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THE LURKERS: SHADOW (BEGGARS BANQUET)

The label Beggars Banquet emerged in the slipstream of new independents like Stiff and Chiswick in the mid ’70s. Over the decades they’ve released music by Gary Numan, The Fall, The Go-Betweens and Bauhaus and also launched a number of subsidiaries including 4AD and XL Recordings, as well as acquiring other labels such as Rough Trade and Matador, these all now coming under the umbrella of the Beggars Group, which can claim to be the biggest independent label network in Europe.

In 1974 though, Beggars Banquet was a single record shop in Earl’s Court in London. It quickly grew into a small chain of stores in the capital and it was in a basement of the Fulham branch that The Lurkers first began to rehearse in 1976.

Mike Stone, who ran this shop, got to know the band and became their manager although he later invited the Beggars owners, Martin Mills and Nick Austin, to step in and take over in this role. They agreed but failed to find the band a record deal so, in the spirit of the times, they hit upon the idea to launch their own label.  Their opening salvo, BEG 1, being The Lurkers’ Shadow and Love Story, or the Free Admission Single as it was dubbed on the sleeve.

Shadow (Beggars Banquet)

Before the year was out, Beggars had also released an album, Streets, with some of the best independent punk/new wave records from ’77 including John Cooper Clarke, The Members, The Exile (from Bishopbriggs) and, of course, The Lurkers. This could be called the first ‘punk’ compilation to come out on a UK label.

By the summer of 1979, Beggars had scored a couple of British #1 singles with Tubeway Army and a solo Gary Numan and in recent years, through XL and Matador, the Beggars Group have had #1 albums in America with Vampire Weekend and Queens of the Stone Age. In between, a number of other artists associated with the network such as The Prodigy and Pixies have had fantastic worldwide success but I still reckon that the run of early singles by The Lurkers: Shadow, Freak Show, Ain’t Got a Clue and I Don’t Need To Tell Her, are right up there with the best of their releases.

Taken from the 1977 documentary Punk in London, this is The Lurkers live with Shadow:


In his biography, God’d Lonely Men, Pete Haynes, aka Manic Esso when he drummed on tracks like Shadow, mentions a recent party held by Beggars that he went along to. ‘It was corporate,’ he wrote. ‘There were chill rooms with toys and games for tall children with beaky faces, glasses, gelled hair and satchels on their backs.’ He concluded: ‘It was a long way from that rehearsal room in Fulham. I thought about Beggar’s at the time, not knowing a lot about music but being in the right place at the right time and there they are now, minus Nick Austin, the company had done well.’

I spoke this week with Pete Haynes. His current version of the band, The Lurkers GLM (that’s three of the original Lurkers who until recently went out under the name God’s Lonely Men) have a very impressive new album, The Future’s Calling, out now on Unlatched Records.

My interview should be uploaded within the next week or so but before then here’s a little extra Lurkers, from Top of the Pops, this is I Don’t Need To Tell Her:

 
For more on The Lurkers GLM. click here.

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