Here’s another quiz question I’d have got wrong.
Siouxsie and The Banshees released 30 singles between 1978 and 1995 – how many of then went Top 40?
The answer is 18……my guess would have been much higher than that, I’d likely have gone for 25 as I can’t recall too many flops.
Turns out that a number of the songs I had always assumed had been chart hits were nothing of the sort – Metal Postcard (Mittageisen), Israel, Slowdive and Melt! all stalled in the 40s as too did their admittedly limp version of The Passenger.
Possibly even more surprising is that just five of their singles have cracked the Top 20, of which two were cover versions, including what proved to be their biggest selling 45 back in 1983:-
This got to #3 and it was all over the music press that it was a cover of a song by The Beatles that had originally appeared on The White Album. I was glad to have been furnished with such info as, back in 83, I hadn’t heard the original. And here’s the thing…….36 years on, I still haven’t! This isn’t the time nor place to go into great detail as to why I have no great affection for the works of Harrison, Lennon, McCartney and Starr – the songs I do know of theirs tend to be the ones that got heavy rotation on the radio as I was growing up (i.e. the hit singles) and Dear Prudence, which wiki tells me was written for Prudence Farrow, the sister of the actress Mia Farrow, was an album track only.
The hit came when the Banshees were going through a difficult but extremely productive period. John McGeoch, whose guitar work was so important to their sound, had succumbed to the rigours of touring, and combined with the first signs of what would become full-blown alcoholism in later years, had suffered a nervous breakdown on stage in Madrid in late 82 which led to him being fired and Robert Smith being asked in as his replacement. He accepted but only on the basis that he could continue to perform with The Cure.
1983 was some year to try to keep up with everything that was happening.
Siouxsie and Budgie resurrected The Creatures two years after the hit debut EP and found themselves enjoying a Top 20 debut album in Feast.
Steve Severin and Robert Smith were the principal members of The Glove but their two singles and album from that year were relative flops.
The Cure enjoyed the fruits from the singles compilation Japanese Whispers with The Walk giving them their first Top 20 hit and its follow-up The Love Cats doing even better by reaching #7
The Banshees spent much of the year recording Hyaena, although it wouldn’t be released until May 1984; they kept their own profile up amidst all this activity with the release of Dear Prudence as a stand-alone 45 in September and Nocturne, a live album from two shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London performed on successive nights on 30 September and 1 October.
It’s no real surprise that Robert Smith, on the point of complete exhaustion, left the Banshees just before Hyaena was released and the extensive promotional work that was associated with it.
Looking back, there’s a case to be made for an ICA from that year, comprising the side projects, the live album and the one-off single. It would, by its nature, be a patchwork affair, but there would be more than enough to keep most satisfied. Instead, I’ll stick to just offering the two tracks from the 12” single:-
The former is a paean to inky designs on the skin and is something of a grower…..the latter has a wonderful title – the ‘tune’ doesn’t quite match its majesty and it could well be the most out-there thing the band ever did!
All tracks were produced by Mike Hedges, who himself would have a busy year working with The Beat, The Undertones, Southern Death Cult as well as The Creatures and the Banshees, all the while basking in the glorious work he’d done the previous year on Sulk by Associates, an album which has a big influence on the three songs on Dear Prudence