Story of the Song: Bingo Master's Breakout, The Fall (1978)
Friday 18 July 2008
Formed in 1976 by Mark E Smith , The Fall sounded as discordant as a cutlery drawer sliding downstairs. The teenage Smith was a fan of Captain Beefheart and the garage sound of early-Sixties America.
Fired by seeing The Sex Pistols, he met other like-minded musicians and got noticed by Richard Boon, who ran the New Hormones label.
In November 1977, Boon stumped up money for a recording session. First up was "Bingo Master's Breakout", a number about a dispirited bingo caller who "flipped his lid" – "A glass of lager in his hand / Silver microphone in his hand/ Wasting time in numbers and rhymes."
Smith had typed out the lyrics during lunch breaks at his work at the docks. It was a roughly thrown pot of a song, but it captured what The Fall were about. "Nobody liked it," Smith said. "It was... out of tune and that. It was good. Stark, sort of." It was meant to be a single, but cash was tight and Boon passed the tapes to Kay Carroll, The Fall's manager, who sent them to the London indie Step Forward, financed by Miles Copeland and run by punk Mark Perry. Copeland signed The Fall after some cajoling from Perry's friend Danny Baker.
A year after it had been recorded, "Bingo Master's Breakout" became The Fall's debut single. Perry said the version issued was the second take, "a deliberate rejection of the first take which was much more melodic".
The TV presenter and soon-to-be Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, who'd put The Fall on his show So It Goes early in 1978, said: "I remember getting a copy of 'Bingo Master's Breakout' and thinking: this sounds bloody weird; this sounds like part of the explosion."
The tale of the suicidal bingo-caller is available on a Step Forward retrospective, I Wanna Punk Rock, compiled by Perry, and was adapted by Niall Griffiths as a short story for the Serpent's Tail anthology Perverted By Language, a collection of stories based on Fall songs.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The scientist who takes 100 drugs a day so he can live to 150
- 2 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark finale review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3 - review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton, really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds