Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Another Lebanon Top of the Pops...

Less than a year ago, we learned that Lebanon had issued their own edition of Top of The Pops volume 23 (see here). Now, to our amazement another has surfaced - this one volume 24:

The record looks very much like the UK edition. The only real changes on the sleeve are the substitution of the relevant company logos, and the price roundel in the top corner, which is printed on as part of the artwork. The label is, of course, Empire.

So far all the Lebanese Top of the Pops records we've found (five, to date) were issued from late-1971 to early-1972. This new discovery pushes on a little into the summer of 1972 (the UK edition appeared in June/July).

Our thanks to Craig Koslofsky for informing us about this one, and for the images.

Monday, September 26, 2016


We Brits might think that "Top of the Pops" was the biggest series of cover versions ever, but our South African friends may disagree. Over there, the "Springbok" albums were being released from 1970 to late in the 80s, and although "only" 74 regular editions came out, add in all the side issues like "Springbok Hits of the Week" and "Springbok Hits of the Year" and the count spirals up to something like 130! Pretty impressive stuff.

The albums came out on the South African incarnation of mfp, and we've just bagged our very first copy.

This volume 12 appeared in 1973, and spans a period of time which in the UK was covered by mfp's "Hot Hits", roughly volumes 16 to 20. There are a few tracks in common - "Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose", "Take Me To The Mardi Gras", "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" and one or two others - but these are different versions, recorded in South Africa.

Readers may have noticed before, a link to a fantastic "Springbok" fan site on the right of this page. Have a click on it and go and explore this fantastic collection of album covers and track listings. The proprietor has also uploaded them to 45 Worlds - well worth a look to see how cover versions were appearing on the other side of the world! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

More Soviet treasure

Following our recent post about a blue vinyl Top of the Pops-related album from the USSR, our Russian collector friend, Shumov Konstantin, has sent us the following EP. It's a spin-off from the LP, and contains one of the Top of the Poppers' tracks - "Living in Harmony", which closes side 2 of the EP. (It was originally found on the UK Top of the Pops volume 26.)

This super EP has two French-language tracks on side 1, while "Living in Harmony" shares side 2 with Johnny Cash and "A Thing Called Love".

In the USSR, records would be manufactured in a range of pressing plants situated in the different states. Each plant would design its own sleeves, and so this EP can be found in a variety of editions. The one above was made in Leningrad in the 1970s.

All of the other editions known to us are pictured below. They originate variously in Russia (Moscow), Georgia, Latvia and Uzbekistan.

Two of them, by the way, are flexi-disc editions. See here for more info.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Blue vinyl from USSR

We've come across a fair bit of coloured vinyl lately, of one sort or another. And we've chanced upon another example, from an LP pressed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s:

This is one of 20 or so different editions of an album called Variety's Orbit (see here), which contains two tracks by the Top of the Poppers, these being "Sugar Me" and "Living in Harmony" from our own volume 26.

The translucent blue vinyl is very impressive - nothing like this was released by Hallmark in the UK. (The sleeve, by the way, is generic.)

This particular example is from Uzbekistan, pressed in the city of Tashkent. Those who haven't heard of this LP before may be surprised to know that copies pressed in Moscow are also known in coloured vinyl - three varieties have been discovered so far:

Pretty neat!

Our thanks to Shumov Konstantin for the images.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Another coloured Pye LP

We have recently been looking at the hidden colours in Pye's vinyl pressings of the 1970s. Earlier we posted about the Pye Chart Busters series, and how all the editions turned out to be colured rather than plain old black. What we didn't check was the peripheral release - the end-of-year compilation, "Chartbusters 1972".

Well, someone who did think to check was Holger Schoeler, who sent us the following images, proving his copy is, indeed, on a sort of purple vinyl...

When I read about this, I dug out my own copy, and sure enough, it's a very strong cherry red colour.

Which gave me another thought - the previous year's "Chartbusters of the Year '71", which I checked and which is also on a kind of purple vinyl. Like "Chartbusters 1972" it was issued in Pye's Golden Hour series.

Thanks again to Holger for flagging this up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

UK one-offs part 12: 12 Great Hits For All The Family

Not just a one-off, but two one-offs. So, that's a two-off I suppose.

This pair of LPs appeared in 1974/75 and is another example of drinks companies tapping into the vinyl market for some product promotion. In this case the bubbly is made by Corona, who not content with just releasing a couple of records, have even created their own label.

Mines's a double. Here they are.

Two LPs fizzing with pop. In each case, Corona have attempted to convince the listener that side 1 is somehow different from side 2, with comments like, "Featured on Side One is a selection of the most popular songs ever recorded. With Side Two ... six more dynamic chartbusters plus the added fun of Corona's latest batch of crazy radio commercials between tracks."

Er... run that by me again?

"Corona's latest batch of crazy radio commercials between tracks."

It's true! At least, it's true of LP1 side 2, and quite amusing they are too, at least to start with. (remind you of anything?)

Now, the question always arises with these promo albums - where did they get the recordings? In this instance, we know - they are almost all taken from the Windmill label's "Parade of Pops" albums. LP1 has tracks from various volumes up to and including volume 17...

above, volume 12: "Solitaire"; "Tiger Feet" - and volume 17: "Love Me For A Reason"

Meanwhile, LP2 has tracks from volume 17 again, up to and including volume 23 (from which, no fewer than four songs are taken) ...

above, volume 20: "Goodbye My Love"; "Please Mr Postman" - and volume 21: "Let Me Be The One"; "Bye Bye Baby"

There are three songs which don't show up in the "Parade of Pops" series, these being "Do You Know The Way To San Jose", "Something Stupid" and "Home Lovin' Man". We don't know where they came from, but the betting is, some other Windmill LPs. Let us know, if you know.

Apparently, after releasing their two promotional records, Corona went back to doing what they did best - manufacturing soft drinks - while Windmill pretty much disappeared! Strange business, budget cover versions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

UK one-offs part 11: Everyone Who Had a Hit

This historical item was one of Britain's first cover version long players, appearing in late summer 1964 (the last of the featured hits to make a splash was "Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy", which entered the UK charts in July, on its way to number 1). So it's not the very first - a couple of "Top Twelve" albums beat is to that accolade - but still a nice early example of the format. To our knowledge it was never followed up, making it the latest in our series of featured one-offs.

World Record Club are a slightly unusual name to see in the cover version arena, generally confining their interest to name artists of the day, as well as classical recordings. And while the title of the album is a play on "Anyone Who Had A Heart", the joke doesn't quite work, as it contains nobody who had a hit (at least, not a big one), but instead a bunch of soundalike singers and musicians.

They aren't entirely anonymous - some of the names are written across the back: Ray Ellington, Janie Marden, Sandra Gale, Angela Page, The Young Ones ... and some of these - particularly Ray Ellington - were known radio and recording stars of their day.

Nice to see the cover version idea taking shape, and great to see some Motown, Burt Bacharach and Beatles hits included.

Monday, August 29, 2016

UK one-offs part 10: Pop Concert

This LP appeared on the little-noted Tempo label in 1979, but the clues to its true origins are there - I need not point out to collectors of Chevron's "Parade of Pops" series the act name, The Sound Sensations, nor the credits for Multiple Sound Distributors. For what we have here is, essentially, a "Parade of Pops" compilation (almost - see below) and, to cap it all, it was pressed on groovy green vinyl:

Pretty cool, eh? So the dozen selections can all be heard on "Parade of Pops", on various volumes ranging from CHVP 3 to CHVP 12. (And, since there was track sharing going on, five also turn up on various "Top of the Pops" LPs too.)

Here's the track listing:
  • Bang Bang 
  • Sunday Girl 
  • Mr. Blue Sky
  • Lay Your Love On Me 
  • Sweet Little Rock 'N' Roller  
  • Night Fever 
  • Ring My Bell 
  • Banana Splits 
  • Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick 
  • Gotta Go Home   
  • You're The One That I Want
  • Painter Man

So, what's the odd one out which I mentioned? Well, it's the most ambitious of the lot. "Mr. Blue Sky" never appeared on "Parade of Pops". However Chevron nailed a copy for the album below - an ELO tribute album also from 1979.

Why "Pop Concert" was pressed on the Tempo label rather than Chevron, is unclear, but with the green vinyl to mark it out from the crowd, this is one "one-off" well worth hunting down.