Monday, October 31, 1988

The La’s released “There She Goes” - for the first time

There She Goes

The La’s

Writer(s): Lee Mavers (see lyrics here)


Released: October 31, 1988


First Charted: January 14, 1989


Peak: 49 US, 47 CB, 2 MR, 13 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.6 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 9.1 video, 139.62 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Rolling Stone called “There She Goes” “a founding piece of Britpop’s foundation.” RS “Credit Lee Mavers’ insistent falsetto bringing the song’s sad-sack protagonist to life as the never-ending guitar hook intensifies his desperation.” RS Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie called it “the perfectly written pop song: an instantaneously recognizable melody and lyric set to simple, economic musical structure.” WK

Mike Badger formed The La’s in 1983 and singer/songwriter/guitarist Mavers joined the next year. Badger departed in 1986 and bassist John Power came on board. Mavers and Power ended up the nucleus of the group with a revolving door of other guitarists and drummers. The band lasted until 1992, but only released one album. Mavers said of the Steve Lillywhite-produced album, “We [hate] it…It never captured anything that we were about. To cut a long story short, too many cooks spoil the broth.” RS

The album featured four singles, of which only “There She Goes” dented the UK top-40. Even that song was a minor hit initially. It was first released in 1988 and reached #59 on the UK charts. It was remixed in 1990 for their debut album and that version – released as a single in October of 1990 – finally charted in the UK and United States.

The lines “There she goes again / Racing through my brain / Pulsing through my vein / No one else can heal my pain” have led to the song being viewed as an ode to heroin. Mavers denies the song is about heroin, although admits to trying it. However, he says he didn’t try it until 1990 – after he wrote the song. WK


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First posted 10/13/2021.

Friday, October 28, 1988

Mike + the Mechanics Living Years released

Living Years

Mike + the Mechanics


Released: October 28, 1988


Peak: 13 US, 2 UK, 12 CN, 10 AU


Sales (in millions): .05 US, 0.1 UK


Genre: mainstream rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Nobody’s Perfect (Rutherford, B.A. Robertson) [4:48] v: Young (11/5/88, 63 US, 58 CB, 3 AR, 29 AU)
  2. The Living Years (Rutherford, Robertson) [5:32] v: Carrack (12/31/88, 1 US, 1 CB, 2 RR, 1 AC, 5 AR, 2 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU)
  3. Seeing Is Believing (Rutherford, Robertson) [3:13] v: Young (4/8/89, 62 US, 53 CB, 18 AR, 46 CN, 91 AU)
  4. Nobody Knows [4:24] v: Carrack (7/22/89, 41 AC)
  5. Poor Boy Down [4:33] v: Young
  6. Blame [5:24] v: Young
  7. Don’t [5:45] v: Carrack
  8. Black & Blue (Rutherford, Robertson, Young) [3:27] v: Young
  9. Beautiful Day (Rutherford, Neil, Young) [3:39] v: Young
  10. Why Me? (Rutherford, Robertson) [6:26] v: Carrack

Songs are written by Mike Rutherford and Christopher Neil unless noted otherwise. V indicates who sang lead vocals.


Total Running Time: 47:11


The Players:

  • Mike Rutherford (guitar, bass)
  • Paul Carrack (vocals)
  • Paul Young (vocals)
  • Adrian Lee (keyboards)
  • Peter Van Hooke (drums)

Rating:

3.730 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After the enormous success of Genesis’ Invisible Touch in 1986, Mike Rutherford returned to his side project, Mike + the Mechanics, for a second album. It didn’t seem likely that he’d find the same magic again. After all, that first album surprised people by landing two top-10 hits.

Instead, Rutherford and crew topped themselves, going all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the title cut. Rutherford and co-writer B.A. Robertson had both lost their fathers recently. However, the lyrics were solely by Robinson, whose son was born three months after his death. Paul Carrack, who tackled lead vocals on the track, lost his father when he was eleven years old. WK

The song was Carrack’s fourth trip to the top 10. He’d previously been there with Mike + the Mechanics when he sang lead on “Silent Running” and had also hit the top 10 back in 1974 with Ace and the song “How Long.” After his profile was upped with “Silent Running,” he also found top-10 success with his own solo hit “Don’t Shed a Tear” in early 1988.

“On mid-tempo tracks with Rutherford’s trademark bubbly bass such as Nobody’s Perfect and Beautiful Day and on the infectious Poor Boy Down the group display a soulfulness that many in the genre lack even while there is a distinct lack of individuality present in their musicianship.” AMG

Overall, the album “moves smoothly between anthemic ballads such as the title track and more up-beat numbers such as Seeing Is Believing. The band even shows a trace of Mike Rutherford’s prog rock roots with Genesis on the epic-like Why Me?AMG It didn’t find quite the success of its predecessor, though. “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Seeing Is Believing” both fell far short of the top 40, although the former reached #3 on the album rock chart and the latter got to #18.

“When the group try their hands at funk, as on Don’t, or harder rock, as on Black and Blue, they sound quite out of their element.” AMG The latter did have the credentials of Rutherford’s Genesis bandmates Phil Collins and Tony Banks behind it, though. It used a sample from a riff they played during sessions for the Invisible Touch album. WK

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First posted 1/17/2009; last updated 9/1/2021.

Tuesday, October 11, 1988

U2 released Rattle and Hum

Rattle and Hum

U2


Released: October 11, 1988


Peak: 16 US, 11 UK, 113 CN, 15 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.2 UK, 14.6 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: mainstream rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Helter Skelter (live) (Lennon/McCartney) [3:07]
  2. Van Diemen’s Land [3:05]
  3. Desire [2:59] (10/1/88, 3 US, 1 AR, 1 MR, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  4. Hawkmoon 269 [6:22]
  5. All Along the Watchtower (live) (Dylan) [4:24]
  6. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (live) [5:53]
  7. Freedom for My People (Mabins/Robinson) [0:38]
  8. Silver and Gold (live) [5:49]
  9. Pride (In the Name of Love) (live) [4:27]
  10. Angel of Harlem [3:48] (10/22/88, 14 US, 1 AR, 3 MR, 38 AC, 9 UK, 1 CN, 18 AU)
  11. Love Rescue Me (Dylan/U2) [6:24]
  12. When Love Comes to Town (with B.B. King) [4:15] (10/22/88, 68 US, 2 AR, 10 MR, 6 UK, 41 CN, 23 AU)
  13. Heartland [5:03]
  14. God, Part 2 [3:15] (10/22/88, 8 AR, 28 MR)
  15. The Star Spangled Banner (Key/Smith) [0:43]
  16. Bullet the Blue Sky (live) [5:36]
  17. All I Want Is You [6:30] (7/1/89, 50a US, 13 AR, 4 UK, 67 CN, 2 AU)

Songs written by U2 unless indicated otherwise.


Total Running Time: 72:27


The Players:

  • Bono (vocals, harmonica, guitar)
  • The Edge (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards)
  • Adam Clayton (bass)
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums, percussion)

Rating:

3.820 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Faced with the task of following-up the mega-successful Joshua Tree, U2 made a feature-film documentary and an accompanying soundtrack instead of a conventional studio album. The move wasn’t without precedent. U2 followed their 1983 War album with the live Under a Blood Red Sky and 1984’s Unforgettable Fire with the Wide Awake in America EP which mixed a few B-sides with a couple of live cuts.

The movie was considered a flop, but the soundtrack was a worldwide #1 hit, selling more than 14 million copies The Rattle and Hum album, a mix of new studio cuts as well as live material, “is all over the place. The live cuts lack the revelatory power of Under a Blood Red Sky and are undercut by heavy-handed performances and Bono's embarrassing stage patter.” STE He prefaces “a leaden cover of Helter Skelter with ‘This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles, and now we're stealing it back.’” STE There’s also his laughable “exhortation ‘OK, Edge, play the blues!’ on the worthy, decidedly unbluesy Silver and Gold.” STE

“U2 sound paralyzed by their new status as ‘rock's most important band.’ They react by attempting to boost their classic rock credibility.” STE The live cuts attempt to be an musical history lesson. In addition to tackling the Beatles and claiming to play the blues, the band covers Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower and infuses Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For with a gospel vibe.

By mixing the live material with new studio songs, the album comes across as “the least-focused record U2 ever made.” STE One senses the group couldn’t commit to a live album or a studio album so they comprised and tried to do both.

The studio cuts carry over the general theme of paying tribute to the music that came before, specifically American roots rock. “Desire has an intoxicating Bo Diddley beat.” STE It was released as the first single and became U2’s first #1 hit in the UK.

Angel of Harlem is a punchy, sunny Stax-soul” STE “horn-filled tribute to Billie Holiday.” WKWhen Loves Come to Town is an endearingly awkward blues duet with B.B. King.” STE “The Dylan collaboration Love Rescue Me is an overlooked minor bluesy gem.” STE Bono and Dylan met in Los Angeles and wrote a song called “Prisoner of Love” which evolved into “Love Rescue Me.” On the original recording, Dylan takes lead vocals which Bono called “astonishing,” WK but Dylan asked U2 not to use it because of his commitment at the time to the Traveling Wilburys. WK

All three of those songs were recorded in Memphis, Tennessee, at the famed Sun Studios where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison recorded. Those same sessions produced a cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Jesus Christ,” which appeared on the Folkways compilation, and “She’s a Mystery to Me,” which Orbison recorded for his final studio album. WK

U2 also create an answer to John Lennon’s “God” with “the bass-heavy” WK God, Part 2. In addition, they offer up “a couple of affecting laments — the cascading All I Want Is You and Heartland.” STE The band started writing the latter during sessions for The Unforgettable Fire in 1984 and worked on it again during sessions for The Joshua Tree. WK

Hawkmoon 269 was, according to Bono, written partly as a tribute to Sam Shepard, an American playwright and actor who’d written a book called Hawk Moon. He said they mixed the song 269 times, a comment assumed to be a joke for years but confirmed by the Edge, who said they spent three weeks mixing the song. WK He did, however, contradict Bono about the song’s subject matter, saying it is a place in Rapid City, South Dakota. WK

In the end, a studio-only album would have been more unified and could have stood on its own with just the nine cuts released on Rattle and Hum. However, it could have been fleshed out with the aforementioned “Jesus Christ” and “She’s a Mystery to Me,” as well as “A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hallelujah Here She Comes,” as well as covers of “Dancing Barefoot,” “Unchained Melody,” and “Everlasting Love,” all of which were released as B-sides.

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First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 8/13/2021.