Live! In The Air Age

Be Bop Deluxe

album - 22 July 1977

Live! In The Air Age - Cover
Live! In The Air Age US inner sleeve
Live! In The Air Age CD page 2
Live! In The Air Age CD page 6
Live! In The Air Age CD page 12


01)  Life In The Air Age

02)  Ships In The Night

03)  Piece Of Mine

04)  Fair Exchange

05)  Shine

06)  Sister Seagull

07)  Maid In Heaven

08)  Mill Street Junction

09)  Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape

10)  Blazing Apostles


Live! In the Air Age is the fifth album by Be Bop Deluxe, and was recorded at unspecified gigs staged in 1977.  It would prove to be the only live document of the band to be released during its existence.
The album appeared on vinyl and cassette, but had no single release at the time to aid its promotion (which is unusual, but not unheard of).  However, the album itself included a 7" EP (as sides B and C of the album) that helped push playing time to around 55 minutes - which would have been too much music for a single album.  Vinyl copies were released in a single sleeve, and the record was housed in an inner sleeve bearing a few live photos and a few explanatory words concerning the album's content.

For North American release, the EP included with the album was pressed on 12", and the package appeared in two pressings: standard black vinyl; and a combination of white vinyl (for the album) and black vinyl (for the EP).  The musicians appearing on the live recording were the now established quartet of Bill Nelson, Simon Fox, Charlie Tumahai and Andy Clarke.  Although the credits include an apparent fifth member in the shape of "Cabasa El Dubova", providing percussion on "Shine", this was in fact later revealed to be Nelson himself, who provided some post-production overdubs.

When reissued on CD in 1991, EMI chose not to include any additional material, although the songs that comprise the 3 track EP were designated as "bonus tracks" and tagged on to the end of the CD, rather than being placed in the centre as they had been on the original vinyl release.  As with other releases in the series, informative sleeve notes penned by Kevin Cann provide useful context.



The original edition of Live! In the Air Age was deleted sometime around 1979/80, and was never reissued on vinyl.  



The CD edition remains in print, but unlike the studio albums, hasn't appeared in remastered form.  The album is also available as a download from iTunes and Amazon.

Joy Through Amplification, Fantastic Guitars, New Northern Dream, Fancy Planets, Special Metal,

Romance of Sustain, Orpheus in Ultraland, Satellite SongsLive at Metropolis Studios,

Golden Melodies of Tomorrow, Practically Wired, Tripping the Light Fantastic


"Some of the Live! In The Air Age album was recorded there, (at the Grand Theatre), and my mother came along to one of the shows.  I remember that I played a few bars of 'Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair' as part of my free-form solo guitar improv at the close of the concert for her.  (Mum's name is Jean, you see.)  So long ago, so far away..."

"The "Shine" track started life as a jam at Abbey Road studios. Charlie was away, (in New Zealand, I think), and the track was created simply by Simon, Andy and myself having a 'mess about'...a bit of fun.  I played bass on the track as well as guitars.  I also tried to make the bass part have some reference to Charlie's own style.  In fact, we eventually did the number live with Charlie.  I dreamt up the name 'Funky Phaser And His Unearthly Merchandise' to allow for the fact that it wasn't a 'proper' Be Bop Deluxe track as Charlie was missing from the equation."

"The recently released Futurist Manifesto 5 CD set from EMI contains the only previously unreleased Live! In The Air Age recordings in existence."


"I also got permission from the widow of Fritz Lang to use stills from the film as cover art on Be Bop's Live! In The Air Age album."



"Recorded in England, Spring Tour 1977 - and still one of the very best (mostly) live albums of the 70's and a hard earned Top 10 hit in the UK.  We are not worthy."


"It was 1977, I'm a sophomore in high school, over at a friend's house one afternoon playing backgammon.  He's at the turntable blocking my view and says, "check this out", and cues up "Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape" from Live in the Air Age.  Eight minutes later, I'm trading my original Apple label blue album straight across for it."

Paul Andrews:

"Was it really thirty-five years ago I sat in my friends bedroom listening to Live! In The Air Age, ever so slightly "borrowed" from his elder brother's record collection?  It was a world away from my normal listening habits at the time, hormonal teenager that I was.  I remember it like the cold white light of revelation."


"I was at work when "Shine" from Live! In The Air Age came over the ceiling speaker.  I slowly put down my tools and stared at the speaker as guitar licks bounced all over the room.  The DJ announced the song and album and I bought it the next day.  Of course, this led to me buying the rest of what Be Bop Deluxe had to offer."


"I can tell you that the live version of "Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape" from Live! In The Air Age is one of the best pieces of rock guitar I've ever heard by anyone.  I put it right up there with anything that Hendrix or Clapton etc. have done."


"For me at the time of the release of Live! In the Air Age, that album was a musical milestone.  The way Bill looked, his level of playing, particularly the solo on "Adventures in A Yorkshire Landscape" raised my aspirations."


"Mid-70's - hanging out in someone's bedroom, listening to records. (Do kids still do that? I guess I still do!)  My buddy played "Mill Street Junction" off of the BBD Live! In the Air Age LP.  That was also the first time I ever saw a White Vinyl record."


"I was at the Grand Theatre for that show and remember going down the street at the side and seeing the Trailer with the "Studio" in it.  I do remember having to leave early as at the time I was still at School and had limited funds so had to catch the Bus home!"

Paul Simpson (of The Wild Swans):

"Last time I saw them was doing the Live! In The Air Age stuff.  Wonderful group and a big influence on me."

John Spence:

"A few years ago, when Bill and I mixed some previously unreleased recordings from that tour, the original session sheets showed that some recording also took place at the Colston Hall, Bristol.  All done using the Stones Mobile and under the watchful eye of John Leckie.
An absolute delight to work on."

JohnR, commenting on the 'Music In Dreamland' book:

"Live! In The Air Age is stated to be based on four concerts - two at the Hammersmith Odeon, one at Bristol and one at Bournemouth.  However, I went with a group of friends to a concert at a large theatre in the centre of Leeds where the Rolling Stones mobile was parked outside.  I can remember it being announced that the concert was being recorded for a live album, which certainly galvanized the audience.  At the end, when it came to the obligatory Terminal Street singalong, we dashed down to sit on the edge of the stage and face the audience to help drum up the singing.  To my amazement, we weren't immediately booted off by bouncers and Bill seemed happy enough - we left thinking he was a top bloke!"

© Bill Nelson 2021

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