The Teardrop Explodes tonight – recorded live at Sheffield University on March 19, 1981 and preserved for posterity by BBC Radio 1.
Coming along at a time when Post-punk was coming into its own, and adding a touch of Psychedelia at a time when the psych movement was was being revived and finding an audience.
Starting in 1978, the group from Liverpool was part of the Post-Punk scene, but transitioned over to New-Psych, becoming one of the pivotal bands in that revival movement.
Fronted by the charismatic singer Julian Cope, the band had a large following and scored several hits early-on, and their debut album was highly anticipated by both the audience and the press.
The band weren’t without their share of problems and drama. Cope was characterized by some as a tyrant, with several firings of members, but it was also learned the singer had a substance-abuse problem, resulting in a chaotic atmosphere around the band. Despite all that, The Teardrop Explodes achieved a considerable amount of success on both sides of the Atlantic, even though the band was operating on shakier and shakier ground.
All of that came to a head by 1982 when, in the midst of recording their third album, the band dissolved into a series of bitter disputes and fighting, causing Cope to quit at the end of what was considered to be a disastrous tour. Eventually a third album was issued, salvaged by the record company and released in 1983, after the band had long called it quits.
Julian Cope went off to start a solo career, which continues to this day. The Teardrop Explodes is a distant memory to him, and one best left alone, when asked about a reunion.
The legacy of The Teardrop Explodes is cited one of the major contributors to the Liverpool Psych-revival movement of the early 1980s. Their albums have been regarded as milestones of the time and are still in circulation.
If you missed out of them the first time around, this concert might give you some clue as to what you’ve been missing. If you are well aware of The Teardrop Explodes, this will remind you how influential they were.