Playlist: Totally Wired – The Fall Remembered

My personal journey through the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall. They are an acquired taste, inarguably, but one worth acquiring, as this playlist will attempt to demonstrate. They are “difficult,” scabrous, gnarly, uncompromising, eccentric and utterly rockin’!

Studio albums – 32
Live albums – 32
Compilation albums – 40
EPs – 13
Singles – 46
Part studio, part live albums – 5
Mark E. Smith (spoken word) – 2

And THAT, my friends, is a Body Of Work. With that in mind, this barely scratches the surface, but these are some of the major highlights on the Soundtrack of My Life for the past 40 years or so, and not a bad primer for the unfamiliar.

More after the playlist.

Who the hell else writes lyrics like this?

“They said you were peasant stock
And one day the curia murdered you
Your hermeneutics are through
And on that fruited plain
The corporate bishops graze
Exit church of poverty
Exit church of pain
The future’s here today
The future’s here to stay

You were the first John Paul I
How is it your Christianity’s gone?
Can you see it from your grave?
The TV snow-storm on top,
The brass Holy Grail
Imitation for sale
The future’s here today

And all the cowls are black
On an inquisition rack.”

Although, I don’t know about you but I’ve always wanted to hear The Fall cover “Glad All Over.”

Great showbiz story from Matt Osman of Suede:

“I have a Mark E Smith story actually. Back in the day, Suede got asked to support The Fall on a couple of dates. To a man we were massive fans and VERY excited to be asked. Everyone told us he could be rough on support bands but he was great. Lots of time to soundcheck. He was friendly, helpful, told us to come straight to him with any problem. The shows were great, his crowd were great, The Fall were great.

On our way home in the van we were listening to Richard Skinner and he had an interview with Mark. We listened in intently. Especially when Skinner asked, “Do you like any of the new bands who are calling you an influence.”

Mark said “Like who?” Skinner asked “Well, like Suede.”

There was a perfectly timed beat.

“Never heard of them.”

Anyway, my favorite memory of The Fall was the first time I saw them, at the Middle East in Boston, well into Act 2 of their career. The place is packed so tight, you couldn’t fit a piece of paper in there. The band comes on and starts vamping on a riff. Several minutes go by. No sign of Mark. Several more minutes go by. Everyone, including the band, starts looking around nervously. Finally, my man comes wandering out, six sheets to the wind, looking like a gargoyle in an Italian suit. He wanders up to the mic, peers at the set list, crumples it up into a little ball and throws it away.