Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 69)

69. "Timeless Melody"
Artist: The La's
Year: 1990

Ah, the La's. What could have been... what should have been. I don't know where you stand on frontman Lee Mavers, probably somewhere between prick and perfectionist, but at the end of the day, that self-titled debut, years in the making, sounded perfect to me. Mavers didn't agree, and I can understand why he felt that way since he had quit the sessions, leaving producer Steve Lillywhite to work with what he had to get a completed album in the can for Go! Discs. All of that behind-the-scenes stuff aside, most fans and critics liked the jangle, too, especially the re-recorded version of the 1988 single "There She Goes." OK, get out your abacus so you can follow along with the timeline of recordings and re-recordings of my personal favorite from the album, "Timeless Melody."

This is the original "Timeless Melody" single that was set to be released in 1989. It was pulled by the band at the 11th hour. In fact, some copies had already been sent to critics for review. Personally, I like the Lillywhite version much better.

Here is an alternate version of the song done in a style thought to be more in line with what the band had in mind. It certainly sounds like how they performed it on stage while on tour to support the album. I think it's better than the aborted single from 1988, but I still don't think I like it as much as the Lillywhite version. What are your thoughts?


Echorich said...

Let's face it, without Steve Lillywhite, there probably would be no La's album. Go Discs!, major distribution deal or not, could not really afford to spend the money on Maver's Mania and not release an album.
And Lillywhite created, or found, borders which kept that Mania in hand. Lee Mavers is a Tom Scholz type perfectionist. Given the chance it might have been a five year plan to release The La's and would have probably ended up with a one man band. John Power left and formed Cast (YEA!) eventually as it was. Chris Sharrock probably wishes he'd never left The Icicle Works in the first place as he didn't even make through the album release.
Timeless Melody is SUCH a Mersey sounding track. It pulls from 60's Merseybeat and Liverpool Post Punk in equal measure. Great track.

The Swede said...

Echorich nails it. Bloody marvelous tune.

Brian said...

Very happy to hear you fellas like this one. Yes, Echorich has a way of nailing a song. Pretty big album in your neck of the woods, Swede, but not so much over here. Peaked at 196 on the Billboard 200.

McPop said...

Very cool that the La's made the list! it's nice to see you give love to Timeless Melody and not pick the obvious single. That said I do like the John Leckie version of There She Goes quite a bit.
Brian, you're really on a roll with these last two selections and I can't wait to see what's next up.

Brian said...

Thanks, McPop. The selections are about to get a lot more obvious, which I think is unfortunate. I'm not sure if you know where I stand on the '90s, but I missed a lot while out of the country in the mid '90s and consumed with work in the late '90s. One of my self-imposed rules was to make picks based on actually knowing the songs when they came out. Since I was so out of the loop, quite a few gems have been left out that I have discovered in the last 15 years or so.

george said...

Never heard that last version Brian, and, contrarian that I am, it's bloody brilliant. But it's a great pop song, and the first two posted aren't bad either!

george said...

Have you heard this Brian? It's an "alternate" version of the La's album, and it's very good.

Brian said...

I have heard most of this in bits and pieces but never as a 35 minute collection... just finished it and am floored. I wish the sound was a little better, but it's very good. I'll be visiting this one again very soon. Thanks for mentioning it.