“The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Paul Haig is just about the most important Scottish musician of my generation. He’s really proved to be our equivalent of Bowie, with his constant shifting of musical genres over a career that stretches back more than 40 years, albeit with a very small minuscule of commercial success in comparison

“I really must get round to finishing that long-delayed Paul Haig ICA.”

Those were my opening and closing paras last November when I featured him in the long-running Saturday Songs series. The reason it has been so long-delated is the amount of choice.  I’m not including any of the Josef K material, nor anything that he released alongside the late and great Billy Mackenzie, but I was still looking at a long list of more than 40 potential songs for inclusion.

It’s been a labour of love.  Again, I’m not going to argue these are the ten ‘best’ Paul Haig songs, but I do feel they hang together as a fine compilation album.


1) Heaven Sent (single, and opening track on Rhythm of Life, 1983)

A song dating from the Josef K days, and one which the band had performed in their trademark way, complete with angular, jarring guitars that meant a raincoat was essential if you really wanted to get on the floor and give it a dance.  This radical transformation, with production duties handled by Alex Sadkin, (a person mentioned in the Chris Frantz book I reviewed last week) who was probably best known for his work with Grace Jones, showed how much and how quickly Paul wanted to move on and do something totally different.  All of his early solo work formed part of the soundtrack to my student days, and I make no apologies that a few songs from that era will feature in this ICA.

2) I Believe In You (single, and opening track on Coincidence vs, Fate, 1993)

No matter how hard Paul Haig tried, he just couldn’t ever get that elusive hit single.  I Believe In You was his 14th go at things, and this marvellous, radio-friendly pop/dance effort, with more than a hint of house high up in the mix, was another instance when justice wasn’t done,  Talking of which….

3) Justice (single and track 8 on Rhythm of Life, 1983)

A version of Justice had been recorded in 1982, with the aim of having it issued as a single via Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule.   The big contract with Island Records put a spoke in that wheel, meaning that a track which sounded in many ways like the New Life/See You era of Depeche Mode, was given the Sadkin treatment, and became, arguably, the most instant and accessible of all the tracks on the debut album.  The label likely had high hopes for this to be a big single, ideally coming on the back of a previous hit, but given that the radio stations and the record-buying public were proving to be disinterested, it was given just a low-key release.  Another that should’ve been much better known…

4) Over Over (track 3 on Cinematique 3, 2003)

Cinematique 3 was the final in a series of three instrumental albums subtitled “Themes to Unknown Films”. The previous two volumes had been released in 1991 and 2001, the first on Les Disques du Crépuscule, but the final two volumes came out on Paul’s own label, Rhythm Of Life (which was, of course, the title of the debut album on Island Records back in 1983). RoL had actually been the name under which Paul had issued a number of side projects immediately after the break-up of Josef K, and such was his love of the name that he resurrected it at the tail end of the 20th Century and has used it for all his releases ever since.

5) Something Good (10″ version, 1989)

Lifted from a previous blog post:-

In 1988, Paul Haig took a very bold and brave step by fully financing the recording of his next album himself without the safety net of a guaranteed release. He again worked with Alan Rankine and thankfully for all concerned, it was picked up by Circa Records, an offshoot of Virgin. Hopes were high, particularly for the release of an outstanding and poptastic leadoff single, Something Good, which was released in 7″, 12″ and 12″ remix form and tailor-made for radio play and an appearance on Top of The Pops. But….once again, Paul was denied by the pop gods with him again being in the wrong place at the wrong time with Madchester all the rage and synth-pop well out of fashion. And yet, when you listen to Something Good, and indeed some of other tracks on parent album Chain, it’s not a million miles away from some of the less clubby tracks on Technique by New Order (e.g. Run).


1) Round and Round (track 6 on Relive, 2009)

Come the early years of the 21st Century, a few members of the emerging bands were making noises that Paul Haig had been something of an influence in their formative years.  This led to a bit more interest in the great man and he released two albums in quick succession – Go Out Tonight (2008) and Relive (2009) with the guitars more to the fore than recent years, albeit there remained a very healthy dose of keyboards/electronica.  He was also more than happy to go back to old material and give it a fresh update, such as this one, co-written with Malcolm Ross, his mate from the Josef K days, which had already seen light of day on one of Ross’s solo albums as far back as 1995.

2) Big Blue World (12″ single, 1984)

3) The Only Truth (single, 1984)

The cut-throat nature of the record industry meant that Island Records weren’t the slightest bit interested in Paul Haig after the debut album had stiffed.  Even when he came up with the very radio-friendly Big Blue World, on which he worked very closely with Alan Rankine not long after he had taken his leave of Associates, they turned it down which meant he was free to issue it as a 45 on Operation Afterglow, an offshoot of Les Disques du Crépuscule, but inevitably things were done on a shoestring budget and nobody got to hear it.  Mind you, the fact it came out on such small label did make it eligible for the indie charts and it managed to reach #19.

Work on the follow-up, The Only Truth, saw Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Donald Johnson (A Certain Ratio) take on joint production duties.  Sniffing a commercial opportunity, Island Records decided this one should go out on license, thus it was given an Island catalogue number, but the label in the middle of the record indicated it was another Les Disques du Crépuscule, albeit it was very much bankrolled by the major.  After it flopped, Island decided to drop Paul Haig and shelved the plans for a second album, much of which had already been recorded.

4) Chained (track 10 on Chain, 1989)

The first hook up with Billy Mackenzie came in the mid-80s, and was the kindling of a close friendship over many years until Billy’s sad demise.  They decided that each would write a song for the other’s next LP, and the quite majestuic Chained subsequently was included on Chain in 1989 – an album that just happened to be produced jointly by Paul Haig and Alan Rankine.

NB: Paul’s song for Billy was Reach The Top, which was recorded for the Associates album The Glamour Chase, due also for release in 1989 but shelved by the record label, and only given a posthumous release in 2003.

5) Chasing The Tail (opening track on The Wood, 2018)

This ICA closes off with some music from the most recent album.  His ability to still astound, astonish and delight can be evidenced by this review from Louder Than War:-

It’s a long time since Paul Haig split from Josef K. In the fact he’s been producing solo records since 1982, so perhaps it’s high time to put the post-punk spectre to one side and look at what is happening in the here and now because Paul’s new record shares next to nothing with that band. Maybe a similar spirit of adventure, but sonically a world away. The Wood finds Haig exploring samples, beats, electronics and ‘found sound’ to sculpt something that’s split into eight parts, but very much fit together as a whole. A soundscape of the strange and strangely danceable among the tranquillity in the forest, or of the mixed-up feelings of the soul, or both, well that’s what I think may be intended anyway.”

Whether that truly comes over is down to each individual listener to judge, but for me Haig has put together a work that’s in turns provocative, danceable, obscure, immediate and beguilingly rum, so I’m not sure it really matters. What The Wood actually consists of is eight pieces that mostly are dance/trance-orientated with repeated vocal motifs. The concept gives it an added edge and with a little imagination you can feel the eerie peace of the Forest and the skips and dips of the mind. Aside from the concept there is plenty to get one to, cough, ‘cut a rug’. But everything here fits and you have to admire Haig’s craftsmanship in the way it has been put together – producing a musical storybook without words in effect. Forty years into his recording career he’s still breaking new ground. Long may he strive for the outer reaches, because those who want to be challenged a little in their listening will lap this up.


a) Ghost Rider

b) Atmosphere

The former was the b-side to Big Blue World back in 1985.  It’s a hugely enjoyable trashy, electro-rockabilly take on the Suicide song from 1977 (and which last featured on this blog as the b-side to Orange Crush by R.E.M.)

The latter is, indeed, the Joy Division song. It was recorded more than a decade ago by Outernationale, which is the name used by Scots-born Derek Miller, with Paul Haig adding his distinctive vocal. The track would later be given a release on Hacienda Records, the short-lived digital label run by Peter Hook.  It’s brilliantly different…..



The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Paul Haig is just about the most important Scottish musician of my generation. He’s really proved to be our equivalent of Bowie, with his constant shifting of musical genres over a career that stretches back more than 40 years, albeit with a very small minuscule of commercial success in comparison.

I really enjoyed writing-up the 20-part series a while back looking back on the various solo singles, and I was delighted that so many of them were received with some enthusiasm. I thought today would be best served by having three versions of one of his compositions.

mp3: Haig/Mackenzie – Listen To Me
mp3: Paul Haig – Listen To Me (2009 version)
mp3: Paul Haig – Listen To Me (2005 version)

The first, which I have featured on the blog before, can be found on Memory Palace, a collection of songs recorded by two long time friends at various times between 1993-95. Paul takes the lead while Billy provides the most perfect backing vocal. As I said, I’ve always felt Paul penned the lyric as a tribute to his pal in the hope he would take heed of what he was saying and, perhaps, look after himself a bit better.

The second was Paul’s fresh take on the song as recorded for the album Relive, released in 2009. It’s quite different, a bit more raw sounding with no backing vocal from Billy but instead we get treated to some of Paul’s always impressively understated guitar work.

The third was a version I only learned of two years ago when it was included on Goosebumps, a 40-track, 2xLP issued to celebrate 25 years of the Hamburg-based Marina Records. It is tucked away as the second-to-last song on the record, and the only info given in the accompanying booklet is that it was previously unreleased and dates from 2005. It is a stunning version, with David Scott of The Pearlfishers bringing his skills to the table, adding a string arrangement that takes the song to a whole new and very moving level.

I really must get round to finishing that long-delayed Paul Haig ICA.



A new idea. One that might fly depending on the views and responses from the readership.

From the outset of the blog (which will celebrate quietly its 14th birthday at the end of this month), all the vinyl rips have only been made available at the lowest of quality, i.e 128 kbps, on the basis that anyone who really liked a song that they listened to/downloaded would seek out a better copy, digitally or otherwise. I’m now intending to use each Monday as the day when I’ll move to a higher-res offering, at 320kbps, which is the best I can do via the software which I use with the new turntable.

The idea came to me when I started going back and playing old records and hearing them in a way that I hadn’t for a couple of decades. The various USB turntables that I’ve used to support the blog have been at the budget end of things but that is no longer the case, and I’ve also invested in a decent amp and set of speakers. All in all, it’s made for a listening revolution in Villain Towers and while I’m not wanting to move entirely to the higher quality of vinyl rip, I’ll dip my toe in the water every Monday morning with a classic single from the collection (worth mentioning that my definition of classic might not chime with everyone else’s…….but I’ll come to that at the end of the post.)

I’m starting things off with Paul Haig, and the two sides from a 12″ cut from 1982 issued on the Brussels-based label Les Disques Du Crépuscule. It makes perfect sense to do so given that Paul gave such great support to the old blog a few years back when Google pulled a few posts and songs, with the singer/songwriter, via his manager, offering the opportunity to post an exclusive new track, which later led to a relatively successful mini-campaign to have Paul Haig Day across a number of blogs.

Those heady days of music blogging are long gone for all sorts of reasons but a handful of folk are still hanging around doing things the old way, with every single one of us using our love of music and musicians to spread the word and to hopefully encourage anyone enjoying what they are hearing to spend some money to support the singer/band in question.

mp3: Paul Haig – Blue For You
mp3: Paul Haig – Blue For You (version)

It’s a long way from the sounds of Josef K and there were a few folk who were a bit disgruntled when Paul went down the dance route in the early 80s. I adored this single on its release. I still do today and it sounded immense coming out of the speakers here in Villain Towers. Worth also mentioning in passing that it features Giles and Samantha from Hey! Elastica on backing vocals.

The question though is whether you folk want this to be a regular feature and if so would you be willing to make suggestions as to a particular single or song that you’d like to have made available at the higher res? After all, my thoughts on what make a classic may well differ from yours and, besides, I’ve always taken pride on making TVV as inclusive as possible.




I promised you last week that the final part of this, what I hope has been an informative and enjoyable series, would be worthwhile.

Those of you who have been with me since the days of the original Vinyl Villain Blog (born 30 Sep 2006, murdered by Google on 24 July 2013) will know that Paul Haig embraced and encouraged the sort of things this and other places do to respect music and musicians.

In March 2009, I put up a post which featured two Edinburgh acts – Paul Haig and Hey! Elastica. To my surprise and anger, Google acted on a dmca notice and removed the post and the links. The bizarre thing was that the offending post had been written on the back of an e-mail from someone associated with Paul Haig’s management thanking me for featuring him previously on TVV, the knock-on effect of which led to Paul himself contributing a couple of lines to the post, which was just a huge thrill for me. Oh and the song was one which was impossible to have unless you owned a particular piece of vinyl from the 80s.

It turned out that Paul and his management team were every bit as pissed off about it as I was, offering encouragement and then getting in touch with Google to express their dismay. Paul then sent me an email to say I had full permission to provide a free mp3 of his single Reason as his way of expressing solidarity with music bloggers whom he knew were doing a lot to encourage the sale of music and not just acting as thieves or pirates.

All this led to the genesis of an idea for bloggers to say thank you back to Paul, which we did by having Paul Haig Day on 6 April 2009, with more than 50, the world over, of us dedicating our posts on that date to his music, whether solo or with his old band. It even got a mention on a music station in New York City!!

The idea was repeated in 2010, and even more bloggers joined in. But what made it particularly special was that Paul offered up, not only more words of encouragement, but provide The Vinyl Villain with the opportunity to feature what was, at that point in time, an exclusive brand new remix of a song:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Trip Out The Rider (remix)

Trip Out The Rider was the lead off track from Paul’s 2009 album, Relive, a work which at long last was seeing him get credit for much of what was happening in the world of indie music, and in particular, his influence of the likes of Franz Ferdinand. It also saw him revisit a few old songs, including Listen To Me (from has time working with Billy Mackenzie and which I featured a couple of weeks back) as well as Round and Round on which he had worked with Malcolm Ross, with the latter including it on one his own solo LPs as far back as 1995.

Paul, in providing the exclusive remix, also let me tell the world that a further remix of Trip Out The Rider had been done by Fred Deakin from Lemon Jelly, the highly innovative UK electronic act, and would be made available as a very exclusive 7″ vinyl single later in 2010….1 November 2010 as it turned out:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Trip Out The Rider (Impotent Fury remix)

And, alongside the track made available via the blog almost seven months previous, was this b-side:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Signals (Impotent Fury remix)

The three tracks have, to this point, been the final single released by Paul Haig. In recent years, he’s gone back to albums only, releasing Kube in 2013 on ROL while 2018 saw him return yet again to Les Disques du Crépuscule for his 13th solo album, The Wood, in which he has pushed the boundaries even further than he did on his Cinematique series, featuring nine pieces of music composed over a three year period, packed with samples, electronica and passages of guitar for which one reviewer wrote:-

“Haig has put together a work that’s in turns provocative, danceable, obscure, immediate and beguilingly rum. What The Wood actually consists of is eight pieces that mostly are dance/trance-orientated with repeated vocal motifs. The concept gives it an added edge and with a little imagination you can feel the eerie peace of the Forest and the skips and dips of the mind. Aside from the concept there is plenty to get one to, cough, ‘cut a rug’. But everything here fits and you have to admire Haig’s craftsmanship in the way it has been put together – producing a musical storybook without words in effect. Forty years into his recording career he’s still breaking new ground.”

The 1980s me might have struggled a bit with The Wood, but my tastes have thankfully expanded. I’ll be saying more about this remarkable album in the fullness of time, but for now thanks for sticking with the past 20 Sunday posts. The spotlight will be turned on someone different, but equally as interesting, from next week.



Last week featured the unexpected release of Reason in 2007, the first single by Paul Haig in the best part of a decade which came on the back of a run of album releases on his revived Rhythm of Life (ROL) label.

It was followed up, later that year, by the album Electronik Audience, 13 tracks which, for the most part, blended vocals and experimental/soundtrack style music to what sadly, but predictably, was an uninterested audience. Difficult at the time to find in shops but available on-line, it’s an album which even the most hardcore of fans found a strange listen upon release, one which kind of harked back a decade to the sounds of the likes of Daft Punk.

Much to everyone’s surprise, it would take only a further 12 months before a new batch of material, with the album Go Out Tonight….and even more surprisingly there was a fair bit of guitar work in among some fabulous keyboard work. In places, it has songs as light and poppy as Paul has ever released, while also being home to the song Data Retro which harked back magnificently to the era when he almost became a huge star and the likes of New Order (among many others) were in debt to him. There were certainly a number of possibilities for singles but the decision was taken just to go with one and even then, it was download only:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Hippy Dippy (Pharmaceutically Trippy)

Maybe it’s just me, but this is one of the merely OK tracks on the album where there are a number of standouts. But then again, it’s the type of noise that Paul hadn’t been making for a long while and so it was perhaps understandable that this was the one made available above other, better (IMHO) contenders.

One more week to go in this series. And it will go out with an absolute bang. Trust me on that.



I mentioned in last week’s post that Paul Haig had revived ROL Records in 1999 for the purpose of issuing Memory Palace, attributed to Haig/Mackenzie, and consisting of the music that he and Billy Mackenzie had collaborated on in the early-mid 90s.

ROL has been the vehicle for Paul’s work throughout the 21st Century, all of which in the early part of the decade were albums, with the imagined soundtrack albums Cinematique 2 and Cinematique 3 appearing in 2001 and 2003 respectively. ROL was also the label for the issuing of some more posthumous (and quickly deleted) previously unreleased material by Billy Mackenzie (solo or in collaboration with Steve Aungle) and a live CD by Josef K, featuring two Edinburgh gigs from back in 1981. Again all of this activity was between 2001-03.

It was another four years before the next burst of activity, with the biggest surprise that it consisted of a 7″ single and download:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Reason
mp3 : Paul Haig – Maybe

There was never any real push to make it a hit – it was pushed and promoted largely through Paul’s website and I’m not sure just how easy it was to find in shops. It’s a decent enough and enjoyable piece of music, not as immediate or upbeat as some of his previous 45s, but catchy enough, and with its refrain of ‘It’s time I was leaving…I’m moving on….’ it seemed to be sending out the message that this could be the farewell to the industry.

Thankfully it wasn’t.

The b-side is a short (just over 2:20) but interesting enough song….it was just a real joy to hear Paul singing again after all these years.



The period after the final release on Crépuscule saw Paul Haig back in Scotland where he rekindled not only his friendship but his working relationship with Billy Mackenzie, the two of them getting together every now and again in Paul’s home studio to work on tracks that could, perhaps, one day see the light of day. Neither of the two geniuses had record deals at the time (which in itself is indicative of the sad state of the music industry) and for the most part, it was all about enjoying one another’s company.

Billy’s suicide in September 1997 was devastating to his family and friends, and even today, more than 20 years on, there’s a sense of disbelief about it.  Paul was sitting on the music they had made, and in 1999 he took the decision to make available nine bits of music they had put down between December 1993 and July 1995 as the album Memory Palace, attributed to Haig/Mackenzie. It was released on ROL Records, newly revived by Paul for the purpose and the first on the label in 18 years.

A few lucky people had been able to hear one of the songs prior to Memory Palace, thanks to a very limited 7″ vinyl release in 1998.

Syntanic was a label based in Vienna which, from 1993 to 2001, released records, tapes and CDs, specialising in exceedingly limited editions.

100 individually copies of the song Listen To Me, backed by two tracks, Looking and Irresponsible, formed the release with the catalogue number nice49. Of these, 15 were even more exclusive with a signed card lyric insert.

It’s not something I have in my collection – there’s currently one for sale on Discogs just now from a German dealer who is looking for £50. I might treat myself at one point in the future…

I’m assuming that the version of the song is that which was released on Memory Palace the following year:-

mp3 : Haig/Mackenzie – Listen To Me

Billy’s backing vocals make this a really moving and emotional listen, and it’s interesting to ponder if a more widely available release would have perhaps troubled the charts….but most likely not.

It’s a song that Paul that has returned to a couple of times. First of all, on his 2009 album Relive:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Listen To Me

I can’t help but feel that Paul would have welled up a few times recording his fresh vocal, thinking back to the happy times he spent with his great friend.

And then, just last year, a different version was made available on the compilation, Goosebumps – 25 Years of Marina Records. It’s a much more gentle and sedate take, and it comes with a wonderfully imagined string section, arranged by Dave Scott of The Pearlfishers. And while it didn’t enjoy a release until 2018, the notes in the accompanying booklet date the recording back to 2005:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Listen To Me (orchestral version)

Worth also mentioning that a track called Looking (the name of one of the b-sides of the Vienna release) was recorded for Paul’s album Cinematique 2, released on ROL in 2001. Again, I can’t be sure if it;s the same as the 1998 single, but here’s the 2001 version:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Looking

I know this post has been a bit all over the place time wise, but I did want to make available all three versions of Listen To Me that I have in the collection.



Given that nobody was interested in assisting his efforts to become a pop star, it was no real surprise that Paul Haig turned inwardly and that his next release proved to be experimental and as far removed from a commercial sound as could be imagined.

He was assisted by an old acquaintance, James Nice who, as a schoolboy, had founded the LTM label in Edinburgh in 1983 issuing material by bands previously associated with Factory Records. After attending university, James ended up in Brussels where he worked for Crépuscule and kept his own label going, specialising in the reissuing of long-deleted cult albums and material on the new CD format with some of the biggest sales coming via a Josef K CD compilation and the reissue of the Postcard album by the band. He was keen, however, to issue new albums from scratch and provided a home for Paul to record and release Cinematique in 1991, a wholly instrumental album of imaginary film themes.

At the same time, Crépuscule was determined to do justice to the work that had been shelved by Circa (see last week’s posting for details) and sought about finding a way to have it see the light of day.

And so, in 1993, a full four years after its completion, the album that should have been called Right On Line was released by Crépuscule as Coincidence vs Fate. A three-track CD single was also issued to help support the promotion of the album.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Surrender
mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Help You Now (remix 93)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Coincidence vs Fate

The lead track was on the album, and is Paul’s take on a Suicide song dating back to 1988.  It’s quite unlike any other 45 in this series…..and it’s one of his best…..nothing like Josef K, nothing like his electronica period and very like something out of a David Lynch movie.

You might recall that the press release included in last week’s posting refered to the fact that Mantronik had been working with Paul on an update of one of his most dynamic old songs and at long last, it was available. It was well worth the wait.

The final instrumental(ish) track, despite being the name of the parent album, was only available via the single which just seemed to be such a Crépuscule/Haig thing to do.

Neither the album nor the single sold all that well (there’s a shock!!!) and it proved to be the end of Paul’s long relationship with Brussels.  It would also mark the beginning of a very quiet period for Paul, with a full five years before any more new music appeared.




So much promise within the press notes to accompany the release of the single….but when it failed to shift copies in any significant numbers, Circa took the decision to cut Paul Haig adrift, and in doing so chose not to release the album, despite Paul and many others thinking it was as good as anything in his career

All I’ve got to offer today is the 18 Feb release with the vocals provided by Voice of Reason:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Flight X (New School Mix)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Flight X (Music School Instrumental)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Flight X (Mantronik Mix)

The decison to put the album on the shelf really was the lowest point in a career which had promised much but inexplicably never ignited with the general public.

Some old friends did,however, come to his rescue……as next week’s edition will show.



The lack of sales for Chain didn’t perturb Circa Records too much as they were happy enough to provide funding for Paul Haig a return to the studio to make a new album, scheduled for release in 1991.

The new material was being worked up in New York and Chicago with help from Mantronik and Lil’ Louis, along with contributions from The Chimes, whose drummer James Locke had been pals with Paul for years. In an interview given to Melody Maker at the time, Paul said:-

“This is essentially a dance album, but it has a lot of different elements in there that you don’t normally hear on dance albums. There’s a lot of hooks and pop influences, but no rock influences – thank God! The whole idea was to work with different producers and let them get on with it, which was a departure since I’d produced myself for so long.”

“We recorded the stuff with Mantronik at his Sound Factory studio. He works very quickly, rattling stuff off in a couple of hours. He replaced all my beats with a combination of programming and breakbeats, mostly ’70s funk stuff. Louis took a completely different approach. He replaced the rhythm tracks on two of the songs and one we left as was. He works with much more basic equipment – he’s not as computerised as Mantronik. There was absolutely no sampling with Louis, he’s much more into the ‘real musician’ school of thinking.”

The first single in October 1990 gave an indication of what to expect:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – I Believe In You

Yup….incredibly similar to how the Pet Shop Boys would develop their sound in later years…..Paul Haig was, again, ahead of the curve and yet again failed to sell many copies.

Here’s the 12″ edition with b-sides:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – I Believe In You (Life in a Dolphinarium Mix)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Flight X (Long Flight Mix)
mp3 : Paul Haig – I Believe In You (Loop Mix)



In 1988, Paul Haig took a very bold and brave step by fully financing the recording of his next album himself without the safety net of a guaranteed release. He again worked with Alan Rankine and thankfully for all concerned, it was picked up by Circa Records, an offshoot of Virgin.

Hopes were high, particularly for the release of an oustanding and poptastic lead off single:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Something Good

Released in 7″, 12″ and 12″ remix form and tailor-made for radio play and an appearance on Top of The Pops. But….once again, Paul was denied by the pop gods with him again being in the wrong place at the wrong time with Madchester all the rage and synth-pop well out of fashion. And yet, when you listen to Something Good (especially the remix version), and indeed some of other tracks on parent album Chain, it’s not a million miles away from some of the less clubby tracks on Technique by New Order (e.g. Run).

Here’s the two other versions of the single:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Something Good (12 inch)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Something Good (remix)

Here’s some b-sides:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Over You
mp3 : Paul Haig – Free To Go (Public)
mp3 : Paul Haig – The Last Kiss

It was a really bitter blow for all concerned.



Paul Haig seemed to disappear somewhat after the release of The Warp of Pure Fun but it turned out that he had hoooked up with Billy Mackenzie to work on some ideas. The duo also appeared live together (sadly, I never caught any of the low-key gigs) and then stole the show on a live TV programme on New Year’s Eve 1986:-

In late 1987, having been unsuccesful in finding a new label to sign to, Paul went back to Brussels and to Crépuscule with a 12″ EP, Torchomatic, being recorded and released.

Now, this is where I let you down.  I don’t have a copy of this single, although I do have the lead track courtesy of it being included on a later compilation album:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Torchomatic

I do have an mp3 copy of one of the b-sides, an instrumental which is way better than the lead track.  It brings to mind New Order, Cabaret Voltaire and that Factory club sound of the time.  Be interesting to see what Swiss Adam makes of it…

mp3 : Paul Haig – Beat Programme

The connection with Crépuscule would come to its conclusion the following year with the release of the compilation album European Sun featuring previously rare and unreleased tracks.

It wouldn’t be too long, however, before he was back on a new label with yet more classy pop tunes that were more than worthy.



After the distracting fun of the 1985 Xmas single, there was a further effort to boost Paul’s profile with the release, in February 1986, of a third single from The Warp of Pure Fun:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Love Eternal (12″ version)

It’s a fine piece of music, with a particularly strong vocal, albeit there’s no mistaking the era it was made in. There were many instances from the mid 80s of inferior offerings making the charts and making pop stars out of far less talents than Paul Haig, and so it must have been a sore one to take.

The two songs made available on the b-side were new cuts:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Trust
mp3 : Paul Haig – Dangerous Life

Both are more than listenable, with the production techiques of Alan Rankine very much in evidence.



Really kicking myself that this couldn’t have been held back till next Sunday, which is just 48 hours before Christmas. From wiki:-

“Scottish Christmas” was a one-off Christmas 1985 release from Les Disques Du Crepuscule/Factory Benelux. Its A-side is “Scottish Christmas” by Paul Haig and its B-sides, “Christmas for Pauline” and “Snowflakes” are by The Durutti Column.

It’s quite a rare artefact with the sole copy available via Discogs looking for almost £40….and it’s from a seller in France. And no, I don’t own a copy.  I’ve been able to get hold of two of the tracks, courtesy of their inclusion on the  Crepuscule compilation, Ghosts of Christmas Past.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Scottish Christmas
mp3 : Durutti Column – Snowflakes

Paul’s instrumental track is kind of festive sounding I suppose……



Heaven Help You Now was released on 7″ and 12″ on Les Disques Du Crepuscule in September 1985, with once again Alan Rankine involved in the production side as well as contributing keyboards.

It was the precursor to what would prove to be an excellent album, The Warp Of Pure Fun, the contents of which consisted of around half of what had been a proposed album which Island Records decided not to release, together with some newer material. As such, the album ended up being recorded periodically in five different locations and with different contributing musicians.

It’s another excellent, if very 80s sounding single, and its failure to get anywhere near the charts must have been a sore one for Paul to take, given that many inferior tunes and acts were enjoying fame and fortune:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Help You Now (extended)
mp3 : Paul Haig – World Raw
mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Help You Now
mp3 : Paul Haig – Chance

World Raw (which was on both the 7″ and 12″) can be categorised under ‘experimental’ while Chance (only available on the 12″) sounds demo-like for the most part…and the version on offer today is the full near six minute take. Probably only of value to collectors.



Recorded in 1982, but not released until 1985, this is arguably the strangest of the Paul Haig solo releases.

It had been laid down in the studio for Crépuscule in Brussels but, as was mentioned in earlier parts of this series, the licensing deal with Island led to a number of planned releases being shelved in favour of work commencing on Rhythm of Life.

A magazine interview given by Paul does throw some light on the thinking behind it all.

“After listening to lots of Sinatra records I became aware of these fantastic old songs. I think the music and the lyrics are absolutely incredible – especially the lyrics. The ‘swing’ side starts with The Song Is You, then All of You and Let’s Face the Music and Dance. The ‘dream’ side is Love Me Tender, The Way You Look Tonight and Send In the Clowns. I think the first side is around 1938, with songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, people like that. The second side is slightly more modern.”

“The basic instrumentation on side one is just drums, double bass and piano, with the addition of string synthesiser on side two. We had to try about three sets of musicians before we found these old session musicians that had been playing jazz all their lives. The plano player must have been 70 years old! The drummer was quite young, in his mid twenties, so it was quite a challenge for him to keep pace with these brilliant jazz musicians, as it was for me too. I’m sure they thought it was a joke. I remember I turned up at the studio the morning they arrived. They said, ‘Are you the singer? The producer?’ They looked at each other in disbelief.”

As menationed at the outset, Swing in 82 belatedly emerged in 1985, but with with the original six tracks whittled down to five:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – The Song Is You
mp3 : Paul Haig – All Of You
mp3 : Paul Haig – Let’s Face The Music and Dance
mp3 : Paul Haig – Love Me Tender
mp3 : Paul Haig – The Way You Look Tonight



It was as recently as 15 April 2018 when I featured the eighth solo single by Paul Haig:-

Released in Sepember 1984, the production is credited to B-Music/Dojo; in other words Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson. How many of you wanted to shout out ‘Confusion’ just before Paul’s vocals kicked in?

The b-side is also worth a listen for a number of reasons – it’s a fun and fast-tempo cover of a Suicide classic that was produced by Alan Rankine.

The same b-side as had appeared on Big Blue World (featured in Part 7 of the series) and so it won’t be re-posted.

As for the a-side, the April post featured the 7″ version as released here in the UK. The sleeve at the top of this posting is that of the 12″ Belgian release on Les Disques Du Crépuscule and here’s the two tracks:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – The Only Truth (extended)
mp3 : Paul Haig – The Only Truth (instrumental)

The latter is a particular joy, especially if you’ve any fondness for mid 80s era New Order.



The failure of the singles and the debut album must have left Paul Haig, and all concerned, a little bit battered and bruised. It certainly led to a bit of a pause as far as Island Records were concerned as the next solo single was issued in June 1985 solely under the steam of Les Disques Du Crepuscule.

I previously wrote about this single on the old blog in July 2009:-

Big Blue World should have been released on Island Records, but the strained relationship between singer and label which I’ve mentioned in past postings, saw it pulled at very short notice, but thankfully, the Belgian connection ensured it was available on import if you were so inclined to track it down.

There’s no denying that it is a sound of its time….but equally there’s no denying that, as a track aimed at the then hugely popular electro/dance market, it is an absolute belter thanks in part to Paul’s effortless croon and thanks in part to the production work of Alan Rankine. When you look back and consider that there were countless tunes, with less than 1% of the magnificence of this song, which went Top 10 and made temporary stars of nonentities…as Calimero might say….it’s an injustice.

The flip side of the 12″ has a couple of real treats with a great, trashy rockabilly cover version of Ghost Rider, featuring David McClymont and Malcolm Ross (both of whom were part of the chart-era Orange Juice), while Endless Song, unsurprisingly given who was involved in its making, is a cross between Josef K and Associates. So if that’s the sort of stuff you like, why not give it a listen…..

mp3 : Paul Haig – Big Blue World (12″ version)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Ghost Rider
mp3 : Paul Haig – Endless Song

2018 update.

This really is one of the great lost singles of all time, with three superb and diverse pieces of music. It’s interesting to ponder whether a push by Island Records would have helped it into the charts or would they have been unhappy with the production and insisted that it be handed over to someone in NYC to ruin. Also worth a mention is that The Tube, on Channel 4 here in the UK, did a 20-odd minute film feature on Scottish music in one of its broadcasts, including clips/interviews with of Bourgie Bourgie, Hey! Elastica, Paul Haig, and Billy Mackenzie. The section with Paul included him miming to his new single :-



If Paul Haig was looking for evidence that Island Records were going to squeeze as much out of him as possible, then it could be easily found with the decision to release a third single from the debut album, despite the fact that the two previous 45s had been commercial flops:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Justice

Look in back on things, the Rhythm of Life album suffered from being recorded and released at a time when changes to electronic music with an indie bent was being transformed by New Order, and in particular Blue Monday, and the production techniques brought by Alex Sadkin to the album were light and disposable in comparison.

The fact that Paul was totally disillusioned with things can be seen from the songs he elected to perform when invited onto an evening show on BBC Radio 1 for a session in May 1983. Four tracks were aired, and none of them were on the album he could have and perhaps should have been promoting. Indeed, he went further by going with a session in which guitars featured prominently as evidenced by this being lifted for use on the b-side of the new single:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – On This Night Of Decision

Worth noting that the producer of the BBC session was John Porter, who would, just a couple of years later, work with The Smiths.

The 12″ release of the single had a bonus track, and it was an earlier version of Justice, produced by Paul himself, and one which had been slated as a potential 45 by his Belgian label only for the licensing arrangement (which I referred to in an earlier entry in this series) to put a halt to things:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Justice 82 (12 inch version)

A few years later, the 7″ version of the song was finally made available via a compilation album.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Justice (original 7″ version)



The fact that Heaven Sent had flopped didn’t deter Island Records from having another stab at the pop charts a few weeks later, with a ridiculously upbeat and uptempo pop song which had been subject to all sorts of sounds, bells and drum effects from Alex Sadkin in the producer’s chair. The purists hated it….this fan loved it!!

mp3 : Paul Haig – Never Give Up (Party, Party)

I never actually bought the 7″ version and the above mp3 is ripped from the album Rhythm of Life. I still have my 12″ copy from all those years ago:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Never Give Up (Party, Party)(12 inch mix)

It’s two minutes longer, primarily as a result of a marimba solo in the middle. And unlike the 12″ version of Heaven Sent, I really like the way this has been extended out, albeit it is naff and 80s in places!

The b-side is, sad to say, six and half minutes of torture, with the a-side mixed up and strangled by a remixer called Groucho Smykle. Don’t say I didn’t warn you:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Heartache (party mix)