Iterations: The House Of Love – “Shine On”

Iterations: The House Of Love – “Shine On”

The House Of Love’s 1988 self-titled debut gets all the praise, but I actually prefer their second album – also technically self-titled but colloquially known as Fontana on account of their new label after leaving Creation or “the butterfly album” for the insect gracing the album cover – as I find it sonically richer and the songwriting superior.

You don’t have to go much further than the opening track and second single for an example. Dark, urgent, and shimmering, it’s The House Of Love at its finest. And Terry Bickers’ candy apple red Jazzmaster is just delicious.

Interestingly, the song was initially released as a single by Creation in 1987 prior to the release of the debut, and failed to make any chart noise. It’s not all that different from the Fontana version, structure-wise, but the production is grittier and reverberated. The re-recorded one, on the other hand, hit number 20 in the UK in 1989. Guess people didn’t like that reverb, or the absence of the Jazzmaster:

I bought this Epiphone Sheraton in 1985 for £250.00 and The House Of Love was born! It was the first semi-acoustic I’d ever owned and it was love at first sight…. It was used on all the records especially the early ones and Terry used it on the first version of “Shine On”.

– Guy Chadwick

As befit a #20 song, the band did the television rounds for it that year. They played Top Of The Pops behind it in February 1990 (the date on the video is incorrect):

And also on BBC2’s The Late Show in March 1990:

Fast-forwarding some 20 years, here’s the reunited House Of Love playing it live in Israel in February 2017, when an ageless Terry Bickers was back in the band. No sign of that Jazzmaster, though.

There are no covers of the song that I knew of before last night, but this on by Norwegian synth-rock band Apoptygma Berzerk exists, and they even made it a single with a video. I think that’s all I’ll say about that.

If you’d like to record a rather more faithful version, I happened across a great guitar lesson channel on YouTube that earned my Patreon dollars with their lesson for the song – it’s not difficult, and I got part of the way just mucking around with Bickers’ lead parts over the years, but was always too lazy to really work it out. But now, here we are.

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