Tuesday, June 10, 2014

UK Indie Hits: 1980-89 (No. 3)

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

3. The Wild Swans - "Revolutionary Spirit"

Other Contenders: This is it. The band's Peel Session, however, did chart in 1986.

Chart Entry: March 20, 1982

Peak Position: No. 13

Comment: "Not only was 'Revolutionary Spirit' by far the best single that we put out at Zoo, The Wild Swans captured that young man's idealistic vision thing better than any other bunch of English young men since The Brotherhood first put paint to canvas back in the 1850s." -- Bill Drummond

Strong words, especially when you consider "Treason (It's Just A Story)" by the Teardrop Explodes (No. 23 on this list) came from Mr. Drummond's stable, but he is, of course, correct. Today's spot is dedicated to Swiss Adam at Bagging Area. He had a fine piece about this song last week... the same day I was prepping "Revolutionary Spirit" for this list. I'm amazed how often that happens. Well done, as always, brother.

This first incarnation of the band, although held together only briefly, is the stuff of legend. Among the cast: Pete de Freitas of Echo and the Bunnymen not only played drums on this single, but he also produced and payed for it as well. Rolo McGinty was on bass for a heartbeat before leading the Woodentops. That's Ged Quinn on keyboards. A few minutes later he would join ex-Wild Swan Jem Kelly to form the Lotus Eaters with Peter Coyle. Quinn co-wrote the band's smash "The First Picture of You."

Then there is Paul Simpson. Oh, that voice. After "Revolutionary Spirit" he would join up with Ian Broudie from Zoo's Big in Japan to knock out three stellar singles as Care. There would be three albums from the Wild Swans after that, and I think everyone should at least have 'Bringing Home the Ashes' and 'The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years,' but the band's single best moment was this, their first.

Buy "Revolutionary Spirit" on ''The Zoo' Uncaged 1978-1982, or if you have deep pockets, the double-vinyl deluxe book version of 'Incandescent.' I have it, and it's a beautiful piece of art, but I'm afraid to play it.

3 comments:

Echorich said...

If I hadn't been following along from the start of this list I would have be blown off my feet by Revolutionary Spirit charting so high. This is one of the most important Post Punk tracks to come out of the very fertile Liverpool Scene. The depth of that scene is hard to fathom, but there are tracks that shimmer of the waters. Revolutionary Spirit belongs next to Pictures On My Wall, Treason, Electricity, Seven Minutes To Midnight, Society For Cutting Up Men and Dalek I Love You (Destiny).
I know that list is very subjective, but it covers all the bases to my mind.
Revolutionary Spirit is confident, angular, and soars from the speakers. There's something fitting in that it was originally recorded in Mono (mistake or all DeFreitas could afford?) but this gives it a live to tape feel that so many songs have produced out of their final mix.

Brian said...

Echorich,
As always, thanks for taking the time. I have a few things to say about placement, but I'll wait until after I show all my cards this week. Suffice it to say my top three will probably have readers scratching their heads... but it's honest. For now, I'm just very happy you like Revolutionary Spirit. You broke it down beautifully.

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks.