Name That Face: Happy Flowers vs Happy Mondays

Name That Face: the series inspired by Jennifer’s adventures in musician misidentification over the years. For anyone who has ever misremembered a band name at a crucial record purchasing moment and tragically bought Patty Smyth rather than Patti Smith; melded “Arctic Monkeys” with “Wolf Parade” and Googled in vain for “Arctic Parade” or “Wolf Monkeys”; or been unsure whether they want something by Swiiim or SWIMM. To tell your own tale of woe, drop Jennifer an email.

Happy Flowers VS Happy Mondays

The Time: November 1988

The Place: A hospital in suburban Virginia

What happened?

I was 13, and recovering from major surgery. My parents, being dear, sweet, people, offered to bring me some new music to listen to while I was trapped in bed. I requested: The Happy Flowers. They checked the name several times. Yes, I said, I’m sure. I was very, very keen to get hold of their music. I had been waiting for months for it to be released. The new Happy Flowers tape was absolutely the one thing I wanted.

A day or two later, a brand new copy of I Crush Bozo was delivered to my eager little hands.

I felt a pang of disquiet just looking at the cover. But I pressed onwards – I mean, bands but all sorts of random things on album covers, right?

This is the first track on I Crush Bozo:
 

Happy Flowers Get Me Off Of The Broiler Pan

 

I listened to it in a state of baffled shock. Maybe just the first song is bad, I thought, and kept going.

No.

They were all terrible.

(I was not an experimental noise fan at the time. I am, now, and I still don’t like it.)

I hit the “stop” button and sat there, glaring at the tape in horrified confusion, wondering what had gone wrong.

Eventually I put it away; it sat in my music collection for years, a stone on my mental shoe. I wondered, frequently, what I had really been looking for.

Twenty years later, I was making my way through a Stuart Maconie book – I think it was Pies and Prejudice – when, thanks to one of his musical digressions, I realized what I had done.

My clue was Maconie mentioning that the Flowers had gotten some US press in the late ’80s, which was approximately the same time I was ducking into the magazine section at Tower Records to read Circus and anything else involving guitars and/or tattoos in rushed 10 minute bursts, while my parents picked out movies to watch.

Somehow, between relying on jumbled memories of hastily read material and trying to think around the last of the anesthetic fog, I had confused the Happy Flowers with the Happy Mondays.

This Wrote for Luck, a song from Bummed, by the Happy Mondays, released in, indeed, November of 1988:
 

Happy Mondays - Wrote For Luck

 

And that is much more what I would have been into at the time.

Mystery: solved.

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