Five Years


amazinglyfewdiscothequesprovidejukeboxes celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. 300 posts later, it’s quite a different beast to the very basic blog that I only really started as a permanent home for my Top 100 Albums Of All-Time write-ups on the Popjustice forum.

What better time, then, for a spot of reflection, and to highlight a few of the most popular articles and key moments from these last 5 years. Sound the “retrospective post” klaxon!

“Reviews. Lists. Charts. Probably some other things, too.”

Well we kept to our promise, at least. Once that Top 100 album countdown was completed, the next project was to go back over every #1 on the personal Top 40 charts that I compiled (in various forms, from school notebooks and groovy coloured pens all the way to Excel spreadsheets) between January 1984 and July 2010. The plan is/was to race through the 600 or so singles to reach the summit, but just like Phil Collins and Sting on No Jacket Required, we’ve still got a long, long way to go. Approximately 470 more of them….

The most popular ones are all from that first 12 months of my chart, led rather fittingly by the track which helped kick off this whole pop fascination for yours truly: Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.


(For those interested, What Is Love? by Howard Jones – my first #1 – is 2nd, followed by my favourite single ever, Two Tribes (Frankie strikes again).

So far, so personal. One thing I was keen to avoid with afdpj was becoming yet another review site (been there done that, thanksverymuch), but there’s no escaping the fact that the big change in terms of the blog’s profile (and growing readership) was when a select few albums from the past (usually the 80s, of course) were featured in more depth.

I started with an obscure gem from 1988 by Louise Goffin, and from there I happened upon a format and style that I could have some fun with, and not feel like I was just writing one of those dreaded reviews. Sometimes I’d ramble on for more than 2000 words (appropriately, perhaps, my most verbose piece was in praise of a Sting album), and include some artwork, a bit of trivia, as well as some photos with tongue-in-cheek captions…another nod to the influence of Smash Hits and Q magazine during my teens.

By far the most-read of all these “featured album” posts is the one for Paul Young’s 1985 follow-up to No Parlez, The Secret Of Association.


It’s still among the top 5 posts on the whole blog, and continues to rack up the views. Maybe the Paul Young fanclub/forum caught wind of it, or perhaps the man himself keeps coming back to read all the nice things I wrote about him and the album!

(Honourable mentions, too, for the 35th anniversary of ABC’s How To Be A Zillionaire and my look at Introspective by the Pet Shop Boys).

Joking side, the fact that these articles – written with a retrospective eye, rather than in an attempt to keep up with the modern music scene – continue to be clicked on, several years after they were published is especially pleasing because the aim was to write timeless articles, that didn’t become obsolete within weeks or months. Just something for posterity, to showcase the music that’s given me the greatest pleasure over the decades. “This is how it was, this is how I felt about it then, this is how I view it now, enjoy the pretty pictures and hope you get something from reading it.”

Nothing quite prepared me for the enduring popularity of the Chris Rea reissue series that covered his 5 albums from 1985 to 1991, given the deluxe treatment by Rhino Records in 2019.


We eventually did all five, though not in chronological order. They have consistently been among the most-viewed articles, and currently sit at #1, #3 and #4 in that particular list. The Road To Hell, unsurprisingly, is the top ranked (despite being my least favourite of the quintet). C’est La Vie (or Que Sera might be more appropriate given this is Chris Rea we’re discussing).

And now….for NOW. The very first volume of Now That’s What I Call Music! arrived just as I was getting seriously enough into pop music to start thinking about actually going into a shop and buying singles, so it’s evolution into an iconic brand (which is still, just about, going strong after 112 numerical volumes and almost 39 years) was something I experienced in real-time. It shaped how I approached making compilations, and the early releases remain imprinted on my psyche. I can pretty much pinpoint certain milestones in my relationship with the NOWs, and the charts, and pop in general by particular volumes in the series.

Since the early 1990s, the NOWs have been a regular thrice-yearly event; Spring/Easter, Summer/Holidays, Winter/Christmas. However, before that there would occasionally be a longer gap, and the chart-watching, compilation-making nerd in me couldn’t resist creating some “inbetweener” NOWs that could have covered the missing months/hits.


Thus far, my attempts at a NOW 9.5, 19.5 and 4.5 have been featured on here. The latter – titled The Pig’s Here – has been the most popular of the three. An unexpected side-effect of these projects was finally discovering the exact font used for the text….Antique Olive!

NOW! may be clinging on (and diversifying to a dizzying degree since its acquisition by Sony Music), but in the summer of 2020 we lost the much-loved, much-imitated, and sometimes much-derided Q magazine.  Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. You know the score (and the cliches). This was never truer than of dear Q, but its passing inspired a tribute post – The Q That I Knew. “So, that’s it then”.


Q1. Ironically the only issue (from the first couple of hundred) that I never owned. But I spent ages cleaning up this image of it for your enjoyment anyway.

That in turn set me off on a spiffing wheeze, to choose the 100 Best Albums (i.e. my favourites) of Q‘s lifetime (September 1986 to July 2020). It’s a series than remains unfinished, but we will get there in the end: only two parts to go!

In recent months, afdpj has entered the realms of fantasy. Fantasy Deluxes, that is. I began spending an inordinate amount of free time on the things – gathering different versions, tracking down all the material, designing sleeves – and was posting less and less on the blog. Well, maybe I could combine the two, and share these projects on here? Hence A Love Deluxe, and a new spin-off series that should have its thirteenth entry very soon, if all goes to plan.


My expanded dream take on Eurythmics’ magnificent Savage is currently the most-read of the lot, followed by those for Cyndi Lauper and Queen. There are many, many more Fantasy Deluxes either already created or in the pipeline.

Five years, then. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading in that time, and for all the feedback and comments you’ve flung in my direction. Don’t forget there’s also an afdpj forum, where I try to post a bit more about the projects and articles I have on the go, and have planned for the future. As I posted at its launch, please feel free to drop in and add to the discussion!


  1. This is the blog I return to the most. It’s informed, interesting and brilliantly written. Huge thanks for the first five years – I look forward to the next.

    Liked by 1 person

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