The Sundays Biography

This UK indie band was formed in London, England, in the summer of 1987, by songwriters David Gavurin (4 April 1963, England; guitar) and Harriet Wheeler (b. 26 June 1963, England; vocals), who had already gained prior singing experience in a band called Jim Jiminee. Later joined by the rhythm section of Paul Brindley (b. 6 November 1963, England; bass) and Patrick Hannan (b. 4 March 1966, England; drums), the Sundays’ debut live performance at the seminal Falcon ‘Vertigo Club’ in Camden Town, London, in August 1988, sparked off abnormally excessive interest from both media and record business circles. Playing what many perceived to be a delicate, flawless mix of the Smiths’ guitars and the Cocteau Twins’ vocal acrobatics, the band’s high profile ensured a Top 50 place in the UK pop charts for their debut single, ‘Can’t Be Sure’, in early 1989. The song topped the independent charts for two months. Despite this dramatic arrival, the Sundays did not capitalize on their success until exactly a year later, when Reading, Writing And Arithmetic took everyone by surprise by entering the UK pop chart at number 4.

Despite these rapid advances, the Sundays are notorious for being slow songwriters - legend has it that their label, Rough Trade Records, wanted to release a single from the album but the band did not have any other material for a b-side. This was to be their last release for two years, as touring commitments took the quartet to Europe, Japan and the equally reverential America, where Rolling Stone magazine had voted the Sundays Best Foreign Newcomer and their debut album had broken into the Top 40. Financial difficulties at their label also held-up proceedings. They sought a new record contract, eventually signing to Parlophone Records in January 1992. A second album was not completed until October of that year, and reactions, though not unkind, lacked the fervour that had greeted their debut (reissued on Parlophone Records in 1996). After an even longer sabbatical the band returned in 1997 with a surprise hit single, ‘Summertime’, and Static And Silence, which showed little sign of any musical progress. Wheeler’s vocals still floated effortlessly over the music, but critical reaction saw the band as an anachronism. A cover version of the band’s ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’ by UK dance music act Tin Tin Out, featuring the vocals of Shelley Nelson, reached UK number 7 in March 1998.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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