Friday, October 24, 2014

Exactly what it says on the tin!

Shoppers milling around the music section of Woolworths in the autumn of 1985 might have been baffled to see a small rectangular object sitting on the shelves, wondering what on earth it was. No problem - the Chevron label forestalled any unease by printing the solution on the front: "This..." they explained, "...Is Music". Volume 6 in fact. Here's my copy, just landed:






This is quite an attractive item really. Check out the songs - a few period classics like "Part Time Lover", "There Must Be An Angel" and "Running Up That Hill". They don't write 'em like that anymore - mind you, we were saying that in 1985 too - witness revived oldies like "Dancing In The Street" and "I Got You Babe"!

This cassette is the sixth in a series of seven, which ran between 1984 and mid-1986. Chevron of course had years earlier been issuing the "Parade of Pops" series, but in the 1980s, they re-launched their cover version offer with this title, plus the concurrent series, "Hits Hits Hits" (only four of which ever emerged). Of course one needn't look too hard to see where they got their titles - massive at the time were the original chart hits album series, "Now! That's What I Call Music" (Virgin) and "Hits" (CBS) - so, "This is Music" and "Hits Hits Hits" were titles bound to fool the unwary (not!).

All this might seem a tad funny these days. Equally quaint/silly were the imaginary artists who were credited on the insert. "Angel" wasn't by Madonna - no, it was by Rosanna. And "Running Up That Hill" was performed by Teresa Green. Do you know Teresa Green?... (If you don't get the joke, ask the nearest 5-year-old and watch them laugh.)

They also use the label's standard group identities on a few tracks, where they apparently ran out of such inspiration - names like LA Sounds and Sound Sensation are familiar enough - while Hit Machins Unlimited is not by collectors of the famous Machin stamps, but a mere typo.

So are we laughing at them, or with them? It's hard to know. I think it was "at" when volume 7 appeared, with the records on the front now perching on little wooden stilts - what on earth??


Anyway, these tapes are pretty rare these days. I'm gradually amassing a collection but it's slow progress! Glad to get volume 6 safely in my cassette case - let's hope some more turn up soon.

3 comments:

  1. Great to see these remembered! I remember buying these as a teenager: what great value ten chart hits for 99p!! I still have them! I thought the version of "Ghostbusters" was much better than the version on the "Best of TOTP 1984".

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  2. I had number 4 to this set which got stolen a few years ago, would love to get them again as i used to sing along with the songs on it which included, I should have known better, Invisible, Teardrops

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    1. I think it was number 5 you had - this is the track listing:

      We All Stand Together / Love Light In Flight / Round And Round / Valotte / The Riddle / Everything Must Change / Fresh / I Should Have Known Better / Invisible / Teardrops

      The whole series can be viewed here: http://hitcovers.weebly.com/this-is-music.html

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