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SFX Cassette Magazine

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SFX Cassette Magazine was a short-lived British music magazine published in the very early 1980s[1][2] (not to be confused with SFX magazine, a best-selling science fiction magazine published continuously since 1995). The distinguishing feature of SFX was its format: rather than traditional print media, the magazine was distributed in the form of a one-hour cassette. Magazines were sold as cassettes twist-tied to an 8-1/4" x 11-3/4" cardboard backing. The tag line of each issue: "The Only Music Magazine on C-60."

The format of each issue was similar to a radio show, featuring news and interviews with pop stars (mostly but not exclusively British) and others involved with the music industry; reviews of record releases given by other musicians and artists; previews of upcoming album releases; unsigned band demo recordings; occasional features on culture, fashion and football (soccer); and three or four commercials per issue.

The concept was conceived and developed by Hugh Salmon, then an account executive at Ogilvy & Mather, and edited by the NME journalist Max Bell. Notable interviews included Paul McCartney talking for the first time about his feelings of the murder of John Lennon, and SFX provided the first opportunity for Jools Holland, keyboard player of the band Squeeze, and Paula Yates talking about her relationship with Bob Geldof. They both went on to present the TV programme The Tube.

The publication was short lived, running from November 1981 through the summer of 1982. There were at least 19 known issues published. Taken as a whole, the SFX cassettes capture a narrow slice of music and pop culture as the punk/new wave movement was becoming more mainstream in content and performance.

List of issues[edit]

Issue # Date Contents
1 21 Nov 1981 Madness, Linx, Spandau Ballet, Bow Wow Wow, Soft Cell, Neil Young, Human League & more.
2 5 Dec 1981 Adam & The Ants, Ian Dury, Bad Manners, Haircut 100, Kim Wilde, ABC, Eurythmics, Virna Lindt, Annabella's Mum & more.
3 19 Dec 1981 - 7 Jan 1982 Sting, Stray Cats, Julian Cope, The Beat's Dave Wakeling, Rat Scabies, Lemmy, Kid Creole, Nona Hendryx, Belle Stars Rap & more.
4 9-21 Jan 1982 Human League, Depeche Mode, OMD, Steve Strange, James Brown, A&R Men & more.
5 23 Jan - 4 Feb 1982 Phil Collins, Duran Duran, Pretenders, Heaven 17, Richard O'Brien, 'Mac' Reviews Records with Mr & Mrs Suggs, & more.
6 6-18 Feb 1982 Paul Weller, Ultravox, Pete Shelley, The Mobiles, Killing Joke, Blancmange, UB 40, XTC, Panther Burns, Jimmy Riley, Black Uhuru & more.
7 Feb 20 - March 4, 1982 Gary Kemp, Sophisticated Boom Boom, Billy Connoly, Teddy Pendergrass, Buggles, B-52s, Lou Reed, Gary Numan, Modern Romance & more.
8 March 6–18, 1982 Hugh Cornwell, Hall & Oates, Holger Czukay, Alice Cooper, Nick Lowe, Four Tops, The Waitresses, Alexei Sayle, XTC & more.
9 Mar 20 - April 1, 1982 Lou Reed, Wah!, Haircut 100, The Rap, Bill Wyman, The Questions, The Jam, Dave Edmunds, Tank, Steel Pulse, Pigbag, Apocalypse, Toni Basil & more.
10 April 3–15, 1982 Terry Hall (Fun Boy 3), Glenn Hodle & Ossie Ardiles, Thompson Twins, The Associates, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, J. J. Cale, The Fall, B.E.F., Kirk Brandon, Venigmas, My Silent War, Troops For Tomorrow, Fair Deal & more.
11 April 17–29, 1982 Bob Geldof, Paul McCartney (Part 1), The Impossible Dreamers, Talking Heads, Visage, Graham Parker, Dragon Slayer (Brian Johnson), Dollar's Thereza, Vic Godard, Maze & more.
12 May 1–13, 1982 Sandie Shaw, Paul McCartney (Part 2), Belle Stars, Bananarama, Swan's Way, Blondie, Squeeze, Junior Giscombe, Hank on Ry, Jim Kerr, Girlschool, Gil Scott-Heron & more.
13 May 15–27, 1982 Meat Loaf, Adam Ant, Steve Davis, King Trigger, Culture Club, The Group, Lemmy, David Grant, Clash, Bucks Fizz, Gang Of Four, Thomas Dolby, Paul Simon, James King & more.
14 May 29 - June 10, 1982 Altered Images, Echo & The Bunnymen, Bart, Queen, Kid Creole, John Hiatt, Michael Palin, Saxon, Paula Yates, Duran Duran & more.
15 June 12–24, 1982 Queen, Yazoo, Pete Townshend, Endgames, Still Life, Roxy Music, Modern English, Gwen Guthrie, Todd Rundgren, Dalek & more.
16 June 26 - July 8, 1982 Peter Gabriel, Ry Cooder, Courgettes, Why Not, Stones, Bobby Womack, Nina Hagen, Joan Jett, Lindsay Anderson, Scritti, Yello & more.
17 (mid 1982) Mel Brooks, Lorri Anderson, Peter Wolf, Becky Bondage, Elvis Costello & more.
18 July 29 - August 10, 1982 Clint Eastwood, Captain Sensible & more.
19 (mid 1982) Peter Murphy, Martin Rushent, Bauhaus, Martha Ladly & more.


Max Bell[3] continued to write for publications including The Daily Californian, LA Weekly and Rolling Stone. Hugh Salmon went on to manage Ogilvy Thailand, and wrote his first play, Into Battle, which was premiered at Greenwich Theatre in London in October 2021.[4]


  1. ^ "SFX Cassette Magazine". Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  2. ^ https://doctechnical.com/sfx/
  3. ^ "Articles, interviews and reviews from Max Bell: Rock's Backpages". www.rocksbackpages.com. Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  4. ^ Brooks, Richard (2021-09-26). "'Elite v plebs': the Oxford rivalries of boys who would never grow up to be men". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2023-07-07.