Tell us a little bit about yourself: My name is Johnny Chamberlain, I grew up just outside of Manchester and left the UK in the late 90s eventually settling in Indianapolis, where I’ve been for 7 years. I married an American girl in the early 2000s and moved to California, we have 2 kids, a 9yr old daughter (who has started her own Disney focused record collection!) and a 4 yr old son. I’m lucky that my wife allows me to indulge in my passions and she also loves movies as do my kids.
I started collecting records back in the late 70s when my obsession with music and movies started after seeing Star Wars; I love watching movies, going to gigs and of course, buying records! I work as a Director of Sales for an electronics manufacturer and do a lot of traveling around the US and Europe and will always find time on any business trip to do some crate digging! I have several thousand records and cds with about 1000 soundtracks. I’m also a huge Manchester United fan and was a season ticket holder in the 80s and 90s and since I moved to Indianapolis have helped run the local supporters group and of course the kids are following along with that!! Our kids love Disney so we try and get them down to WDW every summer, obviously this summer is not going to happen! They do love Star Wars as well of course so we are all excited to get to Galaxy’s Edge eventually!
First album: My first soundtrack was Star Wars; the movie and the album were hugely impactful on me and I’ve loved big orchestral scores ever since, and of course this started my love of collecting scores. My first rock albums were Parallel Lines by Blondie, Regatta De Blanc by the Police and The Pleasure Principle by Gary Numan. I was lucky to grow up in that immediate post-punk period of the late 70s/early 80s when music was really changing on a daily basis and the synth had joined the guitar as the sound of rock music. Around that same time I got into James Bond in a big way and I started to collect Bond soundtracks which really led to my soundtrack obsession; I was lucky to get into that in the 80s so have a sizeable collection of 60s, 70s and 80s OP’s including a lot of those horror classics that have become so desirable!
Favorite album: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen remains my #1, an album that contains all the joy, heartache, love and wonder of life. I’m a huge Springsteen fan and have seen him live over 70 times from 1985 to the present. I’ve owned it for over 35 years and it still moves me in the way it did the first time I heard it.
My favorite soundtrack is probably Once Upon A Time In The West by Ennio Morricone; a stunning marriage of music and visuals and one of my favorite movies of all time.
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: Scrooged – what a wonderful release, I’ve waited years for the complete version of Elfman’s terrific score. I adore Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and have multiple spoken word versions and Scrooged is an annual tradition in our house every Christmas;
This was a beautiful release, great pressing, lovely artwork and variant choices and a really wonderful score.
Favorite album artwork: I always adored Bat Out Of Hell when I was younger, what a piece of striking art that is to adorn a record album! The 70s were the golden years for album artwork; Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Queen’s A Night At The Opera etc. I also love the early 80s minimalist covers that come with the British New wave music I loved as a teenager, Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, Gary Numan’s Telekon, Duran Duran’s album covers, etc. As far as soundtracks go, I tend to like albums that stick to the key art for the movie’s release but most important is that the artwork catches what’s important about the movie and the score, the evocative cover of Morricone’s Once Upon A Time In America is wonderful as are many of the early Bond scores.
What are your favorite local record shops? Here in Indianapolis it’s probably Indy CD & Vinyl in Broadripple, but I also travel a lot with work so I buy a lot when I’m traveling so Amoeba in Hollywood and the Bay Area, Record Surplus and Atomic in LA are both great, Record Wonderland in Roselle outside of Chicago and Josey Records in Dallas also get a lot of my money! Back in the UK, my hometown of Manchester has some great stores including the legendary Piccadilly Records and King Bee down in Chorlton.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? With Florian Schnieder just passing away, I’ve been playing a lot of Kraftwerk, I’ve also been playing a lot of Bowie, but that’s been a constant for 40 years! Soundtrack-wise, I’ve been playing a lot of Jerry Goldsmith; I have a pretty sizeable Goldsmith collection and he remains on my Mt. Rushmore of favorite composers along with John Williams, Ennio Morricone and the magnificent John Barry. Since Covid-19 changed all our lives, I’ve been working from home, so when I’ve had chance to listen to music it’s been either soundtracks or more ethereal stuff.
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? I’m a huge James Bond fan like my good mate Johnny who was RCOTM in February, I’d love to see the missing 6 movies (the 4 Brosnan films and the first 2 Craig films) get vinyl releases to complete the set; My Bond collection is one of my favorite things I have on vinyl so it would be really nice to complete it with those missing scores. There are also several great scores from the 70s and 80s that never got a vinyl release like John Barry’s Hanover Street, Lalo Schifrin’s The Eagle Has Landed and Jerry Goldsmith’s Magic.
What was the best album(s) you've discovered this year (it can be anything, doesn't have to be a new release): My favorite new release of the year is The Light, the 3rd album by Delta Rae, that I’ve been playing non-stop. This is a band that have been around about a decade and I absolutely love them, they combine folk, soul, roots and rock music, in many ways they’re like a modern day Fleetwood Mac and they have 4 lead vocalists (2 male, 2 female) so you get a whole cornucopia of stuff on every album, I’d recommend everybody to check them out.
I also discovered Rebecca Foon this year so have been playing her Waxing Moon a lot which is a great relaxing listen. Bruce Springsteen finally released his Western Stars album last year and followed it up with a soundtrack version of the same songs played live, both are absolutely wonderful and I’ve been playing them almost non-stop.
What upcoming releases are you most excited about? Anything that is on the Record Store Day 2020 list? There are so many OST’s that get announced every week that it’s actually becoming tough to keep up with them! I am excited to finally hear what Hans Zimmer does with his shot at a Bond score with No Time To Die, I was hoping to already have that and have seen the movie but we’re going to have to wait another 6 months!
Since many of us are practicing social distancing or are shelter at home, depending on where people live, can you make a few top 5 lists for us, to help keep folks at home entertained?
Top 5 Albums
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
The Joshua Tree - U2
What's The Story, Morning Glory? - Oasis
Once Upon A Time In The West – Ennio Morricone
The Empire Strikes Back – John Williams
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – John Barry
Out Of Africa – John Barry
Murder On The Orient Express – Richard Rodney Bennett
Top 5 Films
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back
The Spy Who Loved Me
Top 5 Books
The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger
The Stand – Stephen King
High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
The Beach – Alex Garland
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Ian Fleming
Top 5 Podcasts
I won’t lie; I rarely listen to podcasts; I find that any available time I have to listen is taken up with music; There’s so much music to always listen to that whenever I do listen to a podcast I always feel like I should be using that time to listen to more music!