As mentioned a couple of entries back, I’ve been seeking out period soundtrack LPs with a punk and/or new wave slant. There weren’t nearly as many of them as the youth-marketed cinema of the era would lead one to believe. Outside of some cult outliers and scene-focused documentaries, the licensed soundtrack thing for teen flicks didn’t really pick up steam until the mid-Eighties — and even then in a slow roll marked by an emphasis on forgettable session musician jams.
Individually checking for every likely candidate was a tedious (and generally fruitless) process, so I decided to put Discogs robust search tools to use to get an overview of what exactly had been released. Starting with a fairly broad set of parameters — soundstracks, pop, new wave, 1978 through 1986 — I fiddled with the extremely handy custom filters (release format, nation of release, etc) until things had been narrowed down into a list of a hundred or items.
At least half of these ended up being duplicate entries or stuff with which I was already familiar. There were also a sizable number of selections which stretched the definition of new wave or made the cut because of a single token Police or Talking Heads track. Discounting those left behind a pretty slim list of releases. I’d expected as much, but had still be hoping out for at least a few timelost gems.
The only intriguing entry was for the soundtrack to That Summer, a 1979 British coming of age flick set at a seaside resort town. I’d never heard of it before, but the release date the country of origin sounded promising enough to click through to the tracklist…
A1 Ian Dury And The Blockheads – Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
A2 Mink DeVille - Spanish Stroll
A3 Elvis Costello – (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea
A4 The Boomtown Rats – She’s So Modern
A5 The Zones – New Life
A6 The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
A7 Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World
A8 Patti Smith Group – Because The Night
B1 The Boomtown Rats – Kicks
B2 The Ramones - Rockaway Beach
B3 The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
B4 Eddie And The Hot Rods – Do Anything You Wanna Do
B5 Ian Dury And The Blockheads – What A Waste
B6 Nick Lowe – I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass
B7 Elvis Costello – Watching The Detectives
B8 Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation
…which then sent me scrambling to find a copy on Discogs’ marketplace.
It was astounding I’d never heard of this soundtrack before, but I also didn’t really get into most of the featured artists until I’d started the switch from records to compact discs as my format of choice.
One of my earliest and most significant CD purchases was Rhino’s D.I.Y. set of early punk and wave comps. The material and artists featured on That Summer were heavily represented on both the “UK Pop” and “NYC Scene” D.I.Y. collections, adding to the weirdly recursive loop of retroactive nostalgia. I’d be hard pressed to name another compilation of such uniform high quality.
Four top-notch cuts are usually enough to motivate a purchase on my part. Ten out of eighteen is absolutely unheard of. Hell, I would’ve bought it on the strengths of “Another Girl, Another Planet” and “Teenage Kicks” alone.
That Summer has become one of my go-to records for, well, this summer. It arrived on the same morning I started putting together the new entertainment center and spun the entire thing at least three times while I struggled with Ikea’s shittly little hex wrench tool and pictogram instructions, stopping only when I had to disconnect the turntable. It’s an easy listen for lazy afternoons and weekend chores, and pairs perfectly with K-Tel’s equally excellent The Main Event comp if you’re looking for an extended jaunt in to the mythic realm of 1979′s punk/pop crossover moment.