Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 62 - Yazoo (Only You)

Only You was the debut single from Yazoo, formed of ex Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke (who would later form Erasure), and fellow Basildonian Alison Moyet (who coincidently went to the same school as me).  It was the first single from their Upstairs at Eric's album and it reached an impressive number 2 in the UK charts on 16th May 1982.  

I love this song, and happily admit to singing it when it comes on. It's also such an easy song to play on the keyboard too, with Alison Moyet once stating  "You don't need to be a great instrumentalist to play it. It's a universal, everyman song".


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 61 - Go West (Don't Look Down)

This song takes me back to Christmas 1985.  I'm guessing it's because it was in the charts at the time, having been released on the 11th November of that year where it remained in the UK charts for 10 weeks, peaking at number 13.

I remember having this on a compilation tape I had made from recording the radio.  I played this quite a lot back in the day.  A great song, from a great decade.

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 60 - Depeche Mode (Just Can't Get Enough)

Following the tragic death of Andy Fletcher, keyboardist and founding member of Depeche Mode yesterday, I would like to feature their hit song "Just Can't Get Enough" as today's favourite song.
It was released in September 1981 and featured on their debut album Speak & Spell.  It was also the final single to be written by Vince Clarke, who left the group a couple of months later and would later go on to form Yazoo, The Assembly, and of course Erasure.

"Just Can't Get Enough" reached number 8 in the UK Charts.

An absolute classic, and without a doubt one of my all time favourite tracks.  RIP 'Fletch'

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 59 - Richard Allen Harvey (Triumph)

Now here's an obscure one I really like listening to.  In the late 1980s, every Saturday and Sunday morning I would wake up early to watch The Fun Factory on Sky Channel.  It was a kids' show which featured cartoons for a few hours, hosted by presenter Andy Sheldon,  Snoot the seal and Crocker the crocodile.  The show would be the first program of the day, and Sky would play a short introduction to the channel beforehand detailing how to contact them, and some other technical details (Sky Channel comes to you from Satellite Television in London, transmitting on the ECS-F1 satellite transponder 6X at a frequency of 11.650ghz).  The introduction featured this song which I loved listening to, and for nearly 25 years I tried to find it but with no luck. 

That was until a few years ago.  It took me a while to finally track down the song, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, here it is, and I'm adding it to my list of favourite songs because a) it reminds me of my childhood, and b) it's such a great tune!  

This is Sky - Europes Number 1

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 58 - Howard Jones (Things Can Only Get Better)

The title for today's song is very apt...  Things can only get better, because they certainly can't get any worse.

Released in February 1985 as the first single from HoJo's Dream Into Action album, it peaked at number 6 on the UK Charts.

As with most Howard Jones songs, this one reminds me of a happier, less stressful time in my life, playing on the Commodore 64 in my bedroom while Howard Jones (and Nik Kershaw, and Level 42) would be played by my sister in the room next door.

I really wish I could go back in time and relive the 1980s all over again.  Family walks from Leigh-on-Sea to Southend, family game nights, playing Go For Broke and Game of Life on the kitchen table, seeing my friends daily, and of course playing on my C64, with the only thing to worry about being having to make sure my homework was in on time.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 57 - New Order (Blue Monday)

Blue Monday is an amazing piece of 80s electronic synth-pop music and has to be included in my list of favourite songs.  Released in 1983, it peaked at number 9 and spent 38 weeks in the top 75.  It fared slightly better when it was re-released in 1988, and reached a much better number 3 in the UK charts.

As soon as this song comes on in the car, the volume goes straight up!

A small bit of personal trivia - Blue Monday was one of the very first songs I attempted to 'track' on my Commodore Amiga in the early 90s due to its simplistic bassline.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 56 - Markus Captain Kaarlonen (Space Debris)

Today's song is a blast from the past for me - 1991 to be precise.  

Way back, before I got a Commodore Amiga in 1992, I used to look forward to visiting our family friend Colin who wowed me on each visit with his Amiga 500.  He would show me the latest fantastic audio/visual demos on that computer.  Remember, I still only had an 8-bit Commodore 64 at that point, so hearing (and seeing) a home computer play back music that featured realistic sounding instruments and effects was totally mind-blowing.  These demos were part of the massive 'demoscene' that dominated the Amiga and other micros in Europe during that time.

At its peak in the late 80s to mid-90s, the Amiga demoscene featured some fantastic songs, many of them created using the freely available Sound Tracker software and saved in .mod format.  Most were released during demoscene parties that took place all over Europe.  

Countless .mod files were made for the Amiga, but one of my all-time favourites is a track called Space Debris, written by Markus Captain Kaarlonen.  The song took part in a music competition during the Anarchy Easter Conference Party in 1991and came first place unsurprisingly.  Besides having a fantastic melody, the song really pushed the Amiga and proved you could create incredible music with only 4 voices playing at the same time.

Sound Tracker made writing and composing music so much easier and accessible to people like me who had an interest in writing music, but not the skill of being able to perform or the money to buy fancy hardware and sequencers. Space Debris and many other mods are what got me into writing my own 'tracked' music.

Computer and VGM (Video Game Music) may not be everyone's cup of tea, but give it a listen if you've not heard it before.  Remember, this was created on a computer that came out in 1987!

And if you think that version sounds a bit dated, then try this amazing modern remix by D4XX

Monday, May 09, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 55 - Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek - The Motion Picture)

Star Trek The Motion Picture gets a lot of slack and negativity, but it has (in my opinion anyway) quite possibly the best soundtrack to any movie I have ever seen, and no - I am not just saying that because I am a big Trekkie.  Jerry Goldsmiths' signature theme to the film is iconic (yes more so than that other sci-fi franchise with Star in the title) and will forever be the 'theme' to Star Trek, even more so than the original title song from the 1960s.  

It, of course, became the theme tune to Star Trek The Next Generation in 1987, and featured in 3 of the 4 TNG movies, but this version is by far my favourite and also features the beautiful "Ilia's Theme" heard during the end credits.

If you like movie soundtracks and have never given this one a go - try it.  You don't have to be a Trekkie to appreciate one of Jerry Goldsmiths' best scores

Sit back, crank up the volume and prepare to boldly go.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Game Covers - Stunt Car Racer (Commodore 64)

Step into the driving seat of one of the most wicked stunt cars around as a Stunt Car Racer. It's now up to you to prove just how good you are and to see whether or not you can ultimately become Division One Champion. 

With a super-quick, turbo-charged V8 engine that will power you to incredible speeds, and long-travel suspension that enables you to soak up the bumps, your car really is an awesome projectile. The tracks are totally out of this world. Banked corners that enable you to 'pull g', undulating bumps that throw your car uncontrollably from side to side and huge ramps that catapult you into mid-air. In fact, you seem to spend so much time airborne, you could almost qualify for a pilot's licence!

Battle it out on the track against other computer controlled rivals, such as, Dare Devil and Road Hog. Race and jump so fast that your car starts to break up under the strain and then accelerate even more. There's no prizes for being second best in this game — it's all or nothing. 

Stunt Car is utterly brilliant and offers adrenalin-pumping, gut wrenching high speed action that'll keep you engrossed for months. C + VG. 

Stunt Car Racer — do you think you could be up there with the best? 

  • Championship points system 
  • Accurate simulation of stunt car 
  • Realistic suspension and handling 
  • Amazingly lifelike 3D graphics 
  • Wicked tracks with huge jumps and banked corners 
  • Highly skilled computer controlled adversaries 

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Monday, May 02, 2022

Game Covers - Computer Classics (Commodore 64)

1.  Zynaps
2.  Into The Eagles Nest
3.  Dynamite Dan
4.  Aliens
5.  Cauldron II

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