One For Friday: The Primitives, “Outside”

Most of the “One for Friday” digressions revolve around music that held special meaning for me during my earliest years in college radio. This is in part because I want to stick with material that’s clearly out of print, so looking back twenty years is a good start. But its also because this is the material that carries the most meaning for me. It’s the music I effectively grew up with. Thus far, I’ve stuck with music that I have on CD, which is a little on the tricky side because I wasn’t buying CDs back then. In fact, as odd as this might seem to any whippersnappers scrolling through these words, the radio station wasn’t even playing CDs all that often my first couple of years there.

When I started in the fall of 1988, the radio station had one CD player and a small, unkempt pile of CDs in one corner of the studio. Those discs were entirely duplicates of material that we already had on vinyl, and usually not the highly desirable releases. There was occasionally a half-hearted push to encourage DJs to play a song off of disc if it was available, but I suspect that days went by without anyone utilizing that technology. Those big black circle were just more comforting to us.

Eventually, things changed. The record labels, for a variety of understandable reasons, preferred servicing radio stations with CDs, and the format boomed in popularity quickly and decisively enough that the other means of delivering music were nearly killed off completely. At our little studio in central Wisconsin, we held out for as long as we could, asking labels to continue sending vinyl copies when they dispatched those shiny silver circles. We’d put both copies out, letting the DJs choose which they’d like to play. Our DJs remained so accustomed to cuing up songs on the turntables, that when we received a new release on CD only, it invariably underperformed at our station.

That is, until I compiled our first chart of 1990. RCA only sent us a CD copy of the sophomore effort for the British band The Primitives. Pure was a brisk, bright collection of pop songs of crystalline perfection, on a par with their properly beloved debut. The lead single, “Sick of It”, was good enough that it demanded attention, leading even the most reluctant DJs to seek it out. When I tallied up the weekly airplay that first part of the year, Pure became the first release that we had only on CD which managed to top the station’s chart. Quickly, that sort of distinction was beside the point as CDs completely took over, and we weren’t getting any vinyl records in our sizable daily mail delivery by the time I graduated.

This song from Pure never received major airplay, even in that mildly momentous week. It was always a favorite of mine, though. Relatively low-key and simple, but flush with the striking pop sensibility of chief songwriter Paul Court, it’s just the sort of song I loved dropping into the middle of a set.

The Primitives, “Outside”

(Disclaimer: There’s a seemingly dandy collection of Primitive music currently available, but this song isn’t on it. And Pure appears to be out of print. I spot no means to purchase this particular song that would send a few pounds in the direction of the various band members. If anyone with due authority to do so asks me to remove the song from the Interweb, I certainly will. Especially if it’s Tracy Tracy. She can email me any time.)

2 thoughts on “One For Friday: The Primitives, “Outside”

  1. Tracy dropped me a line asking if it was ok to get in touch with you. She’s a bit apprehensive, since she’s a blonde again, and wondered how you’d react.

    I’m really enjoying these posts.

    1. I appreciate the compliment, especially since your recent Daily Dose offerings set a high standard for this sort of thing.

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