All the Free EP's from the 20th Century collected in one place....when I get them, that is.

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011


A rag bag of tunes from the Chrsyalis archive made up this FreeEP to coincide with that month's Vox Chrysalis retrospective. Here's the track listing:

1. The Big Music - The Waterboys

1984 single from Mike Scott's Waterboys, The track failed to chart but grew in influence throughout the 80s and spawned a mini-genre of the same name mainly associated with loud, bombastic, emotional Celtic bands e.g. The Alarm, Hothouse Flowers. The track was originally included on the band's second album A Pagan Place.

2. Sunday Girl (French Version) - Blondie

Blondie's second #1 from the classic Parallel Lines LP. This version, sung all in French, was included on the original UK 12" and was featured as the primary B-side in France. It's now widely available on the Parallel Lines collector's edition CD set. Interestingly, Blondie's 2002 Greatest Hits compilation features a bilingual version - the original version with one French verse. 

3. Bold As Brass - Split Enz

Huge In their native Australia, Split Enz only had one major hit single in the UK - I Got You - which hit #12 in 1980. Although the band split in 1984, singer Neil Finn and newly placed drummer, the late Paul Hester, formed Crowded House and went on to huge international success, at various times with former Split Enz member, Neil's brother Tim Finn. Bold As Brass was a 1977 Australian single and was featured on their album Dizrythmia.

4. The Light - The Proclaimers

Despite having an awkward, and sometimes comedic, image with the British public, The Proclaimers aka twins Craig and Charlie Reid have had enduring success over the last two decades and are something of a national institution, their last album Notes & Rhymes hitting the Top 30 in 2009.  The Light is taken from their 1994 To 10 album Hit The Highway.

5. Mama's Always On Stage - Arrested Development
This alternative hip hop group seemingly came from nowhere when their take on Sly & The Family Stone's Everyday People, renamed as People Everyday, hit #2 in the UK chart in 1992. In fact,  they were hardly overnight sensations - it tool them 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days from their inception to getting a record deal, a length of time which gave them the name of their debut album which contained this track. Their 1994 album, Zingalamaduni, fared less well and the band have continued to this day as an underground concern.

6. Thoughts Of You - Shara Nelson
Nelson's vocals on Massive Attack's seminal Blue Lines, including the all-time classic Unfinished Sympathy, forced her into the limelight at the turn of the 90s. Despite her success with the band, Nelson broke away and released her debut album What Silence Knows in 1993, including this track, which hit the Top 10 and spawned 4 Top 40 singles. Only one album followed, 1995's Friendly Fire.

7. King Rocker - Generation X

A punk classic  which just missed out on the Top 10 in 1978 hitting #11 for these London pop-punks. Despite that, two members of the band went on to enjoy Top 10 hits after the group's 1981 split. Tony James formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik whose ultra hyped rockabilly synth punk rocker Love Missile F1-11 hit the Top 3 in 1986. More successfully was lead singer William Broad who enjoyed a hugely successful solo career in the US and the UK under his stage name of Billy Idol.

8. The Music That Nobody Likes - Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine

Or, for Smash Hits readers, Carter USM. The irony in the title of this track wouldn't have escaped Jimbob and Fruitbat who enjoyed a loyal fanbase but were hated by others. It was taken from their 1993 Top 5 album Post Historic Monsters.

9. Ship Of Fools - World Party

Taking us back to the beginning of this compilation, World Party was really a vehicle for one man, Karl Wallinger, who left The Waterboys in 1986 to concentrate on his own brand of Big Music. Ship Of Fools was featured on World Party's debut album Private Revolution and was pulled as the band's first single hitting #42 in 1987.

10. All The Way From Memphis (Live) - Ian Hunter/Mick Ronson

Originally a classic glam rock Top 10 hit in 1972 for Mott The Hoople, this is a live version from two of the band's most famous members.

11. La Bien, Le Mal - Guru

Featuring MC Solaar, this is a cut from Guru's classic 1993 jazz rap opus Jazzmatazz, an album which featured amongst others, D.C, Lee, N'dea Davenport and Carleen Anderson. Guru was originally one half of rap duo Gangstarr before creating 4 installments of Jazzmatazz throughout the next decade until his untimely death in April 2010.

12. April In Kings Cross - Tyrell Corporation

Named after a fictional company in Blade Runner, this dance band had a couple of Top 75 entries in 1994. This was taken from their album Play For Today.

13.  The Witch's Promise - Jethro Tull

Initially a blues rock group, Jethro Tull morphed into of the most progressive and folky of all progressive folk groups. The Witch's Promise was an early career highlight and one of their biggest hits reaching #4 in 1971.

14. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? - The Ramones

Legendary US punk rockers, The Ramones released Acid Eaters in 1993, their penultimate album and their only covers album which contained this Creedence Clearwater Revival tracks well as a host of other 60s hits from the likes of The Who, The Stones, Bob Dylan and Love.

15. Nothing Compares 2 U (Video Version) - Sinead O Connor

Written by Prince and originally recorded by Prince offshoot The Family for their 1985 eponymous album, Sinead O Connor's version, with its classic headshot video, stormed to #1 all over the world including the US and the UK.  You can also find a live version by Prince himself on his 1993 compilation Hits 1.

16. Ugly - Mutha's Day Out

Rap rock troupe from Arkansas whose one and only album My Soul Is Wet was released in 1993. Despite the band splitting in 1994, they were coaked into the limelight for one final act in 1995 after appearing in the movie adaptation of Mortal Kombat.

17. Never Too High To Fall - Kingmaker

Kingmaker were one of the many indie also-rans killed stone dead by the rise of Britpop. Despite having a couple of Top 20 singles in 1992/3 and a successful album, Sleepwalking, by the time their thir album proper in 1995 the band had fallen out of favour and they subsequently split. This track is taken from their 1993 odds n sods album To Hell With Humdrum.

18. I Know These Things  About You- Neil Arthur

Arthur was, and now is again, one half of synthpop band Blancmange who scored 5 Top 40 hits between '82 and '85.  This is taken from his only solo album, Suitcase, released in 1994. Blancmange released their comeback album, Blanc Burn, last year.

19. 19 - Paul Hardcastle

Aptly placed in 19th position, this anti-war track was based on the claim that the average age of a combat soldier in Vietnam was 19. Startlingly unique, the song containing dialogue from television narrator Peter Thomas, went to #1 all over the world including the UK. The song has been given a new lease of life in 2011 by Manchester United fans celebrating their team's 19th title victory. In keeping with the song's message, Hardcastle has forfeited all royalties to sales of the track to a charity -  Scotty's Little Soldiers, a Norwich-based charity which supports the children of men and women killed while serving with the British armed forces. At time of writing, the song was back in the UK chart at #40.

20. Free Nelson Mandela - The Special AKA

The Special AKA was an alternative moniker for The Specials used sporadically throughout their career. The name was used for the band's third album, In The Studio, released with a new line up after Neville Staple, Lynval Golding and Terry Hall departed to form Fun Boy Three. The album's relative failure led leader Jerry Dammers to dissolve the band. Despite this, the album spawned one of the Specials' most well known tracks, Free Nelson Mandela, a protest song aimed at freeing Mandela who at that point had been incarcerated for 22 years. It took another 6 years for Mandela to be released and another 25 years before The Specials' classic line up reformed, albeit without Jerry Dammers.

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