Happy Anniversary: The Jesus & Mary Chain, PSYCHOCANDY

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Happy Anniversary: The Jesus & Mary Chain, PSYCHOCANDY

31 years ago this month, The Jesus and Mary Chain released their debut studio album, which might well explain why the two stalwarts of the band – brothers Jim and William Reid – chose this month to announce that they’re on the verge of releasing their first new album in 18 years.

You don’t find a lot of bands who claim to have taken their initial inspiration from Einsturzende Neubauten, the Shangri-Las, the Velvet Underground and Nico, but that’s the oft-told tale about where The Jesus and Marin Chain were coming from musically when they bought a Portastudio in 1983 and recorded their demo tape featuring “Upside Down” and “Never Understand.” Remarkably, the combination of influences worked for the band: they passed their tape to their buddy Bobby Gillespie (of Primal Scream fame), he passed it to Alan McGee of Creation Records, and after playing a few shows for McGee, he became their manager and signed them, releasing “Upside Down” as their first single in November 1984 and “Never Understand” in February 1985 as their second single.

Between those two recording sessions, the Reids took a shot at working with engineer Stephen Street, but that didn’t pan out very well, so when the J&MC hit the studio in March 1985 to record PSYCHOCANDY, they did so with John Loder engineering instead. They knocked it out over the course of six weeks, and the whole affair reportedly cost about £17,000, but it paid off for Creation in the long run: the album went gold in the UK, hit #188 on the Billboard 200 (not too shabby when you consider American tastes and the J&MC’s less-than-mainstream sound), and pulled a total of four charting singles for the band, including their first top-15 hit, “Some Candy Talking.”

Yes, purists, we know that “Some Candy Talking” wasn’t actually on the album – it was released as the title track of its own EP in the wake of PSYCHOCANDY – but since it’s been added to the expanded version of the album, we’re still including it in the mix.