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Building on the jangly guitar pop of the Smiths and the trance-like dream pop of bands like the Cocteau Twins, the Sundays cultivated a dedicated following in indie rock circles, both in their native England and in America, in the early '90s. Although the sales of their first two albums were strong, the band never crossed over into the mainstream, as so many observers and critics predicted they would.
The Sundays formed in the summer of 1987 in London, England. Originally, the group consisted of vocalist Harriet Wheeler, who had previously sung with a band called Jim Jiminee, and guitarist David Gavurin. After the duo had written several songs, they added a rhythm section, featuring bassist Paul Brindley and drummer Patrick Hannan. In August of 1988, the Sundays performed their first concert, playing at the Falcoln "Vertigo Club" in Camden, London. The concert generated good word-of-mouth within the industry, and the group became the target of a record label bidding war. By the end of the year, the band had signed to Rough Trade; they would sign a deal with DGC Records for American distribution within a year.
"Can't Be Sure," the Sundays' first single, appeared in January of 1989 and entered the U.K. charts at number 45. The group took a year to record its first album, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. The debut was released in early 1990 to very positive critical notices and unexpectedly entered the U.K. charts at number four. Upon its American release later in the year, the album became a modern rock hit, peaking at number 39. Its success in the U.S. was largely due to heavy radio and MTV airplay for the single "Here's Where the Story Ends." The single wound up topping the modern rock charts in America. The Sundays spent the rest of 1990 successfully touring America, Europe, and Japan.
During 1991, Rough Trade collapsed due to financial mismanagement. After the label went out of business, the Sundays signed a deal with Parlophone Records in the U.K.; Reading, Writing and Arithmetic went out of print in England and would not go back in print until 1996. Even considering the setback of Rough Trade's implosion, the Sundays took a long time to write and record their second album. They finally delivered the follow-up to Reading, Writing and Arithmetic in the fall of 1992. The resulting album, entitled Blind, was greeted with mixed reviews but was an immediate hit in the U.S. and U.K. In America, "Love" became a number two modern rock hit and "Goodbye" peaked at number 11. Although Blind was initially successful, it didn't have they staying power of the debut and dropped out of the charts by the summer of 1993. The Sundays supported the album with an international tour.
After the release of Blind, the Sundays were quiet for the next several years. The only sign of the band was the use of their cover of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" in an American television commercial in 1994. It would be five years until The Sundays would release another album. Wheeler and Gavurin got married, had a baby girl named Billie, and yearned for a normal life during this time. This obviously explained their absence from the music world, but it was well worth the wait. The Sundays again achieved mainstream success with their third album, Static & Silence (1997), thanks to the popular hit single "Summertime."
The Sundays were an English alternative rock band. The band formed in the late 1980s and released three albums in the 1990s.
The band's beginnings came with the meeting of Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin at university. Wheeler had played gigs with 'Cruel Shoes' an early incarnation of the band Jim Jiminee. The duo soon augmented the band with bassist Paul Brindley and drummer Patrick Hannan.
The Sundays secured a recording contract with Rough Trade Records. Their debut single was "Can't Be Sure". Their first album, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic was released in 1990, along with their next single "Here's Where the Story Ends". The album was a UK Top 5 hit.
With Rough Trade's financial troubles and the band's decision to manage themselves, The Sundays' next single, "Goodbye", did not emerge until 1992. Their next album, Blind, arrived the same year, reaching the UK Top 15. The "Goodbye" B-side, a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses", also appeared on the US release of Blind and on the soundtrack for the popular television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The band toured in support of these recordings.
In 1997 their third album, Static & Silence was followed by the release of their most successful single to date, "Summertime", which made the UK Top 15. The album itself reached the UK Top 10. However, the band has been on a lengthy hiatus since those releases, with Wheeler and Gavurin focusing on raising their two children.
1988: Formation 
Vocalist Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin met as students at Bristol University in the mid-1980s. Wheeler was from Reading, the daughter of an architect and a teacher, and studied English literature. Gavurin was from Wembley and actively pursued a degree in the Romance languages, particularly French and Spanish. The two fell in love and began living together. Following graduation they wrote music in their free time while collecting unemployment benefits. Except for Wheeler's vocal duties in a band called Jim Jiminee, the couple had no musical background. Commenting on his desire to compose, Gauverin said "It was something I'd always wanted to do, although I never wanted to be in a band when I was younger, like many kids do. It just dawned on me gradually." Wheeler displayed similar feelings: "There was never a time I wanted to be incredibly famous, or in a pop group," she said. "It just seemed a great thing to do to spend time working on something that's your own."
After the couple completed several songs–and migrated to London–they enlisted the support of bassist Paul Brindley and drummer Patrick Hannan, who had also attended Bristol University. The band chose the name "The Sundays" as it was the only one everyone could agree upon. Demo tapes were sent out to several London clubs after the group felt energized by their efforts; Gavurin stated in a Rolling Stone interview that "...by the end of the year we were thinking, 'Hang on a minute, some of this [music] is good!'" Responses to the tape were enthusiastic and an employee at Vertigo Club offered the band an opening slot for an upcoming show in August 1988. "By chance there were three reviewers from the top music papers there," said Wheeler. "They were supposed to review the main band, but instead they wrote about us." The group subsequently became the focus of a record label bidding war, which author Peter Buckley described as a "frenzy". They eventually signed with Rough Trade Records and had a distribution deal signed for the United States with DGC Records.
1989–1990: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic 
The Sundays released their first single "Can't Be Sure" in January 1989, which topped British indie charts and received acclaim as one of the best singles of 1989. The group performed three songs in a session with popular disc jockey John Peel. These songs would later turn up on their debut album, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. The group worked on their debut for over a year. "A lot of bands who get signed, who have been playing the circuit for years, have 30 songs for the first album," said Gavurin. "But we didn't have enough for our first album, let alone our second. We can't write to deadline. You can't force a whole load of songs out quickly." Responding to whether the band felt pressured when working on the album, Wheeler responded "No, because to start off with, we're far more critical of ourselves than anyone else, and that's more a concern to us than what the press think." Gavurin also commented "The main pressure we felt was with the single, and even then, we thought, well, they're either going to like it or they're not, and there's not much we can do to influence that."
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic was released in April 1990 and became a commercial success, reaching No. four on the UK charts and peaking at No. 39 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. It would later go on to sell over a half million copies worldwide. Critical reception was very positive; Rolling Stone writer Ira Robbins referred to it as "an alluring slice of lighter-than-air guitar pop, a collection of uncommonly good songs graced by Harriet Wheeler's wondrous singing." The single "Here's Where The Story Ends" was particularly successful in the USA due to radio play and MTV rotation. The Sundays devoted nearly a year to an "exhausting" promotional tour, which encompassed America, Europe, and Japan. The tour was considered successful, though it wasn't without some mishaps; a London show had to be rescheduled due to Wheeler losing her voice and the group experienced some bemusement when a Dallas, Texas show was advertised with the slogan "See The Sundays on Sunday with ice-cream sundaes".
1991–1993: Blind 
The band experienced some hardships leading up to the recording of their second album. In 1991 Rough Trade Records went bankrupt, which caused the band to sign with Parlophone Records in the UK. Their debut went out of print in the UK and would stay that way until 1996. Constant touring coupled with their decision to manage themselves hampered the group's creative output, which was already slow due to Gavurin and Wheeler, the main songwriters, "being chained by pokiness and perfectionism when it [came] to writing and recording music." Additionally, the band kept a "low public profile" which fueled rumors that the group had disbanded. The Sundays eventually released a new single, "Goodbye", a minor hit, in Autumn 1992. The release came almost three years after their last UK show.
Their next album, entitled Blind was finally released in October 1992. The album experienced commercial success similar to their debut when it peaked at No. 103 on the Billboard 200, and sold nearly a half million copies. Critical reception was also positive, but some critics thought the album lacked the quality songwriting of its predecessor. Despite Blind's initial appeal with audiences, it drifted off the charts by the summer of 1993. The Sundays toured Britain in winter of 1992. The shows were "rapturously received by fans starved of fresh product or gigs." An American tour was greeted with sold out shows. Gavurin explained that they weren't necessarily attempting to promote the new album: "A lot of people didn't see us the first time we played over here, and they want to hear earlier material. So we're playing half and half." In the end the tour was cut short in light of exhaustion and homesickness.
1994–1997: Static and Silence 
The band holidayed in Thailand and decided to take a break upon returning to England. It would be five years before another album was released. During this time the only appearance of the band was their cover of "Wild Horses" by The Rolling Stones appearing in a 1994 American television commercial. Gavurin and Wheeler expressed a desire to settle down. The couple got married and gave birth to a baby daughter named Billie in February 1995. They also built a recording studio in their home, not only to save on the cost of renting a studio, but to expand their creative freedoms. Their third, and so far, final album, Static & Silence, was released in the autumn of 1997 to mixed reviews. Although the band retained much of the same sound that they'd developed on previous albums, they added horns to a number of tracks for Static & Silence. Although the album as a whole was not as successful as Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic, one of the singles from Static & Silence, "Summertime," became their most successful hit to date on the UK charts. However, on the U.S. charts, the single, though it made it to the 10th spot on the U.S. Alternative Rock charts, was only The Sundays' third most successful single, lagging significantly behind "Here's Where the Story Ends" (which made it to number 1 on the U.S. Alternative Rock charts) and "Love" (which made it to number 2 on the U.S. Alternative Rock charts).