Happy 50th Birthday Mark E. Smith

He may look 65, but today is Fall frontman Mark E. Smith‘s 50th birthday. Is there a more important figure in rock who has been around this long that is still making relevant music? I don’t think so. In my mind, the Fall have only made one studio album not worth owning (1997’s Levitate), so that’s at least 25 albums you should snap up, including the just-released Post-Reformation TLC. Show your appreciation by buying some, won’t you?

So how does M.E.S. feel about hitting the half-century mark? Find out when the man visits the Tom Robinson Show on BBC 6Music. (If you can understand him.) It’s airing right now (2pm – 4:30pm EST) and will be archived for repeat listening after that.

And if you happen to be in Wolverhampton tonight, you can wish his a happy birthday in person as The Fall play The Robin 2.

More birthday greetings: No Rock and Roll Fun collects various Fall clips from YouTube; so does PlayLouder.

Here are seven of my favorite Fall moments:

MP3: Industrial Estate

MP3: How I Wrote Elastic Man

MP3: 2 x 4

MP3: No Bulbs

MP3: Bill is Dead

MP3: Idiot Joy Showland

MP3: Dr. Buck’s Letter

Cheers, Mark. May you spew bile for another 50.


  1. I actually really like Levitate. The one Lp not worth owning (except for hardcore fans, of course) in my view is Are You Are Missing Winner?.

  2. What?
    Mark's version of Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Town" on Are You Are Missing Winner is brilliant and re-illuminates the original (like most Fall covers). "Crop-Dust" is a glorious premonition of "Theme from Sparta F.C.". "Kick the Can," "Jim's 'The Fall'," "Gotta See Jane," all great Fall songs. It seems to lose its way towards the end of the album but Are You Are Missing Winner is definitely worth owning…
    For some reason I never bought a copy of Levitate, so I can't say too much re the original comment except that I have the "Masquerade" singles and everything sounds pretty cool to me. I play "Calender" a lot these days (both from the single and the Peel Sessions version). When I find a copy of Levitate I will certainly buy it.
    If you've got most of the albums you're already a hardcore fan so you might as well make your collection complete!

  3. I read this post and immediately thought, "What about Are You Are Missing Winner?" I see I was in good company on that thought.
    Levitate is mostly just a warmup for the much better The Marshall Suite and The Unutterable, but it has its moments; I'm fond of "4 1/2 Inch", "I'm a Mummy", and "Ten Houses of Eve". Simon, there's a used copy on Amazon right now for five bucks!

  4. Is it just me or is Bill Is Dead one of the greatest songs ever to be recorded?
    Very cinematic sounding. Of course the other tracks here are ace but this played a lot on a mix CD I got last year, and soundtracked a large part of my summer.
    "These are the greatest days of my life". The only song to ever choke me up in my 20 years.

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