Saturday, September 01, 2012
SATURDAY'S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 39)
It is very easy to forget just how massive Deacon Blue were in Glasgow at the tail end of the 80s.
The city that had just. for the first time in a generation, re-gained a sense of pride in its very existence thanks to a series of arts and cultural events that had culminated it in Glasgow, to the sheer disbelief of millions of folk who only associated it with crime and grime, having been declared European City of Culture 1990. If Glasgow was looking for a band to step forward and associate itself with this new feeling, then Deacon Blue fitted the bill perfectly. From wiki:-
Formed in 1985 following Ricky Ross's move from Dundee to Glasgow, Deacon Blue were one of the top-selling UK bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Along with Ross, the group consisted of Lorraine McIntosh, James Prime, Dougie Vipond, Ewen Vernal and Graeme Kelling.
In 1986, the band contributed a track ("Take the Saints Away") to a compilation cassette entitled Honey at the Core, featuring then up-and-coming Glasgow bands, including Wet Wet Wet and Hue and Cry.
The band's debut album, Raintown, was released in 1987. It has the overtones of a concept album relating to the struggles of getting by in life in the inner city of urban life - the city being unmistakably Glasgow, The cover art of the album is a photograph (by the Scottish-Italian photographer Oscar Marzaroli) of the River Clyde's docks taken from Kelvingrove Park. It proved a commercial success and has to date sold around a million copies, peaking in the UK album chart at 14 and remaining in the charts for a year and a half.
Their second studio album, 1989's When the World Knows Your Name, was the band's most commercially successful, reaching No. 1 in the UK album charts and generating five UK top 30 hits, including "Real Gone Kid", "Wages Day", and "Fergus Sings the Blues" (all five singles from the album were top 10 hits in Ireland).
Ticket sales for shows in Glasgow's SECC in both May and December 1989 broke the world record at the time for the fastest sell-out. The following year saw the band play in front of an estimated 250,000 fans at the free concert on Glasgow Green "The Big Day", which was held to celebrate Glasgow being named that year's European City of Culture. The band also played Glastonbury and the Roskilde festivals that summer, as well as released Ooh Las Vegas, a double album of B-sides, extra tracks, film tracks, and sessions which reached No. 3 in the UK album charts.
Later albums would see the band gradually dwindle in popularity and an eventual split-up in 1994 when Vipond's decided to quit the group in favour of a career as a sports reporter on BBC Scotland. Five years later, the band held a reunion gig, and this led on to a new album, Walking Back Home, with the band now working on a part-time basis.
They released another album, Homesick, in 2001. Though Graeme Kelling died from pancreatic cancer in 2004, the band has continued in his absence and 2006 saw Deacon Blue returning to the studio to record three new tracks for a Singles album - including the track "Bigger than Dynamite". Deacon Blue are confirmed to be recording new material for a September 2012 release to be called The Hipsters,
I was part of the crowed at that free gig...although I don't think it was 250,000.....it was certainly well in excess of 100,000 folk and it came at the end of a day when the streets of the city centre had been turned over entirely to a sensational day of popular music, with Channel 4 broadcasting live all day long. So many great things to choose from which is why, when I was having a great time in a public park with a few thousand others watching Les Negresses Vertes, Nanci Griffiths and the massed ranks of the ANC Choir (ever the lefie!!) just a few hundred yards away at an open space on the banks of the river, Billy Bragg, Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant played to a very small and lucky audience...only Billy had been listed as appearing....the others were his unannounced very special guests. In those days before mobile phones you had no way of knowing.......
Anyway, back to Deacon Blue....here's the songs on the 12" version of their first Top 10 hit:-
mp3 : Deacon Blue - Real Gone Kid (extended)
mp3 : Deacon Blue - Little Lincoln
mp3 : Deacon Blue - Real Gone Kid
I feel a wee post on The Big Day coming on......