IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (41)

The Wedding Present released 29 singles and 3 EPs between 1985 and 1997. Today looks back at where it all started and my words below rely very heavily on an interview given by David Gedge to the folk involved with this wonderful piece of the internet

https://gedgesongs.wordpress.com/

It was 1985 and The Wedding Present were in a position to release a debut single. The choice came down to either Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy or Will You Up There. No worries if you don’t recognise the latter, it never got an official release!

The debut single turned out to be quite unlike almost all that would follow. One of the surprising things is that it was a deliberate effort by David Gedge to compose a political song, in this instance as his response to the Falklands conflict of the early 80s which had already inspired Elvis Costello to compose Shipbuilding. I genuinely had no idea about the intention behind the lyric, even though I had seen the words on paper before, assuming that it was another of the tangled lovelorn songs at which he frontman would become famed for over the ensuing decades. David Gedge does admit that the message is a little unfocussed and it’s an approach to song writing that he soon moved away from.

You were a survivor after all; you never even called!
I didn’t expect you to
Now, oh, there’s such a lot you’ve done and you’re only twenty-one
Yes, you’re only twenty-one

Oh, oh, there’s just something, something I noticed
That there’s a whole world out there but it’s shrinking fast
You want to take it all and make it last forever
Or maybe just a lifetime

Now, oh, you’ve gone to fly the flag from some pinprick on the map
Oh, won’t you ever bring it back?
Tonight, when you hold her in your arms and you prove that you’re a man
Oh, well, I hope she understands

Oh, oh, there’s just something, something I noticed
That there’s a whole world out there but it’s shrinking fast
You want to take it all and make it last forever
Or maybe just a lifetime, maybe just a lifetime

Oh, some things just don’t ever go away
Some things, you know, are just here to stay
And in a golden field there is a little girl left with a union jack
And there’s a price to pay, no matter what you say
There is no going back today

And if we’re worlds apart, then I’ve still got a heart
Can you imagine that?
“Another wasted day”, yes, I can hear you say
But I’m afraid it means much more to me than that

There’s also an admission that the music, with an unusual structure and multiple parts, was a tad on the ambitious side, but the defence being that nobody was sure if the first single would prove to be the last, so everyone involved wanted to pack it full of hooks while having a frantic pace that grabbed the listeners attention.

The single came out on Reception Records on 24 May 1985 (slap bang in the middle of my final exams at university, so I can be excused for not paying attention!). The label had been set-up by the band, solely with the intention of getting the single out there and into the shops. Just 500 copies were pressed, but such was the demand that they soon agreed a deal with City Slang, a new label that had been established by NME writer, Neil Taylor who was an early champion of The Weddoes. The second pressing of the single came with different artwork, the results of which had the band recoiling in horror, and determined not to cede control over such things ever again.

The second pressing also sold out quickly and by now the band were getting aired increasingly by John Peel. Rather than have fans shell out huge sums on the second-hand market or more likely relying on copies recorded to a hissy cassette tape, it was decided that all of the songs that comprised the first two singles should be put on a new EP, via Reception Records, which is why most folk (including myself) who have vinyl cuts of the song have achieved it through the Don’t Try and Stop Me, Mother EP.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy!
mp3 : The Wedding Present – (The Moment Before) Everything’s Spoiled Again

I think it’s fair to say that The Weddoes would go on to make better and more polished singles, but as an opener, particularly as it was wholly self-financed, recorded and released, is worthy of being described as cracking.

JC

5 thoughts on “IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (41)

  1. A taste of the thrill to come. The raw, visceral almost shambolic delivery makes this one of post-punks finest.

  2. Terrific debut, and a post that does a great job
    of summarising the various Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy!
    iterations.

    This year it was released yet again – on Optic
    Nerve Recordings as part of that label’s Optic
    Sevens reissues series: a monthly release of notable
    indie 7″ singles from the past (second time the Weddoes
    have been implicated in monthly release projects… ).

    https://opticnerverecordings.com/collections/optic-sevens

  3. Greta choice JC. Can’t add muct your post or the above apart from my envy at Martin’s evening plans! Had the pleasure of seeing them earlier this year in Bristol. Great night out as always.

  4. You folks have any idea how hard it is to strum that fast for so long, and in time? No one ever talks about the Weddoes’ musicianship because the lyrics are so good, but that relentless rhythm guitar is what hooked me first.

    Brilliant run of debuts, btw JC.

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