Echo & the Bunnymen were an English post-punk/psych band that made five studio albums between 1979 and 1987. They formed as a trio of guitar, bass, and vocals with the aid of a beat box — the “echo” in their nameplate — amid a new wave of Merseyside acts at the close of the 1970s.
Echo & the Bunnymen’s first four albums show an evolution from trebly, thinly-chorded eeriness to a whimsical, melodramatic, and lavish approach: traits embodied in their 1983–84 singles “The Back of Love,” “The Cutter,” and “The Killing Moon.”
Members: Will Sergeant (guitar), Ian McCulloch (vocals, guitar, 1978-88, 1997-present), Les Pattinson (bass, 1978-99), Pete de Freitas (drums, 1980-85, 1986-89)
Echo & the Bunnymen were one of three bands germinated from a spring 1977 bedroom band called the Crucial Three, which featured guitarist/singer Ian McCulloch, guitarist/singer Peter Wylie, and singer/bassist Julian Cope. Personality clashes provoked Wylie’s departure after six weeks; he later surfaced in Wah! In early 1978, Cope and McCulloch formed A Shallow Madness with (future Wild Swans) organist Paul Simpson. After one gig, McCulloch split and A Shallow Madness morphed into Teardrop Explodes.
In the summer of 1978, McCulloch formed Echo & the Bunnymen with guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson. Sergeant had just finished an instrumental solo album, Weird As Fish, but only seven copies were pressed. The band initially used a drum machine in lieu of a drummer. Their name was suggested by a friend who drew up a list of possibilities, including Glisserol and the Fan Extractors. That November, the Bunnymen played their first gig opening for Teardrop Explodes at Liverpool’s Eric’s Club. Their set consisted of a 20-minute piece, “I Bagsy Yours,” which they later paired down to “Monkeys” for their first album.
“The Pictures on My Wall”
In May 1979, Echo & the Bunnymen debuted on the Liverpool indie label Zoo with “The Pictures on My Wall,” a moody group original backed with the Shallow Madness leftover “Read It in Books.”
Echo & the Bunnymen released their debut album, Crocodile, in July 1980 on Korova.
In late April, “Rescue” appeared as an advance single, backed with the non-album “Simple Stuff.”
On October 10, 1981, Echo & the Bunnymen released “The Puppet,” a sprightly number backed with “Do It Clean.”
1981: Heaven Up Here
Echo & the Bunnymen released their second album, Heaven Up Here, in May 1981 on Korova (UK) and Sire (US).
In mid-July, Korova lifted “A Promise” as a single, backed with the non-album “Broke My Neck.”
“The Back of Love”
On May 14, 1982, Echo & the Bunnymen released “The Back of Love,” a frenetic whirlwind number backed with “The Subject.”
Echo & the Bunnymen released their third album, Porcupine, in February 1983 on Korova–Sire.
“The Cutter” first appeared in January as the advance single, backed with the non-album “Way Out and Up We Go.”
On June 27, 1983, Echo & the Bunnymen released “Never Stop,” a quirky number backed with the Porcupine deep cut “Heads Will Roll.”
1984: Ocean Rain
Echo & the Bunnymen released their fourth album, Ocean Rain, in May 1984 on Korova–Sire.
“The Killing Moon” first appeared as a standalone single on January 20, 1984, backed with a live rendition of “Do It Clean” from the Bunnymen’s July 1983 show at the Royal Albert Hall. The 12″ version contains an extended ‘all night’ version of “The Killing Moon” (9:11).
“Silver” appeared in mid-April as the second advance single, backed with the non-album “Angels and Devils.” The 12″ version contains an elongated (5:09) version of the a-side titled “Silver (Tidal Wave).”
“Seven Seas” coincided with Ocean Rain as the third single, backed with an exclusive cover of the Beatles‘ “All You Need Is Love.”
“Bring On the Dancing Horses”
In October 1985, Echo & the Bunnymen released “Bring on the Dancing Horses,” a misty number backed with the Porcupine deep cut “Over Your Shoulder.” An elongated (5:37) version of the a-side appears on the 12″, which marks the first appearance of “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo,” which reappeared on their next studio album.
1987: Echo & the Bunnymen
Echo & the Bunnymen released their self-titled fifth album in July 1987 on Sire.
In June, WEA paired “The Game” and “Lost and Found” as the album’s advance single.
“Lips Like Sugar” followed in late July as the second single, backed with the non-album “Rollercoaster.”
In early 1988, Sire lifted “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” as the album’s second US single and third overall a-side, backed with the Velvet Underground cover “Run, Run, Run.”
- Crocodile (1980)
- Heaven Up Here (1981)
- Porcupine (1983)
- Ocean Rain (1984)
- Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
- Reverberation (1990)
- Discogs: Echo & the Bunnymen
- 45worlds: Echo & the Bunnymen
- 45cat: Echo & the Bunnymen
- English E Albums Directory
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