Meeting Your Heroes
by Mike Robinson
Edwyn was the front man for early 1980's Scottish pop group Orange Juice. They forged a new mowtowny style of pop music - jangly guitars and catchy harmonies - that quickly jumped to our top playlists. Their 1983 hit "Rip It Up" was fresh and a great alternative to the "alternative" all-synth pop of the early 80's. In the late 80's Edwyn put out two solo LP's, both packed with solid song writing. It was in 1994 that he finally hit an international hit with "A Girl Like You". The LP, Gorgeous George, is packed with some of the best pop songs ever written. But hey, I was hooked in 1980.
Sadly in 2005, Edwyn Sadly in Sadly in 2005, Edwyn suffered a double brain haemorrhage. Here is the wiki blurb: In a BBC 6 Music radio interview on 18 February 2005, Collins had said he felt unwell, but ascribed the nausea and vertigo to food poisoning. Two days later, he was admitted to intensive care in London's Royal Free Hospital after apparently suffering a major cerebral hemorrhage. After suffering a second haemorrhage he had an operation on 25 February 2005, which was followed by a lengthy programme of neurological rehabilitation owing to right-sided weakness and difficulty with speech. The aphasia he suffered allowed him to repeat only four phrases, over and over again: "yes", "no", "Grace Maxwell" and "the possibilities are endless".
In late October 2007, Edwyn did a show at the BBC studio in London. His first since the the tragic events in 2005. It was quite an emotional event. Edwyn had to relearn how to walk, talk, read and write. All his friends were on hand to support this comeback show, including the BBC, and what a show it was. And the best part of all?
I got to meet my hero.
There is an awesome 4 part BBC documentary on his career on youtube - watch it, an unbelieveable story.
But now? Why write this story now? Well, for the last 2 weeks I've been listening to one disk at work, in my car, everywhere. Edwyn has released a new LP - Understated - and it's chock full of pop nuggets. All the songs are incredibly uplifting. It seems that life, from his perspcetive, looks much brighter. And this LP is a good lesson for those of us that don't.
Check out Baby Jean, 31 Years, the wickedly mowtown Carry On, Carry On, and he finishes with a fantastic version of Love's Been Good to Me. Not sure how you buy your music these days, (iTunes has the Deluxe version with 4 bonus LIVE tracks) but go out and grab this latest offering from Edwyn Collins, you'll be glad you did.