Look Good! Have Fun! Feel Fit!
Celebrities love a franchise band-wagon. Having their own brand of perfume, ‘designing’ a range of clothes, putting their face on a box of Oat Crunchies, whatever. In the late seventies and early eighties it was the keep-fit album. Anyone who was anyone squeezed into a (generally) unflattering lycra outfit, posed for a few cover shots and banked the proceeds.
Micrometro’s Lifestyle Records (who also issued a few related albums) were one of the busiest operators with their Shape Up & Dance series which began in 1981 with a Felicity Kendal fronted album, star of the hugely popular TV sitcom The Good Life. The formula was simple: Disco cover versions of chart hits, a booklet of exercises featuring a real keep fit expert, and the endorsement. It reached 29 in the UK LP chart, prompting the label to quickly devise a series. Angela Ripon’s album reached 2 in the charts a year later and eight more volumes (some TV advertised) were issued over the next two years, as well as a book. Six are shown here, some in poor condition (a testament to their popularity!) – and I’ll try and do better photos one day as well. Vol 9 which amazingly featured Mary Stavin and George Best continues to elude me. Album sleeve social history at its finest!
The albums were choreographed by Christina Brooke ad cover images were taken by two of the most in demand studio photographers of the period, whose work appeared in many of the glossy music magazines. Incidentally, Wikipedia manages to steal their one illustration uncredited from a Bucks Fizz fan site and titles it Shut Up & Dance!
Vol 1 LEG1 1981 – Cover star : Felicity Kendal – TV star – Photo : Sheila Rock
Vol 2 LEG2 1982 (charts No. 2 June 1982) – Cover star : Angela Ripon – TV newsreader – Photo : Sheila Rock
Vol 3 LEG3 1982 – Cover star : Isla St. Clair – TV game show hostess / folk singer – Photo : Sheila Rock
Vol 4 LEG7 1982 – Cover star : Suzanne Danielle – Actress – Photo : Brian Aris
Vol 7 LEG20 1984 – Cover star : Jay Aston – Singer with Bucks Fizz – Photo : Brian Aris
Vol 8 LEG21 1984 – Cover star : Suzanne Dando – Former Olympic gymnast – Photo : Brian Aris