Shop Assistants tonight. A band sometimes described as “one hit wonders”, they actually had more than one hit. But it was after they signed to the Chrysalis Records imprint Blue Guitar that their fortunes went south. Prior to that, they were well regarded and, thanks to exposure via the three sessions they did for John Peel, established them as an Indie band with potential. Forming in 1984, they had three singles which did quite well on the British Indie charts and their appearances on the Peel program got them voted into the Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1985 and 1986 as well as being featured on NME’s Compilation C86.
Which just goes to show you that, even with a lot of early success and encouragement from Press and fans, sometimes a band just doesn’t make it. True, there were personnel changes, even early on. But by 1987 the revolving door was coming to an end and the band just dissolved. There was a brief reunion in 1989 but it lasted a little less than a year before the towel was finally thrown in.
The individual members went off to other bands and have achieved various levels of success. But Shop Assistants was the springboard for what went on later. Calling themselves Indie-Pop, they were more Post-Punk than anything else, even though this session, done for John Peel in December of 1986, shows off an unexpected slow side (Before I Wake), which would have been an interesting turning point for the band, had they explored it. But things just don’t work out, and the don’t work out for a lot of reasons.
But with only one album to their credit (which has been long out of print), Shop Assistants were yet another band some people remember, but many don’t.
So to get you familiar, here are Shop Assistants, in session for John Peel, recorded at the BBC on December 12, 1986.
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