It seemed like the early 90s were the golden age of the music compilation album… or at the very least the golden age of music compilations on CD; record stores of the day had a huge selection of them on hand. Not surprising I guess, as this was the the dark Pre-Internet Times when finding new music could often be a crap shoot. The compilation format let you at least sample before you forked over money on a full album.
The ‘Just Say Yes’ series clogged up a fair amount of real estate in the used CD section back in the day. The tone- both in terms of musical selection and package graphics- was fun, irreverent, and more than a little haughty-wannabe. A lot haughty-wannabe actually, so much so that I pretty much ignored the series at the time.There were seven discs in the series, which spanned from 1987 to 1994. Supposedly the tracks are all remixes and non-album tracks by Sire artists, but it appears that at least one artist on this disc (The Normal) were not from that label.
When I found this CD recently at a thrift store for a buck I couldn’t pass it up. Enough time had passed that the haughty patina had subsided somewhat, and there’s actually some good stuff on here. Most ‘Say Yes’ compilations are known for their selections from the alternative (albeit rather mainstream alternative) genre; ‘Say Yesterday’ branches out a bit and presents an assortment of what would had been considered ‘alternative’ back in the 1st New Wave area, had the term existed then.
B-Movie- Nowhere Girl (1982): This track is taken from their 1980 ‘Nowhere Girl’ EP released on Dead Good Records, it reached #68 on the UK charts. The band milled about for a few years after the EP’s release appearing on various compilations before finally putting out a LP in 1985. They broke up shortly thereafter… with members moving about in complex and delicate patterns… collaborating with everyone from ex members of Bauhaus to Dido. In more recent years they reformed with an album in 2013 and another planned for 2014.
Tin-Tin- Kiss Me (1982): Tin Tin were created by Stephen Duffy, an early member of Duran Duran (who left before the band were signed), along with members of Fashion, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and Bob Lamb (producer for UB40.) Originally released in 1982 and breaking the UK top-ten, a 1985 re-release and re-recording climbed the UK charts to #4 in the spring of that year.
Tim Scott- Swear (1983): Information is scant on this artist. He released a few singles on the Sire label in the early 1980s after a stint with the Rockabilly revival group the Rockats.
Blancmange- Don’t Tell Me (1984): This band was quite the item back in the day, racking up eleven top-100 hits in the UK and five on the US dance charts between 1982-1986. This track is a single from their second LP, 1984’s ‘Mange Tout.’
Madness- One Step Beyond (1979): Major hit in the UK, minor hit in the US… click the title to see its own blog entry.
Plastic Bertrand- Ca Plane Pour Moi (This Life’s for Me) (1977): By far the most successful and well known of this Belgian artist’s songs, the single scratched the US Billboard Hot 100 at #47. It fared much better in Europe where it was a number one hit in both France and Switzerland.
M- Pop Muzik (1979): This one needs no introduction I’m sure. Massive hit for Robin Scott, reaching #2 on the UK charts and #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Specimen- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1983): Long-surviving British Goth band who’s fashion sense (at least in the early days) helped to define the genre. Guitarist Jon Klein has worked with Siouxsie and the Banshees and Sinead O’Connor.
Dead Boys- Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth (1977): An early American punk band originally hailing from Cleveland, the Dead Boys were encouraged to move to NYC by Joey Ramone, where they became a CBGB’s staple. This track is from their first studio LP ‘Young Loud and Snotty.’
Patti Smith- Piss Factory (1974): Of all the songs on the disc this one seems the most out of place. It’s just shy of five minutes in length, but this protracted caustic rambling track sure seems a hell of a lot longer wedged in amongst relatively carefree fare like ‘Pop Muzik.’ A seminal work to be sure… but one that drags the flow to a grinding halt like a homeless person suddenly standing in the middle of a subway car loudly demanding attention be paid to his protracted plea for a charitable donation.
The Rezillos- Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight (1978): Formed in Edinburgh in 1976, the Rezillos- later the Revillos- were one of those misfit groups that straddled the boundaries between first generation punk and New Wave. This track is from their first LP ‘Can’t Stand the Rezillos’ and is a cover of a B-side from a 1969 single by Earl Vince and the Valiants (Fleetwood Mac in disguise.) I’m a pretty big fan, so you’ll be hearing much more about them in the future…
Aztec Camera- Jump (1984): Glasgow New Wave artists with a long successful career in the UK, all but of unheard of in the US. This track is a cover of Van Halen’s #1 US hit and can be found on the B-Side of their ‘All I Need is Everything’ single (which reached #34 in the UK.)
The Bluebells- Cath (1983): Scottish group with stylistic similarities to Aztec Camera, the Bluebells had three minor UK hits in the early 80’s (including this singles, which reached #62) before disbanding. They reformed in the early 90s when their 1984 track ‘Young at Heart’ (co-written by Siobhan Fahey, then of Banarama and appearing on that band’s 1983 album ‘Deep Sea Skiving’) was featured in a TV commercial and rose the UK charts to #8. They reformed yet again in 2008 as a supporting act for Edwyn Collins.
The Undertones- Teenage Kicks (1978): Punk/New Wave band formed in 1975. This song originally appeared on the Teenage Kicks 7″ EP, later re-released as a stand-alone single. It reached #31 on the UK charts.
Silicon Teens- Memphis Tennessee (1979): This ‘band’ did not exist in the traditional sense, as they were the creation of Mute Record’s founder Daniel Miller. Actors appeared as stand-ins for the band during promotional events. A majority of their material was rather dead-pan (yet upbeat) covers of 50’s and 60’s tunes, not unlike what the Flying Lizards would produce on their 1984 ‘Top Ten’ album. Note the stylistic similarities to the Normal’s ‘Warm Leatherette’…
The Normal- Warm Leatherette (1978): The poster child for British experimental New Wave and the first single released on the seminal late 70s Mute label. A CD reissue of the song came out about the same time this compilation was released; click the title to see its own blog entry.