“Their only single to date, but, if any of us are around for a Festive Fifty next year, I confidently expect there to be a lot of Jesus And Mary Chain tunes in there.”
(John Peel, 19 December 1984, after Upside Down reached #37 in that year's listeners' chart)

The Jesus And Mary Chain - Never Understand (Video)

The Jesus And Mary Chain - Never Understand (Video)

1985 Festive Fifty #1 - Never Understand

The Jesus And Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride, Glasgow in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. They released a string of albums, singles and EPs between their 1983 formation and their 1999 breakup, and gained notoriety in their early days for short sets and violence that became common at their live shows. In 2007, the band reunited. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

Peel's preference was for shorter tracks by the band as opposed to their longer sonic workouts:

"'I always like the Jesus & Mary Chain when they do those little kind of, minute and a half, two minute-songs and things, little reflections I think of them as being in a rather pretentious way." (02 July 1994 (BBC World Service))

Festive Fifty Entries

In 1985, JAMC became the first band to fill the top two places in Peel's annual listeners' chart, a feat not repeated until Pulp did it ten years later. As noted by Mark Whitby in The Festive Fifty (p 52), it was perhaps surprising that no tracks from the band made it into the all-time 2000 Festive Fifty.



Six sessions. Released on The Complete John Peel Sessions (2xLP and CD, 2000, Strange Fruit), as well as The Peel Sessions (12” and CD, 1991, Strange Fruit) (sessions #2, #4 only). Also, 'Inside Me' appeared on New Season: The Peel Sessions (CD, 1991, Strange Fruit). The first Peel session was produced by latter-day BBC DJ Mark Radcliffe, who admitted in John Peel's Scottish Sessions (2009) that he still regretted persuading the band to lay off the feedback.

1. Recorded: 1984-10-23 Transmitted: 31 October 1984 Repeated 18 December 1984

  • In A Hole / You Trip Me Up / Never Understand / Taste The Floor

2. Recorded: 1985-02-03 Transmitted: 13 February 1985 Repeated 04 March 1985

  • The Living End / Inside Me / Just Like Honey

3. Recorded: 1985-10-29 Transmitted: 11 November 1985 Repeated 16 December 1985, 26 November 1985

  • Some Candy Talking / Psycho Candy / You Trip Me Up / Cut Dead

4. Recorded: 1986-11-25 Transmitted: 05 January 1987 Repeated 21 January 1987, 03 February 1987

  • Fall / In The Rain / Happy Place

5. Recorded: 1988-05-31 Transmitted: 13 June 1988 Repeated 06 July 1988, 08 August 1988, 26 December 1988

  • Side Walking / Coast To Coast / Take It / My Girl

6. Recorded: 1989-11-26 Transmitted: 12 December 1989 Repeated 17 January 1990

  • Far Out And Gone, Silverblade / Here Comes Alice


  1. Cracking Up
  2. Head On
  3. I Love Rock N Roll
  4. Man On The Moon
  5. Virtually Unreal

Other Shows Played

(The list below is by no means complete and was compiled only from the database of this site. Please add more information if known.)

(JP: “I do think that British music is really terribly dull. It's going through a really bad period at the moment. It won't go on forever, one hopes, but at the same time, I'm not sure why it is really, but people seem to be reluctant to do anything that they've not done many times before, which brings us to a new single from the Jesus And Mary Chain, which in spite of what I've just said, I rather like.”)
  • 26 June 1993 (BFBS): Snakedriver (10"-The Sound Of Speed EP) Blanco Y Negro (JP: “This was Single of the Week in that week's NME.”)
  • 26 June 1993 (BFBS): Little Red Rooster (10"-The Sound Of Speed EP) Blanco Y Negro
  • 26 February 2000 (BFBS): In A Hole (CD-The Complete John Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit
  • 03 March 2000 (BBC World Service): Never Understand (album - The Complete John Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit
  • 15 March 2000: In a Hole (LP - The Complete John Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit (Mentions that the old Jesus & Mary Chain session track was produced by Mark Radcliffe)
  • 16 March 2000: Some Candy Talking (LP - The Complete John Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit
  • 23 March 2000 (Radio Eins): Some Candy Talking (LP - The Complete John Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit
  • 28 May 2003: 'Reverence (Live in Concert)' (Strange Fruit)
  • Peel Late Oct 1984: #1 session
  • Peel Late 1984: Upside Down (7") Creation
  • Peel January 1985: Never Understand (7") Blanco Y Negro
  • Peel February 1985: #2 session
  • Peel March 1985: #2 session
  • Peel Spring 1992: Far Gone And Out (7") Blanco Y Negro
  • Mainly Peel December 1992: Reverence (12") 25 December 1992
  • Peel 006 (BFBS): Never Understand (7") Blanco Y Negro (1985-02-00)
  • Peel 019 (BFBS): Taste Of Cindy (Compilation 7"-The Hit RED Hot EP) The Hit (1985-09-00)
  • Peel 019 (BFBS): Head (7"-Just Like Honey) Blanco Y Negro (JP: “Well, I like that, but they do still sound like Hawkwind at times.”) (1985-09-00)
  • Peel 022 (BFBS): Taste The Floor (LP-Psychocandy) Blanco Y Negro (JP: "Our Charles (Foster), the producer, doesn't much care for that. Do you need any higher recommendation?")
  • Peel 022 (BFBS): The Hardest Walk (LP-Psychocandy) Blanco Y Negro
  • Peel 022 (BFBS): Cut Dead (LP-Psychocandy) Blanco Y Negro
  • Peel 026 (BFBS): You Trip Me Up (LP-Psychocandy) Blanco Y Negro (JP: "From their début LP, which I recommend to you: if you haven't already got it, at least try and hear it all the way through because, quite clearly, when they first started out, more than a certain amount of critical acclaim followed by the inevitable backlash. But I do think it's one of those LPs people will listen to in three or four years' time and say, "Actually, that was extraordinarily good!", as indeed it is.")
  • Peel 027 (BFBS): Some Candy Talking (Compilation 7"-NME's Big Four) New Musical Express
  • Peel 038 (BFBS): Some Candy Talking (7") Blanco Y Negro
  • Peel 101 (BFBS) (07 April 1989): 'Cut Dead (LP-Psychocandy)' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • Peel 119 (BFBS) (07 October 1989): 'My Girl (CDS-Blues From A Gun)' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • Peel 120 (BFBS) (28 October 1989): 'Here Comes Alice (LP-Automatic)' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • Peel 123 (BFBS) (18 November 1989): 'Head On (7")' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • John Peel's Scottish Sessions: Never Understand (session #1) (Mark Radcliffe tells how he persuaded Jesus & Mary Chain to lay off the feedback and regrets it to this day.)

See Also

External Links

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