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Once Upon A Time/The Singles Import
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Preposterous as it might seem in retrospect, Siouxsie & The Banshees were the last of the UK's first generation punk bands to secure a record deal; the hippie-bloated record industry was, frankly, terrified of them. Their stark, minimalist collision of ice-pick guitar and pounding drums, allied to Siouxsie's macabre, murder-in-the-nursery lyrics and untameable demeanour of brooding impenetrable cool were regarded as nothing more than commercial poison. But when Polydor finally took the plunge in 1978 they were amply rewarded when the band's debut single "Hong Kong Garden" immediately gravitated to the UK top ten. More hits followed and Once Upon A Time is a captivating compilation of the very best of them. From the clanging majesty of "The Staircase (Mystery)", the towering menace of "Playground Twist" and the measured schizophrenics of "Christine" to the glorious sensuality of "Arabian Nights", the distilled exhilaration of Once Upon A Time remains utterly essential. --Ian Fortnam
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At the time of release several non-album tracks made this a good purchase for the album market, and in particular for the more casual listener, with one of those non-album singles, "Hong Kong Garden" kicking off proceedings. The track listing as originally issued is:
Hong Kong Garden (1978) - non album single
Mirage (1978) - album track from "The Scream"
The Staircase (Mystery) (1979) - non album single
Playground Twist (1979) - From "Join Hands"
Love In A Void (1979) - B side "Mittageisen", though promoted as a double A
Happy House (1980) - From "Kaleidoscope"
Christine (1980) - From "Kaleidoscope"
Israel (1981) - non album single
Spellbound (1981) - From "JuJu"
Arabian Knights (1981) - From "JuJu"
There's a clear delineation of style between the two sides thanks to the addition of John McGeoch to the line up. Side A sounds rawer, punkier, less polished. Side B is full of the monster hits I remember with huge fondness (and particularly the 12" versions of the middle three tracks, not included here).
This is an excellent summation of the band's early singles. Sadly underappreciated, this collection is still the finest introduction to the band available, but be careful - it could well entice you to investigate the back catalogue further.
For me she was always Queen of the Punks.
I wasn't a huge fan until a couple of friends and I decided to round our first holiday away from parents with a trip to see them in concert.
She was mesmerising on stage with that ghostly voice and face and the songs have stuck with me ever since - certainly the most unexpectedly good concert I've ever been too.
This is the stuff I remember and it still sounds great, especially (if I'm honest) the later tracks, like Christine and Happy House although I still feel the urge to jump around when I hear the opening bars of Hong Kong Garden!
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Got *most* of the tracks I liked at the time other than Monitor from Ju Ju...Read more
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