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.



Yesterday I mentioned, cheekily, that Mrs Villain was now just a year away from her bus pass. I suppose I should have provided a translation for those of you who have no reliance on public transport nor any knowledge of rules/regulations here in the UK, but you qualify for free travel on our buses when you reach 60 years of age.

Rachel (to give Mrs V her proper name) is a very sprightly and active person. She also has retained a degree of youth in terms of looks and could easily pass for a decade or more younger. But it does feel weird that she is close to hitting a number that, when I was growing up, seemed to mean you likely didn’t have that long left to live. It didn’t help that my childhood neighbourhood was an area that has historically been a statistical time bomb for early deaths in Glasgow that that no academic study has ever really gotten to the bottom of. My family does seem to be defying the stats – dad is 82 in a few days time and mum is the youngest 77-year old on the planet in terms of her wonderful attitude to life. But we all, and I include myself in this, increasingly suffer from the aches and pains of bodies whose halcyon days have come and gone.

Aside from thinking about people’s ages, the other thing that makes me realise that time is marching on at a scary rate is looking at the year a song came out and refusing to believe what the number adds up to. Like this tremendous Top 30 tune:-

mp3 : Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind

It remains the only time that Bob Mould has ever cracked the singles charts here in the UK, and he did it in 1993. The year I became a 30-something and thought I was middle-aged. I’m in total denial about what I am now. I’m certainly not thinking I’m old.

I bought this on CD and you’ll see that the sleeve calls it a limited edition. Not that limited as you can still get it on Discogs for 39p; having said that, the non-limited version is going for 1p. Nobody seems interested in CDs nowadays, so expect them to become hip again in 2029. Here’s tracks 2,3 and 4.

mp3 : Sugar – The Slim (BBC)
mp3 : Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind (BBC)
mp3 : Sugar – Where Diamonds Are Haloes

The BBC tracks were recorded for a session for the Mark Goodier Show that was broadcast on 24 August 1992. Yup, more than quarter-of-a-century ago.