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Teardrop Explodes, The (1980)

Courtesy of BBC

Main image of Teardrop Explodes, The (1980)
From The Old Grey Whistle Test, BBC2, tx. 8/11/1980
7 minutes, colour
DirectorTom Corcoran
ProducerMichael Appleton

Presenter: Annie Nightingale; performance: The Teardrop Explodes

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Liverpool band The Teardrop Explodes perform two songs in the Whistle Test studio.

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Formed in 1979 by Julian Cope, The Teardrop Explodes were, alongside Echo and the Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Wah!, at the forefront of the post-punk Liverpool scene of the late 1970s and early '80s, which was closely associated with the music venue Eric's (sadly closed in March 1980). Cope, Echo and the Bunnymen's Ian McCullough and Pete Wylie of Wah! had performed together in the very shortlived The Crucial Three in 1977. The Teardrop Explodes were managed for a while by the notorious Bill Drummond, rock prankster and founder of the The JAMMS and The KLF. After his band split up in 1983, Cope enjoyed a long and eclectic solo career and, latterly, a parallel reputation as a writer, music historian, expert on ancient monuments and, to many, inspirational guru.

This high-impact performance, adding a two-man horn section to the guitar/synthesiser sound typical of the scene, captures the band two months before their chart breakthrough, performing 'Ha Ha! I'm Drowning', from debut album Kilimanjaro, and a 'new number', the anthemic 'Reward', which became their biggest hit, reaching number 6 in January 1981. Cope appears in his then trademark WWII flying jacket, and with characteristic eccentricity, introduces the second song in French.

Mark Duguid

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Video Clips
Complete film (6:29)
Echo and the Bunnymen (1985)
Old Grey Whistle Test, The / Whistle Test (1971-87)
Liverpool: Sounds of the City