I Fell In Love With A Cleaner - Greatest Wits

featuring Wivenhoe's The Cleaners From Venus

Martin Newell (left) & Giles Smith circa 1986 (i think)

My "greatest wits" of the group. Hopefully this will shine some light on this overlooked band.

Download songs 1 - 14 / songs 15 - 27 in mp3 format

1. The Mercury Girl
2. Only A Shadow
3. Victoria Grey
4. The Winter Palace
5. Lukewarm Lovesong
6. Illya Kuryakin Looked At Me
7. Drowning Butterflies
8. Ghosts in Doorways
9. Golden Age Saturday
10. This Rainy Decade
11. Renee (who's driving your car?)
12. A Blue Wave
13. Song For Syd Barrett
14. Girl On A Swing
15. Only Cardboard Town
16. Red Guitars and Silver Tambourines
17. Summer In A Small Town
18. Follow the Plough
19. Armistice Day
20. Julie Profumo
21. Sunday Afternoons
22. F.U.N.
23. Night Starvation
24. Living On Nerve Ends
25. North Of My Heart
26. Johnny The Moondog Is Dead
27. Clara Bow

sampling of covers from the original cassette only albums

Martin Newell with bunny friend

interview with Martin by Richie Unterberger here
Cherry Red TV interviewed Martin Newell, seek it out!
Giles Smith (member of Cleaners From Venus) wrote a book called Lost In Music. I hear it's really great, maybe you can borrow my copy after I read it :)

1 1 5 6 4 8 2

Newell retraces the band's beginnings: "Lol Elliott and I became firm friends with much in common: psychedelic music, Beatles, Bonzos, Small Faces, XTC, Teardrop Explodes and Todd Rundgren. In November of 1980 we set to work in my cottage doing music on a hand-cranked, mud-cooled, reel-to-reel, sound-on-sound tape recorder. Lol played drums and banged and twanged things. I played guitar and we started doing these marvelous ersatz pop songs. The rule was two songs had to be written and recorded every Monday before my miserable girlfriend (at the time) got home from work and told us to stop. We both worked in a restaurant as part-timers. He was the cleaner and I was the washer-up. Round about March of 1981, we found we'd got about 40 songs, so we picked 18 of them and sent them to Sounds magazine, who said they were really good. We said anyone who wanted a copy had to send a blank tape or 50 pence (about a dollar). This tape was called Blow Away Your Troubles. It was in flawed mono with dropouts and hiss... but very good fun.
Lots of people sent in for the tape, so we kind of came into existence by default really," admits Newell. "At this point we had to think of a name. We called ourselves the Soft Humans for about a month before we became the Cleaners From Venus (we nearly chose the Brotherhood of Lizards and the Peach Wellingtons). We chose that name partly because we were 'cleaners,' partly because it rhymed and was silly (we'd hate to come on too serious), and the 'Venus' thing. Lol and I were brought up on sixties TV as kids and still had a Twilight Zone idea of aliens being green with special powers, etc. It's sort of a hangover from acid/deviant/comic book humor."

I owe thanks to the people who made this music available online previously on blogs and elsewhere floating about in the web.


Bill said...

Head here for Martin's '85 solo cassette "Songs For A Fallow Land."


David Lawrence said...

i questioned this being a solo album since "the greatest living englishman" is referred to as being his debut as a solo artist.

here's what Mr. Newell has to say, "Well, no. Not really. It's true that I did do most of it myself. But Lol was around at the time and there were one or two people doing one or two things. So it had the spirit and input of other people too. The Cleaners was sometimes me and whoever was joining in And it did come out as a Cleaners album. So it wasn't a solo album as such. Though in a way it was.


Brian said...

Just found your blog. Wonderful stuff. I'll be putting Martin's "Young Jobless"/"Sylvie in Toytown" 45 up on my own blog shortly (http://consolationprize.wordpress.com/).

Anonymous said...

Never heard of that group before. Since I'm a huge fan of the Kinks, I realy enjoy the Cleaners.

Keep them coming

√Čric from PQ

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the great comp! I've been looking for "On Any Normal Monday" and "Blow Away Your Troubles" for a long time - would it be possible for you to post those full albums if you have them? It'd mean a lot to me! Thanks, Matt (Chicago)

joe said...

thank you! hey mr david lawrence you know what you are doing... top taste in sounds mate..
joe from melbourne...