Thursday, 14 February 2013

Desert Isalnd Discs 51 With Love From the Hit Parade by The Hit Parade

51 With Love From the Hit Parade by the Hit Parade 1988 

Definitely the tweeist record on my list. This is pure bubblegum pop with songs built around main man Julian Henry's obsession with an ex girlfriend (I's convinced myself that it had to be the girl on the cover). The memories are too specific the location too precise for it to be made up (although no doubt I've over analysed and it is just a collection of unrelated songs!). The whole thing is bitter sweet laden with the regret , past obsessive and false hope that all the dispossessed cling onto but married to sing along pop tunes that flirt with cheesy..

Released in 1988 I was given a copy by a school mate of mine John. John is a musical zealot the kind of guy who felt Prefab Sprout never reached the heights of their early demos.  John was the ultimate indie kid ie he made his own t shirts ,wrote a fanzine , lost interest in bands usually by their first and certainly by their second lp. As a result John introduced me to shed load of jangly guitar bands  whilst also being completely dismissive of all that "amercan scottish shite you listen to". I realise that I've made John sound like a bit of a twat, which is a million miles from the truth, he was and I'm sure still is one of the nicest guys going.

This is another record where the result is slightly outstripped by the ambition , kind of Phil Spectre recording in a bedroom. The sleeve notes show that Julian Henry doesn't take the whole thing too seriously (I've included his notes for the songs I've chosen).

My Favourite Girl - The Hit Parade

The Hit Parade’s second single became well known for giving a new depth to contemporary music. “My Favourite Girl”is performed with gusto, imagination and a minimum of fuss and bother, and even includes a guitar solo

A couple of tracks are sung by Cath Carroll from indie contenders Miaow who also does co vocals on a couple more. I've posted it  before but it is so gorgeous it is worth a repeat

 See You in Havana - the Hit Parade

The record that went to No.1 in everybody’s favourite chart. Romantic, melancholy, distraught and drenched in an ocean of tears, the voice of Cath Carroll remembers love as it once was. How marvellous

The pretty pop tunes hide the fact that the lyrics get darker as the lp progresses

You Didn't Love me then - The Hit Parade

A hi-tech 24 track recording which features the ringing chords of a Rickenbacker 330 guitar. Real fans of the group will find this song most rewarding when listened to on the platform of Acton Town tube station

The Sun in My eyes - The Hit Parade

Without doubt the greatest song ever written. Blindness, passion and the now-familiar Hank Marvin guitar solo enrich this final chapter in the Hit Parade’s Book Of Love. It was written at her house, while she sat next door packing her cases

The whole thing ends with  Just a Memory which suggests some kind of closure

Just a Memory - The Hit Parade

and if you go then don't come back
cause I dont want reminding
if its now you're deciding
then its time for me 
to break and leave you as just a memory

An impromptu and spontaneous jam session from many of the worlds greatest players. Recorded totally live, this closing Hit Parade song frequently brings tears to the eyes of all who hear it

The lp is virtually impossible to find so I've posted more tracks than usual. However they have just released a compilation covering all 5 lps and various singles, which you can get here


  1. I can't bring myself to tell you how much I paid for this record. This would make my top 50 for sure. For those of you that don't have the albums, I can vouch for the new compilation mentioned by our pal FORW. "Forever" is the only glaring omission.

  2. Not often I say this but... too pooppy for me. I'm afraid I'll have to pass on this one.

    #51 - SUN KIL MOON - Ghosts Of The Great Highway (2003)

    - Trev had this one earlier, and wrote a nice review...
    "Gentle Moon" perhaps the best 9/11 tribute ever.

    Gentle Moon:
    Glenn Tipton:

    Phil: 'One Nil' a nice pick. "Last To Know" one of my favorite Neil Finn tunes (even though it kinda nicks from Norwegian Wood).

  3. Argh... Pooppy?

  4. They've got endurance! Don't remember these from the time but was thinking of Haircut 100 and The Beach Boys as I listened. I quite like this. As you say - bubblegum.

  5. I bet Phil Collins would have had the lot of 'em with one hand behind his back.
    'Poopy' indeed!

  6. Hi Brian

    I was lucky to get it on release, it took me an age to track down the other lps though

    Hi trev - I'm not sure of the phil Collins thing ... the hit parade are all part time ninjas

    Tim can something be too poopy and too poppy at the same time ... I think it can! Although for me this is a poop free band

    Glad you liked it Seamus

  7. Yeah,I like these tracks. I have some of their stuff on various Sarah compilations, a label that released some of the best twee bands. The Fieldmice and Trembling Blue Stars stand out.
    # 51 Ultravox - Ultravox. I've gone for the John Foxx led Ultravox of which I think the debut is their best. I remember a friend lent me the album and how incredible it sounded. Bits of Bowie and Roxy with The Human League thrown in .The sound of the future!
    Finding 2013 a slow start for good new music. Just got the new albums from I Am Kloot and The Villagers that I can heartily recommend, oh and the new Northern Portrait ep is worth a punt.

  8. Hi phil thought this might be your cup of tea. I really like the villagers lp. There is a lot of good stuff coming out but mostly from old bands .

  9. Agree on The Villagers; more of a 'grower' than the first.
    Have not heard Kloot yet; like their Northern miserablism...


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