The EP’s only been out 24 hours, but the feedback has been overwhelming! There have been well over 1,000 sales already–DiscRevolt who are handling the downloads are very surprised themselves. In fact, that’s probably enough to get me in the UK Top 20 these days, though I don’t think they track independent sales like this. Just imagine though: enough fanatical Dolby fans to get a $3 EP into the charts. In the old days round about now I’d be getting a call from the BBC asking if I can do Top Of The Pops.
Which reminds me.
In the ‘old days’ (ie the eary 1980s) this is the way TOTP worked. As you probably know, this legendary show ran for decades and was by far the biggest and most influential pop TV show in the UK. You couldn’t have a hit without it, and if you did appear and your record didn’t go up by 10-15 places in the following week’s chat, something was seriously wrong. And both TOTP and BBC Radio 1 were controlled by a handful of ageing BBC ‘loveys’ who got to play kingmaker, and who of course were constantly wined and dined by the big record labels.
So on a Tuesday the new Music Week singles chart would be published. Based on promising sales, the Beeb would select the acts that would be shooting TOTP on the Wednesday, for broadcast on the Thursday night. So let’s say my single went in the chart at #26. I get the call from EMI saying I’m invited to do TOTP—yes! I will be mimin,g of course, ion front of hoardes of screaming teenagers. But because of Musicians Union rules, the song has to be re-recorded specially for TOTP. So every Wednesday the BBC has a half dozen recording studios booked around London for 3 hours each. So along with my band (whoever played on the record) I show up at, say, Air Studios at 6pm. The roadies are already there setting up the drums and amps. Also present is an EMI rep, a BBC rep, and a guy from the MU. The musicians start to tune up and the engineer is setting mics. About 10 minutes in, the EMI guy says to the BBC and MU guy, ‘well chaps, shall we just np around the corner for a pint?’ And they leave.
At around ten to 9, they come back, sozzled. The roadies are now packing up band have long since gone. And there on the desk is a gleaming 1/4″ stereo master tape of the ‘re-recording’. The BBC guys takes this away, the musicians and crew and engineers will get paid, and everybody is happy.
This system was put inplace in the days of Petula Clark and Cilla Black when records really were done in 3 hours. But if you’re the Electric Light Orchestra or Frankie Goes To Hollywood and your new single took 5 months to make, 3 hours is not really enough time to re-record your hit. So of course what happens is, a 1/4″ copy is made from your original master while the boys get sloshed down the pub, and that’s what the Beeb plays on Thursday. And everybody, I mean EVERYBODY knows what’s going on. It’s a bloody pantomime!
But I digress. Yesterday I shot a little video intro to ‘Amerikana’, the first of four. It took me tll this morning to figure out how to get it off my iPhone to edit and put up on Youtube, but here it is: