35 YEARS AGO IN 1984 LLOYD COLE AND THE COMMOTIONS RELEASED RATTLESNAKES.

35 Years Ago In 1984 Lloyd Cole and The Commotions Released Rattlesnake.s

During the eighties, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions were, without doubt,  one of the finest purveyors of perfect pop, releasing a triumvirate of critically acclaimed albums during a six year period, and becoming one of the most successful Scottish bands of the past forty years.  The Lloyd Cole and The Commotions story began in 1982, in Glasgow’s musical capital Glasgow.

In 1982, Derby born Lloyd Cole was studying at the University of Glasgow. Twenty-one year old Lloyd Cole had moved to Glasgow to study philosophy and English. Previously, Lloyd Cole had studied a year of law at University College London. However, Law wasn’t for Lloyd Cole, so he decided to head to Glasgow to restart his educational career. That’s where Lloyd Cole met The Commotions.

By 1982, Glasgow was like a second home to Lloyd Cole, and he had embraced the city’s vibrant musical scene. However, in 1982, he decided to make the move from onlooker to participant. So, Lloyd decided to form his own band. That band became Lloyd Cole and The Commotions.

Having made the decision to form his own band, gradually, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’ lineup took shape. Lloyd who would sing lead vocals and play guitar, brought onboard four musicians. They became his Commotions. This included the rhythm section of drummer Stephen Irvine, bassist Lawrence Donegan and guitarist Neil Clark. They were joined by keyboardist Blair Cowan. At last the lineup of Lloyd Cole and The Commotions was compete. 

With the lineup complete, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions embarked upon their musical journey. This began when Lloyd Cole and The Commotions signed to Polydor Records, and began work on their debut single.

The Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’ story started in earnest when the band released their debut single Perfect Skin in the spring of 1984. The single sold well, reaching number twenty-six in the UK charts. The follow up, Forest Fire, didn’t fare so well, only reaching a disappointing forty-one in the UK charts. That was only a minor blip. When Lloyd Cole and The Commotions released their debut album Rattlesnakes later in 1984, it was a huge success.

Rattlesnakes.

When Rattlesnakes was released later on 12th October 1984, it was to widespread critical acclaim and commercial success. Rattlesnakes reached number thirteen in the UK album charts, selling in over one-hundred thousand copies. For Lloyd Cole and The Commotions, this meant the first gold disc of their career. No wonder. Lloyd Cole and The Commotions were unique and caught the attention of critics and cerebral record buyers.

Critics and discerning music lovers were quick to release that Lloyd Cole and The Commotions were very different from most bands. Similarly, the songs on Rattlesnakes were unlike much of the music released in 1984. Lloyd Cole’s lyrics were influenced by Bob Dylan and his studies of English and philosophy. So it was no surprise that Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’ songs referenced  Renata Adler, Simone de Beauvoir and Norman Mailer in their lyrics. This was articulate, catchy and cerebral pop. Not only did it win over critics and cultural commentators, but provided the soundtrack to thousands of student bedsits. 

A generation of students eavesdropped on Lloyd’s anguished, quirky and cinematic lyrics. He brought songs like Perfect Skin, Rattlesnakes, Forest Fire, 2cv, Patience and Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken to life. With vocals that were a mixture of anguish, emotion and passion, Lloyd Cole lived the songs on Rattlesnakes. Behind him, The Commotions’ trademark jangling, perfect pop caught the imagination of generation of music lovers. Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’ star was in the ascendancy.

After the commercial success and critical acclaim of Rattlesnakes, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions headed out on tour. Basking in the success of Rattlesnakes, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions played to sold out audiences. They were flavour of the month with critics and cultural commentators. Lloyd Cole and The Commotions had a reputation for producing music for the “thinking” music lover. It was the polar opposite of vacuous new romantic movement. At least, here was a group of substance, capable of making compelling cinematic songs. The future looked bright for Lloyd Cole and The Commotions.

Sadly, after the potential Lloyd Cole and The Commotions showed on Rattlesnakes, the Glasgow-based  ground never truly fulfilled it on neither Easy Pieces nor Mainstream. Lloyd Cole and The Commotions had the potential to be one of the biggest and best groups of the eighties and beyond. However, looking back, some critics feel that Lloyd Cole and The Commotions never quite fulfilled their potential. Maybe that’s being hard on Lloyd Cole and The Commotions?

Instead, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions are another group whose debut album was a pop classic, and surpassing it was never going to be easy. Lloyd Cole and The Commotions set the bar high, and were forever chasing pop perfection. They came close on Easy Pieces and Mainstream, but Rattlesnakes was Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’s finest hour, and is a classic album, that is a reminder of one of the greatest Scottish bands of their generation, whose recording career was way to brief.

35 Years Ago In 1984 Lloyd Cole and The Commotions Released Rattlesnakes.

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