Fanning’s Fab 50 (1986)

I have in my possession a number of cassettes recorded over a series of nights late in 1986 when Dave ran down the 50 successful entries and some of those that didn’t quite make it into that year’s Fab Fifty. Some of the tracks from these particular tapes have made it into previous posts but I thought you might like the complete rundown. Unfortunately I performed some in situ editing so there are a few blind spots below, if anyone can fill in the blanks, I’d love to hear from you. My interest in the Fab Fifty waned in later years as I became more interested in John Peel’s Festive 50, I liked the way Peel’s rundown was restricted to music from that year, the Fab 50 meant negotiating indie ‘classics’ and U2 anthems like that interminable live version of ‘Bad’. Anyway for whatever reason the 1986 Fab 50 was the one for me, I still enjoy listening to it. The number of demos present is particularly impressive IMHO..

Update: Show now online, listen to parts 1,2,3,4,5 and 6

50. U2 – A Celebration
49. New Order – Ceremony
48. Half Man Half Biscuit – The Trumpton Riots
47. The Triffids – Wide Open Road
46. In Tua Nua – Ballad Of Irish Love
45. The Mission – The Serpent’s Kiss
44. Aslan – This Is
43. The Blue Nile – Heatwave
42. Blue In Heaven – I Just Wanna
41. The Subterraneans – Maxi Joy (Demo)
40. The Waterboys – This Is The Sea
39. Half Man Half Biscuit – All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
38. Paul Brady _ The Island
37. The Cocteau Twins – Pearly Dew Drops Drop
36. Fountainhead – Rhythm Method
35. U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday
34. U2 – 11 O Clock Tick Tock
33. The The – Heartland
32. Joy Division – New Dawn Fades
31. Tuesday Blue – I’m So Scared (Demo)
30. Billy Bragg – Between The Wars
29. PiL – Rise
28. Something Happens – Forget Georgia (Demo)
27. Simple Minds – Someone Somewhere In Summertime
26. Half Man Half Biscuit – Dickie Davies Eyes
25. Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me
24. U2 – An Cat Dubh
23. The Pogues – Rainy Night In Soho
22. Cactus World News – The Bridge
21. The Blades – Some People Smile
20. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
19. Joy Division – Atmosphere
18. New Order – Blue Monday
17. Tuesday Blue – Tunnel Vision
16. The Doors – An American Prayer
15. The Pogues – Dirty Old Town
14. The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
13. U2 – Pride (In The Name Of Love)
12. New Order – State Of The Nation
11. The Waterboys – Death Is Not The End (Live On Fanning Show)
10. Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears
09. New Order – Shellshock
08. The The – Sweet Bird of Truth
07. The Cure – A Forest
06. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?
05. The Smiths – Panic
04. The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon
03. Elvis Costello – I Want You
02. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
01. U2 – Bad

Completed the listing thanks to Damian O’Broin who still has his tapes:

8 Responses to “Fanning’s Fab 50 (1986)”

  1. can you upload any of the blades. also there was a half hour concert broadcast by them circa 1987??? hope hope

  2. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Hi Cathal, you might like today’s post. I don’t have that concert I’m afraid.

  3. well done great site

  4. I looked at your site with some interest. I began listening to Dave Fanning while studying for the Leaving Cert and recorded the Fab 50 from 1995. The tapes have since gone missing but having listened to them so often I have the order of the songs memorised:

    50. Alive – I alone
    49. Therapy? – Diane
    48. RHCP – Under the bridge
    47. Blur – Parklife
    46. Massive Attack – Protection
    45. Dinosaur Jr – Freakscene
    44. Oasis – Whatever
    43. Sonic Youth – Superstar
    42. REM – Losing my religion
    41. U2- Bad (live)
    40. Oasis – Don’t look back in anger
    39. Nirvana – Lithium
    38. Ash – Angel interceptor
    37. Passengers – Miss Sarajevo
    36. Blur – Country house
    35. Ash – Uncle Pat
    34. Whipping Boy – Twinkle
    33. Beck – Loser
    32. Stone Roses – I wanna be adored
    31. Ash – Kung Fu
    30. Radiohead – High and dry
    29. Nirvana – Heart shaped box
    28. Radiohead – Fake plastic trees
    27. Pearl Jam – Black
    26. Radiohead – Lucky
    25. Breeders – Cannonball
    24. Oasis – Live forever
    23. Cure – A forest
    22. Cranberries – Zombie
    21. Smiths – There is a light
    20. Nirvana – The man who sold the world
    19. Green Day – Basket case
    18. Coolio – Gangsta’s paradise
    17. Pixies – Debaser
    16. Stone Roses – Love spreads
    15. Offspring – Self esteem
    14. REM – Everybody hurts
    13. Frames – Revelate
    12. Blur – The universal
    11. Ash – Girl from Mars
    10. U2 – One
    9. Stone Roses – I am the resurrection
    8. Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
    7. Pulp – Common people
    6. Whipping Boy – We don’t need nobody else
    5. Smashing Pumpkins – Today
    4. Radiohead – Creep
    3. Nirvana – Smells like teen spirit
    2. Oasis – Wonderwall
    1. Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with butterfly wings

    I continued to record Fab 50s over the next few years, then gave up due to the repetition of the songs. It’s interesting that 11 of the songs from 1995 featured in last year’s (2012).

    About 10 years ago, I contacted 2FM asking if they could feature past Fab 50s on their website a la John Peel’s Festive 50s. They didn’t seem too bothered so when I asked if I could be allowed access to lists of Fab 50s so I could do it for them they were less than accommodating. This is a pity even if the same songs appear over and over again.

    I always find that the bottom ten songs in the Fab 50s are always the best ones. Number 49 from Therapy? and 46 from Massive Attack are gems.

    Well done on the site. Hope this was informative.

  5. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Thank you Lar I am impressed that you can list all 50 from memory! If anyone has other Fab50 listings I will create a page and list them by year. I find also that the tracks bubbling just under can be much more interesting.. Dave himself said as much in his recent PhantomFM interview, maybe I should post that..

  6. I first listened to Fannings Fab 50 in the late 80s. Here is a list of Fanning’s Fab 50 from 1990. it includes 22 Irish acts, maybe 5 more if the grandparent rule is used.

    50. The Doors: Riders on the storm
    49. My Bloody Valentine: Soon
    48. Elvis Costello: Alison
    47. Fatima Mansions: Blues for Ceauseau
    46. U2: Hawkmoon 269
    45. The Fat Lady sings: Arclight
    44. Jesus and Mary Chain: Some candy talking
    43. A-House: Call me Blue
    42. Golden Horde: 100 boys
    41: U2: The sweetest thing
    40: World Party: Message in the box
    39. Morrissey: Everyday is like Sunday
    38. The Pixies: Here comes your man
    37. The Cure: Just like heaven
    36. The Hothouse Flowers: Hard rain
    35. Them: Gloria
    34: Nick cave and the Bad Seeds: The ship song
    33. Sinead O’Connor: Troy
    32. The Hothouse Flowers: I can see clearly now
    31. The Charlatans: The only one I know
    30: Something Happens: What now
    29. John Lennon: Imagine
    28. The Smiths: How soon is now?
    27. REM: Orange crush
    26. The Stunning: Brewing up a storm
    25. The Pixies: Monkey’s gone to heaven
    24. The Wonder Stuff: Don’t let me down gently
    23. U2: Night and day
    22. Led Zeppelin: Stairway to heaven
    21. Happy Mondays: Kinky Afro
    20. The Cure: A forest
    19. The House of Love: Shine on
    18. Dead Milkmen: Punk rock girl
    17. The La’s: There she goes
    16. The Smiths: What difference does it make?
    15. U2: Pride
    14. That Petrol Emotion: Sensitize
    13. An Emotional Fish: celebrate
    12. Power of Dreams: 100 ways to kill a love
    11. The Stone Roses: Fool’s Gold
    10. REM: World leader pretend
    9. The Stone Roses: I am the resurrection
    8. U2: God part II
    7. The Waterboys: The whole of the moon
    6. The Pixies: Debaser
    5. Joy Division: Love will tear us apart
    4. Something Happens: Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello
    3. Happy Mondays: Step on
    2. Something Happens: Parachute
    1. U2: Bad

  7. Just stumbled across this blog thanks to It’s a great resource – hope others can fill in the gaps because you’re bringing back some great memories.

  8. The Wedding Present’s Kennedy was number 28 in Fanning’s Fab 50 of 1989.

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