One of the best days of the year for Smiley, fans of vinyl records and independent musicians is finally here – it’s National Record Store Day!
National Record Store Day is a yearly event where over 200 independent record stores from London and across the UK celebrate their unique love of vinyl culture, with exclusive special single and album releases by many artists today, as well as in-store performances by shops up and down the country. In recent years the success of the event has even started to spread overseas, with some countries in Europe and across South America joining the party!
Smiley and Music have a rich history, dating all the way back to the 1960’s and 70’s, when a smiley was first used in promotional material for WMCA Radio’s Good Guys show in New York. WMCA was at the epicentre of the vinyl revolution and was credited for being the first radio station in New York to interview The Beatles as well as breaking some of the biggest British artists into the USA charts. Mick Jagger was one of many (pictured below) wearing a Smiley WMCA sweatshirt which was gifted to special guests on the show.
Smiley’s iconic relationship with vinyl continued into the 1970’s, when it was featured on the cover of the Talking Heads classic record ‘Psycho Killer’, a song that helped define a generation and set Talking Heads on their way to rock and roll superstardom.
Since then the bond has only grown stronger, with Smiley again featuring prominently on the artwork of the vinyl for legendary electronic band Bomb the Bass’s and their global chart topping single ‘Beat Dis’. This track fuelled the explosion of the underground house music scene during the 1980’s and 90’s, where Smiley became the face of dance floors globally from London to Chicago.
In the 1990’s Smiley was also aligned with the grunge movement exploding in the US, with the Smiley icon being featured on Nirvana’s merchandise and promotional material.
As the music world ticked in to a new millennium, Smiley yet again continued to be ever present on the sleeves of some of the most iconic records of this era, including punk band Blink 182‘s eponymously titled album, and on the cover art for Gnarls Barkley‘s song ‘Smiley Faces’.
Today Smiley continues to enjoy strong ties with the dance music world, partnering with Ibiza clubs Sankeys and their club night Dance 88/89 , which pays homage to 1980’s dance music culture.
Smiley continues to be a dance floor favourite with DJ’s, clubbers and celebrities today, including Felix Da Housecat, Jamie Jones, Skrillex & Solumun all featured below.
These ties to music, records and vinyl are strong and deep rooted and longstanding to strengthen in 2017 and we look forward to seeing where it will show up next in the music space.
Check out our playlist below, which pays homage to over 50 years of Smiley and music.