The Soup Dragons

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The Soup Dragons
The Soup Dragons.jpg
The Soup Dragons
Background information
Origin Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Genres Indie pop, alternative rock, alternative dance, baggy
Years active 1985–1995
Labels The Subway Organization, Raw TV, Sire, Big Life, Mercury
Associated acts BMX Bandits, The High Fidelity, Future Pilot A.K.A., Superstar, Teenage Fanclub, The Primary 5, HiFi Sean
Past members Sean Dickson
Jim McCulloch
Ian Whitehall
Sushil K. Dade
Ross A. Sinclair
Paul Quinn

The Soup Dragons were a Scottish alternative rock band of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Named after a character in the 1970s children's television show Clangers, the group is best known for its cover of the Rolling Stones' song "I'm Free." and "Divine Thing."

History[edit]

The Soup Dragons formed in Bellshill, a town near Motherwell, in 1985.[1] The line up was Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice) who replaced Ian Whitehall and Sushil K. Dade (bass). The original drummer, Ross A. Sinclair, left the group after the first proper album, This Is Our Art, to pursue a career in art, and was replaced by Paul Quinn. Most of their songs were written by Sean Dickson .

The band recorded their first demo tape, You Have Some Too, after playing a few local gigs, and this was followed by a flexi disc single "If You Were the Only Girl in the World".[1] Originally inspired by youth and loud guitars and lumped in with the C86 movement, along with fellow members of the Bellshill Sound, such as the BMX Bandits and Teenage Fanclub

The band signed to The Subway Organization in early 1986 and their first proper single (The Sun in the Sky EP) was Buzzcocks-inspired pop punk. The band's big breakthrough came with their second single for Subway, "Whole Wide World",[2] which reached No. 2 on the UK Independent Chart in 1986.[3] Dickson and McCulloch also moonlighted in BMX Bandits at this time.[1] The band were signed by former Wham! co-manager Jaz Summers' label Raw TV with further indie hits (and minor UK Singles Chart hits) following during 1987 and 1988.[3][4] Over the course of six singles (the first three collected in 1986 on a U.S. only compilation, Hang Ten), they gradually developed a more complex rock guitar sound, which culminated in their first album proper This Is Our Art, now signed to major label Sire Records. After one single from the album "Kingdom Chairs" they then returned to original label Raw TV and Big Life Records

In the year following This Is Our Art their sound underwent a change from an indie rock sound, to the rock-dance crossover sound, this was mainly due to being without a drummer and buying a sampler and drum machine and experimenting with sound with the release of the album Lovegod. This change can be attributed to the rise of the ecstasy-fueled acid house rave scene in the UK. In 1990, they released their most successful hit single in the UK, "I'm Free", an up-tempo cover of a Rolling Stones song with an added toasting overdub by reggae star Junior Reid, which reached number five.[4] The single recently appeared on the soundtrack to British science fiction comedy film The World's End.

Subsequent albums continued in their own style and In 1992 they enjoyed their biggest U.S. hit with "Divine Thing" which reached number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.[4] It also hit number three on the Modern Rock chart and its video was nominated by MTV as one of the year's best,[5] though beaten by Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".[6] They had massive success with the album Hotwired in the USA and other parts of the World .

The Soup Dragons disbanded in 1995. Paul Quinn joined Teenage Fanclub and Sushil K. Dade formed the experimental post rock group Future Pilot A.K.A.. Sean Dickson formed The High Fidelity and currently deejays as HiFi Sean. Jim McCulloch joined Superstar, wrote and recorded music with Isobel Campbell, and formed the folk group Snowgoose. Hifi Sean (Sean Dickson) has a forthcoming album release in 2016

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Compilations[edit]

  • Hang Ten! (1987), Sire - compiles the tracks from the "Hang-Ten!", "Whole Wide World", and "Head Gone Astray" singles
  • 20 Golden Greats (compilation, 2012)

[8]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Album
UK
[8]
UK Indie
IRE NED BEL
(FLA)
AUT FRA AUS NZ
U.S. Hot 100
U.S. Mod Rock
U.S. Dance
U.S. Main Rock
1986 The Sun Is In The Sky EP
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
EP only
"Whole Wide World"
-
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Hang-Ten!
"Hang-Ten"
-
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1987 "Head Gone Astray"
82
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
"Can't Take No More"[9]
65
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
This Is Our Art
"Soft As Your Face"
66
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1988 "The Majestic Head"
77
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
"Kingdom Chairs"
82
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1989 "Backwards Dog"[10]
-
5
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Lovegod
"Crotch Deep Trash"
-
11
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1990 "Mother Universe"
94
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
"I'm Free"
5
-
15
52
38
26
33
9
6
79
2
20
-
"Mother Universe (remixed version)"
26
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
45
-
-
34
-
1991 "Electric Blues"[11]
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
single only
1992 "Divine Thing"
53
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
35
3
17
24
Hotwired
"Pleasure"[12]
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
69
14
40
-
1994 "One Way Street"
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Hydrophonic
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thompson, Dave (2000) Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, San Francisco, ISBN 0879306076, p.646-647
  2. ^ Video for Whole Wide World, the band's first, showing an indisputable Buzzcocks sound
  3. ^ a b Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980 - 1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p.213
  4. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p.515-6
  5. ^ Divine Thing video
  6. ^ MTV Music Awards 1992 Best Alternative Video category
  7. ^ "Soup Dragons Lovegod New Zealand Charting". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  8. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 516. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  9. ^ Can't Take No More Video
  10. ^ Backwards Dog video
  11. ^ Electric Blues video
  12. ^ Pleasure video on MTV

External links[edit]