The Fall have been many things in their nearly 40 year career—genre defying; the most prolific band of the British post-punk movement; some kind of Northern English magical realism; always different; always the same.
They've released over 30 studio albums, as many live and compilation albums, gone through more than 60 line-up changes, and were the late, great BBC disc jockey John Peel's favourite band. Need I say more. Probably.
With the death this week of their enigmatic vocalist and only enduring member Mark E. Smith, The Fall's long tenure may have finally come to an end. And the British music scene will be worse off for it.
I first came across the fall as a devoted listener of John Peel's Radio 1 show in my teenage years. They were his favourite band but they weren't a band I fell in love with straightaway. I was and I still am a bigger fan of John Peel — find a copy of the Fabric 07 compilation album if you want to hear John Peel at his curatorial best; but The Fall aren't a band you're supposed like straightaway sometimes I don't think they're a band you're supposed to like at all. They're an elusive band who are always on the edge of things, just around the corner. The sort of band you hear people talking about but are never sure whether you've heard their music or not. And it wasn't until my mid 20's that I began to find their music and really appreciate them. The Rough Trade record shop in Neals Yard, Covent Garden, was one of the places The Fall could be found without too much effort, they'd signed to Rough Trade in the 80's, and their albums were always on display somewhere in that shop.
The Fall aren't a band who are easy to define, it's best to just listening to them. So here you go this is one of my favourites, maybe you'll love, maybe you won't, I guess that's The Fall for you. At least now you'll know you've listened to them.
RIP Mark E. Smith.