Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stiff Records: (I'd Go The) Whole Wide World

One of the earlier members of the Stiff Records stable was Eric Goulden who is better known as Wreckless Eric. His first recording for Stiff, “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World,” appeared as the second track on the UK compilation “A Bunch of Stiff Records” in April 1977. For the few who purchased this early Stiff release, it was an introduction to Wreckless Eric and others who had been signed by the fledgling company.

As a single, “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World” was officially released in the UK in August 1977 and his debut, self-titled LP followed in March of the next year. Unfortunately,  Eric’s first two LPs were not issued in the US; however, Stiff created what amounted a compilation of Eric’s singles and B-sides on an LP titled “The Whole Wide World” in 1979 to break him into the US market. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Additionally, “Take the Cash (K.A.S.H.)” and not “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World” was released as his first US single.

With this album, Stiff continued their humor in numbering their releases as they had started in the UK.  UK singles were prefixed with BUY and Nick Lowe’s “So it Goes” was cataloged as BUY-1.  UK EPs were prefixed with LAST and albums primarily issued with SEEZ with occasional use of GET, DEAL, ODD, SOUNDS, MAIL and custom numbering for artists such as GOMM. LENE, and ERIC.  On Stiff’s self distributed releases in North America, USE was used primarily for albums and OWN for singles.  Wreckless Eric’s first American album and single were numbered as USE-1 and OWN-1 respectively.

As for “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World,” it is amazing that Eric could do so much with two chords – the tonic “E” and the subdominant “A.” While Wreckless Eric played guitar on this cut, it also features Nick Lowe on guitar and bass and Steve Goulding on drums. While “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World” failed to chart in the countries where it was released as a single, it has become Goulden’s best known recording and was featured in three films: “That Summer” (1979), “Me without You” (2002), and “Stranger than Fiction” (2006).

A vinyl single of “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World” was finally issued on Stiff/Razor & Tie in the US during November 2013. The single included the original British picture sleeve and catalog number (BUY-16).  It was about time, albeit it was 36 years too late.  It’s a shame that this tune isn’t better known as it truly is a classic example of the music of the late 1970s. I am also featuring a rare acoustic version of the tune which is very nice as well.

A Rare Acoustic Version

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