hair.

  18. ladymisskirroyale

    Did anyone else see the photo of Nick Lowe in this month’s GQ? He’s looking pretty suave.

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