Friday, June 13, 2014

UK Indie Hits: 1980-89 (No. 1)

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

50. Phil Wilson - Waiting for a Change
49. Ben Watt - Some Things Don't Matter
48. Depeche Mode - See You
47. Wire - Eardrum Buzz
46. Talulah Gosh - Beatnik Boy
45. McCarthy - The Well of Loneliness
44. The Field Mice - Sensitive
43. Felt - Penelope Tree
42. Razorcuts - Sorry to Embarrass You
41. The Jasmine Minks - Cold Heart
40. Electronic - Getting Away With It
39. Primal Scream - Crystal Crescent
38. Hurrah! - Who'd Have Thought
37. Shop Assistants - Safety Net
36. The Pastels - Comin' Through
35. The Sea Urchins - Pristine Christine
34. The Jesus and Mary Chain - Upside Down
33. The Brilliant Corners - Delilah Sands
32. Everything But The Girl - Night and Day
31. Associates - Kitchen Person
30. The Lightning Seeds - Pure
29. The Primitives - Stop Killing Me
28. The Loft - Why Does the Rain
27. The Flatmates - I Could Be in Heaven
26. Mighty Mighty - Throwaway
25. Yazoo - Nobody's Diary
24. The Wake - Talk About the Past
23. The Teardrop Explodes - Treason (It's Just a Story)
22. The Pale Fountains - (There's Always) Something on My Mind
21. Fire Engines - Big Gold Dream
20. The Waterboys - A Girl Called Johnny
19. The Monochrome Set - The Jet Set Junta
18. The Icicle Works - Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)
17. Josef K - It's Kinda Funny
16. Another Sunny Day - You Should All Be Murdered
15. The Chesterf!ields - Ask Johnny Dee
14. Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding
13. The Wedding Present - My Favourite Dress
12. Prefab Sprout - Lions in my Own Garden (Exit Someone)
11. The Bodines - Therese
10. Joy Division - Transmission
9. The Orchids - I've Got a Habit
8. Close Lobsters - Going to Heaven to See If It Rains
7. Orange Juice - Blue Boy
6. Scritti Politti - Jacques Derrida/Asylums in Jerusalem
5. The Smiths - This Charming Man
4. New Order - Blue Monday
3. The Wild Swans - Revolutionary Spirit
2. Aztec Camera - Just Like Gold

And at No. 1... drum roll, please...

1. The June Brides - "Every Conversation"

Other Contenders: Excluding the band's legendary Peel Session, "No Place Called Home" was the band's only other hit, peaking at No. 3 two months after "Every Conversation." This brief list seems criminal until you realize the double A "In the Rain"/"Sunday to Saturday" and the "This Town" EP were the only other singles.

Chart Entry: Oct. 19, 1985

Peak Position: No. 11

Comment: More than three months ago, Phil Wilson kicked off this countdown. So, it's only fitting he should be the one to conclude it. Put simply, when I think of '80s indie pop, "Every Conversation" is the first song that comes to mind. Being an American that grew up in the middle of nowhere, I didn't know anyone who liked the June Brides. So, I felt like this was my band. To this day, my JB records are still the vinyl I'm most excited to have in the collection. As you can see below, I pulled them out today just to look at them. Eight years ago Dave Eggers did a piece for the Guardian on the June Brides. Perhaps it's because he was also from Illinois, or maybe it's because he mentions my all-time favorite record shop, or it could be because he's just very good at his craft, but this is my favorite piece of music writing. I could hardly believe it. Turns out I wasn't the only one that loved the June Brides. If you have a minute, do me a favor and give it a read.

I'll put a bow on this list with my next post. In the meantime, if you would like to share your favorite indie single from this era, I would love to hear from you.

Buy "Every Conversation" on the double-disc 'Every Conversation: The Story of June Brides & Phil Wilson.'


Echorich said...

Excellent choice!! June Brides are quintessential INDIE. They have such a strong catalogue.
Really enjoyed this extended thread over the last few months Brian!!

Steve Jillings said...

Churlish to quibble. A great "Festive 50" that anyone would want to own, each sympathetically narrated. Have really enjoyed this thread!

friend of rachel worth said...

Fantastic series , thanks a lot , almost got me scratching the blog itch again

Séamus Duggan said...

It's been great fun following this! It would be hard to name a favourite single, especially without having the list of what's eligible to hand.
Songs jostling for position (that aren't on your list) include Levi Subbs Tears - Billy Bragg; Trumpton Riots - Half Man Half Biscuit; in the Ghetto - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds; The Holyhead ep - The Stars of Heaven; Temptation - New Order; I Bloodbrother Be - Shock Headed Peters - I could go on, and maybe some day I will.

Phil Junebride said...


george said...

A terrific series. I really appreciated the articles with each song. Many of your choices I have not heard before, and enjoyed hearing them. Well, most of them! Actually, I've no recollection at all of ever hearing your number 1 song. And what a good song...if I could find my kazoo I could play along!!!

Luca said...

Thanks for the fantastic series.

Swiss Adam said...

It's interetsing isn't it- Electronic's Getting AWay With It seems to have so little in common with what else is around it in your list. It seemed so un-indie when released- big production, supergroup, glossy sleeve and video (much moreso than Blue Monday a few years earlier but a totally different time). Yet it lives alongside the others.

Brian said...

Seamus, If you do, I'm so there.

Swiss Adam, I know what you mean about Electronic. Kind of feel that way about Lightning Seeds too. I admit I thought twice about Getting Away With It, but it was on the chart, and I do like it.