Other Contenders: There were a few indie chart appearances before becoming a commercial juggernaut beginning with "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" in the spring of '84. The band's first foray into indie-chart territory was the "Four A-Sides" EP in January 1980, and I think "Confidence" was the best of that lot. "The 'Sweetest Girl'" peaked at No. 3 in the fall of '81. "Faithless" made it to No. 2 in the spring of '82. My pick, "Jacques Derrida"/"Asylums in Jerusalem," concludes the run of indie singles. A few of you may be wondering about die-hard fan favorite "Skank Bloc Bologna." That one predates the countdown.
Chart Entry: Aug. 7, 1982
Peak Position: No. 2
Comment: Truthfully, "The 'Sweetest Girl'" should probably be here, but I couldn't resist choosing this double A-side to sneak in a bonus single. As you may have surmised from my occasional series "When the Wife's Away, Scritti Politti Will Play," I'm an unapologetic supporter of almost everything Green Gartside has done... well, maybe not 'Anomie & Bonhomie... but the singles surrounding the full-length debut 'Songs to Remember' hold a special place in my heart.
These two songs, in particular, are dear because it's such a transitional moment. Green is political, intellectual, and the sound still has a bit of that early DIY aesthetic, but there are more than just a few clues of pop brilliance and accessibility too. This is just before Green, as Simon Reynolds once put it, "developed a voice to match the hall-of-mirrors dazzle of his new sound-and-vision: a falsetto that soared and swooned somewhere between man and woman, soul and machine." For those of you old enough to remember, this is also probably the last time it felt like you didn't have to share Scritti Politti with the world. In case you were worried, Mrs. Linear Tracking Lives is in San Francisco. So, I was able to listen to this single today without fear of reprisal.
All mp3s posted at LTL! are to highlight music you should buy... right now. Sure, give it a listen, but then run to your nearest indie record shop and pay up. Mp3s are linked for a limited time. Rants and raves to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Classic Record Recommendation:
The Icicle Works 'If You Want to Defeat Your Enemy Sing His Song'