The New Cue #311 August 18: Paul Hardcastle, Laura Groves, Empire State Bastard, Genesis Owusu, Adrian Sherwood, Sonic Boom and Panda Bear, Bastien Keb, 86TVs, Fran Lobo
“This is even bigger than Frankie Goes To Hollywood...”
Welcome to the Friday edition of the N-N-N-New Cue. Today, we’ve got an absolute avalanche of new music for you to see you though the weekend, into next week and right up until next Friday’s edition.
Ted is away on holiday this week, but don’t worry Ted-fans, we’ve got some super subs in the shape of album to blow your mind recommendations from Laura Groves and Fran Lobo, plus Paul Hardcastle tells us the story behind his global smash hit 19 (hence those n-n-n-ns earlier). Ted’s back on Monday with a lively Wreckless Eric interview to start your week.
You’ll need to be a subscriber to read all today’s edition, so if you haven’t done so already click that ‘subscribe now’ button down there to read on. If you need some motivation to do so, here’s a little playlist featuring some of the music we’ve recommended this week to gee you up...
Enjoy the edition,
Ted, Niall and Chris
The Story Behind The Song
How we birthed a classic
Paul Hardcastle on the origins and legacy of his Vietnam War documentary-sampling mega-hit.
“I recorded it on an eight-track in the front room of my house in Leytonstone. I’d read in the paper about a program called Vietnam Requiem which told the story of young kids that went out to fight out in Vietnam. It made me think about what I was doing when I was that age. You’re not even allowed to have a drink in America until you’re 21, but at 19 you can be chucked out into the jungle and shot at. It’s crazy.
I was messing about a bit with this song and then all of a sudden I just had this idea. I needed a chorus for it and the Emulator 2 which was the synthesiser I had only had two seconds of sampling time on it so the only thing I could get into it was the word 19. Sometimes technology being worse gives you the gives you a better result.
I thought I was onto something, but I didn’t think that people would like it. I mean, I liked it. Chrysalis, my record label didn’t like it. It was only Simon Fuller who worked there who did and that’s how he became my manager, by leaving his job and looking after me. He was A&R and publishing at the time.
I’d just had a hit with Rainforest, that sold over half a million singles but the success of 19 was an eye-opener to put it mildly. That took me by surprise. It was the biggest selling single of 1985 internationally, as in everywhere. I kind of knew something was happening when I went into HMV and every single rack had 19 in it. The manager of the shop said to me: This is even bigger than Frankie Goes To Hollywood…
About three months into it we had the idea to record versions in different languages. That was bloody hard work, I definitely wouldn’t do that again. We got the best newsreaders at the time to do it. We got Germany’s best newscaster to do one, the guy in Japan… Rory Bremner had this idea to do a version about cricket [N-N-Nineteen Not Out, a parody about then England captain David Gower’s batting average]. I didn’t know anything about cricket, but it made me laugh so I just did it with him. I didn’t do it under my own name, but I just thought, ‘If you can’t take the piss out yourself…’
19 came out exactly ten years after the end of the Vietnam War, to the day. We moved the release date especially. It was great timing. I got thousands of letters from Vietnam veterans after it came out. They couldn’t understand why a British guy had made a record about their plight. It was very strange, but I’m happy that I’ve had people say that to me. I put it out on the 30th anniversary as well and we gave all the money to people who had PTSD. I’ve had letters from people saying it saved their life. I mean, what can be more rewarding than that? I don’t think there’s any higher accolade.”
Paul Hardcastle 19 And Beyond 1984-1988 is out now.
An Album To Blow Your Mind #1
Laura Groves picks a 1986 collaboration from Cocteau Twins and Harold Budd.
Having previously released music as Blue Roses, last week Laura Groves released her debut solo album under her own name. You can understand why the West Yorkshire native might want people to know who made this music – Radio Red is an excellent record, expertly shapeshifting from mournful piano ballads to stripped-down minimalist pop to ambient experiments. A very, very good record, you can listen and purchase here:
For her mind-blower, Laura tells us why the collaborative record by Cocteau Twins and pioneering composer Harold Budd inspired the approach she took on her own record:
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