On a particular online message board I frequent, author, journalist and pop-culture know-it-all Keith Topping holds forth on all matters pertaining to footy, cricket, music, Hammer horrors, TV and curries. Keith’s knowledge of music, film and TV is encyclopedic, but coupled to a obvious love, or sometimes loathing, of the subject matter.
The subject of essential playlists for punk and new wave bands recently cropped up, with some serious muso knowledge being thrown about. Keith knows his shit, so he allowed me to reproduce them here. I dare any Liverpool music types to attempt to better them.
Sadly, my brilliant idea to replicate the playlists on Spotify hit a hurdle with Wylie. The music jukebox has a few blank patches going back over the years, rather like…well you can probably see where I was going with that.
But, there’s Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes playlists to listen to, and if you’re of a mind to you can fit them on a CD. Until Spotify catches up with Liverpool’s three wise men, here’s the playlists.
Liverpool, 1977. The Clash are in town and Eric’s is bursting at the seams. Mathew Street hasn’t seen a day like this since John, Paul, George and Pete were down in the best of cellars. In the smoke-filled, speed-fueled leather-bodied crush, Cope bumps into Wylie whilst Mac, a vision in studied cool, looks on. Tonite. Of all nights. There’s gonna be a fight. But, instead, there’s a band, The Crucial Three.
Who last six weeks, play no gigs, write about six songs and yet will go on become one of the most influential of the coming decade. Egos clash like the angular chords they play. Schisms develop. Separate ways. The Nova Mob, begat A Shallow Madness and thence become The Teardrop Explodes – Pere Ubu meets The Monkees up Syd Barrett’s back passage.
‘It’s just like sleeping gas, it’s so ethereal’, ‘… now I’m a bouncing bomb,’ ‘I’ve been livin’ through changes…’ Copey trailblazes leaving all but Gary and Balfe in his wakes. Why are The Teardrop Explodes different from a cow? Cos a cow has horns at the front and a **** at the back. Things get Wilder. Then America and drugs kill the sound and Cope goes under his turtle-shell to a solo bridal path that’s still being trod today.
Mac finds the Sergeant and a drum machine before Les and Peter come on board. They’ve been in a daze for days. Doors influences and Apocalypse Now stage sets. Bill Drummond says ‘do it clean, d’you know what I mean?’ Videos in iceland before U2 made such a thing uncool as ****.
Then the shimmering orchestral wonders of Ocean Rain and its anthemic attendant singles before egos get in the way again and a long wilderness follows. But nothing ever last forever, especially not wildernesses, and then comes a time where ever Bunny must have his day again.
Wylie can’t keep bandmates either, and goes through more name-changes than the Spizzles. Heat! Shambeko! Mighty! Always Wah. Naff Poo, the art of bluff and scallywag shenanigans as otherboys get the message. ‘D’you think that you could keep the secret long?’ Then, thanks to Peel and Jensen, the Spector wall-of-sound-like Story of the Blues hits bigger than anything Copey and Mac can dream of. But following it up, that’s another matter – despite the joys of Hope.
Different paths, but each with the same singular vision. Scally shamen. Voices of a broken generation. Pool cool. Dey do do, don’t dey doh? Long ago and far away – waiting for the Crucial Three, wondering that went wrong.
I’ve Been In a Daze For Days – The Essential Echo & the Bunnymen
Villiers Terrance (2:44)
The Cutter (3:56)
Never Stop (3:31)
Stars Are Stars (2:45)
A Promise (4:08)
Ocean Rain (5:12)
All That Jazz (2:47)
Crystal Days (2:26)
Lips Like Sugar (4:52)
The Back of Love (3:14)
Heads Will Roll (3:33)
Thorn of Crowns (4:52)
Do It Clean (2:44)
The Puppet (3:07)
Nothing Lasts Forever (3:57)
The Killing Moon (5:50)
Seven Seas (3:20)
Bring on the Dancing Horses (3:56)
Over the Wall (5:59)
• Listen to the Essential Echo & The Bunnymen on Spotify.
Why’d You Have To Make It So Hard? – The Essential Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah!
The Wind Up (4:57)
Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me) (6:36)
Seven Minutes to Midnight – single version (3:43)
Sleep (A Lullaby for Josie) (4:30)
Long Tall Scally (The Ballad Thereof) (4:24)
I Know There was Something – Maverick Years version (7:54)
Don’t Step on the Cracks (3:09)
Yuh Learn – Peel Session version (6:50)
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory (1:18)
Better Scream (3:17)
Year of Decision (2:57)
The Death of Wah! (5:51)
Come Back (The Story of the Reds (4:24)
The Story of the Blues (Pt. 1) (4:00)
Waiting For The Crucial Three, Wondering What Went Wrong – The Essential Teardrop Explodes
Second Head (3:11)
Seven Views of Jerusalem (3:47)
Passionate Friend (3:29)
The In-Psychlopaedia (4:01)
Serious Danger (3:32)
Christ Versus Warhol (3:54)
Treason (It’s Just a Story) (2:57)
Like Leila Khaled Said (3:48)
Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere (4:04)
The Culture Bunker (5:29)
The Great Dominions (4:34)
Use Me (5:49)
When I Dream – long version (5:46)
Thief of Baghdad (3:09)
Sleeping Gas – Live at Club Zoo (9:27)
• Listen to the Essential Teardrop Explodes on Spotify.