Future Legend Records 30th Anniversary

Future Legend Records
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Music business legend Tony Wilson of Factory Records once said Future Legend Records was the definitive blueprint to be a successful indie label, we had the credibility and longevity and creativity all rolled into one and most of our rivals are long gone. 30 years is a long time, FLR have even seen off and been around longer than some major labels.
Not being mainstream means they often go under the radar but over 1 million people have releases residing in their homes, so  a documentary about the label is long overdue.

FLR have set music trends such as the cult themes and invented new music genres like Ska Surf, Pop Noir & Electronic Espionage. They helped break many new artists and have several cult artists on the label, a few of who have previously hit the number-one spot worldwide. Many releases have also become very collectable. Although FLR features individual artists many of our compilations such as Femme Fatales of Music championing female artists, Three Button Legacy (Mod & Britpop tunes) & The Themes Bond James Bond (The Alternative Bond Themes) have captured many people’s imaginations and proved popular. Even the legendary John Barry said three of the Bond covers were better than the originals and other famous fans included David Bowie, Madonna & Brian Wilson.
The main producer of the label’s output and label owner Russell C. Brennan was called an indie production God by the national newspaper The Independent and he was nominated for Record producer of the year and recently featured on the cover of Songwriter International magazine. He is also a highly rated photographer/artist, with Saatchi Art calling him an Artist of Recognition and he has had many exhibitions. So quite naturally he is also responsible for many of the stand-out music sleeves on the label that adds to the quality of the releases. He is also the editor of an influential cultural magazine that has been featured in the V & A museum in London about youth culture and was recently relaunched to become a lockdown success in traditional paper format. So Russell is in the shadows as a major influencer in many arts.

Future Legend Records made its name by doing new versions of cult TV & film themes to help break new artists. Russell was into cult themes for a long time and knew a big audience would buy new versions of the themes, not just the originals but he knew just the right track listings that would work. Because it’s always hard getting people into new music people would discover new artists through a cult theme cover and that’s just what happened. BBC’s Mark Radcliffe was quick to play them on his show and Mark Lammar had one as his show’s theme and You Only Live Twice by Eleanor Rigby on Themes from the 60s Vol.1 hit number one in Italy. Clubs nights sprung up around the UK playing the themes with fashion also getting an outing with people dressing up as their favourite 60s themes characters.

Russell had made his name writing and producing his ex-wife Eleanor Rigby previously and she had become a huge cult figure who disappeared at the height of her popularity. (she has one of the most interesting stories in Pop music’ A ‘Best of’ release played at the famous Blow-Up club was even termed Britpop just prior to Britpop taking off and Blur, Oasis, Sleeper, Pulp and many others said they were influenced by her and Shirley Manson of Garbage said she was a major influence on her becoming a singer in a rock band. She even influenced a young Kate Moss who went on to be Britains top model Russell’s  own innovative band Box Office Poison, doing the new music of Pop Noir shared management with David Bowie (where he became a bit of a mentor) and Billboard Magazine editor said they were the best new music band to come out of England in ages. Madonna was a fan of the band’s single Mysteries and wanted to sign the band to her new label Maverick. Years later legendary Beach Boy Brian Wilson said the production on the labels Cult Themes and Box Office Poison was amongst the most innovative he had heard in years and put Russell on the celebrity guest list of his first solo Uk concerts at the Festival Hall. Russell was also in a Ska band that the media called ‘One step beyond all the soundalikes’ and pioneered Ska Surf music. Seven cult themes albums were released over the years which involved keeping things fresh starting with breaking new talent to getting former number one hit acts out of retirement to do a theme (The Honeycombs being one example who previously sold over 20 million copies of Have the Right, No.1 hit single worldwide)

He then added a new twist by discovering older acts who hadn’t quite fulfilled their potential to give them one last shot at achieving it, one such act being Glenda Collins. One story sums up Russell’s unique attitude to helping others’ dreams come true. 60s singer & songwriter Tony Grinham’s big chance came when legendary producer Joe Meek signed him up. A backing track was done for his song The Long Drop but the day he was due to go back and do the vocal Joe had killed himself so Tony’s big chance went up in flames, however, he managed to keep Joes backing track and 50 years later played it to big Joe Meek fan and cult producer Russell C. Brennan who was also trying to help a former popular Joe Meek Artists Glenda Collins by producing some comeback material for her via the last ever Cult Themes album and The Long Drop seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. Russell would get to co-produce with his idol Joe from beyond the grave, Tony would finally get his song released and Glenda would get her comeback single. This relaunched Glenda to new fans and won back many older ones but then she encountered mental problems and was put in a home. They contacted Russell to could see if he could help and he totally transformed her mental state from being looking towards her demise to being the happiest she had ever been by him devising an album project called ‘Second Chance’ that eventually came out at the end of 2022. The care home said it was an amazing feat.

FLR’s journey has been full of inspirational stories and achievements whilst operating on a shoestring budget and to still be in business 30 years later is some achievement and one worth a documentary and some column inches.

 

 

 

 

 

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