Following the documentary on Sheffield and The Human’s League’s ‘Travelogue’, the second instalment of CAS founder and radio host Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy’s ‘Sounds of a City’ series on BBC 6 Music, sees her exploring Liverpool’s rich and varied musical fabric. The album she has chosen is not by Liverpool’s most famous act, nor is it the city’s biggest-selling or most famous record, but it is a record throughout which different strands of the city’s most defining musical moments have been woven and is representative of the neo-psychedelic scene championed by the likes of Eric’s and Probe Records.
Colleen has chosen The Teardrop Explodes and in this edition of she speaks with Julian Cope, founding member of The Teardrop Explodes who gives an insightful and often hilarious account of the making of this iconic record. She also speaks with Holly Johnson, formerly of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who calls the Midlands-reared Cope a shamanistic figure of the late seventies/early eighties Liverpudlian scene, and subsequent acts that followed in the Teardrop’s tracks such as Michael Head from The Pale Fountains and Shack, Daniel Hunt from Ladytron and Emily Lansley from Stealing Sheep.
Through research and interviews, she delves into what made this album such a pivotal moment in the landscape of the music scene of a city that has often considered itself isolated from the rest of the UK. Liverpool has the outward-looking gaze of a port city which also lent it a diverse musical influence as it channeled imports of American West Coast pop and R&B. Compared to the likes of Sheffield, Liverpool gravitated more toward guitar-led melodic pop and as it fostered Jungian ideas and a somewhat hedonistic spirit, it found natural expression in psychedelia.
Find out more including how the album reflected the city’s Black music scene and why they rebelled against the success of the Merseybeat scene when ‘Sounds of a City: The Teardrop Explodes’ Kilimanjaro’ airs Sunday, 7th June from 1 to 2 pm on BBC 6 Music. The doc is now available on iPlayer until the end of June.
This is part two of a four part series. Coming up in the next few months, Colleen will choose albums from Manchester and Edinburgh.