Wreckless Eric Goulden signed to the label – according to Andy Murray – “just by dropping in to the office” and became a troubadour of the new wave era although, like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and Ian Dury, he was a far more leftfield songwriter than most new-wavers, merely included in that category by chronologists.
He is still active to this day: in 2006 alone releasing a World Cup single on über-cool indie Fierce Panda, touring various countries, and placing a song on the soundtrack to Will Ferrell’s Stranger Than Fiction – “the gem of the collection” according to the New York Times.
Back in the day, he stood firm as one of Stiff’s quirkiest, quintessentially English tune-smiths. Eric released three albums on Stiff between 1978 and 1980, of which the second, The Wonderful World Of Wreckless Eric (SEEZ 009) makes a good introduction. The albums spawned seven singles too, the most well-loved of which is Whole Wide World (BUY 16), backed with Semaphore Signals.
Featuring drums by Ian Dury, Whole Wide World was followed by Reconnez Cherie (BUY 25) in February 1978 and Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.) (BUY 34) later that year. What followed was a life of bizarre chances (both The Monkees and Cliff Richard have covered Eric’s songs) bumping off headstrong melodies. And he managed to get it all down in print himself in the acclaimed 1998 biography A Dysfunctional Success - The Wreckless Eric Manual.
Of all your Stiff material, what are you most proud of, Eric was asked in 2006? “I suppose the obvious one is Whole Wide World - it's definitely got the best production,” he says, before pointing out that “Probably my first album,” was his ‘overlooked classic’. “It came out of the cutting room speeded up by half a tone (so that Reconnez Cherie which was originally in the key of E ended up in F). I felt disappointed with it when it came out, but slowed down to the correct speed it sounds great. And I particularly like There Isn't Anything Else.”