A Young Person’s Guide To: No Wave

A+M Records | US | PicDisc LP | 1979 | PR 4738

A+M Records | US | PicDisc LP | 1979 | PR 4738

Various Artists: No Wave US PicDisc LP [1978]

  1. U.K. Squeeze: Take Me I’m Yours
  2. The Police: Roxanne
  3. Joe Jackson: Got The Time
  4. Klark Kent: Don’t Care
  5. The Secret: I’m Alive
  6. The Stranglers: Bring On The Nubiles
  7. U.K. Squeeze: Strong In Reason
  8. Joe Jackson: Sunday Papers
  9. The Dickies: Give It Back
  10. The Police: Next To You
  11. The Stranglers: Nice N’ Sleazy
  12. The Dickies: You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)

There also existed a US picture disc LP of this same title! I’m certain that chasinvictoria must have one of these in storage as well. The album featured the same, delightful cover art on the A-side, but the B-side was completely out to lunch.

I want an anchovy to go… and hold the pizza!

I want an anchovy to go… and hold the pizza!

Almost literally since the album was not titled “No Wave… To Go! Why Pizza? Well, it was round. The PicDisc version was a numbered edition [probably less than 5K, I’m guessing] and it came in the requisite clear PVC sleeve that such editions sported. For that reason, the credits were appended to the B-side of the sleeve on a sticker. The A-side featured a cheap come-on and both of these are reproduced below.

hype sticker a-go-go

hype sticker a-go-go

liner notes

liner notes

Seeing that tells us that Joe Jackson was not yet assaulting the pop charts since this album featured two pre-release cuts from “Look Sharp” which had yet to be released according to this test pressing dated December 5, 1978. So wow, this was not a case of putting a breakout artist on this sampler as Jackson had yet to hit the bins, much less wrangle his way onto the FM Rock airwaves.

If you clicked the link yesterday for Ron Moss, the A+R coordinator of this album, he told an informative tale on his LinkedIn page. He gives credit where credit is due, citing Derek Green, the man who ran A+M’s UK division [and famously signed the Sex Pistols]. So this was a case of a mentor influencing Moss, and this tells us that Derek Green was probably the man at A+M who we can thank for all of the unusual signings that they brought to American record stores.

Oh Canada!

But this record didn’t just appear in American record stores!  There also exists a Canadian version of this album which looks like this:

A+M Records | CAN |LP | 1978 | PR 4738

A+M Records | CAN |LP | 1978 | PR 4738

Various Artists: No Wave CAN LP [1978]

  1. U.K. Squeeze: Take Me I’m Yours
  2. The Police: Roxanne
  3. Joe Jackson: Got The Time
  4. Klark Kent: Don’t Care
  5. The Secret: I’m Alive
  6. David Kubinec: Somethings Never Change
  7. U.K. Squeeze: Strong In Reason
  8. Joe Jackson: Sunday Papers
  9. The Dickies: Give It Back
  10. The Police: Next To You
  11. David Kubinec: Another Lone Ranger
  12. The Dickies: You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)

…but two of these things are not like the other. Did you spot the difference? Some Canadian A+M employee probably blanched when playing the test pressing of this puppy and changes were made, no matter what the cover said! The cover touts The Stranglers, but one David Kubinec found two tracks produced by A+M staff producer John Cale from his 1978 album “Somethings Never Change”in the place of “Bring On The Nubiles” and even “Nice + Sleazy!” I’m all but certain that chasinvictoria probably has one of these in his home, so perhaps he can tell us more.

Back In The UK

Yesterday, commenter Nick brought to my attention the heretofore unknown fact that there is also a UK edition of this album and it is so different as to be practically another release entirely… which is why it is not linked in the Discogs.com database with the North American edition in any way.  Discogs are funny about that sort of thing. Same label,. Same title. Half of the same tracks… nope. It’s a stand-alone release with its own deep entry in their database. And deep is it because this album came in a bewildering array of colored vinyl options and a drastically different cover as evidenced below.

A+M Records | UK | LP | 1979 | AMLE 68505

A+M Records | UK | LP | 1979 | AMLE 68505

Various Artists: No Wave UK LP [1979]

  1. The Secret: Going Down Again
  2. Joe Jackson: Is She Really Going Out With Him?
  3. The Police: Roxanne
  4. Klark Kent: Don’t Care
  5. David Kubinec: Love In The First Degree
  6. Bobby Henry: Head Case
  7. Squeeze: Take Me, I’m Yours
  8. The Dickies: You Drive Me Ape [You Big Gorilla]
  9. The Secret: Lucky Lizard
  10. Squeeze: Bang Bang
  11. David Kubinec: Line Shooter
  12. Shrink: Valid Or Void
  13. Klark Kent: Office Girls
  14. Joe Jackson: Sunday Papers
  15. The Police: Can’t Stand Losing You
  16. The Dickies: Hideous

This puppy came in four different colors: opalescent, purple, orange, and blue. It featured four more cuts, with no Stranglers in evidence, since they were signed to UA in their native land. Once again, David Kubinec figures again in the mix, and The Secret get two cuts here. The one gem for my eyes is the Klark Kent B-side, “Office Talk.” Then there are two cuts from the Oval/A+M Records label that I had never heard of before.

Oval/A+M | UK | 10" | 1978 | AMSP 7468

Oval/A+M | UK | 10″ | 1979 | AMSP 7468

Shrink released a titular 10″ EP but the “Valid Or Void” track same from a non-LP single. It’s hard to tell from the cover art, but the enigmatic Shrink had the whiff of glam too far past its sell-by date shoe-horned into New Wave, until the back cover makes this [and Shrink’s desperate half-shaved hairstyle] most explicit.

Not quite cool in 1979...

Not quite cool in 1979…

Another Oval artist I’ve never heard of was Bobby Henry, who looked a little out of place, situated next to the outré Mr. Shrink. But the sleeve had at least one link to New Wave greatness: Oval friendly Lene Lovich was credited for the sweater Henry is wearing on the cover.

Oval/A+M | UK | 7" | 1979 | AMS 7408

Oval/A+M | UK | 7″ | 1979 | AMS 7408

Now I need to ask chasinvictoria is he has one of these UK LPs, since his “No Wave” collection is incomplete without it! The unimaginative cover has nothing on the exquisite North American sleeve by art director Chuck Beeson, who looked like he had a lot of frustration to work out from all of those Styx and Pablo Cruise sleeves that he had to chew on in the 70s.

– 30 –

 

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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25 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: No Wave

  1. Nick A says:

    and there is one different Squeeze track on the UK version – we got ‘Bang bang’ instead of ‘Strong In reason’. I think i might just have to hunt these down now…a couple of the clear ones on Ebay…thanks for giving me something else to collect, me being a colour vinyl junkie !!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Nick A – Let me thank you for pointing this release out. As I said, it was not connected to the US “No Wave” due to admins at Discogs making the call for this being a separate release. Were you unaware of the colored pressings? The sleeves seem to differ in the color of the title, but not to the point where the logo knockout is the same color as the vinyl. Do you have one of these already?

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  2. nick says:

    no i haven’t got any of these – back in the day i used to avoid these compilations as they always reminded me of things released on MFP or K[ant]Tel, looking a bit cheap and nasty . I hindsight i wish i’d paid the £2.99 and got at least one copy – a few charity shops and car-boot sales i will have to visit. I have definately got the ‘That Summer’ album that Taffy mentioned yesterday though so i will have to dig that out for a play

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      nick – I have one of those MFP compilations you refer to. Yeah, they did look cheap and nasty, but the volume on my shelves is pretty good on terms of music content. The US “No Wave,” in comparison, looks expensive… and nasty! Since it is related to the threads we’ve been writing about for the last week here, I’ll probably post about my sole MFP comp on Monday… unless some dramatic new event shakes things up.

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  3. nick says:

    looking forward to it already……it hasn’t got a punked up Mona Lisa on the cover has it ??

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  4. nick says:

    now that IS cheap and nasty !! I’m simply thrilled honey !!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      nick – Believe it or not, I have still never heard Orange Juice… Even while I own every Edwyn Collins solo album through to the point of his strokes! Memo to self, I need those recent albums!

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      • Echorich says:

        So funny that this thread just went in an Edwyn Collins/OJ direction! I’ve been listening to – back to back – the last two amazing Edwyn Collins releases this week. I also built an Orange Juice/Collins playlist for the car just last night! I’m a fan of all things Postcard/Alan Horne/Swamplands from the 80’s – Orange Juice and Josef K especially.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – Again, I have several Paul Haig records, yet no Josef K – what is wrong with me??! Hmm. Now that I think about it, it comes down to the fact that I have never seen any Josef K or Orange Juice music in stores. Wait, I did see the Orange Juice “Coals To Newcastle” boxed set once and the price [$60-70] was out of budget at that time. Never saw it again.

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  5. I do have (multiple) copies of the Pizza version of this comp, and one of the Canadian version (maybe two, can’t check) — to be frank I’m not sure if I have the UK version, though the cover seems familiar — interestingly enough, nearly all of the different tracks on the UK versions showed up on another A&M comp called Propaganda, which is where I first heard songs like “Head Case” (pretty good!) and Shrink’s GENIUS “Valid or Void,” one of my favourite “obscure New Wave” songs!

    I’m going to have to order me a (nother?) copy of the UK version though — can’t have too many!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Why stop with one!? Get all four “colours!” Just to be on the safe side. Kudos for bringing up “Propaganda,” another record I never had, but I remember your copy being around a lot. So Shrink is better than it looks? Excellent! What’s finer that great OBSCURE New Wave? It’s what I live for, especially now.

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  6. Tim says:

    Someone explain to me the popularity of “Roxanne.” There’s a table full of 80’s music scholars here, I’ve never understood why people go nuts for this song.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – It’s always been a poor song to my ears. The subject matter is tired. The chord progression is banal. Maybe that’s why it’s popular? Other than that, it might have been the first time a lot of people of a certain age ever heard anything like reggae? Was it down to that?

      Good question, by the way. My first brush with reggae had to have been Eric Clapton’s inexplicable hit cover of “I Shot The Sheriff,” one of my least favorite songs of the mid-70s top 40, and that is saying a lot! Maybe that’s why I’m so resistant to reggae. And it’s not just down to “Clapton massacred Marley, maaaaaan!” I find either version equally dire. Plus, the Rasta vibe is just more religious music to me. Ick. That said, I can play Marley + The Wailers’ “Exodus” all day long in spite of its style and sentiments. Go figure?

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      • echorich says:

        Monk, my ears respond negatively to ANYTHING Clapton plays…It was NEVER easy working for a diehard Clapton fan for 25 years – I would have to force Depeche Mode and Soft Cell on the office stereo once and a while just to get through the week. Otherwise it was a regular diet of Clapton, Cream, Zeppelin, Stones or The Who.
        Reggae doesn’t offend me, but it can sometimes be too “mellow” for my taste. I love squirrely/trippy late 70’s and 80’s dub thanks to The Clash, Slits and ultimately Mark Stewart and Adrian Sherwood.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – I can listen to dub all day long. It’s the vibe and sound of reggae without the content, a major beef for me. But it is also “generic” sounding to me. In it’s own way, it’s a deliberately faceless form of club music. As such, i might enjoy it in a store or on a community radio station, but I can’t cross the line and start buying it. I suppose a single Scientist album would do it for me, if it came to that. Adrian Sherwood and Groucho Smykle are favorites there on the UK side of that equation.

          A regular diet of “Classic Rock?” That hurts. I own some Who albums, with only one in the “classic rock canon.” That would be “Who’s Next,” the only of their albums post-“Who Sell Out” that I care for, though I never heard “Quadrophenia.” Of all of those bands, The Rolling Stones fare best with me, overall. My wife has a copy of “Physical Graffiti” and it’s not an objectionable Led Zeppelin album. It has two of my favorite songs by them on it [“Boogie With Stu” and “Kashmir”] and the rest of it is eclectic and not overplayed. Eric Clapton has never been palatable to me, though “I Feel Free” is probably the best Cream track I’ve heard. I chalk that one up to Jack Bruce. Eric Clapton had always been the acme of rock royalty and a ripe target for revolution in my opinion.

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          • Echorich says:

            Ugh! Who’s Next is one of those albums I know is playing in the Hell I may someday find myself after leaving this mortal coil (heaven would be playing the first This Mortal Coil album as it happens.) I can listen to 3 Zeppelin songs and none of them are on Physical Graffiti. I have sat o the steps of the St. Marks Place tenement which adores that album’s cover. It’s also, as a matter of fact, the steps which Jagger and Richards sit on in the Waiting On A Friend video.
            The only part of Cream which I can abide is Ginger Baker. Great drummer/percussionist and it’s a wild thing that he actually worked with John Lydon.
            As for The Stones – sure there are a lot of positives in their early work, but they are just more rock and roll excess for me by the end of the Sixties and irrelevant by the early 80’s. Mind you Some Girls does an admirable job of mixing disco and punk ethos and Emotional Rescue is a favorite track of mine (partly because my Classic Rock friends, growing up absolutely hated/misunderstood it.)
            Gimme The Kinks, Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd and The Animals and I’m done with the 60’s as far as British Rock and Roll is concerned. If you want to delve deeper, then I am a huge Doors and Love fan. Can’t do without Bacharach and David, and still hold all of The Velvet Underground’s work in high regard.

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            • postpunkmonk says:

              Echorich – As a kid, I liked The Doors. I was always a keyboard guy. But after reading excerpts from the Sugarman book, I’ve been actively repelled by JIm Morrison, and I don’t think highly of Sugarman, to he perfectly honest! Syd Pink Floyd is IT for me. I can’t believe that I don’t have a copy of “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” but that comes down to my first exposure to it, as the bastardized, false stereo mix complete with “See Emily Play” was so compelling the first time I heard it, I don’t think I can accept the “real” version.

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              • Taffy says:

                It’s weird, but as much as I love Ian McCulloch and others who worship them, I cannot stand the Doors. Loathe their music, and find Jim Morrison a wildly overrated pretentious gasbag.
                As for other canons of classic rock, I pretty much adore the Beatles and Stones, enjoy early Who, and pretend Led Zep doesn’t exist (which was impossible while going to high school in the 1970s).
                Oh, but to get back to the original topic…I think Roxanne is agreeable white-washed reggae-lite. But in the end, it’s just another song about a guy and the hooker he thinks he can turn straight. Yawn.

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                • postpunkmonk says:

                  Taffy – The music of The Doors that I heard on the AM radio growing up was very attractive to me, it was simply learning what an ugly person Jim Morrison was that gives me cognitive dissonance over the last – wow, 34 years! I have not heard any deep cuts, and I aim to keep it that way… Except for “The End,” which was impossible to avoid! “Pretentious gasbag” doesn’t even begin to describe him! I feel that Danny Sugarman and The Doors deserved each other, if not all of those millions of dollars. They were both damaged, pathetic goods. But hey, I had to look up what year that book came out [“No One Here Gets Put Alive”] and I discovered one positive fact about bottom feeder Danny Sugarman! He produced the killa Iggy Pop song “Repo Man” from the film of the same name! My hat goes off for that one, salient fact!

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              • Echorich says:

                See Emily Play in mono or fake stereo sounds like perfection! As for Danny Sugarman…I don’t think I’ve ever been more disturbed talking to an individual than my one interaction with him…creepy/scary/intimidating are the words that come to mind. Worked with him on a project with never came to fruition – mainly because he lost interest, or desire to purchase licensing rights – and I’m glad my boss new how to handle him.
                When I think of the great Post Punk bands that I hold so dear, I come back to the fact that they all, in some fashion had an interest or understanding in early 60’s psychedelia. Some were overt, like the Bunnymen, or The Chameleons, some less so, but Post Punk gave that era a bit of a second life incorporating it in the soup which also included Art Rock and Punk.

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                • postpunkmonk says:

                  Echorich – True enough, and personal fave John Foxx makes no bones about how he saw Psychedelia as the crucial event of 60s rock. His young exposure to The Pink Floyd at the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream “happening” bore endless [did you catch that?] fruit within his own music career.

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    • echorich says:

      Palatable reggae – nothing more, nothing less… it is certainly not the featured attraction on the album – that would be Truth Hits Everybody… Roxanne works on radio because of the build in the music as well – I guess. Besides all that, I’ve always thought of Roxanne as a “self abuse” love song and those always seem to be popular…

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  7. Indeed Echorich, there is a LONG history of songs about masturbation in rock! As for “Roxanne,” it’s a story-song (which used to be quite popular) done in faux-reggae style that apparently was judged to be an easy way to bring in the “New Wave” (ha!) and “Reggae” sounds into the mainstream (again, in the case of reggae, as “I Shot The Sheriff” had been a big hit some six years earlier). I personally think the video sold the song, an early example of that phenomenon. Very stark colours, the atrractive band all with similar blonde hair — it was a fresh look at the time and I think that helped.

    I often hear songs on the radio (even now) and think “that’s going to be on the easy-listening ‘soft rock’ stations in 10 years or less,” and I remember thinking that with Roxanne. Even their presence on “No Wave” (along with Squeeze) just struck me as not quite right even back then. Ironically, Joe Jackson (who’s entries on this record are punky and spiky enough) turned out to be the guy who’s material most lends itself to the “soft rock” genre — if that brand of radio had any taste, that is!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – I’d agree with you almost 100% with the exception that I find the relentless throb of “Take Me I’m Yours” to be the deepest excursion into New Wave territory by Squeeze. But look at Sting now! His last 30+ years of material have strip-mined soft rock tropes with brutal efficiency. To the point that almost two generations would have never guessed that he once was a rocker!

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