Echo and the Bunnymen and Billy Bragg cover the Velvets’ ‘Run Run Run’ on the BBC, 1986
In the 1980s the BBC used to do this thing every now and then where they would take a day and dedicate like 15 consecutive hours of programming to pop music. The recurring program was called “Rock Around the Clock”; it’s surprisingly challenging to track down information about this practice, but at the same time it seems likely that a great many DM readers in the U.K. remember these so-called TV marathons quite vividly. These “Rock Around the Clock” events were pretty much a grab bag of whatever the BBC felt like tossing in there, in a manner that might remind American readers of Night Flight during in the same era. But having a bigger budget than Night Flight, the BBC would also provide a studio for live performances.
One of these “Rock Around the Clock” days was September 20, 1986. That day rock connoisseurs could enjoy, on BBC2, the musical stylings of a-ha, Stan Ridgway, Dire Straits, and the Housemartins. A decided highlight for sure was an in-studio appearance by Echo and the Bunnymen, during which they played “The Game” and “Lips Like Sugar,” neither of which would be released officially for several months.
In addition, Ian McCulloch and Co. recruited a singer with whom they’d toured North America in 1984, that being Billy Bragg, to assist on a cover of “Run Run Run,” off of The Velvet Underground and Nico.
“Run Run Run” was in the Bunnymen repertoire at that moment, as the gang were indulging their taste for classic rock somewhat. Their cover of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” appeared on the Lost Boys soundtrack a year later, and the 1988 12-inch of “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” featured a wealth of covers recorded at a gig in Gothenburg, Sweden: the three tracks were the already-mentioned VU cover, the Stones’ “Paint It Black,” and Television’s “Friction.” (You can also find the same three tracks on WEA’s Japan-only release New Live and Rare.)
According to Chris Adams’ exhaustive Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen, they also played part of the old Sinatra classic “One For My Baby,” but that section isn’t captured in this clip.
“The Game”/“Lips Like Sugar”:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Echo and the Bunnymen rock Liverpool on BBC 2’s ‘Pop Carnival,’ 1982
Posted by Martin Schneider