t’s 2007, it’s an amazing year for music, there's more evolution in my radio career, and there's some nice stability in my home and DJ life. My wife Claire eventually followed me out of the door of Legal & General and joined Avon and Somerset Police. We were supporting each other in our new professions.
Things were going well at Valleys Radio, based in Ebbw Vale. I’d completed my first few weeks as a Sales Executive (I disliked that title then and still do now). I’d closed an agreement with National Museum Wales to provide four outside broadcasts for their 100th year. I may have slightly over-priced these events, which made me a bit of a sales hero! It went rapidly downhill from there.
Sales at Valleys Radio seemed to be in a perpetual state of panic. It felt that every time we hit an individual or group target that there was little time before more was asked of you. I guess that’s sales. Luckily for me I had started on the same day as a great girl called Claire. It became a case of safety in numbers, and that number was two. Don’t get me wrong, the other sales execs were hardly hostile, but they had their job to do and they were under more pressure than us newbies.
Deep down inside I wanted luck to swing my way. I’d hoped that for some reason one of the presenters would be suddenly unavailable. The boss would come running into the sales office and ask if anyone knew how to do a radio show. I would be there, perfectly placed, primed and ready to go… but that never happened.
Towards the end of the year I was sales exec’d out. I had achieved my objective of learning all about the money-making and business side of radio. I don’t think that Valleys radio was the best example but their systems and processes were pretty sound. Down the road, a new community radio station was about to launch in Brynmawr and they needed a sales manager. They were also happy to have me on air. Lamsie was back on the loose on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings on 97.3FM. Magic.
The alter-ego, DJ Lamsie, was having a quiet time of it. Still in the Greyhound on Thursday and Sundays and then the Banc in Maindee on Friday and Saturdays. The big bonus for me was the Sundays before a Bank Holiday Monday. The Greyhound would be packed to the rafters. I learnt that the more customers I had in front of me, the happier I became. I was also able to take more of a risk musically and loved playing twenty minutes from one genre or decade before switching.
So what are my five big tunes that sum up 2007?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
T2 feat. Jodie Aysha – ‘Heartbroken’.
My love of garage wasn’t just a throwback to 1997. I was just waiting for the right song to come along and this was it. According to Wikipedia…
"T2 produced the backing music, and the vocals are performed by British singer Jodie Aysha, who wrote the song”.
Could have easily been: Just Jack – ‘Stars in Their Eyes’, Rihanna – ‘Shut Up and Drive’, Mason – ‘Exceeder’, Eric Prydz vs. Floyd – ‘Proper Education’, Calvin Harris – ‘The Girls’, Sharam – ‘PATT (Party All The Time)’ or Cascada – ‘Truly Madly Deeply’.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Mark Ronson – ‘Stop Me’.
The thing about the twister is that on occasions, I can’t explain why I loved the song in question. This is a case in point. According to Wikipedia…
”In 2007, the song was re-composed as "Stop Me" with additional lyrics from the song "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by The Supremes by British DJ Mark Ronson featuring Daniel Merriweather on the vocals. Merriweather admitted in an interview with The Guardian that he was not very familiar with the original before he recorded Mark Ronson's revised version. He explained: "Mark said, 'I want you to sing on this – it's my favourite Smiths song,' so I listened to it. I'd heard it once before, but I was never a Smiths fan. But I thought it was beautiful”.
Could have easily been: The Fray – ‘How to Save a Life’, Kaiser Chiefs – ‘Ruby’, Plain White Ts – ‘Hey There Delilah’, The Hoosiers – ‘Worried About Ray’, Soulja Boy Tell 'em – ‘Crank That’, The Hoosiers - ‘Goodbye Mr A’ or The Gossip – ‘Standing in the Way of Control’,
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Alex Gaudino – ‘Destination Calabria’.
By featuring Crystal Waters on vocals, it was already off to a great start, and it’s another mash up. According to Wikipedia…
“The track is a mashup, taking the instrumental from Rune's "Calabria" and the vocals from Alex Gaudino's and Crystal Waters' "Destination Unknown", both originally released in 2003”.
Could have easily been: Ida Corr vs Fedde Le Grand – ‘Let Me Think About It’, Booty Luv – ‘Boogie 2nite’, Camille Jones vs Fedde Le Grand – ‘The Creeps’, Freemasons feat. Bailey Tzuke – ‘Uninvited’ or Calvin Harris – ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Robyn with Kleerup – ‘With Every Heartbeat’.
It’s too mid-tempo for me to class it as a Floorfiller or a Clubber, but it's only just outside those headings. It is very cool however. The strings and those vocals. Just wow. According to Wikipedia…
“Steve Perkins of BBC Chart Blog praised the song for its lack of a chorus, writing "when you peel this song apart, it's actually very cyclical regardless: odd lines are repeated, but carefully chosen as if to reinforce the point that a new line just made. There's a trembling quality to Robyn's voice in this song – as though she could fall apart at any moment but is keeping herself together by sheer force of will – which adds enormously to the fighting spirit of a song that is pessimistic without being bleak”.
Could have easily been: Timbaland – ‘The Way I Are’, Gwen Stefani – ‘The Sweet Escape’, Kanye West – ‘Stronger', Gym Class Heroes – ‘Cupid's Chokehold’, Linkin Park – ‘What I’ve Done’, Fall Out Boy – ‘This Ain’t a Scene It’s an Arms Race’, 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland – ‘Ayo Technology’, Amy Winehouse – ‘Rehab’ or Justin Timberlake – ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Rihanna – ‘Umbrella’.
It felt like this was the most (over)played song on the radio in 2007. Over time it became unplayable in clubs. Now it’s back to being a regular in my DJ sets. It proves that a great track can recover. So how successful was it? According to Wikipedia…
“Having reached nine straight weeks at number one on the chart, it broke the record of American group Gnarls Barkley's ‘Crazy’ as the longest chart-topper of the decade ‘Umbrella’ eventually reached a total of ten weeks at number one on the chart, becoming the country's longest-running number one single of the 21st century!”,
Could have easily been: Timbaland – 'Apologize', Mika – ‘Grace Kelly’ or ‘Love Today’, Leona Lewis – 'Bleeding Love', Sean Kingston – ‘Beautiful Girls’, Take That – ‘Shine’ or ‘Rule the World’ or ‘Patience’, Mark Ronson – ‘Valerie’ or Maroon 5 – ‘Makes Me Wonder’.
That’s almost it from 2007. At the end of each blog I’d like to thank some people who made the year very special for me. Big Love to Claire from Merthyr and the rest of the crazies at Valleys Radio.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. They’ve got Britain’s Got Talent star Philip Green as part of a Pride Cymru after party on Saturday 26th August.
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