Top Of The Box is the story behind every single released by BBC Records And Tapes, from Every Loser Wins to Awesome Dood! by Edd The Duck.
Between 1970 and 1990, BBC Records And Tapes released almost three hundred singles, ranging from some of the best known and most loved theme tunes in television history to full-length versions of ones that nobody had even asked for a short version of to begin with. Along the way they also put out one-off oddities by everyone from George Formby impersonators and up-and-coming folkies to a ‘computer orchestra’ and some posh blokes going on about how marvellous The Queen is. Oh and then there’s the one that’s just the sound of someone hitting a phone.
Possibly the most bafflingly diverse catalogue of singles ever issued, viewed as a whole, it’s a fascinating indication of what really was popular – and sometimes unpopular – with viewers at the time. Top Of The Box tells the story behind each of these singles, taking in familiar names, cult artists and obscure bafflements alike. Including the likes of Simon May, Peter Howell, Nick Berry, David Munrow, Roy Castle, Anita Dobson, Fascinating Aida, Aled Jones, Hazel O’Connor, Richard Stilgoe, Spike Milligan, Johnny Dankworth, Eric Clapton, The Grange Hill Cast, The Dooleys, Alan Hawkshaw, Enya, Keith Mansfield, Julie Covington, Georgie Fame, Godiego, Lena Zavaroni, Brown Sauce, Alan Price, Russell Grant, Kenneth Williams, Floella Benjamin, The Not The Nine O’Clock News Team, B.A. Robertson, Paddy Kingsland, Richard Denton & Martin Cook, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and of course Keith Harris & Orville. So many singles by Keith Harris & Orville. Including one that wasn’t even released…
“Fascinating, entertaining, and in a record collecting world that has become quickly dependent on sites such as Discogs for information, a giant statement on why books are much more important than trawling the Internet” – Jonny Trunk, Trunk Records
“To paraphrase Zammo and friends – just say yes” – We Are Cult
Paperback – Kindle
You can find an extract from Top Of The Box taking a look at some of the weird and wonderful – and more often than not just plain downright weird – Christmas-themed singles released by BBC Records And Tapes – here. Top Of The Box Vol 2. is a second volume looking at every BBC Records And Tapes album, and you can find more about that here.
Cover design by Graham Kibble-White.
© Tim Worthington.
Please don’t copy this only with more italics and exclamation marks.