The Lightning Seeds

The Lightning Seeds

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Lightning Seeds

Background = group_or_band
Origin = Liverpool, England
Instruments =
Genre = Alternative rock
Synth Pop
Years_active = 1989–present
Label = Epic
Sony BMG
URL = []
Current_members = Ian Broudie
Simon Rogers
Ali Kane
Martyn Campbell

Past_members = Zak Starkey
Chris Sharrock
Paul Hemmings
Angie Pollack

The Lightning Seeds are an alternative pop/rock band, largely the brainchild of writer, singer and guitarist Ian Broudie. The group has its origins in the English city of Liverpool.

Pre-Lightning Seeds and establishment of the name

Previous to the Lightning Seeds, Broudie was involved with other bands: firstly Big in Japan, followed by Original Mirrors and then Care with Paul Simpson. Big in Japan was effectively a supergroup in reverse, including as it did future members of The KLF, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Frankie Goes to Hollywood among others. [Pete Frame - More Rock Family Trees ISBN 0711968799]


Parting with Simpson over musical differences, Broudie returned to production, for Frazier Chorus and The Icicle Works. In 1989 he began recording alone under the name The Lightning Seeds, breaking through with the shimmery, psychedelic synth pop hit, "Pure", from the album Cloudcuckooland, which made the UK Top 20.

The same year, "Joy" and "All I Want" were also released though they failed to reach the top 100. A moderate amount of success was to be had in the United States, however, where Pure reached the U.S. Billboard top 40. Both "Pure" and "All I Want" would also reach the Modern Rock Tracks top 10.


In 1991, Broudie returned to song-writing, laying down a number of tracks for a new album. However before its release, Rough Trade, the distributor for Ghetto collapsed leading to the band being sold on to Virgin Records.

"Sense" featured the song "The Life of Riley", written for his son. The song was a minor hit at the time reaching #28 on the UK singles chart but would later become much more well known after the instrumental version was adopted by the BBC's Match Of The Day programme for use as the theme for the "Goal of the Month" competition. It was this that would later prompt the FA to approach Broudie to produce a song for the England national football team.

"Sense" would mark Broudie's first Lightning Seeds song-writing collaborations with former Specials singer Terry Hall. In years to come, it would prove a fruitful partnership. The album's title track "Sense", co written with Hall, would achieve some chart success, reaching #31 in the UK. Despite this, Virgin began to lose interest in the band as a result of poor sales of the album, which stagnated at #53 in the charts. The Lightning Seeds were subsequently dropped from the label.

Rise to popularity

Fortunes would change, however, when Epic agreed to sign the band on the condition that Broudie increase production effort on The Lightning Seeds, putting work with other bands on the backburner and embarking on live tours.


By the end of 1993, Broudie was applying the finishing touches to "Jollification", The Lightning Seeds' new album, which would see contributions from Terry Hall and Simon Rogers as well as Ian McNabb. However the time had come to assemble band members for a live tour. Chris Sharrock and Paul Hemmings, both ex-La's, former Rain bass guitarist Martyn Campbell and keyboardist Ali Kane were recruited as in August 1994, the new Lightning Seeds touring line up hit the road.

The tour seemed to benefit sales of the second single to be released from the album, "Change". Reaching #13 in the charts, it gave The Lightning Seeds their second UK top twenty hit. The band would continue in this vein, "Jollification" becoming a critical success [ Lightning Seeds website - links to reviews] and spawning several hit singles, including "Lucky You," "Marvellous" and "Perfect." Its cover, designed by Mark Farrow, featured the then innovative use of computer graphics to create an enormous strawberry with people's faces as its seeds. The sleeve for "Change" was a strawberry wearing a Groucho Marx nose, glasses and moustache set.

"Dizzy Heights" and "Three Lions"

Now a chart success, The Lightning Seeds could afford to purchase their own recording studio, Eel Pie Studios - a barge on the River Thames - from Pete Townshend of The Who. This was a long way from 1992 when Broudie was recording in his brother's front room after splitting with his girlfriend [ Lightning Seeds biography] ] .

During this period, a number of songs were recorded for the fourth studio album. One of these, "Ready Or Not", was released as a single in anticipation of the forthcoming "Dizzy Heights". It scored the band yet another top twenty hit, scraping in at #20.

Production of the album was halted however, as in 1996 the Lightning Seeds provided the music and production for the official England anthem for the Euro '96 football tournament. The FA had contacted Broudie asking whether he would like to do the song though he did not initially accept. Later that evening, after seeing an episode of Fantasy Football, Broudie called back and agreed on the condition that comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel write the lyrics. The success of the English national football team at the tournament would ensure that the song, "Three Lions", became the band's first Number 1 in the UK singles chart. The song would become much bigger than anyone involved could have imagined, becoming a constant terrace chant not only in the UK but abroad, including Germany where the single, complete with new video, reached #16 after Euro '96.

When production of "Dizzy Heights" resumed, Martyn and Sharrock recorded live bass guitar and drums respectively to complement the melodic loops which had previously been laid down. The resulting 'feel' reflected the live sound which the band had developed through extensive touring .

The Lightning Seeds maintained their popularity, enjoying three more UK Top 20 hits, including a cover version of The Turtles "You Showed Me," which became the act's biggest non-football hit.

"Like You Do"

In 1996 and 1997 the band's line-up changed. Chris Sharrock left to work with World Party on their "Egyptology" album and was subsequently replaced by Mat Priest of Dodgy. Angie Pollock, who had worked with Shakespears Sister and Terry Hall, replaced Ali Kane on keyboards.

1997 saw the release of greatest hits compilation "Like You Do" and a UK tour to promote it. "What You Say", one of two new songs included with the compilation, was released and narrowly failed to chart in the top forty. Part way through the tour, Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr, replaced Mat Priest on drums. Starkey has since gone on to drum with The Who, and also joined Oasis for their most recent album and tour.

"Three Lions 98"

For the most part of 1998, things were rather quiet. However the band were kept busy by recording a second version of Three Lions; "Three Lions 98" was cut for the World Cup in France, featuring a re-written lyric; again, it went to Number 1. It would become the first song ever to top the charts on two separate occasions with different sets of lyrics, despite the fact it was not officially endorsed by the FA this time round. That honour went to England United with their song "(How Does It Feel to Be) On Top of the World" (which, incidentally, was produced by Ian McCulloch, one of Broudie's writing partners) that would only chart at #9 [ [ England's Euro 2004 Song Released] ] .

The Lightning Seeds also headlined Glastonbury and the V Festival in 1998.


The Lightning Seeds burst back onto the scene in 1999 with new album "Tilt". A more dance orientated affair, it featured collaborations with Stephen Jones (Babybird) and Mark Cullen of Fixed Stars. The album yielded two singles - the first, "Life's Too Short" was heralded as "one of the band's strongest singles to date" by Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles but would chart at a modest 27. "Sweetest Soul Sensations" would also chart disappointingly at 67, mainly due to lack of Radio 1 airplay and the fact that major record stores would not stock the single but also poor B-side selection [ [ Lightning - biography] ] .

The new Millennium saw The Lightning Seeds playing alongside Space and Stereophonics at Cream 2000. Rumours, however, began to spread that the band were about to split up. Indeed, Broudie confirmed in the Liverpool Echo that The Lightning Seeds were to take an elongated break after a final gig at Liverpool's L2.

Quiet period, reformation and new material

Since the turn of the century, the act took a back seat as Broudie concentrated on producing the works of other bands, most notably The Coral, I Am Kloot and The Zutons. In 2004, Broudie released his first proper solo album, "Tales Told", his first since the Lightning Seeds' more dance-focused "Tilt" of 1999, although it failed to emulate the band's previous success.

The band would return to release their second greatest hits album, "The Very Best of the Lightning Seeds" on 12 June 2006 followed by a re-release of "Three Lions" (which charted at #9) to coincide with the England World Cup campaign. Summer 2006 saw Broudie forming a new Lightning Seeds line-up for a number of gigs and festival appearances, in which the show-stopper "Three Lions" featured the lyric change "forty years of hurt".

In 2007, Broudie appeared on Ken Bruce's PopMaster BBC Radio 2 show during which he announced that he was writing and producing more material. He did not confirm whether this would be a solo project or under the Lightning Seeds name, though he strongly suggested that he would be releasing new material in 2008. [ [ Seeds Chords - Lightning Seeds News] ]

In June 2008, Ian Broudie confirmed that the Lightning Seeds will be reforming for an album to be released under Universal's Stage Three Records. As yet no date has been set but a 2009 release is "likely". [ [ Planet Sound - Lightning strikes twice] ]


In 2002 Italian dance producer Alex Farolfi sampled "You Showed Me" for his first solo single "Burnin'", featuring Corinna Joseph.

Despite receiving airplay on college and alternative radio, the Lightning Seeds placed only two singles on the US charts. "Pure" reached #31 in 1990, and "The Life of Riley" reached #98 in 1992.



* 1989 "Cloudcuckooland" #50 UK, #46 US
* 1992 "Sense" #53 UK, #154 US
* 1994 "Jollification" #12 UK
* 1996 "Pure" (compilation) #27 UK
* 1996 "Dizzy Heights" #11 UK
* 1997 "Like You Do... Best of the Lightning Seeds" (compilation) #5 UK
* 1999 "Tilt" #46 UK
* 2004 "" (compilation)
* 2006 "The Very Best of the Lightning Seeds" "(compilation)" #33 UK

Chart history


External links

* [ The Works of Ian Broudie & The Lightning Seeds]
* [ Official Web site of Ian Broudie and The Lightning Seeds] (not updated since 2006)
* [ French Page about The Lightning Seeds]

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