Top Of The Pops made its last live appearance in 2006, but a marathon set of repeats is well underway. This year, the repeat cycle has reached 1978 and you could tune in tonight and watch the Dooleys, Ruby Winters, Darts and the Boomtown Rats. Music remains powerfully evocative for memory and there are few of us who aren’t transported back in time when we hear certain tracks.
As well as cataloguing local news, the Sentinel inevitably reflected the wider times around it and this was particularly true when it came to music trends. Its record reviews were often forthright. But it also covered wider music news and gave space to often passionately held views about music. In 1978 it published an article called No Future which challenged the view that punk rock was dying out. You can read the article here.
When musicians sought to influence politics in the 1980s, Red Wedge was set up as an alliance of musicians, writers and artists to promote the importance of political knowledge and activism. In 1986 the Red Wedge tour came to Edinburgh and the Sentinel obtained interviews with some of the key members as well as reviewing the concert itself, publishing a 3 page feature in their February 1986 edition.
Large events were also covered. In 1996, there was a feature on T In The Park where the headline acts that year were Prodigy, Radiohead and Pulp. Rumour had it that Keanu Reeves was making an appearance but unfortunately for the journalist they missed his performance. You can read all about one writer’s experience of T In The Park here.
Concerts were also covered and in 1996 the Sentinel obtained tickets for Oasis who played at Loch Lomond in front of 40,000 people. It’s fair to say that the reviewer was impressed by the whole experience, describing their response as “stunned admiration”. You can read their review here.
Local bands weren’t overlooked. When the Wester Hailes Festival Association organised a free rock concert in Sighthill Park in 1986, the event received full coverage with information about all the bands playing including the Styngrites, Camera Shy and The Play. Also included in the local music feature were other up and coming Edinburgh based bands who were taking part in a competition at the Jailhouse, Calton Road. And if you want a taste of those forthright record reviews, there’s a good selection included on these pages as well, including the hope that one album takes to the charts like a rock to water! You can read this music feature here.