I do like the Jesus & Mary Chain, but not to the extent that I have loads of their records and I certainly can’t claim to be some sort of expert on them….if it was my specialised subject on Mastermind, I’d probably score about five points with fifteen or so passes.

I picked up one of their singles, Reverence, on 12″ some time ago.  I took it home, played it and thought it was a bit ‘meh’.  Full of lyrics about dying either like Jesus Christ or JFK, while there’s also a reference to being hanged for some offence or other. It’s all very confusing.

I played it again the other day for the first time in ages after it popped up randomly on the i-pod.  I tried to block out the nonsensical lyrics and give the tune a chance.  It dates from February 1992 and I just couldn’t get myself convinced that, if I was listening to it as an instrumental, I would have worked out it was the JAMC.  It has that feel and sound of bands from the era, and in particular, Jesus Jones, who I never took to.

The b-side (which was actually on the same side of the vinyl as Reverence) then came on, and I was soon shaking my head about hull dull and boring it was.

Flipping it over, and there’s what is described as the Radio Mix of Revererence, and it comes in at two minutes longer than the version on the a-side, beginning with an extended guitar solo more than two minutes in length which sounds as if it belongs on one of those games you can play on an X-box or the likes (I’m guessing it that…I don’t actuually own any sort of gaming machine). It’s followed by Guitarman, which I already knew from it appearing on the NME Last Temptation of Elvis album that had been released a couple of years earlier.

mp3: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Reverence
mp3: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Heat
mp3: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Reverence (Radio Mix)
mp3: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Guitarman

So…. I’m throwing out a challenge today.

Anyone care to make the case that Reverence is a good song and worthy of being a single?

Am I totally wrong about the b-side, Heat?

As part of your case, you could use the fact that Reverence reached #10 in the UK singles chart, but I would hope to get better observations than that.



  1. I like Reverence. It’s by no means my favourite JAMC song, though I think it works better in the context of the album, Honey’s Dead.

    I know what you mean about the sound, which is probably the influence of co-producer, Alan Moulder. I’m not sure if he produced Jesus Jones at any point, but he was heavily involved with Curve, which I can hear when listening to these songs.

    If you’re not convinced by the versions of Reverence on this 12″ single, I would not recommend that you search out the further extended remixes by Al Jourgensen and Mark ‘Spike’ Stent.

    Heat is a so-so B-side. I do have a soft spot for Guitarman as, for me, it was a highlight of the rather patchy Last Temptation Of Elvis.

  2. I was/am a Psycho Candy obsessive, loved several songs on the second album and after that diminishing returns set in as, with the occasional shining exception, a lot of it sounded like generic rawk for the US tour circuit. This track being a case in point.

  3. Love it, especially live where it turns into a really malevolent piece, ok it’s basically the Stooges but that’s no bad thing.
    Check this version from the 56 minute mark’ I gig I attended in no small part to yourself JC

    If anybody is expecting Roddy Frame /Jarvis Cocker coherent lyrics from the Reid brothers obviously wasn’t paying attention, the lyrics have always been a bit pish

  4. I’m with Khayem – I always liked Reverence. Still do. It is definitely a product of its time though, with the funky drummer beats and whispered vocals.

  5. I have the CD single of this and I have not listened to it in 30+ years, so there’s that. From ’85-’92 I bought any JAMC singles I saw, but this was among the last releases by the band I’d bother buying. I also got “Far Gone + Out” on holographic CD-5. I never bothered with the “Honey’s Dead” album. “Psychocandy” is the one you need! Then maybe “Automatic” which is very different but fine. I also have all of the CD singles from that one. But “Reverence?”.. Naaaaaaaw. It’s prime for me to thin out, actually.

  6. Reverence is classic Mary Chain. I refer you to Mr T Badger’s assessment of it in your sadly short lived series about the best opening tracks.
    It ticks all the boxes, and it’s as close to Jesus Jones as the Glasgow weather is to Monaco in the summer

  7. Many years ago, it was pointed out that i was (inadvertantly) singing “I want to die like Jesus Christ, I want to die on a bed of spikes” very loudly on the 5.50 commuter train from Finsbury Park to Peterborough. So i guess i like it. I thought i was singing quietly to myself !

  8. Not one of my favourite JAMC songs, always felt a bit JAMC by numbers. But it made a lot more sense suddenly when played live when they toured a few years ago, shorn of that 90s sheen. Like Khayem I’m fond of Guitarman. One other thing about Reverence is it was second hand shop fodder for years, the one JAMC 12″ you could guarantee would be in the JAMC section (often priced at 99p or thereabouts).

  9. Khayem – So “The Last Temptation Of Elvis” had about one disc of brilliance and one disc of “skip this track.” So yeah. I guess that evens out to “patchy.”

  10. I bought this on 12″ back in ‘the day’, and can’t pretend I’ve ever given the extra tracks much time. Reverence though I really love, despite it’s many failings. I’ve always thought it to be a bit JAMC by numbers: squeally feedback guitars? Check! Lyric likely to court controversy? Check! Chuck in a drum beat which was so in vogue at the time and you have yourself a guaranteed appearance on The Word.

    Put it this way: I don’t skip past it when it pops up on shuffle, but if I want to listen to some JAMC, Psychocandy or Darklands (or even Stoned and Dethroned…shush! I like it) remain my first port of call; Reverence remains a good way down the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.