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Wow, my celebrity life. There I was yesterday lunchtime, walking out of a massage parl… sorry, record company office suite, in London’s fashionable, uh, Shepherd’s Bush, when who should walk past me on the street but Harry Styles? You know, Harry Styles out of One Direction, the geezer with the Madonna-flick-but-shorter hairdo. Still don’t know him? You are kidding me. Well, actually, neither did I, until someone pointed him out to me. By which time he’d legged it, so I didn’t even get a chance to squeal like a stuck pig. But it is the being there and boasting about it that counts. I know that you think us Record Collector types are all about returning the double thumbs-up sign to Paul McCartney and nodding along to old Electric Prunes LPs with a fella who used to know Pete Meaden’s mum, but trust me, we are down with the kids. Oh yes, Hairy Style, he’s my mate, you know, we were only at lunch yesterday. Great bloke. Loves his original 3D copy of Satanic Majesties, you know. He’ll go far. In One Direction, probably.
Back in the real world… a gentleman reader has rung in to express his frustration that there is still a lot of Beatles material that remains unreleased. He has a point. The archivists for any band are walking a fine line between maintaining the integrity of the material that is issued and leaving stuff for the bootleggers and public domain merchants to exploit. Personally, I have some sympathy for both the fans who buy stuff that’s released when it’s out of copyright and those who release it. It makes the unavailable open for all, often at a budget price (visit any motorway services shop and witness the amazing 50s stuff from Elvis that can be had for a few quid). However, why leave it for the unofficial and unmanageable? I’ve heard several R&B, reggae and rock’n’roll specialist record company folk complain recently that there are so many bootlegs out there that the fans are now used to low-quality re-pressings and seem reluctant to appreciate the attention to both packaging and sound quality that paying another couple of quid can bring. The message for the major labels seems to be that it’s time to get on the case. The official Elvis reissue programme is now in good shape, and is an example of what can be done. For many other acts, there’s still great archive material waiting to be released and a market for it, so why don’t the labels get it out there – before somebody else does?
Sales of the Hawkwind/Free Festivals issue, No 404, are reportedly strong at the tills thus far, and thank you for that. In the meantime we are gnawing away at issue 405; currently lined up are a couple of Beatlesy stories, the history of reggae in 500 records and some guitar-slinging guy called Jimi. Plus loads more that we are honing into a curvaceously attractive shape even as I type this. And they say that we blokes can’t do multitasking…
Hope you’re enjoying the sun if it’s hovering overhead where you are,
Have a great week,
Ian, Record Collector Editor
IN THE NEW ISSUE!