Creation Records : International Guardians Of Rock’n’Roll 1983-1999

Listen and wonder. We shall not see their like again.

A moment of silence for the dear departed. When Creation Records came to its final juddering halt last year, it marked the end of indie as we know it. As that last Primal Scream single dripped mournfully into the new release racks, indie-pop’s short slamdance with the big time was well and truly over.

Alan McGee has now cherry-picked two CDs worth of his own personal faves as a final memento of his extraordinary career. His was a life lived large: when he wasn’t chilling out with Tony Blair, he was crazy-mad-for-it-bonkers on the rave scene, and his style of label management was intensely personal. Creation was his label and this was his art.

And didn’t he do well? ‘…Guardians of Rock’n’Roll’ contains some epochal sounds – Primal Scream’s groove quest ‘Loaded’, The Jesus And Mary Chain’s fearsome debut ‘Upside Down’, Teenage Fanclub’s sublime ‘The Concept’ and Super Furry Animals’ cheeky, Steely Dan-sampling ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’ to name but a few.

In between those Himalayan peaks, there’s a nod to all the scenes he fostered and nourished. Shoegazing home counties kids Slowdive, Swervedriver and Ride have been exhumed, along with more eclectic indie-schmindies like Meat Whiplash, Jasmine Minks, BMX Bandits and Felt.

His tendency to give his chums record contracts is also represented. Joe Foster gets a nod with the inclusion of his Mary Chain pastiche ‘I’ll Follow You Down’ while fellow ex-TV Personality Ed Ball gets two tracks. Strangely, McGee’s own band Biff Bang Pow!, responsible for at least two brilliant singles, are conspicuous only in their absence.

Oh yes, and Oasis are on there too. Whether the Gallagher brothers made Creation or destroyed it will be the overriding concern for pop historians. Oasis’ mega-success heralded McGee’s apocalypse. The years following ‘Definitely Maybe’ saw the once modest independent receiving an enormous cash boost which McGee threw away in a champagne supernova of excessive spending and truly appalling signings (One Lady Owner, Technique, Ultra Living, Toaster, and the less said about repeated attempts at setting up spin-off dance labels, the better). The apocryphal story of Noel Gallagher storming into McGee’s office last year and flinging a copy of Kevin Rowland’s expensive but unsaleable ‘My Beauty’ at him with the words, ‘You spent my money on this?’ would be an apt epitaph for Creation, whether it’s true or not.

Still, at least he had ambition. The fact that ‘…Guardians Of Rock’n’Roll’ provides a fairly wonky but vaguely true account of what happened in British music and culture in the last 16 years is to Creation’s immense credit.

Listen and wonder. We shall not see their like again.

Jim Wirth