Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles

These two small objects of desire were 1988 era 3” CD format singles from a range of releases by Virgin that ostensibly looked to mimic original vinyl releases from back in the day. But the devil is in the detail…

Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles - 'Gentlemen Take Polaroids' and Ghosts' front cover designs
^ Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles – ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ and Ghosts’ front cover designs

First up was ‘Ghosts’ (Virgin, CDT 11, 1988) and it is the more interesting of the two releases by way of its inclusion on CD of the 3’55” single remix of ‘Ghosts’ as well as the 1981 live ‘version’ of ‘The Art Of Parties’ that was the B side of the original 1982 UK 7” and 12” singles. The live take is an interesting alternative as this was the tour that saw Steve Jansen play a Simmons electronic drum kit (as briefly mentioned on Steve’s excellent Sleepyard blog and on while the scorching lead guitar duties are from the wonderful David Rhodes on a short-lived stint as live guitarist with Japan on the 1981 ‘Visions of China’ tour, his distinctive tones more familiar from his work with Peter Gabriel, Talk Talk and Kate Bush amongst others. There is a third track this CD by way of ‘Visions Of China’ (in its familiar 3’38” album mix) – it bears no relation to the original ‘Ghosts’ single and seems an odd inclusion here. Continue reading “Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles”

Side by side: XTC ‘King For A Day’ CD singles UK/US

When looking out these CDs to photograph for this post, and looking back on previous VersionCrazy posts for XTC… I was surprised to find nothing other than a passing mention in the ‘Machines’ 1980 compilation album on Virgin! How could I have managed not to feature this wonderful band in any detail in the 14 years of the blog so far? Anyway, what was exercising me was the various versions of a later period single, from when the band’s star was much higher stateside than in their native UK – ‘King For A Day’.

XTC 'King For A Day' UK and US CD singles front cover designs
^ XTC ‘King For A Day’ UK and US CD singles front cover designs

Lifted from 1989’s glossy album production, ‘Oranges and Lemons’, it seemed a fairly surefire selection from the album’s tracks as a radio-pleasing drive-time number in much the same style as Tears For Fears has scored a few years earlier with ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ – it has quite a resemblance to that track. What’s interesting here is that there were major differences between the UK and US releases – the American release also saw fit to procure some radically changed remixes of the song for its outing. Continue reading “Side by side: XTC ‘King For A Day’ CD singles UK/US”

Simple Minds – ‘X5’ UK/EU CD Box Set (Virgin, SMBOX2 / 50999 956473 2 6, 2012)

Bang for buck, in a world that has seen a proliferation of Simple Minds box sets and re-issues in numerous varieties (from budget no frills to kitchen sink ‘n’ all), this modest set from 2012, ‘X5’, was an instant go-to when announced.

Simple Minds 'X5' CD Box Set edition - box front
^ Simple Minds ‘X5’ CD Box Set edition – box front

Gathering together the first five Simple Minds albums (should be six if you count the pair from 1981 separately) with a small selection of bonus tracks on each and simplified facsimiles of the original cover art, it was a budget proposition when released but one which soon disappeared from the shelves and for which you might well be asked reasonable sums for now if you were to need a copy. The replica sleeves are just the outer sleeves and there is no accompanying booklet – but as a way to scoop up those early, seminal albums and good deal of bonus B side and extended mixes, you can’t go wrong with this set – it’s a pity it has not remained on catalogue longer.
Continue reading “Simple Minds – ‘X5’ UK/EU CD Box Set (Virgin, SMBOX2 / 50999 956473 2 6, 2012)”

Killing Joke ‘Brighter Than a Thousand Suns’ version craziness

It was a long time before I made the move to adopt CD format releases, perhaps equal parts refusenik and pauper behind the decision. But eventually the changing tide meant much was being missed because of the lack of a CD player and so it was time to get out there for one and start to buy the shiny silver discs. Obviously, the main push point on this were those albums with a big difference between what you got on vinyl and what you got on CD… Wire’s 1990 ‘Manscape’ album was the driving force for me personally, but one of the earliest examples of this variance in formats in my area of interest was Killing Joke’s 1986 album, ‘Brighter Than A Thousand Suns’.

Killing Joke - 'Brighter Than A Thousand Suns' front cover designs - UK 1986 LP, Cassette and CD and 2007 UK CD
^ Killing Joke – ‘Brighter Than A Thousand Suns’ front cover designs – UK 1986 LP, Cassette and CD and 2007 UK CD

Continue reading “Killing Joke ‘Brighter Than a Thousand Suns’ version craziness”

Dome ‘Dome’ and ‘Dome 2’ UK LPs

It would be the late summer of 1981 before my curiosity got the better of me and I bought my first record by Wire. It was an educated guess – I’d heard nothing by them (not even on the John Peel show, which I had begun to tune into fairly frequently from 1980 onwards), but every time I read about them (and related solo releases) in the music press it seemed to make sense that I would like them. The first releases I would get hold of were the ‘Our Swimmer’ single (which has been covered in a previous post) and the ‘Ends With The Sea’ 7″ single by BC Gilbert and G Lewis – names I was already well familiar with by the more intriguing moniker of DOME. Smash Hits reviews had enthused about the first two albums released by Dome – particularly ‘Rolling Upon My Day’ from the first album. Photos of the duo pictured a serious and no nonsense duo, the record sleeves equally arty and intriguing. The calling card of that first single purchase convinced me enough that when readies allowed, I would definitely investigate further.

^ Dome 'Dome 1' 1980 UK LP front cover
^ Dome ‘Dome 1’ 1980 UK LP front cover
Dome 'Dome 2' 1980 UK LP front cover
^ Dome ‘Dome 2’ 1980 UK LP front cover

The first of those two Dome LPs I would come across was actually ‘Dome 2’, a second-hand copy, in December 1981. I bought it along with Joy Division’s ‘Still’, New Order’s ‘Movement’ (both of which quite recent releases) and ‘154’ by Wire (complete with its free 7″ EP). A mammoth listening session awaited that Saturday afternoon. Continue reading “Dome ‘Dome’ and ‘Dome 2’ UK LPs”