For our Flashback Friday this week we have a personal favourite of mine She sells sanctuary by The Cult.
The Cult is a British band that was formed in 1983 by vocalist Ian Astbury. Originally called The Southern Death Cult they gradually shortened their name until they were left with just The Cult, a far catchier moniker. Astbury was joined by guitarist Billy Duffy in April 1983 and they are both the longest serving members of the band.
Originally a Goth rock band their sound gradually became more mainstream rock, possibly because they gained greater commercial success with a more rocky sound. However, back in the mid 80s they were still experimenting with their post punk/goth sound when they released the brilliant She sells sanctuary.
She sells sanctuary was a single on the “Love” album which was released in 1985. The album peaked at number 4 in the UK charts whereas the single She sells Sanctuary only made it to number 15 in the UK singles chart.
The thing that everyone remembers from She Sells Sanctuary is the intro riff and in particular the guitar sound that Duffy managed to create. It is interesting to note that if you play the riff with no effects, although it sounds good and is unmistakeable as the intro riff to the song, it sounds so flat and one dimensional. The question is how did Duffy create that sound which has become so synonymous with the song? Well Duffy is suitably vague about the origins of the sound. One of his statements goes something along the lines of he hit every pedal in his pedal board and played the riff. However, he has also said that when they recorded the song he had an analog delay, digital delay, a flanger, a phaser, and it was going through the chorus on his Roland JC-120 amp.
Whatever the story the song is a classic mid 80s rock anthem and remains a firm favourite to this day.