Listen to this track by Scottish dance rock proponents and musical genre crossover adventurers Primal Scream. It’s “Loaded”, a hit song as taken from their seminal 1991record Screamadelica. The single was released in February 1990, over a year before the full album came out.
The song would be something of an anthem to the dance scenes all over Britain on its release, with a dash of ’60s iconoclast ingredients worked into its fabric. There are certainly musical ingredients to be found in what was once a humble remix that most assuredly helped to turn it into a hit single.
One of the defining elements to the song of course is the use of audio clips from the 1966 film The Wild Angels, starring Peter Fonda as a hard-riding member of a motorcycle gang, and a guy who knows what he wants to do; to be free, to get loaded, have a good time, to have a party.
Some themes never get old.
And beyond that, it certainly spoke to the burgeoning acid house scene at the same time.
“Loaded” originally sprang from another Primal Scream song, “I’m Losing More Than I Will Ever Have“, which is a Rolling Stones-esque love song with a compelling chord sequence, brass textures, slide guitar, and an extended outro. It would be that outro that is the heart of what would become “Loaded”.
The remix boils the outro down to a pure groove, matching it some elements found elsewhere, including Peter Fonda’s manifesto from The Wild Angels. The remix then became something else entirely, and hitting a chord of its own, becoming a top twenty hit and the band’s breakthrough. It would also serve as a sort of short form for the era in which rock instruments were being used to fill dance floors, as well as to make singles made for listening to.
But another aspect to Primal Scream by the time “Loaded” came out was that they were drawing from a wider palette of musical influences that fit in seamlessly with early ’90s dance music, including gospel music, ’60s rock, and rural blues, along with their modern indie rock core. Through out their subsequent releases, they would vary the ratios between these ingredients.
But, “Loaded” remains to be an anthem for its times, as well as reminding listeners that the impulse to make rock music has always included its sentiments; to escape, to be free, and to celebrate.
Primal Scream is an active musical unit today. Find out more about them at Primalscream.net.