The Hit Parade (group)

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The Hit Parade
Julian & Cath.JPG
left-right Cath Carroll and Julian Henry.
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresIndie pop/Pop/C86
Years active1984–present
LabelsJSH Records, UK
Minty Fresh, US
Vinyl Japan, Japan
Polystar, Japan
Sarah Records, UK
MembersRaymond Watts
Matthew Moffatt
Julian Henry Cath Carroll Harvey Williams

The Hit Parade is a music group from London that has released seven LPs and fourteen 7" vinyl records. The group is described in British press as "the very definition of twee Eighties style indie". [1]


The Hit Parade was formed by three schoolfrienda Julian Henry, Raymond Watts and Matthew Moffatt.'Their first record was released in 1984 before their second and third singles "My Favourite Girl" and "The Sun Shines in Gerrards Cross" gained regular plays on BBC Radio 1 by DJs John Peel and Janice Long. However the group were dismissed by the music press as inconsequential and Watts moved to Berlin in 1989 to work with KMFDM, Henry developed a business in marketing and journalism, while Moffatt founded his own film lighting company. But they continue to release records, proclaiming the Latin motto "Semper Eadem" ("alvvays the same").


The Hit Parade record for JSH UK record label producing 7" vinyl singles in limited editions. The first Hit Parade single 'Forever' was released in 1984 with a mock-vorticist manifesto. A year later The Hit Parade signed to Stiff Records but the label went out of business before anything (other than a track on a compilation album) was released. The first pressing of the band's 'See You in Havana' single JSH5 with Stiff Records logo is collectible. The first Hit Parade LP "With Love From The Hit Parade" was released on their own label in 1988 to unfavourable reviews: 'mire of cheesy mundane tunes' 'oblivious to musical developments of the last 24 years' (Q Magazine) 'twee like you wouldn't believe' (MM), apart from NME which declared the Hit Parade to be the 'perfect pop machine'.

But the band's diy approach was lauded by fanzines (Caff, Are You Scared To Get Happy, Especially Yellow) and the album sleeve was self-taken 'selfie album cover'. The album has been re-issued and is now regarded as 80s indie classic.[2] [3]Following its release Henry was approached by Cherry Red Records and arranged[4] nine songs on the first Would-be-goods album. In the 1990s, The Hit Parade signed to Sarah Records label and recorded "In Gunnersbury Park" b/w "Harvey".

After live shows in Tokyo shopping malls in the 90s the Hit Parade were linked to the Shibuya-kei movement alongside groups The Pastels, Orange Juice and Flipper's Guitar in Japan. The Hit Parade signed to Vinyl Japan and later Polystar Records, had a minor hit with "Hello Hannah Hello".[5] They toured Japan several times, played at the opening of the Virgin Megastore Shinjuku, Tokyo, appearing on MTV Japan and other music TV shows, and signed to Minty Fresh Records, Chicago, in the United States[6] releasing their first US single, "Hello Hannah Hello".

The Hit Parade produced their fifth album with St Etienne producer Ian Catt in 2006 The Return of the Hit Parade,[7] and 9th single "My Stupid Band", the story of a failed pop group doomed to a life of obscurity. It was published with a Manifesto that called for Food Lovers Fairs to be banned and for JG Ballard to be knighted. In 2007 the Hit Parade single "You Didn't Love Me Then", appeared on Sanctuary Records C86 double album Cd86: The Birth of Indie Pop.[8]

The 10th Hit Parade 7" single was a tribute to Le Corbusier's 'Unite D'Habitation', featuring Manchester singer Cath Carroll. "I Like Bubblegum" b/w "Zennor Mermaid" raised funds for the Porthmeor Studio in St Ives Cornwall restoration fund[9] and was voted one of the best singles of 2010 by Drowned in Sound.[10] Julian Henry was interviewed in The Guardian in 2011.[11]

In 2014 the Hit Parade released "Cornish Pop Songs", songs set in South West England, described by Cornishman art critic Lee Trewhela as 'the best album made about Cornwall this century" and "a glorious collection of melodic, memorable guitar-based tunes".[12] The album was re-issued on vinyl in 2016.

Henry and Watts have been recording new Hit Parade material for 2019 release [13]; their 13th single "Happy World", released in 2018 to mark Record Store Day [14] was described by the Arts Desk as "the very definition of twee Eighties style indie". [15]


The Hit Parade first played live in 1990 at The Mean Fiddler in London before embarking on a UK Tour. In 1992 they toured Japan playing concerts in Shinjuku, Tokyo; they returned for four other Japan tours playing concerts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sendai, appearing with Billy Childish and his group the Milkshakes, and Edwyn Collins. Their line up during these tours included Mike Watts (keyboards), Harvey Williams (guitar) and Cath Carroll (vocals). Julian Henry and Harvey Williams played concerts in London and Oxford in 2009 and 2010 at the London Indiepop Festival. [16][17][18]

In May 2014 The Hit Parade performed as Sarah 058 at the Arnolfini Bristol 'Between Hello & Goodbye The Secret Life of Sarah Records' exhibition.[19]

Line up[edit]

The Hit Parade bass guitarist, Raymond Watts, is known for his industrial group PIG, releasing seventeen albums. As well as touring North America, Japan and Europe, Watts has recorded many albums with KMFDM as Raymondo Scaballero, including writing credits on the platinum selling video game and movie Mortal Kombat. Since 2009, Watts has co-produced the music for Alexander McQueen's Fashion shows. The Hit Parade's drummer, Matthew Moffatt, runs a London-based film lighting company, working with directors Mike Leigh, Kathryn Bigelow and Paul Greengrass. Moffatt is credited on several Hollywood and British produced films including the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker, and the Oscar nominated Vera Drake and United 93. The Hit Parade's guitarist, Julian Henry, founded the public relations agency Henry's House, is a trustee of The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA, London),[20] is advisor to Simon Fuller, and has written for periodicals including NME, Music Week and The Guardian on music and marketing. Other members included Cath Carroll, Harvey Williams and Mike Watts.



Year Title Catalogue Number
1984 "Forever / Stop" JSH 1
1984 "My Favourite Girl / It Rained on Monday Afternoon" JSH 2
1985 "The Sun Shines in Gerrards Cross / You Hurt Me Too " JSH 3
1985 "You Didn't Love Me Then / Huevos Mexicanos" JSH 4
1986 "See You in Havana / Wipe Away The Tears" JSH 5
1987 "I Get So Sentimental / Sue" JSH 6
1991 "In Gunnersbury Park / Harvey" SARAH 58
1994 "Autobiography / The Dispossessed, Now The Holiday's Over" SARAH 90
2003 "In Your Arms / She Goes Down" JSH 7
2005 "Born in St Ives / Beauty Queen" JSH 8
2006 "My Stupid Band / Twenty Per Cent " JSH 9
2010 "I Like Bubblegum / The Zennor Mermaid" JSH 10
2011 "There's Something About Mary / The Boy Who Loves Brighter" JSH 11
2017 "Oh Honey I.../ History of Art" JSH 12
2018 "Happy World / Otaku Boy" JSH 13
2019 "Joey's Girl / I'm Recovering From You" JSH 14


Year Title Record Label
1988 With Love From The Hit Parade JSH Records: JPEW 1
1991 More Pop Songs Vinyl Japan
1992 Light Music Polystar Records Japan
1994 The Sound of the Hit Parade Polystar Records Japan
2006 The Return of the Hit Parade JSH Records: JPEW 2
2012 Pick of the Pops Volume 1 JSH Records: JPEW 3
2014 Cornish Pop Songs JSH Records: JPEW 4


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  4. ^ Writing and arranging credits cited on the album The Camera Loves Me
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  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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