SOME LATER EXAMPLES OF THE BAUHAUS SCHOOL OF ARTISTIC CREATIVITY

I’ve long had the impression that Bauhaus had enjoyed decent enough chart success in the early 80s. I did know that their cover of Ziggy Stardust was by far and away their biggest hit and that their finest moment, Bela Lugosi’s Dead, hadn’t ever charted but has probably collectively sold enough copies over the years to be close to being their best-selling effort.

It was something of a surprise to look things up and discover that only two of their singles ever crackled the Top 40 meaning there was just one other hit beyond the cover. If I hadn’t already seen the answer, guess #1 would have been Kick In the Eye and guess #2 would have been Lagartija Nick, but both of these stalled in the 40s. Turns out it was their farewell single, one that was released in April 1983 and which climbed to #26:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – She’s In Parties (12″version)

Things had gone a bit sour for the band shortly after them enjoying the chart success with Ziggy Stardust. It had helped bring about a growth in audiences and as did the appearance of the band in the horror movie The Hunger, in which the afore-mentioned Bela Lugosi’s Dead featured prominently at the beginning. Oh, and not forgetting that frontman Peter Murphy had also been the face of a rather eye-catching and distinctive advertising campaign for cassette tapes in which his face appeared on billboards all across the UK as well as within a TV ad that sort of paid homage to music videos.

As with any bands, the frontman is crucial to the media focus but just as the attention was focussing on Bauhaus, their singer fell ill and indeed work on what was going to be their fourth album was initially delayed and then embarked upon without him being around much in the studio. What became Burning On The Outside was eventually released in the summer of 1983 by which time the band had more or less called it a day – there certainly wasn’t much done in the way of promotion and yet it still went Top 20 and sold enough copies to qualify for a silver disc (at least 60,000).

She’s In Parties, with its mix of goth, late-70s Bowie, pop and hints of dub, was an excellent choice as lead-off single for the album – as it turned out, given that there were so many underlying problems in 1983, it was the only single. Turns out, it was actually an older number, rescued somewhat from the vaults as they were struggling in the absence of Murphy to deliver enough material for a full record.

Here’s the b-sides from the 12”:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Here’s The Dub (Special Effects by ‘Loonatik & Drinks)
mp3 : Bauhaus – Departure

The former is a remix of the a-side while the latter, which was also on the 7”, was from a John Peel session that had been broadcast the previous year

Worth mentioning that while She’s In Parties was the last commercial single the band would release, the end of the year would see a fan-club only single issued as a thank you to those who had paid a subscription for material only to have been let down by the break-up of the band. It’s a ridiculously rare piece of vinyl with seemingly less than 300 copies known to be in circulation, and as such fetches many hundreds of pounds as and when anyone offers a second-hand sale; but the track was made available as long ago as 1988 when Burning On The Outside was issued as a CD with some bonus tracks and has also appeared on some ‘best of’ or compilation albums:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – The Sanity Assassin

The b-side of the fan club single?? It’s another cover….and one which would be taken to the #1 spot in the UK just a couple of years later by Doctor and The Medics:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Spirit In The Sky

It took until 2013 before this became available, thanks to its inclusion on a 5xCD box set…..and is perhaps evidence that some things are best kept in the vaults!

JC

7 thoughts on “SOME LATER EXAMPLES OF THE BAUHAUS SCHOOL OF ARTISTIC CREATIVITY

  1. If Bauhaus was under-appreciated in the UK they were undetected in the US. I wasn’t the biggest fan but my college roommate was–he had everything they did. The band members’ subsequent biz got a little notice over here as lightweights Tones on Tail and the Goth-by-numbers Love & Rockerts, but Bauhaus were totally overlooked in their time.

  2. Lummy. What a treat. I raise my hand as a avid Bauhaus fan.

    I never quite got the lazy and inaccurate goth tag that was foisted upon them. I was lucky enough to see them in Tiffany’s, Glasgow – a very long time ago. It was an urgent, majestic gig that Bauhaus shone through despite some morons insisting that they could spit on the band. If memory serves the band left the stage twice hoping to change the vile behaviour. It didn’t work. Support was I believe St Anthony’s Fire? I could have just made that up.

    My chum, who accompanied me – or did I accompany him – will, I have no doubt, have that fan club single.

    No matter where I am I do need a little Bauhaus in my life. Chuffed by this, as ever, informative article.

  3. Big Bauhaus fan at the time – they were like nothing I’d ever heard before, just mind-blowingly different and fantastic to look at too (Daniel Ash!) Really I think they were kind of goth before Goth.

  4. I saw the “Spirit” video on MTV in 1982 and rushed out to buy “The Sky’s Gone Out.” Wow. A VERY different version of the song on that album! But I quickly learned to like them and soon bought the first two albums. I only got “Burning From The Inside” when it made the jump to CD format. “Parties” is a great single from their weakest album. But even the last album was still a good one for me. It’s just there’s a descending line of quality from the first one to that one. Each album was weaker than the one that came before it, but “In The Flat Field” began their story at such a stratospheric level that they withstood the inevitable decay better than most.

  5. Was an avid Bauhaus fan. In the Flat Field and Mask are masterpieces, IMO. Sky’s Gone Out/Press The Eject And Give Me The Tape is a wonder of a release. It felt, at the time like a sanctioned bootleg and that is what has always made it special to me. Their reading of Third Uncle is the greatest example of Punk Glam that I know.

    But when it got to Burning From The Inside, you could tell the game was over for Bauhaus. David J and Daniel Ash put in the best moments on the album, making it more of an advertisement for Tones On Tail and Love And Rockets in retrospect. She’s In Parties is a great song, full of ethos and pathos. The video is sort of an MTV revision of a Bunuel film. Slice Of Life should have been a single, but as there was no band to promote by the time the record came out, it’s understandable why it wasn’t.

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