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Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam

Bill Nelson

album - 8 May 1981

Quit Dreaming - Cover
Quit Dreaming page 14


01)  Banal

02)  Living In My Limousine

03)  Vertical Games

04)  Disposable

05)  False Alarms

06)  Decline And Fall

07)  Life Runs Out Like Sand

08)  A Kind Of Loving

09)  Do You Dream In Colour?

10)  U.H.F.

11)  Youth Of Nation On Fire

12)  Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam


Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam is a vocal album recorded between February and June 1979 at RAK studios, Rockfield, and on a mobile recording unit in Yorkshire. The album finally emerged nearly 2 years later on the back of a new 3 album deal that Nelson had signed with Mercury. The album sold well enough to achieve a top 10 placing on the UK album chart, entering the chart at No.7, a career peak for Nelson.

Issued on vinyl and cassette, limited editions (10,000 of each) contained a bonus instrumental album Sounding the Ritual Echo, a collection of home instrumental recordings quite unlike anything Nelson had previously released - but a clear pointer towards future work.

The original album featured an inner sleeve with lyrics and credits. The limited edition on vinyl was in a slightly deeper single sleeve to comfortably house the bonus album. The limited cassette had the bonus album on the reverse side of single long play tape.




Quit Dreaming was originally issued on CD by Cocteau (1986), on which the b-side "White Sound" was added as a bonus cut, and the remix of "Living In My Limousine" replaced the standard album version.

When issued on CD in the U.S. in 1989, fans were presented with an altered version of the album. Fan favourite album track "A Kind Of Loving" and album single "Do You Dream In Colour?" were deleted from the original running order, while three songs from period singles were added. This was done in an effort to make sure the track listing on this independent (Enigma) CD reissue did not overlap with the CD of the major label (CBS) U.S. compilation album, Vistamix.


1989 U.S. CD of Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam:

01)  Banal

02)  Living In My Limousine

03)  Vertical Games     

04)  Disposable     

05)  False Alarms     

06)  Decline And Fall

07)  White Sound (B-Side from the Living In My Limousine 12" single)

08)  Life Runs Out Like Sand

09)  Indiscretion (B-Side from a 1983 club EP, Dancing On A Knife's Edge)

10)  The World And His Wife (From a 1983 club EP of the same name)

11)  U.H.F.

12)  Youth Of Nation On Fire

13)  Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam


In 2005 Mercury reissued Quit Dreaming as a remastered CD, producing the definitive edition of the album. The package is well presented with sleeve notes and photographs, and contains the original version of the album as released in 1981, together with seven bonus tracks taken from current singles. Note that all of the bonus tracks on the Mercury reissue, except for "Birds Of Tin", had previously appeared on the Cocteau compilation The Two Fold Aspect of Everything.

Extra songs on the 2005 CD:
14)  Mr. Magnetism Himself (Banal B-side)
15)  Living In My Limousine (12" remix)
16)  Birds Of Tin (Living In My Limousine B-side)
17)  Love In The Abstract (Living In My Limousine B-side)
18)  Be My Dynamo (Youth Of Nation On Fire B-side)
19)  Rooms With Brittle Views (non-album single, then Youth Of Nation On Fire double single B-side)
20)  All My Wives Were Iron (Youth Of Nation On Fire double single B-side)



"I was still with EMI Records when Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam was recorded. It was always intended that the album would be released under the Red Noise banner."

"The idea behind Red Noise was that it would be a flexible, ever changing unit, adapted to whatever ideas I came up with.  It wasn't intended to be a permanent fixed band but a kind of cover-all concept for all manner of adventures.  Unfortunately, the first Red Noise album proved too much of a leap for our American record company and, (for slightly different reasons), for EMI in the UK too. So, the second Red Noise album ended up being shelved until, quite some time after it was recorded, it was picked up by Phonogram/Mercury. This was, of course, the Quit Dreaming album...but, by the time it did eventually emerge, I'd become bored/disenchanted with the Red Noise idea and decided instead put it out under my own name."

"During the sessions for Quit Dreaming major changes took place at EMI Records and the label dramatically cut back on their roster of artists.
The major labels were all nervous about releasing music that didn't sound immediately commercial and so I set up Cocteau partly out of necessity and partly out of an idealistic desire to release music that I wanted to hear. I got so swamped with demos that I soon realised that I only had time for Cocteau to mainly cater for my own music.

"I used Cocteau to release one of the tracks from the unreleased Red Noise album, "Do You Dream in Colour?" as a single under my own name. Then, Dave Bates who was head of A&R at Phonogram Records heard the album and then decided to release it on the Mercury label. David came into the studio in which I was working and asked me what I was doing. I explained that I had recorded a second album for EMI which hadn't come out. David asked me for a tape which I got to him quickly and then he negotiated a deal with EMI to take the album off their hands."

"The Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam album was recorded using the [Stones mobile] truck...but, this time, no band was involved. It was just John Leckie and myself in the Yorkshire village of West Haddlesey where I lived at that time. We hired the village hall, (which was then a wooden hut-like structure), and parked the Stones mobile outside for several weeks. My equipment was set up in the village hall and cables for microphones were run from the truck into the hall.

"Once a week, we had to push my guitars, amps, synth and drum kit to the back of the hall to make room for the village ladies keep fit class.

"I remember John and I walking, under a starry twilight, from the village hall, down the narrow tree-lined lane back to my home, (Haddlesey House), to have dinner. John stayed with us at Haddlesey House throughout the recording. Sometimes we'd return to the village hall after dinner to overdub something or other, or maybe we'd just go for a pint in a local pub.  Very happy days indeed."

On "Decline and Fall":

"The guitar solo on the song is an artificially created thing. I recorded the solo on a standard two track stereo tape machine running alongside the main multi-track. Then a razor blade was taken to the taped solo on the two-track machine, cutting the tape into random lengths, some only an inch or two in length. All the pieces of cut tape were then unceremoniously jumbled up. Once this was achieved, the pieces of tape were picked up at random and stuck back together with splicing tape. This random method of assembly meant that some pieces of tape were running forward, (in the correct direction), other pieces were accidentally reversed...and NONE of the bits of tape were re-assembled in their proper order or sequence.

"Doing this meant that a phrase that originally began at the start of the solo might now appear in the middle or at the end...and in fragmented fashion. Every phrase was now chopped up and re-assembled in a completely random way. This 'Frankenstein's Monster' tape, with dozens of spliced segments, was then 'spun-in' to the main multitrack tape at the appropriate point where the solo was to occur. The result is a totally bizarre, scrambled, 'non-linear' guitar solo that would be impossible to play live. It is, quite literally, all over the place."


Review by Graham Reid



"Certain albums not only hold up, but get better with age, and Quit Dreaming is definitely one of those. It was way ahead of its time and still enchants and invigorates me every time I listen to it.

"It's still my favourite BN record and one of my top favourite albums of all time. 30 years from now, if I'm still alive, I will be grooving to it at the old folks home."

"Deconstruction may not be the proper term for it, but it seems appropriate. One can almost draw a direct line from Drastic Plastic through Red Noise and into Quit Dreaming which is Bill's ultimate deconstructionist pop masterpiece. It seems as if, once he had completely taken himself apart, only then could he put himself back together in a completely different form. And indeed, from Love That Whirls onward, his music sounded very different.

"It's fun listening to artists who dare to go through phases of artistic development rather than just pooping out another elpee's worth of tunes."

Radium Girl:

"This was one of those albums that upon first hearing it I was instantly transfixed and played it over and over and over.  My original vinyl copy has several of the songs worn down past audible. This whole album is absolutely imbued with magic for me and I still listen to parts of it every week."


"This may be my very favorite BN album. In my not so humble opinion, it's *still* ahead of its time.

"Banal" has one of the tightest, most musical lead guitar parts I have ever heard."


"Like many others, Quit Dreaming and "Do You Dream In Colour?" were my doorway into the fabulous world of Bill Nelson. I think the album was already a couple of years old when I first heard it, but it sounded newer than tomorrow...I was blown away. It was just so impossibly cool.  Suave & stylish, manically optimistic while at the same time rather disturbing in a sort of comical way, it abounded in layers and layers of effortless, sparkling creativity. Of course I was hooked, and worked my way both forwards and backwards in time, picking up anything of Bill's that I could find. For a while, my post-punk musical prejudices were a barrier to enjoyment of BBD, but after a while it all clicked."


"I played Quit Dreaming to death, and eventually knew every crackle and pop on the coveted piece of vinyl. At the time it seemed to me like a perfectly normal 'pop' record, but as time has gone on I've come to see it as quite a strange album, still pop, but in a rather abstract way. Some cracking tunes on there (always particularly loved the sneering, contemptuous "Banal", and the Stan Barstow homage, "A Kind of Loving"), but interspersed with some more esoteric stuff (eg, "Vertical Games"). I still find it quite amazing what a dramatic musical journey Bill made to get from Modern Music to Quit Dreaming - hard to believe in some ways that it was the same artist at work - I'm sure Bill would tell us that it wasn't..."


"Bill goes all out with the vocals on this album, all the emotions are hit and hit hard. They're all over the shop. Zany at times, wild and moody, and yet they sit so well in the mix and never overwhelm. "Disposable" is a great example. Love the vocals on this album, Bill!"


To Bill: "I mean you listen to [Quit Dreaming] and you were a wild man! You were like some kind of synth berserker impervious to musical harm."

Martin Bostock:

"Quit Dreaming was my first exposure to Bill's Music. I was around 13 and used to borrow records from the library in Blackpool (it was 50p to 'hire' them for three weeks). It was a great way to discover new music, and my choices used to lean towards the LPs with interesting or quirky cover artwork. I remember Quit Dreaming's sleeve leaping out at me from the racks! I loved Bill's photography, it had a kind of surreal 'film noir' quality. Then, as an added bonus, the music revealed a whole new world to my young, adolescent ears - I was hooked! The cherry on the cake was hearing the 'bonus' album of strange instrumental music that was universally at odds to the pop sensibilities that dominated the music industry at the time. It was these I would often listen to in my first makeshift darkroom (a piece of black plastic over my bedroom window) and am sure that the sounds had a direct influence on the prints that would manifest under the dim red glow of the safety lamps. Good times indeed!"


"Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam remains a classic of its time, brimming with energy and invention."

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