Even though they clearly exist, it always surprises me when I come across official music videos for songs that were released before the MTV era, because… where were they played? For example, this clip for one of Magazine’s signature songs, “The Light Pours Out Of Me”. The album from which it came – their debut album Real Life – came out in 1978, and this relatively high production value clip clearly exists, but I can’t help but wonder what kind of return on investment EMI got for it?
Interestingly, the song wasn’t released as a commercial single in any form until a couple years later – as a 12″ A-side and also a B-side to “Upside-Down”, in May 1980 – but that version a the decidedly less accessible version produced by Martin Hannett. Which, I confess, I never heard until just before I wrote this. The original John Leckie version is one of my favourite songs to play on guitar, so I have… feelings about this one. And while I don’t have the limited edition 7″ that was part of the collectors edition of the John McGeoch biography that was named after the song released this May, I’m pretty sure I know which version they used.
Going in the other direction, this Peel Session version dates to February 1978, so it probably predates the version that ended up on Real Life:
And here’s the most recent reading on record, taken from the 21st century edition of the band when they played Manchester in February 2009 as the final show of their tour. The evening was recorded and released that year as a live CD/DVD set, Real Life and Thereafter / Forum.
There’s not a lot of covers of the song out there – the one my friends and I play when we get together every few weeks is yet to be bootlegged – but Peter Murphy included his theatrically funky version on his 1986 solo debut Should The World Fail To Fall Apart. And although they should never be used together, I stand by those adjectives.
And Ministry recorded a version for their 2003 record Animositisomina which is actually pretty faithful, if Ministry-ized.
And finally, Scotland’s Skids – who were actually contemporaries of Magazine way way back – last year released Songs From A Haunted Ballroom, an album of covers of songs from their early days, this one included. I guess out of respect for their longevity I’ll not get on them for changing up the iconic riff. But… you shouldn’t mess with perfection.