Sleeper (band)

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Origin London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Britpop, indie rock
Years active 1993–1998, 2017
Labels Indolent
Past members Louise Wener
Jon Stewart
Diid Osman
Andy Maclure
Dan Kaufmann (1997–98)[1]

Sleeper are an English Britpop band, fronted by Louise Wener and formed in London. The group had eight UK Top 40 hit singles and three UK Top 10 albums during the 1990s[2] Their music was also featured in the soundtrack of the pop cultural hit movie Trainspotting.

Frontwoman Louise Wener, along with Elastica's Justine Frischmann, was one of Britpop's biggest female stars, and became one of its enduring sex symbols, 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, and multiple appearances on TFI Friday. 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.[3]

On 14 February 2017 it was announced Sleeper had reformed to tour alongside some other notable Britpop acts, such as Space, Dodgy and The Bluetones, under the Star Shaped Festival appearing at four cities.[4]


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.[5]

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.).[6] After moving to Camden and receiving interest from record labels, Sleeper signed to Indolent Records, which was an "indie label" in marketing only, in 1993 and released three EPs and singles before their breakthrough single release, "Inbetweener",[7] which notably featured UK TV personality Dale Winton in the promo video. 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.[8]

The band's debut release Smart became one of the first notable Britpop albums 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 yielded four singles and airplay chart hits "What Do I Do Now?", "Nice Guy Eddie", "Sale of the Century" and "Statuesque".[9] 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. "Statuesque" also features in the movie and its follow-up soundtrack volume. The bands third album, Pleased to Meet You, was released to lacklustre sales and a public mood changed by the end of Britpop and its association with Cool Britannia, and the band split after a final headline tour around the UK.[1]

A greatest hits compilation, with track listing 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.


After Sleeper split, 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). Stewart moved to Los Angeles, California where he played with West Coast band UFO Bro[1] and contributed as a session guitarist to k.d. lang's album Invincible Summer (2000) and Mel C's album Reason. After returning to the UK, he became a lecturer 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.[10]

After leaving Sleeper, Diid Osman joined Dubstar (Food Records / Parlophone). Osman had, prior to Sleeper, been part of guitar-pop band Candyland signed to Fiction Records / Polydor. Following this he entered artist management securing several recording contracts, including bands such as Velocette (Wiiija / Beggars Group), My Vitriol (Infectious / Epic United States), Hell Is For Heroes (EMI), Holly Jazz Lowe (Mercury Records / Universal), BoomClick (Sunday Best / Sony Records) and The Glitterati (Atlantic Records).


Source: The Great Rock Discography[11]

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


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK Albums Chart[2]
1995 Smart 5
1996 The It Girl
  • Release date: 6 May 1996 (1996-05-06)
  • Label: Indolent
1997 Pleased to Meet You
  • Release date: 13 October 1997 (1997-10-13)
  • Label: Indolent


Year Title UK Singles Chart[2] 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



  1. ^ a b c "The Big Sleep for Sleeper". NME. 30 November 1998. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 507. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Austin 1997, p. 43
  4. ^
  5. ^ Austin, William (1997). Sleeper: Burn All The Negatives (1st ed.). London: Chameleon Books. pp. 12–24. ISBN 0-233-99160-3. 
  6. ^ Austin 1997, p. 12
  7. ^ Austin 1997, pp. 37–42
  8. ^ Austin 1997, p. 33
  9. ^ Austin 1997, p. 59
  10. ^ "Jon Stewart". British and Irish Modern Music Institute. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 893. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  12. ^ a b c "British certificates: searchable database". Retrieved 30 June 2010. 

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