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Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

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  • #16
    Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

    They say "what goes around comes around" and "karma is a b.itch". A few weeks ago, EMI Records finally bit the dust itself. It has now been bought up by Universal Music, except for the Parlophone label which got taken by Warner Music.

    EMI Records was once dubbed "The Greatest Recording Organisation In The World" in the 1960s, and indeed for the next couple of decades it was at the top of the chain of the major labels.

    After the Britpop bandwagon crashed in the late 90's, EMI started to gradually flounder. Its offices at Manchester Square were relocated, and it sold its prized company trademark HMV to become a standalone retail chain. The HMV logo used to be synonymous with EMI being its main flagship rock, pop and classical label until 1968 when EMI closed it off to contemporary acts before Morrissey briefly revived it for his solo work from 1988 - 1993.

    I could see the writing on the wall for EMI for some time. The Beatles sued the label over unpaid royalties and Paul and Ringo subsequently leaving the label to sign with Universal's labels Hear Music and Hip-O respectively. Eventually long-time best selling artists like Kate Bush, Queen, and Radiohead left the label to sign elsewhere. Ironically, the current No.1 single in the UK charts is on EMI's Positiva/Virgin label maybe as a last hoorah for the company.

    It goes to show that no matter how big your company is, if you don't take care of what you've got or treat your artists or clients like human beings instead of just a number then you will eventually take a mighty fall. Not trying to be preachy here but the Bible warns "Love of money is the root of all evil" and "Greed is a form of idolatry".

    If only those words were inscribed on every businessperson's heart, and if only EMI had adopted those policies back in the 60's and 70's it would still be in the league of the majors. Now we only have three left: Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music. Wonder which one will be next to go?

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    • #17
      Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

      The main problem with EMI, especially in the early 1970s, was that it was a very big company with its fingers in many pies, including film production; the manufacture of televisions; radios and other electrical equipment and many other things besides records. I feel sure that you are right in what you say, they just didn't respect their recording artistes as they should have done and certainly had no idea how to handle and promote Darren Burn properly. In fact, I don't think that there were many people high up in the company who loved music and records as much as they should have done and the company has certainly been going down hill for some years now, mainly for the reasons you state. Mind you, the way they treated Darren, I'm glad to to hear of their deserved demise. The fact that Darren's father Colin was a top executive of the company at that time only makes the tragedy of Darren worse.

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      • #18
        Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

        Darren Burn fans will be interested to know that the colour short film "The Insomniac", in which he featured when he was nine years old in 1970 and which has not been seen since its original cinema release, will be released by the BFI on both Blu-Ray and DVD on September 23rd, 2013 as an extra with the film "Sleepwalker". Both Blu-Ray and DVD discs will be in the same case and also available from amazon uk. It will be very interesting for me to see how he looked at a different age to how he appeared in the BBC Television 'Man Alive' film from 1973 and also at an age when he was famous as the 'Heinz Baked Beans Boy' in the nationally shown ITV film commercials.

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        • #19
          Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

          I have come across this thread by accident, luck, or what have you. I was Darren's Uncle as younger brother of his mother, and there was only 13 years difference between our ages so became a friend as well until I moved up to the Midlands, he came and visited a couple of times with his long term girlfriend but he was a different man to the teenager and child I knew.

          I am more than a little upset with the posts here insulting my sister and my brother in law by some strange almost paedophile fan boy, who has become infatuated with him and his memory, so sees no wrong. I am afraid Darren was a deeply flawed character that showed as a "know it all" as a kid to being insufferable and impossible to reason with in later life, and take my word for it everyone in the family tried.

          In one way I am pleased he failed as he would have become even more arrogant and insufferable to deal with had he become a star. I say this to balance the hero worship, he had fine sides to his personality as well but later hard drug use and the thought that everyone owed him a living ruined it. How would any of you react if you felt you had to ban a relative from visiting you as every time he did things disappeared - stolen. I have held and cuddled my mother (his grandmother) who loved him dearly as she cried not knowing how to react when most of her jewellery was stolen to feed his drug habit. It is sad to say it but he became unwelcome in most of our houses within the family. Not for want of trying to get help for him, but his arrogant personality meant that he always knew best and would never listen to anyone.

          To blame everyone else for his life was the way that Darren was, it was never his fault. OK he had a rum deal from EMI but so did most people back then even his father, who left EMI very soon after his sons problem with them to take up the job as business manager of the Rolling Stones. Colin (his father) had no control over what happened, EMI initiated everything, all Jo and Collin did was to ask Darren at every stage if he wanted to do it and he was told clearly there was no guarantee of success, it is just life, and life is not always good to you.

          At his death he was not alone he had a very loving and caring girlfriend who would have devoted her life to him, but he was too busy feeling sorry for himself to give the care she deserved in return. He had employment doing freelance work for pyrotechnics company with firework displays and building the display fireworks. he had thing he could have taken forward in his life but chose not to.

          OK we have a tragic life, but at least he had a chance, he wasn't a Bangladeshi kid with a good voice who was used as forced labour in a clothing factory, or many many other lives far worse and with far worse opportunities than his.

          Yes I miss him, he was blood brother and I went through similar thing with drugs but I came out of them and didn't use them as an excuse to hurt my family. Let him rest in peace, this infatuation with the boy / man helps no one and is slightly disturbing from my point of view.

          This will be my only and last post in this matter.

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          • #20
            Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

            Is there the 1988 interview with him available online anywhere?

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            • #21
              Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

              The interview, a seven minutes section entitled Whatever Happened to Darren Burn? from a July, 1988, BBC Television People programme is not available online, although I have a private DVD-R of it. Darren, then aged 26, looks thin and pale and comes across as a very bitter and self depreciating person. This is intercut with footage from the Man Alive film of him as an eleven year old fifteen years earlier in July, 1973, full of life; enthusiasm; excitement and hope for the future. The stark contrast between these two images of the same person is only too terribly apparent.

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              • #22
                Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                David - do you have any photos of Darren in his later years?

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                • #23
                  Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                  Only frames captured from the 1988 BBC People interview when he was 26...three years before his death.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                    Originally posted by DavidRayner View Post
                    Only frames captured from the 1988 BBC People interview when he was 26...three years before his death.
                    Could you post them David?

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                    • #25
                      Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                      I have tried to paste them in on here through Photobucket, but they just won't upload (I wonder if that's the reason why no one uploads pictures on here...because they can't). However, if you send me your email address in a private message, I will send them to you by email.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                        I remember Darren Burn very well. In the early seventies a video was circulated in which his beginning career as an emerging kid star was shown. I used this video in my English classes and discussed it with my teenage students who were fascinated seeing one of their age or younger performing. A couple of years later I tried to buy his record, but could not find it anywhere. The other day his name crossed my mind, and I found his tragic story here.
                        Obviously his parents were the main promoters of his career.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                          Parts of the video I mentioned can be watched on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBgmCc2jMyA

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                          • #28
                            Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                            Apparently, the BFI have restored all the Man Alive films...including this one from July, 1973, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...for the BBC. But whether they will ever be released on DVD is up to the BBC. In the meantime, the above rather low quality editing copy with a time code on it is all that's available to collectors. I have the full, 52 minutes long version of the programme, from which the above excerpt was uploaded and, in 2009, I offered to send a copy to Darren's family, but they weren't interested.

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                            • #29
                              Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                              I stumbled here somehow and feel compelled to set the record straight. Some of what I have read here, and elsewhere, is true and correct, some isn't. I was a pupil at CLS at the same time as Darren, same years, I knew him well. He wasn't part of my crowd at first (I was football team etc) but we become friends through a shared love of music. Forget any notion of him being bullied at school, he was well capable of looking after himself both verbally and physically. Teased? well of course, kids are kids, but it was pretty short lived and soon became a non issue. Our friendship grew, became best mates, I stayed at their house in Southgate, and then Brookmans Park on countless occasions, and he did at mine. We stayed close friends, through thick and thin, until the late eighties I think it's fair to say that nobody - anywhere - knew him better. I don't want to go into any more details on a public forum, but if anyone is interested in the real deal story, please feel free to email me at brudest904@gmail.com.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Darren Burn - Bubblegum kid of tragedy

                                I recently received a rare 1974 Japanese pressing of Darren's 45 rpm EMI single Teenage Lover / The Moment You Smile from a specialist record dealer in Japan (Stereo EMI EMR 1060 1) with a nice cover that has a colour photo of Darren on the front and a black and white photo of him on the back, neither of which I previously had in my collection. When it arrived, I thought it was just a Japanese pressing of the British single. But when I played it, I was in for a surprise, as Darren sings both songs in seemingly flawless Japanese. What a talented young lad he was, before his dreadful addiction to heroin engulfed him and destroyed him. I often get emails from individuals who say they knew Darren, used to go to the City of London school with him and used to be his best friend, ect, but the main problem with them is that they all contradict each other in the details. So either one of them is telling the truth or all of them are telling lies. Anyway, these days, I don't take any notice of them. After all, anyone can say they're anyone on the Internet, can't they?

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