Observations: Not quite Iraq and roll, but...

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The Independent Culture

The golden days of luxury and excess for record labels and their artists may be over, but 50C heat in a war zone are officially the most dangerous conditions for recording an album ever. Indeed, a tent on the Iraqi frontline is where the pipers and drummers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards succeeded in making the world's most dangerous CD.

Last Christmas, the military band had a hit with their debut album Spirit of the Glen. It stayed at number one in the classical charts for 14 weeks, made the Top 20 pop chart and outsold Bon Jovi, 50 Cent and Elton John. This time, the pipers had to fulfil their primary role as soldiers and embark on a six-month tour of duty in Basra, but their label Universal Music sent a mobile recording unit to the British base to finish their follow-up disc. Of course, Universal initially banned producer Jon Cohen and A&R manager Tom Lewis from going out to Basra, but a multimillion pound insurance policy – and the lure of another Christmas hit – helped them change their minds.

One piper suffered heatstroke while recording Spirit of the Glen: Journey, which will be released on 1 December.