Home > Mondeo Pop Month > Mondeo Pop Month: Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home

Mondeo Pop Month: Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home

Released: June 1985

UK chart position: #5

From the album: Fine Young Cannibals

That guy from the Fine Young Cannibals: he was black, but he still looked like a young Stewart Lee. What’s all that about then?

One thing that’s becoming increasingly apparently as we go through these articles is that a lot of Mondeo Pop acts were second or third bites at the chart cherry, which ties into earlier notions about Mondeo Pop being about growing up and rejecting the childlike energy of your youth/youth band. Genre overlords The Beautiful South and Crowded House were borne out of The Housemartins and Split Enz respectively, The Style Council came from The Jam, we’ve already written about The Korgis’ routes in Stackridge (and, accordingly, being flooded by the latter’s street team), and The Fine Young Cannibals had, of course, two members of The (English) Beat.

Actually, I didn’t know that either. All I know about The English Beat is that a) every song I know by them is pretty amazing and b) my knife-wielding bipolar ex-girlfriend used to get really aggrevated by me calling them The English Beat rather than The Beat. But more fool her, because look where my insistence on US-specific band names has gotten me: I now have two American readers for this blog who are slowly getting more and more alienated with a month of articles on bands that sound like a more polite Gin Blossoms.

Anyway… The Fine Young Cannibals do seem to be the great overlooked band of the past 25 years of British chart history: five top ten singles (when that was still an achievement); a number one album (the same number of #1 albums as Oleta Adams and Paramore); a “Best Band” at the Brit Awards which they promptly responded because of… I have no idea, something to do with Margaret Thatcher… I think she was in charge of Radio 1 playlist policy at the time? Hence “Bust A Move” by Young MC stalling at #71.

The point I’m trying to make whilst being distracted with these cheap zingers is that FYC were a pretty big band for a while: they had a hold over the charts that has translated into absolutely no currency in the music industry since. Nobody’s listing them as an influence, you’re not turning the radio on and going “Oh fuck, not another faux-Fine Young Cannibals act”, nobody’s gonna get that excited if you jump up and kick “She Drives Me Crazy” at karaoke. The sole marker they’ve left behind is a strangehold on Mondeo Pop radio play that exists to this day. Playlist planners struggling to fill up a “no repeat workday” can still rely on “Johnny Come Home” or “Suspicious Minds” to fill up four minutes. And, really, what else would any self-respecting band want to leave behind other than that?

  1. MF
    October 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    nobody’s gonna get that excited if you jump up and kick “She Drives Me Crazy” at karaoke

    I’m going to politely disagree with this. Last year two friends and I got stuck on the way home from Manchester in a shithole called Earlestown after we missed our connecting train and ended up in a pub full of cast members from The Hills Have Eyes (both versions) during their weekly karaoke night where She Drives Me Crazy was performed by a creosoted fat bird and a bloke in a black bomber jacket to scenes of mild delirium.

    The chorus became a call-and-response free for all where pretty much the entire pub, bar the old bloke who was complaining about “n*gger music” during The Power by Snap, joined in doing the HA-HOO-HA-HOO-es in funny voiced unison.

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