Sleeper (band)

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Sleeper
Origin United Kingdom
Genres Indie rock, Britpop
Years active 1993–1998
Labels Indolent Records
Past members Louise Wener
Jon Stewart
Diid Osman
Andy Maclure
Dan "Rubber Gloves" Kaufmann (1997-98)

Sleeper were a British Britpop band in the 1990s fronted by Louise Wener. The band had eight UK Top 40 hit singles and three UK Top 10 albums.[1] Their music was also featured in the soundtrack of Trainspotting.

Career[edit]

Jon Stewart met Louise Wener at Manchester University in 1987 in a political philosophy class. They played in a number of bands at university, then after graduating they moved to London and advertised for new band members in the Melody Maker ("Bass player and drummer wanted. Influences The Pixies and The Partridge Family") which is how they met Diid Osman and Andy Maclure.[2]

At one point, the band called themselves Surrender Dorothy, after the smoke trail in the sky from the Wizard of Oz movie, but they had to ditch this idea after discovering that several other bands had done the same thing. They subsequently chose the name 'Sleeper' after the Woody Allen movie, and because it has a number of different meanings (a spy, an unexpected hit, etc.).[2]

After moving to Camden and receiving interest from record labels, Sleeper signed to BMG/RCA offshoot Indolent Records in 1993 and released three EPs and singles before their breakthrough release, "Inbetweener".[2]

Certain parts of the promo video for "Inbetweener" parodied the grocery store-set ITV game show Supermarket Sweep and featured the programme's presenter Dale Winton. Prior to the release of "Inbetweener" Sleeper had been the opening band for Blur on their tour to promote the Parklife album, and they became closely associated with Britpop as a result.[2]

Sleeper recorded three studio albums for Indolent and BMG/RCA: Smart, The It Girl and Pleased to Meet You.

Smart was one of the first Britpop albums to hit the charts and won the band a BPI gold disc for sales of over 100,000 copies. It was followed by the platinum-selling release The It Girl which was arguably the band's finest moment and included "What Do I Do Now?", "Lie Detector", "Sale of the Century" and "Statuesque" as the defining tracks.[2]

Sleeper recorded a cover of the Blondie song "Atomic", which was used in the film Trainspotting, after Blondie refused to allow the use of the original version. Their track "Statuesque" also features in the movie during one of the bar scenes.

The It Girl, like the band's subsequent release Pleased to Meet You, was produced by Stephen Street who was then famous for his contributions to The Smiths, Morrissey and Blur, and is since renowned for his work with Kaiser Chiefs and others.[3]

Louise Wener was arguably, along with Elastica's Justine Frischmann, Britpop's biggest female star.[citation needed] She was even something of a sex symbol, placing highly in Melody Maker's and NME's "Sexiest Woman" polls two years running. Wener enjoyed significant media coverage, including an NME front cover and a slot as guest presenter of Top of the Pops. Her song "What Do I Do Now?" was covered by Elvis Costello in 1997.

After the band split in 1998 following the demise of Britpop, Wener went on to have a career as a novelist. She released her fourth book for Hodder & Stoughton in 2008. Wener also features prominently as an interviewee in John Dower's feature film documentary on Britpop, Live Forever (2003).

A greatest hits compilation, with tracklisting and artwork by the band themselves, was released on Sony/BMG in 2007.

Their first two albums were reissued as deluxe versions on 29 November 2010, with second discs of B-Sides and live tracks.

"Sleeperbloke"[edit]

The band was the inspiration for the phrase "Sleeperbloke", referring to the disparity between the glamorous singer Wener and the other frequently ignored members of the band (who tended to be far more anonymous and stood at the back). This pejorative term was used by music press journalists and musicians, to refer to any person of limited standing within a band or an especially drab and unremarkable individual. The "Sleeperblokes" themselves were reported to be highly amused by the phrase, and even produced an ironic "Sleeperbloke" T-shirt to go with Louise's "Just Another Girl Fronted Band" T-shirt, both of which sold well.[2]

The real-life Sleeperblokes were:

After Sleeper split Stewart moved to Los Angeles, California where he played with West Coast band UFO Bro and contributed as a session guitarist to k.d. lang's album Invincible Summer (2000) and Mel C's album Reason. He now lectures in music business and music history at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (where he taught members of The Kooks, The Ordinary Boys, and Kate Walsh) and is a columnist for the Guitarist.[4]

After leaving Sleeper, Osman joined Dubstar (Food Records). Following this he entered artist management securing several major recording contracts, including My Vitriol (Infectious/Epic), Hell Is For Heroes (EMI) and The Glitterati (Atlantic Records). He is now[when?] managing Lucy Styles and Casino Trap.

Discography[edit]

Sleeper discography
Releases
Studio albums 3
Compilation albums 1
EPs 1
Singles 10

Albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK Albums Chart [1]
1995 Smart 5
1996 The It Girl
  • Release date: 6 May 1996 (1996-05-06)
  • Label: Indolent
5
1997 Pleased to Meet You
  • Release date: 13 October 1997 (1997-10-13)
  • Label: Indolent
7
2007 Greatest Hits
  • Release date: 9 July 2007 (2007-07-09)
  • Label: Sony BMG

[6]

Singles[edit]

Year Title UK Singles Chart[1] Album
1993 Alice EP - Smart
1994 "Swallow" 76
"Delicious" 75
1995 "Inbetweener" 16
"Vegas" 33
"What Do I Do Now?" 14 The It Girl
1996 "Sale of the Century" 10
"Nice Guy Eddie" 10
"Statuesque" 17
1997 "She's A Good Girl" 28 Pleased to Meet You
"Romeo Me" 39

[6]

Contributions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 507. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Austin, William (1997). Sleeper: Burn All The Negatives (1st ed.). London: Chameleon Books. pp. 12–24. ISBN 0-233-99160-3. 
  3. ^ Tape Op: The Creative Music Recording Magazine, Issue No. 69, Jan/Feb 2009, "Stephen Street: The Smiths, Blur, Kaiser Chiefs, New Order and more."
  4. ^ Brighton Institute of Modern Music
  5. ^ a b c "British certificates: searchable database". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 893. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 

External links[edit]