Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Saturday, June 01, 2024

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 86 - Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride

There was a time when hearing this song was an extremely rare occurrence.  Now, it seems you can hear it everywhere, especially during television adverts.  

Break My Stride is probably Matthew Wilder's most famous track and was released as the lead single from his debut album "I Don't Speak the Language" on the 14th January 1984 (oooh, I was 7 years and 2 days old), entering the UK charts at 79.  It managed to peak at number 4 four weeks later.

Useless fact - Back in the late 90s, it seemed the only way to listen to this song was to find a dodgy MP3 on Napster, or whatever other dodgy website that was available at the time.  I remember feeling really chuffed with myself when I found a decent copy of it.  Mind you, it took me several hours to download it on my slow dial-up connection.  Essex FM used to broadcast a weekly 80s show every Sunday and one week I emailed them asking if they could play it. Not expecting they would, I was pleasantly surprised when a few weeks later they actually did play it.  It was probably the first time I had heard it played on the radio since the 80s.

Now, it's everywhere,  and can currently be heard during an advertisement for Screwfix of all things!

Anyway, I love it, so here it is on my list.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 84 - Depeche Mode - Everything Counts

This is a great song by Depeche Mode, released back in July 1983 from their third studio album "Construction Time Again".  

It entered the UK charts at number 41 before peaking at number 6 just four weeks later.  It's one of my favourite DM tunes after Vince Clarke left the band a few years earlier, with this song being written by Martin Gore.  

Personally, I will always prefer the more upbeat, pop/disco songs from their first album Speak and Spell, but then I'm a sucker for anything written by Vince Clarke and his electronic wizardry with analogue synthesizers.  Still, this song along with a few others (People are People, See You, and Enjoy the Silence) proved that Depeche Mode could still pump out some memorable and catchy tunes without VC.


Thursday, January 18, 2024

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 83 - Pet Shop Boys - I'm With Stupid

I've always liked this great track by the Pet Shop Boys.  It was released as a single from their ninth studio album, Fundamental back in 2006, and it peaked at number 8 in the UK charts.

The accompanying music video features Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas pretending to be the Pet Shop Boys, with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe bound to their seats and forced to watch.

A great tune.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 82 - Erasure - Oh L' Amour

Considering Erasure are one of my all-time favourite bands, they haven't been featured much in my list of favourite songs so far.

Oh L'Amour was Erasure's third single from their debut album Wonderland, and it was released on the 21st April 1986 to a very luke-warm reception where it only managed to reach 85 in the UK Singles Charts.  Fortunately, time has been kind to the track, and when it was re-released in 2003, it managed to peak at a much more respectable (and well-deserved) 13th position.

I've been meaning to include this one in my list for quite some time but with the song being featured in Renaults' television advertisement for their Clio model car, I thought now would be a good time.

Sit back and enjoy the incredible synths of Vince Clarke, along with the ever-flamboyant Andy Bell and his amazing voice.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 81 - Kim Wilde - Kids in America

There are a few songs that instantly take me way back to my very young childhood, and Kim Wilde's Kids in America is one of them.  Specifically, this one reminds me of a local club my parents were members of and frequented often as a family (The Bluehouse Club, in Laindon). I guess they must have played it during one of our visits and that moment has been stuck in my head ever since.

Released way back on the 26th of January 1981, it was the debut single from Kim Wilde, taken from her self-titled first album, and peaked at number 2 in the UK Charts for two weeks

A great track, and another reminder of how great the music was in the 1980s.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 80 - Makoto Tomozawa - Still Dawn

One of my favourite gaming memories is playing the original 1996 Resident Evil on the PlayStation for the first time.  The game was unlike anything I had ever played before.  I'm not embarrassed to admit that it was probably the first game I played where I wouldn't turn off the lights.  Despite the (now dated) graphics, and the questionable voice acting, the game oozed atmosphere, with some genuinely creepy music in some places.

With that being said, when I eventually beat the game, and flew off in the helicopter just as the mansion and Umbrella laboratory exploded, I was (pleasantly) surprised with the rather happy, upbeat track that played as the credits rolled up the screen.

The song, called "Still Dawn", really gave me the satisfying relief of defeating the Tyrant and a sense of real accomplishment for completing the game, but at the same time, the song just felt...  well....  completely out of place and not suited for a horror game. 

Interestingly, Still Dawn is unique to the English version of Resident Evil in place of "Yume de owarasenai" which is featured in the Japanese version, which of course everybody knows as being called Biohazard.

So here it is...  Still Dawn by Makoto Tomozawa

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 79 - Nik Kershaw - I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Today's song is a real feel-good track from 1983 by Nik Kershaw.  I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me was released exactly 40 years ago today, on Friday 9th September 1983 and was a single taken from his debut album Human Racing.  Initially, it didn't sell very well and only reached number 47 in the UK Top 100 charts.  However, following the success of Kershaw's next two singles (Wouldn't It Be Good and Dancing Girls), the song was re-released in June 1984 where it peaked at a rather impressive number 2.

As with previous Nik Kershaw tracks, listening to this song always brings back good memories of my childhood as it was quite often heard many times due to my sister being a big fan of his. 

I've got to admit though..,  Saying it's been 40 years since its release really makes me feel old.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 77 - The Human League - Don't You Want Me

Here's another banger from the 1980s, Don't You Want Me was a chart-topping hit for The Human League back in 1981.  Released on the 27th of November of that year, it entered the charts at number eight before shooting to number one for the following five weeks, thus becoming the Official UK Christmas Number One of 1981.  It also became the biggest-selling hit of the year too, and possibly their best-known track.  Crazy considering lead singer Phil Oakey wasn't particularly pleased with it and had the song as the last track on side two of the album it came from - Dare.

It's a true electronic-synth classic and one of the early 1980s' most defining songs.  It definitely makes it on my list of favourite tracks.


Sunday, June 25, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 76 - Fiction Factory - (Feels Like) Heaven

(Feels Like) Heaven was a one-hit-wonder for Scottish new-wave band Fiction Factory back at the tail end of 1983.  It always surprised me that the band didn't go on to better things but their other releases were either flops or just not popular enough to get anywhere in the charts.  Such a shame because they were more than capable of producing good songs, and (Feels Like) Heaven proves it.  

It only managed to reach number 6 in the UK Top 40 on the 14th of January 1984, but I include it here in my list of favourite songs because it really is a great 1980s synth-pop track that deserved much more recognition than it received.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 74 - Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen

A classic track from 1982 makes it to number 74 on my list of favourite music.  Come on Eileen was released on the 25th of June 1982 and was Dexy's Midnight Runners 2nd UK number one following Geno in 1980.  Released as a single from their second studio album Too-Rye-Ay, it did pretty well in America too, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Whenever I hear this song, it always takes me back to a childhood memory of visiting some sort of fate with my grandma and I vividly remember a stall that had a game where I had to place a toy car in a slot, and then let it roll down.  Whoever's car reached the bottom first won the game.

Happy memories from a simpler time.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 73 - Super Furry Animals - Juxtapozed with U

I love this song.  Probably the only song I do like from Super Furry Animals.  It was released in July 2001 and reached number 14 in the UK singles chart.

Two music videos were produced for the track, but my favourite one is this one,featuring three people walking through the streets of Hammersmith, dressed in cardboard costumes of a camcorder, clapperboard and microphone. Weird!

I can't really say much else about it other than it's a great song and worth a listen if you've never heard it before.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 71 - A-ha - Take On Me

Probably one of the most memorable music videos from the 1980s, and definitely one of the best songs from that decade, Take On Me actually had a troubled start when the first version of the song failed to chart in the UK in 1984.  It failed to generate much attention for a second time when it was released again in a slightly different form in early 1985.  It wasn't until the third release in September of the same year that the song gained popularity and plenty of air time on the radio which resulted in the song reaching an impressive number 2 on the UK singles charts in October.

This song ranks highly in my list of all time favourite songs and hopefully a whole new generation will get to experience the song thanks for its use in the trailer of the new The Last of Us TV series.  Players of the game TLOU Part 2 will know that Ellie finds a guitar whilst exploring a devastated Seattle and plays (and sings) an acoustic version of Take on Me.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 70 - Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out

This song takes me back.  Released first in the US in August 1982, this track made it to the UK in October of the same year where it peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart.

It's a proper feel-good song that always brings back childhood memories.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 69 - Mike Oldfield - The Bell

Nobody writes feel-good music as well as Mike Oldfield.  Today's song is taken from Tubular Bells II, the sequel to his groundbreaking Tubular Bells album released 19 years earlier.

Keeping with the same style as the Finale of Tubular Bells, The Bell replaces Vivian Stanshall with legendary actor Alan Rickman as the master of ceremonies and is a goose-bump-filled seven minutes of pure ecstasy-inducing musical bliss, culminating in the spectacular catharsis sounds of the tubular bells!

The song was released as a single in April 1993 albeit with a slightly shorter runtime and although the single only reached a rather poor number 50 in the UK charts, the album did much better, reaching number one on the UK album charts. 

I guess poor Mike just couldn't convince the younguns of the day to try something different instead of the usual tripe that was beginning to pollute the charts around the early to mid 1990s.

If you've never heard it before, take a listen.  Crank the volume up and blast those bells so that your neighbours start banging on your wall.  It'll be worth it.

And when you're done with that, listen to it from his live concert on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle.  

Monday, October 10, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 68 - Electric Light Orchestra - Calling America

Here's a cracker from 1986 that I had nearly completely forgotten about, but last night I decided to stick on some Electric Light Orchestra, and in between classics like 'Mr Blue Sky' and 'Sweet Talking Woman' this beauty came on, and the memories hit me.

I loved this song when it came out.  Released in the UK as a single from their album 'Balance of Power' on 21st February 1986, it only managed to peak at number 28.

It's a really upbeat, happy and bright song that really lifts your mood (well, it did mine).  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 67 - Erasure - Fingers and Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day)

It's been a month since I last posted my previous favourite tune, so I've decided to go back to one of my all-time favourite bands.  Today's track is Erasure's Fingers and Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day), an absolute corker from their 1995 self-titled album "Erasure".

It only peaked at number 20 in the UK charts in December 1995 which is dreadful considering the amount of tat that was filling the charts at that time (yes, I'm talking about you Oasis, Boyzone and, East 17), but considering the band were not considered 'mainstream' at the time, it was still a respectable position.  Remember, this was before the internet and online streaming was a thing.

This is the single version, but the one featured on the album was a 6-minute and 44-second masterpiece, featuring an extended instrumental section between the second and third choruses.

An absolute classic of track.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 66 - Sky (A Girl in Winter)

My choice of a song today is probably a more obscure track from progressive-classical rock band Sky.  "A Girl In Winter" is one of my favourite tracks, and was featured on their sixth studio album called Cadmium which was released way back in December 1983.

My Mum and Dad had an album or two of theirs and I quite liked their music growing up, but this one always stands out for me, especially the end bit (around the 2:17 mark in the video below).

Worth a listen if you've never heard it before and like instrumentals.

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.