I don’t think I ever heard Marquee Moon by Television until around 1983 when it was played at one of the downstairs alt-disco at Strathclyde Students Union. I recall it being one that the cool kids got up and danced to as well as some of the longer-haired hippy types who normally hung around in the hope of some Lynard Skynard or Blue Oyster Cult to which they could play along on air guitar. That it attracted such a diverse group of dancers was of interest and of course it sounded great blasting out of the speakers.
I know I didn’t ever own a copy of the song until the late 90s when I bought a CD copy of the album of the same name. It was a song up until then I’d only ever had on a hissy compilation C90 tape that a mate had put together for me back in the mid 80s and I was delighted at long last to have a decent quality copy to enjoy.
It came up on random shuffle the other day and prompted the idea of a posting. That’s when my little bit of background research revealed that it had come out as a 7″ single in April 1977, entered the charts at #35, dropped out to #41 the week after, climbed back in again to #30 in week three before falling down to #40 and then totally out of the Top 50 after five weeks. At just a shade under ten minutes in length, it was cut into two parts for the 7″ single and radio play – Part 1 being 3:13 and Part 2 being 6:45. I’m thinking my hippy colleagues at the student union, if they owned a copy of the 7″, played Part 2 to death…..
In fact the original issue of the single was in 12″ format, which would have been one of the first of its type as it was around ’77 that the 12″ singles, primarily to extend disco numbers, really took off. Wiki explains that the first 25,000 copies were on 12″ with a stereo version of the song on one side and a mono version on the other and only later copies were made as 7″ singles.
It’s an extraordinary piece of music and it’s quite hard to get your head around the fact that it’s almost 40 years old. It’s a song as the dance floor of the early 80s indicated is one that the post-punks and the guitar purists would like to each claim as their own and there’s not too many tunes out there can do that. What is clear is that it had a huge influence on the playing and recording of many emerging bands and artists, not least Talking Heads and Elvis Costello
That’s the full 10:40 version for you folks.