Point of Quest: Absolutley None
It is common knowledge that the first commercial release on Virgin Records was Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' in 1973. This album has to date sold something like 257 million copies, and is apparently Richard Madely's favourite album. It was also the first album to be played in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall and was recently rejected as the theme for an ITV re-make of On The Buses (note: check these facts?) - not a bad way to start a record company.
This particular quest will be limited to the first single releases of UK Indepent record companies, primarily from late 70s/80s. The principle of the search is (partially) inspired by The Clash song 'Hitsville UK' from "Sandinista", which explicity mentions 3 of these labels, but sort of encompasses the whole lot.
So what will I be hunting down?
(arranged in alphabetical order for no other reason than it will be easier to read (if you feel so inclined)
- Beggars Banquet BEG1: The Lurkers - Shadow / Love Story
- Bronze BRO1: Squeek - Make Hay While The Sun Shines / L'Amour D'Un Apres-Midi
(not truly the first release on Bronze, but the first with the BRO catalogue reference)
- Chiswick SW1: The Count Bishops - Speedball EP (Route 66 / I Ain't Got You / Beautiful Delilah / Teenage Letter)
- Cherry Red CHERRY1: The Tights - Bad Hearts / It / Cracked
- Chrysalis CHS2001: Tir Na Nog - The Lady I Love / Heidi
- Cooking Vinyl FRY001: The Oyster Band - Hal-an-Tow / Ashes To Ashes
- Creation CRE001: The Legend! - '73 In '83 / You (Chunka, Chunka) We're Glamorous / Melt The Guns
- Damaged Goods DAMGOOD1: Thee Headcoatees - Headcoat Girl / Thee Headcoats - Lakota Woman
- Factory FAC2: A Factory Sample (Joy Division - Digital / Glass, The
Durutti Column - No Communication / Thin Ice (Detail), John Dowie - Acne
/ Idiot / Hitlers Liver, Cabaret Voltaire - Baader-Meinhoff / Sex In
Additional Trivia: Proof that Factory gave a number to everything it touched is borne out by the discovery that Tony Wilson's coffin was given the catalogue number FAC501
- Fiction FICS001: The Cure - Killing An Arab / 10.15 Saturday Night
- Go! Discs VFM2: The Box- Old Style Drop Down / Momentum
(was there a VFM1, or did Go! Discs employ a Factory style numbering system?. Maybe VFM1 was the Go! Discs office or Billy Bragg's first contract with the company?)
- Good Vibrations GOT1: Rudi - Big Time
(and not, as many people may suspect Teenage Kicks from The Undertones)
- Heavenly HVN2: Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart
- Island WI001: Lord Creator - Independant Jamaica Calypso / Remember
- Kitchenware SK2: Hurrah! - The Sun Shines Here / I'll Be Your Surprise
- Neat NEAT ONE: Motorway - All I Wanna Be Is Your Romeo / It Ain't Easy When You're Alone
- PostCard 80-1: Orange Juice - Falling And Laughing / Moscow Olympics / Moscow
- Rought Trade RT001: Metal Urbain - Paris Maquis / Cle De Contact
- Small Wonder SMALL1: Puncture - Mucky Pup / You Can't Rock And Roll (In A Council Flat)
- Some Bizzare BZS2: Soft Cell - Tainted Love / Memorabilia
- Stiff BUY1: Nick Lowe - So It Goes / Heart Of The City
- Immediate IM001: The McCoys - Hang On Sloopy / I Can't Explain It
- Rigid Digits SRD1: Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device / Wasted Life
- Two Tone TT1/TT2: Specials - Gangsters / The Selecter - The Selecter
This could get expensive and time cosuming. My stomping ground for the coming months will be ebay, discogs.com, car boot sales, charity shops - basically anywhere I may stumble across these items.
And what will I achieve from doing this? Absolutely Nothing, expect the satisfaction that I will own several pieces of plastic which represent the birth of a number of small businesses which either no longer exist, or have been swallowed up by the huge faceless conglomerates.
Am I obsessed? Probably - as my wife said to me when I announced my intention: "Oh, you sad little man!"
And because I finish every post with a video, here are two fine examples of debut record label releases.
from Factory Records, Joy Division - Digital
and from Stiff Records, Nick Lowe - So It Goes
And if you believe I've missed anything, and should really be seeking out the initial outings of <insert name of record label here>, do please let me know and I'll add it to my list.