The La’s

Every once in a while, I remember I was going to make this blog about music.

So in that spirit, let’s talk The La’s.

Formed in the early ’80s, the band knocked about for a year or so until Lee Mavers joined the lineup.

Mavers would go on to be the de facto leader and principal songwriter for the group.

He also essentially was the undoing of the group.

By 1987, the band had issued its first single, Way Out, a single that garnered some praise from the press and Morrissey, but it barely charted.

That, by the way, is not the single version.

Another single, There She Goes, followed in 1988.

And it flopped.

But the band, now signed to Go!, began work on its debut album.

Over the next couple of years, The La’s would record material, decide it wasn’t right, discard it and start over.

A series of band members departed.

And several producers with impressive credentials – John Leckie, John Porter, Mike Hedges – were brought on board and dismissed.

There are all manner of stories about what Mavers was looking for as regards how the album should sound, but it seemed nothing could quite satisfy him, leading to various stories about how difficult he was.

One, which alleged he turned down a particular mixing desk because it didn’t have 60s dust on it, is apparently false.

Steve Lillywhite was the last producer to work with the band.

Even those sessions failed to please the La’s.

And they walked away without finishing the album.

Having spent a significant amount of money on sessions, Go! had Lillywhite pull an album together.

It’s weird to consider that the La’s one and only album, a classic set of spirited pop rock that nods, but is not indebted to, 60s artists like the Beatles, is not only not a legit release, but is hated by Mavers.

You have to wonder what he was aiming for.

Lillywhite is one of my least favorite producers, but the final product doesn’t seem to suffer from his usual bombast.

The songs sound and feel timeless, like they could have been released in any decade, or now.

It’s easily one of my favorites, and yet because it is a salvage job, it does feel a bit strange enjoying it to the extent that I do.

It has been nearly 30 years since the album came out, and despite an occasional reunion tour and old interviews promising a second album, Mavers seems content to live off the royalty checks generated by There She Goes, even if he isn’t satisfied with how it sounds.

Another song on the album may have been given the title Timeless Melody, but There She Goes, which reached the UK top 20 in its second release, is more deserving of that honor.


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