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18 April 2014
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Jimmy Cliff
One of the greatest popularisers of reggae music, Jimmy Cliff talks about his career, Ms Dynamite and 'Fantastic Plastic People'.

Welcome to TOTP2, how's it feel to be back?
 It feels good you know. It's a show that is very significant for any artist to do, so it's good to be here.

Tell us about 'Fantastic Plastic People'.
  I started the new album earlier this year, with Dave Stewart. We met in Jamaica and we started writing songs together. I had a few of my own too and it's just turned out fantastic, really great. The vibe between us worked really well. It's not all the time when you finish an album that you can say you're really happy with the way the whole thing has turned out. But I am really happy with the variety and with the way we worked so quickly too. We started in January and it was finished in May. We weren't working consistently either. We worked one or two days here and there, so it's more like a month's work together. Really incredible.

Is the title a reference to a somewhat beleaguered pop scene?
Well it's the pop scene as well as show business. If you go out to Hollywood you'll find a lot of 'fantastic plastic people' there in the business and a lot of people in life generally. They find it so hard to be themselves that they have to be plastic.

Many artists are arguably pure packaging these days, do you think that's a problem?
Yes. In former days when we recorded with or built on artists they were still for real. Now you can manufacture just about what you want and after just a little time the artist is forgotten and gone.

Do you think we'll move away from that again and that they'll be a renaissance of people who write their own stuff and present themselves more?
I think it will have to go back to that. It's phase we're going through. Eventually, what is real will be sought after again.

Next

  Simply Red  
  "That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles. "  
  Robin Gibb  
  "There's been great moments both as a songwriter and as a performer."  
  Paul Roberts - The Stranglers  
  "We certainly weren't going to call ourselves The Bay City Rollers."  
  Lisa Stansfield  
  "I just thought, how many times do I have to sing this song?"  
  Soft Cell  
  "I think it's the only time that a banjo's been played in the Ministry of Sound."  
  Erasure  
  "Agnetha said she liked it. If I met them I would curtsey."  
  INXS  
  "We really surprised lots of people by simply hanging in there."  
  Kim Wilde  
  "I used to be really jealous of Claire Grogan...I thought she was gorgeous."  
  Dollar  
  "Failure was not an option, we were materialistic and greed was good."  
  Human League  
  "We did a US tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones...solely for the cash."  
  Altered Images  
  "Women were treated as a bit of a novelty in the music business in 1981."  
  Belle Stars  
  "The pop music lark just seems like a lifetime away now."  
  Steve Strange  
  "Look, youíre playing me like a bitchy queen and Iím not like that."  
  Five Star  
  "We all grew up wanting to be famous and we lived our dream..."  
  Phillip from Ruby Flipper  
  "At my age, I'd find it difficult to get my legs where they used to go..."  
  Glen Campbell  
  "I got to work with literally everyone in the business; Nat King Cole, Sinatra..."  
  David Gray  
  "Lots of tension in the camp. We're battling Gareth Gates for the No.1 spot"  
  Robert Palmer  
  "There's this homegenised force feeding of what is hip."  
  Marilyn  
  "I think George manipulated our relationship for publicity"  
  Tom Jones  
  "I'm pulling all my old jewellery out now and comparing my rings with Wyclef"  
  Ruth From Pan's People  
  "I could show you dozens of times I forgot the moves..."  
  Badly Drawn Boy  
  "Everybody has to do what everybody else does in order to have a hit single"  
  John Otway  
  "I think the music business is probably not happy with what we've done..."  
  Jimmy Cliff  
  "I look at someone like Ms Dynamite, I come away with a positive feeling."  
  Human League  
  "We wouldn't trust anyone that didn't wear eyeliner."  
  Status Quo  
  "I probably went about four or five years with a pair of stage jeans"  
  Gary Numan  
  "There are so many things in my past that you could make fun of."  
  McAlmont and Butler  
  "We were big enough to get over any-thing that may have been exchanged."  
  Primal Scream  
  "The producer at the time told us we'd never work again."  
  Oasis  
  "I prefer miming, I prefer if we werenít playing live."  


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