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The Bunnymen in Hamburg, March 1983
The Bunnymen in Hamburg, March 1983

Essential Playlists

RockPeaks Best-of

13 Peak Performances

The Complete Promos


Shine So Hard, 1981

Full Concerts

The Royal Albert Hall, 1983

RockPalast, Germany, 1983

La Edad De Oro, 1984

Doctor Music Festival, 1997

Live in Liverpool, 2001

Shepherds Bush Empire, 2005

Bat Bar, Austin Texas, 2009


Recorded in March of 1979 before drummer Pete de Freitas joined the group, "Pictures On My Wall" is Echo and the Bunnymen's debut single, a moody, downbeat track that both Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant had strong reservations about. It struck a chord with British music fans however, and was awarded "Single of the Week" in both Sounds and the NME, and while it wouldn't become a feature of their lives sets until their "full album" concerts during the 2000s, it was the first song they performed on television—and their only TV appearance as a three piece. The opening part of that performance, recorded for Tony Wlson's What's On, can be seen in the 2001 Granada documentary Meet The Bunnymen.


Crocodiles, 1980

 Two Peak Performances from the debut record:

Rescue from Rockpalast, 1983


Villiers Terrace from La Edad de Oro

Another early TV appearance is a mimed version of "Villiers Terrace" performed on the Saturday morning children's show Fun Factory  in 1980. Also from that year, and quite removed from the sheltered realm of kid's television, is an energetic performance of "The Puppet" recorded for Urgh! A Music War.  

Recorded in London, the clip is intercut with scenes of brooding, leather-clad punks, and reveals the limitations of the band's early stage show and presence. Music fans weren't terribly impressed with the track: the post-Crocodiles single only reached #49 on the UK charts. 

In January 1981 the Bunnymen held a fan club-only concert event at the Botanical Gardens in Buxton, Derbyshire, which was filmed and eventually released as a 35 minute film called Shine So Hard (the tile is taken from a line taken from the song "Stars Are Stars").

Mixing quotidian scenes of the band members hanging out making tea wandering the grounds, along with concert footage that showcased their Apocalypse Now army suplus camoflage aesthetic, the movie has recently emerged online, and can be watched in its entirity here. For just a sample, check out the night's second-to-last performance, a snarling and energetic version of "Crocodiles".

Heaven Up Here, 1981

A couple from their sophmore effort:

Show of Strength, Belgium, 1981

Villiers Terrace from La Edad de Oro

During the remainder of 1981, the band spent a good deal of time touring during Europe and America, honing their stage show and gelling as a live unit. They released their second album, Heaven Up Here, on May 30th, introducing one of the disc's stronger tracks  "Show of Strength" on Belgian TV that month, a performance that captures the growing confidence of the group, who would be voted in second in the NME's reader's poll that year, behind the Jam.

That summer, BBC2 recorded the Liverpudlians in their home town for an episode of "Pop Carnival", filmed at Sefton Park on August 26th, 1982. Have a look at the then-new "Back of Love" from that concert, a propulsive rocker that they'd play again on their Top of the Pops debut in June the following year.

During November and December of 1982, under the direction of filmmaker Bill Butt (who was also rsponsible for Shine So Hard) the group shot a series of six promo videos in Liverpool and Iceland. The trip would also yield the striking cover shot for their third album "Porcupine".


Porcupine, 1983

 Two Peak Performances from the debut record:

Rescue from Rockpalast, 1983


Villiers Terrace from La Edad de Oro

The group travelled to Hamburg in March of 1983 to record a concert for the long-running German music TV show RockPalast. The show, recently digitally rebroadcast, stands as as one of two definitive filmed concert documents of the Bunnymen in their prime, the other being the triumphant Royal Albert Hall midsummer show from that year, the exquisite "Lay Down Thy Raincoat And Groove".

Rounding out the year was a December appearance on ITV's The Tube where the group previewed a handful of songs from their upcoming fourth disc Ocean Rain including the melancholic masterpiece "The Killing Moon". Another Top of the Pops appearance followed in 1984 for "Seven Seas", with Mac appearing on stage to mime the words alongside Pete and Les, who, inexplicably, are dressed in a penguin and a fish suit repectively. 

In late July 1984, the Bunnymen found themselves in Madrid, where they were recorded by the Spanish public broadcaster TVE for an episode of La Edad de Oro ("The Golden Age"). Notable clips from this show include a high-octane take on "Villiers Terrace".

The Bunnymen paid a visit to British music television stalwart The Old Grey Whistle Test on two occasions, once in December 1985, and once again the following year where they performed a version of the Velvet Underground's "Run Run Run" with Billy Bragg. That appearnce, on the OGWT's offshoot "Rock Around the Clock" also featured a performance of two new songs from their forthcoming record, "The Game" followed by "Lips Like Sugar".

For the next ten years, the Bunnymen kept a low profile, keeping quiet during the years when hair metal and grunge were ascendant, breaking up for a time and drafting in new members. But in 1997 they regrouped and came roaring back, playing Glastonbury in June and then appearing on Later...with Jools Holland to promote Evergreen, their sixth studio album. A full-length concert from the time, recorded at the Doctor Music Festival in Spain, reveals a slightly older-looking Mac along with a new drummer and bassist, but for the most convincing testament to their renewed vigour and potential, check out this performnce of "I Want To Be There" from David Letterman.

In August of 2001 the band staged a hometown show at Liverpool's Institute of Performing Arts and recorded the event for release on DVD, their first official concert documentary. Fast cut and intespersed wth scenes from their back catalogue of promotional videos, the disc functions as a servicable greatst hits retrospective.

Another full-length concert doc was filmed four years later at the Sheperd's Bush Empire, and is slightly less flashy and energetic. More intriguing is the band's appearance on Later with Craig Ferguson in 2005, where they performed "Stormy Weather" from Siberia.

At SXSW in 2009, the Bunnymen performed at Austin's Bat Bar in a show that was recorded by Direct TV and later released commercially by Shout Factory Music. The stand-out track from 2009's Think I Need It Too is the title one, ably performed on Jools Holland that same year.

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Echo and the Bunnymen on Wikipedia
Echo & the Bunnymen
Bunnymen 2005-08-06 detail.pngWill Sergeant (left) and Ian McCulloch (right) at the Frequenze Disturbate Festival in August 2005
Background information
OriginLiverpool, England
GenresPost-punk, neo-psychedelia, alternative rock, new wave[1][2][3]
Years active1978–1993, 1996–present
LabelsZoo, Sire, Warner Bros., Euphoric, London, Cooking Vinyl, Ocean Rain
Associated actsElectrafixion
  • Ian McCulloch
  • Will Sergeant
Past members
  • Les Pattinson
  • Pete de Freitas (deceased)
  • Jake Brockman (deceased)
  • Noel Burke
  • Damon Reece

Echo & the Bunnymen are an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1978. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson, supplemented by a drum machine. By 1980, Pete de Freitas joined as the band's drummer.

Their 1980 debut album, Crocodiles, went into the top 20 of the UK Albums Chart. After releasing their second album, Heaven Up Here, in 1981, the band's cult status was followed by mainstream success in 1983, when they scored a UK Top 10 hit with "The Cutter", and the album which the song came from, Porcupine, hit number 2 in the UK. Ocean Rain (1984), continued the band's UK chart success, and has since been regarded as one of the landmark releases of the post-punk movement, with the single "The Killing Moon".

After releasing a self-titled album in 1987, the next year, McCulloch left the band and was replaced by former St. Vitus Dance singer Noel Burke. In 1989, de Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident. After releasing one album with Burke in 1990, Reverberation, which failed to replicate the success of their earlier work, and a bit of touring, the band split up in 1993. After working together as Electrafixion, McCulloch and Sergeant regrouped with Pattinson in 1997 and returned as Echo & the Bunnymen, before Pattinson's departure in 1998. The band has been actively touring since, releasing several albums since the late 90s, to varying degrees of success.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Early years
    • 1.2 Mainstream success
    • 1.3 1988 split
    • 1.4 Reformation
  • 2 Members
    • 2.1 Current members
    • 2.2 Former members
    • 2.3 Full band members
    • 2.4 Touring band members
    • 2.5 Former touring members
  • 3 Discography
  • 4 References
  • 5 Bibliography
  • 6 External links

Early years

Ian McCulloch began his career in 1977, as one third of the Crucial Three, a bedroom band which also featured Julian Cope and Pete Wylie.[4] When Wylie left, McCulloch and Cope formed the short-lived A Shallow Madness with drummer Dave Pickett and organist Paul Simpson, during which time such songs as "Read It in Books", "Robert Mitchum", "You Think It's Love" and "Spacehopper" were written by the pair. When Cope sacked McCulloch from the band,[5] A Shallow Madness changed their name to The Teardrop Explodes, and McCulloch joined forces with guitarist Will Sergeant and bass player Les Pattinson to form Echo & the Bunnymen. This early incarnation of the band featured a drum machine, assumed by many to be "Echo", though this has been denied by the band. In the 1982 book Liverpool Explodes!, Will Sergeant explained the origin of the band's name:

We had this mate who kept suggesting all these names like The Daz Men or Glisserol and the Fan Extractors. Echo and the Bunnymen was one of them. I thought it was just as stupid as the rest.[6]

In November 1978, Echo & the Bunnymen made their debut at Liverpool's Eric's Club,[7] appearing as the opening act for The Teardrop Explodes. The band played one song, a 20-minute version of Monkeys which was entitled I Bagsy Yours at the time.[8]

Echo & the Bunnymen's debut single "The Pictures on My Wall" was released on Bill Drummond & David Balfe's Zoo Records in May 1979, the B-side being the McCulloch/Cope collaboration "Read It in Books" (also recorded by The Teardrop Explodes approximately six months later as the B-side of their final Zoo Records single "Treason"). McCulloch has subsequently denied that Cope had any involvement with the writing of this song on more than one occasion.[9][10]

By the time of their debut album, 1980's Crocodiles, the drum machine had been replaced by Trinidad-born Pete de Freitas. The lead single, "Rescue", climbed to UK No.62 and the album broke into the Top 20 at No. 17, following critical acclaim.[11] Their next album, Heaven Up Here (1981), was an even bigger critical and commercial success, reaching the UK Top Ten (No. 10), although a single lifted from the album, "A Promise", could only reach UK No. 49.[11]

Mainstream success

In June 1982, the Bunnymen achieved their first significant UK hit single with "The Back of Love" (No. 19). In July 1982, they performed at the first WOMAD festival. This was followed in early 1983 with their first Top 10, the more radio-friendly "The Cutter", which climbed to No. 8. The parent album, Porcupine, hit No. 2 in the album chart. Now firmly established as a chart act, further hits followed with a one-off single, "Never Stop" (No. 15), and "The Killing Moon", a preview from the new album featuring a dramatic McCulloch vocal, which became the band's second UK Top 10 single at No. 9.[11]

Following a PR campaign which proclaimed it "the greatest album ever made" according to McCulloch,[12] 1984's Ocean Rain reached No. 4, and today is widely regarded as the band's landmark album.[13] Single extracts "Silver" (UK No. 30) and "Seven Seas" (UK No. 16) consolidated the album's continued commercial success. In the same year, McCulloch had a minor solo hit with his cover version of "September Song".

Echo & the Bunnymen toured Scandinavia in April 1985, performing cover versions of songs from Television, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and The Doors. Recordings from the tour emerged as the semi-bootleg On Strike. Unfortunately for the band, Ocean Rain proved to be a difficult album to follow up, and they could only re-emerge in 1985 with a single, "Bring on the Dancing Horses" (UK No. 21), and a compilation album, Songs to Learn & Sing, which made No. 6 in the UK album chart. However, all was not well in the Bunnymen camp, and Pete de Freitas left the band. Their next album, the self-titled Echo & the Bunnymen (1987), was initially recorded with ex–ABC drummer David Palmer, but when de Freitas returned in 1986, it was largely re-recorded.[14] Eventually released in mid-1987, the record sold well (UK No. 4), and was a small American hit, their only LP to have significant sales there.

In the United States, the band's best-known songs were "The Killing Moon" and "Lips Like Sugar". "Bring on the Dancing Horses" is well known as one of the songs on the soundtrack to the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. "The Killing Moon" was featured in the films Grosse Pointe Blank and Donnie Darko, and in Series 2, Episode 5 of the E4 series Misfits. Ocean Rain's "Nocturnal Me" was used to close out Stranger Things Season 1, Episode 5.[15] The band also contributed a cover version of The Doors song "People Are Strange" to The Lost Boys soundtrack.

1988 split

McCulloch quit the band in 1988 and de Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident in mid-1989. After former Colenso Parade singer Oscar turned down an offer to take over from McCulloch,[16] Pattinson and Sergeant recruited ex-St. Vitus Dance vocalist Noel Burke and drummer Damon Reece. Keyboardist Jake Brockman (a touring member of the band for several years previously, and a contributor to the 1987 album) was promoted to full member, and the five-piece recorded Reverberation in 1990. This did not generate much interest among fans or critics. In a 2003 interview, McCulloch said of his replacement with Burke:

I think it's pretty obvious what I think. Noel Burke... the name says it all really doesn't it? No, that's not fair. It wasn't his fault, it was Will and Pete who were the berks really. But no, I thought it was disgraceful and after that I suppose it was quite surprising that I continued working with Will after that. I'm glad I did though. Johnny Marr called them Echo and the Bogusmen when that happened.[17]

The group disbanded in 1993. McCulloch, meanwhile, had continued his solo career, with the albums Candleland in 1989 and Mysterio in 1992.


In 1994 McCulloch and Sergeant began working together again under the name Electrafixion;[8] in 1997 Pattinson rejoined the duo, meaning the three surviving members of the original Bunnymen line-up were now working together again. Rather than continue as Electrafixion, the trio resurrected the Echo & the Bunnymen name and released the album Evergreen (1997), which reached the UK Top 10.

Immediately prior to the release of the band's next album, What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (1999), Les Pattinson quit to take care of his mother.[18] McCulloch and Sergeant have continued to tour and record as Echo & the Bunnymen, touring repeatedly and releasing the albums Flowers (2001), Siberia (2005), The Fountain (2009) and Meteorites (2014). The Siberia band line up was Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Paul Fleming (keyboards), Simon Finley (drums) and Pete Wilkinson (bass), Hugh Jones produced Siberia after previously engineering early Bunnymen albums. Since August 2009 the group's touring incarnation has comprised McCulloch and Sergeant along with Stephen Brannan (bass), Gordy Goudie (guitar), Nicholas Kilroe (drums) and Jez Wing (keyboards).

In 2002 the group received the Q Inspiration award.[19] The award is for inspiring "new generations of musicians, songs and music lovers in general." The band were said to be worthy winners as they have done much to promote the Mersey music scene.[20] In a later interview for Magnet magazine, McCulloch said "It validates everything that we've tried to achieve—cool, great timeless music. It's not like an inspiration award affecting the past, it's affecting the current music."[21]

On 11 September 2006, Echo & the Bunnymen released an updated version of their 1985 Songs to Learn and Sing compilation. Now re-titled More Songs to Learn and Sing, this new compilation was issued in two versions, a 17-track single CD and a 20-track version with a DVD featuring 8 videos from their career.

In March 2007, the Bunnymen announced that they had re-signed to their original record label, Warner, and were also working on a new album.[22] The band were also said to be planning a live DVD, entitled "Dancing Horses", which also contained interviews with the band. This was released in May 2007, on Snapper/SPV. The live line up was Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Simon Finley (Drums), Paul Fleming (Keyboards), Gordy Goudie (Guitar) and Steve Brannan (Bass).[23]

On 11 January 2008 Ian McCulloch was interviewed on BBC Breakfast at the start of Liverpool 08. He was asked about new Bunnymen material and he revealed that a new album would coincide with their gig at the Royal Albert Hall in September. He went on to say that the album was, "The best one we've made, apart from Ocean Rain."

In a 20 April 2008 interview with the Sunday Mail Ian McCulloch announced The Fountain as the title of the new Echo & the Bunnymen album with producers John McLaughlin and Simon Perry,[24] which was originally due to be released in 2008 but was finally released on 12 October 2009.[25] The first single from the album, "Think I Need It Too", was released on 28 September 2009.

On 1 September 2009, former keyboard player Jake Brockman died on the Isle of Man, when his motorbike collided with a converted ambulance. Brockman had played keyboards for the band during the 1980s.[26]

In December 2010, Echo & the Bunnymen went on tour playing their first two albums Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here in their entirety.[27]

Echo & the Bunnymen most recent album, entitled Meteorites, was released on 26 May 2014 in the UK, and on 3 June 2014 in the US via 429 Records. The album was also released on the website.[28] The album was produced and mixed by Youth, who also co-wrote three of the tracks and played "additional bass" on it. It was the band's first UK Top 40 album entry since 1999.

Current members

  • Ian McCulloch - vocals, guitar (1978-1989, 1996–present)
  • Will Sergeant - guitars, programming (1978–1993, 1996–present)

Former members

  • Les Pattinson - bass (1978-1998)
  • Pete de Freitas - drums (1978-1989; died 1989)
  • Noel Burke - vocals (1989-1993)
  • Damon Reece - drums (1989-1993)
  • Michael Lee - drums (1997-2001)
  • Vinny Jameson - drums (2001-2002)
  • Pete Wilkinson - bass (2003-2005)
  • Simon Finley - drums (2003-2005)

Full band members

Touring band members

  • Stephen Brannan – bass (2005–present)
  • Gordy Goudie - guitar (2004–present)
  • Nicholas Kilroe - drums (2009–present)
  • Jez Wing - keyboards (2009–present)
  • Kelley Stoltz - guitar (2016–present)

Former touring members

  • Jake Brockman - keyboards (1989-1993; died 2009)
  • Jeremy Stacey - drums (1999-2001)
  • Paul Fleming – keyboards (2003-2004)
  • Ged Malley – guitar (2003)


Main article: Echo & the Bunnymen discography
  • Crocodiles (1980)
  • Heaven Up Here (1981)
  • Porcupine (1983)
  • Ocean Rain (1984)
  • Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
  • Reverberation (1990)
  • Evergreen (1997)
  • What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (1999)
  • Flowers (2001)
  • Siberia (2005)
  • The Fountain (2009)
  • Meteorites (2014)


  1. ^ "Echo and the Bunnymen Get Nostalgic in New York". SPIN. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  2. ^ MacKenzie Wilson (15 November 1985). "Songs to Learn and Sing – Echo & the Bunnymen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Echo and the Bunnymen interview – Chicago Tribune". 12 May 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Teardrop Explodes – Zoology – Review". Uncut. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Cooper, Mark (1982). Liverpool Explodes!. Sidg. & J (published 30 September 1982). ISBN 0-283-98866-5. 
  7. ^ Barnett, Laura (8 January 2008). "Portrait of the artist: Ian McCulloch, singer". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Echo, Liverpool. "Heaven back here". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  9. ^ Fletcher, Tony (1987). Never Stop: The Echo & the Bunnymen Story. Omnibus Press (published 16 November 1987). ISBN 0-7119-1121-5. 
  10. ^ Adams, Chris (2002). Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo and the Bunnymen. Soft Skull Press (published 1 July 2002). ISBN 1-887128-89-1. 
  11. ^ a b c managing ed.: David Roberts (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  12. ^ Bell, Max (2003). Ocean Rain (CD booklet). Echo & the Bunnymen. Warner Music UK. 2564-61165-2. 
  13. ^ "Echo and the Bunnymen to perform classic album". NME. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  14. ^ Adams, Craig (2002). "Shades of Grey". Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen. New York: Soft Skull Press. p. 182. ISBN 1-887128-89-1. 
  15. ^ "Stranger Things Soundtrack (Complete Song Listing) - Whats On Netflix". 2016-07-16. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  16. ^ Larkin, Colin: "The Guinness Who's Who Of Indie and New Wave Music", page 67. Guinness Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  17. ^ "Interview - Ian McCulloch". Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  18. ^ Allum, Simon (3 April 2006). "Incendiary interview Les Pattinson, part 2". Retrieved 12 May 2008. 
  19. ^ "The Q Awards". Retrieved 7 May 2008. 
  20. ^ "28/10/2002 – Q Awards Results". EMAP. Archived from the original on 10 November 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2008. 
  21. ^ John Elsasser (2003). "MAGNET Interview: Ian McCulloch". Magnet. Archived from the original on 17 October 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2007. 
  22. ^ "Echo & The Bunnymen sign label contract with Korova/Warners". 22 February 1999. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Live DVD for Echo & The Bunnymen". 22 February 1999. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  24. ^ Sloan, Billy; Mcmonagle, Mickey (20 April 2008). "Ian McCulloch on How Bunnyman Turned Funnyman To Help Coldplay". Sunday Mail. Retrieved 30 April 2008. 
  25. ^ Gilbert, Pat (January 2009). "Fantastic Voyage". Mojo. p. 50. 
  26. ^ "'Fifth Bunnyman' killed in crash". BBC News. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  27. ^ "2010 Tour announcement". Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  28. ^ "Echo & the Bunnymen: Meteorites on pledgemusic". Retrieved 13 March 2014. 


  • Adams, Chris. Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen. NY: Soft Skull Press, 2002.
  • Reynolds, Simon. Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. London: Penguin, 2005.
  • Fletcher, Tony. Never Stop: The Echo & the Bunnymen Story. London: Omnibus Press, 1987.

External links

  • Official website
  • Villiers The Ultimate Echo and the Bunnymen Resource

Upcoming Live Shows

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Echo and the Bunnymen has 35 upcoming shows:

O2 Academy Oxford (Oxford, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
O2 Ritz Manchester (Manchester, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
9:30 Club (Washington, DC)Buy Tickets
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O2 ABC (Glasgow, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
Wulfrun Hall (Wolverhampton, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
Het Depot (Leuven, Belgium)Buy Tickets
De Effenaar (Eindhoven, Netherlands)Buy Tickets
Paard van Troje (The Hague, Netherlands)Buy Tickets
Engine Rooms (Southampton, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Bristol (Bristol, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets

Further Reading

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