Whatever it was that had got in the water in 1989 (and presumably it was some distant relative of that kerrazy ‘acid’), you just couldn’t move for music made by people trying to sound a bit psychedelic. And not just the ultra-modern up-to-the-minute neo-psychedelia touted by the likes of The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Lightning Seeds and all those Euro-House outfits, which had broadsheet columnists straining at the leash to write something unfathomable about ‘The Second Summer Of Love’ (which, apparently, had something to do with Baldrick and shoes), nor indeed the accomplished retro-inflected stylings of Julian Cope and XTC. No indeed not, as for some inexplicable reason, this extended right the way to mainstream acts of the sort that you wouldn’t have expected to want to get ‘a bit sixties’. But ‘get a bit sixties’ they certainly did, even if most of them had virtually nothing resembling the first idea of what they were supposed to be doing, and this made for some… interesting results.
But which of these came closest to the holy grail of sounding a tiny bit like ‘The Beatles’ as they were believed to sound by someone who had spent their entire life with a bucket wedged firmly on their head and professed not to like the bits on the Red and Blue compilations where it ‘goes a bit flower power’? Well, here at Out On Blue Six, we’re going to be spending the next few weeks addressing just this pressing concern, weighing up the seven likeliest contenders against each other by virtue of the following not-at-all-stolen-from-Creamguide criteria:
Sing This All Together (See What Happens): Just who were the act in question, and how did they come to arrive at this rather peculiar artistic volte-face?
Brought His Mellotrode And Freaked ‘Em All Out: How heavily did they adopt phasing, sitars and other musical trappings of the original so-called ‘Summer Of Love’, and more importantly, how convincing did it sound?
On The Bus Or Off The Bus: Did the lyrics espouse radical counter-cultural ideas or just sound like one of their regular songs only with a couple of mentions of ‘rainbows’?
The Green And Purple Lights Affect Your Sight: Was the video a far-out multicoloured assault to rival The Trip or did it just have them miming in a studio?
I’m Picking Up Bad Vibrations: Just how savagely did an uncomprehending fanbase turn on them as a result?
Ha Ha Ha… We Blew Your Mind!: And finally, how long this hallucinogenic deviation last? Clue: it normally wasn’t very long at all…
So, join us on this Magical Mystery Tour to the centre of the Greatest Hits album – where such abberations are normally hidden in the hope of avoiding anyone noticing them – to discover just who was the most… A Bit Like The Beatles! And, rest assured, because it’s 1989 and not 1991, we won’t be featuring Julian Lennon’s lament for the archive status of episode five of Doctor Who And The Space Pirates…