This is about a single released in 1996 from a ‘contemporary’ artist…

Bez and RyderI say contemporary but looking back on it now “something they did whilst ripped off their tits” is probably a better description.

At the time the shambolic mess that was the Happy Mondays had imploded. In 1992 they had successfully seen to the end of Factory Records by deciding to record the album Yes Please! in Barbados, but spent more of their time (and the budget) ingesting every hardcore drug they could get their hands on.

A summary of the album from the Wikipedia entry:

It is reasoned by many that one of the reasons for the album’s failure was the change of producer between 1990s Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches and this one. Paul Oakenfold, that album’s producer was unavailable to produce Yes Please! The new production team, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, drastically changed the band’s sound from that of the previous album. Whilst before the Happy Mondays sound had been grounded in a fusion of Rock and Acid House music, here it was changed to a rather more out-of-date style of ’80s Synth Pop combined with Caribbean influences. With grunge-rock becoming more mainstream at the time, particularly through Nirvana, the Mondays sound was seen as becoming increasingly out of date.

While the band had previously enjoyed almost universal critical approval for their music, the change of sound on this album garnered a huge critical backlash against the band. One reviewer writes of the album: “In the hands of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the group’s music loses much of its distinctive, thuggish edginess, as well as its reliance on current dance trends, becoming faceless, undistinguished dance-pop sludge.” Even more cruelly, the now-defunct UK music paper Melody Maker gave the album a two-word review, namely: “No thanks.”

After this disaster the band split up and Shaun Rider took his mate Bez, the backing singer Kermit and together they formed Black Grape. Tevez - It's great when your agents straight - Click the image for more details

Notable memory: Shaun and Black Grape appeared on TFI Friday where they sang a cover of the Sex Pistols’ ‘Pretty Vacant’.
Before this ITC had warned Channel 4 because of previous guests using the F word on live television before the watershed. Ryder dropped a couple of them during the song and as a result was actually named in a Channel 4 compliance manual banning him from appearing live on the channel ever again.

Their first album was very well received and went straight to number 1. A year later, in time for Euro ’96 they recorded and released the track below, which got to number 6.

Another notable and something forgotten about : Joe Strummer and Keith Allen appeared on the single too.

The track actually has nearly everything for that perfect storm of a footie song. But listening to it again and looking at the lyrics though, this is something that should be put in Room 101.

Black Grape - England's Irie


One Reply to “England’s Irie”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.