Echo & The Bunnymen this week. Recorded live at Barrowlands in Glasgow by Radio Clyde on December 21, 1985. One of those bands at the forefront of neo-Psych, whose reputation was firmly planted in Alternative and post-Punk, Echo & The Bunnymen signaled the beginnings of change within Pop Music during the 80s. While the mainstream was still solidly in New Wave, with aspects of Alternative creeping into the charts via MTV, the neo-psych movement was making its presence known and slowly building an audience. Together since 1978, Echo & The Bunnymen, fronted by Ian McCullogh had taken a more experimental route initially. But as time went on, and as their audience increased, so did their commercial appeal.
In 1982 they had their first significant recognition by way of The Back Of Love, their sixth single and the first to reach the top 20 in the UK charts. At the time of this concert they were still basking in the success of their third album, Ocean Rain, which reached #4 on the UK album charts and was certified Gold and well as being regarded as their landmark release. They were also actively promoting their first compilation album, Songs To Learn And Sing which would climb to #6 in the UK charts as well as get substantial airplay in the U.S. via non-mainstream radio. However, the big break for the U.S. came in the form of inclusion in the John Hughes teen-angst film Pretty In Pink, which got them almost instant recognition by way of the hit movie.
During the formative period where neo-Psych was starting to gain momentum, Echo & The Bunnymen were very influential and pointed the direction for the re-discovery and re-assessment of Psychedelia as an important musical force – one which had been given short-shrift in the 60’s, but with added bits of post-punk, New Wave and Alternative to the mix, emerged in the mid-80s and wound up being the foundation for what became known as Madchester. Sadly, Echo & The Bunnymen suffered greatly when Ian McCullogh left the band in 1988. And the band broke up in 1993 and got back together in 1997.
Here’s a reminder of what they were up to in 1985, when fortunes were changing and their popularity was on the meteoric rise.