I thought I’d illustrate my own effort with the sleeve of the debut album by The Fun Boy Three – which you can see is signed. It actually belongs to Mrs Villain but when I asked her what it was like to actually meet Terry Hall, she told me that she had actually gone into HMV in Glasgow a few minutes after the band had left (she had no idea a signing session had been organised on the day), but as there were still a few extra signed copies on sale, she decided to get her hands on one of them.
Without further ado, this is meant merely as a companion piece to Khayem‘s impeccable offering from yesterday, and as I haven’t restricted myself to just one song from each strand of the career, it’s a bit of a lazy effort in places….
1) The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum – The Fun Boy Three (single and debut album, 1982)
It’s almost 40 years old and its sentiments, arguably, are more relevant today than when the lyrics reflected the fear that our political leaders would lead us into a nuclear war.
2) Thinking Of You – The Colourfield (single and the album Virgin and Philistines 1985)
A #12 hit, and the prototype for all sorts of smash hits years later by The Beautiful South.
3) Music To Watch Girls By – Terry Hall (b-side, 1997)
Laugh, released in 1997, was the second solo-album, following on from Home, which came out in 1994. Terry wrote most of the songs on both albums with Craig Gannon, probably best known for his stints in The Smiths and Aztec Camera. Others who contributed to Laugh included Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy, and Sean O’Hagan (ex-Microdisney). It’s an album with much to enjoy and it sounds as if Terry had a fair bit of fun making it, as exemplified by this cover of the cheesy 60’s number made famous by Andy Williams.
4) Fishbones and Scaredy Cats – Terry, Blair and Anouchka (Ultra Modern Nursery Rhymes 1990)
Terry, Blair & Anouchka consisted of Mr Hall, Blair Booth and Anouchka Grose, the former being an American singer and the latter an Australian who is nowadays a well-known psychoanalyst but back in 1990 was an arts graduate from Goldsmith College in London. Two flop singles and one album was the outcome of the partnership – the group did push the label hard, but to no avail, for Fishbones to be a third single. Strikes me that the record company really missed the chance to have something that could have been a bit of a novelty hit…..
5) Our Lips Are Sealed – The Fun Boy Three (single and from the album Waiting, 1983)
This majestic piece of pop, co-written by Terry Hall and Jane Wiedlen, is the legacy of what was a brief affair between the couple, in 1980 when The Specials and The Go-Gos toured together. Credit must be given for the superb production brought to the studio by David Byrne and not forgetting the fabulous backing vocal by Julie Miles Kingston, who also added her considerable drumming skills.
6) Gangsters – The Specials (single, and from the album, The Specials, 1979)
One of THE great debut singles of all time. I still find it hard to believe that it was a cover version
7) Do Nothing – The Specials (single 1981, and from the album, More Specials, 1980)
Ghost Town is, without question, a genuine classic (as indeed is b-side Friday Night, Saturday Morning as featured in Khayem’s ICA). As such, it overshadows the earlier hit from the same year, one which also captures perfectly how shit life was for many young people living in the UK in 1981. It was penned by Lynval Goulding and paved the way, more than any other, for how The Fun Boy Three would harmonise to great effect..
8) The Alibi (12″ version) – The Fun Boy Three (b-side of The Telephone Always Rings, 1982)
Sometimes, and not just with Terry Hall/Fun Boy Three, the best songs are tucked away on the back of singles that didn’t sell all that well and as such, they are hidden gems.
9) Too Much Too Young – The Specials (from the album, The Specials, 1979)
The live version, recorded in their home city of Coventry, went to #1. It was a frantic, energetic blast-through that was little more than two minutes in length when the much more sedate but, in my view far more powerful message-wise album version does much more to deliver its sentiments,
10) A Room Full Of Nothing – Terry Hall (from the album Laugh, 1997)
The one name I missed when mentioning the musicians who worked on or helped with Laugh was Damon Albarn. This unusual almost music-hall type of tune, complete with a dark almost soul-searching lyric, was co-written by Hall/Albarn and the way it fades out just made it the ideal way closer for this companion ICA.
Thanks for the inspiration, Khayem.