Thursday, August 29, 2013

Big Country - Look Away

Long time reader Krista recommended this one, and it is a perfect fit for the blog.  (I have to say, having well-informed readers makes my job even easier ...)

Big Country was a one hit wonder in the U.S., with only "In a Big Country" (#17 in 1983) breaking the top 40.  However, in the U.K., the band had significant success with 15 top 40 songs between 1982 and 1993.  Even more surprising (to me, at least), "In a Big Country" was not their highest charting single in the U.K. (at #17, same as the U.S.).  Instead, "Look Away" was, as it reached #7 in 1986.  In the U.S., the song is not nearly as well known as it did not chart.

Although Big Country formed in mid-1981, it took a few months to solidify the classic line up of Stuart Adamson (guitars, vocals), Bruce Watson (guitars), Tony Butler (Bass) and Mark Brzezicki (drums).  Interestingly, Tony Butler was not the first choice on bass, but Gang of Four bassist Dave Allen declined to join the group.  In 1982, the band signed with Mercury-Phonogram and released their first LP in 1983.

The band was known for their strong Scottish folk influences, driven by guitars that often had a bagpipe-like sound.  This stylized sound eventually hurt the band as critics argued that their songs sounded too much alike.  However, the band did produce a bunch of solid Celtic-rock songs (and that is not a sentence that one writes very often).

For the blog, we went with the previously mentioned "Look Away," from the 1986 LP The Seer.  The video uses period costumes, horses and dogs to capture the feel of the song, and does a nice job, in my opinion.

Big Country remained together and continued to record and perform until Stuart Adamson's suicide in 2001.  The band broke up at that point, but has re-formed twice in the intervening years, most recently with Mike Peters (former lead singer of The Alarm). [Note: Mike Peters left the group in November 2013 and was replaced by Simon Hough.]

The group's first charting single, "Fields of Fire (400 Miles)" was posted on ERV in January 2015.


  1. Well Yes It's A Good Song.
    Yet, I Guess There's No Question Why This Had
    ZERO Appeal To An American Audience.
    Just Commenting
    What Do I Know?
    I'm Digging On Meet Me In Montana Now

    1. Thanks for checking in Sam. I liked it but I'll admit that Big Country was a bit stylized; perhaps a tough sell for U.S. audiences. (Not going to comment on Marie Osmond and Dan Seals ... except to say that she was a little bit country ....)

  2. Oh Yes I know
    Marie Osmond Who Gives Ah...
    I Love Some Good Country
    And Meet Me In Montana Well, It Just Soars!
    Written By Paul Davis
    Now I'm Country Out

    1. That is cool, Sam. Lots of great music out there, glad to see how diverse your taste in music is (that speaks well of you). Keep the faith.

  3. By far my favorite Big Country song. Could never understand why it didn't chart here in the U.S. As you say, it may be that their sound was too stylized, although I find this song to be a bit of a departure from their earlier singles.

    1. Yes, definitely a strong song that deserved a better fate in the U.S. BTW, have (at least) one more Big Country song in the bullpen (and not "In a Big Country," just due to the fact that it is not that rare).