As you might have guessed by now, I’m on a 1989 nostalgia trip at the moment, sparked by the fact that this year sees the 20th anniversary of the release of The Stone Roses eponymous début. However 1989 wasn’t just a great year for the Roses, a whole host of other bands were also releasing great music. One of these bands, and one that seem to have become genetically unfashionable, are The Wonder Stuff.
It’s quite likely that many of you will never have heard of the Stourbridge band, but in the early 90s they were one of the biggest in the UK, and one of the most critically acclaimed too. Their blend of folk, rock & indie also managed to incorporate intelligent and witty lyrics, courtesy of their controversial frontman Miles Hunt (a man whose absence from the mainstream for the last decade or so has been the mainstream’s loss). I won’t try to summarise the band’s careers here, suffice to say that their first three albums (8 Legged Groove Machine, Hup & Never Loved Elvis) belong in any collection of great British alternative rock.
Don’t Let Me Down Gently was a single from their second album Hup, which saw them break into the mainstream. It’s obviously influenced by bands such as The Waterboys, but was a clear indicator of the sound that would itself go on to influence any number of early 90s indie bands – most of whom were rubbish, something The Stuffies (as they were annoyingly known) were probably unfairly blamed for.
Anyway, in these days where it seems that almost anything can be the subject of a critical reappraisal, why not take the time to rediscover The Wonder Stuff? 1989 also saw them release Golden Green which really is a beautiful little slice of pop perfection.
Wonder Stuff badge image by Delmonti on flickr
The ‘Stuff were OK (Their ‘best of’ is a good start), but not in the same league as The Stone Roses, I’m afraid.
Incidentally, if you want a great nostalgia trip with a good storyline, keep an eye out for a comic/graphic novel called Phonogram, based in that era…