Saturday, October 27, 2012

Old Rediffusion LP available for download

A slightly odd one this... An album from Rediffusion's "Sounds Like Hits" series has for some reason been made available as a digital download on Amazon. It's billed as being by the Top Hits Group. Fans of download covers albums will have heard of them - they are the (made up) act behind probably a couple of hundred "albums" compiled from every cover version LP series under the sun. The download albums are mostly called "Chart Toppers" and "Best of the Hit Charts", although there are many more as well. If you've not seen them, takle a look on Amazon.

And so to this one. Of course when making these avilable for the iPod generation, cover art is supplied to the purchaser, and this is where things take an ever stranger turn. This album does not have its original UK artwork, but something very close - which appears to be an overseas version of the same original LP. The photo is clearly from the same shoot, but not known in the UK discography. The download "album" is called "Hit-Parade Especial".

Download artwork. (What are the logos in the bottom corner?)
Original UK LP cover
Can anyone identify the country of origin for this artwork? Or tell us the record label?

By the way, those wanting to hear it for free (without actually owning the MP3 files) can do so here


  1. It does seem a bit odd that this is clearly a one off of this particular series. it would be nice to see the entire collection released for mp3 download.

    With regard to the 'Top hits group' downloads on Amazon, I am very impressed with the substantial amount of covers they have available. I often go on Amazon to check the previews which include quite a large amount of cover versions that never made it to any of the cover series that were around in the 1970s. In particular, there are a lot of covers from 1979 that could easily have made it to either 'Top Of The Pops' or 'Parade Of Pops', but didn't (they are clearly Coombe Music recordings - same singers, same overall 1979 production style etc). Songs such as 'Angel Eyes'(ABBA), 'Say When' (Lene Lovich), 'Some Girls' (Racey), 'Love's Gotta Hold On Me' (Dollar) to name a few.

    I have worked out from all that is available that it should be possible to build an mp3 collection of most (if not all) of the 12 Tops albums for instance. :-)

    1. Great idea. I'd love to see the whole series available.

      The Top Hits Group downloads are a massive body of recordings. I've taked before with people about the unused ones - it's possible to make "phantom" Top of the Pops/Parade of Pops albums and also invent some later ones - what would Cheron have done after Parade of Pops folded? You can make your own "albums" with the Top Hits Group tracks.

      It's a bit odd the way they put their "Chart Toppers" collections together. They would group several tracks from the same old LP together, but time after time, they split them over two volumes, so that one volume would end with a couple of tracks from a given album, then the next volume would start with several more from the same LP.

      You can get a lot of the 12 Tops albums, yes. Certainly the whole of volumes 14, 15, 16 and 17 are available, and more besides. The same goes for other series too - there are at least three complete Windmill Parade of Pops albums among all the tracks. If I had the time, I'd go through the whole lot and find out!

      Someone once pointed out to me that some tracks from the Mike Morton albums are on there. When originally released, the tracks were edited down to shorten them, and had audience noises dubbed on. Apparently the Top Hits Group downloads have the complete, un-dubbed recordings, not available elsewhere. I haven't looked into this myself, but I think it's probably true.

  2. I love the idea of putting together imaginary editions of both Parade Of Pops & Top Of The Pops from after both folded in 1982. It is quite clear that Coombe music continued with their prolific output - possibly ending up on overseas releases - from the amount of tunes available on the Top Hits Group brand. I may do just that, as & when finances allow, re-commencing with what would have been volume 92 circa June 1982.

    It may be possible to do the same with the 12 Tops series, again there are a lot of recordings from 1975-1977 that I never knew existed until the last couple of years. I roughly guess that Vol 30 would have come out circa July/August 1975, Vol 31 September/October 1975 & so on. There are great versions of Rhinestone Cowboy & Island Girl that could have gone on Vol 31 for a start.

    By the way, does anyone know the name of the font Stereo Gold Award used for the 12 Tops logo? :-)

    1. Wow. Keep us posted if you do decide to make any phantom albums. It would be great to see them.

      I think the 12 Tops font is VAG Rounded - maybe bold, I'm not sure. There is a snag with making your own covers. I once heard from the guy who designed the Top of the Pops logo, Bill Graham, and he said that because of the variations in the colouring of the lettering and the background photo, he created outlines around all the letters in "Top of the Pops" by hand, so they would always stand out. I guess 12 Tops had the same idea, because their logo also has outlines around each letter. This might be tricky to recreate, unless you used a cut and paste method.

      The guys at Avenue must have liked the 12 Tops logo anyway. Just after the series launched, they released their England's Top 12 volume 22, with exactly the same lettering on it!

  3. ...and then there's the Chevron 'Top Hits Of The Year' from 1981 that also used the same style of '12 Tops' font - a bit of a blast from the past by then. :-)