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The Wedding Present Biography

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The Wedding Present In-depth Biography

Emerging in the wake of the Smiths}' demise as the U.K.'s most successful indie pop} band during the late '80s, the Wedding Present} were founded in Leeds, England, in 1985. Formed from the ashes of the short-lived Lost Pandas}, the Weddoes} (as they were affectionately dubbed by fans) were essentially the vehicle of singer/songwriter} David Gedge}, the only constant member throughout the group's tumultuous history. Initially rounded out by guitarist Peter Solowka}, bassist Keith Gregory}, and drummer Shaun Charman}, the fledgling band quickly won a loyal following among university students, as well as the patronage of influential DJ John Peel}, for whom they cut their first radio session in February 1986.

Named in honor of the popular soccer star, George Best}, the Wedding Present}'s remarkable debut LP, appeared on their own Reception} label in 1987. The group became the darlings of the British press overnight, winning acclaim for their distinct guitar pop} frenzy as well as Gedge}'s idiosyncratic vocal style and wittily lovelorn, conversation-like lyrics. After the album established a foothold on the U.K. indie charts, Tommy} -- a hastily compiled overview of early singles, covers, and radio broadcasts -- followed in 1988.

The Wedding Present}'s next effort came completely out of left field: titled Ukrainski Vistupi V Johna Peel}, the collection brought together Peel} session dates with a sampler of traditional} Ukrainian folk} tunes inspired by Solowka}'s father. Additionally, it marked the recording debut of new drummer Simon Smith}, recruited after Charman} exited to form the Popguns}. After reaching the Top 40 with the primal single "Kennedy,"} the Weddoes} returned in 1989 with Bizarro}, a more conventional effort highlighted by the single "Brassneck,"} produced by Steve Albini}. The aggressive 1991 release Seamonsters} returned Albini} to the producer's seat and marked the departure of Solowka}, who continued to explore his roots in the Ukrainians}; guitarist Paul Dorrington} was tapped as his replacement.

Instead of recording a new studio LP, the Wedding Present} spent the entirety of 1992 issuing a single on the first Monday of each month. Later compiled as the two-volume Hit Parade} set, the singles featured original material on their A-sides and cover songs on the flip sides, among them interpretations of the Monkees}' "Pleasant Valley Sunday,"} Neil Young}'s "Don't Cry No Tears,"} Isaac Hayes}' "Theme from Shaft,"} and Julee Cruise}'s "Falling"} (better known as the theme to Twin Peaks}).

After the departure of Gregory} (to found Cha Cha Cohen}) left Gedge} the group's last original member, the Weddoes} resurfaced with new bassist Darren Belk} for 1994's Watusi}, a nod toward the Amer-indie love-rock} scene produced by Olympia, WA-based producer Steve Fisk}, complete with vocal assistance from Beat Happening}'s Heather Lewis}. Following a rather uneventful 1995, the group returned in 1996 with a flurry of new material; first up was the auto-obsessed Mini} EP, later reissued with bonus tracks as Mini Plus}. The full-length Saturnalia} appeared at the end of the year, followed early in 1997 by the single "Montreal."} Gedge} then put the band on hold, formed Cinerama} (a group that began to sound increasingly Weddoes}-like) and came back to release Take Fountain} in early 2005. The album's singles and videos were compiled for 2006's Search for Paradise}. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
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