Launched a mere thirty plus years ago on March 24, 1979, Ready Records was much like the artists of the time itself, as it offered listeners something groundbreaking and alternative. Sadly, as the Eighties wore on and the New Wave era came to a close, so did Ready Records.
In its six-year life span, Ready not only earned gold records in Canada, but managed to have several of its artists licensed in over eighteen countries around the world. Ready’s diverse roster helped expose such emerging artists as The Spoons, Blue Peter, The Extras, The Demics, Steve Blimkie and The Reason, Manteca, Boyo, Fergus Hambleton, Santers, Michael Zee and Colin Linden; the label also became a needed home for acts such as The Guess Who, Teenage Head, and The Battered Wives.
The early Eighties also marked the introduction of music videos to the industry’s culture, and Ready Records was a pioneer of this untried and expensive medium. In its efforts to push every button, Ready’s videos featured visual metaphors, classic live performances, and even an industry “first” – cell animation.
Many of the Ready Records artists were known for their great live shows. It was their notoriety that landed several of them on tour, or in opening slots for such acts as The Police, Boy George and Culture Club, The Ramones, XTC, and many more. The Ready roster was recognized as “fresh and original” by many industry pundits who had witnessed a domestic industry that had previously produced imitators, for the most part. Manteca brought forth a Cuban sound, a decade prior to Ry Cooder’s “discoveries”. The Extras’ “Circular Impression” found its way to Dr. Demento not because of squeaky voices, but because of clever lyrics.
In 1996, a Chart Magazine reader’s choice poll named The Demics’ “New York City” the best Canadian single of all time. The Spoons’ hit “Nova Heart” and The Demics’ notorious “New York City” were included in music columnist Bob Mersereau’s 2010 book, “The Top 100 Canadian Singles”.
When asked to contribute his top ten Canadian punk albums for Robert Mesereau’s 2007 book, The Top 100 Canadian Albums, Gord Lewis, guitarist of the seminal Canadian punk group Teenage Head, included The Demics’ Talk’s Cheap in his list.
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