Monday, February 4, 2013

1990: That's what we wanna do

I never went in for the 12" single. Mainly because I was neither a mobile DJ nor wore white socks and soul slippers (except for a brief time in 1982).

I learnt my lesson after buying my first 12", Bananarama's Really Saying Something. It was a huge mistake I'd not make again. There was no sign of that 'hey-yeah-yeah' intro, the only reason I really liked the song. It was at that moment I realised that 12"s weren't just a longer version of the song you liked but a different version altogether, with often the actual radio edit or 7" version nowhere to be seen.

Honestly, I can count the amount of singles I've got on 12" on the fingers of one hand. I only bought them if they were in a sale or there really was nothing else available (Bauhaus classic Bela Lugosi's Dead, only on 12"). Of course I regret that now as they're worth far more than singles, which I've got hundreds of. I binned of a copy of Queen's It's A Hard Life because I found the single at last. I believe it's quite valuable now. But I was keen to offload it because it wasn't the song I wanted to hear.

Two success stories though:

a) Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), possibly my favourite song of 1985, always meant a Saturday night would start with a swing, and it had Misty Circles on it. This time the 12" version of You Spin Me Round really was the song as I'd envisaged, only a bit longer. I bought it because I was mad about the song and forgetting everything I'd previously learned, bought the bigger version because I wanted to hear more of it. Luckily I wasn't disappointed; and

b) Loaded by Primal Scream. I thought this was unbelievable when I first heard it, hence the breaking with tradition and buying the 12". I still think it's a gem today, but it's very much of its time, a bit of a plodder. I remember requesting it at a wedding and dancing wildly to it. Then I saw my dad on the periphery pointing and laughing at me. He took the piss relentlessly afterwards. I'm breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. I've never danced in front of my parents since. I'd had far too much to drink.

But doesn't Loaded just sum up the summer of '90? It was a hot one, and it reminds me so much of stuff I can't really remember. A summer of fug. Well, it was 1990. Despite having a hateful time at work (see 1990: Bee in your bonnet) and in the flat I shared with my brother (see 1990: Cover me in ecstasy), at least I was having some fun. This helped. I adored their follow up Come Together (7" version), but that sounds dated too. It was 23 years ago after all. Twenty-three years before 1990 was 1967. Yes, it's that long ago. Let's frug to Itchycoo Park!


  1. Loaded came at just the right time for me. Having fallen in with the hippy/metal clique in sixth form I was thrilled to be off to college in October '89 so I could shake off the boundaries and actually listen properly to dancey stuff without having to sneer at it in the common room. By the time this came along towards the end of that first year I was able to openly appreciate it for what it was. Which lead to a spiral into all sorts of things that went bleep.

    But then I always liked the 12" versions too - and have snapped up all the 12"/80s collections as well as some anything else I've found since.

  2. A long hot summer with,ironically, long sleeve tees being all the rage - I've still got a Boys Wonder one somewhere.

    I went in for the 12 in a huge. Spandau and Yazoo had some stormers, but Soft Cell were the masters of the extended mix. Torch and Bedsitter had extra sections and verses that made them cinematic singles. And the Tainted into Where Did Our Love go Mix was just grounbreaking..

    Try Bedeitter here

    My first ever was Edwin Starr Contact on pink vinyl

  3. Yes, Mondo, I had some of those on cassette, long gone though. Thanks for the timely reminder. I'm going to check them out.

    Perhaps, like you and Simon say, I don't know what I've been missing.

  4. 12" were fetishised in the Soul Boy Belt where I grew up - you'd go up to Petticoat Lane on a Sunday morning and pore over the rare grooves, before deciding to fork out a week's pocket money on the remix of Karen Young's 'Hotshot'. For all that, I was never really into the soul side too much, but I did invest heavily in some New Romantic corkers - 'Is It A Dream' by Classix Nouveau and 'Klactoveesedstein' by Blue Rondo a la Turk to name but two. However, they were so often disappointing - just repetitive and full of filler. By the late 80s I was already disillusioned (notable exception being the still-sublime 'Stones' by the Blue Aeroplanes.).

    I've got a great big boxful of them upstairs, that I sadly suspect are all warped by now through lack of TLC. Shame on me!

  5. Shame on you indeed. Dig them out. They're worth something, if not in monetary terms then reliving your youth.

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