The Vinyl Countdown

Legendary single-a-month scam from indie stalwarts revisited

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It was almost genius. Capitalising on an eccentrically dedicated fan base while exploiting the fragility of the ever dwindling singles market, in 1992 The Wedding Present, hitherto tagged as “shambling”, achieved the momentous feat of 12 consecutive Top 40 hits from January to December, each limited to seven-inch vinyl, each featuring a typically lovelorn original backed with an esoteric cover.

A lone victory for romantic indie-schmindie in the age of Snap and Right Said Fred, it ensured “the Weddoes” a permanent place in the Guinness Book Of Records, their only Top 10 hit (“Come Play With Me”) and David Gedge, patron saint of the recently dumped, on Top Of The Pops practically every other month.

With a decade’s hindsight, the music itself as collated on this double CD is a rag-bag, although the highlights are sublime in their three-chord splendour. Of the A-sides, the effervescent “Flying Saucer” and the perv-grunge of “Love Slave” were both extraordinary chart coups, while Bowie’s “Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family” (incorporating The Fall’s “Bremen Nacht”) and a heart-ripping revision of Julee Cruise’s Twin Peaks theme “Falling” feature the sort of invention that, like the scam itself, is depressingly absent among today’s white indie guitar hopefuls.

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