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.



  1. Ain’t That Enough is completely sublime, maybe my favourite TFC single. One of Gerard’s I’m assuming? Never heard a properly decent VU cover by anybody, but FF is a game try.

  2. Songs From Northern Britain is one of a handful of near perfect albums that come to mind whenever I take the time to sit and consider such things (The Sundays’ debut is another). The band at the very top of their game.

  3. Their best song, their best album. Shocking they only ever had the one top 20 hit, even more shocking it only reached #17. But that, I suppose, sums up the “Great” British record-buying public.

  4. Never really came around to Teenage Fanclub, if I’m honest. Today’s track is pleasant enough, but the band always sounded like they wanted to be someone else.

    But to address our friend Chaval, I recommend a listen to the Cowboy Junkies’ version of ‘Sweet Jane’, one of Bowie’s versions of ‘White Light/White Heat’, and the Feelies take on ‘What Goes On.’ And then there’s a whole record of covers called “I’ll be Your Mirror” that has a few interesting goes by the likes of Michael Stipe, St. Vincent, Courtney Barnett, Beck etc.

  5. I agree with the Robster – best single on the best album. I do feel at TFC gigs there are quite a few intoxicated individuals who only want to hear stuff off the first album which is (lets be honest) patchy..

  6. It’s A Bad World off the same album is the absolute one for me but this is a great song too. Best album, agreed. And I agree with JTFL too about Cowboy Junkies and their cover of Sweet Jane, sublime.

  7. This being their biggest chart hit surprises me, so thank you for letting me know. I am also taken aback that ‘Grand Prix’ wasn’t their biggest chart album, but maybe sustained sales might make it their most successful. I loved that album, and one of my guinea pigs was called Sparky after their song, her mother was Strummer, but that’s another story.
    I don’t reply and comment often enough, but always find your posts interesting and informative. Yours aye, David

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