James

Biography

Throughout the late 1980s, James were both praised and dismissed for their striking resemblance to jangle pop kings the Smiths. And certainly, the band's outspoken pro-celibacy/anti-drugs stance didn't endear them to music journalists, many of whom were experiencing the drug-propelled rapture of Manchester's rave revolution firsthand. Eventually, however, James expanded their ranks, adding a trumpet player, violinist and keyboardist, and entered the new decade as a seven-piece. The "new and improved" band released Gold Mother to lukewarm reviews, but hidden among the tracks was the loping gem "Sit Down," which struck a chord with James' swelling legion of fans and became their signature tune. Writers were shocked when audiences (T-shirted punters from both the Indie Kid and Crusty camps) actually sat down when the song was played live, and journalists grudgingly gave the band some respect. In the UK, frontman Tim Booth and co. were bona fide stars, headlining major European festivals and holding their own in the charts. In America, the band's big break came when MTV picked up the whirling, gender-bending single "Laid." Although James had developed a substantial fan base in the US, they weren't able to capitalize on the momentum of "Laid," and despite a catalog of hit-worthy songs, many Americans see James as one hit wonders.
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