The Guide’s Listening Party: 10 Liverpool albums to play at home
3 years ago
Since the Swinging Sixties, Liverpool has birthed many hit albums in every genre imaginable. From rock to indie to soul and pop and everything in between, our city has a back catalogue to be very proud of indeed.
We at The Guide Liverpool reflect on classic albums from local artists past and present, marking out Merseyside’s music making journey so far.
The Beatles – Please Please Me
Everyone has a favourite Beatles album, but 1963 debut Please Please Me is special in a number of ways. The bulk of it was recorded quickly and whilst there is some criticism because almost half of the songs are covers, the McCartney – Lennon classics on it like title track Love Me Do, I Saw Her Standing There, and Misery still sound so fresh and exciting.
Each gives us a fascinating snapshot of what it was like to be young in the early 60s, meaning that the album whether it’s your personal favourite or not, is an important historical document.
Orchestra Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture & Morality
Despite an initial lukewarm critical reception from some quarters, Architecture & Morality is nowadays seen very much as a seminal work, a blueprint for the synth pop genre which was emerging in the UK and Europe at the beginning of the 1980s.
The record buying public took to the duo of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys with gusto, the album spawning the smash hits Souvenir, Joan of Arc and Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans). McCluskey has described Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) as OMD’s Mull Of Kintyre!
The Christians – The Christians
The Christians’ debut album sounds as contemporary and modern today as the day it was released over thirty years ago. It went straight to number one in the chart and has reached double platinum status since.
It is the biggest selling debut album by any Island Records artist, due in no small part to the massive hit singles Forgotten Town, Hooverville, and Ideal World. Garry, Russell and Roger Christian and Henry Priestman who made up the band for the record created a true classic of socially aware slick soul-pop.
The Wombats – The Wombats Proudly Present A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation
This, the Wombats’ first studio album released on a major label, came out in 2007. It was recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studio in Wales and reached number 11 in the album charts, selling hundreds of thousands of copies to date.
The trio – Matthew Murphy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), and Dan Haggis (drums, backing vocals) both from Liverpool, and Tord Øverland Knudsen (bass, backing vocals) who met whilst studying at LIPA, have won legions of fans across the world with their palatable indie-rock/pop sound, but have found their biggest success over in Australia!
Echo & The Bunnymen – Porcupine
The Bunnymen’s third studio album is yet another case of pulling in poor reviews upon release, but the fans knowing a good record when they hear one and ensuring its substantial success. With singles The Cutter and The Back of Love included, how could we not buy it in droves?
The legendary Liverpool post-punk four piece of Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas reached number 2 in the charts with this 1983 classic, although relations between members were strained during its creation. Their record label rejected the first recorded version of Porcupine calling it ‘too uncommercial’, but happily the subsequent re-recording went much more smoothly.
The La’s – The La’s
The 1990 eponymously entitled album released by Huyton’s Lee Mavers and an ever changing line-up might be the only record The La’s made but it more than made its mark on the world. The album is revered for Mavers’ skills in weaving together our city’s Merseybeat heritage with American music from the 1960s, like the Byrds, Arthur Lee and Love, alongside his insightful, relevant lyrics.
The best known song on The La’s, There She Goes, was a hit and has been included on the soundtracks of numerous films and tv shows and there is even a BBC comedy drama TV series named after it featuring former Dr Who actor David Tennant! The La’s album has been a major influence on many contemporary musicians in Liverpool and outside of it, Merseyside enthusiasts including Jamie Webster and She Drew The Gun’s Louisa Roach.
The Coral – Magic and Medicine
Magic and Medicine is the second album from Hoylake’s favourite musical sons, and went straight to number one in the charts when it hit the shops. Produced by Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie in tandem with members of the band, it spawned four hit singles, with their biggest hit Pass It On reaching number five.
The Coral are so much more than an indie guitar band, pulling strands from all directions, psychedelia, country, blues and more. The line-up for this, their 2003 album, was James Skelly (vocals, guitar), Lee Southall (guitar, backing vocals), Bill Ryder-Jones (guitar), Paul Duffy (bass guitar, backing vocals), Nick Power (organ, piano, backing vocals) and Ian Skelly (drums).
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome
It’s safe to say that The Frankies as they were known locally, fronted by Holly Johnson and including Paul Rutherford, Brian Nash, Mark O’Toole and Peter Gill, dominated most of 1984. The band was launched into the public’s consciousness with the controversial and banned single Relax. That and the inclusion of songs like War, Two Tribes, and The Power of Love, ensured the album it came from became a phenomenal triumph all over the world.
It had advance sales of over one million! The lads were the second act in the entire history of the UK charts to have their first three singles get to number one, following fellow Scousers Gerry and the Pacemakers twenty years earlier.
Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Blood & Chocolate
Blood & Chocolate was a landmark album in Elvis Costello’s career. This, his 11th studio long player saw him reunited with former producer Nick Lowe who worked on his first six albums. Relations between Elvis Costello and his backing band the Attractions soured during the duration of recording and they didn’t record together for another eight years after its completion. Nevertheless, Blood & Chocolate is a favourite of many Costello fans despite its venomous lyrical content, or maybe that is its appeal!
Either way, this 1986 album earned an inclusion in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
The Real Thing – Children of the Ghetto: The Pye Anthology
One of the finest UK soul groups of all time incorporating funk, disco and R&B, The Real Thing soundtracked the mid to late 1970s with a string of fantastic floor fillers including You To Me Are Everything and Can’t Get By Without You.
The Real Thing’s glorious harmonies ensure they are the most successful black UK group of all time. Established in Toxteth in 1972, they enjoyed a resurgence when remixes of their classics entered the charts once again in the mid 1980s. The Children of the Ghetto is a monster sized anthology of the songs we all know, and maybe some we’re not so familiar with, making it a rewarding listen for lifelong and brand new fans.