A rebellious jukebox: My ten favourite songs by The Fall

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20p a play, five plays for a quid as I remember but jukeboxes were really more of a seventies thing. Hard to imagine finding “Cab It Up!” in the late eighties when the pop world was all Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

Coincidentally, the flipside to”Cab It Up!” was Deadbdeat Decendent, actually one of my very early Fall listens upon buying (on vinyl of course) the Seminal Live! LP.

The Fall originally formed in Manchester, England in late 1976, making its live debut in May 1977. For over 40 years, the group continued with founder and sole constant Mark E Smith at the helm, until his untimely death in January 2018.

Around 50 core members have passed through the group’s ranks, bolstered on various occasions by additional guests. To 2018, there have been 32 studio albums, more than 50 singles and approaching 100 live albums, compilations and box sets.

My adoration and loyalty to the band’s music has never waned though I was surprised at their longevity and output. Clearly MES always felt he had more to do rather than prove and wanted to satiate an old fanbase that was still attracting new blood way into the noughties.

If we were to use the millenium as a divide then me, I’m certainly old school in preferring the very early period so in doing this wee project, you won’t be surprised that my ten selections are all from that era.

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My introduction to the band was, like so many, because of John Peel’s radio programmes. He loved The Fall. He played a lot of The Fall. And his festive fifties were full of The Fall.

I think the first song I heard was “Container Drivers”, a screeching, rockabilly-like blast that just grabbed you by the short ‘n’ curlies. After that I remember buying their debut LP, Live At The Witch Trials, oh and Totally Wired on a single.

Geotesque remains my favourite Fall album and it was a tough call leaving out English Scheme and Impression Of J. Temperance but something had to give.

Preparing a favourite ten songs by The Fall for me was a lot easier to do than say, ten favourites by REM. Both have extensive album discographies but The Fall are just different gravy. There’s usually a killer song on an album in comparison to REM having three or four ‘hits’, given their more mainstream appeal.

01. Surmount All Obstacles (Middle Class Revolt)
02. Australians In Europe (B-side of Hit The North)
03. Leave The Capitol (Slates)
04. Gramme Friday (Grotesque)
05. Fantastic Life (Room To Live)
06. No Bulbs (The Wonderful And Frightening World)
07. High Tension Line (Shiftwork)
08. Hexen Definitive / Strife Knot (Perverted By Language)
09. Guest Informant (The Frenz Experiment)
10. Jawbone And The Air Rifle (Hex Enduction Hour)

And I guess that my top ten may come as a surprise to Fall fans who know much better than I. For example, from Extricate, I really like Bill Is Dead. It’s just stands out to me from the other songs, not sure what it is about it but for me it even tops Telephone Thing!

High Tension Line gets in by virtue of it being one of the very few Fall items I bought on 12″!

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Along with a few of others in Wrong Place, Right Time, Free Range and the aforementioned Deadbeat Descendent, Bill just fails to make the cut here.

10. Jawbone And The Air Rifle (Hex Enduction Hour)

09. Guest Informant (The Frenz Experiment)

08. Hexen Definitive / Strife Knot (Perverted By Language)

07. High Tension Line (Shiftwork)

06. No Bulbs (The Wonderful And Frightening World)

05. Fantastic Life (Room To Live)

04. Gramme Friday (Grotesque)

03. Leave The Capitol (Slates)

02. Australians In Europe (B-side of Hit The North)

01. Surmount All Obstacles (Middle Class Revolt)

This selection I like to play in this order as am album in its own right too – I think it flows without the contraflow. If you like, why not use the LEAVE A REPLY box and tell us your ten fave Fall numbers.

The Fall are still going today so far as I’m aware and perhaps back then against the back drop of regular chart music, they were really out on there own and truly this nation’s saving grace.

CREDITATION

Eoin Murray, Vinyl Factory
The Fall Online
The Great Rock Bible

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