top of page

Return To Tomorrow

Bill Nelson

album - 29 September 2012

Return To Tomorrow - Cover
Return to Tomorrow page 3
Return to Tomorrow page 6
Return to Tomorrow page 7
Return to Tomorrow inner tray


01)  Piano-Guitar

02)  Give A Damn My Dear

03)  Walking On Thin Air

04)  The Mysterious Bath

05)  Madhouse

06)  You Freak Me Out

07)  Chills For You

08)  The Plastic Flower Show

09)  Send The Rain

10)  Always And Everywhere

11)  Feeling Floating Away

12)  Lucis

13)  Secret Song (Oh, Emiko)

14)  She's Got The Power

15)  Flowers Within (Version 2)

16)  Rehearsal Of Thought

17)  Dark Eyes

18)  Not As Easy As It Looks

19)  Deep December (Bright & Shiny Day)

20)  Lazy, Lazy Bones

21)  Cowboy Song

22)  We Two In Love Forever Dreaming

23)  Ripples On A Blue Pool

24)  Let's Dance


Return to Tomorrow (These Tapes Rewind: Volume One) is a vocal album, issued in a single print run of 1000 copies on the Discs of Ancient Odeon label. The album was first made available to attendees of Nelsonica 12, included within the ticket price of that event, before going on general sale 2 days later through S.O.S.
The material contained on Return to Tomorrow was compiled in July 2012, and is drawn from Nelson's "PCM-F1 archives", recorded in the period between 1984 and 1995. Fans had received a sample of these archives when they were first raided for the Hip Pocket Jukebox mini album issued a year previously. Further volumes taken from these archives are planned for the future.

The album sold out in February 2019.


Available for purchase as a digital download in the
Dreamsville Store.

Hip Pocket Jukebox, Luminous, My Secret Studio, Blue Moons & Laughing Guitars, Practically Wired,
Confessions of a Hyperdreamer, Whistling While the World Turns, Noise Candy, The Romance of Sustain


"From the mid '80s and into the early '90s, my home studio ("The Echo Observatory"), used a reel-to-reel analogue tape recorder, initially a 4-track machine, then an 8-track and finally a 16-track. I mixed down the recordings I made on these multitrack recorders via a modest analogue mixing desk onto a very early digital stereo machine, a Sony PCM F1, which used Betamax video tape as its storage medium. Whilst I released several albums recorded this way, there was a huge amount of material left "on the shelf". These were demos, rough sketches, unfinished songs, outlines of ideas for advertising commissions, library music, TV drama soundtracks and various late-night experiments. I chose not to release these recordings as I considered them flawed, either with regard to the technical failings of the mixes themselves or inconsistencies in the performance and execution of the material. For many years I chose not to listen to them or consider the possibility of their release...
In 2000, my studio equipment was updated to what was then the latest digital domestic home studio multitrack system. A few years previously, my Sony PCM F1 machine had given up the ghost, so there was no way to retrieve or re-archive the material that had been stored on the old F1Betamax tapes. By this time, the unreleased '80s recordings had become legendary amongst fans, particularly those fans to whom the '80s represented their first introduction to my work.  However, although I still had no great desire to release these "lost tapes" I thought that they should be transferred to a more current storage medium for posterity's sake.
After some research, a working PCM F1 machine was found and purchased via contributions from fans. My good friend Jon Wallinger volunteered to take on the task of archiving this vast amount of material, copying any unreleased tracks from the PCM machine onto recordable CDs. It was a long and slow process and Jon ended up with a huge number of discs containing hundreds of unreleased recordings. These discs then gathered dust in my current home studio until very recently.
It is only now, in 2012, that I've had the curiosity or inclination to listen through this archive of old recordings. I was surprised by what I found. Whilst the flaws mentioned earlier still exist, they do not detract from the imagination and vitality of the music. In fact, they often add to its charm. I've selected 24 of these recordings to present here as the Return to Tomorrow album, Volume One in the "These Tapes Rewind" series. Other volumes will follow...I hope you will enjoy this first glimpse into my private archive."

"Let's Dance": "It's my version of the old Chris Montez song, which I loved way back in my teens. I recorded it in my home studio, just for fun, back in the '80s. I didn't have a copy of the original lyrics, so this version has some that I remembered but some that are probably made up on the spot..."



"Wow. This may be a collection of home recordings, but it sure sounds like a great 'lost' 90's Bill Nelson album to me. A choice batch of exuberant, quirky pop songs, most of which seem to be about the first blush of new love..."

"You sound like you're having the time of your life playing a lot of these cuts and enthusiasm often transcends imperfection, especially when it comes to Rock & Roll."

"So many stand-out cuts; this is an instant classic to my ears."

Billy Wakefield:

"I too detect a joyous feel to the album, and if these are outtakes, give me what's on the studio floor!
Not trying to be presumptuous Bill, but whilst I appreciate your incredibly high standards of Sonic excellence, I can also appreciate a rougher, less polished piece of work. In many ways I think it can add a certain quality to a track!"


"The PCM Era has taken a lot, if not all of us by very pleasant surprise! Open mouthed agog as how comes most, if not all these songs and sketches found themselves down the back of the Proverbial PCM Settee!!??? and did not get a release, then again, when listened to...the PCM are timeless!"

"(Frankly I Don't) Give A Damn My Dear!" is an instant's an awesome jubilant song and works perfectly."


"I am glad that Bill's quality control is high but also allows us a glimpse of what didn't quite make the grade (for him) so we get to appreciate a 'lost' gem like "Piano-Guitar".
I hope Bill keeps his single-mindedness and lets us hear what he wants us to hear."

Peter Cook:

"Like a warm blanket, there are some tracks that send me back quite a few years to My Secret Studio and other albums of that era.
At this point in time I am drawn back to "Piano-Guitar" over and over. Reminds me of some of the work Bill did with David Sylvian."


"Everything on here feels like a lost pop gem. It really does get better with every play."

"If you dig Luminous, Return to Tomorrow will be a must-have!"


"Good music seldom sounds dated. Even though it contains selections from years past, they still sound fresh. I enjoyed all of it, another fine release."


"I have been waiting for soooo long to hear these tapes and this release did not disappoint!! Can't wait for more in the series!!!"

bottom of page