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My album cover cue cards

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Chris Packham Chris Packham | 11:22 UK time, Friday, 20 November 2009

Many people seemed to want more Smiths song titles and of course there were plenty more to go, particularly if I had strayed into Morrissey's solo career. But sorry, I'm not very good at staying in the same place, and even though there were other prolific and well-loved bands whose titles would have provided a challenge for me and amusement to the discerning viewer I'm afraid I felt that game had been played.

Thus a visual teaser appealed and as one who laments the loss of record cover artwork as an accessible art form (what, with everyone downloading MP3s) I thought that a homage to the iconic images of the '70s and '80s would be nice. And by disguising the covers a little brain teaser might be fun. What one of us doesn't enjoy a game of trying to remember all of the participants of Wacky Races, the names of the Banana Splits or the team sheet of Chelsea's FA Cup winning squad from 1970?

So I chose covers which had distinctive artwork starting from the early punk days of '77 through to the early '90s. They were not necessarily my favourites, indeed some were not even mine (thanks to my sister, James and Mitch), as they needed to be bold and easy to see given that their use was necessarily subliminal.

Thus sadly the back catalogues of The Cure, The Cocteau Twins and the 'Mary Chain are much loved favourites but are not really distinct enough to be identifiable. Whereas things such as Heaven 17's Penthouse And Pavement (not my bag) and the Banshees (never a massive fan) worked well. And, besides, I wanted a spread of sound so more folks could 'play'. I had the sleeves copied, cut them up to the same size as the cue cards and shuffled four per show.

Here they are in order of appearance:

Programme 1:
The Clash: London Calling (the Punk Stones finest?)
The Beastie Boys: Licensed To Ill (still fighting for my right)
The Selecter: Too Much Pressure (from little sis)
The Clash: Give 'Em Enough Rope (the difficult second album defined)

Programme 2:
The Smiths: Hatful Of Hollow (so quintessentially English... perfect)
The Pixies: Doolittle (the monkey is still on its way to heaven)
Blondie: Parallel Lines (Debbie at 11.59, oh yes !)
The Cure: Boys Don't Cry (how many limits have I misjudged?)

Programme 3:
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Join Hands (umm, prefer The Scream)
The Jam - In The City (raw and sounding better with age)
Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (we adored them)
REM - Green (one of James')

Programme 4:
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - 101 Damnations (witty words)
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp! (How many times have we asked: Is she really going out with him?)
The Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus (awesome!)
The Cure - Japanese Whispers (the prettiest pop songs of that age)

Programme 5:
X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents (Poly Styrene's hair was a bit like mine at times!)
Talk Talk - My Foolish Friend (Actually a single - which foxed people)
The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk (one of my fave bands, ever)
New Order - Power, Corruption And Lies (was great driving music)

Programme 6:
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Architecture & Morality (does anyone know what the lyrics of Joan/Maid actually mean? Still love Sealand)
Tubeway Army - Replicas (not mine!)
The Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy (the greatest debut of the '80s? The soundtrack of my life)
Adam & The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier (very my sister's)

Programme 7:
Heaven 17 - Penthouse And Pavement (James')
Echo & The Bunnymen - Porcupine (back with some great songs)
The Jam - Sound Affects (umm, lost edge?)
Souixsie & The Banshees - A Kiss In The Dreamhouse (Mitch's)

I'll tweet and update this post with this week's four after the show on Friday, but they're pretty easy! If you spot them during the show, why not tell everyone what you think they are by posting a comment below.

Finally, I'd like to say a big thanks to Ellie Williams in the Autumnwatch office and David Knight in BBC Talent Rights for all their time and hard work in clearing the artwork so it could be used in a television broadcast.

Springwatch... might go literary... might go telepathy...

Comments

  • 1. At 12:28pm on 20 Nov 2009, grebelet wrote:

    The oddest thing was seeing the covers in the wrong format - album covers are square and the cards aren't!

    i spent years in a CD library and so i normally recognise them by the spine, so i did find thiis quite hard... that and remembering to look at the cards, not the face of the person speaking.

    It was interesting as OMD got mentioned (by me) the week previous to the artwork being shown - as did Gary Numan/Tubeway Army by someone else on the same thread. were you looking at the messageboard for ideas?

    i look forward to SW and the next musical game.

    take care and thanks for the series.
    L

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  • 2. At 12:35pm on 20 Nov 2009, Bea wrote:

    THANK YOU Chris! For years (before the internet of course)I thought I've imagined a band called Psychedelic Furs as no one seemed to knew them or heard any of their songs, guess I just needed better informed friends! Got The Cure ones straight away, it's one of my favourites.
    Great series by the way, see you all in the spring after tonight!

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  • 3. At 2:43pm on 20 Nov 2009, fluffy_duckling wrote:

    we have also had great fun guessing Chris's film T-shirts.....My other half actually puts down his lap-top to watch Autumnwatch now and can even identify some birds!!

    I think this has been the best Autumnwatch ever! keep up the good work and can't wait til Spring....

    P.S. Hope Bill is well enough to return soon but PLEEEEEEAAAASSE let Chris stay! :-)

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  • 4. At 3:29pm on 20 Nov 2009, EnglishFolkfan wrote:

    For enlightenment on some of the music that slipped me by over those decades many thanks Chris. Interesting how just the visual clue or the first few notes immediately start the music in ones head whatever the genre.

    Btw have you discovered the fun of flicking thro' someone else's iTunes album covers, yes they're all still available digitally, and trying to ID them - a sort of on screen 'snap'.

    Telepathic literary - ummm best go raid the Zombie library for starters .........

    Thanks again for your superb part in giving us the best AW yet (& plenty of swoon practice ;o)

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  • 5. At 5:54pm on 20 Nov 2009, LateNightSkies wrote:

    Do you know, being the type of person I am, your little cue card game and indeed the Smiths game in Spring, has opened my eyes to a generation's music that I hadn't thought about before.

    I mean my parents have told me about it and to a certain extent introduced me, but I am an inquisitive person and the games have made me go look up more of the 70's and 80's and early 90's stuff, and its pretty good!

    I think I prefer music from that era than the rubbish around now in general! :)

    As EFF has said before me, thanks for the best AW ever. Thanks to the whole team! Have so enjoyed it AND we did get lots of swooning done!!!! ;) Can't wait till Spring time!

    Ps Any hints at a game for then? Or do you not plan in advance? :)

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  • 6. At 10:15pm on 20 Nov 2009, billy_hitchcock wrote:

    springwatch has to be horror film posters surely chris? :-)

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  • 7. At 09:41am on 22 Nov 2009, hypertrashie wrote:

    Fab and infuriating! You'll have to up the ante next year and make them all wildlife related song titles!

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  • 8. At 7:01pm on 22 Nov 2009, feline wrote:

    I was quite excited to see familiar album covers on Autumnwatch, my 2 greatest passions together, music and nature! My kids learned a bit about some of my old record collection, as well as nature, and began asking what each card was. This was definitely the best Autumnwatch ever, such interesting subject matter and a great team delivering it, we thoroughly enjoyed the Unsprung spontaneity too. Thanks all and thanks Chris, I can now refer to you when thought of as weird for having bat poo (from studying pipistrelles) and collections of bones in jars. I finally feel normal!?

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  • 9. At 1:07pm on 27 Nov 2009, Beth wrote:

    I love that you did this, The Smiths song lyrics made me very happy, this made me even happier.

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