There’s been a few 2000AD-related songs released already, but this was the first official one, and has artwork from an established 2000AD artist, as befits that. Something I only noticed this week about Brian Bolland’s cover artwork (also used for the cover of Prog 403) is that the citiblocks on the front and back match up – it’s only a small part of the ground which doesn’t wrap around.
According to Tharg, two criminals from 2107 stole recordings of Dredd’s voice, put them in a musical track and have travelled to 1985. According to a commenter on the Discogs webpage for this record, the release was largely a test for Madness on how well they could market and sell a completely unknown artist on their new record label, Zarjazz. Warning – there’s lots of ‘seems’ and ‘apparently’ in this post, so if you know any better or can confirm and deny any of what I write, please comment (and subscribe).
It seems to have been released in a number of formats across four countries (UK, South Africa, Spain and Germany). The formats are 7″ single, 8″ picture disc (shaped – I’ve never seen this so don’t know what shape it took) and 12″ single. I thought I had the 12″ but have only been able to find a 7″ today. Cellar of Dredd says that the only difference is the catalog number (other than getting the chance to see Brian Bolland’s cover in a large size, of course). A few minutes research (i.e. looking at Cellar of Dredd) suggests that the unusually-sized picture disc is square, having the same art as the cover but without text except for a word balloon featuring the phrase “What’s up, Earthlets?” This version of the cover also appears on a 23.5″ x 22″ poster given away free with the initial pressing of the 12″ single.
This seems to be the closest thing the single got to an official music video, apparently featured on a show a number of years later. There’s a reconstructed music video using stills from 2000AD mixed in with what look like home-produced images though I have no idea what the provenance of that was, or if it’s a fan-film – of which there’s a few out there. Better remembered is their appearance on a Saturday morning children’s TV show. There was also a remix on the 12″.
From a comment on that Cellar of Dredd post, quoted from The Art of Brian Bolland – Brian paid a visit to the record company to enquire when he was going to get his artwork back. They’d mounted it on the wall. Brian explained that if they wanted the artwork they’d have to buy it off him. They didn’t pay him for it, or return the artwork. Looks like IPC weren’t the only ones with questionable business practices in the 1980s.
It didn’t add much to this post, but I read this page while trying to fill in the gaps. Apparently the song was supposed to be in the style of New York electro/hip-hop. I preferred the B-side, Mutant Blues, partial lyrics of which are on this 2000mad post – which appears to be a blog entirely devoted to this single!
Grailpage: on the understanding that the front and back covers are separate I’ll pick the back cover, showing Fink emerging from a sewer in front of a bill sticker of the lyrics. Also a cameo from Ratty.
Grailquote: Cathal Smyth (Carl), Graham McPherson (Suggs), Memphis mutants: “Sixteen muties on a dead man’s chest, heatseeker bullet will do the rest.”
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