Saturday, June 8, 2019

Summer of Subway: The Rosehips

After last week's obscurity, I felt like I owed it to you to pull out one of the real stars of the Subway Organization. Although the band's entire output on the label came down to merely two singles and appearances on two compilations, in my humble opinion, only the Flatmates best the Rosehips in sheer listening enjoyment.

The Rosehips hailed from the from the mysterious sounding Stoke-on-Trent, well, mysterious to a Yank, anyway. Could I have another band from there in the entire music room? A quick look at the map shows it's about halfway between Manchester and Birmingham, but by the sound of them, I would have guessed they were from Glasgow. The Rosehips sound an awful lot like Shop Assistants, and that's because they were enamored with the Scots and Subway alums. What a racket they make!

By my count, the Rosehips recorded 13 songs for Subway, and each one seems louder and faster than the next. Most of them clock in at well under two minutes too, but they do pack a punch. Would make for a pretty short show, though, wouldn't it? Yoland's vocals are not for everyone, but her high-pitched appeals on lost love and betrayal fighting for air over all that fuzz is music to my ears. One of my all-time favorite opening lines to a song is from the A-side of their first single... "Rented a room in your heart / but the rent was too much and the room fell apart."

"Room in Your Heart" is their hit, peaking at No. 9 on the indie chart. Follow-up "I Shouldn't Have To Say" didn't quite match it commercially or artistically (but is still quite good in its own right), and the 80-second song flamed out at No. 28. Both of those singles came out in 1987, and just like that, they were finished at Subway. There would be one more vital release, albeit with an altered roster, on a band member's own Chaotic Brilliance label. The Rosehips called it a day in 1989. In 1992, a 7" on animal cruelty was released "posthumously."

There are two Subway-era songs missing from my collection. If anybody out there has "Loophole" and "All Mine" from the "I Shouldn't Have To Say" 12", I would be much obliged if you sent them along. Otherwise, here's everything else. Happy listening.

From the "Room in Your Heart" 12" (Subway 10T)
Room in Your Heart
Middle of Next Week
Thrilled to Bits
So Naive
Just Another Girl
Dead End

From the "I Shouldn't Have to Say" 7" (Subway 16)
I Shouldn't Have to Say
Wastin' My Time
Sad as Sunday

From the 'Take the Subway to Your Suburb' compilation (SUBORG 1)
The Last Light

From the 'Surfin' in the Subway' compilation (SUBORG 4)
Something Happened
Sad as Sunday (see the "I Shouldn't Have to Say" single above.)


MisterPrime said...

Hey, Brian. Stoke on Trent (sometimes disparagingly referred to as 'smoke-on-Stench') is actually a collection of Five Towns rather than a proper city, hence it lacks a proper centre. The shops are in Hanley, also home to the Victoria Hall, a legendary venue where I attended my earliest gigs (Prefab Sprout first, followed by some rather less savoury characters.) It was the nearest decent-sized population-centre to the sleepy market town in which I was raised. Musically, it was pretty much exclusively a Heavy Metal town in those days - and I wouldn't be much surprised if it still was...! I've got those two songs (digitally only) on a Secret Records comp. from the late 90's - I'm happy to send them to you in that form if you need 'em and if I can work out how to do it...? Cheers.

Brian said...

MisterPrime, Yes, I had done a little research on Stoke-on-Trent last night, and I kept thinking about how tough it must have been to be in the Rosehips in that vicinity, especially 30-plus years ago. I guess the area is known for its pottery and not much else. We have being raised in a sleepy town in common, MP. My hometown had a population of about 12,000, and it was a long three-hour drive to Chicago with nothing to speak of in-between. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. If you are able to send those two songs to me attached to an email or uploaded to Google Drive, Dropbox or the like, I would be forever grateful. At some point I will break down and buy that 12" on Discogs just to be a Subway completist.

MisterPrime said...

On their way, Brian. Enjoy!

Rocker Rosehip said...

There was also a compilation CD which came out on Secret in the US in 1997, collecting all the Subway tracks plus the tracks from the two later singles (after I joined the band) plus unreleased stuff.

The CD is available from my label at as well as a download version of the long sold out live CD.

Most of the vinyl releases are also still available as new from my Discogs store at

Oh and for Subway collectors there was also a flexi of The Rosehips covering labelmates The Chesterf!elds' Ask Johnny Dee which came out in 1987 on Sweet William.