Sunday, June 18, 2017

0026: 'Twas Video Killed The Beast?

On the last day of March of this year a boxed set of CD's containing the collected works of the band Radio Stars was released. Entitled "Thinking Inside The Box", it was their first multi-disc collection and likely their last ever release. They simply didn't produce much in the studio, owing to the fact that they were made up of people coming from and on their way to other projects. The bulk of their recordings come from early 1977 to mid 1979, a volatile and extremely fertile period in British rock and pop music. They reunited briefly in 1982 for live shows.

After releasing three singles during 1977, Radio Stars ended the year with their first album, "Songs For Swinging Lovers"(Chiswick Records WIK 5), a limited number of which included as a bonus a "Greatest Hits Album" (Chiswick Records PROMO 2) that turned out to be a 7" single combining their first two A-sides, "Dirty Pictures" (on the left) and "No Russians In Russia" (below). Each side is illustrated with a cartoon by designer Phil Smee.

Clearly, Smee would have been right at home in Viz Magazine (no relation to the U.S. manga publisher). Callously offensive images or sleazy subject matter are ripe for the comedic approach, and it's likely that Smee would have made a name for himself for years in a venue like Viz if he hadn't already found a more lucrative career designing sleeve art for numerous bands. Cartooning seems to have been more of a hobby that came in useful at times like this, such as Nick Mason's cover for Pink Floyd's "Relics" or Chris Dreja's cover for the Yardbird's "Roger The Engineer".

I bought this used in a generic sleeve apart from the album, so there really aren't any available credits apart from what anyone could look up regarding the original singles.

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