Friday, 13 December 2013


Have you seen the five best-selling albums in the UK this week? The list really does make for the most marvellous reading:

1 One Direction - Midnight Memories

2 Robbie Williams - Swing Both Ways

3 Gary Barlow - Since I Saw You Last

4 Olly Murs - Right Place Right Time

5 Il Divo - A Musical Affair

A fine list by anyone's standards, I'm sure you'll agree. There really is something for everyone there; be you a fan of 1990s boy bands, 2010s boy bands, a Saturday night TV singing contest runner-up who could feasibly have been a boy band member, or simply photogenic boy band-esque operatic ensembles put together on a Saturday night TV singing contest - all possible tastes are catered for.

Perhaps what's most remarkable about the aforementioned best-selling artists is that they've all achieved success on their own terms with precious little fanfare or help from any of the major TV channels, radio stations or utterly charmless yet inexplicably popular and enduring musical svengalis. OK, so there was the whole X-Factor thing for a lot of them but really, who watches that? Hardly anyone.

OK, and I suppose there's also the wall-to-wall airplay our brave lads enjoy on the nation's most-listened-to radio station, Radio 2, which a churl might suggest leads to some sort of brainwashing effect on the music-buying masses who don't know any better because they're not offered anything better. But I would counter this by saying that Gary, Robbie and the boys' music is almost entirely ignored by the BBC World Service, Radio 3 and Five Live Sports Extra. That's a hell of a lot of potential airplay they're missing out on.

Although, actually, come to think of it, Il Divo probably do get played sometimes on Radio 3. Oh, and there was that hour-long Robbie Williams concert in primetime on BBC One last Friday night, and the Beeb's reluctantly-scaled-back plans for an across-the-networks Gary Barlow Day. (The idea of which seems a bit insulting. Surely there should be some sort of annual Bank Holiday in his honour by now. I mean come on.)

Anyway, despite the cold indifference with which our musical pioneers are treated by broadcasters, the music biz and showbiz in general, their talent has somehow prevailed and, thank the lord, they're not alone. Other brave visionaries are also still going strong, such as Boyzone - who this year celebrate their 20th anniversary. Two richly-deserved decades at the very top of the industry.

It's funny to think now that up until the emergence of The 'Zone, Take That and their ilk, boy bands were considered five-minute wonders who'd bother the charts with a few crappy cover versions of disco classics before swiftly slinking back to obscurity amid mass public indifference and ever-diminishing record sales. Thank god those days are gone!

Just imagine, if you can, a world without Boyzone. It's a chilling thought - kind of like that bit in It's A Wonderful Life where (spoiler alert) George Bailey's shown what a desperate place Bedford Falls would've been had he never been born. God, I don't want to live in a world where Mikey Graham never existed!

Think of all those great songs Boyzone had hits with: Love Me For A Reason, Working My Way Back To You, Father And Son, Baby Can I Hold You, When The Going Gets Tough, etc etc. I mean, where else are you going to hear great songs like those?! No, there's only one winner thanks to Mikey and chums' continued existence: humanity.

So yes, a bit long-winded, I know, but this whole post has really just been my way of saying thanks to all these great acts for continuing to contribute so much to the fine musical tradition of the UK. Sit back and relax The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Jam, The Smiths, Madness and Big Fun - your legacy is in safe hands.


drew said...

Fucking tragic, isn't it that I am sitting here listening to Sister Ray rather than the Zone's greatest hits, I sometimes despair at my lack of taste.

Kippers said...


dickvandyke said...

Oh Kips!

Rol said...

I'm glad you included Big Fun in your serious artist list at the end. I was believing every word until then...

Kippers said...

No, Big Fun was the only serious bit.
What a (terrible) group!