1983 – 1988
Paul Heaton (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Stan Cullimore (guitar)
Norman Cook (bass)
Hugh Whitaker (drums)
Ted Key (bass)
Dave Hemingway (drums, vocals)
Justin Patrick (drums)
Chris Lang (drums)
Roger Wilde (drums)
The self-proclaimed “fourth best band in Hull” surely need little introduction to readers of these pages. Formed in 1983 by Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore, early appearances (and the band’s first demo tape) consisted of just these two founder members. Ted Key (The Gargoyles) joined on bass guitar, and the line up was completed by drummer Justin Patrick, although Patrick was soon replaced by Chris Lang.
Drummer Lang was himself replaced by another ex-Gargoyle, Hugh Whitaker (with 3-Action!’s Roger Wilde deputising in the interim). Ted Key left the band in 1985, returning to The Gargoyles shortly after the release of the politically-charged debut single “Flag Day” (which Key also co-wrote). Stepping into the bassist’s shoes was, of course, a certain Norman Cook – and the “classic” Housemartins line-up was complete
Debut album London 0 Hull 4 arrived in 1986 in a blaze of glory. It still stands up well all these years later and is rightly highly regarded. Three further singles were lifted from the album – “Sheep”, “Happy Hour” (the band’s anthem, if ever there was one) and the soulful “Think For A Minute”. “Happy Hour” hit the giddy heights of number 3 in the singles chart, but it was their next release that would catapult The Housemartins to the next level.
“Caravan Of Love” (which wouldn’t appear on a Housemartins album until 1988’s Now That’s What I Call Quite Good) was released in November 1986 and on December 16th, it hit the coveted Number 1 spot in the UK chart. The following week it was knocked back down to number 2 by the reissue of the late Jackie Wilson’s “Reet Petite”, denying the band a Christmas Number One by the tiniest of margins.
1987 brought another line-up change, with Hugh Whitaker leaving to be replaced by new drummer Dave Hemingway. Second album The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death followed, a superb second album which is as under-rated as it is overshadowed by the success of its predecessor. The record spawned a further three top 20 hits with “Five Get Over Excited” the pick of them, peaking at number 11 in the charts.
A third album (sort of), Now That’s What I Call Quite Good, landed in 1988, though it was essentially a compilation album with a new single “There Is Always Something There To Remind Me” tacked on for good measure (the single would only make number 35 in the charts and would prove to be their final “proper” single release).
Later that same year, the band split (amicably, we should add). Heaton and Hemingway went on to form the massively successful (to put it mildly) Beautiful South, Stan Cullimore became a successful children’s author, and Norman Cook morphed into the global superstar DJ known as Fatboy Slim (via further chart success with Beats International, Freakpower, Mighty Dub Katz and Pizzaman).
(Hull Music Archive)
The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (CD, LP, cassette) - Go! Discs, 1987
Now That's What I Call Quite Good [compilation] (CD, 2LP, double cassette) - Go! Discs, 1988
The Best Of The Housemartins [compilation] (CD, CD+DVD) - Mercury, 2004
Live At The BBC (CD) - Mercury, 2006
Soup - The Best Of The Beautiful South & The Housemartins - Mercury, 2007
Happy Hour - The Collection (CD) - Spectrum Music, 2011
London 0 Hull 4 / The People Who... (2CD) [compilation] - Universal, 2012
Happy Hour (7", 12") - Go! Discs, 1986
Think For A Minute (7", 12") - Go! Discs, 1986
Caravan Of Love (7", 12", shaped picture disc) - Go! Discs, 1986
Five Get Over Excited (7", 12", cassette) - Go! Discs, 1987
Me And The Farmer (7", 12") - Go! Discs, 1987
Build (7", 12", cassette, CD) - Go! Discs, 1987
The Housemartins (7" flexi) - Record Mirror, 1987
There Is Always Something There To Remind Me (7", 12", CD) - Go! Discs, 1988
Change The World (12", CD) - free2air Recordings, 2003 [Dino Lenny vs. The Housemartins]
Interview Picture Disc (12") - Baktabak
Don't Shoot Someone Tomorrow That You Can Shoot Today [Glastonbury 86] (LP) - Death Records
What A Good Place To Be (CD) - Mummick Records, 2005
Glastonbury 22.6.86 (Cassette)
Newcastle Mayfair 5.10.86 (Cassette)
A Short History (CD)
A Long History (CD)
Further On The Lads (CD)
Baggy Live (CD)
London 0 Hull 4 (VHS) - Polygram, 1990