Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko 
Tuesday, 25 December, 2012, 07:00 - Singles Of The 1970s, Christmas Crackers
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john and yoko happy xmas 1Do Christmas songs come any bigger than this one from former Beatle John Lennon (R.I.P.) and his partner Yoko Ono. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) must be one of the most (over) played songs on the radio during the Holiday season. It has been covered by several artists since its first release in 1971. The cover sees John and Yoko together with the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir who feature on the song. Not bad going for the artwork artists of the time: they actually feature the artists on the cover of the single. Unfortunately, there are a little lost amidst a crowd of onlookers.

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john and yoko happy xmas 2This simplified cover has been stripped bare, back to the absolute basics (of which surely John and Yoko would approve). Gone are the choir and the Plastic Ono Band who, whilst rightly sharing the limelight, do detract a little from the otherwise simplicity of just representing the main artists themselves. This revise cover features just two things. Firstly we see a John (so called after its inventor Sir John Harrington). Secondly, we see an egg (fried) and surrounding the yolk of the egg, is the letter 'O'. So, we have John and Yolk-O and thus the original sanity of the cover is restored to its naked essentials.

Merry Christmas!

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In The Navy - Village People 
Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:26 - Singles Of The 1970s
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village people in the navy 1"They want you, they want you, they want you as a new ree-kroot!" Who could forget the strains of this 1979 song from the Village People. In The Navy you can sail the seven seas. You can put your mind at ease. You can do all this in costumes ranging from a builder to a cowboy to an Apache Indian? Unlikely. Recruitment rules for the navy may have changed over the years and relaxed a little, but even now, turning up dressed as a biker with a long handlebar mustache and a studded leather jacket and hat is going to answer far too many questions that just don't even need asking in the first place.

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village people in the navy 2The Village People represent an image that is unlikely to attract that many people into the clutches of the navy. More recent attempts have been made to use music to recruit people into this fine organization such as the Simpsons (or more accurately the Party Posse) with their song Yvan Eht Nioj. But why not use the artwork of the cover of the single itself as the temptation. So here we are with the Village People replaced by the Village Person. The subliminal message in this cutey's eyes is most definitely one of joining with her. As for the navy, she has a hat doesn't she? She probably has a naval (navel see) too, though it isn't evident from this picture.

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Christmas Rappin' - Kurtis Blow 
Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 12:13 - Singles Of The 1970s, Christmas Crackers
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kurtis blow christmas rappin 1Can you believe that Kurtis Blow released this single in 1979. It is said by some people to be the first rap song ever released on a major record label. Whatever the true story, Christmas Rappin' is one of those songs that is always on the radio through the Holiday season. The cover for Mr Blow's single is, on the other hand, something that you would not want to see every season. First of all, it's a bit boring. But most of all, the bright red spots on the dull green background is, if you stare at it long enough, enough to make you go mad. Whether this was intentional is unknown. Perhaps it was meant to look like holly berries on a holly tree, but it doesn't. It looks like a sanity test from a mental asylum. Stare at it for a while, then close your eyes. Now, isn't that better?

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kurtis blow christmas rappin 2The main thing missing from the cover of Mr Blow's single is anything that needs wrapping or indeed unwrapping. To the psychedelic red-spots-on-a-green-background effect has been added a picture of a young lady who, it seems, is in the process of being unwrapped. How can you tell she is being unwrapped and not wrapped? In reality it is difficult, however the extent to which the wrapping paper is ripped suggests that it has been removed in an incoherent fashion, perhaps too quickly, suggesting that the person doing the unwrapping was over keen to get to the present that awaited underneath the paper. Christmas rappin' or Christmas rippin'? You decide.

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Hanging On The Telephone - Blondie 
Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 12:18 - Singles Of The 1970s
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blondie hanging on the telephone 1What is it with Ms Debbie Harry and her band Blondie that they feel the need to sing songs that are so often connected with telephony apparatus. In this 1978 song, we find Ms Harry 'Hanging On The Telephone'. And once again, the person responsible for putting together the artwork for the cover of the single has missed the fact that the song is about telephones and that no telephone is present. Ms Harry seems to be stood around waiting for something, but the phone that she should be holding is completely absent from the picture. She doesn't seem very patient in her waiting as her pose suggests that she is by now quite fed up with being on the end of the line, not that the line is visible.

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blondie hanging on the telephone 2In this revised version of the cover for the single, Ms Harry has disappeared but has been replaced by another lady. In this case, it seems that the lady had just got out of the shower or maybe was in the middle of getting changed to go out and did not have time to get properlyt dressed before the phone rang. Now she is hanging on the end of the line waiting for someone or other and may be getting quite cold in the process, given her abject lack of clothing. The inclusion of the actual telephone on the cover, however, now provides a much better illustration of what Ms Harry is singing about and provides a much greater incentive to call the lady concerned than did the original artwork.

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Bad Girls - Donna Summer 
Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 12:00 - Singles Of The 1970s
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donna summer bad girls 1Donna Summer's 1979 disco classic 'Bad Girls' was supposedly inspired after one of Donna's assistants was stopped by a police officer who thought she was a prostitute. How such a mistake could have been made is unknown, however the cover of the single shows Donna leaning against a lamp-post in typical 1970s disco garb. Presumably the police officer in question had never been to a discotheque of the time and was unfamiliar with the idea that just because a woman is wearing stockings, high heels and a skirt that is split up to the thigh does not imply that she is a prostitute but just a regular 'girl about town'.

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donna summer bad girls 2Of course the title of Ms Summer's song is 'Bad Girls'. Note the emphasis on the plural. Yet, on the cover there is only the one girl - Ms Summer herself - in the picture. As previously stated, the fact that the clothes she is wearing are typical of the time does not really do the title justice. In this updated version, the police officer has gone and in his place are two very bad girls, in fact they are so naughty that they are standing by Ms Summer's lamp-post but, it would seem, naked other than some high heels and a hat. It is now pretty certain that if the police officer were to see them, his supposition that they were prostitutes would be much more accurate and in any case, being naked in a public place would surely call for their arrest regardless.

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Spacer - Sheila & B.Devotion 
Tuesday, 20 November, 2012, 12:17 - Singles Of The 1970s, Summer Sizzlers
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sheila b devotion spacer orFrench band, Sheila & B.Devotion (sometimes mistakenly called 'Sheila B Devotion') hit the charts in 1979 with the disco classic 'Spacer'. The song has since been sampled extensively by, for example, Alcazar in their hit 'Crying at the Discotheque'. The original cover for the single is shown on the right. It features a pretty blonde in a very 1970s disco outfit of red and white trainers, 'bobby socks' and a matching red and white sleeveless baseball t-shirt. She is kneeling or squatting down on a beach, drawing in the sand with a stick.

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sheila b devotion spacer 2The 1979 version of the cover was probably quite erotic and sexy for its time, however in the 2010s, it seems a little bland and so it has been update in line with modern maxims. On the right is an updated, and much sexier, version. This time the girl on the beach is naked (but nothing is on show that you wouldn't see in a tabloid newspaper) and is in a similar pose, although she seems to have lost the stick with which to draw in the sand. She looks just as happy as her 1979 counterpart despite her being in the nude. Perhaps she is thinking, "Now, where did I leave my bobby socks...?"

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