House of Love – Shine On (1990), I Don’t Know Why I Love You (1990)


houseoflove230x178By the time I heard of House of Love, they had just broken up. I was in a CD store in Brookline, MA back when I was living in Boston. There was music playing in the store, something wonderful that I’d never heard before. I asked the guy at the counter what it was. He told me it was House of Love. I don’t remember which album it was, maybe A Spy in the House of Love. The copy they were playing was for sale so I bought it. Then I hunted down the rest of the band’s CDs.

There are bands that you like for awhile but then get tired of and eventually stop listening to. House of Love isn’t one of these bands. If you like their music, you’ll always like their music. Over 15 years after I first heard them, I still marvel at how good they were (Are? More on this later). They’re one of my all-time favorite bands.

House of Love formed in London in 1986. The original lineup was:

  • Guy Chadwick (vocals, guitar)
  • Terry Bickers (guitar)
  • Andrea Heukamp (vocals, guitar)
  • Pete Evans (drums)
  • Christian Groothuizen (bass)

There were a number of lineup changes, most notably when Terry Bickers left the band due to a fallout with Guy Chadwick over drugs. The band’s albums are difficult to keep track of, as none of the albums had titles until 1991 (I know this sounds like Spinal Tap but I’m not making this up).

…I was very ambitious, but in a blind way, I have to say. Looking back, I wasn’t sussed enough. I didn’t grasp what had to be done. It was pretty blind. I just had a lot of energy, musical energy, but when it came down to the business of actually developing, consolidating and keeping close as a group, I completely —— up that side of things. And it’s a very, very hard business, and if you are going to be a big star, obviously you need loads of talent, but you’ve got to be very shrewd, or you’ve got to have great management.

Guy Chadwick, 2007 interview

House of Love saw some success in England, with albums and singles reaching the top 40 or just below top 40. The band has never had any success in the United States, where they remain largely unknown.

House of love split up in 1993. Singer Guy Chadwick released one solo album, Lazy, Soft, and Slow.

In 2005, surprising everyone, Chadwick and Bickers reunited for a House of Love album called Days Run Away and a tour of the UK and Ireland.

A new album, House of Love – Live At The BBC was recently released in the UK and is scheduled for American release on April 28, 2009. The CD contains material recorded at BBC Studios between 1991 and 1992.

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This week, we have two featured songs. The first, Shine On, appears on six different albums in different forms. including live. The versions of both songs are from the album known as Butterfly or Fontana.

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