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Supergrass to split after 17 years

I realise I’m showing my age but I was a little saddened when I heard this news. And then I got to thinking how criminally underappreciated they’ve been over the years. People only mention Pulp, Blur, Oasis and The Verve when they talk about music of any lasting value from the Britpop era but I think Supergrass’ best stuff (Richard III, Moving, Sun Hits The Sky) is right up there with anything released in the mid to late 1990s.

Unfortunately they shot themselves in the foot right at the start of their career with that bloody Alright song. You know the one. “We are young, we run free / Keep our teeth, nice and clean / See our friends, see the sights, feel alright”. Its relentless chirpiness, not to mention the accompanying video in which they frolicked on bicycles and a big bed, made them seem like a ‘90s version of The Monkees.

In fact, if the rumours are to be believed, that’s exactly what Steven Spielberg was thinking when he saw it and offered them megabucks to make a knockabout TV series. Supergrass might have been a good laugh but they were also a serious band and were rightly horrified at being taken for a cartoon. So how did they react? Not only by turning Spielberg down flat but by making an album called In It For The Money which featured them dressed as old tramps on the cover.

No matter that it’s an absolute corker of a record (their best, in my opinion), their little joke wrong-footed the public and although it sold respectably, it didn’t build on the success of their debut. They recorded some great songs after that point, some of which were moderate hits, but their momentum never really recovered. I suppose what I’m saying is they could have been absolutely, internationally huge.

But then again, perhaps it’s better that never happened. Their official statement (“Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years – we still love each other but, cliche notwithstanding, musical differences have led to us moving on and of course we all wish each other well in the future") suggests their friendships and collective sense of humour remain intact.

Some things are more important than money.


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