Iterations: Gang Of Four – “I Found That Essence Rare”

Iterations: Gang Of Four – “I Found That Essence Rare”
Gang Of Four / Entertainment

It bewildered me that this song was not an official single from Gang Of Four‘s 1979 debut Entertainment!, but according to this piece at 53rd and 3rd, the band refused to allow it to go to radio because it was too accessible. Which was a very Gang Of Four thing to do, and in the long run it certainly didn’t affect their cementing their place in music history.

The song did still introduce the band to many; it led off their first John Peel session on January 9, 1979, more than nine months before their first album was released. Their three Peel Sessions around the time of Entertainment! and Solid Gold were compiled in 1990.

And naturally it remained a fixture of their live sets; here they are performing it in San Francisco in February 2019 on what would be their final American tour.

The Wedding Present tackled the song early on in their career, performing it for BBC Radio 1 and releasing the session in 1986 as The Radio 1 Session: The Evening Show and compiling it in 1988 on The BBC Sessions, again in 1997 on Evening Sessions: 1986-1994 and including it as a bonus track on an expanded Tommy reissue in 2014.

Scottish indie veterans included a version of the song as a b-side on their 2002 Remote Part single Live In A Hiding Place, and it re-appeared on their 2007 compilation A Distant History : Rarities 1997-2007:

Finally, just a little different, Uncle Tupelo reminded people of their punk roots on their 1992 tour for Still Feel Gone, including the song in many of their sets. I’m not sure which show the recording that produced this one is from, but it’s the same version on their Covers And Oddities ’88–’93 bootleg:

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