Saturday 12 May 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - O: Hazel O'Connor - Breaking Glass

Which came first - the film or the songs?

In truth, they came at the same time.  Hazel O'Connor landed the lead role, and wrote the songs to fit the screenplay, and the film and the album (Hazel's debut release) came at the same time.

The film story is a sort of "Rags To Riches" tale of a struggling singer with a pile of songs, and a music business hustler with designs on management and potentially black-mail-able contacts (he's currently buying up hundreds of records at retail to fix the charts, and his bosses don't want that getting out).
Filmed on a relatively low budget, there is plenty of grit, some dark humour, and an appearance by PC Jim Carver from The Bill and an Ant (Garry Tibbs).
Because it has to be done and dusted in 90 minutes, it all feels a bit quick - from forming to early pub gigs, to signing a deal and recording to splitting up in a haze of confusion and breakdown, all within 12 months.

As for the songs - this is power-pop with a punky edge, similar in style to Toyah, with a smidgen of X-Ray Spex.
"Eighth Day" and "Will You" are probably the most recognised, most played - but plenty of other great tracks here- "Give Me An Inch", "Writing On the Wall", "Big Brother" to name but three).
Despite being "written to order", only one of them ("Blackman") feels (slightly) levered into the story, and in keeping with the bands meteoric rise, there is a slight development in the delivery of the songs too.

Both the CD and the DVD disappeared from the shelves and internet stockists for a while (the DVD was advertised at around £180 on Amazon - I don't think they were actually selling it, just wanted to keep it in their catalogue/on-line presence).
The CD was re-issued for a more modestly priced £5-£10, and the DVD was also re-issued (although stocks seem to have dwindled on that one too - still available, you just have to look in the right places).

Hazel O'Connor probably never reached the same musical heights, or indeed acting heights again.
She did release a second album, containing the peerless "D-Days" and a cover of The Stranglers "Hanging Around", but then became involved in drawn out litigation with Albion Records, and by the time she was free to record again, her moment in the sun had passed.

Writing On The Wall

Does this contain one of the greatest greasy sax solos ever committed to record?
Will You

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