I was thinking it was about time again to write up something about Teenage Fanclub.   I thought I’d focus in on one of their singles, preferably one not featured before on the blog.

All told, there’s more than thirty to choose from, going back to Everything Flows in 1990, to the most recent which was the digitally released I Left A Light On from earlier this year. So I thought to myself, why not go with the one which provided their highest chart placing, while not knowing what single that would have been.  I was almost certain it would be Sparky’s Dream, failing which Radio, or perhaps I Don’t Want Control Of You.

I was so wrong.

Teenage Fanclub only ever cracked the Top 20 of the UK singles chart on one occasion, and that was in July 1997 when their first new song in more than two years crashed in at #17:-

mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough

The following week, the single dropped to #47 and then the next week it was #72.  The good news for the band was that the new album, Songs From Northern Britain, immediately entered at #3, the highest ever chart entry in their career.

This period was certainly the band’s commercial peak, as no single since has made the Top 40, while the next again album, Howdy, their first after leaving Creation Records, stalled at a very disappointing #33 in 2000.

Ain’t That Enough came out on 7″ vinyl and 2 x CD formats.  Here’s all you b-sides:-

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Kickabout (7″ and CD1)
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Broken (CD1)
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Femme Fatale (CD2)
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Jesus Christ (CD2)

Kickabout had originally been written and recorded for inclusion on The Beautiful Game, a compilation CD released to commemorate the Euro 96 football tournament, which was played in England (and for which Scotland had qualified).  It’s based around a sample of Everybody by American Spring, a 1970s duo consisting of siblings Diane Rovell and Marilyn Wilson. The latter was, at the time the song was originally released, married to Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys.

Broken is a long number at over five minutes in length, with Norman’s vocal not kicking in until almost the three-minute mark.  It still manages to be a song that many other bands would have loved as an a-side.

The two bonus tracks on CD2 are covers, of songs by The Velvet Underground and Big Star, respectively. The latter could be accurately described as a Christmas number.




The final set of matches from the first knockout round proved to be something of an anticlimax in that one side in each of the four ties  established a dominant lead early from the outset that they never looked like relinquishing

Match 29 : Elvis Costello 36 The Who 3

Match 30 : David Bowie 27 Carter USM 14

Match 31: Davy Henderson 7 v Terry Hall 33

Match 32: The Cure 33 v The Chameleons 8

The last Sunday in October and we’ve finally reached Round 2, with 32 teams left standing.  It’ll take four weeks to work our way through this stage.

Today’s quartet features those who got through from the first and second weeks in Round 1, with the songs up for consideration in this round now being the third tracks on Side A of the ICA in question.

Iggy Pop (ICA 183) v Ballboy (ICA 175)

mp3: Iggy Pop – I Need More v mp3 : Ballboy -Songs For Kylie

Blondie (ICA 198) v Stevie Wonder (ICA 233)

mp3: Blondie – In The Flesh v mp3 : Stevie Wonder – You Haven’t Done Nothin’

Edwyn Collins (ICA 298) v The Jam (ICA 152)

mp3: Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep v mp3: The Jam – Away From The Numbers

Joy Division (ICA 160) v Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry (ICA 250)

mp3: Joy Division – Atmosphere v mp3: Brian Ferry – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 4th of November.

PS : If anyone wants something other than World Cup stuff to deal with just now, then you could maybe take a trip over to No Badger Required where I’ve penned a piece on Songs to Remember, the debut album from Scritti Politti, released back in 1982. Just click here.




It’s something of a failing on my part that I don’t own any records by Strike The Colours.  The band was formed back in 2006 by Jenny Reeve, a musician I have long admired from her work with Arab Strap, not to mention both of Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton on albums they have released outside of their band.

Jenny’s prime instrument is the violin, but she’s also a very fine singer and accomplished guitarist.   Strike The Colours have released three albums – The Face That Sunk A Thousand Ships (2007), Seven Roads (2009) and Flock (2018).  The other musicians who have been part of the band over the years are also a sort of who’s who in Scottish alt/indie/folk music, having worked in or with the likes of Emma Pollock, The Vaselines, Idlewild, The Phantom Band, Sons & Daughters, and The Unwinding Hours to name but a few.

And yet……I haven’t forked out the cash. Sorry guys…..

All I have is one track, thanks to its inclusion on the Ballads of The Book compilation, issued by Chemikal Underground in 2007, for a Scottish Arts Council-backed project in which musicians and poets came together to write new songs:-

mp3: Strike The Colours and Rody Gorman – Message In A Bottle

Rody Gorman was born in Dublin in 1960, but has lived most of his life in Scotland, specialising in Gaelic writing.





RIP, Mark Lanegan – You Cover Song Genius and Collaborative Giant

Apologies for the long time away, it’s been an adventure these last few years… far less music in it than there should have been.

I haven’t sorted the Screaming Trees ICA I’d like to do but it was always a toss-up whether I loved the Connor brothers’ psychedelic metal tendencies or Mark Lanegan’s voice more. If you remember back to the Son Volt ICA, it was Jay Farrar‘s voice that was the reason behind my choice of them over Wilco and it’s the kind of thing that matters a great deal to me, whether I like a singers’ voice. E.g., I don’t know why I want to strangle Geddy Lee, but love Tom Verlaine, but there it is… why listening to Jon Anderson is like fingernails on the chalkboard but Vic Chesnutt gave me goosebumps… why Perry Farrell should never ever have been handed a mic but I’ll listen to Mark E. Smith until the cows come home.

In any event, I first heard Lanegan fronting the Trees in the between-bands music in a small Monterey, California, venue after the Dharma Bums (why I went, from Portland, OR) had played and before The Posies (who were OK, if a bit twee for me) performed. I’m pretty sure the place just played Uncle Anesthesia all the way through, probably on CD but for all I know they could easily have had a turntable working. I was smitten by the time the title tune played and then “Caught in Between”… it was like hearing the lysergic world of the early Pebbles collections for the first time, for a second time. The music was great but the singer’s voice was broken and gnarled and knew things beyond my ken.

I went through the back catalog and bought Sweet Oblivion and Dusk but the band was never meant for a major label and those albums implied that there was tension within the band, between the band and producers, between band, producers and the label and… well the scene out from which they came was dying and major labels responded to MP3s and Napster by clearing their rosters of great second tier sellers… how to kill a band in one easy lesson.

Lanegan had a solo record or two out by the time the Trees broke up but they hadn’t grabbed me. Retrospectively, and I haven’t read any interviews or accounts of what was going on, it felt like he was searching for another voice, or a set of other voices… or maybe it was the drugs. He’d seemed to have found it on “Pendulum” from Whiskey for the Holy Ghost and in the two drug songs, “Hospital Roll Call” and “Waiting on a Train,” from Scraps at Midnight, but it wasn’t consistent and I couldn’t be sure he’d ever find it and hold on to it.

As far as I can tell, and I was getting married, experiencing tragedy, fighting/failing to earn tenure, and we had two sons… so what do I know, but playing with Queens of the Stone Age and making other peoples’ songs his own seemed to get him over a hump… or maybe it was temporarily beating the drugs. When I heard his version of the Leaving Trains“Creeping Coastline of Lights” I was somewhere between flabbergasted, gobsmacked and giddy. (Check it out, and the original, neither are here, both are on youtube.) And the rest of I’ll Take Care of You is SO SO good… Field Songs was an improvement, Bubblegum was a lot of fun, but the covers and collaborations he did, I don’t know it was like he was a jazz singer perfecting a standard repertoire of non-standard tunes.

And that brings me to the construction of this ICA. I think what grabbed me from the start with Lanegan was that his voice couldn’t fail but broadcast an interpretation, whatever lyrics he or someone else wrote. What came out of him contained part of him, raw, DIY-over-professional, and true… it’s like the labour theory of value only really different. So, this is a collection organized from quieter to louder – because that’s how I liked to structure the radio shows I used to program – and it’s all covers and collaborations.

  1. War Memorial (Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood) from Black Pudding
  2. Constant Waiting (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) from We Are Only Riders tribute album
  3. The Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob Dylan) from I’m Not There soundtrack
  4. All Night Long (Junior Kimbrough) from Sunday Night tribute album
  5. You Will Miss Me When I Burn (Bonny Prince Billy), Soulsavers from Broken
  6. The Lonely Night Moby from The Lonely Night (Jan. 14 Remix)
  7. I’Il Take Care of You (Brook Benton) from I’ll Take Care of You
  8. Where We Part Ways, Domkraft from Slow Fidelity EP
  9. God Is On the Radio, Queens of the Stone Age from Songs for the Deaf
  10. Crawl Like A Dog, Creature With The Atom Brain from Creature With The Atom Brain

I’m sure there are tons I don’t know that might should have landed here but, please, tell me about them below.

Yours, as always, and again,




It’s been a long while since I wrote a completely new or original ICA – 31 May to be precise – so I thought I’d best get my finger out for what is post #3000 since the blog was resurrected, thanks to WordPress.

The late and great Tony Wilson really detested The Boomtown Rats, always happy to boast that he had never once come close to having them feature on any of the punk or post-punk TV shows he fronted on Granada TV in the late 70s.  He thought they were imposters, nothing more than a glorified pub band from Dublin.

It could be argued that Bob Geldof, thanks to his work with Band Aid/Live Aid in the mid 80s, became the best-known of all the musicians to emerge from that post-punk scene, although his band by then had become something of a footnote, having had no hits to speak of since 1981.  It also could be argued that, with two #1 hit singles in the late 70s, Boomtown Rats were, for a brief spell, as commercially successful as just about any band from the era. Nevertheless, most folk seem to have a similar opinion as Tony Wilson as they are rarely recalled with much fondness, although I think that’s to do with the fact that those two #1s – Rat Trap (1978) and I Don’t Like Mondays (1979) – were so far removed from the typical post-punk sound that it became very easy, and fashionable, to disown them.

I’m not going to spend time arguing that Boomtown Rats were an exceptional band, but I’m prepared to say that there’s enough tunes on their first three studio albums from which to compile a more than decent ICA. As I will now attempt to prove, and with the absence of those #1 hits.


1. Looking After No.1 (from The Boomtown Rats, 1977)

The rabble-rousing debut single, which reached #11 in the UK charts (and #2 in their native Ireland) and also the first track on the debut album. The opening few lines reflected the impatience of the new young bands that were trying to push the rock dinosaurs to one side:-

The world owes me a livingI’ve waited in this dole queue too longI’ve been standin’ in the rain for fifteen minutesThat’s a quarter of an hour too long.

2. Don’t Believe What You Read (Tonic For The Troops, 1978)

A neat reminder that ‘Fake News’ and the disillusionment with what is written and printed in the press every day is not purely a by-product of the mass media of the 21st Century.

3. Someone’s Looking At You (The Fine Art Of Surfacing, 1979)

One that I’ve often thought, substance wise, had a touch of the Howard Devoto about it, even down to the way Geldof delivers the vocal, expressing his fears and worries that those in charge are spying on all our comings and goings.  A #4 hit when released as a single in February 1980.

4. Diamond Smiles (The Fine Art of Surfacing, 1979)

I saw Boomtown Rats in October 1979 at the Glasgow Apollo when they toured in support of The Fine Art of Surfacing.  It was only a few months after my own debut gig at the same venue (The Police – May 79) and a time when I revelled in every live show I went to.  I primarily went along to this one as a favour to a mate, but came away impressed.

This one was introduced as a song about a rich person’s suicide, which got a loud cheer….a week or so later, there was an article in a local paper in which staff from a Glasgow psychiatric hospital were quoted as saying Diamond Smiles was an obscenity that should be banned as it sought to make commercial gain from a real-life tragedy; indeed the staff had petitioned the BBC to ban the song.  I can only assume someone working at the hospital had mentioned the reaction to its introduction at the recent live show.

5. Kicks (The Boomtown Rats, 1977)

Musically, a lot of the teen-angst songs from the post-punk era haven’t aged spectacularly well, and Kicks, the closing track on the debut album, is no exception.  Lyrically, this one seems to have stood up well, in that it’s still the case that sixteen-year-old boys really do believe that having a girlfriend at that point in their life is the be-all-and-end-all.


1. She’s So Modern (Tonic For The Troops, 1978)

As my favourite three minutes ever from the band, this should have opened the ICA, but it somehow made sense to go instead with the debut single, so this’ll need to do for Side B.  Opening with a manic but nonsensical chant of ‘ga-ga-ga-ga’, it goes straight into the 200mph call and response chorus that is guaranteed to get the arms, legs and all accompanying parts of the body flailing helplessly across the dance floor. It’s impossible not to join in.  Reached #10 in the singles chart.

2. How Do You Do? (b-side, 1978)

I reckoned it would be a good idea to keep the frantic pace up, so I’m reaching deep for the b-side to Like Clockwork.  Quite reminiscent of many of their earlier tracks, the band were already trying to move to a different style and pace, which probably explains why the decision was taken to exclude it from Tonic For The Troops

3. Having My Picture Taken (The Fine Art of Surfacing, 1979)

One of the things I most liked about Boomtown Rats was their ability to not take things too seriously.  They never cared much about miming in time when they were on Top of The Pops, and indeed Geldof famously used all sorts of props for the saxophone break in the middle of Rat Trap.  This was a song that went down well at the Apollo show mentioned earlier, probably because in the live setting, it was quite fast, guitar-orientated and sneering as if the band really hated being famous. The album version is a tad more polished but still good fun, and gave the first hints of the sound the band would start embracing with fourth album, Mondo Bongo.

4. Mary Of The Fourth Form (The Boomtown Rats, 1977)

Musically, it’s not a million miles away from Status Quo riffs, so maybe Tony Wilson had a point.  But the idea of releasing a ‘punk’ single about a modern-day Lolita somehow seemed quite funny at the time, as there were a couple of girls in our school who talked openly about what they would love to do with certain teachers (and in particular, one who taught French).  And besides, it’s a million times better than Don’t Stand So Close To Me.

5. Like Clockwork (Tonic For The Troops, 1978)

A #6 hit in the summer of 1978.  There’s an awful lot going on in this one – the pulsing bass line that drives it along at a frantic place; the piano pieces that wouldn’t have sounded out of place if Steve Nieve was playing them on the new Elvis Costello number; the guitar breaks in the chorus that you might only pick up after repeated listens which have a touch of the Robert Fripp about them.  Not forgetting a Devo-style lyric/chorus that worms its way into your brain.  If ever a song was to be fitted into the category ‘new wave’, then this is it.

So there you have it.  I’ve resisted using anything from 1980’s Mondo Bongo, which I know will disappoint Post Punk Monk as he’s a fan of that record, but in doing so, I’ve condensed the ICA into records from a particular decade. It’s not one that stands any chance of winning any future World Cup, but if the draw lands lucky, then they could reach the later rounds.




Three extracts from ICA 12 which is the third and last of the posts that were originally scheduled for last month.

The Clash evolved and diversified like no other band that I’ve ever known in my lifetime and so the idea of dipping into their extensive catalogue and suggesting ten songs as the definitive collection – and putting them in a semblance of order that makes for great listening – is a task which, when complete, will inevitably lead to very legitimate questions about those that have been left off.

Complete Control

You’ve got to open any imaginary compilation album with a killer tune…something of an anthem which epitomizes the band or singer being featured….and I can’t think of anything better than this. One of punk rock’s greatest songs, written and recorded in frustration as the penny dropped for the band, and in particular Joe Strummer, that being a fully fledged, ideologically driven punk at the same time as being a core part of the mainstream music industry was an uncomfortable and some would say impossible position. Anger as an energy…..

White Man In Hammersmith Palais

Another song fuelled by disappointment and anger. The song title may have been derived from being let down at the dearth of talent performing at an all-night reggae gig, but the most meaningful attacks come later on as Joe delivers his very own state-of-the-nation address and in doing so outlines what was so wrong with the UK at that time. Little did he or any of us know that social disorder, racial disharmony, unfair distribution of wealth and the increasing lurch to the right-wing of the political spectrum by all mainstream parties would get a lot worse over the next decade.

This is my favourite Clash song of all time. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime tunes that comes along and embeds itself permanently in your subconscious with a lyric that educates and raises your social and political awareness. I turned 15 years of age the day after this 45 was released….it struck a chord with me then and given that, almost 37 years on*, I  still hold many of those values that forged my outlook on life, this song hasn’t dated….nor will it ever.

Stay Free

The second album is considered by many to be a weak record, but here am I going with a second successive track from it (NB – the ICA at this point was preceded by Safe European Home) and there’s no sign of the two cracking 45s that were lifted from it. It just demonstrates that Give ‘Em Enough Rope had plenty of moments to be declared as a decent and solid record rather than weak.

At 15 years of age, I was gravitating to the lyricists who were telling stories via the songs – Paul Weller was already a huge favourite and the tale of Down In The Tube Station At Midnight was, in my young mind, the greatest song lyric of all time. But not far behind was Mick Jones‘ heartfelt tribute to his best mate, who had gone spectacularly off the rails while Mick was working tirelessly to make it as a musician. This has more than stood the test of time as a great love song….

*the post was originally published on 1 May 2015.  It’s now 44 years since the songs appeared, and I like to think, that even now I’m an old fogey who is retired from working life, I still hold the same values.  Oh, and what I’d give for a Joe Strummer for the modern age.


PS : I was sure that The Clash would have been victorious in the first edition of the ICA World Cup, but were beaten 22-18 in the semi-final by The Jam.  The songs up against one another were Capital Radio 2 and Man In The Corner Shop.



The last of the Pulp singles that failed to chart, just prior to the British public sitting up and taking notice of what had been happening totally out of sight for the previous ten years.

Yup, it turned out to be more than a full decade before eventually becoming an overnight success and the first real steps on the road to Jarvis Cocker becoming a national treasure. The debut single had been My Lighthouse in 1983.  Razzmatazz was the band’s eleventh single, and their third for Gift Records, released in February 1993.  A lot of critics had thought the previous single, Babies, would have provided the breakthrough, but in the end, it didn’t really get near the charts, peaking at #80

Perhaps more importantly, was the fact that Razzmatazz was named ‘Single of The Week’ by Melody Maker leading to some increased media coverage, while there was also a promo video that actually got aired more than once during the Indie Chart segment of the Saturday morning Chart Show on ITV which got a few more folk talking about the geeky singer who was taking centre stage.

But, above all else, Gift Records had been happy to have Island Records on board to assist with the marketing push for the band, and Pulp were ready to make the jump away from indie-labels as soon as the contractual obligations had been fulfilled.  In a sense, Razzmattazz was a trial run for what was to come with the music the band would record for the albums His’n’Hers (1994) and Different Class (1995).

I always found it strange that Razzmatazz wasn’t ever re-released when Pulp crossed over into the mainstream in the same way as Babies ended up as the lead track on a later EP.  It’s a tremendous song, a bitter take on the ending of a relationship in which the protagonist, having been dumped for being too boring, takes great delight in seeing his ex go to waste while he begins to taste the fruits of success; and yes, Jarvis has long admitted there is more than a degree of the autobiographical about the tale.

It’s also, if you happen to have a vinyl copy of the single, worth a few bob as the 7″ is currently going for £100 on Discogs and the 12″, rather strangely, is slightly less (£40 and upwarads).

mp3: Pulp – Razzmatazz

The b-side of the single, whether on vinyl or CD, was identical as it consisted of a three-part suite of songs entitled Inside Susan – A Story In 3 Parts.

mp3: Pulp – Stacks
mp3: Pulp – Inside Susan
mp3: Pulp – 59 Lyndhurst Grove

The info on the back of the sleeve explains:-

….following Susan down from her Rotherham puberty through wild teen years in Sheffield to her eventual marriage and settling down somewhere on the outskirts of London.  I played these songs to Susan the other day – she just laughed and said I was being spiteful because she wouldn’t sleep with me when we first met. She also said to tell you that she’s perfectly happy where she is at the moment, thank you very much.

I really should have kept all these for the short stories’ series……….

Lipgloss, was the next single, released in November 1993, on Island Records, and it reached #50.  All the rest of Pulp’s subsequent twelve singles would comfortably get into the Top 40 and feature on the Top of The Pops rundowns.




This, in effect, is a guest posting by SWC as I’m stealing it from the post he put up at No Badger Required in late August as part of his countdown of the best songs to consist of one-word titles.

I have thought a few times about posting Stan as part of this series, but never did, as it seemed such an obvious choice.  But reading what SWC had to say about it led to a change of heart:-

“I find ‘Stan’ a difficult listen.  It’s the backdrop of domestic abuse, drug abuse, mental health, murder and drink driving that does that.  I know its just a song, but ‘Stan’ is so visual, be it the cinematic video, or the way that the lyrics paint such a vivid picture of mental health or the way that it even makes Dido sound wonderful.  It’s still a difficult listen.  If some songs make great short stories, then ‘Stan’ should be considered as a Whitbread Novel of the Year. 

Of course, its brilliant, but it is also dark and creepy.  It is also deliberately intentional, that is the point.  The song revolves around the eponymous character ‘Stan’ who is just a tiny bit obsessed with a rapper (Eminem).  He writes him letter after letter which get angrier the longer it takes Eminem to respond to them.  Meanwhile, in the background, there is a sinister undertone of domestic abuse (and mental health caused by obsessional delusion, self-mutilation, sexual confusion and paranoia) lurking.  By the third verse, which is brutally, uncomfortably graphic, Stan has drunk a bottle of vodka, consumed a bunch of downers, punched his pregnant wife (and possibly slit her throat), tied her up in the trunk of his car and driven away, he then drives off a bridge (whether this is by mistake or deliberate is not really known). 

The fourth kicks in after all that has died down and we hear Eminem telling Stan (which, fact fans, has made it into the Oxford English Dictionary as slang for ‘Stalker Fan’) not to take his lyrics literally and pleads with him to get help and then talks about the ‘car over the bridge’ incident which he has seen on the news and the whole realisation hits him.  The way that beats stops as ‘Eminem’ suddenly realises “….It was you…” is one of raps greatest moments.  But you all know this, and if you have never heard ‘Stan’ then you probably live under a rock and are probably not reading this anyway.

According to some people ‘Stan’ is widely thought of being one of the first commercially successful tracks from the ‘Horrorcore’ genre – basically rap music that is inspired by horror films, the occult, death and all that.  Eminem does state that when he was writing it he was listening to Gravediggaz hugely influential ‘6 Feet Deep’ album – which is considered by those in the know to be the ultimate horrorcore record. “

All of which is further evidence of how much of a talent SWC truly is.  If you don’t already, you should spend time over at his place, as the writing is never less than top-notch.

mp3: Eminem – Stan

My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all

And even if I could it’d all be gray
But your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad

Dear Slim, I wrote you, but you still ain’t callin’
I left my cell, my pager and my home phone at the bottom
I sent two letters back in autumn, you must not’ve got ’em
There probably was a problem at the post office or somethin’
Sometimes I scribble addresses too sloppy when I jot ’em

But anyways, fuck it, what’s been up, man? How’s your daughter?
My girlfriend’s pregnant too, I’m ’bout to be a father
If I have a daughter, guess what I’ma call her?
I’ma name her Bonnie

I read about your Uncle Ronnie too, I’m sorry
I had a friend kill himself over some bitch who didn’t want him

I know you probably hear this every day, but I’m your biggest fan
I even got the underground shit that you did with Skam

I got a room full of your posters and your pictures, man
I like the shit you did with Rawkus too, that shit was phat
Anyways, I hope you get this, man, hit me back
Just to chat, truly yours, your biggest fan, this is Stan

My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all

And even if I could it’d all be gray
But your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad

Dear Slim, you still ain’t called or wrote, I hope you have a chance
I ain’t mad, I just think it’s fucked up you don’t answer fans
If you didn’t want to talk to me outside your concert, you didn’t have to
But you coulda signed an autograph for Matthew
That’s my little brother, man, he’s only six years old
We waited in the blisterin’ cold
For you, for four hours, and you just said no

That’s pretty shitty, man, you’re like his fuckin’ idol
He wants to be just like you, man, he likes you more than I do

I ain’t that mad, though I just don’t like bein’ lied to
Remember when we met in Denver?
You said if I’d write you, you would write back
See, I’m just like you in a way: I never knew my father neither
He used to always cheat on my mom and beat her
I can relate to what you’re sayin’ in your songs
So when I have a shitty day, I drift away and put ’em on
‘Cause I don’t really got shit else
So that shit helps when I’m depressed

I even got a tattoo with your name across the chest
Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds
It’s like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me

See, everything you say is real, and I respect you ‘cause you tell it
My girlfriend’s jealous ’cause I talk about you 24/7
But she don’t know you like I know you, Slim, no one does
She don’t know what it was like for people like us growin’ up
You gotta call me, man, I’ll be the biggest fan you’ll ever lose
Sincerely yours, Stan—P.S. We should be together too

My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all

And even if I could it’d all be gray
But your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad

Dear Mr. I’m-Too-Good-to-Call-or-Write-My-Fans
This’ll be the last package I ever send your ass
It’s been six months, and still no word—I don’t deserve it?
I know you got my last two letters, I wrote the addresses on ’em perfect
So this is my cassette I’m sendin’ you, I hope you hear it
I’m in the car right now, I’m doin’ 90 on the freeway
Hey, Slim, I drank a fifth of vodka, you dare me to drive?
You know the song by Phil Collins, “In the Air of the Night”
About that guy who coulda saved that other guy from drownin’
But didn’t, then Phil saw it all, then at a show he found him?

That’s kinda how this is: you coulda rescued me from drownin’
Now it’s too late, I’m on a thousand downers now—I’m drowsy
And all I wanted was a lousy letter or a call
I hope you know I ripped all of your pictures off the wall
I loved you, Slim, we coulda been together—think about it!
You ruined it now, I hope you can’t sleep and you dream about it
And when you dream I hope you can’t sleep and you scream about it
I hope your conscience eats at you and you can’t breathe without me

See, Slim—shut up, bitch! I’m tryin’ to talk
Hey, Slim, that’s my girlfriend screamin’ in the trunk
But I didn’t slit her throat, I just tied her up—see? I ain’t like you
‘Cause if she suffocates she’ll suffer more and then she’ll die too

Well, gotta go, I’m almost at the bridge now
Oh, shit, I forgot—how am I supposed to send this shit out?!

My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all

And even if I could it’d all be gray
But your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad

Dear Stan, I meant to write you sooner, but I just been busy
You said your girlfriend’s pregnant now, how far along is she?
Look, I’m really flattered you would call your daughter that
And here’s an autograph for your brother; I wrote it on a Starter cap
I’m sorry I didn’t see you at the show, I must’ve missed you
Don’t think I did that shit intentionally just to diss you

But what’s this shit you said about you like to cut your wrists too?
I say that shit just clownin’, dawg, come on, how fucked up is you?

You got some issues, Stan, I think you need some counselin’
To help your ass from bouncin’ off the walls when you get down some
And what’s this shit about us meant to be together?
That type of shit’ll make me not want us to meet each other

I really think you and your girlfriend need each other
Or maybe you just need to treat her better
I hope you get to read this letter, I just hope it reaches you in time
Before you hurt yourself, I think that you’ll be doin’ just fine
If you relax a little, I’m glad I inspire you, but Stan
Why are you so mad? Try to understand that I do want you as a fan
I just don’t want you to do some crazy shit
I seen this one shit on the news a couple weeks ago that made me sick
Some dude was drunk and drove his car over a bridge
And had his girlfriend in the trunk, and she was pregnant with his kid

And in the car they found a tape, but they didn’t say who it was to
Come to think about it, his name was—it was you




Last week’s preview suggested that the bookies would have had a few teams installed as odds-on favourites; in other words, it looked like there were some mismatches, which turned out to be the case with three games done and dusted before sunrise on Monday morning.  The other game, however, did swing back and forth a bit for most of the week, and indeed for most of the time, there was never more than one ‘goal’ separating the teams.

In the end, it came down to Aldo, who was second-last to get involved this week, some six hours prior to the deadline.  I know that he doesn’t look at the previous submissions, and so he wouldn’t have known that him typing the words ‘Orange Juice (disputed penalty sends them through)’ would prove to be so prophetic.

Match 25 : The Sweet 31 Chumbawamba 8

Match 26 : The Triffids 10 Soft Cell 31

Match 27: Orange Juice 20 Bauhaus 19

Match 28: Comsat Angels 12 The Breeders 27

And now, it’s the final four match-ups in Round 1.

Elvis Costello (2nd in Group H) v The Who (7th in Group E)

mp3: Elvis Costello – Veronica v mp3 : The Who – I’m One

David Bowie (3rd in Group F) v Carter USM (6th in Group G)

mp3: David Bowie – The Stars (Are Out Tonight) v mp3 : Carter USM – My Second To Last Will and Testament

Davy Henderson (4th in Group E) v Terry Hall (5th in Group F)

mp3: The Sexual Objects – Here Come The Rubber Cops v mp3: Dub Pistols – Rapture (radio edit)

(a match-up between two ICAs in which the featured artist was part of more than one act)

The Cure (1st in Group G) v The Chameleons (8th in Group H)

mp3: The Cure – Pictures Of You v mp3: The Chameleons – Second Skin

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 28th of October.




This will be a painful listen if you actually take the plunge and click on today’s mp3.  I’ve this one, courtesy of it being Track 21 on Disc 5 of the Big Gold Dreams : A Story of Scotland’s Independent Music 1977 – 1989 boxset.

Here’s the accompanying text in the booklet:-

Calling their debut EP Bros Are Pish and leading with a cover of I Should Be So Lucky was quite a calling card for the Erskine-sired quartet of vocalist Phil Eaglesham (aka P6), guitarist Andy MacDonald (alias Dr. Technology), bassist Steven MacDougall (aka Mofungo Diggs) and drummer Richie Dempsey. 

Sporting gas masks and balaclavas for live shows, The Stretchheads (they soon dropped the definitive article) took their moves from the American hardcore scene, and followed that debut EP with several records on Blast First.

Groin Death appeared on Pathological Compilation, the first release on the label founded by Kevin Martin, better known these days as The Bug.  In due course, Stretchheads released the Pish In Your Sleazebag album and Barbed Anal Exciter 10″ before Eaglesham and Dempsey joined DeSalva, whose album, Mood Poisoner, was released on Mogwai’s Rock Action label.

mp3: Stretchheads – Groin Death

It does only last 80 seconds, but to some of you it will feel like an eternity.




Grant J Robson is a Scottish composer of electronica and modern orchestral soundtracks and former music producer under the moniker ‘McSleazy’.

McSleazy was at the forefront of the short-lived bootleg/mash-ups genre, as well as being an in-demand remixer.

In 2004, a vinyl EP could be picked up, consisting of four mash-ups of tracks from Franz Ferdinand‘s self-titled debut album and To The 5 Boroughs by Beastie Boys.

mp3: Franzie Boys – Triple Take
mp3: Franzie Boys – This Matinee Letter
mp3: Franzie Boys – 40ft Word
mp3: Franzie Boys – Time To Cheat On Michael

I had great hopes for this when I found it a few years ago in a second-hand store.  It wasn’t an expensive purchase, and even now it’s still widely available on Discogs for around a fiver.   Sadly, the idea and concept just feel to be better than the actual execution, but this might well be down to the fact that I’m such a huge fan of the original versions of the songs.




I think I’m reasonably well-versed in most things that come under the loose term of indie music, but the fact is that there’s always been so much out there, going back to the late 70s when my interest in buying and playing records began in my teenage years, that it really has always been an impossible task to keep up with everything.

This post is the third in a row as a result of listening again, for the first time in perhaps fifteen years, to the Indiepop compilation.

I had to look up Mary Lou Lord as I had no idea who she is.  Here’s some bio as found on her website:-

Mary Lou Lord was born in Salem Massachusetts. She was a college D.J  from the ages of 13-16.

Mary Lou attended Berklee College of music with a degree in Audio Production and Engineering. After Berklee , Mary Lou moved to London England to study at The School of Audio at Holloway Rd.

While living in London, Mary Lou began busking and thus her career as a musician was born. “I had never really thought about being a musician myself until I became a busker. It was great…I could play the same song over and over all night, and it really helped me out. The money was minimal, but it was better than being a waitress”.

Mary Lou moved back to the States and began discovering bands and artists like Daniel Johnston, Shawn Colvin, and Elliott Smith . Since many of these artists had no records out, Mary Lou would do covers of their songs to help bring attention to them as well as create a solid repertoire of songs deserving to be heard.

In the early 90’s, Mary Lou began to write her own songs and perform in the Subways and Streets of Boston and Cambridge. She attracted a very loyal following and built her fan base from the “under-ground” up. She continued finding songs and artists that were undiscovered, under-rated, and beloved by music geeks and real music fans. She often would choose songs by artists such as The Bevis Frond, Daniel Johnston, Big Star, and a then unknown band-Nirvana.

While busking one day in Harvard Square, Mary Lou met a young woman named Tinuviel Sampson. Tinuviel had started a label with a friend named Slim Moon in Olympia Washington called “Kill Rock Stars:. Mary Lou was invited by her new friend Tinuviel to go visit with her in Olympia which led to Kill Rock Stars putting one of Mary Lou’s songs (Camden Town Rain) on one of their compilation releases.

Mary Lou soon began recording for Kill Rock Stars which got attention from Major Labels who were then very interested in the Seattle/Olympia scene.

“I was in the right place at the right time-ALL the time back then. I had great ears, and my friends were true music fans. It just worked out that way.”

This turned out to be the debut 45, released on Kill Rock Stars in October 1993:-

mp3: Mary Lou Lord – Some Jingle Jangle Morning (When I’m Straight)

It’s rather lovely, dontcha think??

Mary Lou Lord continued to make music for more than twenty years, with her last album being the self-released Backstreet Angels, in 2015.  Earlier this year, Fire Records issued She’d Be A Diamond, a double album on vinyl which compiles recordings originally issued between 1993 and 2004, along with some previously unavailable demos.




The above photo is of Razorcuts, as found within an insert of their second single, Sorry To Embarrass You, released by the Subway Organisation in 1986.

My first exposure to Razorcuts wasn’t a good one.  It came via the inclusion of a track on the Cherry Red Records compilation CD86. The track was I’ll Still Be There, the b-side of their debut single, originally released on Subway.  I wrote about it in April 2015 as part of a series looking at the 48 tracks that made up CD86, and gave it a pasting on the basis that the dreadful sub-standard vocal performance bordered on the unlistenable.

I’ve since sort of apologised by posting, in July 2019, a very positive review of I Heard You The First Time, an EP from 1987 that was issued by Creation Records.

The second part of the apology comes today.

A long train journey a few weeks back led to me giving a listen to Indiepop, a 2 x CD compilation that came out through Rough Trade in 2004 – and the source of yesterday’s song from Beat Happening.  There’s also a song from Razorcuts on said compilation, the aforementioned sophomore 45:-

mp3: Razorcuts – Sorry To Embarrass You

It’s a very solid, enjoyable and catchy piece of mid-80s indie pop, albeit the vocal does occasionally verge towards being very off-key, but I suppose that all becomes part of its charm.

Here’s your b-side, all 111 seconds of it:-

mp3: Razorcuts – Summer In Your Heart




I know next to nothing about Beat Happening other than they are the band most associated with Calvin Johnson, who is regraded as something of a god by many whose musical tastes verge towards the lo-fi end of indie pop music.  He was also, of course, given more than a passing mention in the recent feature on Heavenly that was penned by The Three Musketeers.

Wiki tells me that the band formed in Olympia, Washington back in 1982 and that the other two members are Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford. There were five albums, all released between 1985 and 1992 on Johnson’s K Records label, with the latter material also being backed by either Rough Trade or Sub Pop.

It’s the link up with Rough Trade that enables today’s quite whimsical offering:-

mp3: Beat Happening – Indian Summer

It’s a track on the 1988 album, Jamboree.  But it was also included on Indiepop, a 2 x CD Rough Trade compilation released in 2004.

I’ve actually one other Beat Happening release in the collection, the Optic Nerve Records re-release of the 1987 EP, Crashing Through, which I bought on a whim last year.  I’ll maybe get round to posting it up some day.




This was the second of the three posts held over from the series which ran last month.

Some extracts from ICA 91.


Those of you who have taken the time to submit an ICA will know just how time-consuming an exercise it is, not just in getting your thoughts down on paper but having the pleasure of listening again to the back catalogue of a singer or band in the effort to find that perfect running order knowing fine well you’ll probably change your mind within a few minutes of hitting the send button.

Those of you who recall The Fall ICA from August 2015 (#29) will know that I restricted myself to selecting only from singles released in the UK. Today, I’m restricting myself to album tracks that weren’t released in the UK as a 45…..and they had to come from an album on which Bill Berry featured………which in turn meant 10 studio LPs released between 1983 and 1986……….which led me to go with one from each of them (with one exception).  Believe me, without these bye-laws for this ICA I’d still have been writing the piece come this time next year. So here is what I’ve called It’s Crazy What You Could Have Had.*

*three extracts instead of the full ten

Begin The Begin (from Lifes Rich Pageant, 1986)

This ICA opens with the opening track from the band’s fourth studio LP which, looking back, can be seen as taking the first serious steps away from being a cult indie/college band towards world domination within five years. The album tackled a range of political and ecological issues and its release seemed to coincide with Michael Stipe finally getting comfortable with the idea of the frontman being seen by so many, fans and media alike, as the spokesperson albeit he was often singing lyrics penned by one of the other members – such was the joy of having all compositions attributed to Berry-Buck-Mills-Stipe.

Begin The Begin has always been a band favourite, being played extensively at gigs and long after most of the other songs from the IRS years had been dropped to accommodate the ones the arena and stadium audiences had paid good money to hear – y’know, the 19 singles lifted from the first four albums from the 90s which have come to define the band in the eyes and to the ears of so many. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – and indeed if I hadn’t imposed bye-laws for the ICA many of those 19 singles (and indeed a number of the earlier 45s) would have made the cut. But I would still, no matter what, have opened up the ICA with what Stipe has described as an act of ‘personal, political activism’. It was the right note to strike at exactly the right time in history.

Country Feedback (from Out Of Time, 1991)

The LP which spent 109 weeks on American album charts, including two separate spells at #1 spot; it also was part of the UK album charts for 183 weeks (that’s nearly 3 ½ years FFS!!) with just a single week at #1.

It has many outstanding tracks, including this, named simply to describe its music – country rock (with pedal-steel guitar) with some feedback thrown in. It’s a rambling, slighty insane lyric that has since been claimed as coming from a single-take in the studio in which Stipe had only some prompt words written down on a piece of paper, with much of it being improvised. If this is the case, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, it is simply as extraordinary a song as has ever been written and recorded.

World Leader Pretend (from Green, 1988)

For highly personal reasons, this is up there among my all-time favourite songs by anyone, far less by R.E.M.

Let’s just say that it gave me inner strength and self-belief at a time when I was going through a lot of turmoil, not really sure if I had the ability to break out of a relationship in which I found myself trapped. There’s also an amazing live performance captured on Tourfilm in which the song’s opening is amended to name check a song by Gang of Four. (see bonus footage below)




Last week’s games were closer than most of the other ties thus far in Round 2, and indeed the match up between Caerphilly and Cincinatti swung one way and the another before the eventual winners picked up six successive late votes to prevent any penalty shoot-out.

Match 21 : Suede 25 Scritti Politti 14

Match 22 : Manic Street Preachers 18 The National 23

Match 23 : Siouxsie & The Banshees 23 Amelia Fletcher 14

Match 24: Lloyd Cole 25 v The Delgados 16

If I had been involved in voting last week, I’d have suffered three disappointments.  But hey, it’s a democracy…..for the time being!

I reckon if the bookmakers were to take a look at this week’s match-ups that some teams would be installed as odds-on favourites…….but who knows?

The Sweet (1st in Group F) v Chumbawamba (8th in Group E)

mp3: The Sweet – Ballroom Blitz v mp3 : Chumbawamba – Love Can Knock You Over

The Triffids (4th in Group H) v Soft Cell (5th in Group G)

mp3: The Triffids – Beautiful Waste v mp3 : Soft Cell – Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go?

Orange Juice (2nd in Group G) v Bauhaus (7th in Group F)

mp3: Orange Juice – Holiday Hymn v mp3: Bauhaus – Kick In The Eye

Comsat Angels (3rd in Group E) v The Breeders (6th in Group H)

mp3: Comsat Angels – You Move Me v mp3: The Breeders – Safari

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 21st of October.

PS :

For anyone wanting a break from all things World Cup-related, please feel free to take a trip to No Badger Required, where I’ve penned a guest posting for SWC offering up a nostalgic assessment of Easy Pieces, the 1985 album from Lloyd Cole & The Commotions.  Just click here.




It’s been over eight years since Strawberry Switchblade first appeared on TVV and there’s only been one appearance since, so I have no qualms about again, as I did in 2014, leaning on wiki for the back story:-

Strawberry Switchblade was a female pop rock/new wave band formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1981 by Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall.

The punk movement expanded rapidly in the United Kingdom in 1976. At the time, Rose McDowall and Jill Bryson were classic Glasgow punks. As the punk rock scene electrified Glasgow in the late ’70s, they were a part of the bohemian art scene who adored the New York Dolls and who followed Scottish punk band Nu-Sonics during their career, with McDowall playing and recording with Paisley punk band The Poems.

Bryson studied for four years at the Glasgow School of Art where she achieved a BA honours degree in mixed media.

As friends, McDowall and Bryson socialised in Glasgow pubs, catching many local bands at the time. One of these bands was Orange Juice, fronted by Edwyn Collins. Members of New Pop and Orange Juice had recorded a live version of “Felicity” as a flexi-disc and intended to release it. A fanzine, to be titled Strawberry Switchblade after a James Kirk song, was planned to promote the flexi-disc but never materialised. The “Felicity” flexi-disc was eventually released in conjunction with the debut Orange Juice single, “Falling and Laughing”. McDowall and Bryson adopted the fanzine title as their band name.

Strawberry Switchblade played at a John Peel gig in Scotland, and he invited them to record a session for his BBC Radio 1 show in October 1982.They also recorded a session for David Jensen’s Radio 1 show three days later. On both sessions the band were augmented by James Kirk from Orange Juice on bass and Shahid Sarwar from The Recognitions on drums.

The sessions were heard by Bill Drummond (a Scottish musician who went on to form The KLF) and David Balfe, respectively manager and keyboard player with the recently defunct The Teardrop Explodes, who became the group’s managers.

The band’s first single, “Trees and Flowers”, was released in July 1983 through 92 Happy Customers, an independent record label run by Will Sergeant from Echo & The Bunnymen,and sold over 10,000 copies. It was featured at number 47 in John Peel’s 1983 Festive 50. “Trees and Flowers” was written by Bryson about her medical condition agoraphobia.

Drummond signed the band to Warner Music Group subsidiary Korova in 1983. They got a full backing band with whom they toured and began recording an album with producer Robin Millar. However, at the record company’s behest, they reverted to the duo of Bryson and McDowall and for production duties they hired David Motion, who would soon go on to produce hits for Red Box.

In late 1984 their second single, “Since Yesterday”, was released. Having been given a large marketing push over the festive period, it became a UK top ten hit in early 1985, peaking at number 5, and also met with success in Europe and Japan.

The track’s opening fanfare came from Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5, which had also featured prominently in the coda section of the earlier hit “Beach Baby” by The First Class. The band’s’ strikingly contrasting black and white wardrobe, including the polka dot rah-rah skirts worn for the sleeve of “Since Yesterday”, attracted coverage at the time. Their somewhat ‘gothic’ appearance was also of note.

In March 1985 they released their next single, “Let Her Go”, a tune in a similar vein to “Since Yesterday”.

Following the release of their eponymous album in April, in May 1985 they released a further single, the ballad “Who Knows What Love Is”, one of two tracks on the album produced by Phil Thornally of The Cure.

Their fifth single, an electro-pop cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, was issued in September 1985 in the UK and Japan.

Although their commercial success had waned in the UK they remained popular in Japan and two later singles, “Ecstasy (Apple of My Eye)” and “I Can Feel”, were only issued in that country. The second of these only featured McDowall as by this time the partnership had irreparably fractured. By early 1986, the group had disbanded.

In December 2005, Warner Bros. Platinum Records released a career retrospective of the band, made up of sixteen different tracks from various recordings on one compact disc.

I’ve previously featured the first two singles but the collection lining the shelves at Villain Towers also includes two of the later singles:-

mp3: Strawberry Switchblade – Let Her Go
mp3: Strawberry Switchblade – Jolene

Despite the fact that the entire discography of Strawberry Switchblade consists of just one studio album, two compilation albums, EP, seven singles, and thirteen b-sides, there is a possibility that I might offer up an ICA at some future point.




I felt sorry that The Ramones departed the ICA World Cup on penalties in Round 1, losing out to Stevie Wonder after a 24-24 draw.

The Ramones ICA was the work of the much-missed Dirk, aka Sexy Loser.  I’ve been in touch, by e-mail, with our German friend who tells me that things at work and home are such that he’s not had the time, energy or inclination to get his blog moving again. I am hopeful, however, that he might be able to offer up an occasional guest posting here at TVV.

Dirk’s ICA didn’t include The Ramones biggest hit single, which reached #8 in mid-February 1980, during a nine-week stay in the Top 75.

mp3: The Ramones – Baby I Love You

It was also on the album End Of The Century, from which Dirk selected Danny Says for his ICA.  He had this to say about the album:-

“The album was produced by Phil Spector, famous through his work with The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, The Beatles and John Lennon, among others.

During the studio work, Spector’s recording methods were different from those the Ramones were accustomed to from their four previous studio albums. The band recorded their earlier compositions in the shortest time possible for the lowest feasible budget, with a relatively low production value. With End of the Century, the band experienced Spector’s infamous perfectionism, and a budget of $200,000 to fully record and produce the album.

This method of recording caused conflicts to arise. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone wrote of Spector’s obsessive techniques: “Phil would sit in the control room and would listen through the headphones to Marky hit one note on the drum, hour after hour, after hour, after hour.” During the recording of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, Johnny was forced by Spector to repeat his part hundreds of times over the course of several hours. Sire Records owner Seymour Stein relates: “To Johnny, this must have been like the Chinese water torture.”

As for the decision to record Baby I Love You, it is alleged that Spector held the band at gunpoint to ensure they would cover the song, although the tale has since been suggested as an urban myth. Although not that well-received by the critics, it proved to be popular across radio stations, with all sorts of airings throughout the day, and subsequently bought by many tens of thousands of record buyers in the UK.  The fact it was a Top Ten hit hasn’t changed many folks opinions – a retrospective review of End of The Century for Pitchfork had Evan Minsker writing that “even with a full understanding of End of the Century’s context, “Baby, I Love You” is jarring” and “is a museum piece—a pound-for-pound attempt to relive Spector’s golden years”

The b-side to the single was the final track on the b-side of End of The Century:-

mp3: The Ramones – High Risk Insurance

As the back of the picture sleeve reveals, Baby I Love You was climbing the charts while the band were on an extensive UK tour.


I wonder if anyone actually went along to any of the gigs expecting to see a band playing with a full-blown orchestra……..




The title of today’s posting was a throwaway remark included in the information sheet pulled together for FAC 9 on 13 September 1979 (see yesterday’s blog post for more info).

By September 1979, Devo, from Cleveland, Ohio, had been together for six years, with their back catalogue consisting of a handful of singles (the first of which was released in 1977) and two studio albums.  Prior to releasing any music, they had found some underground fame (and become hip) for the fact that their music was released via films and videos rather than on vinyl, but this was really down to the fact that many in the industry regarded them as a joke band and no record deals were on offer.

I don’t know if Devo were ever hip once they became a conventional act, but a little over a year after FAC 9 had posed the question, they were bona fide chart stars in their home country:-

mp3 : Devo – Whip It

From wiki:-

“Whip It” debuted at number eighty-five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on August 30, 1980. It spent twenty-five weeks on the chart, peaked at number fourteen on November 15, 1980, and finished the year at number ninety-four on the Billboard Year-End singles chart for 1981. In the U.S., the song also reached number thirteen on the Cash Box Top 100, number eight on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, and number seventeen on the Record World Singles chart. “Whip It” found international success, peaking at number seventy-seven on the Australian Kent Music Report, number eleven on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart, number eleven on the Official New Zealand Music Chart, and number fifty-one on the UK Singles Chart.

Here’s the b-side to the hit 45:-

mp3 : Devo – Snowball

As it turned out, Devo, despite a recording career that encompassed 25 releases, never bothered the US or UK singles charts again.  Nor did any of their studio albums from the late 80s onwards sell in any great numbers, but they have continued to generate a lot of positive press and sell out decent sized venues whenever they tour.




I haven’t forgotten about this planned short series on the contents of the Use Hearing Protection : Factory Records 1978-79 box set, albeit there hasn’t been a posting since 29 July.  It’s the fact that Joy Division are so heavily involved in what would be the final two parts, and are still in the ICA World Cup, that has made me hold things back.

FAC 9 was a film/event on 13 September 1979 at Scala Cinema in the King’s Cross area of London.  A Factory information sheet at the time provided this info:-

FAC 9; Matrix number for films made on factory records money; the first three are by Charles Salem, accomplished and super ‘8’ stock, and featuring minimalist tendencies as far as the budget is concerned, and celluloid nod in the direction of the aesthetics of ’75. The normal budget for a three-minute film will be in the region of ten pounds; normal equipment being a cheap camera and a cassette player to furnish the desired soundtrack; sync being achieved by careful synchronous pressing of buttons. To cope with the new commodity relations defined by this ‘you only have to know three chords’ approach to Hollywood, the Scala have installed for today an 8mm projector. These films are offered in the hope that other people will begin squirting off 8mm as visual refractions of their favourite music or other obsessions, and further arenas will invest in (cheap) 8mm projectors. Super.

FILM 1; “Red Dress” LUDUS

Animations to accompany track by Ludus, a Manchester four-piece band who work out of the New Hormones stable. Vocals by Linder, lady responsible for ‘The Secret Public’ and Orgasm addict ironing/nude.


Amplification of article by Liz Naylor in the Manchester fanzine, ‘City Fun’, entitled ‘No City Fun’. Music is by the last thing to come out of Manchester that got its pic on the front of N.M.E., Joy Division, three tracks being taken from their “Unknown Pleasures” album. FACT 10. c.f. Londoners; if you don’t know who the last gentleman in the film is………….. you SOON will.

FILM 3: “All Night Party” A CERTAIN RATIO

Visuals for a classic modern single which sold shit, but no accounting for the assholes in the press FAC 5. ‘Being in love means never having to say sorry to Claude Lelouch.’

Films 1 to 3 were made by Charles Salem for Factory, Film one being also done under the aegis of New Horwones; you see they have this lawyer……….

FILM 4: “Joy Division” JOY DIVISION

This film by Malcolm Whitehead was also made on super 8, but this time with stripe sound put on via his projector, syncing it took him seven months. For those with a geographical turn of mind, the concert footage was shot in the Bowden Vale youth club, Altrincham. A film made cause he liked the band/more than anything else, and likes cameras; he is more surprised that it’s being shown in this flash London cinema than you are.

ALSO SHOWING: Wonderful promotional films (what were the above???)

P.S. Will Devo ever be hip again?


A small home videotape of a variety of modern music items screened by Granada Television in the North-West (yes, Manchester, like) in 1976 and 1977. Many of the items were only shown in the North West, and act here (as a disincentive to leave the bar as deep background ; the kind of TV stuff that young Mancunians were watching back in the days when anarchy really meant anarchy.. T?shirts. Since these are home taped videos shown for collectors interest as opposed to gain of any sort, it is emphasized that any writers/critics/hacks chancing upon them should not mention having seen them; and that in general they should be taken in the spirit they are intended; homage to the already golden age………..

Love, the Factory.

The Use Hearing Protection box set included a DVD copy of the No City Fun film as detailed above.  It’s a fascinating artefact of the era when cars were (relatively) fewer on the streets, when most folk rented their televisions, and when magazines or publications took a minimalist approach to graphic design. It was an age of brutalist architecture, of orange and white double-decker buses, and developers had yet to get their hands on every spare piece of vacant or derelict land.

mp3: Joy Division – Disorder

It was never a secret but as has been indicated above, FAC 10, which will be the final part of this short series, is Unknown Pleasures….but that’s for another day.