Monday, 23 May 2016

Vintage Vinyl 18

Hazel O'Connor - D-Days 7"
Bought from: The Record Shop, Cardiff
Price paid: 50p

Another song with a sax. Unlike the Tom Robinson track I featured last time around though, the sax in this is more akin to X-Ray Spex, all spiky and playful. Mind, in 1981 the 80s hadn't really kicked in properly so all the very worst record production was yet to come. I don't remember much about D-Days despite it being a Top 10 hit. I was only 10 years old. I do, though, remember hearing the follow-up smash hit Will You rather a lot as a kid. Now there's some serious sax in that one.

Anyway, 50p seemed like a bargain when I picked it out of the box on the table outside The Record Shop. I was dead right - D-Days is a brilliant track. It blends pop, punk, new wave and post-punk seamlessly. Yes, the keyboard sound is awfully dated, kind of like you'd hear in some old public information film about what to do in the event of nuclear fallout - very of its time - but I still love this tune.

I once met Hazel O'Connor, you know. She was playing a show in Ilfracombe (yes, Ilfra-bloody-combe!) back when I was a wannabe journalist. One of the newspaper's photographers, Brian, was keen to go and take some pictures so I wangled a pair of free tickets. Before the show, we got backstage and had a chat with Hazel who I have to say was extremely welcoming, a really nice gal. Brian took a pic of me and Hazel, I took one of him and Hazel, and Hazel took one of me and Brian. Actually no, that last bit didn't happen. That would have been a bit weird. Sadly, the pic of me and Haze (as I didn't call her, but probably would have done if we had become bezzie mates) has disappeared. It was about 20 years ago, mind. A lot has happened in that time.

Anyway, as unnerving as it must have been for Hazel to have encountered two westcountry roughnecks like ourselves, she bravely played a corking set comprising her more recent (at the time) material and all the old faves - Will You, Eighth Day, Hanging Around, Cover Plus, and of course, D-Days which she opened the show with. I was pleasantly surprised how good she was, though I couldn't help but think how she might have felt having once done Top Of The Pops regularly to now playing friggin' Ilfracombe. If there was any bitterness or resentment, she didn't let it show.

I also once had one of those 'Old Gold' reissue singles which had Will You on one side and the mighty Eighth Day on the other. When I was at college (I believe they call it 6th form nowadays), the jukebox in the student union room got smashed up on the last day of term. I managed to salvage three records from it before all the rest became frisbees. The Hazel O'Connor one was one of them, Prince's Sign 'O' The Times was the second, and the other was Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits. Don't ask.

Here are the tracks from the D-Days 7". As I still can't rip vinyl, I've had to rip the b-side from You Tube as it's the only place I could find it. It's rather crackly, but it adds to the charm I think. Time Is Free had originally been the b-side of Hazel's debut single Ee-I-Addio, but it was substantially altered for the D-Days single.


Here's one of the best old Top Of The Pops clips I think I've ever seen - Aside from her unusual entrance, Hazel jumps around to D-Days in her bra. On prime-time TV. With all those innocent young people in the audience. Bet Mary Whitehouse had a field day...


  1. Sounds like a bargain. Don't remember the film but I have the Breaking Glass album which is excellent

  2. Like CC, Breaking Glass is the album I have. Rather surprisingly, the film got some airplay here in America on a cable channel called the USA Network. Late night on Fridays and Saturdays a music program called Night Flight showed some rather obscure (for this country, anyway) movies, concerts and videos. The network liked to show Breaking Glass one night and follow it up the next night with Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains. In hindsight, one of these is much better than the other, but both moves made quite an impression on this 13 year old.

  3. I hope she was more suitably attired when you got your picture taken with her!

  4. I'd forgotten about this song, good to hear it again. Like CC, I was wondering if Ms O'Connor shed any clothes during her performance...

  5. Sorry to disappoint you, George, but Hazel was fully-clothed and when I saw her.

  6. I'm old enough to remember that there was a furore about said TOTP performance.

    Indeed, one of the tabloids would reveal just a few days later that Hazel had appeared nude in a soft-porn film in the mid-70s and so appearing on prime time TV in her undies was no big deal to her.

    Just checked up on the imdb site. And yup....