Today it's a beautiful day (okay, so that's even worse than the pun you will read in the post below, apologies), the wonderful Greg aka @TheJDaddy has written a post for Session Bloggers.
Greg blogs over at the brilliantly named Whiskey For Aftershave and I'm chuffed that he could take some time out from that to blog about his favourite early 90s band here. He is another music fan who I bonded with over on twitter. I highly recommend you follow him on there and visit his blog too.
Take it away, Greg...
Top bloke Simon (aka Session Blogger) has asked me to write a guest post for his blog. And how could I refuse? I’ve never done a guest post before, & the subject is one dearest to my heart after my family (of course): music.
And he asked so nicely. (The promise of a lifetime’s supply of Twiglets helped too).
He's started a series called 'The Early Nineties Were Easier" (#TENWE) & has invited me - and anyone else who wants to - to write about a favourite band from that era.
Well, I had to think about it. So I did that, & decided on the band I’d rave about.
Then I changed my mind.
The band I first thought of fitted with the rest in the series so far. They were huge in indie clubs and, although they have achieved great mainstream success & even had a big hit across the pond, they are first & foremost an indie band. I love them, & today they are still 1 of my favourite bands, 1 of only 2 I’ve been to see 3 times.
So why did I change my mind? I realised that I wasn’t actually into them at the time! As with most things in my life, I came in late. It wasn’t until the end of the decade that I came to love them. So, if I’m going to be honest – and I always try to be – I should write about the band I really was most into at the time. So I will.
In the early '90s my life was in a huge state of transition. I’ll spare you the details but I’d spent the '80s mixed up in fundamentalist religion, & my attitude to secular music would have done the Taliban proud. I considered it inherently corrupt & corrupting; to be avoided at all costs.
1990 was the year I escaped. I emerged, blinking & naïve, into what – for me - was a brave new world. I spent the next few years tentatively feeling my way into the real world, slowly breaking free from the chains in which I’d been bound. A major part of that was catching up on a lost decade of music! As cheesy as it seems to me now, Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman’s Radio 1 show 'Pick of the Pops' became one of the most important things in my life! I still have many of them on cassette tape.
I heard a song on the radio which I loved, although I didn’t know what it was or who it was by. So I went into Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus, went up to the nearest till & said to the guy there:
“I’ve heard this song that I really like & I don’t know what it is. It’s live, it features a great Gospel choir, & it’s something about ‘what I’m looking for’. Do you know what it is?“.
To the lad’s eternal credit his wry smile didn’t appear to contain even a hint of sarcasm, as he straight away went off to fetch the record in question.
He came back with an album from 1987 called 'Rattle & Hum'. By some outfit called ‘U2’. You may have heard of them. *ducks to avoid any thrown bottles & various types of fruit*
I hadn’t. I kid you not.
So I bought the album: my first album purchase as an adult. And I loved the album, & the song, & still do. The song pretty much summed up my life at the time, & to this day I find it trremendously moving every time I hear it. Always will I think.
I found what I was looking for! (Sorry – couldn’t resist…)
I then discovered 'Rattle & Hum' s predecessor 'The Joshua Tree' & immediately had a new all-time favourite band & album.
“OK”, you say, “you bought the albums in the early '90s, but it’s still the music of the '80s!”. Fair enough. But then in 1991 U2 brought out ‘Achtung Baby', a ‘comeback’ album, & one that is regarded by many – myself included - as their other great album along with ‘The Joshua Tree’.
Bought it, played it, loved it, still do. Later did the gig & bought the T-shirt. Which I still wear! ‘Zoo Station’, ‘Even Better Than the Real Thing’, ‘Until the End of the World’,’Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?’, ‘The Fly’: great rock with added electronica; ‘So Cruel’, a classic intense slow-burner; & this 'one' - my favourite - melts my heart every time I hear it: electrifying, achingly beautiful.
U2, for my sins, was the soundtrack to my life in the early '90s. I still have in mind maybe to one day write a post called 'How U2 Kept Me Sane'.
And my first, discarded, choice? Probably much cooler, sorry: maybe another time! So I'll end with my favourite song of theirs from the time:
Thanks for the brilliant post, Greg. It's a fantastic story, still can't get over the fact you didn't listen to any music in the 80s - don't know what I would've done without my regular fix of Wham!
I think that was my favourite period for U2 as well, even though I love 'The Joshua Tree', 'Achtung Baby' really reminds me of that era, when we were learning to drive and that was one of the tapes we always had in the car. I really think you should write the 'How U2 kept me sane' post, would love to read that too.
As a special treat for writing a great post (and cause I'm all out of Twiglets), I have added both U2's 'One' and 'Out to get you' by James to the Spotify playlist here - The Early Nineties Were Easier #TENWE
Until next time, thanks for reading everyone.