BIG, BOOMING AND MEMORABLE

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Pete Wylie didn’t do things by half.  The three occasions that he managed to enter the higher echelons of the UK pop charts left us with magical and timeless bits of music.

I did consider having a go at pulling together an imaginary compilation album featuring his best moments but in all honesty while I have some albums and this fairly comprehensive compilation CD that brings together most of his best recordings I didn’t think my words could do him justice. My cop-out is therefore just to dig deep into the cupboard and pull out the three hit singles in 12″ form as well as a double-pack of 7″ pieces of plastic from his last Top 20 effort:-

1982 : The Story Of The Blues

This climbed all the way to #3 in the charts and is probably the best known of the hits. To my young(ish) ears it sounded like no other record that had ever been released at that point in history. To my old(er) ears it still sounds like no other record that has ever been released in history. Oh and the b-side on the 12″ is a new version of an earlier and much-loved flop single.

mp3 : Wah! – The Story of The Blues (Parts I and II)
mp3 : Wah! – 7 Minutes Live(ish)

1983 : Come Back

Pete was infamous for being a bit of a gobshite who loved to spout opinions about everyone and everything, and an unwillingness to play by the record industry rules and regulations. Nevertheless, he was regarded as such a talent that WEA, the biggest label in the world at the time, signed him up after The Story of The Blues. He delivered an album that horrified them and they refused to release it and in doing so nullified the recording contract.

In due course the album was partially re-recorded and eventually released on Beggars Banquet as A Word To The Wise Guy. There was a Top 20 hit single from it, released in a number of formats including this 12″ version:-

mp3 : The Mighty Wah! – Come Back (The Story Of The Reds)/The Devil In Miss Jones (combined and extended)
mp3 : The Mighty Wah! – Come Back! (The Return of the Randy Scouse Git)
mp3 : The Mighty Wah! – From Disco Dicko to A Kid in Care

This was an almighty two fingers gesture to WEA. It was the big sound they had demanded of the album but only provided after Wylie had gone to pastures new…and in the b-side version the lyrics were altered to enable a sideways swipe at WEA singers and bands who were enjoying regular chart success…

1986 : Sinful!

Almost thirty years on and this still sounds amazing when it blasts out of the radio. It reached #13 but was worthy at least of Top 3 to match his biggest ever hit. The 12″ Tribal Mix goes on for more than eight minutes and while it does occasionally betray its age thanks to the rather dated production techniques and tricks of the day, it is still hugely enjoyable and a fine commentary on the social injustices imposed on society by the Tories and Republicans in the first half of the ‘greed is good’ decade.

mp3 : Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks – Sinful! (Tribal Mix)
mp3 : Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks – Sinful!
mp3 : Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks – I Want The Moon, Mother

This was another single released in a multitude of formats and quite recently I had the good fortune to get my hands on the 2 x 7″ release of the single and here’s the two tracks that weren’t otherwise on the 12″ ( a word of warning…..they’re really only for completists):-

mp3 : Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks – Sophie’s Sinful! (for Maurice or Isabelle)
mp3 : Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks – The Joy Of Being Booed

Enjoy

14 thoughts on “BIG, BOOMING AND MEMORABLE

  1. Pete Wylie is my favorite Rock Star of ALL TIME…Probably because he’s the only one I’ve gotten drunk with until 7am in a New York Nightclub 4 nights on the trot, and definitely because he NEVER attainted Rock Start status but was always prepared for it.
    JC, you’ve picked the three songs which earned him the rank of a great artist. But I will add three that I just can’t live without, and one is among my 10 favorite songs of all time.
    The first, and one which first blew my socks off and sucked me into WAH!’s aural vortex was Seven Minutes To Midnight. There might not be any more urgent Post Punk song ever written.
    The second, and the one which if count as an all time favorite is Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me). To this day, this song sends chills up my spine and makes me quite emotional every time I play it.
    The third is If I Love You. Again, Wylie’s straining, pleading singing just grabs the listener and won’t let go.
    And as for an Imaginary WAH!/Wylie Album, here’s mine:
    A
    1. Better Scream
    2. Seven Minutes To Midnight
    3. Remember
    4. Story Of The Blues
    5. Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me)
    B
    1. Weekend
    2. Come Back
    3. Sinful
    4. If I Loved You
    5. Heart As Big As Liverpool

  2. Sounds like an excellent comp Echorich
    JC – the three you picked are majestic
    Walter – I remember you comeenting along those lines when I posted Sinful

  3. Glad to see such love for Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me). I used to play this regularly on my student radio show back in the mid-80s to varying levels of apathy. I couldn’t understand why nobody shared my enthusiasm for it. Played a lot of Wah / Wylie now I think about it.

  4. How sad for me. I’ve bought the only Pete Wylie album I’ve ever seen [“Sinful”] and I would have bought more but I never saw them in the backwaters where I lived. They must have been hiding with the Associates records!

  5. You have been in a Liverpudlian mood of late, haven’t you, JC? ‘Better Scream’ and the original version of ‘Seven Minutes To Midnight’ remain two of my favourite ever singles. But I can’t imagine ever listening to a Wah! album again. There was always somethign funny about the production on WTTWG for me.

  6. Pete Wylie had some killer songs didn’t he? Love also Heart as Big as Liverpool and Hope. His bolshy character also made me laugh but was again not very conducive to a successful music career. lol. Respect to PeteWylie.

  7. Just discovered and LOVE your blog! Thanks for all the wonderful music you’ve shared that’s long out of print.

    Any chance you’d be so kind as to repost the Pete Wylie b-side titled “Joy Of Being Booed”?

    Thank you!

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