Some three months ago, I put together an ICA for Prefab Sprout. It was a bit of a cop-out in that I went for one side of Steve McQueen and then chose another six songs for the other side.

I spotted this morning that someone had left a detailed comment behind which in effect was his own stab at an ICA for the band. I thought it was too good to leave well hidden and so have lifted it out and turned it into a bonus post.

It’s from Gil Gillespie….and as far as I know this is the first ever comment he has ever left behind…..and it’s a big thank you for this…especially for reminding me again of just how great your opening track is:-


1. Green Issac (from Swoon)

Perfect opening announcement, building slowly to a typical Prefab Sprout crescendo. Contains the immaculate line: “But to shine like Joan of Arc, you must be prepared to burn.”

2. Appetite (from Steve McQueen)

What a beautiful song, such poise, such heartbreak, such elegance. Has anyone ever understood melody as subtlety as Paddy McAloon?

3. Bonny (from Steve McQueen)

If you have just split up from your girlfriend and you haven’t slept for 4 days and are in the back of a car going to Cambridge with Patrick Duff from Strangelove who hasn’t slept for about 3 months, this song will make both of you cry.

4. Enchanted (from Langley Park To Memphis)

I reckon this is the band’s most under-rated song. It is also, quite possibly, the happiest song ever recorded. It bounces along with self-assurance, McAloon tumbling lyrics over themselves as he refers to Romeo & Juliet’s warring factions as a crew. Why wasn’t it released as a single?

5. Looking For Atlantis (from Jordan: The Comeback)

I’ve just checked to see where this single got to in the charts when it was released in 1990. Number 51 on the UK Chart. Number 51? That is almost beyond belief. It is an irresistible song with production so lush it takes your breath away. Surely, CBS are at fault for the band’s shockingly poor chart history.


1. Cars and Girls (from From Langley Park to Memphis)

A glistening hub cap of a single, the Springsteen-bating ode to a more sophisticated mindset somehow only reached number 44 in the charts. It really should have sold millions.

2. Wild Horses (from Jordan: The Comeback)

For the pin drop perfection of Thomas Dolby’s production alone, this deserves its place.

3. Desire As (from Steve McQueen)

Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking. Someone on You Tube put it best: ‘Amazing how songs can perfectly express a moment in time, its memories, the exact colours and feelings. Thank you forever, Paddy McAloon. You´re genius.’

4. Real Life (Just Around The Corner) (from NME EP Drastic Plastic)

A strange but typically life-affirming oddity that hints at just how far into the left field they could go if they wanted to. Not too far away from Parisian sophisticates, Phoenix

5. The Golden Calf (from From Langley Park to Memphis)

This is their Crazy Horses, a driving, faux metal guitar anthem complete with McAloon almost doing a Metallica impression.

mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Green Isaac
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Appetite
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Bonny
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Enchanted
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Looking For Atlantis
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Cars and Girls
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Wild Horses
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Desire As
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Real Life (Just Around The Corner)
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – The Golden Calf



  1. Now THAT’S what I call a bonus post! Can’t fault this ICA one bit, but I’m afraid it would have to be a series for me. Paddy + Co. have WAY too many amazing, classic tracks to whittle it down to 10 and be satisfied.
    Appetite is by far my all time favorite PS song with When Love Comes Down a close, close second. But there is a mine full of gems even on the later output.
    I’d love to see a post series just devoted to the various ICA’s Prefab Sprout inspires. I know I have mine ready.

  2. I like Crimson/Red too much to shut it out completely. Looking For Atlantis would be on mine for sure. The two Steve McQueen songs Echorich mentions are musts as well. Lions in My Own Garden (Exit Someone) has to be there. That’s one side already, and I haven’t touched Swoon yet. This is really tough. Tip of the cap to those of you who have pulled this off.

  3. Hi, thank you for your kind words and for adding my ICA as a bonus post.

    I stumbled across Vinyl Villain because I had just chosen Breaking Point by Bourgie Bourgie as one of my singles of the 80s in some list thing.

    What I found, both here and on the other blogs listed, is not the work of someone who is lazy, as you describe your ICA on PS. This is a considerable body of work and it resonates with the sort of insight and passion that used to keep the NME afloat.

    This made me click on Prefab Sprout. And that is all I did for the rest of the day.

    At 10 O’clock my wife and 11-year-old son screamed at me to shut up as I was singing as loudly as it is possible to sing whilst listening to Enchanted with headphones on.

    “You have got to listen to this, have you heard this, etc etc.”

    Gil Gillespie

  4. Not at all Gil. Thanks so much for the kind words. You’re more than welcome to add guest contributions in postings and comments anytime you like.


  5. I enjoyed that compilation, Gil. I also agree with your comments about the blog. I’ve mailed JC previously marveling at how he has the time, vocabulary and depth of record collection to produce this (and indeed I also doff my cap to other bloggers). It’s great to see the discussion about “my kind of music” between others who feel as passionately about it as I do. I’ve a couple of mates with whom I can get into this sort of conversation, but we generally get told off by everyone else we’re with!

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