Tag Archives: polydor

VARIOUS: Easy Listening (2LP, Polydor 2675 002, ?)

Easy ListeningI love the photographs on this sleeve – a happy female music listener on the front, and a happy male music listener on the back. The gatefold sleeve opens up to reveal nothing more than an overview of other Polydor releases that the keen easy listening fan could purchase: “Polydor and easy listening go together”, it says. So, that means a variety of releases from easy listening heavy hitters like James Last – including All Aboard! With Cap’n James, whose cover shows James Last in naval gear sporting a cheeky, knowing glance, and Bert Kaempfert, Roberto Delgado and Norrie Paramor.

This double album, then, would seem to serve as a taster for the rich world of easy listening that Polydor had to offer – it’s a compilation featuring all of those heavy hitters and more, listed in a gloriously tasteless selection of typefaces on the front cover. It’s a great album, too: I purchased it second hand at some point in the early 1990s, when a wave of easy listening nostalgia was sweeping the UK, most obviously in the form of Top 40 hits by Mike Flowers Pops, but also in a huge number of club nights like Smashing, Blow Up and Disques Vogues that were taking place. For a time, everybody seemed to be wearing charity shop clothing and dancing badly to whatever cheesy-yet-brilliant, richly orchestrated records the DJ could find that week. Maximum enjoyment was reserved for those songs that cranked up the Hammond organ swirl, whipping up the crowd into a frenzy of retro excitement.

There’s no release date mentioned on this record, but I’d imagine it came out in around 1970 or so. The cover states that this double LP set originally sold for 19’10d. According to this handy ‘old money to new money’ currency converter, that equates to around £10, if it were being sold today. That’s kind of a bargain – over twenty tracks over four sides of vinyl! For a time, this compilation was worth a little bit, as it includes ‘Daydream’ by The Gunter Kallmann Choir, which was heavily used as the basis for 2004’s ‘Daydream In Blue’ by I, Robot, which was all over the place that year, as memory serves.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: The Velvet Underground & Nico (LP, Polydor SPELP 20, 1967)

The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico

No, no, no, I know that this isn’t the original release from 1967, it’s a Polydor reissue, but there’s no other date mentioned on the sleeve or the record. I’m just not cool enough to own one of the original copies with its peel-off banana and stuff. (Whilst I’d love to say that it’s all about the music and the packaging or particular release doesn’t matter to me, that would be an outright lie…)

What can be said about this record? Everybody in the universe must have heard it by now, surely? It’s the record that launched a thousand billion bands, that redefined the landscape of late sixties music, that brought Pop Art to the musical mainstream, that did everything a lot of music critics tell you that it did. It’s damned fine, though. I prefer White Light White Heat, but this album stands up to the test of time. The band photographs on the back are pretty great, as well. I always thought that Sterling Morrison looked the coolest. Who’d have thought that Lou Reed would grow up to become such a colossal, self-obsessed knob? Perhaps it happens to us all.

For some reason I’m now reminded of the scene in Oliver Stone’s The Doors movie where Nico ‘gets friendly’ with Jim Morrison in a lift. That was Nico in that scene, right? That was one of the only films I think I’ve been to where I saw people actually walk out of the cinema either in disgust or out of boredom. I guess they weren’t Doors fans. They will have missed Billy Idol’s excellent star turn though – more fool them.