Crucial Three

Crucial Three
The Crucial Three
Origin Liverpool, England
Genres Post-punk, Alternative rock
Years active 1977
Associated acts The Teardrop Explodes
Echo & the Bunnymen
Past members
Julian Cope
Ian McCulloch
Pete Wylie
Stephen Spence

The Crucial Three were a short-lived band that existed for approximately six weeks in early 1977. They nevertheless achieved notoriety on account of the individual success of all three founding members: Julian Cope formed The Teardrop Explodes and has enjoyed a long and successful solo career as an author, photographer and singer, Ian McCulloch formed the very successful Echo & the Bunnymen, while guitarist Pete Wylie formed Wah! Heat (and its various subsequent incarnations based around Wah!) and enjoyed major chart success with "The Story of the Blues". In those early days, McCulloch sang, Cope played bass, and Wylie played guitar. A drummer, Stephen Spence, also joined at some point in their brief life.


The band

The band formed in May 1977 and split in June 1977.

According to Cope, the three friends first talked about forming a band on McCulloch's 18th birthday, 5 May 1977, during The Clash's White Riot tour date at Eric's; "By the end of the evening, we were a group. It was all Wylie's trip. He suggested Arthur Hostile & The Crucial Three. Duke [McCulloch] said, 'Sod the bloody Arthur Hostile bit off, it's crap.' So we were The Crucial Three. Wylie went on about how legendary we would be, and Duke and I went along with him, as part of the in-joke."[1]

Although they wrote and rehearsed a number of songs (Wylie claims they had four songs), including "Salomine Shuffle" (which was performed by Wylie in an abbreviated form at The Zanzibar in Liverpool in September 2007) and "Bloody Sure You're On Dope", the band didn't last long enough to record anything. They rehearsed in a garage with drummer Steve Spence and split up after a month[2] but some other accounts mention rehearsing in Wylie's mum's front room.[citation needed] According to McCulloch, the band were "...just mates - we never did anything. We wrote one crap song."[3]

After the band

Some of the band's songs have seen the light of day posthumously, most notably the Cope/McCulloch collaboration "Books", which appeared on both The Teardrop Explodes's and Echo & the Bunnymen's respective first albums (although the Bunnymen version is titled "Read It in Books"). "Robert Mitchum", another Cope/McCulloch collaboration, appeared on Cope's 1990 album Skellington. The song "Spacehopper" from Cope's solo album Saint Julian was also written during his time in the band, allegedly with some help from McCulloch.[4]

After the Crucial Three, Julian Cope and Pete Wylie formed The Nova Mob, a conceptual band named after a gang mentioned in William Burroughs' novel 'Nova Express'. Recruiting punk friend Griff and future Siouxsie and the Banshees's drummer Budgie, the Nova Mob were goaded into headlining at Liverpool's top punk club, Eric's. The show was a disaster according to observers and Budgie left to join Big in Japan, at which point the band split up. Julian Cope briefly formed an experimental group called The Hungry Types, and then formed Uh? with Ian McCulloch and McCulloch's school friend Dave Pickett. McCulloch left after the band's first and only gig. Cope and McCulloch formed their last band A Shallow Madness in early 1978, along with organist Paul Simpson and Dave Pickett, now on drums.[2] A rehearsal recording of "Books" as performed by A Shallow Madness appears on the 2004 The Teardrop Explodes rarities collection Zoology.

A Shallow Madness featured the original Teardrop Explodes line up of Julian Cope, Paul Simpson, Dave Pickett and Mick Finkler, plus Ian McCulloch. The latter's non-attendance at rehearsals led to Cope taking over vocals and thus The Teardrop Explodes was born.[3] The Teardrop Explodes's 1981 album, Wilder, features the song "The Culture Bunker", which references Cope's former band with the lines "...waiting for The Crucial Three...wondering what went wrong."

The well publicized animosity between Cope and McCulloch finally reached a boiling point when Cope fired McCulloch's friend Mick Finkler from The Teardrop Explodes.[5]

Drummer Steve Spence pursued a career in advertising, and now works as a Creative Director in London.

References in popular culture

The memory of the Crucial Three was revived in 2004 by BBC Radio 2 DJ Mark Radcliffe whose show featured a nightly quiz of the same name, until it ended on 5 April 2007. The quiz was introduced on alternate evenings with recorded announcements by McCulloch and Cope.

External links

Augusta LaPaix, host of Brave New Waves (a mix of new music, interviews, conversation and literary readings, debuted on CBC Stereo in February 1984) profiles the Crucial Three. Broadcast Date: Dec. 12, 1984.


  1. ^ Cope, J., (1994), Head-On: Memories of the Liverpool Punk-scene and the story of The Teardrop Explodes (1976-82). Thorsons ISBN 0-7225-3882-0
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Mark., (1982), Liverpool Explodes!. Sidgwick & Jackson ISBN 0-283-98866-5
  3. ^ a b Fletcher, T., (1987), Never Stop: The Echo & The Bunnymen Story. Omnibus Press ISBN 0-7119-1121-5
  4. ^ Another Third Of The Crucial Three
  5. ^ Ian Pye talks to Teardrop Explodes’ Julian Cope

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Crucial — may refer to: Crucial Technology, a brand used by semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology The Crucial Conspiracy, an album by The Dingees The Crucial Squeegie Lip, a recording by Ween Crucial Three, a short lived band, several of whose… …   Wikipedia

  • Crucial Conflict discography — Crucial Conflict discography Releases ↙Studio albums 3 ↙Compilation albums 1 …   Wikipedia

  • Crucial Conflict — Birth name Daniel Tosh Origin Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Genres Hip hop Years active 1995–1999 2007–present …   Wikipedia

  • Three-dimensional space — is a geometric model of the physical universe in which we live. The three dimensions are commonly called length, width, and depth (or height), although any three mutually perpendicular directions can serve as the three dimensions. A three… …   Wikipedia

  • Three Guineas — is a book length essay by Virginia Woolf, published in June 1938. Woolf wrote the essay to answer three questions, each from a different society:*From an anti war society: How should war be prevented? *From a women s college building fund: Why… …   Wikipedia

  • Three Lions — Infobox Single Name = Three Lions Artist = Baddiel Skinner Lightning Seeds Released = 16 May 1996 8 June 1998 ( Three Lions 98 ) 3 June 2002 5 June 2006 Format = CD …   Wikipedia

  • Three 6 Mafia discography — This is the discography of Three 6 Mafia, an American hip hop group.Albumstudio* Mystic Stylez **Released: May 25 1995 **Chart positions: 59 R B **RIAA certification: **U.S. sales: 200,000+* **Released: December 3 1996 **Chart positions: 126… …   Wikipedia

  • Three Block War — The Three Block War is a concept described by General Charles Krulak in the late 1990s to illustrate the complex spectrum of challenges likely to be faced by soldiers on the modern battlefield. In Krulak s example, soldiers may be required to… …   Wikipedia

  • Three Hearts and Three Lions — Infobox Book | name = Three Hearts and Three Lions title orig = translator = image caption = Cover of 1962 Avon edition author = Poul Anderson illustrator = cover artist = country = United States language = English series = genre = Fantasy novel… …   Wikipedia

  • Three-dimensional integrated circuit — In electronics, a three dimensional integrated circuit (3D IC, 3D IC, or 3 D IC) is a chip in which two or more layers of active electronic components are integrated both vertically and horizontally into a single circuit. The semiconductor… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”