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Radio 1: Established 1967

Radio 1: Established 1967

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

ON SEPTEMBER 30, 1967, the BBC launched a new popular music radio station to compete with the illegal pirate stations that had a monopoly on playing new music.

Since that time, Radio 1 has become a world famous name and to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the station asked 40 of today’s biggest acts to cover 40 tracks from each year of its history. This album is the result.

But while there’s certainly much to admire in the number, diversity and size of the acts that agreed to take part, the ensuing compilation also proves to be something of a hit-and-miss affair.

For everything that’s good, there’s also plenty that’s bad – with some artists seemingly ill-suited to the songs they’ve been asked to cover.

The Streets, for instance, completely murder Elton John’s Your Song, Editors commit a similar crime against The Cure’s Lullaby and Mika and Armand Van Helden deserve a life sentence for the hatchet job they’ve done on The Police’s Can’t Stand Losing You.

But there are positives – and some very strong cover versions among the 40 tracks on offer that just about make it a compilation worth owning, particularly if you’ve been a lifelong fan of the radio station.

Keane’s version of Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure stands out as a firm favourite, as does the Kaiser Chiefs’ typically rousing version of The Move’s Flowers In The Rain.

The Raconteurs do justice to John Peel favourite Teenage Kicks (originally by The Undertones) and Girls Aloud, incredibly, deliver a breezy, crowd-pleasing version of Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag.

The Fratellis do an admirable job of All Along The Watchtower (by the Jimi Hendrix Experience), even though the guitar work doesn’t match up and Franz Ferdinand excel at David Bowie’s Sound & Vision.

Credit, too, goes to Mutya Buena for her classy cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and Klaxons surprisingly restrained version of No Diggity, while the Foo Fighters underline their class with a strong cover of Wings’ Band On The Run.

We could go on – The Pigeon Detectives score highly with The Power of Love (by Huey Lewis) but The Gossip miss spectacularly with their take on George Michael’s Careless Whisper.

Kylie makes Roxy Music’s Love Is The Drug her own but McFly balls-up The Jam’s Town Called Malice. Just Jack triumphs with The Cardigans’ Love Fool and The View emerge perfectly suited to The Libertines’ Don’t Look Back Into The Sun.

And, of course, Mark Ronson, brings a touch of his unmistakeable class to Mary J Blige’s You’re All I Need To Get By (the man can do no wrong).That’s not forgetting Amy Winehouse’s typically classy rendition of Cupid and Groove Armada’s fizzing take on Madonna’s Crazy For You (we won’t mention Natasha Bedingfield’s horrid Ray Of Light).

The best thing about Established 1967 is that it does force you to have an opinion and I’m certain opinions will be divided over the merits of just about every track.

So, either as one of this year’s compilation talking points, or to be a part of your favourite radio station’s cool 40th celebrations, it’s certainly worth checking out. Just don’t expect to be convinced with everything on offer (I’d say it’s about a 50/50 split between what works and what doesn’t).

Download picks: Flowers In The Rain, All Along The Watchtower, Under Pressure, Fast Car, Sound & Vision, Band On The Run, You’re All I Need To Get By, No Diggity

Track listing:
Disc One

  1. Flowers In The Rain – Kaiser Chiefs
  2. All Along The Watchtower – The Fratellis
  3. Cupid – Amy Winehouse
  4. Lola – Robbie Williams
  5. Your Song – The Streets
  6. Betcha By Golly Wow – Sugababes
  7. You’re So Vain – The Feeling
  8. Band On The Run – Foo Fighters
  9. Love Is The Drug – Kylie
  10. Let’s Stick Together – KT Tunstall
  11. Sound And Vision – Franz Ferdinand
  12. Teenage Kicks – The Raconteurs
  13. Can’t Stand Losing You – Mika Vs Armand Van Helden
  14. Too Much Too Young – Kasabian
  15. Under Pressure – Keane
  16. Town Called Malice – McFly
  17. Come Back And Stay – James Morrison
  18. Careless Whisper – Gossip
  19. The Power Of Love – The Pigeon Detectives
  20. Don’t Get Me Wrong – Lily Allen

Disc Two

  1. You Sexy Thing – Stereophonics
  2. Fast Car – Mutya Buena
  3. Lullaby – Editors
  4. Englishman In New York – Razorlight
  5. Crazy For You – Groove Armada
  6. It Must Be Love – Paolo Nutini
  7. All That She Wants – The Kooks
  8. You’re All I Need To Get By – Mark Ronson
  9. Stillness In Time – Calvin Harris
  10. No Diggity – Klaxons
  11. Lovefool – Just Jack
  12. Ray Of Light – Natasha Bedingfield
  13. Drinking In LA – The Twang
  14. The Great Beyond – The Fray
  15. Teenage Dirtbag – Girls Aloud
  16. Like I Love You – Maximo Park
  17. Don’t Look Back Into The Sun – The View
  18. Toxic – Hard-Fi
  19. Father And Son – The Enemy
  20. Steady As She Goes – Corinne Bailey Rae