Lloyd Cole first stepped into the spotlight when Lloyd Cole & The Commotions released their effortlessly hip debut album ‘Rattlesnakes’ in 1984. He went on to make two further albums of cerebral pop with the Commotions (his music from this era was comprehensively catalogued in 2015’s acclaimed box set Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Collected Recordings 1983-1989). To properly capture Lloyd Cole’s extensive career with the Commotions and prolific solo recordings, uDiscover presents Lloyd Cole & the Commotions in 20 Songs playlist.
The career-spanning anthology starts with the band’s earliest demos before moving into the huge success of their debut album ‘Rattlesnakes’ and the top ten follow-ups ‘Easy Pieces’ and ‘Mainstream.’ It includes countless b-sides, demos and other rarities. Several of those are in our top 20, alongside all of the influential British band’s hit singles, key b-sides and some great live performances.
The band were formed in 1982 by the Buxton, Derbyshire-born Cole, and signed to Polydor in 1984, scoring an airplay and top 30 sales hit with their first single ‘Perfect Skin,’ which is our opening selection. There are four more songs from their debut LP ‘Rattlesnakes,’ which was similarly acclaimed for its combination of cutting-edge melodic pop sophistication and incisive lyrics, and spent more than six months on the UK chart. We’ve also included a BBC session version of that album’s ‘Charlotte Street.’
‘Easy Pieces,’ the band’s second album in late 1985, went gold within a month, and produced the two top 20 singles that are perhaps their best-known songs, ‘Brand New Friend’ and ‘Lost Weekend.’ Other numbers from the sophomore set in the playlist include ‘Rich,’ ‘Grace’ and ‘Cut Me Down,’ and there are live numbers from that era including a version of Elvis’ ‘Mystery Train,’ from the new ‘Collected Recordings.’
Late in 1987, ‘Mainstream’ proved to be the band’s swansong on album, and contained another fondly-remembered single, ‘Jennifer She Said,’ plus ‘Mister Malcontent’ and ‘From The Hip.’ That was the lead song on an EP that was their last UK singles chart entry before the band called it a day and Cole went solo. But their legacy is alive and in the 1983-89 anthology and his solo career recordings box set, Lloyd Cole In New York.
Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Collected Recordings 1983-1989 is available to buy here.