No More Heroes
I have to confess that I didn’t have a particularly big record collection growing up. My parents couldn’t afford a lot of pocket money, so I didn’t have a lot of disposable income for singles – and certainly not for albums; it was easier to spare 25p or 30p for Smash Hits every fortnight than to buy records on a regular basis, which is why I have been able to spend the last six years sharing my collection on my archive.
Ever since I first dived into my Smash Hits collection and began reliving those times, the question I have asked repeatedly has been: "Did we realise how lucky we were?" We were spoiled. During my formative years, the charts were bursting with great music; there was so much variety and invention in the British top 40 of the late seventies and early eighties – an explosion of talent that has never been repeated to such a degree.
No More Heroes tackles the well-nigh impossible task of distilling the spirit of those heady days into three discs. Listening to its sixty tracks is a whirlwind spin through the golden age of punk, post-punk and new wave. Chart-toppers from The Jam, The Specials and Ian Dury rub shoulders with classics from Madness, Buzzcocks and Adam and the Ants; American acts like the Ramones, Modern Lovers and Talking Heads pogo with Generation X, XTC and X Ray Spex. Alongside the more familiar titles are things you might have forgotten: I am particularly excited by the inclusion of Back Of My Hand by the Jags – why wasn’t that a bigger hit?!!?
From calls to action by the likes of Sham 69 and Secret Affair to the endearing goofiness of the Toy Dolls and Tenpole Tudor, this is a reminder of that incredible outpouring of energy. Some of these acts cast long shadows; others crashed and burned spectacularly, but from the unmistakable opening of Teenage Kicks to Jona Lewie’s anthem for wallflowers, there’s hardly a dull moment here.
No More Heroes is an ideal way to fill some of the gaps in your collection – or a great introduction to the great sounds of a great moment in musical history. It doesn’t claim to be all-inclusive, but what it does include is good enough for me: Blondie, The Fall, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bow Wow Wow, Dr. Feelgood....Realising that some of these songs were recorded forty years ago should make me feel old, but listening to them puts a spring in my step. So go ahead, open up a copy of Smash Hits, crank up the stereo and enjoy!
The makers of No More Heroes have given us three copies of the boxset to give away to fans of this Smash Hits archive. To have a chance of winning, go to our Facebook page and leave a comment listing your three favourite tracks from the compilation and three songs which you think should have been included. Everybody who posts a comment listing six titles will be entered into a draw - three names will be selected and those winners will get the CDs.