The Lightning Seeds
are an English alternative rock band from Liverpool, England formed in 1989 by Ian Broudie (vocals, guitar, producer), formerly of the band Big in Japan.Originally a studio-based solo project for Broudie, the Lightning Seeds expanded into a touring band following Jollification
(1994). The group experienced commercial success throughout the 1990s and are well known for their single "Three Lions", a collaboration with David Baddiel and Frank Skinner which reached No. 1 in the UK in 1996 and 1998.1989–1993: Formation and early yearsIn 1989, Ian Broudie began recording alone under the name "Lightning Seeds". Broudie had previously been a member of the band Care in the mid-1980s, but by 1989 was much better known as a producer for Liverpool-based chart acts Echo & the Bunnymen and The Icicle Works.Working as a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer, Broudie (in his guise as "The Lightning Seeds") achieved success with the psychedelic hit "Pure" from the album Cloudcuckooland
, which reached the UK Top 20. The same year "Joy" and "All I Want" were also released but failed to make an impression. "Pure" had some success in the United States Billboard Top 40 reaching No. 32. Both "Pure" and "All I Want" also reached the Modern Rock Tracks top 10.Broudie resumed his production career after the success of the first Lightning Seeds album, but returned to song-writing in 1991 and moved labels from Rough Trade to Virgin. He then resumed his Lightning Seeds recording career, drafting Simon Rogers as his studio partner in terms of production, arrangements, and instrumentation. Rogers, who had also helped with programming on the first Lightning Seeds album, would continue as Broudie's in-studio partner throughout the rest of the Lightning Seeds' career.The album Sense
(1992) featured the song "The Life of Riley", written by Broudie for his son, which reached No. 28 in the UK Singles Chart and registered at No. 98 in the United States Billboard Hot 100. An instrumental version of the song later became better known as the BBC TV theme for the "Goal of the Month" competition. The album Sense
would mark Broudie's first Lightning Seeds song-writing collaborations with former Specials singer Terry Hall. The album's title track "Sense", co-written with Hall and climbed to No. 31 in the UK Singles Chart, however the album only achieved No. 53.
1994–1998: Touring years and commercial success
Broudie's contract expired with Virgin and Epic agreed to sign him. Broudie put other projects on hold and embarked on a touring schedule:By the end of 1993 Broudie had finished the Jollification
(1994) album, which included contributions from Terry Hall and Simon Rogers as well as Ian McNabb. A promotional tour began in August 1994 with their lineup consisting of guitarist Paul Hemmings, drummer Chris Sharrock, bassist Martyn Campbell and keyboardist Ali Kane. The tour benefited from the success of the second single from the album "Change", which reached No. 13 in the UK Singles Charts, becoming Lightning Seeds
second UK top 20 hit. The album Jollification
became a critical success and the singles taken from this album, "Lucky You", "Marvellous" and "Perfect" made noticeable impact. Mark Farrow's album cover featured the use of computer graphics to create an enormous strawberry and depicting seeds with superimposed human faces.During this period a number of songs were recorded at Eel Pie Studios, then owned by Pete Townshend for the fourth studio album Dizzy Heights
. The single "Ready or Not" was released ahead of the album and reached No. 20 in the UK Singles chart.In 1996 The Football Association commissioned Broudie and Lightning Seeds to write theme music for the Euro '96 football tournament. Broudie agreed on the condition that comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, who had presented the late-night television show Fantasy Football League
, wrote the lyrics. The resulting song, "Three Lions", became the band's first No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and was adopted as a football chant, not only in the UK but also in countries such as Germany, where the single and accompanying video reached No. 16 in their charts.During this period the band achieved three more UK Top 20 hits, including a cover version of The Turtles "You Showed Me", which became one of their biggest hits. Between 1996 and 1997 the band's line-up changed. Chris Sharrock left to work with World Party and was replaced by Keith York & Mat Priest from Dodgy. Angie Pollock, who had previously worked with Shakespears Sister and Terry Hall, replaced Ali Kane on keyboards.1997 gave the Lightning Seeds international exposure with the song "You Showed Me" included on the Austin Powers Soundtrack. The release of Like You Do...
and a UK promotional tour followed. "What You Say", one of two new songs included with the compilation, was released but failed to register in the top 40. Part way through the tour Zak Starkey, son of The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, replaced Priest on drums. In 1998, Broudie reworked and recorded an updated version of their hit football anthem for the FIFA World Cup in France. "Three Lions '98", reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart and became the first song to top the charts on two separate occasions with different sets of lyrics. In 1998, The Lightning Seeds
also performed on the Main Stage at both the Glastonbury Festival and the V Festival in the UK.
1999–2005: Tilt and hiatus
Their album Tilt
(1999) was dance-oriented and featured collaborations with Stephen Jones. The single "Life's Too Short" was heralded by BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles as "one of the band's strongest singles to date" and rose to No. 27 in the UK Singles Chart. "Sweetest Soul Sensations" reached No. 67 and did not attract serious attention.The Lightning Seeds performed along with Space and Stereophonics at Cream 2000. In 2002 Broudie confirmed, in the Liverpool Echo, that The Lightning Seeds were to take a long break after a final show at Liverpool's L2 venue. In 2002 Italian dance music producer Alex Farolfi sampled "You Showed Me" for his first solo single "Burnin'", which featured Corinna Joseph.
2006–present: Reunion and Four Winds
The band's second greatest hits album The Very Best of the Lightning Seeds
was released on 12 June 2006, followed by the re-release of "Three Lions", which rose to No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart. In the summer of 2006 Broudie formed a new Lightning Seeds line-up for indoor shows and festival appearances.The band released their sixth studio album Four Winds
, in 2009 numerous festival dates followed with both Martyn Campbell and Angie Pollock reprising their roles in what was now once again a four piece group, with the position on the drum stool taken by Rob Allum. In a tour that took in numerous dates, including Dockfest (Hartlepool), Cornbury, Guilfest, Cardiff Big Weekend (where Angie contracted swine flu so the band performed for the only time to date as a three piece) Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and the V Festival, they played old and new tracks together to promote the new album. During December 2009 Broudie performed on a short acoustic tour, sharing the shows with James Walsh from Starsailor. He played alongside Angie Pollock on keyboards with Riley Broudie contributing on guitar. In early 2010, a short Lightning Seeds tour was announced. Angie Pollock returned on keyboards, the drummer was Stephen Gilchrist and Didz Hammond played bass, with Riley continuing on guitar.A string of summer dates followed, taking in dates across the country as far as York's Galtres Festival, Hampton Pool, Wychwood Festival, a gig at the Gloucester Guildhall as an approach to two Glastonbury Festival shows amongst many others. The line up changed again; Riley remained on guitar, Martyn Campbell returned on the Bass, Raife Burchill on drums and James Bagshaw (of The Moons) on keyboards.In October 2010 the Lightning Seeds performed in Indonesia at the Jakarta Playground festival, with Rob Allum again replacing Raife on drums and Riley having gone to university. After the band's final headline show of 2010 at Leamington Assembly on 12 November, they supported Squeeze on a 22-date UK tour.On Friday 8 July, the Lightning Seeds headlined the AmpRocks festival in Ampthill Park. They played at the South Tyneside Summer Festival in South Shields at the end of July 2011.On 8 September 2012, the Lightning Seeds played an acoustic set on Scarborough's Peasholm Lake as part of the event Acoustic Gathering, and in early 2014 were announced as the headline act for the 2014 LeeStock Music Festival.