The idea of any of the motley bunch contributing to the NME’s C86 compilation getting a major label deal was so far fetched at the time it was laughable: an industry which had spent the decade following punk hermetically sealing itself from ugly future surprises like that regarded that branch of music as an ugly cousin twice removed.
The Wedding Present’s This Boy Can Wait featured on C86, but otherwise for the quartet times were less than easy; supposedly living on toast for 18 months whilst doing it the hard way, they van-slogged it around the Polytechnic circuit waiting for something to happen. In the process though they gained a small but loyal support – and eventually their anthracite post hardcore drew the adoration of legendary tastemaker John Peel.
Their debut album George Best drew on lead singer David Gedge’s experiences whilst living in Leeds, stories of broken trusts, sideways glances and hearts left out to dry on corduroy sleeves. At the top of this pile of emotional wreckage was My Favourite Dress. A song about heartbreak and remorse with Gedge deadpanning the lyrics in his crushed northern drawl, it featured guitar riffs as gut punches, bass notes like a gulty knock on the door and a rasping finish that threatened to collapse in on itself; Amongst the cobbled streets and back to backs jealousy had never felt closer to home.
You can read about George Best turning 30 here.