Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Liam Maher R.I.P.

A small but perfectly formed corner of the music world are today mourning the passing of Flowered Up lead singer Liam Maher.  Liam`s former label Heavenly posted on their Facebook page today:

"the news has just reached us that Liam Maher singer from Flowered Up has passed away. Details at the moment are sketchy but Jeff will post tomorrow on Caught by the River [the label`s blog at www.caughtbytheriver.net] when we know more."

After some time on various stalls on Camden market, Liam rose to short-term fame in 1990 with Flowered Up`s debut single `It`s On` which went on to score a top 10 placing in the indie chart and began a series of press claims that the band were "London`s answer to the Happy Mondays".  The singles `Phobia`, `Take It` and a remixed version of `It`s On` all followed with the band`s debut and only album `A Life With Brian` hitting the shops just before Christmas 1991.

However, it was the epic `Weekender` which clocked in at a chart-unfriendly twelve minutes in 1992, and its equally elaborate promo clip by director W.I.Z., that still resonates most with fans of the short-lived outfit.

The band released only one more record, the somewhat rare, reggae-influenced `Better Life`, through original label Heavenly in 1994 before splitting.  Following the split, Liam battled heroin addiction for some time before going clean in 2000 following a spell in rehab.

Liam signed with Alan McGee`s Poptones in early 2001 for a new project called Greedy Soul (also featuring ex-Flowered Up keyboardist Tim Dorney who had just left Republica) but the deal fell through before anything was able to be released.

Instead Liam returned to the market stalls and was not heard from again until a reformed Flowered Up joined "the Manucunian Flowered Up" (as Happy Mondays were never referred to as) for Get Loaded in the Park on Clapham Common in August 2005.  Sadly a full-on reunion tour was announced shortly after but sold rather less well than expected.

Understandably various parts of the web are filling up with links to the band`s Weekender video and, not that we`re trying to be different, we`re going with the clip from their debut single `It`s On`.  `It`s On` came out at the exact time I was finding my indie feet in the summer of 1990 and remains one of my all-time favourite songs - there`s just something about the mad charm of this band that they thought pan pipes on their debut single made sense...and the video just looks so much fun.

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