A Head Full of Wishes

A Head Full of Wishes is a site for Galaxie 500, Luna, Damon & Naomi, Dean & Britta and Dean Wareham. With news, articles and lists of releases and past and future shows.

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On the 20th anniversary of Galaxie 500

Poster artwork for Galaxie 500's first show (Naomi Yang, Summer 1987)
Poster artwork for Galaxie 500's first show (Naomi Yang, Summer 1987)

I think I’ll declare 29 August 2007 a holiday - take the day off and tell your boss it’s OK because it’s Galaxie 500’s birthday…

I guess I’m not really in a position to decide at what point Galaxie 500 came into existence, that’s a decision better left to the protagonists - but hell they’re all busy with more important things - and maybe a 20th anniversary only means something to me. In the booklet that came with the box set Dean mentioned that the point when Naomi decided to pick up the bass guitar was “when the band was born for real”. This was certainly in the summer of 1987 and was before the 11th of August when the three of them went into 6/8 studios in New York City to record their first demo.

But a while back I formed the opinion that a band is truly born when they step on a stage together, until that point they’re a bunch of mates playing together. It’s when you invite others to judge you that, in my opinion, defines when a band is truly born. That moment for Galaxie 500 happened in a New York City apartment on the 29 August 1987. That the audience were friends, the “stage” was the corner of a living room and the event was a going away party for Dean wasn’t important. Opening yourself up to analysis is surely the point at which things get serious.

So, on the 29 August 1987 Dean, Damon & Naomi played “four or five songs” to some friends in an apartment at 248 Front Street in NYC and Galaxie 500 were born.

I suspect the songs played would have included some of the tracks they’d recorded a couple of weeks earlier at that first session. Three songs were recorded at the session and were made into a demo tape that picked up a little airplay on a Harvard radio station and eventually saw the light of day on the “Uncollected” disc of the 1996 Box Set. A very few copies of the demo tape contained four additional tracks that have never been officially released (I’m not sure whether these were recorded at the same NY session).

As far as I’m aware there is no recording of that first show so here are a couple of the unreleased tracks from the extended Galaxie 500 first demo tape.

The first ever Galaxie 500 show was during the summer of 1987 at my apartment on Front St. in Manhattan. We played 4 or 5 songs, I can’t remember what they were, but I remember being pleased that I didn’t break any strings. I was working in the Elmer Holmes Bobst Memorial Library at N.Y.U. Damon & Naomi were in town for the summer, and Naomi had decided to pick up the bass guitar - I guess that’s when the band was born for real. (Dean Wareham - Box set booklet)

we definitely played "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and likely "Walking Song" and "On the Floor" and possibly "Where Have all the Flowers Gone" and "I Can See Clearly Now the Rain is Gone" Dean Wareham (@WarehamDean), 29th August 2019

Three albums and just under four years later it would all be over.

I had wanted to do some sort of celebration, a party or a gig would have been nice…but I never got my act together. Maybe I’ll be better organised for the 25th anniversary…