A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (8)

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THURSDAY 5 JUNE 2008

(and again on 30 October 2013)

The+Wedding+Present+Kennedy+169732

I came late to The Wedding Present.

I didn’t listen to their early stuff simply because everyone in the press was touting them as the natural successors to the recently disbanded The Smiths, and I just didn’t want to know. I was able to do so, simply because the band got next to no radio play other than late at night, and this was a period of great change in my life when I was never listening to the likes of John Peel.

So, for the best part of four years, my knowledge of the band was restricted to what I read and not what I heard. I do remember being amused that a band from Leeds would release an LP named after the greatest footballer ever to wear the shirt of Manchester United, given the animosity between their fans and those of Leeds United. Still didn’t make me buy it though..

Sometime in 1989, on one Sunday evening, the radio was on as the latest singles chart was being rundown. That was when I first heard a song by The Wedding Present. It was called Kennedy, and it was (as I’ve since discovered from research) a new entry at #33. It was loud, it was frantic, it was joyous and it was something that I immediately fell in love with.

And with that, I became a convert to the church of David Gedge, and I’ve been a faithful member ever since. I’m a regular attendee at the places of worship (ie gigs), and I’ll also contribute as and when required to the coffers (ie records, t-shirts, videos, CDs, etc).

There can’t be all that many indie-bands still going strong 20+ years after their initial formation. OK, so I know that TWP took a short break and turned into Cinerama, and also that for a substantial part of their career they were on major labels such as RCA and Island Records. But you can’t really categorise them as anything other than indie…

There have been 37 singles and 9 original LPs, as well as 15 compilation/live LPs over the years. That must be something in the region of 300 songs – and very few of these, even the most obscure of b-sides, have ever been total duffers.(that was the figure back in 2008….there’s been much to admire over the past 8 years since and the ststement is still valid)

They’re also a band with a love for cover versions, with around 50 or so being widely available now thanks to the relatively recent release of all the Peel Sessions in a boxset. And every one of those covers, whether it’s a pop, soul, blues, rock, country or disco classic sounds instinctively like a Wedding Present original.

But I still don’t think they’ve ever bettered the song that first made my ears prick up and listen. Even now, almost 20 years on it remains a live favourite, although David now always follows it up with a slow-tempo number so that the old folk jumping around down the front get their breath back and avoid the risk of a permanent injury. None of us are as young or fit as we once were, and pogo-ing up and down is, at best, achievable for a maximum of 5 minutes at one stretch.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Kennedy
mp3 : The Wedding Present – One Day All This Will All Be Yours
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Unfaithful
mp3 : The Wedding Present – It’s Not Unusual *

* Yes, the Tom Jones song…..

All taken from the original 12” release, but also available on the remixed and remastered edition of the 1989 LP Bizzaro.

Incidentally, if this series didn’t have the restriction of one song by one act, there would have been at least another 4 TWP singles right in there…

10 thoughts on “A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (8)

  1. Great timing of this post as I’ve been listening to ‘The Hit Parade’ for the first time in ages this week and as it’s the only album of theirs that I own, I was wondering which of their other albums I should get.

  2. Truly one of the greatest records ever committed to vinyl. (JC will not be surprised in the slightest to hear me chipping in here). Richard – if you enjoy Kennedy and the Hit Parade I’d say buy any of the first four proper albums (i.e. not compilations, although “Tommy” is rather fine too) “George Best”, “Bizarro!”, “Seamonsters” or “Watusi”, all packed with absolute belters.

  3. Richard – George Best, Bizarro, Seamonsters. Arguably the best three-in-a-row from any band ever. And I’ve argued it many a time.

  4. You know I think… cracking stuff. Richard – Bizarro is the one you’ll probably enjoy most being a Hit Parade fan. It’s the one with Kennedy on, and every track is among Gedge’s best.

  5. Take fountain for a band and the peak of their powers , George best for pure energy and I an probably on my own here watusi for pure pop

  6. Richard….the others have more or less nailed it. The five should you should first invest in are (in chronological order) George Best, Bizarro, Seamonsters, Watusi and Take Fountain. But the others are all worth it too.

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