heard on the wire

Everybody ready? Let’s go 1, 2, 3!

Lithium 3

This song means something
Every song means something

According to a Latin adage, everything that comes in threes is perfect. Two’s company, three’s a crowd, according to anyone trying to get rid of unwanted company.

All of which is little help when we assess the part that the number three has played in the history of rock ’n’ pop. Unlike one and two, it plays no part in the soundcheck and while most music fans can name a favourite chart topper or runner-up, few recall a beloved hit parade bronze medalist.

And rare is the drummer who counts one, two, three before launching into the next song. Unless four is “Go!”. Ado has three letters and without further of it…

The Parallelograms :: 1, 2, 3, Go! ⬇ [free]

Audio MP3

 

The White Stripes are they exception that proves the rule that three is the quorum for any decent rock ’n’ pop band, though few of great rock ’n’ pop bands were three-pieces. The Jam were perhaps the apogee, though they felt it necessary to add musicians as they went along, finishing with a full keyboards and brass ensemble on the final LP.

The mighty Redskins also started out as a trio, but they soon embraced the brass tones that leant a rare richness and energy to their single, definitive LP.

I will have a lot more to say about the Jam another time, so it is to their contemporaries that I must turn to begin our tour through musical threedom.
The Cure eventually became an Atlantic-straddling five-piece, but they started out as three imaginary boys and have never sounded better.

The Cure :: Three Imaginary Boys ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3

 

I’m no musician and I have no idea how many chords or notes those lovely three minutes required, but as we all know, all you need are three.

Town Bike :: Three Chords Three Notes

Town Bike were from Liverpool. This Many Boyfriends are from Leeds, just down the M62, a motorway that has no junction three.

This Many Boyfriends :: Three Year Itch ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3

 

The third great musical city on the M62 is Salford and Salford has given us a man with three syllables in his name who’s recorded 30 LPs in three different categories: great, good and difficult.

This song this comes from Your Future, Our Clutter, the Fall’s 28th studio LP and one of their finest. Ostensibly about either being or not being from a certain town in Lancashire, it starts as if Mark E Smith is singing in the bath, but that long intro section is merely a prelude.

The Fall :: Bury Pts. 1+3 ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3

 

In 1992, the Wedding Present released 12 singles, each in a limited pressing of 10,000 copies.They all reached the UK top 30, equalling Elvis Presley’s record number of hits in a single year (an analogue record since digitally surpassed by the death of Michael Jackson). That’s three facts and this is the third of those singles.

The Wedding Present :: Three

Which should have brought an end to proceedings, had the KLF not been invited to appear at the 1993 Brit Awards—the UK music business’s annual back-slap. The faces of the evening-dressed audience at the end of this clip are a picture. This wasn’t the radio friendly, house-tinged pop that had taken the song to number one, from a band that had previously worked with Tammy Wynette.

This was extreme noise terror.

KLF and Extreme Noise Terror :: 3am Eternal

 

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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