Monday, April 28, 2014

UK Indie Hits: 1980-89 (No. 21)

I'm counting down my top 50 singles from the golden age of the UK Independent Charts.

21. Fire Engines - "Big Gold Dream"

Other Contenders: "Get Up and Use Me" and "Candyskin" were both bigger hits, and both are wonderful.

Chart Entry: Dec. 19, 1981

Peak Position: No. 15

Comment: Here's another coin flip. For weeks, Fire Engines' first foray into anything resembling pop, "Candyskin," had been inked in at No. 21. After the past several days of repeated listens, I changed my mind to "Big Gold Dream." Then I decided "Meat Whiplash," the B-side to "Candyskin," was so good it should break the tie. Done. Today, I gathered the art, transferred the song to mp3 and all of that, only to switch again. Both deserve accolades, OK?

Ultimately, that unified guitar and bass riff wins it for "Big Gold Dream." The band was always quite abrasive (in a good way), and it seemed the fellas were playing against all regular conventions, but this song was almost catchy. It melded their earlier forward-thinking sound with head-bobbing pop, albeit still in the strangest of ways. Perhaps this was all too much for us and them. Davy Henderson sang, "The band is my survival, I'm tired of this song." Fire Engines played this one on BBC2's "Riverside" as it was stalling on the indie chart. That performance marked the end of the band. Henderson was seriously considered for this list with his next group, the much poppier Win, but "Unamerican Broadcasting" was the only song that charted, and I think Win had better singles. Oh, and that's the fellas slathered in oil and covered in meat for the cover of this single. Well done. Not the beef, of course. It's raw.

Buy "Big Gold Dream" on 'Hungry Beat,' and here's a clip:


Echorich said...

Oh man, how do you pick one? Not sure I can.

Brian said...

I hear ya, Echorich. This was about the toughest so far. Too good.