IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (7)

Today’s debut 45 launched a label as well as a band:-

mp3 : Orange Juice – Falling and Laughing

I really don’t think I can add all that much to the praise I’ve heaped on Orange Juice and Postcard Records on previous occasions.

One thing I have observed is that the reputation of the band and the label seems to grow with each passing year, possibly from the legacy in that they seemed to create templates for many to follow in their footsteps. I do find this somewhat amusing as everyone, and in particular Edwyn Collins and Alan Horne, were regarded as joke figures by many of their contemporaries, including here in Glasgow. The first sign of change of attitude can be traced to the mid-80s and the emergence of a new breed of writers, particularly those who served their apprenticeships with fanzines before landing proper media jobs, and the explosion of performers whose teen and adolescent years were spent listening to the records and similar sounding songs on other small independently run labels such as Rough Trade.

This new cognoscenti were fulsome and consistent in their praise of the Postcard rota and for the Postcard way of doing things. All of a sudden, it was fashionable and hip to drop 185 West Princes Street into conversation and music press interviews. It may have dropped off again in the early 90s when grunge took over, but it rose back up in the middle of that decade when Edwyn enjoyed his world-wide solo hit and then even higher again a decade or so later when he suffered his life-threatening illnesses; this second wave of praise and enthusiasm wasn’t out of sympathy, but instead was the recognition of just how unique and different it had all been from the beginning.

But was Falling & Laughing the best ever Orange Juice single? My opinion, and I’ve expressed this on the pages of the blog before, is that honour should be bestowed on another 45 from the Polydor years.

But………..and here’s the kicker in today’s post, I want to change my mind. I still think Felicity is the Orange Juice song I most enjoy listening to and I don’t see that changing. But without Falling and Laughing there wouldn’t have been Felicity or Blue Boy or I Can’t Help Myself or What Presence. There would unlikely have been many other great indie and pop bands to emerge out of the shadows here in Scotland and further afield if it wasn’t for the fact that Postcard Records got up and running, albeit it never really got all that far at the time. And so, for all sorts of reasons, I have to now say that Falling and Laughing is the greatest 45 ever released by Orange Juice.

JC

12 thoughts on “IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (7)

  1. Question: Suppose you went to an estate sale and a modest looking little old lady had a small stack of 7″ singles. As you are going through them, she tells you these records belonged to her son. She goes on to say he passed away two years ago, and it is her chore to clean out his apartment. At that moment, you get to a pristine copy of “Falling and Laughing”. The little old lady notices you spend more than a few seconds looking at this one. “That one is five dollars,” she says firmly, clearly not knowing the single regularly goes for upwards of $900. What do you do?

  2. Ceremony is definitely my favourite New Order song, even though they did amazing things thereafter.

    Orange Juice also did amazing things but I’m going to say they never quite topped the sheer joyful brilliance of this debut.

    Good idea for a thread btw, when the debut single is the band’s best single.

  3. When my girlfriend went to a record shop in Cardiff to purchase Heathers on Fire in ’93, she was told by the girl at the counter this:
    “You mean your boyfriend listens to this??? You should leave him immediately…”
    I didn’t marry her in the end but I got to meet Edwyn soon after. Sweet!

    (And yes, Falling and Laughing is the greatest single ever released…)

  4. Just took a glance at the Orange Juice singles discography. It’s impossible to pick a favourite, but one thing is for certain, ‘Fall & Laughing’ really was a cracking debut.

  5. I bought Simply Thrilled Honey from a local shop when on holiday in Devon in 1981 and moved to Scotland two years later, pretty much on the strength of that song. Still the best OJ single. The half-second when the track stops dead is a moment of genius. I met Alan Horne a couple of decades later for a brief chat that lasted about four hours.

  6. Brian, that exact scenario happened to me but, while I was hurrying back to my car concealing my valuable debut OJ 7″ that I’d negotiated down to $3.25, I got a ticket for $800 for parking next to a fire hydrant. So it kind of balanced out.

  7. What a question, Brian. And what a ticket, JTFL.

    I think every time you played that bargain 7″ (if you played it) you’d feel a twinge of guilt. And, even if you didn’t, the unfortunate son of whom you speak might haunt you. There’s a similar quandary in ‘High Fidelity’, I think.

  8. It’s what he would have wanted Brian!
    As long as you bought a few more to keep the old lady sweet

  9. Strangeways is correct. That is from High Fidelity, and I always think about being in the scene and finding Falling and Laughing. That’s the single that would tempt me to be a bad guy. I like CC’s line of thinking, but Jacques probably has it right. Actually, JTFL’s tale is the story of my life.

    JC, Not my favorite OJ song, but Falling and Laughing is, as you say, a cracking debut. Is it true there are fellas on that sleeve above who don’t even own the single?

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