Tag Archives: Be Stiff

Be Stiff Route 78

2 Aug

Here’s some great footage taken on 10 October 1978 at Olympia station in London as the Be Stiff train tour headed to Bristol for the opening night. Wreckless Eric, Lene Lovich, Rachel Sweet, Jona Lewie and Mickey Jupp were on the bill for what proved an ambitious and costly venture and which took in such outposts as Wick in Scotland. The 33-date itinerary came to a close at London’s Lyceum Ballroom on 19 November and the artists – minus Mickey Jupp – flew to New York for four shows at The Bottom Line. Anne Nightingale was presenting Old Grey Whistle Test at the time and is doing the voiceover.

Lucky Number

13 Dec
Lene Lovich

Image by Nigel Dick

An excerpt from Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story

Lene Lovich had been the surprise package of the station-to-station trip. An intriguing sight, her dark hair in plaits and her head adorned with an array of scarves and ribbons, she gave off an aura of mystique. Her music had a dark, Germanic feel that nodded more towards Bertolt Brecht than the Motown groups of her childhood, ‘Writing On The Wall’ being a case in point. What also made her music so removed from the norm was the way she used her voice, from short punctuated yells to Hammer House screams. It was this unorthodox vocal style that would shoot her to stardom.

Stiff hadn’t released a single by Lovich at the time of the Be Stiff tour, although Stateless had been one of the five albums issued on the same day. But ‘Lucky ‘Number‘, the track she and Chappell had hastily written when a B-side for her debut single had been needed, had proved a hit with audiences and Stiff moved to promote it to an A-side.

“Stiff was small and able to react very quickly and make decisions quickly,” says Lovich. “I think that’s why, once the tour had got started and our album was out there, the next single for me was ‘Lucky Number’. I think that was because it went down well on stage. They didn’t really know it was going to be a hit record and Dave Robinson told me several times it wasn’t a proper song because there was no chorus. I have spoken to him since and he denies it and tries to make it appear he was the mastermind behind it all, but no. It had its own chorus, ‘Ah Oh! Ah Oh!’. It’s a new kind of chorus, but there it is.”