* Tiptoes carefully past Saint's posts *
I wasn't a particularly big fan (The Fall went hand-in-hand with John Peel, and I generally preferred the comparatively softer-edged Janice Long show), but he remained unavoidable for anyone with anything approaching an interest in the Indie scene at the time. No, they never really had "mainstream" success (I suppose their Top 40 cover of "Victoria" came the closest), but they were enormously influential, and you don't get to release 32 studio albums over 38 years without a loyal fan base.
One of those loyal fans is a colleague of mine, who was rather depressed at the news yesterday. Neil - who's a big fan of John Peel to the extent that he works for Dandelion Radio (an internet radio station that keeps the Peel legacy alive) - summed it up thus:
"Mark E. Smith. R-uh I-uh P-uh.
As an aside, Smith's death has served as a reminder of one of the most important gigs in music history: The Sex Pistols playing The Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on 4th June 1976. Less than 40 people attended (paying 50p for the privilege!), but virtually every one of them went into the music business. The gig was organized by an early formation of The Buzzcocks: they were meant to be the support act, but weren't ready and instead supported the Pistols' second Manchester gig six weeks later. Also present at that first gig were Morrissey, Mark E. Smith, future photographer Kevin Cummins, future writer/journalist Paul Morley, and a group of lads who went on to form Joy Division. Apparently there's still some debate as to when exactly Tony Wilson saw the Pistols in Manchester, but that in turn led to Factory Records and The Hacienda...
Sex Pistols gig: the truth