Night Music: The Housemartins, “The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death”

I don’t know how I got into this band, but for me it started with this song, which is power chorded and groovy. It gets a little close to 80s pop, but it breaks many of the rules. And, the lyrics are aggressively nice and aggressive, personal and political. They’re hard to pin down, though it’s clear they don’t like the Queen. They may like Jesus. Or not. Either’s fine.

The band had a slogan, which I’m sure was attractive to me: Take Jesus – Take Marx – Take Hope

I remember buying this album at the record store at 86th Street and Lexington Ave, maybe a Tower, because I liked this song.

The Housemartins later split into two bands. Fatboy Slim became a hip hop artist and DJ who also, in the meantime, had an excellent band called Beats International, and also, later, collaborated with David Byrne on the Broadway musical “Here Lies Love,” while Neal Paul Heaton and the rest of the Housemartins became a band called Beautiful South, which makes nice sounds, but is very easy listening for my taste.

But together they did this goofy hybrid:

2 thoughts on “Night Music: The Housemartins, “The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death”

  1. Great record. Build forecasted what was to come in the Beautiful South. Also Hugh Whitaker, the drummer on London 0 Hull 4 spent time in jail for attacking a manager with an ax.

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