About this item
In 2001, a group of David Bowie insiders put together a private CD of the cover versions of the Bowie songs that had appeared on Pickwick Records’ notorious ‘Top Of The Pops’ budget album series between 1972 and 1980. They called the CD ’Top Of The Fops’ and put a picture of a lookalike lifted from the 1970s teen mag Mirabelle on the cover. Bowie, we’re reliably informed by one of those insiders, loved the album.
‘The Top Of The Poppers Sing And Play The Hits Of David Bowie’ gathers together the nine Pickwick cover versions on vinyl for the very first time. It’s a fascinating document of a confused era, where the high water mark of British pop and the countervailing trash aesthetic of the 1970s collided. And as is only fitting for those heady days, our album is released as a limited edition on groovy purple vinyl.
The ‘Top Of The Pops’ business model saw Pickwick churn out album after album of cover versions of the big hits of the day recorded by a ever-changing group of session musicians known only as The Top Of The Poppers. It didn’t seem to matter that the original records had already sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The ‘Top Of The Pops’ compilations were cheap to buy and were so popular that they were excluded from the official charts because they’d just clog the place up week after week, like bin bags during the Winter of Discontent. Listening to them as an over-eager pop consumer of the 1970s was to enter a disconcerting parallel world of the ersatz.
It’s perhaps no wonder that Bowie himself enjoyed these cover versions so much. After all, here was a man who had built a career on pretending to be someone else, manoeuvring his various invented personas through a succession of albums and telling anyone who bothered to listen that it wasn’t actually him the audience was responding to. It was Ziggy, or Aladdin Sane, or The Thin White Duke.
2 Life On Mars?
4 The Man Who Sold The World
6 Space Oddity
8 Boys Keep Swinging