Modern Heroes (TV Records, 1982)

Modern Heroes.jpg

Modern Heroes r.jpg

Flash Tracks, Endless Love, Party Fever, Disco Mania: all released by TV Records during 1982. As compilations go, they’re average at best and lack the thrill of rivals K-Tel and Ronco. However there was one exception: Modern Heroes which arrived in the shops during September ’82. For many, it’s inextricably linked to K-Tel’s Modern Dance, which perfectly captured the new romantic wave of late 1981. In my class, a cassette version was quickly copied and would prove to be an enduring listen through the rest of the decade.

Five artists make the crossover – Japan, Fashion, The Cure, Human League, Simple Minds and there’s no second chance. So that meant 15 others, a total of 10 tracks per side. The usual caveats re edits apply. Duran Duran launch with the exotic Hungry Like The Wolf, a key building block on Rio, their most fully-realised vision. Yazoo’s Don’t Go is followed by Japan’s Cantonese Boy. Icy, yet brimming with a tinge of human warmth. Plus fractured rhythms steadied by Karn’s fretless bass. Elsewhere Fashion’s Love Shadow captures their ever-changing funk moods at their most powerful with Gina X on angry backing vocal duty. A slice of pornography; The Cure’s intense Hanging Garden, faded tragically early.

The circle remains unbroken on Talk Talk’s superb Today, one of the era’s freshest tunes. And flying the flag for 4AD are Modern English with the gorgeous I Melt With You. A fond memory from Valley Girl; the future is open wide. Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms – Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain: the first LP from China Crisis with lead single African And White popping up here. Life is just a fever. This season’s obscure alternative is Strange Arrangement’s Don’t Run Away From Here. Seems to have been recorded for this compilation. Closing the first side are Bow Wow Wow and the relentless I Want Candy.

Side 2 starts with a B-side; the Human League’s hypnotic Hard Times. Cut down to 3:07 and just as good as Love Action. Bamboo Houses – a total masterpiece – saw Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Sylvian get together again. Sakamoto had played keyboards on 1980’s Taking Islands In Africa. Meanwhile Depeche Mode go all thoughtful on the somewhat ominious Leave In Silence. New Gold Dream: Simple Minds’ swirling Promised You A Miracle eases into Thomas Dolby’s austere Wind Power. Mind-blowing electronics creating groove, mood and atmosphere. Switch off the mind. . .

A Flock Of Seagulls drop Space Age Love Song, all terms of endearment alomg with a few glorious hooks. A big hit at US proms. Remember Toto Coelo? Founder member Nancy Nova’s goes solo on the likeable Made In Japan, but falls short of the top 75. Masks and red death: time for Bauhaus and the sinister gothic glam of Spirit. A wonderful surprise next, Mick Karn’s melancholic Sensitive, perfect listening for heartbroken teenagers. Yes, I turned to it in 1987 when I thought the world was ending. Modern Heroes draws to a close with a nifty instrumental jam from Pig Bag, The Big Bean. Party out of bounds.

Favourite tracks
Modern English – I Melt With You

David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto – Bamboo Houses

Mick Karn – Sensitive

Lest we forget
Strange Arrangement – Don’t Run Away From Here

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22 Responses to Modern Heroes (TV Records, 1982)

  1. cosmo says:

    This seems like a “Modern Dance Vol. 2/’82”. (Although the Human League track is a B-side from the previous year.)

    I’ll raise you:
    Fashion – Love Shadow

    Talk Talk (a band more succesful in mainland Europe than in their homeland) – Today

    China Crisis – African & White

    (The best single Depeche Mode released that year was Leave in Silence, but since you mentioned it elsewhere here, I won’t.)

    Simple Minds – Promised You a Miracle (And with this the career of one of the decadce’s defining bands kicked off in earnest.)

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      It really has a great selection, doesn’t it? There’s a bit of crossover between this and next week’s compilation so Love Shadow will get the “favourite tracks” inclusion then.

      • cosmo says:

        Yep, both this and Modern Dance have cracking playlists. And unlike similar-themed compilations made in the CD era (i.e. over the past 25 years*), these actually benefitted from being made actually when these songs were being recorded and released.

        *Shit, has time flown THAT far that we now talk like that relating to 1990 onwards? 😛

        • nlgbbbblth says:

          The big benefit of contemporary (as in at the time) compilations is that the obscurities – which would always have their few weeks in the spotlight – get included. Retrospective ones rarely work.

  2. andynoax says:

    Another one that I’ve never seen either at the time or in charity shops since!

    I’d jump at the chance to have it if I ever do see it based on this track listing – some classics, plus those always interesting obscurities..

  3. Pingback: Chart Attack (Telstar, 1982) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. Martin Davis says:

    I acquired a copy of this from a charity shop last month- found it inside the sleeve of Kajagoogoo’s White Feathers album!

    Have not heard of TV Records before. Did they release anything else after this compilation?

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Ha! Amazing when that happens.
      Yes – short-lived label – a few more releases in 1982 –

      • Martin Davis says:

        Thanks for that helpful info.

        Bit of a random question but what would you say the vinyl quality is like? My copy is rather scratched and based on my experience of KTEL and Ronco vinyl this indicates there will be instances of jumping or sticking.

        I do tend to prefer cassettes over vinyl for these compilations as a rule.

        • nlgbbbblth says:

          Hi Martin,
          The vinyl tends to be thin(ish) and more susceptible to skips – basically is prone to a little more wear and tear than usual. However, if you go for NM copies on Discogs, then you should be alright.

          • Martin Davis says:

            Hi again. Once again thanks for your response. I did always rather suspect the vinyl used on these compilations is thinner than on mainstream album releases.

            As mentioned on the whole I prefer cassettes for this type of compilation. What about yourself?

            • nlgbbbblth says:

              For compilations, CD is my preference – obviously for these K-Tel and Roncos, vinyl was my format of choice. I only bought a handful of cassettes over the years. I did tend to tape my compilations and listen to the tape versions which meant that the LPs stayed pretty much NM.

              • Martin Davis says:

                Once again thanks for an interesting response. That’s quite a sensible way of doing it, taping your vinyl compilations and playing those rather than wearing out your vinyl.

                Actually tried to transfer “Modern Heroes” yesterday and as feared the vinyl started sticking on several tracks.

                Am just going to keep looking for it on cassette.

  5. nlgbbbblth says:

    What type of turntable are you using?

    • Martin Davis says:

      I have an Ion Lp2Cd turntable which I have owned for over 8 years. It allows direct recording from LP onto CD. I also have an Ion Tape 2 Pc tape deck connected up to it.

      The turntable is okay but have always found it is quite prone to sticking.

      I also have a Gemini turntable which I acquired a few months back.

      Do you think the turntable could have something to do with it then? Are certain systems better than others at playing records that are not in excellent condition?

      Out of interest what sort do you use?

      • nlgbbbblth says:

        Hi Martin. That Ion turntable has a reputation for sticking – the tonearm balancing isn’t great and I don’t think there’s a anti-skate mechanism. I use a Thorens TD-150 Mk II – a 1973 player that I got restored in 2010. Prior to that, Technics 1210s. To be honest, you need to spend at least £400 / £500 to get a reliable deck.

        • Martin Davis says:

          Hi again Nigel

          Thanks ever so much for that useful information. I did suspect the turntable might be part of the problem. Btw it does have an anti skating knob on it.

          I have probably used that Ion system more for transferring tapes rather than vinyl. Have always been satisfied with the quality of the tape deck on the whole.

          I would love a Technics turntable one day but am aware they’re quite expensive. I do have a Technics cassette deck which I’ve not used yet. Do you think the quality is likely to be better than on the Ion one?

          • nlgbbbblth says:

            Hi Martin – it’s Paul not Nigel 🙂
            Can you adjust the anti-skate?
            I expect Technics cassette deck would be better than the Ion – assuming the tape heads aren’t worn.

  6. Martin Davis says:

    Just managed to purchase a copy of the cassette version via Ebay. Am really looking forward to listening to it when it arrives.

  7. michael says:

    i think i still have this on vinyl….somewhere in my belongings….its been driving me crazy trying to find the version of Love Shadow by Fashion online anywhere to download. The version on this LP had more synths in it than the version on any of their releases. [that i’ve come across] I am not sure if the cassette version is identical to the LP version. i stumbled upon this site so my chances of finding it again [even with it tabbed as a favorite] are bleak. hit me up at for any assistance. Thanks in advance.

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