TOP TEN: Tapes from when we were kids


Welcome to part two of my redundant media format nostalgia fest. This time we’re going even further back. There *might* even be some decent music this time around.

10. Every Elvis Costello album from the 80s

Ok, ok you got me. I’m starting by cheating. I don’t even know how many albums this is, but Punch The Clock, Blood and Chocolate and Spike certainly stick in mind. Pretty sure I didn’t understand much of it, but you could tell he had something important to say, usually about Thatcher. His version of ‘Shipbuilding’ is timeless.

9. The Best Latino Carnival in the World EVER

Before we made playlists online, you had to BUY actual compilation tapes that SOMEONE ELSE had ALREADY chosen all the tracks on. How dare they? The one advantage was that you might have got to hear something new and different, instead of all the songs you already like in a different order. I took this into school to play my favourite song ‘Guaglione’ by Perez Prado.

8. Steeleye Span The Collection

There were a lot of best ofs around. Everything from The Pogues to the Pretenders, The Jam to Bowie, Lennon to Led Zep. I’ve picked this one as one of the weirder products of British music from the 70s. They looked nuts on the cover and sang songs about hats and ugly witches.

7. Nick Lowe Party of One

Better known for producing the first few Elvis Costello albums and writing Curtis Stigers mega-hit ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding’ off of The Bodyguard soundtrack, Nick Lowe also recorded a bunch of soft-rock-pop-country albums. I defy you not to sing along to “so white, so white, refrigerator white”.

6. Santana Caravanserai

Latin-jazz-prog anyone? No? Fair enough on that description. Something I would definitely avoid today too. Contains zero Santana songs you’ve heard of. Fantastic cover.

5. Blur Parklife

90s classic. I remember enjoying all the characters like Tracy Jacks, Bill Barret and John getting intimidated by the dirty pigeons. There was no question on which side of the Britpop divide we were on.

4. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill

All the girls in my Year 4 class knew all the words to ‘Ironic’. All the girls and me. Gave birth to the phenomenon of Morissetting. The distilled rage of ‘You Oughta Know’ is still just as powerful today.

3. Skunk Anansie Stoosh

Quite a sweary choice for kids. Perfect for testing new speakers. I heard that they had been called ‘clit rock’. I didn’t know what that meant.

2. Led Zeppelin II

Is that the one with the Top of the Pops theme tune on it? NO IT’S NOT THE TOTP THEME TUNE IT’S LED ZEPPELIN FFS. Sorry about that. Ahem. Ideal for air guitaring and drumming, followed by the real thing when you grow up a bit. Top.

1. Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds Three Lions

Even if England were to win the world cup, there will never be a better football tournament than Euro ’96. At the age of 10, it was everything, Wemberlee. Psycho Pearce. THAT Gazza goal and celebration. When Pizza Hut trolled Gareth Southgate for the missed penalty. And to top it all, the greatest football song ever.

Words by James Spearing

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