Flash Back Friday: Siouxsie & The Banshees

Flashback Friday: Siouxsie & The Banshees

Siouxsie and the Banshees were one of the key bands to emerge from the punk scene in late ‘70s England, and one of the select few to endure well beyond this period.

Covering everything from from pop-infused punk, to wonderfully gloomy, yet lush post-punk, to sublimely gothic-tinged pop at it’s finest. Everything they put their hand to had an element of experimental risk.

Siouxsie Sioux, for my money, would have to be in the top five front women of all time. Her striking image, stage prescence, and soaring vocals were at once powerful and utterly unique. Here are just five reasons we love Siouxsie and the Banshees:

’Hong Kong Garden’ (stand alone single, 1978)

The Banshees debut single that doesn’t appear on any album. It’s widely considered a classic. In fact, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore recently told Consequence Of Sound it's in his top 25 songs of all time.

Siouxsie said that lyrically it’s about a local Chinese restaurant called ‘Hong Kong Garden’ where skinheads would turn up and terrorise the poor staff.

"I remember wishing that I could be like Emma Peel from The Avengers and kick all the skinheads' heads in, because they used to mercilessly torment these people for being foreigners. It made me feel so helpless, hopeless and ill,” Siouxsie told Uncut Magazine in 2005.

’Happy House’, Kaleidescope (1980)

The Banshees were famous for going through guitarists at the speed of light. John McGeogh (Magazine, PiL) had just joined the band at this point and doesn't even appear in the clip!

This also marked the debut of drummer extraordinaire Budgie, previously of punk reggae act The Slits. He stamps his trademark African polyrhythmic drumming all over this one:

’Spellbound’, Juju (1981)

This single (and video) captures them in full gothic glory. Taken from arguably their greatest album, Juju, this features guitarist John McGeogh, who’s post-punk credentials are second to none.

He’s been responsible for helping forge the iconic sound of post-punk legends Magazine, later joining Public Image Limited, alongside John ‘Rotten’ Lydon.

’Kiss Them For Me’, Superstition (1991)

By 1991 creative tensions were brewing within the band and the album of this era, Superstition, reflects this with its patchy songwriting. What many people don’t know is bass player Steve Severin was an equal contributor to the band’s songwriting.

So when Siouxsie and partner Budgie moved to France, well, it was a bit hard collaborating. They still had a few gems up their sleeve however:

Nocturne (Live conert at Royal Albert Hall, 1983)

Siouxsie and the Banshees were one of the greatest live bands – period. This performance at Royal Albert Hall in 1983 only confirms it. From the moment Steve Severin’s familiar bassline to ‘Israel’ kicks in, you just know this is going to be great. Essential viewing for any fan or recent convert.

It features their electrifying cover of The Beatles (and Charlie Manson favourite) 'Helter Skelter'. Oh and did I mention it captures the band during their Robert Smith period? Watch it now:

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