Whether your shelves are adorned with polystyrene cups that bewigged demons have slurped fake blood from; guitar-string-worn plectrums flung into the crowd by a legendary axe-meister, the spotlights bouncing off the gold facsimile signature making the auditorium look like the contents of the Pulp Fiction briefcase; or a pair of stage-worn spandex trousers impregnated with frontman DNA and brown stains from the M&M’s on the rider (you hope), your collection can excite with all the colours of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

 

My collection? From the red Amen armbands that have become decidedly dodgy in a relatively short space of time, to the burnt orange of the sequined scarf that Michael Monroe threw off a stage many moons ago, the rock ‘n’ roll section of the Pop Culture Schlock archive positively pops with colour. Nothing, though, not even the brightly-coloured pieces of A4 paper that were stapled together to make The Wild Family’s short-lived fanzine (so colourful of word that even absolutely-not-narcissistic [heavens, no] headline bands were forced to remove them from stages of their quite full club shows), can compete with the cornucopia of colour that emanates from my dozen-strong collection of silk scarves.

 

The opportunity to lose one’s self in the bright, kaleidoscopic world of otherness that is the band-related silk scarf menagerie o’ mayhem is one that I’m assuming all readers of this site indulge in very frequently, but I can’t help but think that this tasselled-corner of the music memorabilia vaults is oft-forgotten. I’ve tried to keep the silk scarves a-flying on my Pop Culture Schlock (now in its fourth year) accounts across social media (available via every good Internet service provider, and some bad ones) but, to be perfectly honest, they are really friggin’ difficult to photograph. Do you just have the scarf unfurled, long and thin like a blue whale’s penis, or wrap it around your manly shoulders for a proper scarf-wearing selfie? I’ve never really found the best way to snap these scarves individually, so have neglected to give them the nostalgic moments that they so obviously deserve. But that, my friends, ends today.

 

“What exactly are these silk scarves of which you write so eloquently?” I hear a lone voice ask. Well, the band-related silk scarf was a screen-printed piece of merchandise that went the way of the Dodo and the guitar-shaped pin badge. Often considered tat (how very dare they?!) of a kind found in a novelty-item-riddled precinct store or seaside shop (like that Hyper Value at Barry Island selling all the unofficial Gavin and Stacey gear), the silk scarf was once a staple of the merchandise stand/table at concerts. Chris Phillips, weasel-like fourth member of the Uber Rock Radio Show (remember that? Another once-great offshoot of a music-related thing now considered tat), provided me, when I was desperate for further confirmation of a silk scarf/merch stand sighting, with a timely reminder (via his Mods and Rockers show on BGfm) of a silk scarf purchase when he attended his first ever gig – Gillan at Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre in November 1982. So impressed was Chris with his shiny, tasselled piece of iconic Gillan memorabilia that he got the support band, Liverpudlian boogie rockers, Spider, to autograph his brand new purchase.

 

In Biro. Though it could take the Biro’ed scribble of a Spider man with ease, the silk scarf was eventually robbed of all drawing pins and replaced on the merch boards with those silk-screened woollen scarves that were always an uneasy pairing for me. Yes, the material made them a much more sensible scarf to wear than their silken brethren, but the unnatural folds courtesy of the printing made for many an uncomfortable conversation with a main squeeze: “Yes, it does look like a love bite, but it was the left horn of the Abominog on my Heep scarf rubbing my neck… honest!” No, the silk scarf was where it was at, as proved by the accompanying photographs; taken, it has to be noted, with great difficulty and sacrifice.

 

Yes, the Nik Kershaw scarf pictured does look like it suffered the same affliction as the aforementioned spandex trousers, but imagine it glowing like the Golden Fleece in the draughty corridor of an arts centre. Sure, the hyper contrasted visages of the members of Duran Duran were basic, but yellow tassels on a pink scarf with purple stitching? Pop perfection. Yes, John Taylor looked more like Paul Young; yes, the bleed-through on the Culture Club scarf made Boy George look like a part-masked wrestler; but taking a piece of your rock and pop idols home with you, whether from the concert hall or the in-shops? Priceless. An Ozzy scarf in Prince of Darkness black with silver tassels? A Twisted Sister scarf with not just red, but also black tassels? A Reading Festival 1986 scarf complete with not just the Lords of the New Church logo, but also that of Rough Cutt? Manna from music merchandise Heaven.

 

Imagine, if you will, a Rewind Festival or a show by a reunited Eighties pop-rock act, where the paying punters don’t dress in de rigueur hair rocker wig (complete with inflatable guitar) or Day-Glo legwarmers and crop top adorned with the legend “80’s” always spelt with the apostrophe in the wrong fucking place, but dress in their normal clothes, yet with a vintage silk scarf around their person; the faces of Kajagoogoo wincing at the price of a pint. That, I’m sure you will agree, would make the world a better place. And I know I’m not alone in my love of the silk scarf for, I am told, the editor of this very site owns a still-in-package Hanoi Rocks silk scarf, given to him by a former member of The Cult/The Four Horsemen/Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction… but I’m not one to drop names.

 

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BLACK SABBATH CELEBRATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR ICONIC ALBUM ‘PARANOID’

VINYL DELUXE EDITION OUT OCTOBER 9th VIA BMG

Five-LP Collection Includes Original Album Plus Rare Quad Mix

Along With The Vinyl Debut Of Two 1970 Concerts

 

Also Available As A 4CD Set

 

PRE-ORDER THE ‘PARANOID: SUPER DELUXE EDITION’ HERE

Widely regarded as innovators of the musical genre which came to be known as Heavy Metal, legendary Birmingham-bred Black Sabbath celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2020 of their multi-million selling album Paranoid with a 5-LP/4CD edition released on October 9th, featuring the vinyl debut of two 1970 concerts.

PARANOID:  SUPER DELUXE EDITION includes the original album, in addition to a rare 1974 Quad Mix of the album folded down to stereo, plus two concerts from 1970, from Montreux and Brussels, that are pressed on vinyl for the first time. The five-LP set comes with a hardbound book with extensive liner notes featuring interviews with all four band members, rare photos, and memorabilia, a poster, as well as a replica of the tour book sold during the Paranoid tour.

After the success of the band’s self-titled debut in early 1970, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward returned that fall with Paranoid. The record became the band’s first album to top the U.K. charts and has sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. alone. Today, songs like “War Pigs,” “Planet Caravan,” “Iron Man,” and of course, “Paranoid,” continue to inspire a new generation of musicians around the world.

PARANOID: SUPER DELUXE EDITION first two LPs feature the original album plus a Quadraphonic Mix of the album. Originally released on vinyl and 8-track cartridge in 1974, but subsequently long out of print, the Quad Mix has now been made available as a fold-down to stereo mix on vinyl for this set.

The collection’s final three LPs mark the official vinyl debut of two 1970 live performances. The first was recorded on August 31 in Montreux, Switzerland shortly before the release of Paranoid. It captures the band, already a tight musical unit, thundering through new songs like “Hand Of Doom” and “Iron Man” while mixing in “N.I.B.” and “Behind The Wall Of Sleep” from their debut album. The second concert was recorded a few months later in Brussels during the band’s performance for Belgian television. Unofficial versions of this classic show have circulated in the past, but they’ve never sounded this good.

Pre-order the ‘Paranoid: Super Deluxe Edition’ HERE:

 

What’s that musty smell? Ah yes, it’s emanating from the veritable feast of vintage collectables housed in the Pop Culture Schlock archive. For your delectation today I take you back to the Christmas of 1979; a seminal decade of music about to come to an end and give way to the dawn of a more brash, more brazen ten year period…

 

If you were a good, music-loving boy or girl in 1979 and had a.) done well in school, and; b.) not scratched your big brother’s vinyl, then there was a good chance that you’d find the Rock On! Annual 1980 nestled under the Christmas tree in your modest living room.

 

“The Rock What Annual?” I hear you exclaim, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed at your lack of knowledge on this subject because, truth be told, Rock On! magazine was a short-lived, oft-forgotten publication… if you’d ever heard of it at all.

 

Rock On! magazine debuted with an issue cover-dated May 1978. Debbie Harry featured on its cover and the mag – costing a whole 25p – promised a healthy mix of punk, new wave, heavy metal, and prog rock. It kept its promise too as, over the course of seven eclectic issues, Rock On! dished out features and photo spreads on a dizzying cadre of top musical combos; from Status Quo to Sham 69, The Clash to KISS, Rush to The Rezillos. Meat Loaf graced a cover, Ozzy, too, until Issue 7, with Jimmy Pursey as its cover star, and cover-dated November 1978, when Rock On! disappeared from newsagent shelves. The editorial in that final issue wrote of the outrage of cutting off such a desirable publication in its prime but, if anything, Rock On! was a victim of its own blurring of genre lines: readers seemingly wanting specialist publications dedicated to singular strands of the rock ‘n’ roll world rather than this ambitious crossover style.

 

That final editorial, though, did offer some hope for the future; stating that it was the last Rock On! “in its present form”. Fast forward to around a year later and, in the Autumn of 1979, the true final piece of the Rock On! jigsaw arrived in shops and catalogues to complete the punk ‘n’ prog rocking picture.

With a scorching hot live photo of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott on the cover, Rock On! Annual 1980 (price – £2.00) may well have been jostling for attention on the shelves alongside big-hitting television and film spin-off annuals, but it certainly looked the most badass. It was, the cover screamed, packed with pictures, facts, and quizzes on your favourite rock bands. It did not disappoint.

 

The heady mix of photo spreads and more in-depth features on select bands really did make Rock On! stand out from its competitors, and this annual amps that angle right up to eleven. The first photo spread was a “Tribute to Vocal Power!!!” (yes, with three exclamation marks) and featured cool live action shots of Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten, Cherie Currie, Pete Townsend, Willy DeVille, Graham Parker, Joan Jett, and Mick Jagger. A good start, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Next up, a photo diary detailing a “hard band” going “soft” as The Stranglers met their devoted fans, followed by a quartet of stinging live shots of “the band the critics love to hate”, Status Quo. Rock On!’s attitude to those Quo critics could be “summed up in two fingers” readers were informed.

 

With barely a pause for breath, a six-page A-Z of Heavy Metal feature detailed the prime acts in the genre, from AC/DC to, erm, Wishbone Ash. A-W, then. A few curious names in this run-down, too: Prism, Quartz, and Mahogany Rush rubbing shoulders with the expected likes of Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and, a firm favourite on the turntable at RPM HQ, Uriah Heep. A “Heads Down Heavy Metal Quiz” followed: a select question being “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees was a double live album for which heavy metal superstars?”

 

A Ten Years of Genesis feature followed, the first in a series of in-depth essays by John Tobler. His similar two-page spread on the history of Queen followed, as did those dedicated to Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, Rush, and KISS. The latter, subtitled “Kings of Shock Rock”, wrote of “the forty foot columns of fire that emit from Gene Simmons’ mouth” and, c’mon, if you were eight years old at Xmas 1979 you had every excuse for then falling head over platform heels in love with the idea of the hottest band in the world.

There was a Rock On! reggae report, a fashion guide of sorts where the Quo’s Rick Parfitt spoke of his love of jeans and Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers of his love of raincoats (!), a Hi-Fi buying guide, a feature on sound engineers, a top DJ article covering John Peel and Anne Nightingale, plus one-page specials on Peter Gabriel and Ken Hensley of the Heep.

 

A photo spread of Ian Dury swimming (just your seven shots) padded out the pages, but not before an impressive photo set of live Black Sabbath shots appeared, a Star Cars article featuring Steve Jones, Meat Loaf, Midge Ure, and, ominously, Cozy Powell, a “Cult Heroes” feature detailing the likes of Iggy Pop, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren, Tom Petty, and Bruce Spingsteen, and a “Sex ‘n’ Girls ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” spread featuring Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux, Linda Ronstadt, Annie Golden, Poly Styrene, Stevie Nicks, and Rachel Sweet.

 

A “That Was The Year That Was” feature dedicated to 1978 was an obvious leftover from the previous year’s magazine and makes for entertaining if a little sombre reading amongst the other genuinely funny articles. Rock On! was a cool magazine, with its tongue firmly in its cheek and its love of a broad range of music at the forefront of any thinking. Your Uber Rocks, your RPMs are all subconscious descendants of Rock On! magazine.

No annual is complete, however, without a pull-out poster section (even if no kid ever dared pull a poster out of an annual!), and Rock On! Annual 1980 does not disappoint in that department. There are pin-ups of the aforementioned Pursey, Rezillos, Dury, Harry, Clash, and Lynott, plus Bob Geldof, Paul Weller, Freddie Mercury, David Lee Roth, Jon Anderson, Elvis Costello, Paul Stanley, and the Buzzcocks. Great photos too.

 

The Rock On! Annual 1980 may well be an uncommon piece in the average music memorabilia collection, but it is certainly a worthy one. Copies turn up on the secondary market relatively cheaply and, yeah, you should pick one up if you get the chance. The Rock On! staff were most certainly music journalist mavericks, and we’ve all tried to go there, right? Search for this precious, rockin’ tome… or you might never know how Rick Parfitt’s aunt ironed his double denim.

 

Thanks for reading, and for the feedback on my first column on the debut Alice Cooper comic. I’ll be back next month with something suitably archaic that the rock ‘n’ roll world tried to forget. Search for Pop Culture Schlock 365 on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook