Episode 8a: Smash Hits – 25 March – 7 April 1987 with Barry McIlheney (part 1)

Welcome aboard The Giddy Carousel of Pop. Hold tight for a top pop ride!

In the first of two parts, Simon and Gavin chat to former Smash Hits editor Barry McIlheney about his time at Ver Hits (October 1986 to January 1989) and the 25 March – 7 April 1987 issue in particular.

In just three years, Barry went from being a library assistant living with his mum in Belfast to editor of Britain’s brightest pop mag, via spells at Hot Press and Melody Maker. It was under his editorship that Smash Hits achieved its highest-ever circulation figures, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. From upsetting rock royalty to putting the wrong pop star on the cover, Barry takes us behind the scenes of what life was like at Ver Hits.

Artists discussed include The Mission, Janet Jackson, David Bowie, Terence Trent D’Arby and Curiosity Killed The Cat. Tom Hibbert takes a trip to Downing Street to meet Margaret Thatcher and Gavin dons his detective’s cap and tracks down an RSVP pop kid.

You can read the issue for yourself thanks to Like Punk Never Happened and Smash Hits Remembered and also check out the music from its pages on our Spotify and YouTube playlists. It’s the next best thing to taping it off the radio!

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The Giddy Carousel of Pop is part of the We Made This network of podcasts.

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