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Jeff Barrett

Heavenly Recordings — London

Describe your style in three words?
Give a sh*t.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Projected Passion Revue, The Old Vic, London 15 November 1981. This gig was beyond mindblowing. The line-up and sound of the group was about to change (from horns to fiddles) and the versions of songs like 'Let’s Make This Precious' for example were, in my opinion, better on this night and also on the Richard Skinner radio session, than they were on 'Too Rye Ay'. Sadly neither of these are currently on Spotify.

If you could put any three bands in history on a line-up?
I’m going to bend the rules slightly here if you don’t mind. I’d go back to Thursday 13 December 1990. The Underworld, Camden, London. Flowered Up, Saint Etienne, East Village and Manic Street Preachers. DJ’s Andrew Weatherall, Justin Robertson and Greg Fenton. The first Heavenly Christmas party.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Punk, House, Mod.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
That would have to be Andrew Weatherall.

Where is your favourite independent venue?
The Social, London – my friends and I opened and own this place. So many great memories.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Too many to mention but at Heavenly we’ve always felt that Cherry Ghost didn’t get the props he deserved. Maybe it was collectively our own fault but man, just listen to those songs and Simon’s voice. It goes deep.


Jeff Barrett founded Heavenly Recordings back in 1990. To celebrate 30 years of the UK independent label a book '...Believe In Magic. Heavenly Recordings, The First Thirty Years' is being released on 12th November 2020.

You can pre-order it at heavenlyemporium.com.

The first track you played on repeat?
'Blockbuster' by The Sweet.

A song that defines the teenage you?
Things were moving way too fast back then to be defined by a single song but 'Gangsters' by The Specials, 'God Save The Queen' by Sex Pistols, 'Down In The Tube Station at Midnight' by The Jam and 'Rappers Delight' by The Sugarhill Gang all made an impression.

One record you would keep forever?
'I Say A Little Prayer' by Aretha Franklin.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
“Believe in the magic of a young girl’s soul,
believe in the magic of rock 'n' roll,
believe in the magic that can set you free…”

From 'Do You Believe In Magic' by The Lovin' Spoonful.

A song you wished you had written?
Nah, not me, I’m the plugger.

Best song to turn up loud?
'I’m Stranded' by The Saints.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'Leave Right Now' performed by Will Young, written by EG White.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
Depends on where you’re at and what age you are! How about 'Shout To The Top' by The Style Council?

Any new bands you’re are into at the moment?
Gabriels, if only for 'Love and Hate in a Different Time'.

Describe your style in three words?
Give a sh*t.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Projected Passion Revue, The Old Vic, London 15 November 1981. This gig was beyond mindblowing. The line-up and sound of the group was about to change (from horns to fiddles) and the versions of songs like 'Let’s Make This Precious' for example were, in my opinion, better on this night and also on the Richard Skinner radio session, than they were on 'Too Rye Ay'. Sadly neither of these are currently on Spotify.

If you could put any three bands in history on a line-up?
I’m going to bend the rules slightly here if you don’t mind. I’d go back to Thursday 13 December 1990. The Underworld, Camden, London. Flowered Up, Saint Etienne, East Village and Manic Street Preachers. DJ’s Andrew Weatherall, Justin Robertson and Greg Fenton. The first Heavenly Christmas party.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Punk, House, Mod.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
That would have to be Andrew Weatherall.

Where is your favourite independent venue?
The Social, London – my friends and I opened and own this place. So many great memories.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Too many to mention but at Heavenly we’ve always felt that Cherry Ghost didn’t get the props he deserved. Maybe it was collectively our own fault but man, just listen to those songs and Simon’s voice. It goes deep.


Jeff Barrett founded Heavenly Recordings back in 1990. To celebrate 30 years of the UK independent label a book '...Believe In Magic. Heavenly Recordings, The First Thirty Years' is being released on 12th November 2020.

You can pre-order it at heavenlyemporium.com.

The first track you played on repeat?
'Blockbuster' by The Sweet.

A song that defines the teenage you?
Things were moving way too fast back then to be defined by a single song but 'Gangsters' by The Specials, 'God Save The Queen' by Sex Pistols, 'Down In The Tube Station at Midnight' by The Jam and 'Rappers Delight' by The Sugarhill Gang all made an impression.

One record you would keep forever?
'I Say A Little Prayer' by Aretha Franklin.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
“Believe in the magic of a young girl’s soul,
believe in the magic of rock 'n' roll,
believe in the magic that can set you free…”

From 'Do You Believe In Magic' by The Lovin' Spoonful.

A song you wished you had written?
Nah, not me, I’m the plugger.

Best song to turn up loud?
'I’m Stranded' by The Saints.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'Leave Right Now' performed by Will Young, written by EG White.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
Depends on where you’re at and what age you are! How about 'Shout To The Top' by The Style Council?

Any new bands you’re are into at the moment?
Gabriels, if only for 'Love and Hate in a Different Time'.

'…Believe In Magic. Heavenly Recordings, The First Thirty Years'

This Melody Maker, this item that had sparked a five-minute war in our kitchen on kippers night – that’s always stayed with me. This was a music paper and it was a totem of rebellion.

Mobile reading format: Extract from '….Believe in Magic'