120 Reasons To Live: The Housemartins

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#72: The Housemartins “Caravan Of Love”

Thank you for watching the gayest video in history. And did you see Fatboy Slim in there? Norman Cook was the bassist for Hull, England, Christian/Marxist band the Housemartins before he became a megafamous DJ. The Housemartins’ 1986 cover of Isley/Jasper/Isley’s “Caravan Of Love” netted the band a number-one single in the U.K., but it hardly represents the group’s style, a sound that followed various vapor trails from the Smiths and the Jam; the a cappella song wasn’t even included on a proper album. The band broke up in 1988, and singer Paul Heaton went on to form the Beautiful South, but not before announcing the Housemartins’ split in an open letter to the NME that simply read: “In an age of Rick Astley, Shakin’ Stevens and the Pet Shop Boys quite simply they (the Housemartins) weren’t good enough.”