60150-1 Under The Big Black Sun
Produced by Ray Manzarek
Released on July 1982
Find it at GEMM
60150-1 cover  

I t flies from the speakers like a two-fisted punch of rock fury, careens around corners like a drunk James Dean, and oozes a viscous mix of genius and anger from its open veins. Under The Big Black Sun is still one of the most vital documents of the ‘80s alternative rock movement (in my mind). Take The Crammps, The Go-Go’s, Romeo Void and file them into a folder marked Mad Miscellany, but don’t you dare put Under The Big Black Sun in there. On the first side, X hums like a four-cylinder engine tweaked to perfection; from “The Hungry Wolf” through to the title track, this is electric, chill-inducing stuff. As a songwriting team, John Doe and Exene Cervenka are the Lennon/McCartney of doomed lovers, a pair of cowpunks galloping out of town with the bank money, both pistols blazing, and five days to live. That’s really the source of X's energy; the band plays it like they’re on borrowed time, determined to cram twenty-plus years of living into forty minutes of music. Now I have to confess, I don’t own the earlier X albums or even anything by Patti Smith, so you might find these revelations in an earlier vision. Me, I’m not so interested in the source of the life-giving water if I find it a few miles downstream, as long as it quenches my thirst. Under The Big Black Sun did that, and still does. When I feel the energy draining and apathy moving in, I queue up the first side, let it wash over me, and restore the empty battery cells of antipathy toward anything that doesn’t blow in the wind like a transient tumbleweed. Under the big black sun, nothing is nailed down; pleasure and pain come into our lives without knocking, and to run away from the one is to run into the other. If you haven’t run into this record by now, get going.

60150-1 back cover 60150-1 lyric sleeve
60150-1 back cover 60150-1 lyric sleeve


  1. THE HUNGRY WOLF    3:45
  2. MOTEL ROOM IN MY BED    2:32
  3. RIDING WITH MARY    3:40
  4. COME BACK TO ME    3:43
  6. BECAUSE I DO    2:21
  7. BLUE SPARK    2:06
  8. DANCING WITH TEARS IN MY EYES    (Al Dubin/Joe Burke)    2:20
  9. REAL CHILD OF HELL    2:59
  10. HOW I (LEARNED MY LESSON)    2:12
  11. THE HAVE NOTS    4:44

    All compositions written by John Doe/Exene Cervenka unless noted


D.J. BONEBRAKE -- drums, marimba, vibes, percussion
JOHN DOE -- vocals, bass
BILLY ZOOM -- guitar, saxophone, clarinet, wolf howls
Clay Rose -- engineer
Alfred Harris -- cover illustration
Frank Gargani -- cover photography

return to X discography

US July 1982 Elektra LP/CS 60150 lyric sleeve
UK/GER 1982 Elektra LP ELK K52401 lyric sleeve
US   Elektra CD 60150  
US September 18, 2001 Rhino CDX 74372 digital remaster w. bonus tracks


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