Categories fans features singles

Series: Collecting the Mechanics Part 1: The Singles

Here at MR Net, it is always our pleasure to get to feature articles and reviews from other fans. Over the coming months we will be sharing a short series of features on the collecting aspect of fandom.

Words and photos by Alan Hewitt of The Waiting Room.

mechanics-singles-1

Another Cup Of Coffee/The Living Years-How Long-Every Day Hurts (Medley) UK single with art box (1995)

Fans are a peculiar lot, aren’t they?  Whatever you are a fan of, there are so many areas in which you can exercise your desire to be the ultimate anorak.  If you are a music fan, then there are perhaps even more than average opportunities for anorak-y behaviour and these features will demonstrate a couple of those for you here.

Fans of the Mechanics have had no shortage of interesting bits and pieces to collect over the years, not least in terms of singles, and I will place the emphasis here on the UK output by the band simply because I have never collected overseas variants of releases,  mainly because they have never (with one exception which is included here for completeness’ sake) contained any material which has not been available in the UK and although they are often housed in very attractive sleeves, it is the music that matters here at TWR HQ.

Anyway, the band’s story begins as we all know in 1985 with the release of the self- titled first album which was preceded by a single : Silent Running.  The single was eventually released twice in the UK, the second time after it had been used in the film Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) and the second time it sported a cover featuring a still from the promotional video for the single.  In both cases, the tracks were the same, with the A side being accompanied by the album track, I Get The Feeling.  The single was also released here as a 10” picture disc which featured the non-album instrumental track Too far Gone.

Silent Running/I Get The Feeling
UK 7” single U8908.  (PS)
Release Date: 9.10.85  / Chart Pos: 21.
Silent Running/I Get The Feeling
UK 7” single U 8908  (PS)
Release Date:  ?.10.85 / Chart Pos:  –
Silent Running/I Get The Feeling/Too Far Gone
UK 10” picture disc
Release Date: 9.10.85 / Chart Pos: –

The band’s fortunes took off in the US before they really did in the UK but nonetheless, the band did release a second single here in the summer of 1986, the magnificent All I Need Is A Miracle.  This one was given the honour of a seven inch, and a twelve inch picture disc edition but sadly, the effort did not result in a higher chart position than its predecessor.

All I Need Is A Miracle/You Are The One 
UK 7” single U8765 (PS)
Release Date: 10.5.86 / Chart Pos 53
All I Need Is A Miracle (Remix) You Are The One/A Call To Arms
UK 12” picture disc U8765T
Release Date: 10.5.86 / Chart Pos –

By the time the band got round to releasing their next album in the autumn of 1988, the compact disc format had begun to make serious inroads into record sales and the band  were to begin to release singles on this format as well as on vinyl for the next few years.  The Living Years was to be the album that established The Mechanics as a major international act and that song was to receive heavy airplay here in the UK and worldwide and was to be released as a single, but not as the debut from the album.

That honour went to Nobody’s Perfect, which was released in three different formats: 7”, 12” and the newfangled 3” CD  format, with the only  collectable track being the extended version of the A side which featured on the last two formats.

Nobody’s Perfect/Nobody Knows mechanics-singles-4
UK 7” single  U7789 (PS)
Release Date: 17.10.88 / Chart Pos: –
Nobody’s Perfect/Nobody Knows/All I Need Is A Miracle
UK 12” single U7789T (PS)
Release Date: 17.10.88 / Chart Pos –
Nobody’s Perfect/Nobody’s Perfect (Extended)/Nobody Knows
UK 3” CD single U7789CD
Release Date: 17.10.88 / Chart Pos –

The irresistible success of Living  Years ensured that it was eventually released as the follow-up single appearing  in January 1989.  Once again the single appeared in three formats: 7”, 12” vinyl and 3” CD, with the collectable tracks being the non-album Too Many Friends and a  live version of I Get The Feeling.

Living Years/Too Many Friendsmechanics-singles-5
UK 7” single (PS) U7717
Release Date: 27.1.89 / Chart Pos: 2
Living Years/Too Many Friends/I Get The Feeling  (Live)
UK 12” single (PS) U7717T
Release Date: 27.1.89 / Chart Pos –
Living Years/Too Many Friends/I Get The Feeling (Live)
UK 3” CD single (PS) U7717CD
Release Date: 27.1.89 / Chart Pos: –

Nobody Knows  was the final single to be released from the album and once again it was released on all three formats, 7”, 12” and the newfangled 3” CD single here in the UK  The only collectable track on the three versions was the extended version of the A side which appeared on the 12” version.

Nobody Knows/Why Me   mechanics-singles-6
UK 7” single  U7789  (PS) U7602
Release Date: ?.4.89 / Chart Pos: –
Nobody Knows/Why Me/Nobody’s Perfect 
UK 12” single (PS) U7602T
Release Date: ?.4.89 / Chart Pos: –
Nobody Knows/Why Me/Nobody  Knows (Extended)
UK 3” CD  single  U7602CD
Release Date: ?.4.89 / Chart Pos: –

A further collectable release by the band appeared in the US A and Spain in the summer of 1989.  The Mechanics had been engaged to produce a cover version of the Lennon/Mc Cartney classic Revolution as part of the soundtrack to a film by US comedy duo Cheech & Chong.  The single was released as a 7” single in both territories with a one track promo CD version also being released in America.

mechanics-singles-14Revolution/Leave Love  Behind 
US 7” single  (PS) 7-69283
Release Date: 1989 / Chart Pos: –
Revolution
US CD promo single PR 80972
Release Date: 1989 / Chart Pos: –
Revolution/Revolution
7” Single  Spain  (PS)
Release Date: 1.1.49 1989 / Chart Pos: –

A three year hiatus followed before the band returned with their third album, Word Of Mouth.  Mike had to get his skates on with this one as he was due to return to the Genesis fold for work on the follow up to 1986’s hugely successful Invisible Touch album. Despite the album being (by Mike’s own admission) something of a struggle, the material on it contains some of the fans’ favourite tracks, not least being the first single from the album which was the album’s title track. The album was also the first by the band to be released on the Virgin Records imprint.

This was to be released in two formats.  CD having replaced vinyl to a greater extent, there was no 12” variant of this single but instead a two part CD single was issued along with the standard 7” vinyl release.

Word Of Mouth/Let’s Pretend It Didn’t Happen
UK 7” single  (PS) VS- 1345
Release Date: 4.3.91 / Chart Pos: 13.mechanics-singles-9
Word Of Mouth/Let’s Pretend It Didn’t Happen
UK CD single (PS) VSCD 1345
Release Date: 4.3.91 / Chart Pos: –
Word Of Mouth/Taken In (Live)/Let’s Pretend It Didn’t Happen 
UK Ltd Edn  numbered CD single (PS) VSCDX 1345
Release Date: 4.3.91 / Chart Pos: –

Next up was A Time And Place which once again  was released on two formats, 7” vinyl and CD. Collectors may be forgiven  for giving this one a wide birth as it contains the worst “bonus” track ever to (dis)grace a Mechanics single, the awful East West mix of Word Of Mouth.  Not that the attempt to get down with the kids did the band any good, as the single failed to dent the top twenty.mechanics-singles-3

A Time And Place/Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow
UK 7” single  (PS) VS 1351
Release Date: 27.5.91 / Chart Pos: 58.
A Time And Place/Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow/Word of Mouth (East West Mix)
UK Ltd Edn photo wallet CD VSCDX 1351
Release Date: 27.5.91 / Chart Pos: –

The next single from the album presents fans with something of a mystery. Get Up was the chosen track and CD and vinyl editions of it were pressed up, but for reasons still unknown, the pressing was withdrawn from circulatiomechanics-singles-8n making copies of either variant very collectable

Get Up/I Think I’ve Got The Message
UK 7” single (PS)  VS 1359
Release Date: ?.5.91 / Chart Pos: –
Get Up/I Think I’ve Got the Message/Before The Next Heartache Falls
UK CD single (PS)  VSCDG 1359
Release Date: ?.5.91 / Chart Pos: –

The fourth single from the album was to be Stop Baby, which once again appeared  in two formats, 7” vinyl  and CD with the CD being split into two parts over a digipak edition effectively replacing  the old 12” vinyl format.  The non-album B side from the abortive Get Up single was recycled here instead. A great song but one which did not enter the UK charts.

Stop Baby/Get Up
UK 7” single  (PS) VS 1376 mechanics-singles-7
Release Date: 30.9.91 / Chart Pos: –
Stop Baby/Get Up/Before The next Heartache Falls
UK CD Single (PS) VSCDG1376
Release Date: 30.9.91 / Chart Pos: –
Stop Baby/I Think I’ve Got The Message/My Crime Of Passion (Acoustic Version)
UK CD Single  (PS) VSCDX 1376
Release Date: 30.9.91 / Chart Pos: –

The last single to appear from the album was Everybody Gets A Second Chance.  Now conforming to the two format release, this one  appeared as a 7” vinyl and 2 CD edition.

Everybody Gets A Second Chance/The Way You Look At Me  mechanics-singles-2
UK 7” single (PS)   VS 1396
Release Date: 27.1.92 / Chart Pos:  –
Everybody Gets A Second Chance/the Way You Look At Me/At The End Of The Day
UK CD single (PS) VSCD 1396
Release Date: 27.1.92 / Chart Pos: –
The second limited edition CD version was housed in a large format box and came with sheet music for the A side.

1995 was to see the return of the Mechanics with the enormously successful A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold album which spawned a whole series of highly successful  singles beginning with Over My Shoulder, a tune which just about everyone was whistling here in the UK in 1994!  This was also to be the last single by the band to be issued as a vinyl edition.

mechanics-singles-10Over My Shoulder/Something To Believe In
UK 7” single (PS)  VS 1526
Release Date: 13.2.95 / Chart Pos: 15
Over My Shoulder/Something To Believe In/Always The Last To Know
UK CD single  (PS) VSCDG 1526
Release Date: 13.2.95 / Chart Pos: –
Over My Shoulder/Something To Believe In/Word Of Mouth/Over My Shoulder (Live)
UK CD single (PS)  VSCDX 1526
Release Date: 20.2.95 / Chart Pos: –

The album’s title track was issued as the next single in the summer of 1995 and both this and its successor proved that the band had no shortage of great material as the non-album tracks which graced the discs showed.

Beggar On A Beach Of Gold (Edit)/Help Me/Nobody Told Me mechanics-singles-12
UK CD single (PS)  VSCDT 1535
Release Date: 6.7.95 / Chart Pos ;-
Beggar On A Beach Of Gold /Boys At The Front/Little Boy/Beggar On A Beach Of Gold (Acoustic)
UK CD single (PS) VSCDX 1535
Release Date: 6.7.95 / Chart Pos: –

The third single from the album was another of those tracks which these days you would call ear worms. Another Cup Of mechanics-singles-13Coffee was to prove to be ever bit as catchy and hummable as its predecessor and once again the band saw themselves gracing Top Of The Pops to perform it !

Another Cup Of Coffee/You Never Change/You Don’t Know What Love Is
UK CD single  (PS) VSCDG 1554
Release Date: 21.8.95 / Chart Pos;  18
Another Cup Of  Coffee/The Living Years-How Long-Every Day Hurts (Medley)
UK CD Single (PS) VSCDX 1554
Release Date: 21.8.95 / Chart Pos: –
This edition was housed in an artwork box with a series of band photos.

With the profile of the band being so high here in the UK, their record label opted to capitalise on that by issuing a Hits compilation in the spring of 1996 to tie in with a UK tour.  From that release two singles were released although  neither of them troubled the boy band dominated charts of the time.

First of these was a remixed version of the 1985 classic, All I Need Is A Miracle which was issued as a two part CD release

mechanics-singles-17All I Need Is A Miracle ’96//The Way You Look At Me/ At The End Of The Day
UK CD single  (PS) VSCDG 1576
Release Date: 5.2.96   Chart Pos: –
All I Need Is A Miracle ’96/Get Up (Live)/Over My Shoulder (Live)/All I Need Is A Miracle ’96 (Radio Edit) UK CD Single (PS)  VSCDX 1576
Release Date: 5.2.96 / Chart Pos: –
Silent Running /Stop Baby/Plain & Simple
UK CD Single (PS) VSCDT 1585
Release Date: ?.4.96 / Chart Pos; –

1999 was to be the next outing for the band and the last for Paul Young who sadly died in the summer of 2000 meaning that the M6 album as it was humorously titled, was his swansong with the band and two singles from it were release during the course of 1999.

The first of these preceded the release of the album  by a week and as was by now the norm, it was released  as a two part CD edition.

Now That You’ve Gone (Radio Edit)/ A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold ((Live)/Silent Running (Live)mechanics-singles-16
UK CD Single (PS)  VSCD  1732
Release Date: 24.5.99  / Chart Pos: –
Now That You’ve Gone/I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)/ (Live)/ Word Of Mouth (Live) UK CD Single VSCDX 1732
Release Date: 24.5.99 / Chart Pos: –

The final commercial single to be released by the band  followed on from this one in the summer of 1999 and was Whenever I Stop, once again issued as a two part CD.

Whenever I Stop/ Now That You’ve Gone (Live)/ Whenever I Stop (Unplugged) 
UK CD Single  (PS)  VSCDT 1743 mechanics-singles-15
Release Date: 4.7.99 /  Chart Pos: –
Whenever I Stop/Ordinary Girl (Unplugged)/My Little Island (Live)
UK CD Single (PS)  VSCDX  1743
Release Date: 4.7.99  / Chart Pos: –

The band eventually reconvened in 2004 to record what for most fans is the weakest Mechanics album, 2004’s Rewired.  No commercial singles were issued from it, although a one track radio promo was issued at the time of the album’s release.

One Left Standing (Radio Edit)          mechanics-singles-19
MMPCPR01 2004

The band effectively imploded after the release of Rewired and both Mike and Paul Carrack went their separate ways.

In 2010, Mike decided to reconstitute the band and recruited Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar for 2011’s The Road album.  Sadly no single was issued  from this one and so at present, this brings the story of Mechanics singles to an end.


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