A RATHER UNUSUAL SLEEVE

The Lightning Seeds released their sophomore album Sense in April 1992. The first single lifted from the LP had been The Life of Riley which, for a pop song of such quality, disappointingly stalled at #28.

The label decided that the follow-up should be the title track of the LP, a song that Ian Broudie had co-written with Terry Hall. Again, it was another 45 tailor-made for radio play and to further boost sales it was decided that the 12″ version should not only contain a wonderfully dreamy remix of the previous single but two very fine cover versions, one of which saw Ian’s new band tackle a song by his old band while the other was a rather gorgeous piano ballad. Oh, and a gimmick was thrown in too, with the sleeve having a special strip that was sensitive to heat and when warmed in any way would reveal the word ‘Sense’ as if by magic. It worked too…although it was useful to remember to remove the actual record from the sleeve in advance so that you didn’t do it any damage.

None of which, however, led to any huge sales and the single stalled at #31 despite, as I mentioned earlier, having four songs of genuine quality:-

mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Sense
mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Flaming Sword
mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Hang On To A Dream
mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – The Life of Riley (remix)

A sunny foursome which seem appropriate for this time of year.

JC

THIS IS A VERY VERY VERY FINE POP RECORD

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Ian Broudie was a big part of the Liverpool new wave scene in the late 1970s. A member of Big in Japan (which also featured Holly Johnson and Bill Drummond) he then formed The Original Mirrors in the early ’80s, and was credited as a member of Bette Bright and the Illuminations on their lone album from 1981.

In 1983, he formed the band Care with vocalist Paul Simpson and the duo released three outstanding singles before breaking up. Though he was a busy writer, performer and session musician through the 1980s, Broudie was much more well-known a producer, working with Echo and The Bunnymen, The Icicle Works, The Colourfield, The Pale Fountains and The Fall amongst many others, often using the pseudonym Kingbird”.

In 1989, Broudie began recording alone under the name The Lightning Seeds – he has since said it was an experiment to see if he could cut it as a muso – and in this guise as a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer, he would achieve much success beginning with this wonderful debut single:-

mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Pure

A #16 hit in the UK, the two follow-up singles from debut LP Cloudcuckooland failed abysmally and like most folk, I reckoned that could very well have been the end of The Lightning Seeds. But two years later, he/they returned and hit the Top 30 with Sense and for much of the rest of the decade became chart regulars, picking up lots of new fans in particular after the huge success of Three Lions, the official anthem of the England football side for the Euro 96 championships.

Some of the later material might have been bigger hits, but I don’t think there was ever anything better than that debut single. Here’s the excellent b-sides from the 12″ copy that’s been sitting in the cupboard all these years after I picked it up for 99p in a bargain bin in Woolworth’s.

mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Fools
mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – God Help Them

Enjoy.

MORE CULT CLASSICS…

Care

I mentioned them in passing just 48 hours ago and couldn’t resist the temptation to re-tell the story.

Care was primarily a coming together of Ian Broudie and Paul Simpson.

The former is best known as the man behind The Lightning Seeds, but he’s been part of the music scene in his native Liverpool since the late 70s, initially as part of the new wave band Big In Japan (who also featured Holly Johnson who found fame with Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Bill Drummond, likewise with The KLF).

I remember hearing their debut single one evening on either the David Jensen or Janice Long show on Radio 1 and being knocked out by what was then a pretty unusual and distinctive mix of acoustic guitars and synthesisers. I tracked the record down the following day.

It was on a major label – Arista Records. The production team was Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley who at the time were probably the biggest name producers in the UK. But despite considerable airplay in the evenings, it didn’t make the then crucial A-list at Radio 1 and the single faded into obscurity.

The follow-up single was a Kingbird production, which was one of the names that Broudie used. It also flopped.

Single number three did the same, despite at least one TV promo slot on the Oxford Road Show (I know this as I still have the clip on VHS tape).

Care then broke up in the summer of 1984 without bothering to release their debut album which only then saw the light of day in 1997 as a CD entitled Diamonds & Emeralds. The band were referred to as Care featuring Ian Brodie.

The cash-in was of course completely cynical as it came hot on the heels of The Lightning Seeds biggest success with the football anthem Three Lions that was adopted by the supporters of England during their hosting of Euro 96.

But if a small handful of those who were new to Broudie’s talents were drawn to this album by association, they would hopefully have found much to enjoy.

And here are the afore-mentioned three singles in the order that they were released:-

mp3 : Care – My Boyish Days (drink to me)
mp3 : Care – Flaming Sword
mp3 : Care – Whatever Possessed You

The first two are the 12″ versions.

Flaming Sword was later re-recorded om 1992 by The Lightning Seeds as the b-side to their Top 40 single Sense. And here it is:-

mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Flaming Sword

Not much difference you’ll find which shows either the 1983 recording was ahead of its time or the 1992 recording was immediately retro. Whatever. I just think its a great pop song that should have been a massive hit.

Oh and if any of you out there have a 12″ copy of Whatever Possessed You and would like it to go to a good home alongside many other pieces of vinyl, then I’d be delighted to offer said home….

Enjoy!!