Sunday, 20 July 2014
Siouxsie And The Banshees 1982-2002
Last year, I looked at the UK releases by Siouxsie And The Banshees that were covered by their first hits LP, 1981’s “Once Upon A Time”. Well, now it is time to finish the job, and look at both the releases covered by the 1992 follow up, and the handful of records that filtered out thereafter.
“Twice Upon A Time”, especially when viewed in conjunction with it’s successor, is a magnificent overview of a band in their prime - the sound of a punk rock band moving as far away as humanly possible from their origins. Look at what they were doing during this time, and you can clearly see just how far ahead they were advancing when compared to some of their contemporaries.
When first released, the CD pressing of “Twice Upon A Time” came in an oversized slipcase designed to hold the CD edition of “Once Upon A Time”, even though that one had been issued in the days of vinyl. The space for the first disc was taken up with a piece of cardboard, and each copy was numbered and included a free mini poster. Whilst I understand these original pressings are now worth a small fortune, the “regular” CD edition can still be tracked down, and together, these two collections work as a better overview of the band than 2002’s “high speed” compilation that was “The Best Of Siouxsie And The Banshees”, where an attempt was made to try and condense everything onto a single CD.
As before, the listings below show the latest CD pressing for each studio LP where they have been remastered, and in the case of the un-remastered latter albums, the original (and often never reissued in any form) release, whilst all notable and essential singles from the period are shown. Several rarities from this period have gone AWOL, others haven’t, and each section discusses exactly what went where after the event.
A Kiss In The Dreamhouse (Polydor 531 489-6, digipack pressing)
Regarded by many as the band’s defining masterpiece, 1982’s “A Kiss In The Dreamhouse” represents the final piece in the Banshees jigsaw - the album that was the end of the journey from the early gobbing punk rock years, to a band creating ethereal, dreamy, and often dazzling “goth indie”. The lush waltz of “Melt!”, the propulsive throb of “Painted Bird”, the string driven jerkyness of “Slowdive”, this is the sound of a band at the peak of their powers.
Earlier that year, the band had released the glorious roar of “Fireworks” as a stand alone 45, which despite sporting artwork similar to the 45’s that followed, was never included on the subsequent album, and only really found a home when it made it onto the “Twice Upon A Time” collection. The current expanded edition of “Dreamhouse” does include a version of the song, although it is the original 12” mix that makes the set. Having issued their last few singles on this format, the band were now beginning to release each single as a 12, often with an extended version of the a-side, and always with extra tracks on the flipside. Whilst the (regular) B-sides made it onto “Downside Up”, some of the 12” mixes from the 80s and 90s have disappeared into the ether. Followup 45, and lead single from the LP, “Slowdive”, was also the recipient of a 12” mix, and this too makes the expanded CD edition, along with a couple of previously unissued demos.
In theory, “Melt!” formed part of a double a-side single, but I have no real recollection of people ever mentioning the single in such a status, and indeed, said track “Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant” is absent from “Twice Upon A Time” - but is on “Downside Up”.
Fireworks/Coal Mind (7”, Polydor POSP 450)
Fireworks/Coal Mind (Gatefold 7”, Polydor POSPG 450, slightly different cover design)
Fireworks (12” Version)/Coal Mind/We Fall (12”, Polydor POSPX 450, unique p/s)
Slowdive/Cannibal Roses (7”, Polydor POSP 510)
Slowdive (12” Version)/Obsession II/Cannibal Roses (12”, Polydor POSPX 510, different p/s)
Melt!/Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant (7”, Polydor POSP 539)
Melt!/A Sleeping Rain/Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant (12”, Polydor POSPX 539, unique p/s)
Hyaena (Polydor 531 489-5, digipack pressing)
Although the band had already gone through a number of line up changes before 1982, the departure of John McGeoch marked the start of an almost regular “change of guitarist” situation within the band. Having temporarily been in the band before, and with his own band on semi-hiatus, The Cure’s Robert Smith rejoined in time for the band’s next single release, another stand alone job in the form of a cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, which remains one of the band’s biggest hits. Later that year, a live album called “Nocturne” was released, culled from a pair of shows the band played in September/October at the Royal Albert Hall. Issued as both a regular LP and a VHS, I don’t think I have the latter, but I do remember seeing it on TV years ago, where the continuity problems of cobbling together the best bits of two gigs was obviously apparent, as Smith’s shirt changed with more or less each song!
“Nocturne” was also reissued a few years back as part of the remastering campaign (some years after the VHS edition resurfaced on DVD), where unlike the studio efforts, it came with no bonus tracks (Polydor 531 489-4). This is a shame, because there were a pair of massive rarities in the vaults - live recordings of “Headcut” and an - at the time - new, unreleased song called “Running Town”, from the RAH shows, only previously issued on a rare fan club only 7”. Only 2500 copies were pressed, and neither recording has appeared again since.
When I first heard it, I was disappointed with 1984’s “Hyaena”. I figured it was the Banshees’ own “mid 80s” mis-step, their “Dirty Work”, or their “Never Let Me Down”. But then, when I kept listening to it, it began to reveal it’s genius. Perhaps it is just so far from “Hong Kong Garden” that it threw me at first, but that’s what ultimately makes it so special - the echoey romp of “Dazzle”, the piano strut of “Swimming Horses”, the epic rumble of the closing “Blow The House Down”...this was pop music light years away from the three chord limitations of punk, and all the better for it.
As if to even further distance themselves from the safety pin brigade, 1984’s “The Thorn” EP was a four track single full of ORCHESTRAL reworkings of oldies from the past. Two of the songs from the EP, led by “Overground”, were also issued as a standard 7”. All four tracks from the EP made the “Downside Up” boxset, where they were included in isolation from the rest of the box, as a sort of CD EP pressing. This disc was not, sadly, included in a repro of the original EP sleeve, but was simply the last disc in the 4-disc set.
Both “Dear Prudence” and the 12” mix of “Dazzle” are on the current expanded version of “Hyaena”, along with a couple of demos. Rarely reported is the fact that the 12” edition of “Prudence” featured a slightly longer mix of the a-side, but it is the 7” mix that makes both “Twice Upon A Time” and “Hyaena”. All of the other b-sides from the period - except, of course, the live “Running Town” - are now on “Downside Up”.
Dear Prudence/Tattoo (7”, Wonderland SHE 4)
Dear Prudence/Tattoo (7” in fold out sleeve, Wonderland SHEG 4, green p/s)
Dear Prudence (12” Mix)/Tattoo/There’s A Planet In My Kitchen (12”, Wonderland SHEX 4, pink p/s)
Headcut (Live)/Running Town (7”, Wonderland FILE 1)
Swimming Horses/Let Go (7”, Wonderland SHE 6)
Swimming Horses/Let Go/The Humming Wires (12”, Wonderland SHEX 6)
Dazzle/I Promise (7”, Wonderland SHE 7)
Dazzle (7 Mins Plus Glamour Mix)/I Promise/Throw Them To The Lions (12”, Wonderland SHEX 7, slightly different p/s)
Overground (New Version)/Placebo Effect (New Version) (7”, Wonderland SHE 8)
The Thorn EP: Overground (New Version)/Voices (New Version)/Placebo Effect (New Version)/Red Over White (New Version) (12”, Wonderland SHEEP 8)
Tinderbox (Polydor 531 489-3, digipack pressing)
1986’s “Tinderbox” is an unusual part of the Banshees’ canon. When released in 1986, the decision was taken to release it in expanded form on CD, where all of the rarities from the two preceding singles that formed as pre-release promo for the album (b-sides and a 12” ’Eruption’ mix of 1985’s “Cities In Dust“) were tagged onto the end as bonus tracks. Very nice.
Of course, that edition of the CD has now been superseded, and with the relevant flipsides now on “Downside Up”, the current pressing of the record includes outtakes alongside the still-in-situ 12” version of “Cities”. One of these extras is an alternate take of the obscure late 1987 stand alone 45, “Song From The Edge Of The World”, a track that has spent most of it’s life out in the wilderness, as the band were not happy with the production of the track, and even fought - successfully - to keep it off of “Twice Upon A Time”.
By this point, Smith had left the band again, to reignite The Cure, and the guitarist here was John Carruthers, who had taken over from Smith just before the recording of “The Thorn” EP.
Cities In Dust/An Execution (7”, Wonderland SHE 9)
Cities In Dust/An Execution (Posterbag 7”, Wonderland SHEG 9)
Cities In Dust (Extended Eruption Mix)/An Execution/Quarterdrawing Of The Dog (12”, Wonderland SHEX 9)
Candyman/Lullaby (7”, Wonderland SHE 10)
Candyman/Lullaby/Umbrella (2x7”, Wonderland SHEDP 10, 2nd disc 1-sided and housed in individual numbered die cut sleeve)
Candyman/Lullaby/Umbrella (12”, Wonderland SHEX 10)
Through The Looking Glass (Wonderland 831 474-2)
I often forget this one exists - 1987’s covers album. It was previewed by a cover of “This Wheel’s On Fire”, chosen as Sioux loved the ‘original’ by Julie Driscoll - she was horrified when she later realised that it was actually a cover of an unreleased Bob Dylan track, as she was never a fan of His Bobness.
“The Passenger” was an Iggy Pop cover, and Pop later commented on how much he loved the “horn driven” treatment the band gave it. Both singles were issued on a number of formats, as increasingly, multiple gimmick driven pressings were starting to emerge for all Siouxsie 45’s.
Had the remasters campaign been finished, then this album would have been the next in line to get an expanded repressing, but at the time of writing, no such reissue is likely to be forthcoming. Severin was reported to be working on a career spanning boxset several years ago which would have included all of the albums, including this one, but no word as yet as to whether it is still going ahead. As for “Song From The Edge Of The World”, the “Columbus” mix was one of several remixes included on the second disc of the “limited edition” version of “The Best Of” set, but the original 7” mix is still only available on the original 7” and Cassette pressings. The 2002 "hits" set was selective in what 12” mixes it included, and neither of the extended mixes of the two singles from this LP were considered for inclusion, making the 12” formats of these 45s essential buys. Again, all of the b-sides from the period, including the rare “She Cracked”, made it onto “Downside Up”.
This Wheel’s On Fire/Shooting Sun (7”, Wonderland SHE 11)
This Wheel’s On Fire/Shooting Sun/Sleepwalking (On The High Wire)/She Cracked (2x7”, Wonderland SHEG 11)
This Wheel’s On Fire (Incendiary Mix)/Shooting Sun/Sleepwalking (On The High Wire) (12”, Wonderland SHEX 11, “thick border“ p/s)
The Passenger/She’s Cuckoo (7”, Wonderland SHE 12)
The Passenger/She’s Cuckoo (Poster Sleeve 7”, Wonderland SHEG 12)
The Passenger (Llllloco-motion Mix)/She’s Cuckoo/Something Blue (12”, Wonderland SHEX 12, different p/s)
Song From The Edge Of The World/The Whole Price Of Blood (7”, Wonderland SHE 13)
Song From The Edge Of The World/The Whole Price Of Blood (7” Picture Disc, Wonderland SHEP 13, housed in clear sleeve)
Song From The Edge Of The World/The Whole Price Of Blood/Mechanical Eyes/Song From The Edge Of The World (Columbus Mix) (Cassette, Wonderland SHEPC 13)
Song From The Edge Of The World (Columbus Mix)/The Whole Price Of Blood/Mechanical Eyes (12”, Wonderland SHEX 13, blue bordered p/s)
The Peel Sessions EP: Love In A Void (Peel 1977)/Mirage (Peel 1977)/Metal Postcard (Peel 1977)/Suburban Relapse (Peel 1977) (Cassette, Strange Fruit SFPSC 012)
The Peel Sessions EP: Love In A Void (Peel 1977)/Mirage (Peel 1977)/Metal Postcard (Peel 1977)/Suburban Relapse (Peel 1977) (12”, Strange Fruit SFPS 012)
The Peel Sessions EP: Love In A Void (Peel 1977)/Mirage (Peel 1977)/Metal Postcard (Peel 1977)/Suburban Relapse (Peel 1977) (CD, Strange Fruit SFPSCD 012, 1989 re-release)
Peepshow (Wonderland 837 240-2)
For those who don’t believe “Dreamhouse” to be their defining moment, then 1988’s “Peepshow” is often thought of as the other major contender. Continuing where “Tinderbox” left off, this album veers between rampant goth rock (“The Killing Jar”), baroque beauty (“The Last Beat Of My Heart”) and in lead single and opening track, “Peek A Boo“, a song seemingly within it’s own genre of ‘thirties hip hop” according to the Melody Maker. Which, of course, makes it all the more confusing as to why Polydor have refused to reissue it. I think it got some form of budget re-release by Spectrum in the late 90s, but there are no bonus tracks on that version at all.
For the first time in their career, the band began issuing CD and CD-Video singles. A quick look at the entries above will show that the band had by now started releasing singles on their own Wonderland imprint, with their own unique “SHE” catalogue numbers, but the CDV releases were theoretically euro-wide singles, and thus retained standard numeric numbers. The release also marked another change in line up, with Carruthers now out of the band and replaced by the double headed combo of Jon Klein on guitar, and future Therapy? band member Martin McCarrick on keyboards and cello, thus giving the band an almost “official” non-guitar based sound with which to play around in.
“The Killing Jar” was remixed for it’s single release, and appears on “Twice Upon A Time” in it’s 45 version. The 12” mix appears on the double disc “Best Of”. In an attempt to reel in the punters, the version of “Last Beat Of My Heart” which made the singles set was a previously unheard live recording from a then recent Lollapalooza performance. “Peek A Boo” was the subject of several remixes, although few were released commercially, however the “promo only” ‘Silver Dollar’ mix of the track later made the double disc “The Best Of” set. Again, the b-sides are on “Downside Up” with the exception of the alternate mix of “El Dia De Los Muertos”, still only available on the CD edition of “Last Beat”.
The eagle eyed amongst you will also notice some “Peel Sessions” EP’s in these listings - all of the tracks from these releases have been compiled on later radio sessions releases such as “At The BBC”.
Peek A Boo/False Face (7”, Wonderland SHE 14)
Peek A Boo/False Face (Gatefold 7”, Wonderland SHEG 14)
Peek A Boo/False Face/Catwalk/Peek A Boo (Big Spender Mix) (Cassette, Wonderland SHECS 14, numbered and in unique p/s)
Peek A Boo (Big Spender Mix)/Catwalk/False Face (12”, Wonderland SHEX 14)
Peek A Boo/False Face/Catwalk/Peek A Boo (Big Spender Mix) (CD, Wonderland SHECD 14)
Peek A Boo (Video)/False Face/Catwalk/Peek A Boo (Big Spender Mix) (CD Video, Wonderland 080 398 2)
The Killing Jar (Remix)/Something Wicked (This Way Comes) (7”, Wonderland SHE 15)
The Killing Jar (Remix)/Something Wicked (This Way Comes) (Clear Vinyl 7”, Wonderland SHEG 15)
The Killing Jar (Remix)/Something Wicked (This Way Comes) (7” Picture Disc, Wonderland SHEP 15, in clear sleeve)
The Killing Jar (Lepidopteristic Mix)/Something Wicked (This Way Comes)/Are You Still Dying Darling? (12”, Wonderland SHEX 15, bordered p/s)
The Killing Jar (Remix)/Something Wicked (This Way Comes)/Are You Still Dying Darling?/The Killing Jar (Lepidopteristic Mix) (CD, Wonderland SHECD 15)
The Last Beat Of My Heart/El Dia De Los Muertos (7”, Wonderland SHE 16)
The Last Beat Of My Heart/El Dia De Los Muertos (Numbered 7”, Wonderland SHEG 16 in “limited edition gilded sleeve“)
The Last Beat Of My Heart/El Dia De Los Muertos/Sunless (12”, Wonderland SHEX 16, bordered p/s)
The Last Beat Of My Heart/El Dia De Los Muertos/Sunless (Numbered Gatefold 12”, Wonderland SHEXG 16)
The Last Beat Of My Heart/El Dia De Los Muertos/Sunless/El Dia De Los Metros (Espiritu Mix) (CD, Wonderland SHECD 16, minor differences to 7“ sleeve)
The Peel Sessions - The Second Session EP: Hong Kong Garden (Peel 1978)/Overground (Peel 1978)/Carcass (Peel 1978)/Helter Skelter (Peel 1978) (Cassette, Strange Fruit SFPSC 066)
The Peel Sessions - The Second Session EP: Hong Kong Garden (Peel 1978)/Overground (Peel 1978)/Carcass (Peel 1978)/Helter Skelter (Peel 1978) (12“, Strange Fruit SFPS 066)
The Peel Sessions - The Second Session EP: Hong Kong Garden (Peel 1978)/Overground (Peel 1978)/Carcass (Peel 1978)/Helter Skelter (Peel 1978) (CD, Strange Fruit SFPSCD 066)
Superstition (Wonderland 847 731-2)
The gap between Banshees releases was starting to increase now, mainly as Siouxsie and Budgie had their own ‘side project’ band, The Creatures, to keep them busy. And so it was that three years passed before the release of 1991’s “Superstition”, which successfully dragged the band into the 1990s. Previewed by the Bollywood rhythm driven glory of lead 45 “Kiss Them For Me”, “Superstition” had a semi electronic feel to it, thanks to the production work of the New Order/PSB affiliated Stephen Hague. This helped to give it a contemporary feel, but Sioux was later quoted as being less than keen on the album, because of it’s ‘computerized’ vibe.
Both the album and it’s attendant singles were issued in sleeves showing a glammed up Siousxie, with the remainder of the band completely absent. This wasn’t anything entirely new, but it did seem to me as though the label were using Sioux as a focal point around which to help sell the album, in a similar way that Chrysalis used Debbie Harry to flog Blondie records.
Having issued many of the 80s singles in variant sleeve designs up until the “Peepshow” releases, the trend (un)continued here, as with the - sort of - exception of “Kiss Them For Me”, the same basic image was used on each format of each single, with some minor design alterations often the only thing that differed between selected pressings. With all of the flipsides on “Downside Up”, but with most of the remixes from the period absent from “The Best Of”, it’s generally the 12” and CD pressings only that are thus of major interest here music wise (the 7” version of “Kiss Them For Me” having made it onto “Twice Upon A Time”).
By now, the Banshees were part of the old guard - it was well over a decade since “Hong Kong Garden”, and whilst “Kiss” became a big hit single, follow up “Shadowtime” faired less well, the band now starting to struggle to get airplay, although I do recall seeing the promo vid on one of those now-defunct Saturday morning chart rundown shows on TV. The band’s profile however, was re-raised in 1992, when the group recorded the theme tune for the new Batman film, and their collaboration with Danny Elfman produced “Face To Face” - a sublime mix of Banshees goth-pop and Elfman string overload. Unlike some movie tie in singles, this 45 was released on the band’s own label, meaning “proper” brand new B-sides adorned the flip, rather than - say - a track by another band with a song from the movie. “Face To Face” is on both “Twice Upon A Time” and, in it’s 7 and 12 inch forms, “The Best Of”. Meanwhile, the US was given “Fear Of The Unknown”, from “Superstition”, as a single between “Shadowtime” and “Face”, and appears in remixed form on “Twice Upon A Time”.
Kiss Them For Me (7” Version)/Return (7”, Wonderland SHE 19)
Kiss Them For Me (7” Version)/Return (Cassette, Wonderland SHECS 19, slightly “cut down“ p/s)
Kiss Them For Me (12” Version)/Staring Back/Return (Gatefold 12“, Wonderland SHEX 19, “Snapper Mix“ reference on front cover)
Kiss Them For Me (Kathak Mix)/(Loveappella Mix)/(Ambient Mix) (Remix 12” in “zoomed in” p/s, Wonderland SHEXR 19)
Kiss Them For Me (7” Version)/(12” Version)/Staring Back/Return (CD, Wonderland SHECD 19)
Shadowtime/Spiral Twist (7”, Wonderland SHE 20)
Shadowtime/Spiral Twist (Cassette, Wonderland SHECS 20, slightly re-jigged sleeve design)
Shadowtime (Eclipse Mix)/Spiral Twist/Sea Of Light (12”, Wonderland SHEX 20, “Eclipse Mix“ reference on front cover)
Shadowtime (LP Mix)/(Eclipse Mix)/Spiral Twist/Sea Of Light (CD, Wonderland SHECD 20)
The Peel Sessions 1977-1978 EP: Hong Kong Garden (Peel 1978)/Mirage (Peel 1977)/Carcass (Peel 1978)/Love In A Void (Peel 1977) (Blue Vinyl 7”, Strange Fruit 677002)
The Peel Sessions 1977-1978 EP: Hong Kong Garden (Peel 1978)/Suburban Relapse (Peel 1977)/Carcass (Peel 1978)/Love In A Void (Peel 1977) (Shaped Picture Disc, Strange Fruit 671004)
The Peel Sessions 1977-1978 EP: Hong Kong Garden (Peel 1978)/Helter Skelter (Peel 1978)/Carcass (Peel 1978)/Mirage (Peel 1977) (White Vinyl 12”, Strange Fruit 670002, unique p/s)
Face To Face/I Could Be Again (7”, Wonderland SHE 21)
Face To Face/I Could Be Again (Cassette, Wonderland SHECS 21)
Face To Face (Catatonic Mix)/(7” Mix)/Hothead (12” Picture Disc, Wonderland SHEX 21)
Face To Face (7” Mix)/(Catatonic Mix)/I Could Be Again/Hothead (CD, Wonderland SHECD 21)
The Rapture (Wonderland 523 725-2)
And so we come to the band’s swansong album, released in early 1995. With the five man line up still in place, the final Banshees album was as strong as anything that had come before, excitedly described by MM as a “cornucopia of lush instrumentation”. It had been another long gap between LP’s, although the band had not been totally AWOL - they played Reading Festival in 1993, and I remember my friend and I heading off to the Clapham Grand to try and get tickets on the night for a warm up show they were playing there a day or two before. Trouble was, the tickets available on the day sold out before we got to the front of the queue, and the longer the night went on, the more the touts started asking for tickets, so we gave up. Following the album’s release, guitarist Jon Klein was replaced by Knox Chandler.
“O Baby”, one of the band’s most ‘pop’ moments, sounding almost like REM in parts, was issued as the preview single, and saw the band enter into the world of the double CD single approach for the first time. The amount of extra material that had to be generated was therefore not always going to be of the “normal” b-sides variety as later included on “Downside Up”, and remixes mostly made up the shortfall. This meant that several rarities from this period remain exclusive to the CD editions, as the 7” and Cassette single pressings omitted these rarities on space grounds. Those formats are therefore superfluous to anyone other than the completists, and as such, these pressings are not shown in the list below. “Downside Up” does however include the live recordings that made it onto the b-side of the “O Baby” single, even though you could argue these are not “real” b-sides either.
The one “authentic” b-side of the “O Baby” 45, “B Side Ourselves”, was shoehorned into the band’s early 1995 UK tour, where the popularity of the band - at least within their core fan base - resulted in multiple shows having to be arranged within the capital. The band added a third date in London, a month or so after the tour finished, at The Forum, where the setlist was revamped slightly. I remember, as people now mostly knew what to expect (I‘m sure I wasn’t the only one who was seeing them in London for the second time that year), witnessing a mass exodus to the bar as the opening notes of the 10-minute-long title track rang out across the venue, whilst the group reintroduced an oldie into the encore to shake the set up a bit, which was 1981’s “Spellbound” - even at this stage in their career, the Banshees were never the sort of band you could expect to “play the hits”, so this was a bit of a bonus.
“Stargazer” was issued as the next single, and technically, remains the band’s final 45. CD1 included two new b-sides, and was housed in a fancy “glittery” digipack sleeve, whilst CD2 offered multiple remixes. Again, 7” and Cassette singles with most of the bonus tracks missing also exist. CD2 included a “Mark Saunders” remix which later made it onto “The Best Of”, but the remaining remixes from the period are still only available on the original release.
The Forum date was the last time I saw the band, and marked their final headline show in the UK. In mid 1996, just as The Pistols announced their return, The Banshees announced their split. The usual reasons were given, but it did almost feel as though the return of the Pistols seemed to cause a sort of chemical reaction, as if the band felt that they must have been going for too long, now that former contemporaries were reforming. It had been 20 years since that 100 Club gig, and the Banshees saw that as a good time to call it a day.
O Baby/B-Side Ourselves/O Baby (Manhattan Mix) (CD1, Wonderland SHECD 22, red text)
O Baby/Swimming Horses (Live, KROQ Acoustic Christmas 21.12.1991)/All Tomorrow’s Parties (Live, KROQ Acoustic Christmas 21.12.1991) (CD2, Wonderland SHEDD 22, orange text)
Stargazer/Hang Me High/Black Sun (CD1, Wonderland SHECD 23, “glittery” p/s)
Stargazer (LP Mix)/(Mambo Sun Mix)/(Planet Queen Mix)/(Mark Saunders Mix) (CD2, Wonderland SHEDD 23)
What Happened Next
In 2002, the Banshees reformed with the “Chandler” era lineup for a short reunion tour. Dubbed “The Seven Year Itch” in reference to the time that had passed since their last shows, two of the shows in London were recorded for a DVD and CD (Wonderland SANCD 157). The track listing varied slightly between the two editions.
The tour coincided with the Polydor endorsed “The Best Of”, which included a new song in the form of “Dizzy”. On the 2002 tour, a special “gig only” CD single of “Dizzy” was made available (Wonderland DIZZY 1), which played an alternate version to that found on the best of, where it was dubbed the “Version 1” mix. The compilation was a slightly random, and obviously incomplete, view of the band’s career, which included - uncredited - an alternate version of “This Wheel’s On Fire”. The inclusion of “Song From The Edge Of The World” on the double disc version meant that every stand alone Banshees 45 had appeared on one of the three best of releases, albeit not always in their original 7” form.
In the summer of 2004, “The Best Of” reappeared as a three disc release - the original CD, the remix CD from the limited edition pressing, and a (again, random) trawl through the band’s videos on a DVD (Polydor 06024 9819 8087). The inclusion of “Stargazer”, on all three discs, did at least show the story had been brought up to date post-”Twice Upon A Time”. In the time that had passed since the original 2002 release, McGeoch had passed away and the reissue featured a dedication to his memory inside.
2009 saw the release of “At The BBC” (Polydor 531 576-1), a magnificent 3-CD trawl through the band’s BBC sessions and ‘recorded by the Beeb‘ concerts, along with a DVD of TV performances. It included everything the band taped for John Peel, plus more, and thus superseded those “Peel Sessions” EPs and the “Voices On The Air” release from 2006, a release devoted to everything the band taped for Peel in the 70s and 80s. The set, strangely, grinds to a halt in 1991, meaning that things like the band’s “taped by the BBC” show at the Newcastle Mayfair in 1995 are not included.
2014 has seen things turn full circle, with a double 7” release of “Hong Kong Garden”, housed in a sleeve not too dissimilar to the original release (Polydor SBAN 35). The two tracks from the original have been joined by alternate takes of said songs - the “Thorn” version of “Voices”, and an alternate mix of “HKG” from the “Marie Antoinette” soundtrack.
Given that this is a band that have ceased to exist for over a decade, I can understand if any of you youngsters reading this might not understand what all the fuss is about. If not, then have a quick listen to Savages - not so much influenced by the Banshees, more a stones throw away from being a tribute act.