Big Flame in session for John Peel to end the week. Often referred to as one of the more influential bands nobody ever talks about anymore, Big Flame were around for a comparatively short period of time (1983-1986), released a handful of singles, called it quits and left an impression on some artists that carried well into the 90s.
From a very spot-on article by Damon Wilkinson in The Manchester Evening News, entitled “Five Manchester Bands Hardly anyone talks about these days, but should”:
They were, according to Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers, the only thing worth listening to in the 80s.
Named after a group of revolutionary socialist feminist Scousers, bIG fLAME’s sound has been described as ‘scratchy and untuned and stupidly loud’.
Simply Red they were not.
Formed in The Crescents, in Hulme, in 1982 and closely linked to, but never signed by, Factory Records, bIG fLAME wanted to be, according to guitarist Greg Keeffe, ‘the ultimate pop band’.
In brief spurt of mid-80s creativity they would release just four 7ins singles, an EP and a 12ins compilation, stand out like a sore thumb on the NME’s mythologised C86 cassette compilation, and record four sessions for John Peel.
And then, on the preordained date of October 11, 1986, the band called it a day after a farewell gig at the Boardwalk, determined not to get ‘seduced into full time careerist stuff’.
That’s them in a nutshell, but I’m sure there’s more to the story, there always is. Suffice to say they made an impression on those who mattered, faded into the woodwork, and manage to get rediscovered by new fans over the years. Thanks, in no small part to the efforts of John Peel, who had the band in session no less than four times during their tenure. It’s the evidence that makes it all an “a-ha” moment.
Have a listen to what you may have missed in 1986 – and a definite tip of the hat to the memory of John Peel, who had the idea that recording bands for posterity would be important in the grand scheme of things. Can you imagine what it would have been like had he not done it? It’s a thought that cannot be entertained on any reasonable level.
Just crank it up and get ready for the weekend.