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The Crucial Three



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The Crucial Three was a very short-lived band but notable because of the individual success of the three founding members: Ian McCulloch (later of Echo & the Bunnymen), Julian Cope (who went on to join The Teardrop Explodes and then release many albums under his own name) and Pete Wylie (later of many “band names” usually featuring the nonsense exclamation Wah!). McCulloch sang, Cope played bass, and Wylie played guitar. A drummer, Stephen Spence, also joined at some point in their brief life.

The band formed in May 1977 and split in June 1977. Rock journalism’s favorite observation about the brevity of this outfit is that all three egos were much too large to fit in the same room.

According to Cope, the trio met at Erics night club in Liverpool on May 5th 1977 during a gig by The Clash; “By the end of the evening, we were a group. It was all Wylie’s trip. He suggested Arthur Hostile & The Crucial Three. Duke said, ‘Sod the bloody Arthur Hostile bit off, it’s crap.’ So we were The Crucial Three. Wylie went on about how legendary we would be, and Duke and I went along with him, as part of the in-joke.”

Although they wrote and rehearsed a number of songs, including “Salomine Shuffle” and “Bloody Sure You’re On Dope”, the band didn’t last long enough to record anything. They rehearsed in a garage with drummer Steve Spence and split up after a month. According to McCulloch, the band were “…just mates - we never did anything. We wrote one crap song.”

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