|Genres||Alternative rock, indie pop, power pop|
|Labels||Paperhouse, Creation, Columbia, PeMa, Matador, DGC|
|Associated acts||The Pastels, BMX Bandits, Eugenius, The Boy Hairdressers, The Clouds|
|Past members||Brendan O'Hare|
Teenage Fanclub are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in Bellshill near Glasgow in 1989. The band was founded by Norman Blake (vocals, guitar), Raymond McGinley (vocals, lead guitar) and Gerard Love (vocals, bass), all of whom shared lead vocals and songwriting duties until Love's departure in 2018. As of 2019, the band's lineup consists of Blake, McGinley, Francis Macdonald (drums, vocals), Dave McGowan (bass, vocals) and Euros Childs (keyboards, vocals).
In concert, the band usually alternate among its songwriters, giving equal playing time to each one's songs. Although often pegged as alternative rock, the group have incorporated a wide variety of elements from various music styles in their songs.
Teenage Fanclub have had a succession of drummers, namely Francis Macdonald, Brendan O'Hare and Paul Quinn. Keyboardist Finlay Macdonald (no relation) has also been a member. As of April 2021, the band have released eleven studio albums and two compilation albums.
Teenage Fanclub emerged from the Glasgow C86 scene. They formed in Bellshill in 1989 following the break-up of The Boy Hairdressers, a band featuring Raymond McGinley, Norman Blake, and Francis Macdonald. Following a brief period in which Blake was a member of BMX Bandits, the three former bandmates joined with Gerard Love to form Teenage Fanclub.
Originally a noisy and chaotic band, their first album A Catholic Education, released in 1990 on Paperhouse, is largely atypical of their later sound, with the possible exception of Everything Flows. Mostly written by Blake and McGinley, the record included several songs originally intended for The Boy Hairdressers. After recording his drum parts, Macdonald left the band to resume his university studies. They re-recorded several songs with Macdonald's replacement, Brendan O'Hare, because they weren't satisfied with the results of the original recording sessions, and because they wanted to involve O'Hare in the album.
The band followed the album with the EP God Knows It's True before being signed by Creation Records. The King, their next album, was a semi-improvised collection recorded in a single day. Originally intended to be a very limited release, the record received critical reviews of its self-confessed shambolic guitar thrashes and a cover of Madonna's "Like a Virgin".
Their next album, Bandwagonesque, released on Creation Records in the UK and Geffen in the US, brought Teenage Fanclub a measure of commercial success. Bandwagonesque was more deliberately constructed, the hooks became stronger, the guitar riffs were brought under control, and the harmony vocals took shape. Bandwagonesque topped Spin magazine's 1991 end-of-year poll for best album, beating Nirvana's Nevermind, their Creation stablemates My Bloody Valentine's album Loveless, and R.E.M.'s Out of Time.
The subsequent, Thirteen, received mixed reviews on release. Brendan O'Hare left Teenage Fanclub during this period because of "musical differences", to be replaced by Paul Quinn (formerly of the Soup Dragons).
Grand Prix, Teenage Fanclub's fifth album, was both a critical and commercial success in the UK, becoming their first top ten album. In the United States however the band failed to regain the ground that Thirteen had lost them. Around this time Liam Gallagher of labelmates Oasis called the band "the second best band in the world" — second only to Oasis.
Songs from Northern Britain followed Grand Prix and built on the former's success. It became their highest charting release in the UK and contained their biggest hit single to date, "Ain't That Enough".
The follow-up album, Howdy!, released on Columbia Records in the UK after the demise of Creation, continued the sound of Songs from Northern Britain. Francis Macdonald rejoined as the drummer in place of Quinn, who left the band after recording his parts for Howdy! and before its release in order to focus on his family. Quinn went on to form The Primary 5.
Their final release on a Sony label, Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds – A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub, collected the Fanclub's best songs along with three new songs (one from each member).
In 2006, the band held two special concerts (in London and Glasgow) playing their 1991 album Bandwagonesque in its entirety.
The band began work on their ninth album in August 2008, booking an initial three weeks at Leeders Farm recording studio in Norfolk. The album was called Shadows, the first to involve keyboardist Dave McGowan as a full-time member, and was released on the band's own PeMa label. It became available in Europe, Australasia and Japan on 31 May 2010, and was released by Merge Records in North America on 8 June 2010.
In August 2018 the band issued new versions of their five Creation Records era albums which had been remastered at Abbey Road Studios. To celebrate the reissues, the band also announced Songs from Teenage Fanclub: The Creation Records Years, a four-city UK tour during late October to mid-November in which they would play three nights each in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London, with each night's setlist covering different periods of the Creation-era discography, and featuring former drummers Brendan O'Hare and Paul Quinn participating, in which both drummers would respectively perform the albums and B-sides they had originally recorded. These gigs would be Gerard Love's last with the group, as he separated from the band due to differences in opinion on their future touring plans, later revealed to be a reluctance to fly frequently around the world for live performances.
After Love's departure, Euros Childs joined the band on keyboards and vocals, with Dave McGowan switching over to bass and vocals. A new album with this line-up, titled Endless Arcade, was recorded in early and late 2019. It was originally planned for release in October 2020 to coincide with a UK and Europe tour the following November and December. However, the tour was rescheduled for April and May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the album's release date would eventually be set for 5 March 2021. The album release date and tour would end up being rescheduled once again, with Endless Arcade coming out on 30 April 2021 and the tour dates postponed to September 2021 and April and May 2022.
Raymond McGinley joined Dave McGowan's folk group Snowgoose, whose debut album Harmony Springs was released in 2012.
After playing bass on Jonny's 2011 eponymous debut album, Dave McGowan became Belle and Sebastian's touring bassist in 2011, and appeared on their 2015 album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. On 3 November 2018, he became an official member of the band.
Gerard Love released his own solo album Electric Cables in 2012 using the alias Lightships. The album also featured instrumental contributions from Dave McGowan and former Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O'Hare.
Francis Macdonald released an album of minimalist classical music, Music for String Quartet, Piano & Celeste, in 2015. Macdonald played piano and celeste, with strings by members of the Scottish Ensemble.
Musical style and legacy
Their sound is reminiscent of Californian bands like the Beach Boys and the Byrds, and their seventies counterparts Big Star. Teenage Fanclub are influenced by Big Star and Orange Juice. They performed a cover of Orange Juice's "Rip It Up" with Edwyn Collins. In December 2010, at the ATP Bowlie 2 music festival, they performed as the backing band for Edwyn Collins.
Teenage Fanclub were regularly name-checked in interviews by Kurt Cobain, who described them as "the best band in the world". Juliana Hatfield covered the song "Cells" on her 2012 self-titled album.
- Norman Blake – vocals, guitar (1989–present)
- Raymond McGinley – vocals, guitar (1989–present)
- Francis Macdonald – drums, vocals (1989, 2000–present)
- Dave McGowan – keyboards, guitar (2004–2018); bass, vocals (2019–present)
- Euros Childs – keyboards, vocals (2019–present)
- Gerard Love – vocals, bass (1989–2018)
- Brendan O'Hare – drums, vocals (1989–1994, 2018 live shows)
- Paul Quinn – drums (1994–2000, 2018 live shows)
- Finlay Macdonald – keyboards, guitar, vocals, bass, drum programming (1997–2001)
- A Catholic Education (1990)
- The King (1991) No. 53 UK
- Bandwagonesque (1991) No. 22 UK, No. 137 US
- Thirteen (1993) No. 14 UK
- Grand Prix (1995) No. 7 UK, No. 68 Japan; No. 57 Australia
- Songs from Northern Britain (1997) No. 3 UK; No. 70 Australia
- Howdy! (2000) No. 33 UK
- Words of Wisdom and Hope (2002) [with Jad Fair]
- Man-Made (2005) No. 34 UK
- Shadows (2010) No. 30 UK
- Here (2016) No. 10 UK
- Endless Arcade (2021) No. 11 UK
- Deep Fried Fanclub (1995) (B-Sides compilation)
- Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds – A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub (2003) [Compilation] No. 47 UK
Singles and EPs
|Title||Release date||Chart positions|
|UK||US Alt||Australian Singles Chart|
|"Everything Flows"||June 1990 (UK)/1991 (US)||-||-||-|
|"Everybody's Fool"||November 1990||-||-||-|
|"The Ballad of John & Yoko"||October 1990||-||-||-|
|"God Knows It's True"||November 1990||99||-||-|
|"Star Sign"||August 1991||44||4||-|
|"The Concept"||October 1991||51||12||-|
|"The Peel Sessions"||November 1992||-||-||-|
|"What You Do to Me"||May 1992||31||19||-|
|"Free Again"||May 1992||-||-||-|
|"Norman 3"||September 1993||50||-||-|
|"Hang On"||February 1994||-||19||68|
|"Fallin'" (with De La Soul)||March 1994||59||-||-|
|"Mellow Doubt"||March 1995||34||-||-|
|"Sparky's Dream"||May 1995||40||-||-|
|"Neil Jung"||August 1995||62||-||-|
|"Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It" (EP)||December 1995||53||-||-|
|"Ain't That Enough"||June 1997||17||-||-|
|"I Don't Want Control of You"||August 1997||43||-||-|
|"Start Again"||November 1997||54||-||-|
|"Long Shot"||June 1998||-||-||-|
|"I Need Direction"||October 2000||48||-||-|
|"Dumb Dumb Dumb"||June 2001||-||-||-|
|"Near to You" (with Jad Fair)||2002||68||-||-|
|"Did I Say"||2002||-||-||-|
|"Association" (International Airport / Teenage Fanclub)||August 2004||75||-||-|
|"Scotland on Sunday"||April 2005||-||-||-|
|"Fallen Leaves" (Limited to 2,000 copies)||May 2005||78||-||-|
|"It's All in My Mind"||November 2005||-||-||-|
|"Baby Lee"||April 2010||-||-||-|
|"I'm in Love"||June 2016||-||-||-|
|"Everything Is Falling Apart"||February 2019||-||-||-|
|"I'm More Inclined"||January 2021||-||-||-|
|"The Sun Won't Shine On Me"||March 2021||-||-||-|
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