Every week, we’ll be featuring a carefully selected and seven-song Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure. Music licensing mogul Liz Buckley – who will be a regular curator of tunes here – presses play first.
I’ve worked in music since I was 17. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and my ruse was to try EVERYTHING. I started with record shops: it’s retail, no one could say I was over-stretching myself and I lived above one for a time, so if nothing else, I was punctual.
When I got to university, I thought maybe I could write, like we all do. I started pitching ideas to music magazines, but driven by the crushing sense of responsibility as a bill payer and kitten owner, I sought a desk job. Beginning as a temp at a music publishers, within six months I was looking after their royalties and copyrights. I became a megalomaniac! I wasn’t in that job a year before I was off to a record company to run their royalties and train in licensing.
Less than a year after that a 26-year-old me wrote to the best reissue music company in the world asking if they’d employ me. I’m so thankful they took me on and I’ve never looked back, sideways, or anywhere else. Am now a manager there and my 17-year-old self is a bit teary for me.
Standard Issue kindly asked if I’d select a playlist of seven songs, any songs at all, so I’m choosing the seven that mapped out my musical journey to where I am now. It’ll play really badly.
Iggy Pop – Real Wild Child (Wild One)
I was 13 when I saw Iggy Pop on Top of The Pops, singing Real Wild Child (his cover of The Wild One by rock ’n’ roll legend Johnny O’Keefe), and it changed me. I already liked my music. I was hooked on handwriting out the charts as the results came in on Radio 1 on a Sunday night and learning lyrics to every song in the Smash Hits poster section, but until then, I’d only seen bands who made an effort when they were on camera.
Iggy Pop came on prime time television next to all the professional and polished pop poppets of the day and… largely just smiled a lot. I could not believe my bloody eyes. He did leg stretches on the keyboard. A few times, he remembered to half-mime the words before getting distracted by a bright light. I laughed for a fortnight and fell in love. Iggy’s been my favourite ever since.
The Stone Roses – Begging You
While working in the various record shops of south-east London, this song is my main memory. I’d like to pretend it was something off the first album and be much cooler about it, but actually, we were all just so happy they came back that we played this on repeat and danced around the shopfloor like Snoopy.
Working in Essential Music in Greenwich was my favourite, as we all knew the customers, we’d make them tea (or bring them pints from the pub opposite), play all the new releases every Monday, spend all our wages on discounted records and drink together every night.
I also have fond memories of sitting crossed legged one lunchtime on the floor of HMV, in my HMV logo t-shirt, cleaning the shelves and being asked “Do you work here?” as though I was just a customer who just couldn’t take the filth any more. Most days someone made me laugh and I would recommend working in a record shop to anyone. Or shopping in one, more to the point – do keep them alive please. For all of us.
Siouxsie and the Banshees – O Baby
My first interview with a major, intimidating pop star as a budding young unpaid journalist was with Siouxsie Sioux, who was promoting her album The Rapture.
This little interview virgin (I hadn’t even had a serious job interview) had to go to a posh hotel in Kensington – equipped with an Argos Dictaphone I’d bought with a £20 Christmas voucher – and sit across a conference table from Siouxsie and Budgie (the band’s drummer) – seasoned interviewees with old-skool punk attitude.
I shyly sat down, hidden behind a flower arrangement, and wondered where to start. Then Siouxsie noticed some scratches on my arms from my kitten. She had eight cats at the time and one was missing in Biarritz! We were away, swapping cat photos and cooing. A full two hours later, I finally emerged, having been told a story of an intimate encounter with a mutual acquaintance she’d had in the toilet of the house where I was living, telling me to check out the evidence that remained next time I had a wee.
It was fun and all totally unusable, as I was a professional, right? So instead I wrote a bloated, fannish article without the great gossip. A cringe-inducing quote from it remains in their Wikipedia entry. Sorry Siouxsie.
The Fall – Theme From Sparta FC
When I got my first job at a music publishers, one of my tasks was to sort out some royalties for The Fall, who had been underpaid in the States. I’d finally managed to get a cheque for the back-payment and thought I’d ring the lead singer Mark E Smith to tell him the good news. I never like using the phone but this was definitely good news and could be fun.
He was living with his sister at the time and when I called the house, she said he’d “gone to Tesco”. I asked when he might be back? “Oh, God knows. Might not be til Monday.”
Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning
Despite it being the foundation of the whole industry, I’ve never been very good at blagging. There are very few gigs I’ve not paid for in my life, and I’ve been to a horrendously expensive amount. So I surprised myself when I woke up at home mid-Glastonbury one year with a mind to turn up in the middle of the festival, with no ticket, transport or tent. Amused by my own uncharacteristic spontaneity – and genuine need for a pass rather than paid entry – I went with it. Jonny from the Alabama 3 had never been shy of asking me for CDs so I thought I had credit there.
Of course the Alabamas had a spare pass, there’s 200 of them!
The band were leaving the site that day, but he suggested leaving it somewhere en route for me to collect. It’d be like a treasure hunt! And so it came to pass that I headed down to Glastonbury on my own, to collect a pass hidden in behind a pipe in a Little Chef service station, from a band who’d already played and left. When I looked at the pass, it said I was their truck driver. I can’t drive.
When I arrived without any photo ID (or driver’s licence), truck or band, things somehow went swimmingly and I immediately found some people I knew dancing on the bins by Jay Z. I had a lovely time.
Sonny James – The Cat Came Back and The Sonics – Louie Louie
My current job is brilliant. We put together astonishing compilations that are endlessly researched, great to listen to, informative, IMPORTANT and fun. I’m so proud of our records and my chest swells to talk about it. We are also daft.
So while we’ve been DJed for by Bob Dylan, archived the favourite songs of David Bowie, taught the genius of Gerry Goffin and Carole King and seen the live return of Bettye Swann and The Sonics, we’ve also put together CDs of 24 songs about people dying horribly; 24 versions of Louie Louie (which actually makes you hysterical if you make it all the way through); and 24 songs about cats – a picture of my cat is even in the booklet for that one. What a daft and brilliant way to make a living.
Feline Groovy, Love That Louie, Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio boxset and many more are available from www.acerecords.co.uk. Please do support buying music.3057 Views
Department manager at an independent record company. Liker of Frank Sinatra and Nick Cave. Very sudden laugh. Pasty but tasty. Quite tired.