So It Goes – BUY 1

14 Aug

(Excerpt from Be Stiff: The Story Of Stiff Records)

Three major guitar chords D, A, E, thundering drums, and the opening line…’I remember one night the kid cut off his right arm’. This was far from your average lyrical opener and clearly not yet another entry into pop’s log book of love. Then again, this was not your average record label. So It Goes by Nick Lowe had the undeniable privilege of becoming the first ever Stiff record. Released on 14 August 1976, it had been recorded as a publisher’s demo for the exorbitant sum of £45. Steve Goulding of The Rumour sat in on drums, while Lowe played everything else.

Nick Lowe - So It Goes

‘So It Goes’ and its B-side ‘Heart Of The City’ were performed and recorded with an economy that constituted a musical ram-raid. Set against an uncluttered backdrop that allowed Lowe’s clear vocals and fifties rock ‘n’ roll guitar to ring out, Lowe’s songs had the kind of sound and feel that might have resulted had Phil Spector produced Jonathan Richmond’s pulsating ‘Roadrunner’. Released as punk spewed forth, Stiff’s opening salvo may have lacked the sneering arrogance of the Sex Pistols, who a few weeks later appeared on the Granada TV show that shared its name with its Lowe’s single. However, the brash, take-it-or-leave-it attitude and brevity of the songs perfectly captured the moment, and seemed to nail the whole ethos of Stiff right there in the grooves.

‘So It Goes’ came in a plain black sleeve bearing the bubble-lettered Stiff logo. The record itself was stamped with the humour that would come to define the label. ‘Earthlings Awake’ was scratched around the inner groove of the A-side, while ‘Three Chord Trick Yeh’ was etched into the one on the other. These hidden messages were the work of cutter Porky Peckham – real name George Peckham – and a feature that fans would eagerly look out for on future releases.

The single’s catalogue number was BUY 1, heralding a Stiff trademark that would make not just make its music, but its overall design and packaging, collectible. Stiff would go on to produce stunning picture sleeves and brightly coloured vinyl, thus helping to give the British pop single the kiss of life. But for its first foray into the world of 45s, the cover reflected the wonderful simplicity of the record inside.

Buy 1 letter

Press release promoting So It Goes

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