Echo & the Bunnymen

Echo & the Bunnymen

Infobox musical artist
Name = Echo & the Bunnymen

Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Liverpool, England
Genre = Post-punk
Alternative rock
Years_active = 1978–1992
Label = Zoo Records (1979)
Warner Bros. (1980–1990)
Euphoric (1991–1992)
London Records (1997–1999)
Cooking Vinyl (2001-2006) Warner Bros. (2007-)
Associated_acts = Electrafixion
URL = [ Official website]
Current_members = Ian McCulloch
Will Sergeant
Past_members = Les Pattinson
Pete de Freitas
Noel Burke
Jake Brockman
Damon Reece

Echo & the Bunnymen are an English post-punk group, formed in Liverpool in 1978. Their original lineup consisted of vocalist Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bass player Les Pattinson, supplemented by a drum machine. By 1980, Pete de Freitas had joined as the band's drummer, and their debut album, "Crocodiles", met with critical acclaim and made the UK Top 20. Their second album, "Heaven Up Here" (1981), again found favour with the critics and reached number 10 in the UK Album chart. The band's cult status was followed by mainstream success in the mid-1980s, as they scored a UK Top 10 hit with "The Cutter", and the attendant album, "Porcupine" (1983), reached number 2 in the UK. Their next release, "Ocean Rain" (1984), continued the band's UK chart success, and has since been regarded as their landmark release, spawning the hit singles "The Killing Moon", "Silver" and "Seven Seas". One more studio album, "Echo & the Bunnymen" (1987), was released before McCulloch left the band to pursue a solo career in 1988. The following year, de Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident, and the band re-emerged with a new line-up. Original members Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson were joined by Noel Burke as lead singer, Damon Reece on drums and Jake Brockman on keyboards. This new incarnation of the band released "Reverberation" in 1990, but the disappointing critical and commercial reaction it received culminated with a complete split in 1992.

After working together as Electrafixion, McCulloch, Sergeant and Pattinson regrouped in 1997 and returned as Echo & the Bunnymen with the UK Top 10 hit "Nothing Lasts Forever". An album of new material, "Evergreen", was greeted enthusiastically by critics and the band made a successful return to the live arena. Though Pattinson left the group for a second time, McCulloch and Sergeant have continued to issue new material as Echo & the Bunnymen, including the albums "What Are You Going to Do with Your Life?" (1999), "Flowers" (2001) and "Siberia" (2005). The band are scheduled to release a new album, "The Fountain", in 2008.


Early years

Ian McCulloch began his career in 1977, as one third of the Crucial Three, a bedroom band which also featured Julian Cope and Pete Wylie. When Wylie left, McCulloch and Cope formed the short-lived A Shallow Madness with drummer Dave Pickett and organist Paul Simpson, during which time such songs as "Read It In Books", "Robert Mitchum", "You Think It's Love" and "Spacehopper" were written by the pair — though Cope infuriated McCulloch by taking sole writing credit for "Spacehopper" on his 1987 Island Records album "Saint Julian".fact|date = May 2008 When Cope sacked McCulloch from the band, [cite web | title = The Teardrop Explodes - Zoology - Review | url = | publisher = "Uncut" | accessdate = 2008-05-23 ] A Shallow Madness changed their name to The Teardrop Explodes, and McCulloch joined forces with guitarist Will Sergeant and bass player Les Pattinson to form Echo & the Bunnymen. This early incarnation of the band featured a drum machine, assumed by many to be "Echo", though this has been refuted by the band. In the 1982 book "Liverpool Explodes!", Will Sergeant explained the origin of the band's name: quote|We had this mate who kept suggesting all these names like "The Daz Men" or "Glisserol and the Fan Extractors". "Echo and the Bunnymen" was one of them. I thought it was just as stupid as the rest. [Citation | last = Cooper | first = Mark | publication-date = 30 September 1982 | title = Liverpool Explodes! | publisher = Sidg. & J | isbn = 0-28398-866-5 ] In November 1978, Echo & the Bunnymen made their debut at Liverpool's Eric's Club, [citation | last = Barnett | first = Laura | title = Portrait of the artist: Ian McCulloch, singer | url =,,2236950,00.html | newspaper = The Guardian | date = 8 January 2008 | accessdate = 2008-05-23 ] appearing as the opening act for The Teardrop Explodes.

Echo & the Bunnymen's debut single "The Pictures on My Wall" was released on Bill Drummond's Zoo Records in May 1979, the B-side being the McCulloch/Cope collaboration "Read It in Books" (also recorded by The Teardrop Explodes approximately six months later as the B-side of their final Zoo Records single "Treason"). McCulloch has subsequently denied that Cope had any involvement with the writing of this song on more than one occasion.Citation | last = Fletcher | first = Tony | author-link = Tony Fletcher | publication-date = 16 November 1987 | title = Never Stop: The Echo & the Bunnymen Story | publisher = Omnibus Press | isbn = 0-71191-121-5 ] Citation | last = Adams | first = Chris | publication-date = 1 July 2002 | title = Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo and the Bunnymen | publisher = Soft Skull Press | isbn = 1-88712-889-1 ]

By the time of their debut album, 1980's "Crocodiles", the drum machine had been replaced by Trinidad-born Pete de Freitas. The lead single, "Rescue", climbed to UK #62 and the album broke into the Top 20 at #17, following critical acclaim.cite book | title = "British Hit Singles & Albums" | edition = 19th Edition | publisher = HIT Entertainment | year = 2006 | isbn=1-90499-410-5 ] Their next album, "Heaven Up Here" (1981), was an even bigger critical and commercial success, reaching the UK Top Ten (#10), although a single lifted from the album, "A Promise", could only reach UK #49.

Mainstream success

In June 1982, the Bunnymen achieved their first significant UK hit single with "The Back of Love" (#19). This was followed in early 1983 with their first Top 10, the more radio-friendly "The Cutter", which climbed to #8. The parent album, "Porcupine", hit #2 in the album chart. Now firmly established as a chart act, further hits followed with a one-off single, "Never Stop" (#15), and "The Killing Moon", a preview from the new album featuring a dramatic McCulloch vocal, which became the band's second UK Top 10 single at #9.

Following a PR campaign which proclaimed it "the greatest album ever made", [cite album-notes | title = Ocean Rain | bandname = Echo & the Bunnymen | year = 2003 | first = Max | last = Bell | format = CD booklet | publisher = Warner Music UK | publisherid = 2564-61165-2 ] 1984's "Ocean Rain" reached #4, and today is widely regarded as the band's masterpiece. [citation | title = Echo And The Bunnymen to perform classic album | url = | magazine = NME | date = 5 December 2007 | accessdate = 2008-05-23 ] Single extracts "Silver" (UK #30) and "Seven Seas" (UK #16) consolidated the album's continued commercial success. In the same year, McCulloch had a minor solo hit with his cover version of "September Song".

In early 1985, The Bunnymen fell out with their record company Warner Brothers.fact|date = May 2008 As a result, they toured Scandinavia in April 1985, performing cover versions of songs from Television, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and The Doors. Recordings from the tour emerged as the semi-bootleg "On Strike".Unfortunately for the band, "Ocean Rain" proved to be a difficult album to follow up, and they could only re-emerge in 1985 with a single, "Bring On the Dancing Horses" (UK #21), and a compilation album, "Songs to Learn & Sing", which made #6 in the UK album chart. However, all was not well in the Bunnymen camp, and Pete de Freitas left the band. The next (self-titled) studio album was recorded with ex–Haircut 100 drummer Mark Fox, but when de Freitas returned in 1986, it was largely re-recorded.fact|date = May 2008 Eventually released in mid-1987, the record sold well (UK #4), and was a small American hit, their only LP to have significant sales there.

In the United States, the band's best-known songs were "The Killing Moon" (from "Ocean Rain") and "Lips Like Sugar" (from "Echo & the Bunnymen"), although "Bring On the Dancing Horses" is well-known as one of the songs on the soundtrack to the John Hughes film "Pretty in Pink".

1988 split

McCulloch quit the band in 1988 and de Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident in mid-1989. After former Colenso Parade singer Oscar turned down an offer to take over from McCulloch, [Larkin, Colin: "The Guinness Who's Who Of Indie and New Wave Music", page 67. Guinness Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-85112-579-4] Pattinson and Sergeant recruited ex-St Vitus Dance vocalist Noel Burke and drummer Damon Reece. Keyboardist Jake Brockman (a touring member of the band for several years previously, and a contributor to the 1987 album) was promoted to full member, and the five-piece recorded "Reverberation" in 1990. This did not generate much excitement among fans or critics, and the group was abandoned in 1992. McCulloch, meanwhile, had continued his solo career, with the albums "Candleland" in 1989 and "Mysterio" in 1992.


In 1994 McCulloch and Sergeant began working together again under the name "Electrafixion"; in 1997 Pattinson rejoined the duo, meaning the three surviving members of the original Bunnymen lineup were now working together again. Rather than continue as Electrafixion, the trio resurrected the Echo & the Bunnymen name and released the album "Evergreen" (1997), which reached the UK Top 10.

Immediately prior to the release of the band's next album, "What Are You Going to Do with Your Life?" (1999), Les Pattinson quit to take care of his mother. [cite web | last = Allum | first = Simon | title = Incendiary interview Les Pattinson, part 2 | url = | date = 3 April 2006 | accessdate = 2008-05-12 ] McCulloch and Sergeant have continued to tour and record as Echo & the Bunnymen, touring repeatedly and releasing the albums "Flowers" (2001) and "Siberia" (2005). The group's current touring incarnation comprises McCulloch and Sergeant along with Stephen Brennan (bass), Gordy Goudie (guitar), Nicholas Kilroe (drums) and Ceri James (keyboards).

In 2002 the group received the Q Inspiration award. [cite web | title = The Q Awards | url = | publisher = | accessdate = 2008-05-07 ] The award is for inspiring "new generations of musicians, songs and music lovers in general." The band were said to be worthy winners as they have done much to promote the Mersey music scene. [cite web | title = 28/10/2002 - Q Awards Results | url = | publisher = EMAP | accessdate = 2008-05-07 ] In a later interview for "Magnet" magazine, McCulloch said "It validates everything that we've tried to achieve—cool, great timeless music. It's not like an inspiration award affecting the past, it's affecting the current music." [cite web | author = John Elsasser | title = MAGNET Interview: Ian McCulloch | url = | publisher = "Magnet" | year = 2003 | accessdate = 2007-05-07 ]

On 11 September 2006, Echo & the Bunnymen released an updated version of their 1985 "Songs to Learn and Sing" compilation. Now re-titled "More Songs to Learn and Sing", this new compilation was issued in two versions, a 17-track single CD and a 20-track version with a DVD featuring 8 videos from their career.

In March 2007, the Bunnymen announced that they had re-signed to their original record label, Warner, and were also working on a new album. [ [ Echo & The Bunnymen sign label contract with Korova/Warners] ] The band were also said to be planning a live DVD, entitled "Dancing Horses", which also contained interviews with the band. This was released in May 2007, on Snapper/SPV. [ [ Live DVD for Echo & The Bunnymen] ]

On 11 January 2008 Ian McCulloch was interviewed on "BBC Breakfast" at the start of Liverpool 08. He was asked about new Bunnymen material and he revealed that a new album would coincide with their gig at the Royal Albert Hall in September. He went on to say that the album was, "The best one we've made, apart from "Ocean Rain"."

In a 20 April 2008 interview with the "Sunday Mail" Ian McCulloch announced "The Fountain" as the title of the new Echo & the Bunnyman album due in 2008 with producer John McLaughlin. [citation | last1 = Sloan | first1 = Billy | last2 = Mcmonagle | first2 = Mickey | publication-date = 20 April 2008 | title = Ian McCulloch On How Bunnyman Turned Funnyman To Help Coldplay | newspaper = Sunday Mail | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-30 ] The first single will be "Think I Need It Too" which is scheduled to be released in August 2008. [citation | title = Echo & The Bunnymen to perfom sic 'Ocean Rain' at Radio City | url = | magazine = NME | date = 9 May 2008 | accessdate = 2008-05-26 ]


tudio Albums

* (1980) "Crocodiles" - UK #17
* (1981) "Heaven Up Here" - UK #10, U.S. #184
* (1983) "Porcupine" - UK #2, U.S. #137
* (1984) "Ocean Rain" - UK #4, U.S. #87
* (1987) "Echo & the Bunnymen" - UK #4, U.S. #51
* (1990) "Reverberation" - UK #19
* (1997) "Evergreen" - UK #8
* (1999) "What Are You Going to Do with Your Life?" - UK #21
* (2001) "Flowers" - UK #56
* (2005) "Siberia" - UK Indie #10
* (2008) "The Fountain" - Not yet released.



*Adams, Chris. "Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen." NY: Soft Skull Press, 2002.
*Reynolds, Simon. "Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984." London: Penguin, 2005.
*Fletcher, Tony. "Never Stop: The Echo & the Bunnymen Story." London: Omnibus Press, 1987.

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Villiers The Ultimate Echo and the Bunnymen Resource]
* [ Echo And The Bunnymen on The Mag]

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