Echo and the Bunnymen and Billy Bragg cover the Velvets’ ‘Run Run Run’ on the BBC, 1986

In the 1980s the BBC used to do this thing every now and then where they would take a day and dedicate like 15 consecutive hours of programming to pop music. The recurring program was called “Rock Around the Clock”; it’s surprisingly challenging to track down information about this practice, but at the same time it seems likely that a great many DM readers in the U.K. remember these so-called TV marathons quite vividly. These “Rock Around the Clock” events were pretty much a grab bag of whatever the BBC felt like tossing in there, in a manner that might remind American readers of Night Flight during in the same era. But having a bigger budget than Night Flight, the BBC would also provide a studio for live performances.

One of these “Rock Around the Clock” days was September 20, 1986. That day rock connoisseurs could enjoy, on BBC2, the musical stylings of a-ha, Stan Ridgway, Dire Straits, and the Housemartins. A decided highlight for sure was an in-studio appearance by Echo and the Bunnymen, during which they played “The Game” and “Lips Like Sugar,” neither of which would be released officially for several months.

In addition, Ian McCulloch and Co. recruited a singer with whom they’d toured North America in 1984, that being Billy Bragg, to assist on a cover of “Run Run Run,” off of The Velvet Underground and Nico.

“Run Run Run” was in the Bunnymen repertoire at that moment, as the gang were indulging their taste for classic rock somewhat. Their cover of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” appeared on the Lost Boys soundtrack a year later, and the 1988 12-inch of “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” featured a wealth of covers recorded at a gig in Gothenburg, Sweden: the three tracks were the already-mentioned VU cover, the Stones’ “Paint It Black,” and Television’s “Friction.” (You can also find the same three tracks on WEA’s Japan-only release New Live and Rare.)

According to Chris Adams’ exhaustive Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen, they also played part of the old Sinatra classic “One For My Baby,” but that section isn’t captured in this clip.
Watch for yourself, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider
09:15 am
Echo and the Bunnymen rock Liverpool on BBC 2’s ‘Pop Carnival,’ 1982
11:59 am

In the summer of 1982, Echo and the Bunnymen were the top act (at least in retrospect, if not at the time) to play the Larks in the Park festival at Sefton Park in Liverpool. The three-day fest, at which admission was free, also featured Frankie Goes To Hollywood (three months before the release of “Relax”) as well as Bow Wow Wow, which was probably the most conventionally famous act on the bill at that moment. One of the cool things about the Larks in the Park festival, as we shall see, was the proximity of a large-ish lake. Spectators were invited to gather in front of the “ornate Victorian bandstand” or lie down in the grass or even splash around in the lake. This was the third year of the festival; Delado, Crossection, and Hambi and the Dance also played that year, according to this contemporaneous account from NME.

1982 was the year Echo and the Bunnymen didn’t release any LPs—Heaven Up Here had come out in May 1981, and fans would have to wait until February 1983 for the third album, Porcupine. The Larks in the Park festival was in late August, and two days earlier, the band had played the Peppermint Lounge in New York, their second visit to the U.S. After this they took a break from touring, their next show was in December.

Pop Carnival was an intriguing show that ran on BBC 2 for a couple of years from 1982 to 1984, highlighting “open-air pop concerts” by acts like Clint Eastwood and General Saint (a reggae DJ duo), JoBoxers, Nick Heyward, Tears for Fears, and Big Country. The host of the show was Steve Blacknell.

According to, Echo and the Bunnymen played a full set that night, but the BBC elected to show only the second half. The full setlist looks like this:

With a Hip
Show of Strength
All That Jazz
A Promise
No Dark Things
Higher Hell
All My Colours (Zimbo)
The Back of Love
Heads Will Roll
Heaven Up Here
Over the Wall
Do It Clean

Remarkably, Pop Carnival picks up the action in medias res, halfway through “Rescue.” The sound and image quality are both excellent. In the second half of the show you can see a handful of revelers cavorting in the lake—which activity sounds completely awesome. The telecast ran on October 12, 1982.


Posted by Martin Schneider
11:59 am
All That Jazz: Echo and the Bunnymen tear it up, live on Spanish TV, 1984
10:38 am

This took a little digging. Echo & the Bunnymen’s appearance on the Spanish music TV program La Edad de Oro is one of the great documents of the band at its height, the 1984 tour supporting their breathtaking and majestic masterpiece Ocean Rain. However, and maddeningly, every complete copy of it I’ve found online has a horrible and persistent sound glitch starting at about the 35-minute mark. It’s really bad, like deal-breakingly so, see for yourself if you like, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

The videos in this playlist from YouTube user kigonjiro aren’t the prettiest available, but those sound problems are FAR less present. Also, it’s broken down into a playlist that eliminates the interview segment (it’s at 11:30 in the above link if you want to watch it), which can be grating to sit through if you don’t speak Spanish. Which is fine, nobody in 1984 ever expected English-speaking audiences to see this. But the playlist format neatly segments everything and cuts out the dross.

One last thing before we get to the music—one of the reasons I so adore this show is that the stage setup gives the cameras better shots of the drummer then are usually seen in live videos, and the Bunnymen’s Pete de Freitas (RIP 1989) is just on fire here. But the whole band’s performance is great too, their energy is up, and singer Ian McCulloch is spot-on throughout.

1. The Cutter
2. The Killing Moon
3. All That Jazz
4. Do It Clean
5. Villiers Terrace
6. My Kingdom
7. Silver
8. All My Colours
9. Heads Will Roll
10. Thorn Of Crowns
11. Never Stop
12. Crocodiles
13. Rescue


More Echo & The Bunnymen after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch
10:38 am
Echo and the Bunnymen: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1983
06:37 pm

I recall the days when Ian McCulloch was Jesus, and girls went weak-at-the-knee for his cheekbones and pout; and the boys wore overcoats and lacquered their hair into shrubs, and sucked in their cheeks in the hope of looking just a little like him. Strange days indeed, but Lay Down Thy Raincoat and Groove…Echo and the Bunnymen at the Royal Albert Hall, will perhaps explain why this all came to pass.

Track Listing:

01. “Going Up”
02. “With a Hip”
03. “Villiers Terrace”
04. “All That Jazz”
05. “Heads Will Roll”
06. “Porcupine”
07. “All My Colours (Zimbo)”
08. “Silver”
09. “Simple Stuff”
10. “The Cutter”
11. “The Killing Moon”
12. “Rescue”
13. “Never Stop”
14. “The Back of Love”
15. “No Dark Things”
16. “Heaven up Here”
17. “Over the Wall”
18. “Crocodiles”
19. “Do It Clean”


Posted by Paul Gallagher
06:37 pm