IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (58)

I never did, and never will, get annoyed by Haircut 100.  Their songs were too good and too enjoyable to dwell and get hung up on the fact that they got the hits, fame, money and kudos that could (or should) easily have come the way of Orange Juice.  Besides, when you look back and see what the impact of being a pop star had on the health and well-being of Nick Heyward, it’s maybe just as well that other than with Rip It Up, the efforts of Edwyn & co didn’t make much of an impression on the record buying public here in the UK.

It kind of felt that they came out of nowhere when they hit the charts with the debut single in October 1981, but as it turned out, they had done as much an apprenticeship as any other, with Nick Heyward (20 years old when success came calling) and bassist Les Nemes (21) having been in various groups going back to 1977.  It was Echorich, in a comment he made when I featured the single Love Plus One, who nailed it:-

The first Haircut 100 album was never meant, at least from the band’s perspective, to be a teen pop phenomenon. But the timing was right for those slightly latin tinged funk and breezy pop songs to take the charts by storm way back when. They were good-looking and Smash Hits took that and ran with it, the same way they did with Spandau Ballet – thus they could never have been positively reviewed in NME.

So….the consensus is that, in a parallel universe, Haircut 100 struggled from the outset, got no radio play or media coverage, but those of us with decent musical taste think of their debut being one of the great long-lost and largely forgotten gems from the 80s:-

mp3: Haircut 100 – Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)

Here’s the rather half-decent b-side:-

mp3: Haircut 100 – Boat Party

Worth mentioning in passing that Boat Party was an earlier name used by Haircut 100…….

Favourite Shirts spent 14 weeks in the Top 75, between October 81 and February 82.  It’s follow-up, the afore-mentioed Love Plus One, came into the charts the week after the debut dropped out.  It would spend 12 weeks in the Top 75, meaning that Haircut 100 enjoyed a full six months when their 45s were all over the shops.  Debut album, Pelican West, which has aged better than anyone night have expected, reached #2 in the charts, denied the top spot by Barbara Streisand……

JC

4 thoughts on “IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (58)

  1. Listening to ‘North of a Miracle’ this morning – I think the first solo album by Nick Heyward – some excellent songs on there.

  2. Great post. Much appreciated. There are excellent songs on Pelican West, like Milk Film and Surprise Me Again. If I could find a large patch in the style of this single, I would sew it on the back of my jacket today.

  3. I have the 3 first 12″ singles and the album, they were a very fresh break from all the bleak music that mostly filled my ears at that time. Still very enjoyable.

  4. When they played in NYC, the only time I believe, the crowd was, as they say, up for it. Onstage, they knew what they were doing – a pretty well oiled Pop machine.
    And as for Nick Heyward, he is in a league with Robert Howard (Dr. Robert) and Gary Clark -excellent, emotional songwriters and artists, who deserve our attention.

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