An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Lush Sweetness and Light

After going off on a few tangents, lets get back to this 4ad collection….thingy.

I initially thought that at least on one multiple version release I had managed to collect everything. This was the single Sweetness and Light by Lush. Discogs has listed the UK 12”, 7”, Cassette, CD single and a US CD promotional single. Now that I have all these, I was full of self congratulation. But, as is typical with this collection, there must be more. There will have been test pressings of course, if any survived and got passed on. Then there are a couple of questions that spring to mind......

Were there any promotional pressings done for the UK? Of course as is often the case, test pressings could have been used for promotional means.
But then what of the US promo CD? If a promotional CD single was used in the US, why wasn’t it generally released? Or was it also released in the US and I haven’t come across one yet? According to Wikipedia, Lush got to number 4 in the US Modern Rock charts with Sweetness and Light. This is also backed up by the US Billboard website.

If this single did so well how come I have never seen a US standard single, there must be thousands of them if it reached no. 4 in the chart? I have also checked out a fan website, which is rather good and worth a look over.

This does contradict itself though with the release of Sweetness and Light.
“On February 26, 1990, Lush released their next EP, Mad Love, and its first single, "Sweetness and Light." Produced by Cocteau Twins' guitarist Robin Guthrie, Mad Love provided another step in their musical growth and got the attention of Warner/Reprise Records, who licensed the band's releases in the United States. “

Then later in the same article
“In December of 1990 4AD/Reprise compiled and released Lush's two preceding EPs as Gala, their first release in the United States.”

Aaaargh, it’s a minefield. Everything points to a general release of Sweetness and Light in the US, but i haven’t seen any physical evidence of it. Unless the UK single was exported to the US for release. This is possible, but I would think unlikely that an import would make No. 4 in the US Modern Rock singles chart. Logistically it wouldn’t make sense, unless 4AD purposely lost a lot of money doing it.

This is quite typical of collecting music and also the reason why it becomes difficult to know how successful you are in completing a collection.

Delve a little deeper and some answers come to the fore. Use the links on Wikipedia and the chart that shows Sweetness and Light reaching number 4, are based solely on airplay and not units sold.
Ah, so this is not proof of a US release. So it looks as though this single was never released in the US except for the promotional CD which obviously contributed to a lot of radio play.

So, maybe I do have Lush’s Sweetness and Light in all formats....woohoo!

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