This Is Not A
"And All The Cowls Are Black..."
Mark Edward Smith
Vocalist and songwriter
b. 5 March 1957, d. 24 January 2018
It shouldn't be a surprise when someone who lived a life like Mark E. Smith lived his, with no thought for the morrow, dies. But his passing really does feel like the end of an era; the death of the last real renegade of rock music. A musical and lyrical renegade, utterly sui generis yet in some way dependable; as his band's Number One Fan John Peel always used to say, "Always the same, always different".
It was Peelie's show where I first heard The Fall in 1986 and - although I wasn't enamoured of everything they did - there are tracks I heard then which have stayed with me for over thirty years.
First off, their minor hit single Hey! Luciani, which was from Smith's play about the suspicious death of Pope John Paul I:
Then, from the innumerable sessions they did for Peel down the years. Here is R.O.D. from June 1986:
Update: There was a link to another track from the same session, Gross Chapel/G.B. Grenadiers, but the clip I linked to has been taken down by The Fall's then record label and the only other one available to link to is in the middle of the video and I can't get the coding to work so that the video stops before it goes into the next part.
See yer, yer mad, irascible, erudite, in-yer-face old bugger! And thanks for the songs - all of them.