Tuesday 5 December 2023

Namesakes #62: Sleeper

On the surface, "Sleeper" isn't the most rock n roll band name you could come up with. It suggests either someone catching forty winks or a huge chuck of wood train tracks roll over. Or maybe that Woody Allen film where Woody gets cryogenically frozen and wakes up 200 years later when everyone's forgotten what a perv he was.

Here are a selection of Sleepers... what's the collective noun for Sleepers? I want to say "snooze". Which ones wake you up... and which ones should be put to sleep?


We start with a slice of jolly Hawaiian pop rock from 1980, and a band who endeared themselves to me greatly with this poster... 

The handwritten "Their first single on sale here!" suggests a rather limited marketing budget.


Proper US power pop next, from 1981. I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. This Sleeper came from Quad Cities, Idaho. Could have used that when we were struggling for Qs in CC's A to Z of American Cities.


Meanwhile, down in Portsmouth, another early eighties Sleeper were kicking up a bit of a scene. Apparently this song was written for Shakin' Stevens, but when he didn't want it...


Those of us of a certain vintage (predominantly, me and Martin) have a very special place in our hearts for the divine Ms. Louise Wener, who single-handedly won the Britpop battle for the fairer sex. (Justine who?)


Emo band out of Staten Island in the early 90s. Discogs tells me, "After a few releases as Sleeper, the band was offered $125,000 for the exclusive US rights to the name by a UK-based band of the same name. The US Sleeper accepted the offer, and changed its name to Serpico." 

That's got to be the easiest $125,000 anyone ever made.


Melbourne alt-rockers, also from the early-mid 90s, who later changed their name to Fragment, and then to Rail. No mention if they got $125,000 for doing so, but if they didn't, I'm betting they're mighty peeved now.


Here's a Japanese Sleeper from 2008, taken from their album Get Happy!!! No relation to Elvis Costello.


I know this type of thing from 2011 isn't my bag, so I'm not best placed to make judgement, but it sounds like a backing track waiting for a vocal to me. Get Iggy to ramble on over the top about murdering someone and burying them in a carpet, then you're onto something.


Finally, we have a Netherlands rock band from a few years back whose career progression appears to have been rather hampered by the covid lockdown.

Make your decision, then sleep well. Hopefully none of the above will cause you to have nightmares...


  1. Sleeper 1 is a peculiar thing of a truly terrible song of many parts that somehow combine to make one of those so-bad-it's good songs. I cannot imagine the rest of these Sleepers will be as good

  2. #2 to #5 were forgettable, although I would like to have heard Mr Stevens doing that song written for him. And he could probably make a better job of #5 than those Staten Island chappies

    1. I've just had a thought, maybe Cat Power could do a covers album of the songs of Shakin Stevens? Much more daring than Dylan covers

    2. I think Nick Cave or Billy Bragg ought to do a Shaky covers album. He's high past time for critical re-appraisal.

  3. 1,2 and 6 were alright until the singing started .The less said about 8 the better.All the others just about passed muster.

    1. If I were in a band, I'm not sure which review I'd prefer: "alright until the singing started" or "just about passed muster".

  4. You have not saved the best 'til last, so it's #1 for me (with #9 in second place)

    1. I rarely save the best till last in this feature.

  5. Oh, Louise (obligatory sigh)... predictably it's number 4 for me, all day long and twice on Sundays.

    1. Steady on, sir, you'll give yourself a funny turn.

  6. A lot of these remarkably samey - something about bands called Sleeper obviously. I’m going out on a limb probably and have picked out # 7 the Japanese one as my favourite!

  7. I'm with Alyson on this one. 6 and 7 were the pick of a not very distinguished bunch.

  8. You're all breaking Martin's heart... and mine!


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