The best undiscovered Indie love song ever?

ACR: Good Together 1989 - the album that contains 'The Big E (I won't stop loving you)'

When you’re sick and tired of everybody lying to you
you just want to walk away….. walk right into better days
if you can just stop wanting it….. it will come to you
I know you try….. but don’t try too hard
when I see you cry….. it breaks my heart

I won’t stop loving you….. I still believe in you
when everything goes wrong….. you think you’re on your own
I won’t stop loving you….. I won’t stop loving you

In these changing times….. you see yourself on the outside
it’s getting harder to find your way
you’re living in hope from day to day
if you can laugh in spite of it….. there’s nothing you can’t do
I know you try….. but don’t try too hard
when you lie to me….. you break my heart

I won’t stop loving you….. I still believe in you
when everything goes wrong….. you think you’re on your own
I won’t stop loving you….. I won’t stop loving you

You just can’t take it anymore….. and then again
A lost cause is the only one worth fighting for!

I won’t stop loving you….. I still believe in you
when everything goes wrong….. you think you’re on your own
I won’t stop loving you….. I won’t stop loving you

It’s 1989 and the Berlin Wall is falling, Chinese pro-democracy protestors are facing down tanks in Tiananmen Square and others are being eliminated. Soviet forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

The Exxon Valdez runs aground off Alaska spewing oil over the whole East Seaboard. The Ayatolla Khomeini dies after first imposing a Fatwah on Salman Rushdie. A ring around Neptune is discovered and the USA invades Panama.

A Certain Ratio - A Manchester band for our times - then and now

In Manchester, A Certain Ratio, a band managed by Factory’s Tony Wilson bringing sidewinding jazz, funk, soul and indie together in the same food mixer, signed with A&M Records in 1987 and two years later the experimental, daring and dangerous Good Together was released.

The album failed to produce a hit, and led to the band’s departure from the label. However, a song found its way onto it sung by Simon Topping (who would later stand in for Ian Curtis with Joy Division at a concert in Bury’s Derby Hall on April 8 1980 which ended in a riot a few weeks before Curtis’ suicide). Called The Big E (I won’t stop loving you) –  the song which is virtually impossible to find apart from on a few jealously guarded copies of the album, has continued to haunt people like me down the years.

The verse below is especially relevant to today’s situation. Poverty, hardship, world banking system collapse, corrupt politicians, earthquake and famine – and that’s just this week..

ACR state something that here at Powerchange we tend to subscribe to – namely that you can create your own state – and then declare your own state of independence – a republic called Happiness in the middle of the surrounding gloom:

In these changing times….. you see yourself on the outside
it’s getting harder to find your way
you’re living in hope from day to day
if you can laugh in spite of it….. there’s nothing you can’t do
I know you try….. but don’t try too hard
when you lie to me….. you break my heart

On the 22nd January I read Chris Salmon in the Guardian saying this, “ACR may be remembered as Factory Records slightly underachieving punk-funkers, but in this 1989 single they created one of the most gorgeous and touching Indie-pop love songs you’ll ever hear..”  It inspired me to write this post. The song also appears as the brilliant and inspiring swansong on my 17 song compilation – The Greatest Indie Love Songs of all Time (Vol 1).

I can only track down a 12″ single version of the song – but each tick, tock and zip reflects the many times that it has been played over the years. Is it the great undiscovered love song for our times? Judge for yourself.

The 12" sleeve for ACR's 'The Big E'

The track was also released as a 12″ single and I have uploaded this slightly longer and less crackly version here:

A Certain Ratio – The Big E (I won’t stop loving you).mp3

Roy Stannards Top 25 Albums of 2009

Roy Stannard’s Top 25 Albums of 2009

Roy Stannard's Album of 2009

1.          Wild Beasts – Two Dancers

2.          Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why there are mountains

3.          Grammatics – Grammatics

4.          Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances

5.          Richard Hawley – Truelove’s Gutter

6.          Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

7.          The XX – The XX

8.          Bombay Bicycle Club – I had the blues..

9.          The Unthanks – Here’s the Tender Coming

10.        Mumford & Sons – Sigh no More

11.        The Mummers – Tale to Tell

12.        We were promised Jetpacks – These four walls

13.        The Pains of being Pure at Heart – Ibid

14.        The Antlers – Hospice

15.        Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

16.        The Twilight Sad – Forget the Night Ahead

17.        Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream

18.        Mew – No more stories/are told today

19.        Richard Walters – The Animal

20.        The Temper Trap – Conditions

21.        Noah & the Whale – The First days of Spring

22.        Shirley Bassey – The Performance

23.        Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew

24.        Riceboy Sleeps – Riceboy Sleeps

25.        The Veils – Sun Gangs

Quitting the Fear Factory

My colleague Andrew Sercombe and I had a great conversation over lunch last Tuesday about people’s fear of stepping out and following their heart in pursuit of their true passion.

I came up with the title of the blog – Quitting the Fear Factory – that seemed to encapsulate that feeling of petrified stasis. Andrew was inspired to write the following which is too good to confine to the followers of his blog so with his permission I have reproduced it below. A lot more good stuff can be found on his site

Go and have a look.


1. Sign on – you’ll be able to find any excuse, the one most people use is ‘I had no choice’.

2. Take a mix of simple, widely available and common unpleasant experiences and exaggerate them. You won’t need many, but make sure they are not SO exaggerated that they lose any sense of being faintly possible.

3.  Add the yeast of an uncontrolled, pro-active imagination. Dwell on them by returning to them in your mind, talking about how bad they are to yourself and others in a frightened spooky over-emotional voice. Make sure you think about them regularly, especially when you are alone, first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed at night.

4. Bake them well for many hours by imagining that you cannot NOT think about them.  (Focus on anything and it will get bigger in your thinking. If you keep visiting the same tree in a wood you will create a well-worn path to it. Keep visiting it for long enough and you’ll build a motorway).

5. Remove, in your imagination any possibility of those experiences being neutralised or mitigated in any way, so they hold no hope or chance of escape. Make sure no one can possibly rescue the situation and that you are paralysed from helping yourself to get away.

6. Wrap them up with normal everyday items (newspapers are excellent for maintaining good fear quality) so that everything around you reminds you of how afraid you are..  That way you will not be able to get away from them.

7. Create a web of statistics that ‘prove’ that the chances of these things happening are overwhelming. You will perceive your fears to be permanent, personal and all pervasive.

The Fear Factory, of course, has no windows that might let the light of reality in, and has lots of dark corners where invisible unidentified evil ‘presences’ might hide, silently observing your vain attempts to escape and waiting patiently until your courage has been completely destroyed and you are paralysed by fear so they can come and ‘get’ you unhampered by humour, reality or common sense.

Terrified yet?  Keep thinking that way and you soon will be. You can do it with everything from people ‘getting’ you, cancer ‘getting’ you, and unemployment ‘getting’ you.


1. Resign from the Fear Factory with immediate effect,without waiting for the end of the week or any back-pay you are owed, and simply WALK OUT NOW.  Avoid entering into conversation with any current employees of the factory or the management staff.  They want to keep you trapped. After all, they will want to convince you of their (wrong) belief that there is no hope of a better life. (The back-pay argument is a trap, by the way. The owner of the Fear Factory has no intention of ever paying you what was agreed, but he needs your energy and imagination to keep the fear factory delivering the goods in your area.)

2. Whistle, hum, sing and play encouraging songs as you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, and smile as you walk out of the factory gates. Smiling works to increase the seratonin levels in your blood and annoys the security guards. It also makes you happier and even more inspired.

3. Choose a mountain top destination and walk towards it, knowing that anyone who lives with purpose and who has a mission in life lives longer, experiences less illness and enjoys each day much more fully – even though life is tough. There are many good things ahead but the finest ones are a little reserved – they do not make themselves obvious. You need to look for them before you see them, and when you do meet them, treat them with respect. The best things in life are not for the casual observer. Whenever you notice them treasure them and they will serve you very well indeed. You’ll be surprised at how little you need to be truly happy now you are no longer a slave in the Fear Factory.

4. Be kind to yourself, forgiving yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in life (include the mistake of signing on at the Fear Factory), noticing that the seeds of courage, happiness and joy that you were born with have sparked unbidden into life and are starting to germinate. They grow slowly and strongly, more like oak trees than mushrooms, so tend them well. Take time to be quiet, away from others, so that you learn how to grow your strength without the need for the hubbub of other people’s opinions, busyness and activity.

5. Focus on growing your COURAGE. Deliberately set yourself some interesting challenges that will need courage from you, and take on things that you really want to achieve. You’ve left the fear factory now so you won’t be afraid of not getting something quite right or perfect. Failing from time to time is normal, and it shows you that although none of us intends to fail,it is part of learning how to be successful. Choose new activities where you are clearly the learner.

6. Weed your life, and tend it well, keeping it productive and bearing fresh fruit. Link up with other ‘Quitters’ who have learned the lessons of contentment, courage, freedom management and self-control you are learning.

7. Review the above six steps, and commit never to sign the control of your future over to anyone else or for anything else ever again.

Welcome to freedom. Those of us in Powerchange have set off for the mountains too. It’s great to have you sharing the joy and the journey.