The Light Pours Out Of Me
Written by Bob Hutchins on 5th June 2022
The Light Pours Out Of Me
On Wednesday 15th June there will be another special episode of the Solid Rock show, this time focusing around an interview with Rory Sullivan-Burke and his book The Light Pours Out Of Me: the authorised biography of John McGreoch.
If you’re like me, you may not have been familiar with the name John McGreoch. But if I mention songs like Shot By Both Sides, Happy House, Spellbound and Seattle, then you may just know the work of the guitarist who is the subject of the book. His musical break came when he joined Howard Devoto to form the influential Manchester band Magazine with Barry Adamson, Dave Formula and Martin Jackson. He stayed with Magazine for three albums creating some thrilling music until the disappointment of not receiving the recognition he felt they deserved took over. Having moved to London with Magazine and being in constant demand for sessions, it wasn’t long before he attracted the attention of several bands looking for a talented guitarist.
A brief spell with Visage followed, but he didn’t play on their most commercial single Fade to Grey. His orbit and that of Siouxsie Sioux were destined to come into proximity of each other and he joined the group for three of their most inspired albums. I can’t forget sitting infront of Top Of The Pops as an eleven year old in 1980 and seeing the rare appearance of Siouxsie And The Banshees. Siouxsie threw handfuls of glitter from her hand and the song was Happy House from their 1980 album Kaleidoscope. I hardly noticed the rest of the band because Siouxsie was so strange and beguiling. But John was there, creating magic and adding to the mystique with his strange guitar sound. The next appearance I saw of John on Top Of The Pops would have been another Siouxsie And The Banshees song, this time it was the unforgettable song Spellbound – released 31 years on 22 May 1981. He was playing a 12 string acoustic guitar and leaping around in the background while Siouxsie performed in her own mesmerizing way.
Like many bands of the time, the record company wanted their pound of flesh and the constant cycle of writing, recording and touring combined with the rock and roll lifestyle proved to be too much for John and he was released from the band after suffering what would today be understood, with more forgiving understanding, as a burnout.
But what happened to John next? Are you curious to hear his influential work on the albums he contributed to? Tune in to the Solid Rock Show on Wednesday 15th June 7-9pm to hear my interview with Rory and get your copy of The Light Pours Out Of Me by Rory Sullivan-Burke published by Omnibus Press.