Peggy Suicide

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Peggy Suicide
Studio album by Julian Cope
Released 22 April 1991
Recorded 1990
Genre Post-punk
Length 75:44
Label Island
Producer Julian Cope, Donald Ross Skinner
Julian Cope chronology
Droolian
(1990)
Peggy Suicide
(1991)
Jehovahkill
(1992)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (dud)[2]
NME 8/10 stars[3]
Q 4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]
Uncut 4/5 stars[6]

Peggy Suicide is the seventh album by Julian Cope. It is generally seen as the beginning of Cope's trademark sound and approach, and as a turning-point for Cope as a maturing artist.

Background[edit]

Peggy Suicide was recorded and released following two lo-fi Cope albums - Skellington and Droolian - which had not gained official distribution and caused friction with Cope's label Island Records. Cope's previous Island release, My Nation Underground, had not satisfied him, and he had rejected its heavily produced, pop-friendly sound in favour of a one-take, more politicised approach as expounded by former White Panther John Sinclair in his book Guitar Army. Cope was later to refer to this book as "my holy book", and it set the method for all of his subsequent recording. Several familiar Cope collaborators were on the record - multi-instrumentalist Donald Ross Skinner, drummer/percussionist Rooster Cosby and keyboard player/onetime Cope producer Ron Fair. There were also contributions by new associates in the shape of former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce and future Spiritualized lead guitarist Michael Watts (better known as Mike Mooney or "Moon-eye").

On the album’s songs, Cope laid bare many of his personal convictions including his hatred of organized religion and his increasing public interest in women's rights, the occult, alternative spirituality (including paganism and Goddess worship), animal rights, and ecology.[7] He had referred in passing to these beliefs in previous songs, but never so directly. The album was written in the aftermath of the British anti-poll tax riots in 1990. Cope had taken part in the protest, and several songs on the album refer directly to its events. Cope's forthright new political stance was reflected in the song Leperskin, which refers to the contemporary British prime minister Margaret Thatcher (who resigned between the recording of Peggy Suicide and its release) as an "apostolic hag". For one particular track, the anti-police tirade "Soldier Blue", Cope sampled Lenny Bruce's live album The Berkeley Concert and mixed in samples of the Poll Tax Riot.

When released in 1991, the album featured extensive sleevenotes in which Cope explained the meaning of each song and stated that the entire album was a meditation on humanity's relationship to Mother Earth. Many songs were given very idiosyncratic interpretations, such as Cope's account of "You" which asserts that the Conscious Mind "acts like a cross between Tony Wilson and Bill Drummond but looks a lot like Lew Grade. The Unconscious mind...looks like Iggy Pop playing Syd Barrett."[8]

"Peggy Suicide" generated two singles - the calypso-styled "Beautiful Love" (a minor hit) and "East Easy Rider". Another track, "Soldier Blue", was re-mixed by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy's Michael Franti, who also provided a rap for the new mix. However, Island Records refused to release the song as a single due to it being considered too overtly political.

The album was heralded by critics as Cope’s best work thus far, and has subsequently been considered as an artistic rebirth for Cope. In 2009, a deluxe edition was released with a second CD of bonus tracks.

Trivia[edit]

Head was edited to fit on the limited time of LP and CD mediums for the album. The original unabridged version was later made available on the CD single release for the song and credited as a remix version. The Double LP album features slightly longer versions of the tracks "Safesurfer" (8.35), "Drive, She Said" (5.05) & "Not Raving But Drowning" (4.41), plus an extra track "Uptight" (Track 15).

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Julian Cope

No. Title Length
1. "Pristeen"   4:43
2. "Double Vegetation"   3:52
3. "East Easy Rider"   4:00
4. "Promised Land"   3:40
5. "Hanging Out & Hung Up on the Line"   4:44
6. "Safesurfer"   8:07
7. "If You Loved Me at All"   5:00
8. "Drive, She Said"   4:37
9. "Soldier Blue"   4:49
10. "You..."   1:49
11. "Not Raving But Drowning"   4:17
12. "Head"   2:21
13. "Leperskin"   5:12
14. "Beautiful Love"   3:13
15. "Western Front 1992 CE"   2:01
16. "Hung Up & Hanging Out to Dry"   4:48
17. "The American Lite"   4:03
18. "Las Vegas Basement"   5:04

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (1991) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart[9] 23

Personnel[edit]

  • Julian Cope (also credited as "DeHarrison" or "Double DeHarrison") - vocals, electric & acoustic 12-string/wah-wah guitars, bass guitar, Moog synthesizer, string arrangements
  • Donald Ross Skinner - bass guitar, electric guitar, organ, Omnichord
  • Michael "Moon-Eye" Watts - electric & infinite guitar
  • Ron Fair - piano
  • G.S. Butterworth - Moog synthesizer
  • Rooster Cosby - drums, percussion, congas
  • Mike Joyce - drums on "Hanging Out & Hung Up On The Line", "You..." & "Las Vegas Basement"
  • J.D. Hassinger - electronic drums, tambourine
  • Ronnie Ross - baritone saxophone
  • Aaf Verkade - trumpet
  • Dan Levett - cello
  • Lulu Chivers, Edwin Vernon, Camilla Mayer - background vocals
  • Hugo Nicolson - engineer

References[edit]

  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Peggy Suicide". Allmusic. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Julian Cope". Robert Christgau.com. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ Columnist. "Peggy Suicide". NME. March 1991. pg. 135, cited October 7, 2012
  4. ^ Columnist. "Peggy Suicide". Q. October 1994. pg. 135, cited October 7, 2012
  5. ^ Columnist. "Peggy Suicide". Rolling Stone. May 1991, cited October 7, 2012
  6. ^ Columnist. "Peggy Suicide". Uncut, cited October 7, 2012
  7. ^ "The S.P.A.C.E.R.O.C.K.E.R.’s Guide to Julian Cope", Aural Innovations magazine #23, April 2003
  8. ^ Julian Cope, Peggy Suicide, 1992
  9. ^ "Julian Cope - Peggy Suicide". chartarchive.org. Retrieved October 7, 2012.