Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Take Aim – here come 100 number 1s of the 60s!

The Aim label isn’t exactly a household name, but it appears on our cover version radar as an imprint of the Artistry stable, who issued their monthly “Smash Tracks” series on cassette, from 1978 onwards (see here). Aim appears to have been introduced around 1980 and helped re-launch Artistry’s regular series under the tweaked name, “Today’s Smash Hits”.

Besides these regular tape-only albums, there were a number of related off-shoot cassettes. A full discography seems never to have been published, but on my travels I had previously discovered a cassette called “20 Fantastic Number 1 Hits from the 60s” – volume 5, no less – so there must have been others. Not a regular series of course, but of much interest anyway.

And then these appeared on Ebay:

 Wow – all five of the set in one go. Of course I had to have it. They were issued in a printed slip-case – fantastically presented, it has to be said. Here is the whole set together:

The final image above is of the bottom of the box, and you can see Artistry’s brand label still there, as originally sold.

The track listing is fascinating. I won’t type out all 100 tracks here, but you can see what’s included from the back of the box:

We know that the standard UK cover versions started in the early 1960s. However the tapes, “1960-1961” and “1962-1963” are early even for the first EPs, and we struggle to identify the origins of these recordings.

It gets easier for “1964-1965” as practically all were on the old “Top Six” EPs. For example, here’s where “A Hard Days Night” first surfaced:

“1966-1967" seems split between “Top Six” and the first Avenue EPs, which started up in 1967, so we can see where these come from too. Here’s where you first heard “Silence Is Golden”:

The final cassette in the box, “1968-1969” contains tracks almost entirely from the Avenue LPs, as well as the Marble Arch “Chart Buster” albums which often shared the same material. Check out the old Avenue albums for these tracks, for example, “Sugar Sugar”, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and "Love At First Sight", on the LP below:

Here are some images of that fifth cassette, which links in directly to the covers LPs we know and love:

This box set collection was the handiwork of Colin Richardson, and was sold by mail order. (It was also promoted on British radio.) We think it’s a fantastic item, and one which we are proud to have in our collection.

And just for the record, here are a few more of the Aim cassettes – please let us know if you have any others we can add to our database...

++++++++++++++++   UPDATE - MARCH 2017  ++++++++++++++++++

Since posting the above, we've spotted a variant on Ebay. See how the cassette shell is black, with print directly onto the plastic:

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