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  1. #1

    'Great' Acts Hated by the Music Press

    I watched a documentary about Rush on Netflix last night. It goes without saying that I was home alone. As a 14/15 year old they were my favourite band. By the time I saw them on the Grace Under Pressure tour my tastes had already moved on and other than occasionally hearing The Spirit of Radio on the, er, radio every once in a while I don't think I've listened to them since*. Anyway a couple of thread ideas sprang to mind whilst watching.

    Has there ever been anyone less 'rock 'n' roll' than Alex Lifeson to have made a career from playing the electric guitar?

    Is there any assembly of middle aged men anywhere on the planet uncooler than that of the crowd at a Rush gig?

    I mean no offence to either Mr Lifeson nor those still attending his concerts incidentally. Id expected the band to annoy the pants off me and was more than surprised to find them each in their ways perfectly likeable.

    It was hearing the various hilarious quotes from reviews of the band - and of Geddy Lee's voice in particular - that inspired this thread though. I know that while there may be one or two dissenters there are definitely a few on here who I think would have no hesitation classing Rush as 'great.'

    So who else's genius has been cruelly overlooked by the press?

    *Been listening to Xanadu on You Tube while writing this. It's now moved on to Cygnus X-1. For possibly the first time ever I've found the comments below the video to make for amusing reading. "When I hear Geddy scream at the end i feel so satisfied" is my favourite. I was almost tempted to sign up myself just to post, "5.52 - 7.11 - Man!"

    *I've had a smoke
    Last edited by Artificial Hipster; 12-01-2018 at 22:27.

  2. #2
    Toby Gymshorts's Avatar
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    Rush are the best band in the known universe and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

    Anyway. in the spirit of the OP I'll speculatively nominate XTC. Although now I come to think of it the music press largely loved them and it was everyone else who was indifferent.

  3. #3
    WOM's Avatar
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    I love both Rush and XTC.

  4. #4
    Yeah XTC are the polar opposite of Rush in that sense. And probably in most other senses too. Never really got them myself though.

  5. #5
    Toby Gymshorts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOM View Post
    I love both Rush and XTC.
    Seconded.

  6. #6
    Sits's Avatar
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    XTC were "a bit too clever" to be commercially successful. I would say the same about Prefab Sprout. Once the glow of When Love Breaks Down had faded, what a supreme irony their biggest hit's chorus line was

    Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque

    All completely intentional I'm sure.

  7. #7
    The music press loathed Adam and the Ants, both in their punk and their pop incarnations. Adam wrote a song, Press Darlings, about it.

  8. #8
    johnr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artificial Hipster View Post

    *I've had a smoke
    So have I. Genesis, always. Must post this on the 'Great gigs' thread, with my deep analysis, when I've not had a smoke.

  9. #9
    Bordeaux Education's Avatar
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    I have never thought about it but XTC and Rush do seem similar to me. I mean Rush are brilliant and I am no great fan of XTC really but this also makes me think that there is more common ground than I previously thought.

    It is a touch hard to think of a band for the OP. There was loads of metal stuff that was hated by the general music press but loved by the rock and metal press and I expect that a lot of niche-but-huge genres were treated similarly treated.

  10. #10
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    If we are talking about the Music Press that was brought into being by punk, then anything prog had to be hated, I would assume. I can remember The Final Cut by Pink Floyd being justifiably slagged. But then again, Sounds deliberately kicked against that NME punk intellectualism and defended the pre-1977 old guard.

    Adam - maybe so many image changes confused the music press, who like to put people into boxes? There was also this misguided press belief in "authenticity", even though Bowie had already debunked that concept.

    OTOH the thread title is setting a rather high bar - how many acts in the whole of history are truly 'Great'? Arguably none of those mentioned in the thread so far except Bowie.
    Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 13-01-2018 at 03:06.

  11. #11
    Jah Womble's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that that's why Hipster used the inverted commas in his title.

    Compared with many acts, XTC were 'commercially acceptable'. They had a decent run of hit singles and albums that was on a par with most new wave bands: from what I can recall, they also maintained a level of critical acceptance throughout.

    As for acts writing songs about their 'mistreatment' at the hands of the music press, somebody should put together a compilation album of such tunes: G n' R's Get in the Ring, Stereophonics' Mr Writer and Numan's I Die: You Die might also feature.

    (Hmm, you're right - who'd want that..?)

  12. #12
    Yeah, 'great' is of course intended to be a subjective term. And the impression I got from the Rush documentary was that they were as much reviled by the rock/metal press as they were by the post-punk mainstream.

    I wondered if someone would suggest Gary Numan. And were Depeche Mode not also frequently mocked by the NME at least? That may be a false memory, I'm not sure. And again they don't fit my idea of 'great' but i know others would disagree.

  13. #13
    The sleeve notes on Depeche Mode's 81-85 Singles compilation LP featured a positive and negative review for each track. I remember comments along the lines of "When I first heard this, I really laughed" and "I've heard more melody coming out of Paul Weller's arsehole". I think the former was about People Are People, which was indeed a shocker. I'm not sure anyone would call DM great on the back of any of those early singles, mind.

  14. #14
    Sits's Avatar
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    Although See You is a great song.

  15. #15
    I absolutely love New Life.

  16. #16
    Toby Gymshorts's Avatar
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    Yep, me too.

  17. #17
    Various Artist's Avatar
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    Just had to dig out my copy of The Singles 81-85 after reading the above discussion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sits View Post
    Although See You is a great song.
    The sleeve notes include the following review: "Their last single* was trying and now this is insipid" – NME 30.1.1982, courtesy of none other than Danny Baker.
    (*That's only Just Can't Get Enough, the madman.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Orange View Post
    I remember comments along the lines of "When I first heard this, I really laughed" and "I've heard more melody coming out of Paul Weller's arsehole". I think the former was about People Are People, which was indeed a shocker. I'm not sure anyone would call DM great on the back of any of those early singles, mind.
    You're broadly correct HO; the former was indeed People Are People: "I really laughed the first time it came on" – Roy Hay, Record Mirror 7.3.1984.

    The latter was actually said by Paul Weller, about Leave In Silence: "I've heard more melody coming out of Kenny Wheeler's arsehole," from Melody Maker 21.8.1982. I have no idea who that is, incidentally.

    It's not all the songs, but they certainly included a good comical scattering of negative reviews.
    The Meaning of Love: "The lead melody line is musically identical to their last hit**" – Valec Van De Veen, Sounds 8.5.1982 (**See You)
    Get The Balance Right: "I have often wondered why God bothered with Depeche Mode" – John Gill, Time Out 11.2.1983
    Everything Counts: "And the bland played on... whether the members of Depeche Mode are actually dead or alive is a question that has baffled the medical profession for years" – Gary Bushell, Sounds 16.7.1983
    Master And Servant: "What do you expect from this lame bunch of dickheads?" – Dave Walters, Time Out 30.8.1984, and "Very reminiscent of the Royal Guardsmen's ancient hit 'Snoopy Versus The Red Baron'" – Robert Hodgens of The Bluebells, Smash Hits 30.8. 1984
    Blasphemous Rumours: "...a routine slab of gloom in which God is given a severe ticking off" – a pre-fame Neil Tennant, Smash Hits 8.11.1984
    Shake The Disease: "Football hooligans as sensitive wimps" – Caroline Sullivan, Melody Maker 3.5.1985
    Last edited by Various Artist; 14-01-2018 at 02:38.

  18. #18
    Toby Gymshorts's Avatar
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    Gary Bushell knows fuck all about fuck all, bear that in mind.

  19. #19
    Gerontophile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sits View Post
    Although See You is a great song.
    <like>

  20. #20
    Gerontophile's Avatar
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    Isn't it 'Garry Bushnell'? Just realised, I don't care.

    I think Supergrass were never given the respect they deserved. But I am quite biased in this matter.

  21. #21
    DM and Gary Numan both good calls.

    Also, the Banshees to some extent. Unashamed name-drop, but Siouxsie never forgot the Burchill slating the first Banshees’ album got, and told me “that’s why I will never, ever, be friends with a music journalist. We’re the ones creating and putting our work on the line, all they do is criticise.” Good music writing, of course, is an art and involves a little self-exposure, but she has a point. It’s not the same as getting onstage.

    SATB got some respect but it always seemed grudging or slightly sneery, given that they (like the early, punk Adam Ant) were exploring interesting, erudite lyrical themes and making innovative sounds - both bands had guitar and drum patterns unlike any other. Then “post-punk” bands arrived doing similar things, and the NME were right up their arses.

  22. #22
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    I think the complaint against DM is the lyrics. Musically I put them with OMD as enjoyable but definitely pop not anything deeper. Certainly not post-punk or Indie.

  23. #23
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    Siouxsie is in a lineage with Patti Smith, I think. Horses?

  24. #24
    I don't know how much she / they were influenced by Horses, I would think it's in the mix somewhere as it was a landmark album, but both Sioux and Severin had eclectic tastes. Huge fans of Bowie, Bolan and Roxy Music, with Severin liking a little more prog and Siouxsie a little more soul and disco.

  25. #25
    WOM's Avatar
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    What's she up to these days? Is she done with it all?

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