Between late 1979 and the end of 1989, there were nearly 500 (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s that reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just one time, a list that includes Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Timbuk 3, The Church, Bronski Beat, Nik Kershaw, The Buggles, The Waitresses, Ultravox and two different bands named The Silencers. Once a week, I’ll highlight a (real) one-hit wonder for you.
On this Easter Sunday night in Central Maine, USA, I thought I’d share a song by an Indie Rock band whose name is not actually related to the Easter holiday, but for a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, approximately six miles from the center of the city – Easterhouse.
The band Easterhouse, though named after that Glasgow suburb, was actually from the town of Stretford, England, not far from the 80s music mecca of Manchester. Led by brothers Andy and Ivor Perry, Easterhouse was a five-man band who formed in the early 80s, and were oft-called a “stridently political band,” or basically presenting their political music in a loud, harsh, controversial and forceful way. The Smiths’ Morrissey was a fan.
Lead singer Andy Perry had this weird fascination with communism, which is great if you’re planning a radio show about the Cold War, but isn’t so hot if your views on communism don’t match up with the other members of your band.
The band signed on with the very cool Rough Trade record label (then-fellow label mate Morrissey of The Smiths may or may not have had something to do with it). Easterhouse released just two albums and an EP, with their 1985 EP, IN OUR OWN HANDS, being released first. It fared well on the U.K. Indie singles chart, reaching No. 13. Their first full-length album was 1986’s CONTENDERS. This album reached No. 3 on the U.K. Indie Album chart and gave the band a couple of Top 5 singles on the U.K. Indie Singles chart – “Whistling In The Dark” and “Inspiration.”
But, the two Perry brothers were constantly at odds with each other, and Ivor Perry left the band. Three other members soon followed. By the time a second (and final) album with the Easterhouse name was released in 1989 (WAITING FOR THE REDBIRD), only lead singer Andy Perry was the original member left.
Both the album and WAITING FOR THE REDBIRD’s first single, “Come Out Fighting,” reached No. 18 on their respective U.K. Indie charts. But, unlike before, Easterhouse had a minor hit here in the U.S., with “Come Out Fighting.”
Easterhouse got some airplay on college and commercial radio, and debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 for the chart dated Saturday, April 1, 1989 (six days after Easter 1989) with “Come Out Fighting” entering the chart at No. 91. But, “Come Out Fighting” did not get to fight its way up the chart much, peaking at No. 82 a couple of weeks later and coming out of the chart after four weeks. Easterhouse never reached the Hot 100 again. And their final single, “You’re Gonna Miss It (When It’s Gone)” prolly wasn’t missed at all.
New York magazine TROUSER PRESS once described the band’s demise as “a shame, since Easterhouse seemed well on its way towards perfecting a brand of explicitly political rock that compromised neither music nor message.”
Well, at the very least, Easterhouse did at least come out trying, and got me to enjoy this great song forever…