ThURGHsday! #8 – Echo and the Bunnymen

I remember my first impression of “The Puppet” in URGH! as the jangly, angular song with the pale lead singer.

I still find Ian McCulloch to be one of the best-looking guys in rock. I miss seeing his eyes for sure, as he often wears sunglasses everywhere lately.

I’ll be honest – I came late to Echo & the Bunnymen. Or, I came to them right on time. I don’t know that I would have appreciated their music if I had been turned on to them earlier. My first major recollection besides “The Puppet” was their track on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack, “Bring On The Dancing Horses.” In exploring their back catalog, I bought Songs To Learn & Sing because it had “Dancing Horses” on it and that record in turn exposed me to “The Puppet” again, along with hits from their back catalog, like “The Killing Moon” and “The Cutter,” a song that to me has the best middle 8 in all of pop music.

I’ve since come to know their albums previous to Songs to Learn & Sing fairly well, and I always liked their self-titled “last” album in 1987 before Ian left the band for a solo career and Pete DeFreitas was killed in a motorcycle accident. I only recently learned that the band didn’t like Echo & the Bunnymen much. I saw them live when they were touring that album. They played Red Rocks with Gene Loves Jezebel and New Order. Ian was in fantastic voice despite being completely loaded. I recall him telling a story about drinking Coronas with people in the parking lot.

Where URGH! They Now?

After Ian left and Pete died, Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson hired a new drummer and singer and released Reverberation in 1990 and were dropped by the label. The band broke up shortly after in 1993. I don’t think I ever heard anything from Reverberation until just tonight writing about it, I found YouTube videos of some of the songs.
1994 saw Ian and Will get together as Electrafixion and release an album in 1995 before re-teaming with Les in 1997 as Echo & the Bunnymen again, releasing Evergreen that year. Les has since left the group again and has played with The Wild Swans since 2007 and another side project with Will, Das Poltergeist which released an album in 2013.

The Bunnymen have released four other albums since Evergreen, with a fifth, Meteorites, out this past May. They have been very active since that album’s release, touring the album in the UK & the US, and recently streamed a concert over Yahoo! The Bunnymen will appear on Late Show with David Letterman on ThURGHsday! August 21st. I’m looking forward to seeing them on the show!


Next ThURGHsday! – Jools Holland – “Foolish I Know”

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mike catonreply
August 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

The Pretty in Pink marks the death of alternative music as the 80's knew it. The Furs never mattered again, Nik Kershaw? New Order knew how to survive anything, including John Hughes, and gave him the worst song they ever wrote. The Smiths? they were doomed anyway, so its just coincidental. It would take "The Breakfast Club" to kill Simple Minds and truly end the magic of the 80's.

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
August 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I was all set to agree with you. I was. I mean, this film clearly shows that Hughes was off his game. I'm sure it's the previous success of The Breakfast Club & "DYFAM" that allowed him to appeal to so many alternative artists & get on the soundtrack with really great songs (but Kershaw's version should have been here. Danny Hutton who?).

However, I'll argue that, as much as I love the Furs' Mirror Moves, was that really relevant compared to their earlier work? They had already changed. I do like "Shell Shock", but really, the NO song that should have been on the soundtrack is "Thieves Like Us". Agreed on the Smiths, but Moz hit strong with his solo joint soon after this.

Alternative was already dying from multiple fractures, but I'd argue that this soundtrack was its zenith. After that highly stylized movie (which style was the best part about that movie) and it's accompanying near-perfect soundtrack album, where did alternative have to go?

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