For one reason or another, The Slits have invaded my safe space at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks, which is obviously a sign I couldn’t ignore. It was time to pay homage. This all-girl post punk band from London released their debut album Cut in 1979 and toured with The Clash, The Innocents, and Sonic Youth, just to name a few. I wont get into all the different incarnations of the band throughout the years. But I will tell you that Neneh Cherry often performed with the band at their live shows. Remember her?
The Slits had a nice run, releasing 4 studio albums followed up by a few comeback albums and re-releases. But to be an all-girl band in an all-boys club is something to be commended, especially in the mid-late 70s.
Well, it’s not the late seventies so why am I talking about the Slits? It’s this track that keeps me coming back to them time and time again: the Lo-Fi, jazzy, polyphonic cover of “Heard it Through the Grapevine ” by the late Marvin Gaye. Not to take anything away from the original version released by Marvin Gaye in 1968, but those Raisinette commercials that bastardized everything we loved about that song didn’t do Marvin any favors. The Slits’ cover gives this song new life: the musicianship mixed with the moxy it must have taken for these three girls to decide that no matter what life threw their way, they where going to make music and make it the way they wanted to make it. I cant help but think that the Slits paved the way for many female bands and musicians who came after them. Bands like LiliPUT/Kleenex, The 126.96.36.199’s, The Raincoats, Lunachicks, The GoGo’s and The Gore Gore Girls just to name a few.. The list goes on and on. So I tip my cap as I crank up the volume as I listen to the song of the day- “Heard it Through the Grapevine” by the Slits!