Personally I can say that without Rough Trade I definitely wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today.
The first independent record I ever bought was High Land Hard Rain by Aztec Camera. That and Scritti's Songs to Remember literally led me from mainstream culture and what was on daytime radio to a world of John Peel and fanzines and Spillers Records and changed my life.
I then witnessed a golden age in the life of the label over the next few years as The Smiths turned everything upside down and RT put out everything from The Woodentops to Prefab Sprout and I tried to buy each and every one of them. What I realized later though was that this was already at least the second golden age for them as I went back and discovered all those incredible records from The Fall to The Raincoats to Young Marble Giants to Robert Wyatt and a million more that I'll spare you.
At one point, along with SST, Rough Trade releases probably constituted at least 40% of my record collection and yet those releases were spread across every genre I mentally catalogued.
Imagine my joy when my best friends' band The Boo Radleys signed to the label at the start of the 90's and Geoff would bring J Mascis to shows and when in London we would get to the legendary warehouse. Though the Boos moved on to Creation it was then Geoff Travis who completely out of the blue offered me a job at RT (replacing James "1965" Endeacott) and thus gave me my first ever entry into the record business. In the time I was there I got to witness Geoff and Jeanette's passion first hand and they certainly put this deluded kid from Cardiff straight on some misguided ideas about what A&R was....
Seeing The Strokes on that first record was as close to the excitement of The Smiths as anything before or since and just showed that the label will never lose its touch for finding truly seminal bands.
Musical highlights are way too many to mention and most are now (indie) household names but if you've never heard any of the following go steal 'em now: Blue Orchids, The Nightingales, The Feelies, AR Kane, Galaxie 500, Swell Maps and Opal.
Happy birthday Geoff and Jeanette and thank you both!
By Mark Bowen from Wichita Recordings
Relevant read: Wichita label profile