BBC radio one live concert
01 Here come Cowboys
02 My time
The Psychedelic Furs
|The Psychedelic Furs|
The Psychedelic Furs, 2008
|Years active||1977–1991 |
|Associated acts||Love Spit Love|
|Richard Butler |
|John Ashton |
The Psychedelic Furs are an English rock band founded in 1977. Led by singer Richard Butler and his brother Tim Butler on bass guitar, the Psychedelic Furs were one of the more successful acts spawned from the British punk rock scene. Their music went through several phases, from an initially austere art rock sound, later touching on new wave and hard rock. They scored several hits in their early career, but were launched to international attention in 1986 when movie director/writer John Hughes borrowed their song title "Pretty In Pink" for his movie of the same name. More hit songs followed, such as "Heatbreak Beat" and "Ghost In You," before the Psychedelic Furs broke up in 1991. The Butler brothers formed Love Spit Love, and the Psychedlic Furs reformed in 2001.
The Psychedelic Furs came together in England's emerging punk scene in 1977, where they were initially called "RKO," then "Radio." They then vacillated between calling themselves "The Europeans" and "The Psychedelic Furs," playing gigs under both names before permanently settling on the latter. The band initially consisted of Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass guitar), Duncan Kilburn (saxophone), Paul Wilson (drums) and Roger Morris (guitars). By 1979, this line up had expanded to a sextet with Vince Ely replacing Wilson on drums and John Ashton being added on guitar.
The Furs debut, a self-titled album from 1980 was produced by Steve Lillywhite. The LP quickly established the band at radio and was a top 20 hit in the UK. The album also found success in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Australia. The US version of the album was resequenced, but failed to have as strong a commercial impact.
The Furs did find success in the U.S. with their next release, 1981's Talk Talk Talk, which made its debut on the US album charts. In the UK, the album was a solid hit which spun off two charting singles, "Dumb Waiters" and the original version of "Pretty in Pink". The latter song served as inspiration for the 1986 John Hughes film of the same name, and was re-recorded for the platinum-selling soundtrack.
In 1982, the band was reduced to a four-piece with the departures of Morris and Kilburn. The band's remaining members moved permanently to New York City, and they recorded their next album, Forever Now, with producer Todd Rundgren in Woodstock, New York. This album contained "Love My Way", another UK hit and also their first U.S. chart single.
Ely left the band after Forever Now, though he would return for the 1988 single "All That Money Wants" and the 1989 album Book of Days.
The Furs' 1984 release Mirror Moves was produced by Keith Forsey, and featured the songs "The Ghost in You" and "Heaven". Both charted in the UK, and "Heaven" became the band's highest charting UK hit at the time, peaking at #29 - but strangely, "Heaven" was never released as a single in the U.S. Instead, Columbia Records opted for "Here Come Cowboys", despite both international success and heavy MTV airplay for "Heaven". "Here Come Cowboys" failed to chart, but "The Ghost In You" was a hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The band also was hugely popular in Canada as well. CFNY, Toronto's new wave radio station, listed Mirror Moves as the #1 LP of 1984.
By this time, the band had become a staple on both U.S. college and modern rock radio stations. Simultaneously, they were building mainstream success, fairly consistently placing singles in the pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic, though according to biographer Dave Thompson they would "have more impact on future musicians than they ever did in the marketplace".
In 1986, the band recorded a sax-infused version of "Pretty in Pink" for the soundtrack of the film of the same name. Released as a single, it became their biggest hit to that time in the U.S., and their biggest-ever UK hit. Butler later claimed that the success of "Pretty in Pink" caused the band to be pressured into entering the recording studio to record a follow-up release before they were ready. The result was Midnight to Midnight, their biggest Top 40 success to date. A more overtly commercial effort than the Furs had ever recorded before, the album also featured the single "Heartbreak Beat", which skyrocketed up the charts to become their biggest Top 40 U.S. hit. The album also featured drummer Paul Garisto and sax player Mars Williams, both of whom continue to tour with the band.
In the wake of "Midnight To Midnight", the Furs found themselves dissatisfied with their new commercial direction, and subsequently returned to a rawer sound with "All That Money Wants", a 1988 track especially recorded for a best-of compilation album"All Of This And Nothing". 1989's Book of Days also saw a return to the earlier Furs' style and the return of Vince Ely. 1991's World Outside was similarly more of a "back to basics" approach.
From 1988 on, The Furs' steady chart success continued with three #1 hits on the U.S. Modern Rock chart between 1988 and 1991. "All That Money Wants" was a #1 hit in 1988, while "House" topped the chart in 1990, and "Until She Comes" was their final #1 in 1991.
Break-up and reunion
The band split in the early 1990s, with the Butler brothers going on to found Love Spit Love together with Richard Fortus and Frank Ferrer. After spending most of the decade apart, Butler and Ashton re-formed The Psychedelic Furs in 2000, and released a live album Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live, which also featured a new studio recording, "Alive (For Once In My Lifetime)." A DVD version of the performance included live versions of "Alive" and three other previously unreleased songs: "Anodyne (Better Days)," "Cigarette" and "Wrong Train."
Since then, lead singer Richard Butler has released a solo album, and has hinted at a possible new Furs album. Currently, the band continues to tour around the world. The current Psychedelic Furs touring lineup is Richard Butler, Tim Butler (bass), Rich Good (guitar), Mars Williams (saxophone), Amanda Kramer (keyboard), and Paul Garisto (drums).
|Year||Album||Label||US Chart||UK Chart||Certifications|
|1980||The Psychedelic Furs||Columbia||140||18||—||Gold|
|1981||Talk Talk Talk||Columbia||89||30||—||Gold|
|1987||Midnight to Midnight||Columbia||29||12||Gold||Silver|
|1989||Book of Days||Columbia||138||74||—||—|
|1999||Radio 1 Sessions||Strange Fruit||—||—||—||—|
|2001||Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live||Sony||—||—||—||—|
|1988||All of This and Nothing||Columbia||102||67||—||—|
|1994||Here Came The Psychedelic Furs: B Sides and Lost Grooves||Sony||—||—||—||—|
|1996||In the Pink||Sony||—||—||—||—|
|1997||Should God Forget: A Retrospective||Sony||—||—||—||—|
|2001||The Psychedelic Furs: Greatest Hits||Sony||—||—||—||—|
|UK||Australia||U.S. College Airplay||U.S.||U.S. Modern Rock|
|1979||"We Love You"||The Psychedelic Furs||-||-||63||-||-|
|"Mr. Jones"||Talk Talk Talk |
("Mr. Jones" was later re-recorded for Talk Talk Talk)
|"Pretty in Pink"||43||-||22||-||-|
|1982||"Love My Way"||Forever Now||42||23||1||44||-|
|"Run and Run"||-||-||41||-||-|
|"The Ghost in You"||68||-||1||59||-|
|"Here Come Cowboys"||-||-||-||-||-|
|1986||"Pretty in Pink" (re-recording)||Pretty in Pink soundtrack||18||-||1||41||-|
|1987||"Heartbreak Beat"||Midnight to Midnight||-||26||1||26||-|
|"Angels Don't Cry"||-||-||53||-||-|
|1988||"All That Money Wants"||All of This and Nothing||75||-||1||-||1|
|1989||"Should God Forget"||Book of Days||-||-||6||-||8|
|1991||"Until She Comes"||World Outside||-||-||1||-||1|
|"Don't Be a Girl"||-||-||5||-||13|
|2001||"Alive (For Once in My Lifetime)" |
(only released as a promotional single)
|Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live |
("Alive" was a studio recorded track while the rest of the album was from a live concert)