The Associates tonight. The Scottish New Pop band who had scored one hit early on with their version of David Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging, which quickly established them as a band to watch and to tell your friends about.
The Associates comprised of vocalist Billy Mackenzie and guitarist Alan Rankine. After the initial excitement and release of Boys Keep Swinging, they were approached by Fiction Records and that was when their fortunes changed considerably. They released their debut album, Sulk in 1982, and it reached the British Top Ten. Their popularity continued all through the 80s until their decline in the 1990s. But during their heyday, they had a string a hits and charting records as well as appearing on John Peel’s program.
This session comes around the time of the release of their follow-up album Fourth Drawer down. This would be their last successful album before guitarist Alan Rankine left the band. After quitting, Mackenzie continued on his own, but interest in his new material was waning and eventually The Associates were dropped by their label Sire and Mackenzie continued as a solo artist, achieving a good relationship with several bands he would later write and produce four.
A brief reunion in 1992 led to more recording, but Billy Mackenzie, who had suffered from Depression for a number of years, committed suicide and any thoughts of a continued reunion quickly evaporated.
The Associates have fallen off the radar in recent years, but during the 80s they were at the forefront of several important musical movements at the time.
And as a reminder, here is that session, recorded for John Peel, from April 28, 1981 and broadcast on May 8th of that year.
Crank it up and enjoy.