This is just the third individual appearance on TVV by Biff Bang Pow!

The debut came in August 2015 as the 25th act to be featured in the still-running Saturday’s Scottish Song series.  As I said at the time, some might argue that Biff Bang Pow! were a London band given that was where they were formed, but as they centred around Alan McGhee I decided they merited a place in the series.  It was also the case in August 2015 that the TVV collection contained just one song by the band, courtesy of She Paints being included on the Doing It For The Kids compilation issued by Creation Records.

The most recent appearance was in January 2021, in response to a request from someone I reckon might be the blog’s only reader in Chile.  Ozzy, (or Osvaldo to give him his ‘proper’ name) had e-mailed me asking if I could upload something by Biff Bang Pow! as he’d enjoyed hearing the song Hug Me Honey when he tuned into an online station based in Switzerland. I was happy to do so and revealed that my collection had expanded to five songs in the intervening period since August 2015.

That’s all changed in recent weeks, thanks to my patronage of Last Night From Glasgow, as I received an advance copy of an album about to be reissued after many years of being out of print.

The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel was originally released by Creation in March 1987.  It was the band’s second album.  There’s an interesting review/description of it over at the Trouser Press website:-

Poorly produced with thin, shrill sound, The Girl Who Runs the Beat Hotel reveals much stronger, more attractive songwriting. “Someone Stole My Wheels” and “The Happiest Girl in the World” are convincing period pieces colored in with, respectively, prominent organ and female vocals; “Five Minutes in the Life of Greenwood Goulding” uses crazy backwards guitars. Strangely, McGee’s vocals suggest Robert Smith on “Love’s Going Out of Fashion” and Lloyd Cole on “He Don’t Need That Girl.” The melodies and varied arrangements are stylishly appropriate, but the botched mix prevents them from being fully appreciated. The 12-inch of “Love’s Going Out of Fashion” avoids that sonic pothole and includes three atmospheric non-LP tracks.

The LNFG reissue, hopefully, will resolve some of the issues raised in the above review as it has been remastered by the very skilful and talented Paul McGeechan whose name has been mentioned a few times round these parts.  It’s also an expanded version of the album, with four additional tracks that had previously appeared as b-sides from the same period.

I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable a listen the album proved to be.  As much as Alan McGhee would hate anyone to say it, there’s an awful lot of the spiky and tuneful pop sounds of the likes of Josef K, Orange Juice and The Bluebells threatening to break out amidst the artful or psychedelia 60s influenced songs that I was anticipating from what little I knew of their material beforehand. The album arrived as part of the subscription I have with LNFG and it wouldn’t, in normal circumstances, have been something I’d likely have made as a speculative purchase.  I had fully expected that, after one listen, it would have found its way onto the shelf almost in an ‘out of sight’ fashion, but a few weeks on it’s still sitting close to the turntable readily available to be given further spins.

I haven’t quite got round to doing any vinyl rips as yet, so here’s a couple of unmastered tracks, that were also released as singles back in the day:-

mp3 : Biff Bang Pow! – Love’s Going Out Of Fashion
mp3 : Biff Bang Pow! – Someone Stole My Wheels

And here’s the one song I previously knew from the album, courtesy of it being included within the box set Make More Noise – Women In Independent UK Music 1977-1987. The vocals on this one are handled by Christine Wanless (who also co-wrote the song) despite her never seemingly ever being acknowledged as being part of the band.

mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – If I Die

The Girl Who Runs The Beat Motel does come highly recommended.  I’m not sure when the official release date is, but you can pre-order from LNFG by clicking here.



Now, it may well be that the blog attracts more than one reader from Chile, and if so, then I’m thrilled beyond belief. I do know that Ozzy (or Osvaldo to give him his ‘proper’ name) has been a regular for a few years, sending me the occasional e-mail with thoughts, observations, and the occasional request, such as just before Christmas when he said:-

“Any chance of uploading something by Biff Bang Pow!? I heard ” Hug Me Honey” on 80s forever (an online radio station from Switzerland). The album is Sad-eyed Girl (1990). I got the previous one The Acid House Album. It sounds good.”

I’m always happy to meet requests as best I can, but I only have five songs from Biff Bang Pow! on the hard drive, and all of them have through compilations. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s wiki:-

“Biff Bang Pow! were an indie pop band from London, England, active between 1983 and 1991, centering on Creation Records boss Alan McGee.

McGee had previously been in the band The Laughing Apple, who released three singles in 1981/82. After moving to London, he formed a new band, Biff Bang Pow!, taking their name from a song by one of his favourite bands, The Creation. The first release on Creation Records, “’73 in ’83” by The Legend! came with a flexi-disc featuring Laughing Apple’s “Wouldn’t You”, a song that would later appear on the first Biff Bang Pow! album.

The initial Biff Bang Pow! line-up was McGee on guitar and vocals, with Dick Green on guitar, Joe Foster on bass, and Ken Popple on drums, these recording the first 2 singles “50 Years of Fun” and “There Must Be A Better Life”.

Dave Evans then replaced Foster (who went solo as Slaughter Joe), and guitarist/organist Andrew Innes (later to join Primal Scream) joined on a part-time basis. Debut album Pass The Paintbrush…Honey was released in early 1985, displaying a mixture of mod, psychedelia, and new wave influences. 1986 saw arguably the band’s strongest album The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel, which expanded on the first album’s psychedelic and sixties pop influences, and featured collaborations with artist/painter JC Brouchard. This album coincided with the peak of the first wave of indie pop and as this gave way to shoegazing and grunge, Creation Records also moved in that direction, with the label increasingly being associated with artists such as My Bloody Valentine and Ride. With Biff Bang Pow!, however, McGee continued with guitar pop, becoming increasingly melancholy with releases such as Oblivion (1987), Love Is Forever (1988), Songs For The Sad Eyed Girl (1990), and Me (1991), which proved to be the last album proper by the band. Two compilations, L’Amour, Demure, Stenhousemuir and Debasement Tapes were subsequently released on Creation, with Bertula Bop released in 1994 on the Tristar label. A further collection, Waterbomb, compiled by Joe Foster, was released on Rev-Ola in 2003.”

Here’s four of what I have and where they were taken from:-

mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – The Chocolate Elephant Man (from Scared To Get Happy, 2013)
mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – She Paints (from Doing It For The Kids, 1988)
mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – In A Mourning Town (from C87, 2016)
mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – There Must Be A Better Life (from Big Gold Dreams, 2019)

The fifth track appears on a boxset I bought last year, Make More Noise – Women In Independent UK Music 1977-1987. And yet, the wiki bio of the band is exclusively male…..

Here’s the blurb in the boxset:-

Christine Wanless was a veteran of the scene which grew up around Creation Records in the mid-1980sby the time her self-penned ‘If I Die’ appeared on Biff Bang Pow’s The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel album in 1987. Having been part of the near mythical Formica Tops, Wanless, who was officially a member of Revolving Paint Dream (who shared members with Biff Bang Pow), had been present on the label’s second single, was involved with label mainstay Andrew Innes and would become Label Manager as the venture grew. if i die was a standout on an album many consider to be Biff Bang Pow’s finest:-

mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – If I Die

Hope that’s put a smile on your face, Ozzy.




I debated this one in my head.  Some would argue that Biff Bang Pow! were a London band given that was where they were formed.  But as they centred around Alan McGhee I’ve decided they merit a place in this series.

McGee had previously been in The Laughing Apple who had released three singles in the early 80s.  Having moved from Glasgow to London he formed Biff Bang Pow!, whose initial  line-up was McGee on guitar and vocals,  Dick Green on guitar, Joe Foster on bass, and Ken Popple on drums but after two singles Dave Evans replaced Foster (who went solo as Slaughter Joe), while and guitarist/organist Andrew Innes (later to join Primal Scream) joined on a part-time basis.

They were naturally part of the Creation label and over a seven year period they released a total of 13 singles or albums none of which sold in any huge quantities.

I only have one of their songs and it came courtesy of its inclusion on a compilation CD:-

mp3 : Biff Bang Pow! – She Paints

I’ve done some digging and discovered it is the b-side of a 1988 single called She Haunts which I had a listen to on-line and thought was half-decent.