Saturday, April 26, 2014

UK Indie Hits: 1980-89 (No. 22)

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

22. The Pale Fountains - "(There's Always) Something on My Mind"

Other Contenders: "Just a Girl" was the band's only other charting single.

Chart Entry: Aug. 21, 1982

Peak Position: No. 28

Comment: Let's stay in Liverpool for another spot. In their day, the Paleys might have been the most underappreciated band on the planet. Between the terrific 'Pacific Street' and the even better '...From Across the Kitchen Table,' the best chart showing the lads could muster was a measly No. 84. What a crime. With the passage of time, I do feel like frontman Mick Head has begun to get the accolades he deserves. NME once described him as "a lost genius and among the most gifted British songwriters of his generation." Unfortunately, that remark came after the band's demise.

Prior to the Paleys' failed shot at stardom with Virgin, they released "(There's Always) Something on My Mind" via Operation Twilight and Les Disques du Crepuscule. You may know the song simply as "Something on My Mind," as it was later reworked for 'Pacific Street,' but this is an entirely different (and in my opinion much better) take. The Virgin-era version lost something in the atmosphere of the original. Sometimes less is more.

Sophisti-pop was about to become the rage, and there were bands all over the place that sounded like they were from a different era, but nobody sounded quite like the Pale Fountains. "(There's Always) Something on My Mind" could have been a hit from the Burt Bacharach/Hal David songbook, and nobody was striving for that in 1982. It's not my favorite song from the band -- that spot is reserved for "Jean's Not Happening" -- but this is a close second.

Buy "(There's Always) Something on My Mind" on 'Auteur Labels: Les Disques du Crepuscule.'


Echorich said...

Michael Head is a pop genius. Pale Fountains were a gem from an age that can never exist again. But have a listen to Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band's current EP and you will here that magic still at work.

Brian said...

These are just the words I need to get off the couch. Thanks. I only went as far as Shack, and I'm sure I have been missing out.