PEEL’S FESTIVE FIFTY : #1 SONG IN 1988

I wasn’t really paying too much attention to music in 1988…..it’s a long and rather dull story that I won’t bore you with. It is related to the backstory of yesterday’s music, which again I didn’t bother going into.

I certainly didn’t listen to John Peel‘s end of year Festive 50 rundown, but looking at it now, I did in fact have a fair few number of the songs as voted in by the readers, thanks in part to the ex-frontman of The Smiths having four entries, but there was also space for the likes of Billy Bragg, New Order, James, The Fall, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the one emerging band that I did latch onto, Pixies. I would also, later in life, pick up on many other groups that featured in the 88 rundown, not least The Wedding Present.

The thing is, if you had given me an alphabetical rundown of all the songs in the list and asked me to pick out the #1 from that year, I’d have needed maybe 20 or 30 goes to get it.

mp3: The House Of Love – Destroy The Heart

It was an era when being on Creation Records was almost like a badge of honour in the indie-pop world. All the singers and bands got loads of column inches in the UK music papers while never getting a sniff of commercial success, which made them perfect for name-dropping and for casting your votes in the Peel rundown while retaining some street credibility.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when I would first have heard Destroy The Heart, but it would certainly be quite a few years after it reached the heights of #76 in the UK singles chart in August 1988.  I can’t recall it being included on any Jacques the Kipper compilation tapes from which much of my 87-90 gaps were filled in.  It would likely have been heard as background music in a pub, but even then, I wouldn’t have been paying too much attention.

What I do know is that more than a quarter of a century later, I did hear it played at one of the Little League nights in Glasgow, and loving how it sounded. I will have come away from there with a determination to ‘source’ a digital copy for the hard drive.  But that was always, hopefully, always going to be just a temporary measure, and  sure enough I would in due course find a second-hand copy of the single, in 12″ form, before too long.

As you’ll have picked up from listening to the mp3, it isn’t quite a pristine copy, but given I paid a small amount for it, in the era before vinyl became fashionable again, I’m happy enough.

Here’s your b-sides:-

mp3: The House Of Love – Blind
mp3: The House of Love – Mr Jo

The former makes me think of Factory-era James, and so I won’t hear a bad word said about it. The latter, and I apologise to those of you who are diehard fans, is a bit too indie by numbers to really have much lasting appeal.

JC

7 thoughts on “PEEL’S FESTIVE FIFTY : #1 SONG IN 1988

  1. Thanks. Never knew until now that Blind was the B-side of DtH. A stupendously good B-side, and always one of their top Ten in my head. Personally, THE song for me is Man To Child, end side 1 first album, rather more than any of their brilliant singles.

  2. An absolute corker of a song. Destroy the Heart is sublime as is the first LP. Unfortunately, they moved to Fontana and I got bored, fast. Maybe not by the music but definitely by the multiple-version releases.

    This is an era in which I was very much alive after a self-imposed health hiatus. I’m all smiles this morning.

  3. Always saw H of L as a bit of a John the Baptist for Brit pop .
    The debut lp is glorious and I didn’t mind the move to a major . Agee with Flimflamfan, Beatles and the Stones is okay but nobody needed the 17 different covers . Spy in the House of love has some great songs on from a rejected lp and Babe Rainbow deserved more appreciation than it got

  4. In 1988 I met a pretty English girl in Paris and we hit it off. But she wouldn’t sleep with me because she was seeing the drummer from House of Love. So, fuck that band and their derivative sound. I was glad when grunge killed them off a couple of years later.

  5. Lol at JTFL ‘s comment, as good a reason for not liking a band as any.

    Loved the House Of Love, the debut is superb. Christine, Salome, Road, Love In A car, Destroy the Heart are all ace. Really nails a period of my life for me. As others have said, there is more in the back catalogue but Fontana didn’t do them any favours with the multiple format singles. I have a massive soft spot for Never, the single that turned the inkies against them. I saw them a few times in 88- 90 , most memorably at a gig at King’s Hall in Widnes where they looked like a band at war with each other and were pretty shaky until a blistering encore. Bickers was abandoned at a motorway service station a few days later.

  6. From its fade-in to its echoey conclusion, a glorious song.
    And another ace post – and responses – as usual.

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