THE JAMES SINGLES (12)

sit down

I mentioned last time round that a short pre-Xmas tour had been put together to support the release of Lose Control and how the band, despite very little chart success, had sold out two successive nights at the 10,000 capacity G-Mex in Manchester.

One of the gigs, on Saturday 8 December 1990, was being filmed for future release on VHS. The band were on top form, but so was the audience who turned the event into a giant celebratory party – one that recognised James for what they were but one that also symbolised the fact that Manchester had become, at that moment in time, THE happening place for rock music not just in the UK but right across the planet, although things would shift many thousands of miles west to Seattle in the coming months….

The footage of the performance of Sit Down remains a thing of wonder. The old-fashioned indie anthem was hijacked by the audience for a massive sing-a-long, way beyond the wildest dreams of the band. As one review at the time said, it was a gig which inspired the sort of messianic, almost religious devotion not seen since the days of The Smiths. The song went on and on and on and on for well in excess of ten minutes. It was no surprise afterwards that all concerned thought a re-release might just be the thing that finally cracked the charts.

Personally, I prefer the old Rough Trade version of the song, but there’s no denying that Gil Norton delivered a dynamic production that was tailor-made for daytime radio, especially the way the chorus now dominated the whole thing:-

mp3 : James – Sit Down (re-release)

The record label made sure they could shift 10,000 copies on the first day by putting this on the b-side:-

mp3 : James – Sit Down (live at G-Mex)

I have no doubt that the entire audience rushed out to but the single to relive that special night a few months earlier.

The 12″ and CD single had a previously unreleased (but largely unremarkable) song that had been recorded at the same time as Lose Control:-

mp3 : James – Tonight

At the end of March, the single charged into the charts at #7 and the band finally made a long-overdue appearance on Top of The Pops. It was on heavy rotation on radio as well as MTV, and the band were also able to promote it through prime time telly in the UK. It was surely destined for #1……

…..but nobody had reckoned without the poptastic hit that was The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes which kept Sit Down at #2 for three weeks!

3 thoughts on “THE JAMES SINGLES (12)

  1. Saw them a couple of nights ago at a kind of new lp launch gig to about 1000 people. The new songs sound fantastic

  2. Uninteresting fact #738: Chesney Hawkes follows me on Twitter. Some day I will write a blog post explaining why.

    Coming back to James though, I was quite bowled over by last year’s “Moving On”, especially the video (though that’s mainly because I’m getting old and sentimental…

  3. really like “tonight”, which I don’t really remember. having bought the original I kinda ignored the reissues when they came out. cheers jc.

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