Even with a finite catalogue like DinDisc’s, it’s difficult to provide an exhaustive overview, so let me be selective from here on out. I’ll leave it to readers to investigate the Brians, Laura Warman, and the Name, all of whom like Duggie Campbell had only one DinDisc single to their name. Otherwise, what’s noteworthy is how DinDisc more often committed to at least an album and a couple of singles for most of its recording artists. In for a penny, in for a pound…



After OMD and Martha and the Muffins, Carol Wilson put her highest hopes in the Monochrome Set. The proto-Britpop group had been shuffling around the lower tiers of London’s punk and new wave scene, releasing their first three singles between November 1978 and September 1979 for a then-new Rough Trade Records. The circumstances under which Carol Wilson found them remain unclear — perhaps in an indie label showcase setting not unlike how she ‘discovered’ OMD — but DinDisc released the Monochrome Set’s first two albums, Strange Boutique and Love Zombies, both in 1980. The fact that OMD and Martha and the Muffins shared a two-album schedule for the same year may suggest that DinDisc had similarly high hopes for the Monochrome Set. (Also, and in contrast to the present, record labels expected bands to be rather productive in the recording studio in this era.)

But it wasn’t meant to be. For reasons I don’t yet know, the Monochrome Set parted ways with DinDisc and moved over to Cherry Red Records, where their third album Eligible Bachelors made a bigger splash with listeners. Their false start with DinDisc hardly fazed the band, who under frontman Bid’s leadership have been active in some form for 40 years. As Bid told Magnet Magazine last year:

You know how it is. To get on the charts, you need to sell a lot of records in a short span. We never did. But then, what was happening on the charts didn’t necessarily reflect what was happening in the clubs. And we had a huge live following. Many bands who were much more commercially successful than us at the time have disappeared. We kind of just carried on.

DIN 18: The Monochrome Set – “Strange Boutique” b/w “Surfing S.W.12”
DIN 23: The Monochrome Set – “405 Lines” b/w “Goodbye Joe”
DIN 26: The Monochrome Set – “Apocalypso” b/w “Fiasco Bongo”
DID 4: The Monochrome Set – Strange Boutique
DID 8: The Monochrome Set – Love Zombies



Dedringer was DinDisc’s attempt to tap into the new wave of British heavy metal. Wikipedia states that an unnamed Virgin A&R man scouted the Leeds band but couldn’t get the label to sign them; subsequently, he decided to manage Dedringer himself. Whoever this individual was, he was likely one or two degrees removed from Carol Wilson. But it’s hard to imagine Wilson, professed fan of Kraftwerk and La Dusseldorf, getting excited about Dedringer, and indeed that seems to have been the case, based on the account guitarist Neil Hudson gave Kerrang magazine in 1983:

The record label just didn’t understand our sort of music. I’m sure you’ve heard this before from many other bands, but DinDisc had no idea how to promote us. In fact they definitely held us back and messed up the group completely… We’ve had enough of so-called top producers. Mike Howlett, who’s managed by the same guys who handle ‘Mutt’ Lange, was hired for our DinDisc stuff, and he was awful.

DinDisc released Dedringer’s debut album Direct Line and its single “Sunday Drivers” in 1980. The band toured the UK and European metal circuit as the label’s frustrations with album sales mounted, before a moment of reckoning came in the form of an August 1981 car crash involving the band. “It allowed us to take our time, look at where things had gone wrong before and decide how best to proceed,” said Hudson. “DinDisc were always in such a hurry to get product out that we’d never been given such an opportunity.” Dedringer left Dindisc for an independent label, stuck it out for a few more years, then called it quits in 1985.

DIN 10: Dedringer – “Sunday Drivers” b/w “We Don’t Mind”
DIN 11: Dedringer – “Maxine” 2×7”
DID 7: Dedringer – Direct Line



For a label that was most active in 1980, it’s surprising we’ve yet to encounter any groups working in the vigorously miserable “raincoat brigade” style of Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, or Comsat Angels, but, finally, here we are. Not coincidentally, Modern Eon were another of Wilson’s discoveries from her regular scouting expeditions to Eric’s in Liverpool. The band had worked through prior incarnations (Luglo Slugs, Tank Time, One Two) before arriving at the name Wilson found them using. They also brought with them a couple of independent singles, one of which, “Euthenics,” Mike Howlett re-recorded for their DinDisc debut. For Modern Eon’s full-length album, 1981’s Fiction Tales, the group initially inquired with Ennio Morricone (!), but were told “he wasn’t into producing rock bands.” From an undated biography evidently culled from old press clippings and publicity statements:

The songs are fueled by powerful tom-tom driven, inventive drumming. Their music defies the routine by occasionally adding odd analog electronics and saxophone. The vocals are bathed in reverb and delivered with smooth eloquence, barely intelligible. “There’s been some pressure from DinDisc about that — “Yeah, ‘Euthenics’ sounds nice, but we can’t understand what you’re saying!” — but it’s not that critical, because I know what I’m saying, and if you take time to look into it, you’d understand anyway. You have to just look at it and get your own ideas from it.”

Just as momentum had been building for Modern Eon, the band’s 17-year old drummer injured his wrist. The band replaced him on tour with tapes of his drumming, but it was never the same. Modern Eon broke up by the year’s end, with members moving on to groups like Dead or Alive and Apollo 440.

DIN 30: Modern Eon – “Euthenics” b/w “Cardinal Signs”
DIN 31: Modern Eon – “Child’s Play” b/w “Visionary”
DIN 35: Modern Eon – “Mechanic” b/w “Splash”
DID 11: Modern Eon – Fiction Tales



The last new recording artist to appear in the DinDisc catalogue is an odd duck. Created by choreographer Arlene Phillips, Hot Gossip were a British dance troupe whose profile was raised in 1978 by two events. One, in that year they began appearing regularly on the British ITV network’s Kenny Everett Video Show, where their over-the-top routines — think a cocaine-fueled erotic vision of American jazz dance — garnered controversy and high ratings. As Phillips told the Independent in 2004:

We did a dance to Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ that went out at 6.15pm, and Mary Whitehouse famously complained that it was too sexy for teatime television. What was my response to her complaint? ‘Thank you very much — we’ve made the front page of all the papers’. Before that, we were an obscure dance group. One moment, we were spectacularly unsuccessful; the next, Mary Whitehouse made a complaint about us and journalists were camping outside our door — we couldn’t do enough press. It was an instant success that turned my life around.

Second, that publicity led Hot Gossip to record their first single in 1978, putting troupe member and future classical crossover superstar Sarah Brightman out front for the disco number, “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper.” More disco material ensued through 1980, while Hot Gossip remained British TV mainstays and Phillips moved into British musical theater proper.

[This is a moment to briefly mention a one-off DinDisc release: Bardie Blaise’s “Trans Siberian Express” b/w “Competition Side” (DIN 12, released in 1980). A comment on this blog post reveals the single is produced by one Tony Wood, the producer for “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper.” Later, Tony Wood himself speaks up: “Bardi Blaise was a name we came up with for Beverly Byrd, my partner and vocalist. It was supposed to be a spoof on Modesty Blaise! My proudest moment with this track was when John Peel played it on Radio 1.”]

DinDisc came into the Hot Gossip picture as disco transitioned into new wave. A first single, “Criminal World,” credits production to Richard James Burgess, who was then enjoying success as producer of Spandau Ballet’s “To Cut a Long Story Short” and Fairlight CMI programmer for Visage’s “Fade to Grey.” (For those keeping score, “Criminal World” was originally recorded by the rock group Metro in 1976 and given a later, far more successful interpretation by David Bowie on Let’s Dance.) The next two Hot Gossip singles were culled from their full-length debut for DinDisc, 1981’s Geisha Boys & Temple Girls. If title sounds familiar, yes, it’s a track off Heaven 17’s concurrent debut album, Penthouse and Pavement. No coincidence: Hot Gossip’s album was produced by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh in their corporate alter ego, British Electronic Foundation.

Hot Gossip’s album is a covers-only affair. The title track and “Soul Warfare” are Heaven 17 songs; four others are early Human League numbers (including one originally credited to the League pseudonym “The Men”); Talking Heads’ “Houses In Motion” and Sting’s old chestnut “Burn For You” round out the collection. All the compositions were very contemporaneous with the Hot Gossip album (the Police’s version of “Burn For You”  had just appeared on the Brimstone & Treacle soundtrack). Oddly, the tracks on Geisha Boys & Temple Girls kind of work, at least if you find Glenn Gregory and Phil Oakey’s voices in the original versions too plummy and not sexy enough.

DIN 37: Hot Gossip – “Criminal World” b/w “On The Road”
DIN 38: Hot Gossip – “Soul Warfare” b/w “Soul Warfare (instrumental)”
DIN 39: Hot Gossip – “I Don’t Depend on You” b/w “Soul Warfare”
DID 13: Hot Gossip – Geisha Boys & Temple Girls


Next: the end of DinDisc.



1. in the beginning: Virgin Music and Carol Wilson
2. “Wilson’s dowry”: Sting and Strontium 90
3. organising DinDisc
4. DIN 1, DIN 2, DIN 3: the Revillos, OMD, Peter Saville, Duggie Campbell
5. “a bunch of Canadians from the colonies”: Martha and the Muffins, Martha Ladly, Nash the Slash
6. the Monochrome Set, Dedringer, Modern Eon, Hot Gossip
7. the end of DinDisc