EVEREST THE HARD WAY

I had thought I’d found something that provided a missing link between Fire Engines and Altered Images, but, sadly, it appears not. Nevertheless, I can again offer up a more than decent piece of music courtesy of the Big Gold Dreams boxset:-

mp3 : Everest The Hard Way – Tightrope

The text in the booklet with the boxset states:-

Named after the 1975 documentary film charting Chris Bonnington’s heroic mountain-climb, this strident piece of European electro-pomp was Everest the Hard Way’s sole single release. A Kid Jenson session on BBC Radio 1 featured vocalist David Service, keyboardist Jim Telford, bassist and future member of The Chimes Mike Peden and drummer Ian Stoddart.

Another track, Consumption, appeared on Fools Rush in Where Angels Dare to Tread, a compilation collated from recordings at Richard Strange’s London-based Cabaret Futura club. The album also featured Skids vocalist Richard Jobson performing his poems, India Song and Daddy, and two tracks by Positive Noise. Strange’s The Phenomenal World of Richard Strange album featured keyboards from Everest the Hard Way’s Jim Telford and a guest vocal from Positive Noise’s Ross Middleton.

Released on 7” and 12” in April 1982, it was one of last releases on the London-based Do It Records, a small label that was around from 1977-1982 and is probably best known for the fact that it was the home of the pre-chart Adam & The Ants.

The instrumental break on Tightrope that comes in around the 1 min, 40 seconds mark isn’t a million miles away from the Sons and Fascinations/Sister Feelings Call era of Simple Minds and it’s interesting to speculate what would have happened if band had stuck together. As it was, Ian Stoddart (ex Fire Engines) would hook up again with Davy Henderson when he formed Win while Mike Peden became part of the dance-group The Chimes.

Where I got excited was these extracts from the wiki page on Fire Engines:-

The Fire Engines comprise David (Davy) Henderson (vocals/guitar), Murray Slade (guitar), Graham Main (bass), and Russell Burn (drums). Their most successful single was “Candy Skin”, released in 1981, but after the follow-up, “Big Gold Dream” failed to repeat its success, the band split up on 31 December 1981. Henderson formed the short-lived Heartbeat with Bob Last’s partner Hillary Morrison, the band’s only release a track on an NME compilation cassette. Burn formed Everest the Hard Way with bassist Ian Stoddart and guitarist Stephen Lironi (who later joined Altered Images), the band releasing a single in April 1982, before Burn rejoined The Dirty Reds. Henderson and Burn went on to form Win with Stoddart in the mid 1980s, the band continuing until 1989.

Not for the first time, wiki seems to be wrong in that no member of Everest The Hard Way had previously been in Fire Engines and none would later join Altered Images. I’ve done a bit of digging and found the 12″EP which has an extended version of Tightrope as well as three other tracks:-

mp3 : Everest The Hard Way – Tightrope (extended)
mp3 : Everest The Hard Way – Quarter to Six
mp3 : Everest The Hard Way – When You’re Young
mp3 : Everest The Hard Way – Take The Strain

Alas, the third of these (which was the sole b-side on the 7”) is not a cover of the hit single by The Jam.

I think a few of you out there might be intrigued and enjoy these.

JC

3 thoughts on “EVEREST THE HARD WAY

  1. I saw Everest the Hard Way several times in my student days at Edinburgh Uni. They played a couple of the student unions at Chambers Street and Teviot Row as well as places like the Nite Club. They were one of my favourite local bands of the era, though I never knew very much about them. Most of what I’ve learned has been after the event, through sites such as yours (for which, thanks!).
    Your comment about the similarity with Simple Minds is one which chimes with my recollection, but ETHW were always much more buttoned up, tense and tightly wired than Simple Minds’ more expansive, melodic and (eventually) pompous tendencies. ETHW reminded me also of early Talking Heads in their edgy disco tension, exemplified by frontman Davy Service’s staccato guitar chops and screwed up demeanour on stage.
    Star of the show was always bassist Mike Peden for me. I think it was in his nimble-fingered running lines that the music most resembled early Simple Minds, and it came as no surprise to me that of all of ETHW it was Peden who seems to have gone on to enjoy the longest and most fruitful musical career, albeit as a session man. If you look at his credits on Discogs (https://www.discogs.com/artist/105682-Michael-Peden) there’s quite an impressive array of cheesey pop divas who have employed his obvious talents as a bass player.
    I thought back in 1981 that they deserved greatness, or at least cult critical acclaim in their noble obscurity, but you can tell from their solitary EP that they lacked someone to translate their live energy onto record. Tightrope does reasonable justice to their live performances, and Take the Strain captures something of the tense nervous can’t relax persona that Service conveyed, but elsewhere it sounded weak and disappointing to me. Probably also says something about my ability to judge potential greatness!

  2. Thanks Fraser.

    Your comment needed approval as it had the useful and informative link…anytime there’s any sort of link in a comment, it sits in a ‘holding pattern’ in case it’s spam!!

    You’ve obviously got great memories from that time……if you want to share them, I’d be very happy to take a guest posting or two.

    JC

  3. Cheers, JC, not a problem. As you may be able to see, I have a blog of my own (Hibs fitba stuff) so I know the kind of bampottery you need to filter out!
    I’ll see if my memories are great enough generate anything truly shareworthy and let you know. Judging by what I’ve forgotten about the football stuff I can probably surprise myself with what I’ve forgotten about the gigs…

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