Showing posts with label The The. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The The. Show all posts

Monday, 27 July 2009

This is the day - The The

Early 12" singles by The The were selling for anything upwards of 20 pounds circa 1990. Although I was an avid collector of the band's work, I never shelled out that much money for their records. And now it turns out I was right. Somewhere in a dark corner of a Dutch record shop, this disc suddenly popped up in front of me. I knew instinctively I had to have this - even if my 12" collection is not growing so fast anymore.

The The released a collector's edition of their greatest hits album '45 rpm: volume 1' (By the way, where is volume 2?) in 2002, with disc 2 containing some extended versions. This extended version is missing from that disc. And so I'm very happy to have finally caught this one. And cheaply, too!

My collection: 12" single no. 503
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, July 20, 2009
Cost: 2,5 euro
Tracks: 'This is the day (extended version)' / 'I've been waiting for tomorrow (all of my life) (Special mix)'

Monday, 13 July 2009

Dogs of lust - The The

In 1992, The The released the album 'Dusk'.The first single to be taken from the album was 'Dogs of lust'. The 7" vinyl was released in the UK only in a limited edition pressed on pink marbled vinyl. Whether this helped the sales is unknown, but the single peaked at number 25 in the UK.

The band would release two further singles from the album, but those were not released on vinyl anymore.

My collection: 7" single no. 1850
Found: January 23, 1993
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Dogs of lust' / 'The violence of truth (remix)'

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Armageddon days are here (again) - The The

Another single from The The's 1989 album 'Mind bomb', 'Armageddon days are here (again)' was an odd choice because of its explosive political content. A lyric like 'Islam is rising / The Christians mobilising' implies a lot of things. The single only managed a number 70 placing in the UK singles chart during a two week run.

I remember being surprised to find this single in the shop, since a video for 'Kingdom of rain' was regularly shown on MTV at the time. I would have expected to find that single, but in the end, I never did.

My collection: 7" single no. 987
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, October 5, 1989
Cost: 6,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Armageddon days are here (again) (radio edit)' / 'Armageddon days are here (again) (Orchestral version)'

Monday, 8 June 2009

Gravitate to me - The The

When it was decided that 'Gravitate to me' would be a single from The The's album 'Mind bomb', I imagine that it was a wise decision to edit the track down. The album version takes up all of eight minutes, while the 'little version' on this single is just over half that length.

Unfortunately, it didn't help matters much: the single only reached number 63 in the UK, which was a disappointment after 'The beat(en) generation' had been a top 20 hit.

My collection: 7" single no. 1007
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 17, 1989
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Gravitate to me (little version)' / 'The violence of truth'

Monday, 1 June 2009

The beat(en) generation - The The

In hindsight, I was always surprised that The The introduced their new album 'Mind bomb' with one of the less surprising tracks, 'The beat(en) generation'. For lack of a better description, I would qualify it as a straightforward rock track. But the strategy did pay off: the single peaked at number 18 in the UK singles chart.

Meanwhile, The The was an actual band again, Matt Johnson having recruited ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, ex-Nick Lowe bassist James Eller and ex-ABC drummer David Palmer as members.

My collection: 7" single no. 811
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, May 12, 1989
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'The beat(en) generation' / 'Angel'

Friday, 29 May 2009

Sweet bird of truth - The The

Released in 1987 as the first single from The The's second album for Epic Records, 'Sweet bird of truth' did not chart. Perhaps this was because the subject matter of the song was a bit 'heavy'. The band's key member Matt Johnson wrote the song about an airforce pilot who is apparently killing people above the Gulf of Arabia.

At the time of its release, Matt Johnson was actually the only remaining member of The The, using session musicians to create the music on the album 'Infected'. I actually have a cd-single of 'Sweet bird of truth' as well, one of those early cd-single releases.

My collection: 7" single no. 1343
Found: London, October 17, 1990
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'Sweet bird of truth' / 'Sleeping juice'


Monday, 18 May 2009

Heartland - The The

I really like the politically engaged songs of the Eighties - or at least some of them. The The released Heartland in 1986 at the height of Thatcher's regime - or should I say dictatorship? - in the UK, demolishing all that was social and likeable about the country. The statement 'This is the 51st state of the U.S.A.' is still relevant today, with both the UK and the whole of Europe walking alongside the guiding hand of America.

The The reached number 29 in the UK singles chart with this provocative single. They established themselves as a firmly political band with the accompanying album 'Infected'.

My collection: 7" single no. 1342
Found: Record fair, October 18, 1990
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Heartland' / 'Born in the new S.A.'

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Slow train to dawn - The The

'Slow train to dawn' was released as the fourth single from The The's 1986 album 'Infected'. The single stalled at number 64 in the UK singles chart, which was a disappointment since previous singles had done better, especially 'Heartland' which had peaked at number 29.

This track featured guest vocals by Neneh Cherry, who was unknown at that point but would go on to make a name for herself in 1989 with her debut album 'Raw like sushi'. Drums were performed by David Palmer, who had previously been in the band ABC.

My collection: 7" single no. 2459
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 9, 1995
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Slow train to dawn' / 'Harbour lights'

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Cold spell ahead - The The

The The was founded by Matt Johnson in the late Seventies, together with Keith Laws and Peter Fenton-Jones. The latter dropped out within a year, and Peter Ashworth and Tom Johnston were added to the band. They recorded and released the debut single 'Controversial subject'. After this, Johnston and Ashworth dropped out of the band. As a duo (Johnson and Laws), The The began playing shows with some of that era's most influential groups: Wire, Cabaret Voltaire and Scritti Politti amongst others. In 1981, Johnson issued a solo album on 4AD called 'Burning Blue Soul'; years later, it would be re-issued and credited to The The. In September 1981, the duo signed a contract with Some Bizzare Records, and released the 7" single 'Cold Spell Ahead'. Shortly thereafter, Laws left and the only remaining member of The The was Johnson.

'Cold spell ahead' was re-released in 1992. This re-release is in my collection - the original release it probably very expensive and hard to get.

My collection: 7" single no. 1755
Found: Tower Records, London, October 19, 1992
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Cold spell ahead' / 'Hot ice'

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Slow emotion replay - The The

In 1993, it became increasingly difficult to find 7" vinyl singles of songs that were released as a single. More often than not, I could only find a cd-single version. It became quite a challenge to still find vinyl singles and I always had a sense of victory when I succeeded. This was one of those proud achievements.

Taken from the album 'Dusk', The The released 'Slow emotion replay' as the second single from that album. While 'Dogs of lust', single number one, was released as a limited edition 7" single in the UK, this one was only released on two different cd-singles. I found this Spanish promotional 7" with just one track on one side: the other side was not even playable. Which made this item all the more desirable, because a one-sided 7" single is a rarity in itself.

My collection: 7" single no. 2654
Found: London, June 29, 1996
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Slow emotion replay'

Friday, 13 February 2009

Perfect - The The

'Perfect' appeared on The The's album 'Soul mining'. It was the third single drawn from that album, and it appeared in several different formats. This particular 12" single is presumably a rare one, since it isn't listed on discogs.com. It features the album version of 'Perfect' and the B-side track 'Fruit of the heart' - and nothing else. There isn't even a picture cover! As such, it's one of those releases where you wonder whether you've stumbled across a collector's item...

My collection: 12" single no. 412
Found: Record Exchange, 2001
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Perfect' / 'Fruit of the heart'
Download: here

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Uncertain smile - The The

After 'Uncertain smile' single version 1 and version 2, I quickly realised that I should also buy the 12" single. It would probably feature an extended version of this wonderful track. There was always the chance, of course, that it would simply contain the album track which is lengthy enough as it is, but it was a risk I was willing to take.

As it turned out, I was lucky: the 12" single features an extended version which goes on for more than nine minutes. It is based on the original version (single version 1) and then goes on for several minutes where the single fades out. Needless to say, I was very glad when I found this disc.

My collection: 12" single no. 122
Found: Record fair, 1991
Cost: 15 guilders
Tracks: 'Uncertain smile [extended version]' / 'Soul mining (Definitive Version)'
Download: here

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Uncertain smile - The The

The album version of 'Uncertain smile', which appeared on The The's first album for CBS Records, 'Soul mining' (1983), was released two years after the original single 'Uncertain smile'. The album version featured a lengthy piano solo, whereas the single version from 1982 featured saxophone and flute solos. The piano solo was played by Jools Holland, who revealed in his 2007 biography that they were in fact two separate solos joined together.

This version even made the Dutch Top 40, peaking at no. 31. Interestingly enough, this release didn't chart in the UK.

My collection: 7" single no. 346
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Uncertain smile' / 'Three orange kisses from Kazan'
Download: here

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Uncertain smile - The The

When The The signed to CBS Records in 1982, their first single on that label was a version of 'Uncertain smile'. This track would appear on their first album for CBS, 'Soul Mining', released a year later, but in a different version. The album version featured a lengthy piano solo, whereas the single version from 1982 featured saxophone and flute solos.

The album version of 'Uncertain smile' was released on single in 1984, and that version even made the Dutch Top 40, peaking at no. 31. At that time, the original version was often played on a local radio station, causing me to search for this single for years. Obviously it had become very rare. But finally, in 1991, I succeeded: I found it during a record fair in Amsterdam.

My collection: 7" single no. 1518
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 1991
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Uncertain smile' / 'Three orange kisses from Kazan'
Download: here

Saturday, 13 December 2008

This is the day - The The

Matt Johnson are an English band that have been active in various forms since 1979, with singer/songwriter Matt Johnson as the only constant band member. In 1982, The The recorded their debut album 'The Pornography of Despair', which was not released. A year later, the album 'Soul mining' did see the light of day, to much critical acclaim'. This single, 'This is the day' was taken from 'Soul mining' and released in a limited edition double single format. The second single featured two tracks from the unreleased debut album.

I found out about this double single in the eighties, but had to wait until 1997 when I finally found my own copy. As a fan of The The and a sucker for limited edition releases, I didn't even mind the inflated price for this one.

My collection: 7" single no. 2839
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 5, 1997
Cost: 20 guilders
Tracks: 'This is the day' / 'Mental healing process' // 'Leap into the wind' / 'Absolute liberation'
Download: here
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