Lost But Not Forgotten: Big Country

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The 80’s gave birth to many genres: synth-pop, hardcore, post-punk–just to name a few. But you couldn’t discuss the music of the 1980’s without an inquiry into new wave– it’s when the genre really took off. Bands like The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, and The Cure countered the overly twee synth-pop and mega-Madonna-pop-star movements with a culture entirely of their own. John Hughes films such as Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink popularized teen melancholy and individuality, revamping the old jocks-versus-greasers melodrama that was heavily prevalent in the 1950’s. These bands wrote introspective music with heavily effected guitars, electric drums, and unique melodies. From the ashes of the Scottish punk-rock band, The Skids, arose Big Country. Big Country is an 80’s new wave band that unfortunately gets lost between the Wang Chung and Taco LP’s in the discount bin. They were known for their highly engineered guitar production, Scottish influence, and their contemplative lyrics. Never really attaining popularity in the U.S. (with the exception of “In a Big Country”), the Scottish boys became a big “opening-act’ go-to for rock titans like The Rolling Stones and The Who. Not content with second place, lead singer/guitarist, Stuart Adamson, began struggling with alcoholism that eventually led to a divorce. After the commercial failure of 1999’s Driving to Damascus, Adamson fell into a deeper spell of depression and disappeared from the tabloids. In 2000, Adamson resurfaced and the band toured for one last time before the troubled singer succumbed to depression and committed suicide in November 2001. And although the band was never played next to the likes of Madonna and Prince, Big Country’s underdog legacy is ironically equitable to the queen of pop’s and the the artist formerly known.

-Ryan

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