In terms of cover versions, the Sisters (and we’re talking pre-Floodland era Sisters) have a rich history. They were mainly played out live, they were always performed with tongue firmly in cheek, and they were never straight versions – they always had a dark twist.
On vinyl they committed 1969 (Stooges) and Gimme Shelter (Stones), while live they regularly rolled out Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Dylan), Sister Ray (VU)/Louie Louie (Kingsmen) [often glued together in a 10 minute jam at the end of a frantic set], Jolene (Dolly Parton), Ghostrider (Suicide) and Gimme Gimme Gimme a Man After Midnight (Abba). And so it goes on – recent Sisters gigs have even seen Kylie tracks rolled out.
But the jewel in the cover crown, and certainly their most revered cover back in the mid-eighties (certainly amongst our motley clan), was their mammoth version of Emma, the Hot Chocolate classic.
Excellent retrospective of a fantastic LP.
The clues to The Sisters of Mercy’s imminent implosion were already in place: Ben Gunn’s departure in 1983 after the band’s first US tour, with the guitarist claiming that the band had become the very thing that they’d set out to parody; news of singer Andrew Eldritch’s hospitalisation after one too many nights on the mirror and rumours of the band barely talking to each other during the recording of their debut album. And then of course there was the title – First And Last And Always – compounded by the fact that the vinyl album’s two sides were more or less divided into Eldritch/Hussey and Eldritch/Marx compositions.
If you didn’t catch the excellent Joy Division on BBC 4 recently, it’s on iPlayer for another 12 days…
On June 4 1976, four young men from ruined, post-industrial Manchester went to see a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. Inspired by the gig that is now credited with igniting the Manchester music scene, they formed what was to become one of the world’s most influential bands, Joy Division.