Posts Tagged ‘Sire’

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The Soup Dragons were a Scottish alternative rock band of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Named after a character in the 1970s children’s television show The Clangers, the group is best known for its cover of the Rolling Stones’ song “I’m Free”, which was a top five hit in the United Kingdom in 1990, and “Divine Thing”, a Top 40 hit in the United States in 1992. The Soup Dragons were formed in Bellshill, a town near Motherwell, in 1985.

The line up was Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice) who replaced Ian Whitehall, and Sushil K. Dade (bass). The original drummer, Ross A. Sinclair, left the group after the first proper album, “This Is Our Art”, to pursue a career in art, and was replaced by Paul Quinn. Most of their songs were written by Sean Dickson. The band recorded their first demo tape, You Have Some Too, after playing a few local gigs, and this was followed by a flexi disc single “If You Were the Only Girl in the World”. The band signed to The Subway Organization in early 1986 and their first proper single (The Sun in the Sky EP) was Buzzcocks-inspired pop punk.

The band’s big breakthrough came with their second single for Subway, “Whole Wide World”, which reached No. 2 on the UK Indie Chart in 1986. Dickson and McCulloch also moonlighted in another band BMX Bandits at this time.  The band were signed by former Wham! co-manager Jazz Summers’ label Raw TV with further indie hits (and minor UK Singles Chart hits) following during 1987 and 1988. Over the course of six singles (the first three collected in 1986 on a U.S. only compilation, Hang Ten), they gradually developed a more complex rock guitar sound, which culminated in their first album proper “This Is Our Art”, now signed to major label Sire Records. After one single from the album “Kingdom Chairs” they then returned to original label Raw TV and Big Life Records. In the year following “This Is Our Art” their sound underwent a change from an indie rock sound, to the rock-dance crossover sound, this was mainly due to being without a drummer and buying a sampler and drum machine and experimenting with sound with the release of the album “Lovegod”.

This change can be attributed to the rise of the ecstasy-fuelled acid house rave scene in the UK. In 1990, they released their most successful hit single in the UK, “I’m Free”, an up-tempo cover of a Rolling Stones song with an added toasting overdub by reggae star Junior Reid, which reached number five. The single also appeared on the soundtrack to British science fiction comedy film The World’s End. Subsequent albums continued in their own style and In 1992 they enjoyed their biggest U.S. hit with “Divine Thing” It also hit number three on the Modern Rock chart and its video was nominated by MTV as one of the year’s best, though beaten by Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The Soup Dragons disbanded in 1995. Paul Quinn joined Teenage Fanclub. Sushil K. Dade formed the experimental post rock group Future Pilot A.K.A. and is now a producer for BBC Radio. Sean Dickson formed The High Fidelity, came out as gay, had a breakdown, then met his husband and established a successful career Djing as HiFi Sean.

Jim McCulloch joined Superstar, wrote and recorded music with Isobel Campbell, and formed the folk group Snowgoose.

The Albums: Hang Ten!(1986) This Is Our Art (1988) Lovegod (1990) Hotwired (1992) Hydrophonic (1994)

Ross A. Sinclair had a successful career in art, winning a number of international awards and becoming a Research Fellow at Glasgow School of Art.  He still makes music The story of The Soup Dragons is traced as part of 2017 documentary Teenage Superstars.