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The Sundays: As Happy As England Can Be

The Sundays stretched across the 90s on a heavenly voice and echoing guitars. They made their mark on musical history before walking away to continue on with life, children and such.

Before taking the “indefinite hiatus” that bands so love, these England natives put out three amazing albums and one unforgettable Rolling Stones cover.

Debut single “Can’t Be Sure” came out in 1989, and gained immediate attention.

And did you know desire’s a terrible thing/The worst that I can find/Did you know desire’s a terrible thing/But I rely on mine

Song: Cant Be Sure

The music floats through space like a dream, singer Harriet Wheeler whispering, shouting, and moaning as the mood strikes.

First album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic debuted shortly after, and was instantly popular in both the UK and the US.

The album’s second single “Here’s Where The Story Ends” became the group’s biggest international hit.

This song has a rambling energy to it as Wheeler jumps from topic to topic, and feels like an updated version of The Smiths, with a slightly more feminine singer.

Oh I never should have said/the books that you read/were all I loved you for

Song: Here’s Where The Story Ends

Fans waited a few years for their second effort; due in part to the default of their record label, Rough Trade Records in 1991, and the band’s admitted perfectionism.

Blind debuted in 1992, and suffered a bit of a sophomore slump. While achieving critical success, the album faded from the charts and people’s minds rather quickly.

The tour for this album did give U.S. fans a chance to see The Sundays again, as popularity from the first album continued to grow. The frustration this massive country experiences over the endless wait for English bands to come to us, continues in various forms to this day.

Prior to recording a new album, the band released a cover of “Wild Horses” in 1994, originally performed by The Rolling Stones. Even rock purists cannot deny the emotional punch of this remake.

Mazzy Star and The Church come to mind as The Sundays take a classic rock song and turn it into a dreamy, forlorn set piece on love and longing.

Wheeler’s voice comes through as if from behind a glass wall, displaying all that we want and yet cannot have. This song simply does not age.

Graceless lady/You know who I am/You know I can’t let you/Slide through my hands

Song: Wild Horses

The third and final (for now) album Static & Silence was released in 1997, and single “Summertime” became instantly popular.

Ah Summertime. If you visited SunSplash in the late 1990s/early 2000s, you already know this song.

And it’s you and me in the summertime

Song: Summertime

It’s really fun to listen to The Sundays’ progression of sound from their first effort in 1989 to their last single in 1997. Wheeler’s voice begins as that of a wild young woman, and ends as a study in controlled charm.

There are days I just want to go home and lie in bed, put the Sundays on and drift away.


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