100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #19 Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Released : 1988

So concerned was Tony Wilson about the Happy Mondays increasingly chemical lifestyle at home in Manchester that for their second album he despatched them to the Slaughterhouse Studios in Driffield, an East Yorkshire market town which was about as far culturally from the MDMA fueled Hacienda that it was possible to get whilst still remaining in the same century.

Having hired John Cale to helm it’s predecessor, for Bummed Wilson chose to throw in Über maverick Martin Hannett, a move which given the recreational pursuits band and producer shared was a risk destined for spectacular glory or failure, with little chance of anything in between. Instead both parties bonded over the house music tidal wave and ecstacy which they imported to the sticks: Hannett expanded the bony funk which had been their motif and filled the spaces with archetypally cavernous echo and reverb, the layabouts and wasters who haunted it tirelessly on some sort of grift.

Wrote For Luck took this position to extremis, a song that had the epic duration and peaks of being in a club and on one: it was tune into which you could slip down the rabbit hole in the company of Shaun Ryder’s druggy non-sequiturs, the lairy frontman a Manc Bill The Lizard with the juice to sort you out. There was no surprise when later it was chosen for a remix project which would lay the groundwork for the Mondays’ stardom, Paul Oakenfold’s beatific version providing a template which many imitators would follow. “I don’t read, I just guess” chanted Ryder half way through. You didn’t need any qualifications to be at this party, whether it was in town, city, or just your head.


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