Teenage Fanclub Live in 2003 (Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia)
Teenage Fanclub are an alternative rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. The band is composed of Norman Blake (vocals, guitar), Raymond McGinley (vocals, lead guitar), Gerard Love (vocals, bass) and Francis MacDonald (drums), with songwriting duties shared equally between Blake, McGinley and Love. In concert, the band usually alternate between the three songwriters (who all sing lead vocals on their own songs) giving equal playing time to each one's songs.
The band's sound relies heavily on chiming, Byrds-esque guitars and harmony vocals. As well as being compared to the Byrds, Teenage Fanclub have also been compared to Big Star and Neil Young. Although often pegged as "alternative rock", the group has incorporated a wide variety of elements from various music styles in its songs.
Teenage Fanclub has had a succession of drummers, including Francis MacDonald, Brendan O’Hare and Paul Quinn, who was later replaced by the returning Francis MacDonald. Keyboardist Finlay MacDonald (no relation) has also been a member.
As of November 2009, the band have released eight studio albums and are currently working on their ninth.
Teenage Fanclub emerged from the Glasgow C86 scene. Their sound is reminiscent of West Coast bands like the the Beach Boys and the Byrds, and their seventies counterparts Big Star. Originally a noisy and chaotic band, their first album A Catholic Education is largely atypical of their later sound, with the possible exception of "Everything Flows". The King, their next album, received critical reviews; it consisted of a number of self-confessedly shambolic guitar thrashes and an ironic cover of Madonna's "Like a Virgin".
Their next album, Bandwagonesque, released on Geffen in the US and Creation Records in the UK, brought Teenage Fanclub a measure of commercial success. Bandwagonesque was more deliberately constructed, the hooks became stronger, the guitar riffs were brought under control, and the harmony vocals took shape. Bandwagonesque won Spin magazine's 1991 end-of-year poll for best album, beating Nirvana's Nevermind, their Creation stablemates My Bloody Valentine's album Loveless, and R.E.M.'s hugely successful Out of Time.
The subsequent, Thirteen, was more grungy than Bandwagonesque in style. It suffered scathing reviews on release, possibly motivated by a backlash against the critical praise heaped on Bandwagonesque and also instigated in part by the group who, with typical honesty (and probably fatigued by the protracted recording process), did not hide their disappointment with the album from interviewers. Brendan O'Hare left Teenage Fanclub during this period due to "musical differences" to be replaced by Paul Quinn (formerly of the Soup Dragons).
Grand Prix, Teenage Fanclub's fifth album, was both a critical and commercial success in Britain, becoming their first top ten album. Released at the height of Britpop it almost certainly benefited from being released on the Creation records label. In America however the band failed to regain the ground that Thirteen had lost them. Around this time Liam Gallagher of Britpop giants (and labelmates) Oasis called the band "the second best band in the world" — second only to Oasis.
Songs from Northern Britain followed Grand Prix and built on the former's success. The album's folky, acoustic sound resonated with listeners, and was their highest charting release in the UK and contains their biggest hit single to date, "Ain't That Enough."
The follow-up album, Howdy!, released on Columbia Records in the UK after the demise of Creation, continued the sound of Songs from Northern Britain. The album, however, was poorly marketed and ultimately a commercial failure. Francis MacDonald rejoined as the drummer for the tour supporting the album.
Their final release on a Sony label, Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds - A Shortcut to Teenage Fanclub, collected the Fanclub's best songs along with three new songs (one from each member).
The band began work on their ninth album in August 2008, booking an initial three weeks at Leeders Farm recording studio in Norfolk. The album is called Shadows and will be released on the band's own PeMa label. During Teenage Fanclub's performance at Ben & Jerry's Sundae On The Common festival on 25 July 2009, Norman Blake announced that the album is due for release in January 2010. Gerard Love is also working on a solo album for release on Geographic backed by musicians including Bob Kildea, Tom Crossley, Dave McGowan and Brendan O'Hare.
|Title||Release date||Chart Positions|
|U.K. Singles||U.S. Modern Rock|
|"Everything Flows"||1990/1991 (U.S.)||-||-|
|"The Ballad of John & Yoko"||1990||-||-|
|"God Knows It's True"||1990||99||-|
|"Star Sign"||18 Aug, 1991||44||4|
|"The Concept"||27 Oct 1991||51||12|
|"The Peel Sessions"||1991||-||-|
|"What You Do to Me" (EP)||2 Feb 1992||31||19|
|"Free Again" / "Bad Seeds"||1992||-||-|
|"Radio"||17 Jun 1993||31||-|
|"Norman 3"||12 Aug 1993||50||-|
|"Hang On"||14 Feb 1994||-||19|
|"Fallin'" (with De La Soul)||28 Mar 1994||59||-|
|"Mellow Doubt"||7 Apr 1995||34||-|
|"Sparky's Dream"||15 May 1995||40||-|
|"Neil Jung"||21 Aug 1995||62||-|
|"Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It" (EP)||1995||-||-|
|"Ain't That Enough"||30 June 1997||17||-|
|"I Don't Want Control of You"||11 Aug 1997||43||-|
|"Start Again"||17 Nov 1997||54||-|
|"I Need Direction"||9 Oct 2000||48||-|
|"Dumb Dumb Dumb"||18 June 2001||-||-|
|"Near to You" (with Jad Fair)||2002||68||-|
|"Did I Say"||2002||-||-|
|"Association" (International Airport / Teenage Fanclub)||29 Aug 2004||75||-|
|"Fallen Leaves" (Limited to 2,000 copies)||30 May 2005||-||-|
|"It's All In My Mind"||22 Nov 2005||-||-|