Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy 32nd Birthday Stiff Records

August 14, 1976, funded by a £400 loan 'So It Goes' by Nick Lowe became the first record released on Stiff Records. Lowe played all the instruments the single cost £45 to record.

In the mid-1970s, Lowe began playing in Rockpile with Dave Edmunds. In August 1976, Lowe released "So It Goes" b/w "Heart of the City", the first single on the Stiff Records label where he was in-house producer.

Stiff Records is a record label created in London in 1976 by entrepreneurs Dave Robinson and Andrew Jakeman (aka Jake Riviera), and active until 1985.

Established at the outset of the punk rock boom, Stiff Records signed pub rock acts and marketed them as Punk and New Wave, including Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury. The label's marketing and advertising was often provocative and witty. Stiff billed itself as "The World's Most Flexible Record Label". Other slogans were "We came. We saw. We left.", "If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck", and "When You Kill Time, You Murder Success" (printed on promotional wall clocks). On the label of Stiff's sampler compilation Heroes & Cowards was printed: "In '78 everyone born in '45 will be 33-1/3". A very early Stiff sampler album, A Bunch of Stiff Records, introduced the slogan, "If they're dead, we'll sign them" and "Undertakers to the Industry".

Stiff also produced eccentric but highly effective promotional campaigns, such as the two package tours in 1977 and 1978, Stiffs Live, featuring most of the label's roster of artists performing at alternating times each night; Elvis Costello's "busking outside CBS Records" arrest and the 12 different wallpaper sleeves printed for Ian Dury's second album, Do It Yourself, with associated unscheduled makeovers of unsuspecting record shops.

Some essential Stiff Records classics and some Spyder personal faves:

Nick Lowe & Rockpile - So It Goes (live 1978)
Nick Lowe: bass, vocals
Dave Edmunds: guitar, backing vocals
Billy Bremner: guitar
Terry Williams: drums

Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation
(I got to hang out and have lunch with Richard Hell on February 18, 1986)

Elvis Costello - Alison (his 1st TV Appearance)
look how young he looks
poor quality video, but a rare gem

Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (1977)

Lene Lovich - Lucky Number (1978)

Madness - One Step Beyond (extended) (1979)

Jona Lewie - You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties (1980)
(can anyone find the proper video for this track? I know there is one, but I couldn't find it)

The Belle Stars - Sign of the Times (1982)

YELLO - I Love You (1983)

Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know (1983)

Kirsty MacCOLL - A New England (1983)

No comments:

Post a Comment