Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Three Lives of The Wild Swans

First Life

Formed by Paul Simpson in 1980 the band were an essential part of the the Liverpool early 80s scene and supported both the bunnymen and the teardrop explodes on tour. They released the classic single Revolutionary Spirit. For some reason the music buyer in my local Boots bought a job lot of them and it was in this shops bargain rack that I bought it, if I'm honest purely on the back of liking the cover.
It is one of the great lost singles of the 80s

Second Life

The band broke up in 1982 and Paul Simpson went on to form Care with Ian Broudie who also in Flaming Sword made a classic single that sold zilch. When that band broke apart the Wild Swans reformed ans signed to a major label releasing the lp Bringing Home the Ashes in 1988. Not much had changed in terms of sound , although with more money behind them the rough edges were smoothed off. The lp has aged well and has one classic single on it

Third Life

This lp and it's follow up didn't sell that well (they were re-released on one disc in 2007) and the band were dropped by Sire.
2007 saw the third incarnation of the band with a new lp due for release this year. If it is anything like this fantastic single from 2009 then it should be good. The sound is unmistakeably the Wild Swans although without the sheen of a major label it is a more stripped down sound, also Paul Simpson's voice as aged to give it a slightly different tone

Apparently the lp features the following :Paul Simpson, Les Pattinson (ex Echo and the Bunnymen), Ged Quinn (former Wild Swan), Ricky Maymi (Brian Jonestown Massacre), Mike Mooney (Spiritualized), Will Sergeant (Echo and the Bunnymen), Henry Priestman (Its Immaterial/The Christians), Candie Payne, Steve Beswick (The Heart Throbs)

There is a lot more to find out at the band's website here and you can buy some of the lps at reasonable prices and some at ridiculous prices here


  1. The Wild Swans were one of the Liverpool bands you had to dig deep to learn about. I love Revolutionary Spirit, didn't really get into the album and then when the second album kind of just appeared out of nowhere, it took me 3 or 4 years to embrace it. Care was a blueprint for Ian Broudie's pop breakout with Lightning Seeds - if I can be blasphemous, not really a favorite of mine, and pretty darn special. Can't wait for Mk.3 as it looks to be a sort of Liverpool supergroup - although where Ricky Maymi fits in... On the Ian Broudie side of it, you an Original Mirrors fan?

  2. Hi Echo

    not heard any Original Mirrors although I know the name - go to teh Wild Swans website there is a lot of music on there

  3. Once I introduced myself to the Bunnymen/Wah!/Teardrops I had to know anything and everything about them, the scene they came from and the bands that they grew out of or shot off of from the "rock family tree." This intro'd me to the work that Drummond and Balfe and Ian Broudie were involved in, the work of musicians like Troy Tate and Paul Simpson, Jane Casey and her Pink Military and Pink Industry, even Pete Burns... Liverpool from 77 - 83 was as alive, musically, as NYC was from 75 - 80!

  4. I'm sure you've read it but Julian Cope's Head is a great insight on that time


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