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Goodbye Mr Mackenzie

Goodbye Mr Mackenzie were an odd group. Odd looking, odd sounding, odd subject matter to their songs......They were a real mish-mash of styles (sonically as well as everything else) and they didn't fit in to any scene. So naturally, they never achieved the sales their music warranted.

Their backing singer/keyboard player would later go on to front one of the biggest alternative acts of the 90s (Garbage). For the rest., it was back to obscurity. I think I heard their guitarist was once the touring guitarist with Nirvana......but that could be a lie.

gmm - rattler
gmm angelfish
gmm deeds
gmm face
gmm hammer
gmm live
gmm married
gmm open
gmm rattler orig
gmm river

So what did they sound like?

Well, alll and none of their influences (Bowie,   Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen).

They were from Edinburgh, but you'd never really know it. They were dark lyrically and musically without ever being Goths. They had a sort of 80s sound early on (it being the late 80s when they started), there is that drum sound that is a bit like a drum machine, lots of keyboards, some wild guitar playing that could really rock at times. But there was also something of a folky/sea shanty strangeness about them too (they even covered 'What Should We Do With The drunken sailor'). So sonically, think bands like Crazyhead, Ugly As Sin, ....they should really have been either on the Food or China record labels....instead of a Major! (only for one album though - before ending up on independent labels - latterly their own).

The uptempo songs rocked, the ballads were dense and dark (Nick Cave and Lou Reed are obvious influences here) and much of the rest was just plain wierd but with a pop sensibility. In later years, their sound got harder, rockier and less eclectic. Moving more towards The Pixies meets Psychedelic Furs sound on 'Five' and 'The Glory Hole'.

My absolute favourite Goodbye Mr Mackenzie songs:


Open Your Arms

Goodbye Mr Mackenzie

Goodwill city

Good Deeds

Calton Hill


Blacker Than Black

Now We Are Married

Candy Says

Mad Cow Disease



Jim's Killer






Some Goodbye Mr mackenzie albums will cost you a lot of money if you can  find them these days.


But there are also lots of rare tracks hidden away on B sides, sometimes still only available on vinyl.







'The Rattler' and 'Face To Face' were originally released on independent labels, 'The Rattler 'sounding quite different to the later release. 'Face To Face' is one of the most lyrically difficult & haunting songs you will ever hear.








'Good Deeds & Dirty Rags' has been released in 3 different formats - each with slightly different tracklistings.


The 1999 remaster/re-release missed off the song 'His Master's voice' (WHY?!!) but did include a few bonus tracks. The original vinyl release included a bonus 4 track 12" with some rare songs included.







The River Sessions album is a 2CD set, the 2nd of which is a version of Live On The  Night Of The Storms, but missing the last three tracks (WHY?!).

But it also includes a further CD of live tracks (mostly unreleased) and includes one song unavailable anywhere else: 'You Will be My Slave'.


Most G Mr M Eps have unreleased songs and/or versions on them, and they are all worth finding.


Here is an excellent Goodbye Mr Mackenzie discography. It doesn't feature every release, but it does highlight different versions of songs.



It being the 1980's, there were a fair few remixes: Most were 12" vinyl releases only, here are the best:


Goodbye Mr Mackenzie (extended)

Open Your Arms (extended)

The Rattler (extended)

Goodwill City (extended)

Extended Strangle

Love Child (extended)

Goodwill City (Cava 12" Mix)

Blacker Than Black (extended)

His Master's Voice (12" mix)

Now We Are Married (extended)


Before Shirley Manson left to join Garbage, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie became Angelfish (but with Shirley as lead singer). This is how the rest of Garbage first saw her. It is not a bad album, but not as good as G Mr M or as good as 'Vow' by Garbage.

Angelfish also released an EP with B sides not on the album.

If You Like: Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, try Ugly As Sin - The Good the Bad And The Ugly (China Records).