Six Minutes A Month – May 1992

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 19 year delay system) we now reach the chart from the Springtime of 1992 – and watch the first seedlings of Britpop appearing amongst the shoegaze sunflowers and workmanlike indie shrubbery.

Yes! It’s Suede and their debut single “The Drowners” that really brightens up an otherwise quite dull chart. Glamour! Hair! Sex! Swoon!! This was their first terrestrial appearance on TV and I guess would be the first time that most of the UK indie kids saw Brett and co shake their money.

Shoegaze also-rans Adorable bring up the rear at number 10, a band that had a couple of really good songs to their name, but who I think appeared on the scene a bit too late. St Etienne are kicking about with “Join Our Club”  a single that bridged their first and second LPs, at number two.

Number one are The Levellers with their second best known song “15 Years”. I never really identified with the whole Crusty scene, probably because I’d twigged that not washing your hair and pretending to be a gypsy wouldn’t get you a shag (at least not from the kind of girls I was chasing about the place) and also probably because the Manics had slagged the Levellers off in the music press.

34 thoughts on “Six Minutes A Month – May 1992

  1. “The band are currently on tour supporting Kingmaker…” Brilliant. I love the Kitchens of Distinction’s “Breathing Fear”, I have to say (their only entry in the Marconium, despite my and Mark68’s and various other RRers efforts), but otherwise all a bit poor… No wonder Suede caused such a stir!

  2. Hair! Sex! Swoon!! indeed! Love Suede.

    Like you I never quite took to the Levellers, although I do have “One Way” on my iPod and will happily sing along to it when on my own.

  3. Suede were a pivotal band for me and I remember this well, that first Suede album was my gateway into more indie kind of indie, before that it was all rock/grunge for me.

    I have a fond (probably rose-tinted) memory of going into Woolworths in town rather fuzzy-headedly after a heavy night on something not quite legal and buying Suede’s debut (on cassette of course) taking it back home and listening over and over whilst laying on the bed with strong sunshine pouring through the window, thinking it was the best thing i’d ever heard!

    • I remember going to buy the debut album (Our Price, cassette) with a friend at lunchtime on the day it came out. We had to get a pass from the Head of Middle School – can’t remember the excuse we used. But I found the album a bit disappointing – I already knew the best songs, and there was some rather average filler (Moving, She’s Not Dead, Animal Lover).

      • Is it also sacrelige to point out that Ed Bueller’s whooshy production gets quite annoying?

        Dog Man Star is a great album; Suede is a so-so album with half a dozen brilliant songs. Discuss…

      • “Suede” is almost perfect. “Dog Man Star” sounds a bit like Brett pissing on Bernard’s chips as soon as he was out the room. Also, “Suede” finishes on “The Next Life”, which is just amazing.

      • I haven’t listened to either in its entirety for far too long (really need to upgrade some of the music from my cassette days…) but still think Suede is patchy. For me, Dog Man Star really nails their while seedy suburban neon twilight vision. I’ll see “The Next Life” and raise you “The Asphalt World”…

        (Though I do love “The Next Life”. I’ve mentioned this before on RR, but it’s only since moving to the Sussex coast that I’ve appreciated the humour and pathos of a boy from Hayward’s Heath dreaming about moving “far away” to Worthing – 25 miles down the A24.)

      • That’s a good piece. I didn’t fully appreciate Dog Man Star till seeing them on tour (sans Bernard). It was my first big name gig, and I was startlingly stoned with my big brother and his university mates. They were playing against a backdrop of B&W films, directed by Derek Jarman I think. Stupendous.

      • The lines about going to Worthing and eating ice-creams til the company’s on its knees is perhaps one of the best, most intriguing and romantic of all time. Worthing also makes me think of the film “Wish You Were Here” with Emily Lloyd playing the part of the most rebellious teen ever committed to celluloid.

  4. I was as susceptible to music press hype as any other 14-year-old, but God, I was excited by those first Suede records. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a better debut single.

    I was talking about the Levellers over on the ‘Spill challenge. I had snobbishly mixed feelings about this song, as it got lots of not very cool people in my year into them; I had to start pretending I preferred the first album. Though I was never a crusty, I was proud of my blue DMs and colourful knitwear (can’t pretend I ever got laid as a result though…)

    Not the greatest top 10, agreed, though I love the Inspirals and obviously St Etienne.

    Shame on you all, though, for ignoring “Steamroller” by The Family Cat – one of THE great 1990s indie epics. My tape broke a long time ago, and I’ve looked in vain on YouTube – but I’ve just checked again and it’s there!

      • blimpy, I told the story last night on here, even verbally drunk I’d attempt not to repeat myself that quickly…typed out – I really have to watch the repetition.
        (I do only have 4 stories that I find worth telling* – the ride one – the levellers one – the libellous Cult one and the pixies one- so I have to pick the right moments)

        this thread

        just cmd- F saneshane (it’s my 8th comment! – there must be an easier way for me to link to that)

        anyway- you’ll find my levellers spillage.

        * this is bollox – I’ll bore anyone, with any number, just you wait and see.

      • HAhahahhah just remembered interviewing Motorhead’s chef on video yeeeears ago. Boy, he had some AMAZING tales.

  5. I was a student in Brighton during the first flush of Levellers activity and burgeoning popularity (I was there at the launch of their first album). It was quite exciting – I felt like I’d found something important before most of the rest of the world.

    I never dressed crusty, but I wore the t-shirts now and then. I didn’t particularly want to get laid, but I doubt that a faint allegiance to a local band made any difference either way (I was just socially awkward).

    Like the man says, it’s different for girls.

    • yes it is different for girls. I was in Colchester when Blur were just getting going, quite an exciting time there too, as that’s where they’re from.

      I prefer New Model Army for the dog on a string, wooden clogs and social conscience angle, their fans were rather intimidating though.

      For me Suede reached their peak with Dog Man Star, I still listen to it regularly.

  6. I am Too Old to join in on this thread – although I do know who the Levellers are (whereas I’ve just realised I was thinking of Skunk Anansie for Suede, which would explain why I didn’t get the ‘hair!’ comment).

    How long were you in Colchester, Beth – I went to school there, which would’ve been before your time, but I’m wondering if you knew my Little Sis who used to run the More Balls Than Most stand in the precinct?

    • Yes, I was thinking that this theme is aimed at a very specific demographic. Which includes me, just about, so I could happily rabbit on about how this shows precisely why Suede were such a necessary thing. If it wasn’t for the large pile of marking I have to spend the rest of the day doing, I might also attempt to develop an argument that Saint Etienne were actually a fundamental influence on what later became Britpop, less musically than ideologically…

      • This series is aimed at those who were impressionable musically, but had no access to anything but the Chart Show for indie vids, at the time. Unless you had MTV (which I didn’t) then this 6 minutes a month was the only glimpse into a strange & entrancing new world.

        And you’re right about St Etienne – the things they stood for and held dear weren’t very obvious in their music (especially as a youngster I didn’t know that they were sampling or covering) and folks like Pulp built upon it, and made it a bit more outre. It took me a long time to work out why St E were popular in indie circles when they kept sounding like chart dance music to my ears. I now have Fox Base Alpha on vinyl, mind – and their manifesto is clear in the sleeve.

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