In 1992, The Wedding Present released a limited edition single every month, each featuring an original track on the A side and a cover on the B side. The tracks were compiled on two albums: Hit Parade 1 (released in June 1992) containing the first six 7” tracks, and Hit Parade 2 (released January 1993) containing the final six.
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the two albums will be brought together to be reissued on double vinyl and double CD sets. Both come with brand-new artwork encompassing all of the sleeves from the original 7” releases. It will be released on 2 September but can be pre-ordered now from https://TWP.lnk.to/TheHitParade.
The Hit Parade was an audacious plan for The Wedding Present – coming, as it did, after three critically acclaimed studio albums: George Best (1987), Bizarro (1989) and Seamonsters (1991). But any fears that the project would fail were blown away when all twelve singles went on to chart in the UK Top 40, equalling a record set by Elvis Presley in 1957 for most hits in a year.
15,000 copies of each single were pressed and most of them sold out within days of release in a campaign that was met with huge acclaim from critics and the public alike.
David Gedge looks back:
“We only thought about doing the Hit Parade in November, 1991. When our bass player, Keith, first came up with the idea, we all got so excited about it that none of us wanted to wait fourteen months before starting! So we didn’t really have any kind of strategy in place until after we’d started writing the songs. In hindsight, it probably would’ve been wiser to have them all written and recorded and ready to go, but then that sounds a little bit cynical and calculated. We liked the idea of the spontaneity and we thought the song-writing might evolve over the year, too.
“The fact that each of them was a hit single was an exciting by-product, but we did have this feeling that we wouldn’t let the project take over what we do… which is write songs and make records. If we’d have felt that we were continuing the project just because we wanted to have hit singles, I’m confident that we would’ve just ended the series. Naturally, we quickly began to anticipate that they might all be hits but, if you listen to some of the later ones, they don’t sound even remotely poppy or commercial. If they hadn’t’ve all been hits it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.
“By the middle of the year, we were starting to get worried that possibly the music was being overlooked because the series had become so successful. We’d be saying, “The project is all very exciting and everything but there are actually some quite good songs in there as well, if you’d care to listen!”
“We had the agreement between us that if we felt that the music was suffering, we would stop the series there and then because it wasn’t that important to us. But we never reached that point; I’m very proud of all of the releases.”
As well as celebrating the 30th anniversary of Hit Parade through this reissue, The Wedding Present are currently undertaking the same task this year as they did in 1992 and are, consequently, part way through their 24 Songs campaign – again releasing a 7” single every month this year. Once again, this has been met with gusto – read more here.
They will be continuing to tour as a full band through August and September but then ‘An Evening In Conversation With David Lewis Gedge’ features stripped-back semi-acoustic shows. All dates below and tickets are available from www.theweddingpresent.co.uk
The Wedding Present: Seamonsters Anniversary Tour
18: Bury St Edmunds - Apex
19: Barnsley - Birdwell Venue
20: Castleton [Derbyshire] - Peak Cavern
25: Bury - Met
26: Lytham St Annes - Lowther Pavilion
27: Huddersfield - Parish
23: Sheffield - Leadmill
24: Frome - Cheese And Grain
An Evening In Conversation With David Lewis Gedge
09: Dartington - New Lion Brewery
10: Cardiff - Acapela Studio
11: Manchester - the Louder Than Words festival at the Innside Hotel
12: Newcastle upon Tyne - Gosforth Civic Theatre
13: Glasgow - Glee Club
14: Leeds - Brudenell Social Club
15: Wolverhampton - Bilston Town Hall
16: Nottingham - Metronome
17: Walthamstow - Rock 'N' Roll Book Club at the Trades Hall
18: Stowmarket - John Peel Centre
19: Kingston upon Thames - PRYZM
20: Southampton - Turner Sims