Hello there reader and welcome, together you and I are about to break the continuum, that’s right we are about to take a trip through time and space to three different mystical time zones to learn a little something about history. First we will go back, way back, to the magical year of 1977 (MCMLXXVII if you want to be pretentious about it), then a quick detour to 1975 before heading forwards at alarming speeds back to the early 90’s. So please, take your seat in the DeLorean, say hello to Marty and the Doc, hold on and we’re of…

We are now in 1977, seriously, people are dancing around in hotpants trying to be John Travolta, either that or flares you could hide small children under and Knowing Me, Knowing You is playing in the background. Let’s take a look through the events of the year, primarily the ones that concern us the most. We’ll start with January, as that seems the obvious choice, we’ll fast forward just a little to Tuesday 4th. In music news the US number one single is You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show) by Marylin McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. and in the UK number one single is (the slightly nauseating) When A Child Is Born by Johnny Mathis and coincidentally in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland a child is born who would grow up to be singer and guitarist of a band called Ash, his name was Timothy James Arthur Wheeler.

Joining young Tim on this mortal coil but a few months later is Mark Alexander Hamilton, future Ash bassist, on Monday the 21st March, the same day that Manhattan Transfer Chanson D'Amourare number one in the UK charts and Hall & Oates are topping the charts with Rich Girl in the US (personally I prefer She’s Gone if we’re getting into Hall & Oates but anyway…). Just two months later something truly amazing happens and the world would never be the same again. (This stuff also happened.) On Wednesday May 25th Star Wars is released by 20th Century Fox, we shall take a break from out travels to watch it…

… Incredible, isn’t it? So incredible that it would come to inspire our two musicians when they came to name their first feature length album way in the future in 1996. Before we travel forward to the 1990’s let us not forget to travel back to 1975 to witness the birth of one Richard Wilson McMurray, future Ash drummer, on Friday 11th July, we are detouring away from our 1977 theme here but Rick must not be left out. For your knowledge the number one hit in the UK on this date is Tears On My Pillow by Johnny Nash and the US are enjoying the melodic strains of Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tennille (a sentiment Ian Curtis clearly disagreed with).

Speeding forwards now in our glorious DeLorean and back to our 1977 theme. Welcome to 1996, Monday 6th May 1996, a time when neither George Bush was president (I just thought I’d throw that happy thought out there). The first feature length album is released by our boys from Downpatrick and now it is them who have the number one, with the album 1977, raging open with the sounds of a TIE Fighter before blasting into Lose Control, taking us on a 61 minute and 52 seconds journey through sleeping with other guy’s girlfriends, sex, girls from Mars, kung fu, drugs, Star Wars and vomiting. Interestingly (or not) the biggest selling single of this year was the Spice Girls Wannabe, but we can’t let that lead us to believe that this was a bad year for music.

Now back in the DeLorean to present day, 2008, and 1977 is once again back on the agenda. For two nights only that No#1 album of 1996 will be played in its entirety to fans of Ash, old and new and no doubt they are gonna be two gigs you’re going to want to travel back to time and time again.