heard on the wire

You don’t have to be Prince if you want to dance

Peel Warhol

I talked in my last post about BBC Radio 2’s poll to find the most popular number two records ever. Although their selection was restricted to the popular chart and thus based on the crudest of metrics, it wasn’t without merit. The rundown of 40 tracks chosen from a shortlist of 100 would make a listenable compilation, albeit with finger poised over the skip button.

But what of the best number two records of all time, the ones chosen by the discerning listener? I am, of course, referring to the legendary (ie. relatively obscure) festive fifty, the chart that John Peel compiled every year from 1982 to 2003, the chart based on listeners’ selections of the best three records of the year.

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I have never loved you more than I do right now

Darren Hayman has made many great records in his various incarnations, from Hefner’s jawdropping Hymn to the Cigarettes to 2008’s hymn to the Underground, Dirty Tube Train, by his short-lived folk outing, Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee.

But in August 2000 Hefner, his first band, recorded a live set for John Peel at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios. Subsequently released as an LP, the 10 songs show the band at its very best. And they come no better than this song-from-each-year-of-my-life.

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.