Friday, October 26, 2012
IN WHICH JULIAN NAME CHECKS A MYSTICAL, NEAR-MYTHICAL BAND
Let wiki tell the story:-
The Crucial Three were a short-lived band that existed for approximately six weeks in early 1977. They are nevertheless notable on account of the individual success of all three founding members: Julian Cope formed The Teardrop Explodes and has enjoyed a long and successful solo career as an author, photographer and singer, Ian McCulloch formed the very successful Echo & the Bunnymen, while guitarist Pete Wylie formed Wah! Heat (and its various subsequent incarnations based around Wah!) and enjoyed major chart success with "The Story of the Blues". In those early days, McCulloch sang, Cope played bass, and Wylie played guitar. A drummer, Stephen Spence, also joined at some point in their brief life.
The band formed in May 1977 and split in June 1977. According to Cope, the three friends first talked about forming a band on McCulloch's 18th birthday, 5 May 1977, during The Clash's White Riot tour date at Eric's; "By the end of the evening, we were a group. It was all Wylie's trip. He suggested Arthur Hostile & The Crucial Three. Duke [McCulloch] said, 'Sod the bloody Arthur Hostile bit off, it's crap.' So we were The Crucial Three. Wylie went on about how legendary we would be, and Duke and I went along with him, as part of the in-joke."
Although they wrote and rehearsed a number of songs (Wylie claims they had four songs), including "Salomine Shuffle" (which was performed by Wylie in an abbreviated form at The Zanzibar in Liverpool in September 2007) and "Bloody Sure You're On Dope", the band didn't last long enough to record anything. They rehearsed in a garage and split up after a month but some other accounts mention rehearsing in Wylie's mum's front room. According to McCulloch, the band were "...just mates - we never did anything. We wrote one crap song."
Some of the band's songs have seen the light of day posthumously, most notably the Cope/McCulloch collaboration "Books", which appeared on both The Teardrop Explodes's and Echo & the Bunnymen's respective first albums (although the Bunnymen version is titled "Read It in Books"). "Robert Mitchum", another Cope/McCulloch collaboration, appeared on Cope's 1990 album Skellington. The song "Spacehopper" from Cope's solo album Saint Julian was also written during his time in the band, allegedly with some help from McCulloch.
There's also reference to the group in the lyric of this track on the 1981 LP Wilder:-
mp3 : The Teardrop Explodes - The Culture Bunker
"I'd like some of this
I've been waiting so long
Waiting for the crucial three
Wondering what went wrong"
One of my favourite songs by The Teardrop Explodes, I reckon it would have made a very fine single...it would have flopped commercially of course as most of Julian's material has over the years.
There's a very fine BBC Session version of the track that was never broadcast but found its way onto the Peel Sessions Plus LP released in 2007:-
mp3 : The Teardrop Explodes - The Culture Bunker (BBC session)