TO CELEBRATE THE RECENT RELEASE OF OUR 33 1/3 ON THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN’S PSYCHOCANDY, WE’RE PLEASED TO BRING YOU THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF JESUS AND MARY CHAIN WEEK BY AUTHOR PAULA MEJIA!
The idea of a band being properly “discovered” at a concert or a musical showcase like, say, South by Southwest, is becoming a thing of the past (thanks, internet). But word of mouth has always had a quiet power. That’s what got the Jesus and Mary Chain initially discovered by their soon-to-be manager and label head, Creation Records’ Alan McGee.
Before he took over as the band’s drummer, Bobby Gillespie was a massive Mary Chain fan. He raved about them to McGee, who had begun Creation Records in 1983. At the time, McGee had featured bands like The Legend on his label, and was on the hunt to sign other like-minded musicians making melodic rackets.
Despite Gillespie’s insistence, McGee wasn’t sold. He decided to take a chance anyway and booked the young band for a show at his club, the Living Room, on London’s Tottenham Court Road in June 1984. The performance didn’t last long, but McGee was in love. He signed them to Creation that very night.
Later that year, Creation put out the Mary Chain’s first single, “Upside Down.” The swirling dirge was an instant hit, selling about 50,000 copies, and marked the first big hit for the burgeoning label.
Check out a few other tracks Creation released in its early days, including “Where The Traffic Goes” by the London indie-pop stunners The Jasmine Minks, “Flowers in the Sky” by the psychedelic-poppers Revolving Paint Dream, and “Wouldn’t You,” by Alan McGee’s own group Biff Bang Pow!