The Wedding Present PhotoFORMED: 1985, Leeds, England

Emerging in the wake of the Smiths' demise as the U.K.'s most successful indie-pop band during the late '80s, The Wedding Present were founded in Leeds, England in 1985. Formed from the ashes of the short-lived Lost Pandas, the Weddoes (as they were affectionately dubbed by fans) were essentially the vehicle of singer/songwriter David Gedge, the only constant member throughout the group's tumultuous history; initially rounded out by guitarist Peter Salowka, bassist Keith Gregory and drummer Shaun Charman, the fledgling band quickly won a loyal following among university students, as well as the patronage of influential DJ John Peel, for whom they cut their first radio session in February 1986.

Named in honor of the popular soccer star, George Best, the Wedding Present's remarkable debut LP, appeared on their own Reception label in 1987. The group became the darlings of the British press overnight, winning acclaim for their distinct guitar-pop frenzy as well as Gedge's idiosyncratic vocal style and wittily lovelorn, conversation-like lyrics. After the album established a foothold on the U.K. indie charts, Tommy -- a hastily compiled overview of early singles, covers and radio broadcasts -- followed in 1988.

The Wedding Present's next effort came completely out of left field: titled Ukrainski Vistupi v Johna Peel, the collection brought together Peel session dates with a sampler of traditional Ukrainian folk tunes inspired by Salowka's father. Additionally, it marked the recording debut of new drummer Simon Smith, recruited after Charman exited to form the Popguns. After reaching the Top 40 with the primal single "Kennedy," the Weddoes returned in 1989 with Bizarro, a more conventional effort highlighted by the single "Brassneck," produced by Steve Albini. 1991's aggressive Seamonsters returned Albini to the producer's seat and marked the departure of Salowka, who continued to explore his roots in the Ukrainians; guitarist Paul Dorrington was tapped as his replacement.

Instead of recording a new studio LP, the Wedding Present spent the entirety of 1992 issuing a single on the first Monday of each month. Later compiled as the two-volume Hit Parade set, the singles featured original material on their A-sides and cover songs on the flipsides, among them interpretations of the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday," Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears," Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft," and Julee Cruise's "Falling" (better known as the theme to Twin Peaks).

After the departure of Gregory (to found Cha Cha Cohen) left Gedge the group's last original member, the Weddoes resurfaced with new bassist Darren Belk for 1994's Watusi, a nod towards the Amerindie love-rock scene produced by Olympia, Washington-based producer Steve Fisk, complete with vocal assistance from Beat Happening's Heather Lewis. Following a rather uneventful 1995, the group returned in 1996 with a flurry of new material; first up was the auto-obsessed Mini EP, later reissued with bonus tracks as Mini Plus. The full-length Saturnalia appeared at the end of the year, followed early in 1997 by the single "Montreal." ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide