100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #28 The Cramps – Fever

Released : 1980

Despite what their critics said, nobody sent themselves up more than The Cramps: you could’ve removed the R from their name and still had a working model of their attitude to performance.

Blessed with a revolving line up almost from their inception in 1976, the band’s boy-girl-boy duo Lux Interior (AKA Erick Lee Purkhiser) and Poision Ivy (AKA Kristy Marlana Wallace) were it’s staples from cradle to grave, their music throbbing with the primal urges of the very earliest rock n’ roll and blues, all bolstered by a twisted 60’s garage band aesthetic.

Subtle was not a word frequently associated with them, but on Fever all the tiki-lounge kitsch of Peggy Lee’s version was flayed off it’s bones; instead the ultra-minimal instruments – including a fabulously gothic organ – lurked in the shadows as Lux’s voice rolled down them like blood off a switchblade. If you listened close, the pustulous shapes of Richie Valens and the Big Bopper were in the backseat of your drive-in ride, clicking their fingers and loving it – and you – to death.


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