Late-seventies Liverpool again… and one of my favourite singles of all time. Pete Wylie might not have had the public acclaim of his erstwhile bandmates Ian McCulloch and Julian Cope but he was arguably the most talented of a supremely talented trio. He certainly thought so.
When I last saw him live, in 2004, he told a story of how John Peel once told him he could have been the most successful too, if only he had spent less time in the pub talking about how big he was going to be – and more time getting out there and doing it.
Better Scream is built around a monumental guitar riff that has always reminded me of Ringo Starr’s song It Don’t Come Easy, and one of those basslines that sticks in your head.
Wylie’s vocal, meanwhile, exudes the kind of swaggering confidence, bordering on arrogance, that is/was his stock in trade and bought Bono an entire career.
Wylie’s biog on Allmusic pays him the following barbed compliment: “Whether viewed as a prolific genius or as a blowhard lunatic with no quality control, there’s no denying that the larger-than-life Wylie was a steamroller of a character who did everything his way to the fullest possible extent.”
That’s true and he is, of course, both those things; he’s far from the first. And this song, I’m pleased to find, hasn’t aged a bit since I bought it in 1979 in its excellent picture sleeve.
I’m now looking forward to seeing him next month, in the latest incarnation of Wah! Heat.