Another start to what might turn into a regular series….but that will depend on you dear readers!

I want to invite contributions on your favourite cult single(s). I’ll leave the definition as wise as possible  but ideally it should be a 45  that was released on an indie-label, from a band or singer who never enjoyed mainstream success and is a piece of music that in a parallel universe would have been a smash hit and made a fortune for the composer and/or performer(s).

All you have to do is put together a few paras and if possible, a link to where I can get a hold of the song to make it available to listen to on T(n)VV just in case it is one that I don’t have in my vinyl/CD collection.  You can put your name to the contribution or you can make it anonymous.  I am hoping this will capture enough of your imaginations to get the ball rolling on a lengthy series of postings that I would aim to feature on Sundays, the one day a week that I currently don’t have any postings.  The e-mail details are on the right hand side of the blog.

I want to get things rolling with a single from 1982.  It came out on the short lived Zoo Records which had been established in Liverpool principally as a vehicle for Bill Drummond to release songs by his band Big In Japan.  Revolutionary Spirit b/w God Forbid was the final 45 released on Zoo and came with the catalogue number Cage 009. It was released on 12″ vinyl only

The Wild Swans were based around the talents of Paul Simpson (vocals) ,  Jeremy Kelly (guitar),  Ged Quinn (keyboards), James Weston (bass) and Justin Stavely (drums).  One of Paul’s mates was  Pete de Freitas of Echo & the Bunnymen who was so taken by the band that he paid for the recording of this single.  He also, under the alias of Louis Vincent (which were his middle names) ended up producing the record and drumming on it after the original drummer left the band (as did the original bass player).

It’s an incredible piece of music, packed with all sorts of sounds and influences that dominated indie music in the early 80s with a production that owes something to the wall of sound associated with Phil Spector.  Despite Zoo Records folding not long after the single was issued (which in all likelihood contributed to the near-impossibility of finding it in any record shop outside of Merseyside), the band were asked to do sessions for different DJs on Radio 1.

Artistic differences soon led to a split – Kelly and Quinn would find a small amount of success with The Lotus Eaters who hit the Top 20 with The First Picture Of You while Simpson would team up with the then relatively unknown Ian Broudie to form Care, a band that released three fantastic but flop singles (all of which are candidates for inclusion in any series on cult singles) before calling it a day.

Kelly, Quinn and Simpson would later reform as a MkII version of The Wild Swans in the second half of the 80s, again to some critical acclaim but little commercial success, although the band members have since said the production was disappointing and more what the record label wanted than they did as musicians.  But then again when you’ve recorded something as majestic and memorable as this, everything else is bound to be a bit of a letdown:-

mp3 : The Wild Swans – Revolutionary Spirit

mp3 : The Wild Swans – God Forbid

So….if any of you want to share your thoughts and memories of a cult single (and no, that doesn’t mean I want a piece on She Sells Sanctuary), then feel free to drop me a line.


  1. Great idea for a new series JC. And you started on a high level. Revolutinoary Spirt was on almost Indie tape I made these days. I’ll give you my cult classic as soon as possible.

  2. I would like to nominate Brilliant Mind by Furniture, classic stuff love the bass sound nand the post punk sound.

  3. I’d tollaly forgotten about this song. It’s on a Peel tape somewhere. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I have tonight gone through about 6000 tracks on the ipod. I have been left with four cult classics. One from 1995, one from 1996, one from 2002 and one from 2004. I shall send you a piece on each.

  5. A perfect pick for this endeavor, JC, but I think the late ’80s albums, particularly Bringing Home the Ashes, are really good too. (I wish the band felt the same way.) Then your pal FORW got me to buy The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years… and that just may be the best of the lot! One of the all-time greats in a crowded field of comebacks.

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