Record Mirror - History - Later Years, 1982–1991

Later Years, 1982–1991

In an effort to boost sales during 1982, the paper changed from tabloid format to a glossy magazine. During the next nine years the paper became an imitation of Smash Hits with a more pop-orientated slant and containing light-hearted features and comic articles, such as:

  • Great Pop Things, a weekly comic strip by Colin B. Morton and Chuck Death which began in 1987 and continued in the NME after Record Mirror's closure
  • Star-spotting gossip pages, written by Johnny Dee, which also featured a number of comedy articles
  • Lip – gossip column written by Nancy Culp, and later Lisa Tilston
  • "Spot The Imposter" – photoquiz with a misplaced face in the crowd
  • "Phil's World Of Wigs" – each week a picture of Phil Collins appeared with new novelty haircuts, the artwork being created by art director Ian Middleton in response to readers' suggestions
  • "Pete's Poems" – a weekly poem by record producer Pete Waterman (as edited by Neil Wilson)
  • "Sonia's Best Buys" – value for money purchases apparently made by late 80's singer Sonia
  • "The Stone Roses New Line-Up" – each week a new photo of a gurning celebrity would be added to a photo of the Stone Roses 1989 line-up, for example Harry Enfield as his character "Loadsamoney"
  • "B's Cheeseboard" – various types of cheese apparently reviewed by Soul II Soul star Jazzie B
  • "Star Scene" – pop stars answering questions about items in the news
  • "Tanita and Guy's Psychic Joke Hut" – pictures of the heads of The House Of Love singer Guy Chadwick and singer-songwriter Tanita Tikaram telling each other jokes: both were famed for their serious natures in real life

In 1984, when British tabloid newspapers started running bingo competitions, Record Mirror became the first music paper to experiment with something similar.

The magazine's two outstanding features during its final incarnation were its unrivalled chart coverage and its early championing of the rave and acid house music scene. Record Mirror was the only magazine during the 1980s to print the weekly US singles and album charts, and chart statistician Alan Jones would provide analysis and notable facts for the UK and US charts each week.

Charts included:

  • UK Top 100 Singles Chart
  • UK Top 75 Albums and Compilation Albums Charts
  • Vintage chart from a bygone year
  • US Billboard Singles Chart
  • US Billboard Albums Chart
  • US Billboard Black Singles Chart
  • Music Video Chart
  • 12-inch singles Top 20 Chart
  • Compact Disc Top 20 Chart
  • Reggae Chart (dropped in 1987)

In June 1975 DJ James Hamilton (1942–1996) started writing a weekly "disco" column for Record Mirror, which during the 1980s expanded into a general dance music section known as BPM and later DJ Directory. Hamilton had started DJing in London in the early 1960s, and had been writing about US soul and R&B for Record Mirror since 1964, originally under the pseudonym "Dr Soul". After a visit to the Paradise Garage in the 1970s to see Larry Levan play, he came back to the UK an enthusiastic convert to the art of mixing records and convinced that this was the way forward for DJing in the UK, where mixing was virtually unknown at the time. To promote his views to the UK's DJ community, he developed his unique onomatopoeic style of describing the record, and from 1979 onwards he started timing and including the beats per minute of all the records he reviewed in his column. With Hamilton's established DJ credentials and his enthusiasm to promote the new styles of dance music that evolved during the 1980s, Record Mirror was well placed to become the first of the major music weeklies to pick up on the emerging acid house scene in the mid-80s, helped by the fact that at this point its rivals still tended to be more serious, guitar-orientated publications. The iconic pipe-smoking character "Mr Acid Head" was later picked up by a rave-based record label and used as sleeve art.

DJ Directory included:

  • Beats and Pieces - news and gossip from the dance music world
  • Hot Vinyl - track listings of new records
  • Club Chart (previously known as the Disco Chart)
  • "Cool Cuts" Chart
  • Pop Dance Chart
  • Hi-NRG Chart

In 1987 the magazine's owners the Morgan-Grampian Group were acquired by United Newspapers (now UBM).

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