Bad News – Every Mistake Imaginable: The Complete Frilly Pink Years 1987-1988 – Review

Bad News – Every Mistake Imaginable: The Complete Frilly Pink Years 1987-1988 – Review

1st September 2023 0 By George Simpson

I know what you’re thinking. Surely this is a comedy album, isn’t it? Well, yes it is, but there are a few reasons why it’s of interest to us all on Planet Rock and Metal. Firstly it’s about a spoof metal band. Bad News were the British Spinal Tap, though albeit were far less subtle in their lampooning. Secondly, when the cast exploded on the scene in the early 80s, they were practically rock stars. They were the Sex Pistols of comedy, in that they changed the face of comedy almost overnight, with their anarchic humor knowing no boundaries whatsoever. Not only did they release two albums but they also appeared at both the Donington Monsters Of Rock, and the Reading Festival too, before the latter was ruined by the trendies.¬†

Bad News originally appeared as part of Channel Four‘s Comic Strip series. Consisting of guitarists Vim Fuego (Adrian Edmondson), Den Dennis (Nigel Planer), bassist Colin Grigson (Rik Mayall),¬† and Spider Webb (Peter Richardson) on drums, they were a young English metal band naively aiming for the top. They appeared in two episodes of Comic Strip, the first following them to a gig in Grantham, the second to Donington. Both are hilarious. The latter also showed them signing a record deal with the fictitious Frilly Pink label, hence the title of this album.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, they released two actual albums, Bad News appeared in 1987, and Bootleg a year later. In addition to the original albums, we also get a plethora of bonus tracks from various single releases. The former is the better of the two, as a result of being a fifty-fifty split between songs and sketches unlike the second which is far more sketch-led. Both are very funny though. 

In spite of them having some musical ability, Edmondson in particular can clearly play, musically, they play it dumb in places, especially on their brutal assault on Queen‘s seminal Bohemian Rhapsody. This version would offend any Queen fans who lack a sense of humor. Their tackling of the operatic section is rather amusing. But, the most surprising thing to consider is that Brian May produced the album, and it was originally released on Queen‘s label EMI.

The songs themselves are pretty amusing, in particular the live opener Hey Hey Bad News. Their attempts to get the audience to sing along to the chorus are met with the response ‘f@%k off Bad News‘. OK, it’s not high-brow stuff, but if you’re a fan of The Young Ones, or Bottom you’ll love this. As in those series, the dynamic between Edmondson and the late great Rik Mayall is the crux of most of the sketches. Think of them as fire and ice with Nigel Planer playing lukewarm water in the middle.¬†

Musically, the album is very much rooted in the NWOBHM vein. In particular, Masturbike could easily be Motorhead. You could easily imagine Lemmy tackling this without a hint of irony. The incredibly catchy Warriors Of Genghis Khan could also have come from any number of albums released in 1980/81. Though, I’m not sure how many bands from that era would put a sitar solo into a song. And speaking of solo’s you can’t help but smile when Vim lets rip on his solo spot in the middle of the track Bad News, with Jimmy Page‘s solo from Whole Lotta Love.¬†

This album isn’t about celebrating a musical legacy. It serves as a reminder of the comedic tour de force that was unleashed an incredible forty years ago now. These guys changed the face of comedy and saved us from a lifetime of suburban sit-coms. In a woke-infested world where people are almost too scared to laugh, for fear of upsetting some sensitive soul, this album takes you back to a glorious time way before that. So, sit down and enjoy a great couple of hours in the company Messrs Edmondson, Mayall, Planer, and Richardson and ‘the worst rock n roll band in the world..Bad News!’¬†

Score: 7/10 

Tracklisting:

Disc One: BAD NEWS (1987)

1 РHey Hey Bad News 

2 – Warriors Of Genghis Khan

3 РBohemian Rhapsody 

4 РBad News 

5 РMasturbike 

6 РDrink Til I Die 

Bonus Tracks 

7 – Cashing In On Christmas (Let’s Bank Mix)

8 – Cashing In On Christmas (7″ Version)

9 РPretty Woman 

10 – Life With Brian

11 – Bohemian Rhapsody (Take One)

12 – Hey Mr Drummer

Disc Two: BOOTLEG (1988)

1 РBad Dreams 

2 – A.G.M.

3 – Double Entendre

4 – Locked In

5 – Aids

6 – O’ Levels

7 – Wedding

8 – H.M. Farmer

9 РMasturbike 

10 – Cashing In On Christmas (Dub)

Label: HNE 

Release Date: 18th August 2023

For all things Bad News, click HERE, and to purchase the album, click HERE

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