The Magic Highway


Aware that things were changing in pop music, in January 1972, Record Mirror talked with six of the biggest power-brokers in the industry — Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman, Brian Longley, Mickie Most, Chas Chandler and Jonathan King — to discuss the future.


SIGNS indicate that 1972 will be the year when the pop scene comes alive again. After a boringly long time of nothing much happening since the end of the Beatlemania era, the RM crystal ballers predict that some of the old zest, enthusiasm and direct involvement is being reborn amongst the fans.
    Everything goes in cycles (or even circles) in popdom. For two years there has been a vacuum, which the progressive heavy trend could never fill adequately. Some fine records and great talents have emerged from the heavy phase, but now even the colleges and universities, which dug and nurtured the heavies the most, are looking around for something lighter and less heady.     Something with attractive melodies, catchy lyrics and a danceable beat.
    And the pop public also seems to be looking for personalities again. Artists they can clamour for outside the stage doors, some positive people who look good and sound good, whether solo or in a group.
College poster    Brian Longley said that groups like Slade and T Rex built up reputations around the country before record success came their way.
He also plugged his current touring project of Christie, Edison Lighthouse and Worth, and underlined the strong response they were getting.
    "On February 2, they start a tour of 41 college dates, but a year ago people would have laughed at this idea," Brian said.
    "Groups like this have played in with the heavy bands, and the colleges want to get up and dance. They want music other than the heavy variety."
    Brian Longley said that the peak of the heavy scene had been reached, and simple music would return.
    Mickie Most believed that the progressive acts have got so involved in their own heads that the 14- and 15-year-olds are looking for something else.
    "It's going back into the hands of the kids," said Chas Chandler. "The really young kids that buy singles. The 14- and 15-year-olds are buying these records now because of the group as opposed to buying the record for itself."
    "I agree," said Nicky Chinn. "It's going back to the kids, and therefore the style that is emerging is something fairly simple, something they can latch on to.
"They like to dance, so the tempo is becoming even more important than it has been for the last few years. It's back to melody and things they can understand and simplicity."
    Mike Chapman's prediction was that the singer-songwriter within a group would be the happening thing.
    Jonathan King had the last word in typical style. "I refuse to make any predictions at all, and just hope that when it does come along, I'm the one to spot it," he said.
   >> As if in response, Christie — who the previous year released an album of heavy songs — hit the charts shortly after the college tour with the catchy, commercial Iron Horse. <<