What For was the first release by James after Sire had blocked them for 18 months.
7″ NEG 31- What For / Island Swing
12″ NEG 31T- What For / Island Swing / Not There
CAS NEG 31C- What For / Island Swing / Not There
|Release Name:||What For|
|Release Date:||March 1988|
|Catalogue:||7" NEG 31 / 12" NEG 31T / CAS NEG 31C|
|Related Release(s):||Strip-mine (Album)|
When What For was finally released in March 1988, it was more of a relief than anything else. Sire had finally relented after blocking any James release for almost eighteen months.
What For was amazingly regarded as too indie for Radio 1 by the record company, a frankly ridiculous assertion, but this meant that the single, viewed by the band as critical to their future, was given little promotion by Sire. The music press which had previously championed James had lost interest during the band’s period of inactivity and paid the single only a passing interest. The band did however manage to squeeze together the funds to tour the country again.
The b-sides of the single were Not There, later to appear on the Strip-Mine album and Island Swing, a side-swipe at colonialism. In addition to the traditional 7″ and 12″ formats, the single came in a video-style jewel case cassette.
The single was accompanied by a video which starts with the band on a Manchester council estate before driving out into the Lake District where the panoramic rolling views of the countryside complemented the environmental edge to the song’s lyrics.
Artwork for the single was provided by Peter Lomax.