Artist Details

The Fall

Out of all the late-'70s punk and post-punk bands, none were longer lived or more prolific than the Fall. Throughout their career, the band underwent myriad lineup changes, but at the center of it all was vocalist Mark E. Smith. With his snarling, nearly incomprehensible vocals and consuming, bitter cynicism, Smith became a cult legend in indie and alternative rock. Over the course of their career, the Fall went through a number of shifts in musical style, yet the foundation of their sound was a near-cacophonous, amelodic jagged jumble of guitars, sing-speak vocals, and keyboards. During the late '70s and early '80s, the band was at their most abrasive and atonal. In 1984, Smith's American wife, Brix, joined the band as a guitarist, bringing a stronger sense of pop melody to the group. By the mid-'80s, the band's British following was large enough to result in two U.K. Top 40 hits, but in essence, the group has always been a cult band; its music was always too abrasive and dense for the mainstream. Only hardcore fans can differentiate between the Fall's many albums, yet the Fall, like many cult bands, inspired a new generation of underground bands, ranging from waves of soundalike indie rockers in the U.K. to acts in America and New Zealand, which is only one indication of the size and dedication of their small, devoted fan base.