I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

Won’t get spooled again

If you bought the NME during the 1980s, you’ll no doubt remember some of the compilation tapes given away free with the paper throughout the decade. I’ve got a tall and wobbly stack of NME tapes sitting on a shelf somewhere, but I haven’t heard any of them for yonks – not least because I don’t own a tape player these days. So I am very pleased to have discovered Press Play And Record, a website with digital rips of many of these superb compilations.

“C86” is perhaps the best known NME tape, its title briefly giving a new name to the jangly guitar music it featured (The Wedding Present, The Mighty Lemon Drops and The Shop Assistants, to name just a few), but my favourite has long been the wildly eclectic “C81”. The highlights include Cabaret Voltaire, The Specials and Robert Wyatt. It’s brilliant to hear the NME‘s jazz, blues and R&B collections again too, especially “Stompin’ At The Savoy”, a neck-jerking assortment of belters and honkers which first appeared on Savoy Records back in the 1940s.

The NME tapes were compiled by journalist Roy Carr, who’s never really got the credit he deserves for these spooled delights. Roy began writing for NME in the late 1960s and put together tapes and later CDs for all the IPC Media music magazines – Melody MakerMuzikVox and Uncut as well as the NME – for around 30 years.

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Morrissey and the NME (part one)

Left: The Smiths on the cover of NME in February 1984 after being crowned Best New Artist in the paper’s annual Readers’ Poll. I went to see The Smiths at the Gala Ballroom in Norwich during the summer of 1983 after reading about them in the NME. I thought they were wet and limp, like a sweaty vicar’s handshake, and the singer was a right chump. Still, I met John Peel that night, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I gave John a copy of my fanzine and he insisted on paying me for it. I believe he bought me a drink as well.

Right: Morrissey on the cover of NME in November 2007. This is a great cover and I could bang on about it for ages, but I’ll do my best to keep this short. The most striking thing is that nice bit of underlining. You can’t beat a nice bit of underlining. The way the main photo is torn along the left side is good too. So is the red blob up in the top right corner. You can’t beat a nice red blob up in the top right corner. Not sure about how those words under Morrisey’s name have been tippexed out, though. That seems weird.