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Psychedelic Furs: Beautiful Chaos Paperback – January 1, 2003
From Publishers Weekly
Best known for their hit "Pretty in Pink," which was immortalized in the 1985 film of the same name, Britains Psychedelic Furs remain one of the leading lights of the post-punk and New Wave eras. Never ascending to the superstar heights of contemporaries like U2, The Cure or Duran Duran, the Furs nevertheless managed to avoid the dreaded "one-hit wonder" fate of so many bands of the late 1970s and 1980s. Instead, they inhabit that realm of college-radio respectability in which bands have more impact on future musicians than they ever did in the marketplace. Right from the introduction, author Thompson declares his intention to eschew biography in favor of an exploration of the bands story "from without." However, it soon becomes clear that without the benefit of backstory, none of the people in and around the band can be sufficiently understood as personalities, so snippets of biography do creep in. The book traces the standard narrative arc that weve all come to expect from VH1s popular Behind the Music: rise, peak, semi-precipitous fall and the inevitable past-their-prime reunion. Likewise, the rock and roll clichés abound, from an endless stream of new drummers (a la Spinal Tap) to trashed hotel rooms and drunken brawls. But the book is mostly concerned with a staid litany of personnel, producers and dates. Thompson is also attracted to needlessly flowery prose, as when he writes, "Gone were the wired and weirdly worldly mavericks who still seemed forever torn between playing a set full of hits and bits." Thompsons skills as a researcher will please dedicated Furs fans, but this band history is unlikely to win many new converts. 8 pages b/w photos.
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From the Publisher
I can't believe there has never before been a book on one of THE greatest, THE coolest, THE most groundbreaking, THE most talented lyrics-wise, generally most mind-blowing groups of the 1980s. Well, now there is, and about time too! Put on TALK TALK TALK, crank up the volume to max, and revel in the Beautiful Chaos of The Psychedelic Furs
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Top Customer Reviews
I've read quite a bit about the Furs in interviews over the years but this book dredges up some little known information. For instance, producer Daniel Lanois was all set to produce "Midnight to Midnight" but the Furs were not ready for him, and, according to Mills, treated him badly. He finally left only to produce U2's mega hit "Joshua Tree" instead!
The book slightly falters towards the end. The post "Midnight to Midnight" album-period is hardly given an in-depth look. In particular, their last LP, "World Outside" is barely given a single page of information. The author admits this was a good album and was critically acclaimed yet why is there so little written about the LP and the tour that ensued?
Perhaps an updated edition is needed...
Kudos for the Appendix which has a bibliography, US/UK release discography w/ excellent notes and covers all band members' post-Furs projects, videography and even a list of artists who have covered Furs songs. The book does need an index, though, as in the end I spent most of the post-Talk Talk Talk era just flipping through and not reading it line by line.
I don't know if it's just that bands touring or the details of studio battles bore me now or if the writing of such is just not good, but it's not exactly a page turner. I think it's more a book to have if you're into the minutiae of this band.
One thing I appreciate is I finally have learned the line that is impossible to decipher on the track "The Fall"--it's "Needles on a beach at Goa." Thank you for that alone...it only took 25+ years top figure that out.
Also, I could find no explanation of why Richard Butler was at times referred to as "Rep" Butler which is what I've always called him after reading that in Trouser Press or NME or some such.