It was back in January 2015 that I did a reasonably lengthy piece on The Wannadies, and as a way of introduction to this follow-up piece, there’s going to be a cut’n’paste (and with apologies to those of you who know all the background already):-
The Wannadies formed in Skellefteå, in northern Sweden in the late 80s and released a fair bit of material in their native land before becoming more widely known, especially here in the UK. Indeed, it wasn’t until after the 1994 release of their third album – Be A Girl – that the band even played a gig here in the UK. But having been on the go for a few years, and having already benefitted from extensive touring across Scandinavia as well as having recorded some 50 songs, they usually stole the show from whatever Britpop outfit they had been taken on to open for.
All the hard work slowly paid off with a couple of near hit singles in 1995 followed by a Top 20 smash with the re-release of You And Me Song in April 1996. This paved the way for their fourth studio LP, Bagsy Me, to go Top 10 , but instead of kicking on, the band encountered some personnel problems and then had a raging argument with their record labels in Sweden and the UK, and so all the momentum was lost. The band did make two further albums either side of the turn of the century and continued to tour extensively across Europe. I was present at a cracking show they played at King Tut’s in Glasgow in late 2003 but not long after they just disappeared entirely off the radar although it would be another six years before the break-up was officially announced – it seems that efforts were made to record a seventh album but to no avail.
The January 2015 post ended with six songs, one from each of their studio albums, but I didn’t feature the breakthrough hit, something which greatly pleased The Robster judging by this comment:-
“Really good band, and glad you didn’t post *that* song. Shame they’ll only be remembered for a single track when they had so many really good ones.”
The thing is, *that* song is very good, which is why I’m featuring it today. It also, quite incredibly, allows me to have a look at ten consistently excellent b-sides from the various times it was released or pressed-up as a single.
It was first released in Sweden in mid-1994:-
This came out on Soap Records, a label that had begun life in 1992 as Snap Records, with the owners supporting emerging Swedish bands that played pop with sweet melodies, lots of guitars and an independent attitude. The label had to change its name in 1994 after the German disco band, Snap, threatened legal action.
Here in the UK, it was the newly formed Indolent Records that snapped up (sic) The Wannadies with the first action being to give a UK release to You and Me Song and its parent album Be A Girl.
The 7” single, which is now fetching £30-£40 on the second-hand market, had a cover version of a Violent Femmes song as its b-side:-
The CD version had a third track, this time an original by the band
This particular b-side had earlier been made available in the UK as one of two tracks on the flexi disc given away with issue #25 of Sound Affects magazine. It has since become a sought after artefact, mainly as the other track was Sad Song (Fade Out) by Oasis……
There was some consternation when the single flopped but all that was forgotten in 1996 when, thanks to it being included on the soundtrack of the smash hit adaptation of Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles, it found a new lease of life.
Indolent Records went for a re-release, and in doing so changed the title to You & Me Song. Once again there was a limited 7” vinyl version made available, and once again the Violent Femmes cover was put on the b-side, but this time with the addition of a previously unreleased Wannadies effort:-
This version of the single is also going for £30-£40 on the second-hand market. I only picked up the CD release, now worth a whopping 79 pence, but as consolation I got a different b-side as well as remake of the single:-
This time, it went all the way to #18 in the charts.
The following year, the record label decided to have yet another re-release of You & Me Song, this time aimed at the European market. It was pressed up on 7” vinyl, with a Depeche Mode cover:-
The CD pulled together three tracks from The Wannadies back catalogue:-
Copies of the single did get into various shops, but there was no sales push made and indeed Indolent (which is a sub label of Sony) withdrew it on the back of the death of Princess Diana, on the basis that the name of the band would mean no DJ would play them and the fact that sinister things could be read into the names of the tracks…especially one of the b-sides.
The scariest thing about all of this? I’m gobsmacked that You and Me Song is now more than 25 years old. It’s become something of a timeless classic in Villain Towers, one that neither myself nor Mrs V have never tired of.
Happy Valentine’s Day one and all.