posted November 5th, 2020

As the story goes, in early 1976 Virgin released “Johnny’s Dead” as a single, and OUT went into production: test tapes were made, artwork commissioned from Hipgnosis was delivered. Then fate took a turn in the form of a sudden changing of the guard in the Virgin front office and just like that, the plan was off. But that was nearly 45 years ago!

“Johnny’s Dead” was the world’s first introduction to Anthony Moore’s pop music solo persona and it remains as one of his best tracks. Moore and Slapp Happy co-conspirator Peter Blegvad prepared the song as a 'death disc' a la “Tell Laura I Love Her,” reaching back to the teenage pop era for a feel that punk and new-wave kids would know and love (and appropriate). Synth and sax soar, with additional vocals from Amanda Parsons (Hatfield and the North) and a boys' choir completing the fantasy. “Johnny’s Dead” is a fully formed expression of 70s pop production values and art rock experimentalism, a combo that polishes haunting tragedy to a high shine. That's entertainment!

Listen to "Johnny's Dead" today and prepare for tomorrow with your new copy of OUT.

Artists in this story: Anthony Moore