Overload (Ronco, 1982)

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Review
Friday 11 June 1982.
Larry Holmes v Gerry Cooney.
One of the most eagerly anticipated boxing matches ever. As it wasn’t starting until 3.00 or 4.00am (can’t remember which), RTE 1 decided to screen The Deer Hunter once the Late News had aired. In those days, closedown normally took place around midnight so this was a rare treat to watch ‘tv through the night’. Quite a few schoolboys stayed up and most of us in two channel land watched The Deer Hunter. Unfortunately the movie broke down half way through and RTE re-screened it the following night. The fight wasn’t bad either.

By the end of the month school was out for the summer and Ronco released Overload. It contains 22 tracks squeezed onto 67 minutes of vinyl and is essentially a snapshot of the UK charts from May 1982. A time capsule with a Mike Score lookalike on the sleeve. An apt start: taken from the Hunter LP, Blondie’s underrated Island Of Lost Souls. The promo video was filmed in the Scilly Isles, amid rumours of a coke-fuelled set. Enter Yazoo. Only You was written while Vince Clarke worked out his last days in Depeche Mode. A gentle, melodic tour-de-force with Alison Moyet giving an all time great debut performances.

Get into the groove: Toyah’s stirring Brave New World. This now reminds me of a Fighting Fantasy Gamebook, Ian Livingstone’s The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain, even though that wasn’t published until 1983. Then Haircut 100’s evocative Fantastic Day, later to pop up in the midst of 60s and 70s tunes on Now That’s What I Call Music – The Summer Album. Elsewhere you get Roxy Music’s smooth silk harmonies of More Than This coupled with Depeche Mode’s The Meaning Of Love, spiky synth pop that was omitted from the vinyl version of The Singles 81-85. We slide into a slick jazz groove on The Band AKA’s Grace sadly shorn of a minute from its 7″ mix which pales in comparison to the full length 12″.

81-82-83-84: Simple Minds’ Promised You A Miracle. It contains a brash, pop edge with a swagger that perfect bridges the point between atmospheric new wave and full-0n stadium rock. The accompanying album, New Gold Dream, remains their artistic pinnacle. After eight killer tunes in a row, we’re derailed by the knock-off rockabilly of Rocky Sharpe And The Replays. But redemption comes from The Beat, the perfectly-pitched Sooner Or Later. Side 1 ends on a sombre note; A Little Peace by Nicole, winner of the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest. West Germnay. Watched it by the fire while drying my hair after the weekly bath.

Still talking douze points, The Netherlands was represented by Bill van Dijk, with Jij En Ik. It flopped. Meanwhile Fantasie Eiland, which had finished second in the Dutch national final, was picked up by British record producer Tim Friese-Greene, recorded in English (as Fantasy Island) by the group Tight Fit, and became a top 5 hit. Lost souls, ABBA on speed. To the epic I Won’t Let You Down, sung magnificently by PhD and Jim Diamond complete with awesome organ finale. Stray back into the disco zone with Hot Chocolate’s uptempo Girl Crazy before one of UB40’s meanest grooves, the hypnotic Love Is All Is Alright. And full of eastern promise are Japan on the enigmatic Cantonese Boy. “Bang your tin drum.”

Kim Wilde’s View From A Bridge was the second single lifted from Select, a tale of suicide from a flyover. Its sombre subject matter contrasts with Bardo’s One Step Further, the UK Eurovision entry that sounds like Elvis Costello fronting a female Attractions. Judgment is permanently reserved on The Goombay Dance Band’s Seven Tears, a poor man’s Boney M. Meanwhile the mysterious Rokotto see For The Broken Hearted reduced to 1:26. And just when you thought Overload was fading, out fizzes Clare Grogan and Altered Images, the gorgeous See Those Eyes. And for their final trick, a understated 45 from Fun Boy Three, The Telephone Always Rings. The sound of Madness meeting the cast of Grange Hill. A1.

Favourite tracks
Depeche Mode – The Meaning Of Love

The Beat – Save It For Later

PhD – I Won’t Let You Down

Lest we forget
Japan – Cantonese Boy

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19 Responses to Overload (Ronco, 1982)

  1. andynoax says:

    The Sicily Isles? I think you mean The Scilly Isles! If only Sicily were that close to the UK….

    Anyhow, I have no recollection of this from the time, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across it since either, which is unusual for an early 80s compo.

    A mostly good selection of tracks including a few so called ‘lesser’ hits by bands that I really like nonetheless (Blondie, Depeche Mode, Hot Chocolate), some great pop from the likes of PhD and Tight Fit (Tim Friese-Greene would later join Talk Talk of course!) and some that I don’t remember at all. I don’t recall that song from The Beat, or the Rokotto one. I could do without ever hearing the overplayed Haircut 100 song, mind you.

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  7. Martin Davis says:

    Something which I’ve been curious about, was “A Little Peace” singer Nicole behind a track called ‘Canto’ which was apparently used in ST Ivel Gold adverts?

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      The jury’s out on that one Martin. I don’t think it’s her. I know there is speculation but Discogs and 45 Cat have credited Nicole Wray as the singer. It’s a lovely track, have the 7″ and it’s never been on CD as far as I am aware – would be ideal for Moods (1991) or the later Pure Moods (1994).

      • Martin Davis says:

        Thanks for your response. Admittedly am not sure of Nicole’s surname but judging from your response I guess it’s not the same singer.

        I have that single as well. What did obvious is that this track is not very well known as you never hear it played and it’s seemingly not compiled anywhere.

        Do you have any idea if it actually charted?

  8. Rumpy-Pumpy says:

    I had no idea Tim Friese-Greene had a part to play in the Tight Fit saga. Y’know that’s another reason for me not to like him…for me, he’ll always be the guy whose perverse mis-mixing ruined Sidi Bou Said’s debut album (and their first few singles).

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      I never realised he was involved with Sidi Bou Said – got introduced to the band via a Lime Lizard tape in college. Album could certainly have been improved upon, the talent was there.

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  10. Fluteboy says:

    The Rokotto song was released as a single in 1978. This Dundee-based funk band released their last effort in 1983, and I can only assume there was this last-ditch attempt in 1982 to get them some recognition. A minute and a half was just silly however.
    As for the band, singer Lorna Bannon joined Shakatak.

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