As Saturday’s postings are meant to offer me the chance to be lazy, here’s wiki:-
Shop Assistants were a Scottish indie pop band from Edinburgh, formed in 1984, initially as ‘Buba & The Shop Assistants’.
The original line-up was Aggi (Annabel Wright, later of The Pastels), guitarist David Keegan, bassist John Peutherer, and drummer Moray Crawford. This line-up released one single, the now highly collectible “Something to Do” on Villa21 Records, which was produced by Stephen Pastel. Pastel also contributed backing vocals.
Aggi left to be replaced by Karen Parker, who was later joined by second vocalist Alex Taylor. After some live performances, Parker, Peutherer, and Crawford departed and were replaced by Sarah Kneale (bass), Laura MacPhail (drums) and Ann Donald (drums). The band’s name was shortened to Shop Assistants, and the first release under their new name was the Shopping Parade EP in 1985 on The Subway Organization.
Donald left in late 1985, and was briefly replaced on drums by Joan Bride. Shopping Parade was followed in early 1986 with “Safety Net”, the first release on Keegan’s 53rd & 3rd Records, which peaked at number two in the UK Independent Chart.
In 1986, The Shop Assistants were featured on the NME’s compilation C86 with one of their slower songs, “It’s Up To You”, taken from Shopping Parade EP. Also in that year, they signed to Chrysalis Records’s sublabel Blue Guitar for another single, “I Don’t Wanna Be Friends With You”, as well as their only album, Shop Assistants. That single reached number 77 in the UK Singles Chart, while the LP spent one week at number 100 in the Albums Chart.
The Shop Assistants split early in 1987, when Taylor left the group to join The Motorcycle Boy. After a two-year hiatus, the band reformed without Taylor, and with Kneale on vocals, MacPhail on bass, and the addition of Margarita Vasquez-Ponte of Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes on drums. With the new line-up, they recorded new material in late October 1989 at Chamber Studios in Edinburgh; releasing the singles “Here It Comes” in 1989 and “Big ‘E’ Power” in 1990 on Avalanche Records. They split up again shortly afterwards, with Keegan joining The Pastels.
It was revealed in 2020 that Alex Taylor had died in 2005.
I’ve previously featured all the songs on the Shopping Parade EP, as well as Safety Net. So here, for a change, are the tracks from the 12″ version of the single recorded for Blue Guitar:-
mp3 : Shop Assistants – I Don’t Want To Be Friends With You
mp3 : Shop Assistants – Looking Back
mp3 : Shop Assistants – All Day Long (slow version)
6 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #295: SHOP ASSISTANTS”
Used to run into this bunch regularly at student parties in Edinburgh in the mid 80s where they would be lurking in the kitchen talking music. Thought I was an indie obsessive at the time, but they were in a different league. Lovely people. Music is very much of its time.
Great band, great choice.
Superb. Loved them then. Love them now.
I only have the C86 song, which is perfect. Great post.
Brings back so many happy memories of my first year at uni.
Still love the singles and album. Especially the moment the backing stops and Alex sings £You leave me and I’ll scratch your eyes out. Sophisticated arrangements weren’t always in evidence in this type of indie so that always seemed even more perfect.
Great post JC.
Subway, 53rd & 3rd, Golden Pathway… what a pedigree! One of my all-timers.