Oops!!!  I didn’t mean to have such a long gap between Parts 69 and 70 of this occasional series.  It’s been three months……

According to wiki, Sugar were named in a waffle house restaurant in Athens, Georgia when Bob Mould spotted a sugar packet on the table where he and the other two band members were sitting.

It’s a hard one to believe, but there is no doubting that the band came together not long after Bob Mould had been dropped by a record label that was disappointed with the critical and commercial failure of his two solo albums released after the break-up of Hüsker Dü.  He subsequently linked up with David Barbe and Malcolm Travis to form a new alt-rock power-pop influenced trio.

Success came quite quickly.  Their first shows were in 1992, and they were soon signed to Ryodisc in their home country and to Creation Records in the UK.  It was the latter who got the first new material release, a single on CD and 12″ vinyl, in August 1992:-

mp3: Sugar – Changes

The single, released on CD and 12″, didn’t chart, but had received a couple of good write-ups in the UK music papers, some of whose writers were delighted to see Bob Mould making a comeback as the cult of Hüsker Dü hadn’t really dissipated.

A few weeks later, the debut album Copper Blue was released.  The positive critical response was near-universal, and no publication was more excited than the NME which later named it ‘Album of the Year’ for 1992.

Copper Blue did go Top 10 in the UK, but was only in the charts for seven weeks.  The NME accolade didn’t do much for sales, but there was a revival sales-wise when a later single, If I Can’t Change Your Mind, reached the top 30 in January 1993 (another example of how good a year that actually was for music).

The hit single had actually been previously released, in a different form, as one of the three other tracks on Changes:

mp3: Sugar – Needle Hits E
mp3: Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind (solo mix)
mp3: Sugar – Try Again

All told, it made for a very enjoyable debut.  The sticker on my CD cover tells me I paid £3.99 for it…..we really were getting ripped-off price wise thirty-plus years ago.



  1. What an LP. I didn’t buy the Bob Mould solo records – no idea why – but was a fan of Husker Du. When Mould ‘came out’ it could have proved a considerable risk in the midst of a post grunge, cock-rock vacuum – instead, few eyebrows were raised. Why should they be?

    Copper Blue always felt to me like a pop record and one that I do return to. The singles were excellent but too many off one LP for my liking.

  2. My first year of teaching was 1992. I remember proclaiming to my students that the bands you will still be hearing about in 30 years time would be Sugar and The Smashing Pumpkins… TBF that hasn’t proved to be the case but i could have been saying a band like menswear…..

  3. Ripped off for CDs in the early 90’s? Oh yes! I picked up a clutch of Beatles CD’s in a charidee shoppe the other week. The complete run of 8 CD’s from Rubber Soul to Let It Be (even had the Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD in there too!). The CD copy of Revolver dated from 1988 and had an Our Price sticker with £16.99 on it! Someone paid that! Or shoplifted it. The charidee shoppe was selling cds at 4 for £1 and so I lifted 8 Beatles CD’s for £2. Late 80’s early 90’s … people today would not believe what was being charged for CD’s.

  4. Sugar hit me from out of the blue as I had never paid an iota of interest to Hüsker Dü or Bob Mould! But, wow, that was top flight Rock music. All of a sudden I was buying everything Sugar released. I think I’d have to go back to The Cars’ debut album to find a first album that was utterly like a greatest hits album to such a degree. None of the other Sugar albums had the same combo of songs and performance, but I’ll forgive them for what “Copper Blue” delivered. I had no idea the band name’s origing had the “Awffle House” to thank!

    As for prices, in 1992 I was still “collecting” artists. If an act had UK CD singles, I typically paid $10.00-$12.00 for CD1/CD2! So I would buy the album for $12.99 [Up to $25 if it was an import, as much of my listening was], then $20 for each pair of singles from the album. The album campaign could see me paying upwards to $100 for the while shebang. It’s just how we rocked back then. Now we pay $12.99 for a 7″ single!!!

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