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Sunday 24 December 2017

Top Of The World

The Christmas edition of the NME used to be a big thing. Now the NME is given away for free by the doors in Top Shop but it was always a big deal back in the day. Double sized (88 pages!), albums and tracks of the year, alternative rock stars and indie bands in fancy dress, Shaun and Bez pissed and stoned... enough to keep you going through the long hours when there's nothing to do at a family Christmas.

In 1989 The Stone Roses were the NME's band of the year and it flew them out to Switzerland for photographs on top of a mountain. That year they had done a nationwide tour picking up converts on a daily basis, put out their debut album plus 3 singles, and played two era-defining gigs (at Blackpool in August and Ally Pally in November, plus Top Of The Pops). The two album based singles had B-sides that were as good as most of the album tracks (Made Of Stone in March had Going Down, She Bangs The Drum in July had Standing Here and Mersey Paradise). In November they put out the double A-side of Fool's Gold and What The World Is Waiting For, a game changer if ever there was one. They would never be that good again and in some ways 1990 would do for them- they stalled and lost the lightness of touch and sureness that in 1989 had put them on top of the world.

This Is The One

A year later NME's writers crowned Happy Mondays as the band that made 1990 tick. In the summer Step On made them pop stars. In November they put out Kinky Afro, produced by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne, a move that found them with a sound perfectly suited for the times and with a lyric that is unmatched. The extended Euromix (by Oakenfold and Osborne) made its way onto various releases (the USA and Australia both got the Euromix). My mp3 version is from The Factory Tape that came with Select magazine in 1991.

Kinky Afro (Euromix)

I've not posted Low's Just Like Christmas yet this year, something I have done most Decembers at Bagging Area. It is a delight, from the rattling drums and sleigh bells to the sweetly sung words describing the band travelling from Stockholm to Oslo in the snow while on tour.

Just Like Christmas

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas, whatever you're doing and wherever you're doing it. See you in a few days for the post-Christmas lull.


C said...

NME was a big deal once, yes - funny how things change.
Hope you have a lovely Christmas SA and your family too - enjoy the break.

Anonymous said...

Great post - nailing what happened to The Stone Roses in such a small space of time. 1990 saw them trying to do consciously what they had been doing effortlessly, sub-consciously the previous year.

Both the NME and Melody Maker Christmas issues were always a big deal in our house, too.

The Mondays mix is brilliant - thanks.

Have a great Christmas.


Charity Chic said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours Adam

JTFL said...

Merry Christmas, SA, and best wishes for 2018.

Brian said...

These covers take me back. I miss those days when the magazines mattered. My best to you and your family this holiday season, Adam.

drew said...

All the best to you and yours SA. I hope that Santa is good to you.

Luca said...

Buon Natale!

JC said...

you're spot on about the importance of the Xmas editions of NME. I do think the increasing fast pace of life and the instant nature of news/media consumption has meant a few losses (and I feel out-of-touch and past-it just typing that.

Worth mentioning that the Low song fills the floor every year at the Xmas Little League up here.

Hope you and the family had a good one.