Hot Ladies of Rock

hotladiesFormat: LP
Label: Pickwick Records
Country: Pressed in Germany for the UK market
Year: 1982
Price paid: $6
Purchased at: Angry Mom Records, Ithaca NY

A sample of classy Pickwick comilations

A sample of classy Pickwick compilations

Pickwick Records is probably better known to readers in the UK- a budget label in the manner of Ronco and K-Tel, they released a flood of  product from the sixties onward and seemed to hit their stride in the late seventies/early eighties with sleazy compilations such as the not at all sexistly titled ‘Hot Ladies of Rock.’

At the risk of perpetuating the misogyny I would have to agree that this LP certainly does a fair job of reflecting the ‘hot’ female artists of the period- at least in terms of quality, cultural relevance, and/or chart action. You couldn’t ask for a better roster actually. The only criticism is that Pickwick could have had a wider selection of artists with less doubling-up, but I’m sure that was done for budget reasons. The only stinker in the bunch is the inclusion of ‘Paying the Price of Love’ by Crush, a group so obscure that I’ve never heard of them. And I specialize in the genre.

I have a thing for kitschy bottom-of-the-barrel vinyl compilations. You can keep your expensive high-profile cover art by The Police and Madonna; if you want to see the REAL design aesthetic of the eighties you’ve got to dig down to the level of ‘Hot Ladies of Rock.’ The uncredited model used for the cover was most probably a randomly chosen secretary working at Pickwick Records, dolled up on a moving bus while rushing to a hasty photo shoot with the promise of extra £5 in her pay, immortalized like some second-rate Toyah clone forevermore. Fantastic.

Track Listing

  • Hazel O’Connor- D Days
  • Pat Benatar- Heartbreaker
  • Toyah- I Want To Be Free
  • Crush- Paying The Price Of Love
  • Rachel Sweet- B-A-B-Y
  • Runaways- Queens Of Noise
  • Blondie- (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear
  • Blondie- Hanging On The Telephone
  • Suzi Quatro- Rock Hard
  • Pat Benatar- I Need A Lover
  • Hazel O’Connor- Waiting
  • Runaways- American Nights
  • Toyah- War Boys
  • The Belle Stars- Iko Iko

hotladies2

Echo and the Bunnymen: Seven Seas / Silver

echo_sevenseasFormat: 12″
Label: WEA/Sire/Korova
Country: US
Year: 1984
Price paid: $5
Purchased at: CNY Regional Market, Syracuse NY

 

 

“You’ll strike the matches and shower me in water games, washing the rocks below…”

‘Seven Seas’ was the third single released off the band’s fourth album, 1984’s ‘Ocean Rain.’ It reached #16 in the UK (their fourth highest charting single there, and #10 in Ireland.

Not too much to talk about regarding the sleeve design on this one. Being a promotional piece visual aesthetics weren’t top on the list when releasing this. In most cases a record label would simply use the existing sleeve art and emboss it with a gold promo label. Perhaps the cover art for the proper release hadn’t been finalized or the domestic (aka UK) art was deemed inappropriate for US consumers; whatever the reason, the result is this stark nondescript artifact. All that being said, I rather like it. Mysterious and slightly intimidating, much is said with a simple font choice and text placement.

Men Without Hats: I Got The Message / Utter Space

menwithouthats_message

Format: 7″
Label: Statik (STAT 20)
Country: UK
Year: 1982
Price paid: $4
Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY

 

“It’s long and hard, this road to Mars.”

For my money Men Without Hats was the greatest New Wave band to come out of Canada, with Martha and the Muffins a close second and Trans-X not far behind. Truth be told, when compared to the musical juggernauts in the US and England churning out vast piles of tunes during this period, the Great White North doesn’t immediately comes across as a locus of international chart-topping acts…

‘I Got the Message’ was a single released from Men Without Hats’ first album ‘Rhythm of Youth.’ First released in 1982 (this version), With the success of their runaway hit ‘Safety Dance’ in 1983 it was re-released both as a ‘special edit’ (TAK 20) with alternative artwork and as a shaped picture disc. The single eked in #99 on the UK charts in late ’83 and #53 on the US Dance chart.

I love this cover. With its searing electric pink and caustic yellow palette it positively screams eighties like a three ton electric python full of pop rocks.

 menwithouthats_message2

 

 

 

 

Adam and the Ants: Prince Charming / Christian d’Or

 

adamant_prince charming
Format: 7″ (gatefold)
Label: CBS (A1408)
Country: UK
Year: 1981
Price paid: $6
Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY

 

“Ridicule is nothing to be scared of…”

‘Prince Charming’ is the second single off the 1981 album of the same name. It was Adam & the Ants second UK #1 hit (the first being ‘Stand and Deliver’); Adam would have one last UK #1 upon going solo with 1982’s ‘Goody Two Shoes.’ The single failed to chart in the US, but reached #4 in Australia and #8 in the Netherlands.

Due to similarities to Rolf Harris’ 1965 ‘War Canoe’ and an out court settlement was reached, with a not inconsiderable amount of royalties going to Harris for infringement.

The sleeve is a classy affair, with a rather subdued pallet in browns, reds, and gold. The single was also released in non-gatefold form (yawn); the B-side is spelled ‘ CHRISTIAN DIOR’ or ‘CHRISTIAN D’OR’ depending on release. The change could be due (once again) to possible copyright infringement. Oh those naughty music pirates!