HAD IT. LOST IT (Parts 3 & 4)

I’ve been blown away by the rich and varied responses to the request for suggestions for inclusion in this series looking at those who had it and then inexplicably lost it. Thank you so much!

I think I can make five categories up from the suggestions:-


This category is for those I had either already been mulling over or whose suggestion provided a light-bulb above the head moment:-

Rod Stewart
Simple Minds
Paul Heaton/Beautiful South
The Kinks
Rolling Stones
The Strokes


These are those singers or bands who, on the face of it, should be included but there’s a debate to be had on whether they ever had it:-

Spandau Ballet (I think they did have it, and indeed have already drafted something for future posting)
U2 (who, if they did ever have it, actually managed to find it again and then carelessly lose it a second time)


Thomas Dolby
Depeche Mode
Dwight Yoakam
Midge Ure (solo)
Paul McCartney
The Who
Roxy Music
Lou Reed
Ringo Starr
Robert Plant
Grace Slick (and thank you Moz for such a brilliant comment that made me laugh out loud!!)
Roy Wood
John Lennon
Bob Dylan


Wet Wet Wet

This was a very interesting suggestion from Mopyfop – I concur with his view that initially they had it with having caught the band live on a number of occasions in 1985 and 1986 thanks to a flatmate, who was from their home town of Clydebank, being very friendly with a number of the band. But outwith the excellent debut single, which has featured before on the blog, there’s nothing other than personal memories to back up the claim that that they ever had it….

Adam Ant

On the face of things, should be a stick-on; but I can’t quite find the words to back it up….maybe this should be a Cat 3 and over to postpunkmonk to tell us why.

Kate Bush

It’s a brave man or woman who suggests she lost it……I’m not up to that task!

Neil Young

It’s probably true that his recent material is nowhere near the quality of his 70s output, but could it be argued that he’s another who having lost it did manage to find it again for the MTV generation to pick up on him only to get careless in the 21st century? Probably best that someone offers up an ICA before condemning him to this particular series

Primal Scream

The C86 version of the band is so different from the Screamadelica era and beyond that there’s a question to be posed as to them taking their time to have it before losing it


New Order –their most recent album was a return to form

The Fall – may have shown signs of losing it on a few occasions over the decades but MES always seems to pull things back from the brink when you least expect it

The Clash – yes, they did lose it with ‘Cut the Crap’ but was it really The Clash without Mick Jones? And besides, they broke up once they realised it was a turkey

Echo & The Bunnymen – totally lost it in late 80s and did the decent thing by breaking-up; the majesty of comeback single Nothing Lasts Forever gives them a lucky free pass

Arcade Fire – only on the basis that I haven’t had time to listen to the new LP yet….the may move to a different category in due course

The Beta Band – agree that they never bettered the debut material, but that’s not to say they lost it. If the series was to look at singers/bands whose debut was their best ever effort, it would never end. See also De La Soul

You’ll therefore see that this is a series with huge potential, but in the same way that the ICAs took off and then endured, it will rely heavily on guest contributions. No words and sounds will ever be rejected!!!

I was surprised nobody mentioned Morrissey, but I reckon he’s another I’d need to disqualify on the basis that, like MES, he has an uncanny ability to release a great album when you least expect it, although he is currently sitting on two strikes right now as a result of his last album being a turkey and his offensive outburst in recent times.

I’ll offer up a controversial one today….and really this one is all down to personal taste and I’m not confident that too many of you will agree with me. It’s a short summary too rather than any well-argued case.

He had it big time with The Jam; held it together initially with The Style Council but lost it towards the end with the prosecution relying on the evidence that was led in 19-part singles series back in 2105/16; and in this one time fan’s opinion, he never ever got it back with his solo career that was just far too dad-rock for my liking (exception being the Wild Wood 45); oh and he was also responsible for the heinous crime of inflicting Ocean Colour Scene upon us.

The Good : The Jam – When You’re Young
The Bad : The Style Council – How She Threw It All Away
The Ugly : Paul Weller – Peacock Suit

Just after completing all of the above, an e-mail dropped in, courtesy of Walter of A Few Good Times In My Life fame: –

Hi Jim,

Many months ago I started an ICA about The Pogues but I couldn’t finish it. I always asked myself about the reasons and now I know it: they had it and they lost it. So I think it is the right time to write about them in your new series.

From the first time I saw them in a small club at my place back in 1982 I got a huge fan of their music and I liked the way they combined traditional Irish music with the punk influence of various band members. While Red Roses For Me was a rough gem where they tried to find their style the subsequent two albums were milestones in new music in the mid 80’s. Elvis Costello led them on Rum Sodomy & The Lash to the height of their career. Brilliant songs were also on the following record If I Should Fall From Grace With God and marked the end for me. The following records weren’t too bad but never reached the quality of the first ones. Probably because the leading figure of the band, Shane MacGowan got more and more problems with the booze they were no more able to make great songs again and playing live with the verve they had in their early days. Even Joe Strummer couldn’t bring them back to what they were once had.

I remember their last concert I saw, when Shane walked up the stage with a bottle of red wine in his hand, singing two songs and than falling on the floor. I felt sorry for him and Strummer had to sing the songs till the end of the concert. So here are some songs that had the magic that I listened to often:

The Sick Bed of Cuchuliann
Bottle of Smoke
Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six

Hope everything is well in Glasgow. Have a good time


JC adds….a perfect example of what I’m looking for in guest contributions!!

13 thoughts on “HAD IT. LOST IT (Parts 3 & 4)

  1. Walter sure nailed that one, eh? Paul Weller was the first name that popped into my mind when you did part 1, but I didn’t have the guts to suggest it. I also started questioning whether I wholeheartedly felt that way too. He has pulled me back in a time or two through the years. For example, I liked the first solo album and, many years later, 22 Dreams. Still, I think he’s a pretty good suggestion. Two albums in almost 30 years isn’t all that strong, is it?

  2. From my point of view, Weller lost it completely for 20 years (around 1986-ish, though it had been on the wane before that) then got it back again with ’22 Dreams’ and has managed to retain whatever ‘it’ is ever since.
    I can’t really comment on The Pogues. I managed to see them in concert 2 or 3 times, but never did learn to love them, in spite of liking several individual songs.
    This really is going to be a fascinating series JC. I look forward to joining in with the debates.

  3. Good call on Weller and with you on the carelessness.
    Would defend thomas dolby, his last lp from a couple of years ago has some fantastic stuff on. I also need to get off my chest that i way prefer ure ultravox to foxx ultravox.

  4. Meant to say carelessness of u2 although i think they never had it , found it for the 2 eno lps and then chucked it away with pop and never found it again

  5. For what it’s worth, I reckon Weller’s A Kind Revolution from earlier this year this is his album since Wild Wood.

    As for Morrissey, putting outbursts aside, he has always had so much of “it” that he could lose a metric tonne and still have more than enough of “it” left.

  6. Take it from me MES has lost it this time. A five minute guitar solo to finish an album, if that’s not losing it I don’t know what is.

  7. Midge Ure? Did he ever have “it” in the first place?

    And I think people like McCartney should be given a pass based on how good they were for so long. Same with Bowie who really lost it in the 80s

  8. I agree with JC about Weller and Walter about the Pogues. Unfortunately. Looking at the above categories and their residents I’m beginning to find this whole idea depressing. Which is another way of saying this will be a great series. (As long as I don’t have to read anything about U2.)

  9. So, for the record, my two or three cents:

    1 – Morrissey had it from the beginning and never lost it. I remember bla bla about ‘Kill Uncle’ which is now being celebrated a classic and was unliked then. I of course loved it fro the beginning… – Found, Found, Found – So dark! Though I must admit ‘Southpaw Grammar’ has a few arguable moments.

    2 – Kate Bush, hello?!? Some folks will never learn! Maybe you guys think over why you liked her in the first place.

    3 – Paul Weller’s solo work has a rather lot of discussible moments, plenty of ups and downs there are, but then again some of it is still extraordinary. Maybe he doesn’t ge enough attention within the waves of modern hipsterdom. For those non-belivers, check out ‘Sonik Kicks’.

    My suggestion:

    Manic Street Preachers – I am a very big fan, from the beginning, the very beginning and I blindly buy more or less every single release of theirs. ‘Lifeblood’ I find almost unlistenable until today. ‘Send Away The Tigers’ was better but still. ‘Journal for Plague Lovers’ is something completely different and does not belong here, great album though. Then ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ was very good but would have gotten less positive revies if it didn’t have the beatiful/retro Tim Roth sleeve. And with ‘Rewind The Film’ and ‘Futurology’ I am not quite sure where they stand now, whatever that *now* ist.

    End of transmission, thank you for your attention!

  10. For me, Weller lost it in The Style Council.
    His first solo album was a decent attempt to “get it back” and Stanley Road finally did the job. He ended up ploughing a Dad Rock furrow for a while, but properly got it back with As Is Now. This album along with Sonik Kicks ranks as his best solo stuff.
    Since then, he’s basically done whatever he likes, and at least remained interesting.

    Obvious statement of the day:
    The Who really lost it when Keith Moon departed.
    In truth it was a slow downhill slide from the end of Quadrophenia.
    The Who By Numbers was a pretty apt title, and Who Are You has some moments but no-one sounds interested anymore.
    Face Dances is bearable (just), if only for You Better You Bet
    And someone should’ve told Pete Townsend that ‘Eminence Front’ plus 11 other tracks does not constitute an album (well it does, but not an album of any great worth).
    2006s Endless Wire was an attempt to cash in on their name – it didn’t work, but I quite like that album.

  11. Mr. (Ms.?) Digit, it’s obvious to everyone but Pete and Roger. I absolutely WORSHIPPED The Who from my entire childhood. I’m okay with Who By Numbers because of Slip Kid, Squeeze Box and one of Entwistle’s most under-rated tracks, Success Story. Roger also still had the pipes on How Many Friends. But you’re right, it was sliding in the wrong direction afterward. Apart from the title track, most of Who Are You isn’t too gripping. After Moon died they should have called the band The Why. I liked a couple of tunes on Face Dances but Moon’s absence was truly upsetting. And I never understood why Eminence Front remains popular; it’s the same unchanging riff for 6 minutes!
    I’m glad I took my son to see the band because they meant so much to me and were playing the classic tracks. And, somehow, Entwistle managed to continue to improve as a bassist even though he was the best in the business since the 70’s. But Roger was unlistenable. This was circa 2000. When I next saw the band in 2002 it was downright embarrassing. A few years later I bought Endless Wire on principle but never bothered to listen to it. The idea that they’re still out there, butchering the sacred canon, is offensive to me. Had it and lost it, indeed.

  12. Well being a huge Weller I’m always going to defend him.
    I understand people who think he lost it during TSC, but if they re appraise Confessions & Modernism I’d hope they’d find enough to make them think again.
    They would then surely be won over by the first 3 solo classics. Yes things dipped again but since 22 dreams he has been in a rich vein of form. The latest l.p. is stunning. He’s also produced and featured heavily on the stone foundations releases this year, which is as soulful as his ever been.

    The latest release (Ethiopia) is a bit of a thinker though.

  13. The Jam were, like the Smiths later, almost perfect from conception to demise.

    The Style Council were mercurial, and I liked them up to and including the Lodgers.

    I just don’t get Paul Weller’s solo career at all. Musically clunky and strangely graceless for me.

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