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Morning Edition‘s series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.
In this installment, Jim Novak, the music buyer for Minneapolis record store Electric Fetus, defends Love and Rockets, whose 1989 hit “So Alive” went to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The trio was comprised of three former members of the goth rock group Bauhaus — Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins — and Novak argues that the music they made as Love and Rockets helped lay the foundation for ’90s alternative rock groups like Oasis. Read Novak in his own words below, and hear the radio version at the audio link.
Love and Rockets was a rock band that formed out of the ashes of Bauhaus, one of the early founders of the goth rock movement. Three members of that band decided to do their own thing. “So Alive” was kind of a departure from the earlier sound of the band. “So Alive” is kind of glam with background singers and it’s kind of slick. It’s this really crafted thing, whereas the earlier direction of the band was a lot more experimental. What I like about the band is the grittier, darker sound.
“So Alive” was off of their fourth album. It was great that they were discovered, but if I was introducing someone to this band, it would be a song from their second record called “Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man).”
It’s a six-minute train ride that’s all fuzzed out and psychedelic. You don’t know if this is a safe train or not. It’s an intense song that really just takes you on this journey. You don’t know exactly how it’s going to end.
They really were a foundation for what alternative rock became. This is years before Nirvana, years before “Wonderwall,” and these guys influenced a lot of the bands that became alternative in the ’90s.