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By Andrew Burton

“I’ve never felt better in my life,” Mark E. Smith sneers on The Classical, the opening track on The Fall’s seminal 1982 album Hex Enduction Hour. This line couldn’t have been further from the truth. By 1982, internal fighting and problems with their label Rough Trade Records were tearing the group apart. After just four LPs (five if you include Slates), Hex was supposed to be their last. But, in what was soon to become typical Fall fashion, the band miraculously persevered; Smith fired a few members (guitarist Marc Riley was dismissed on his wedding day), ditched Rough Trade for Beggar’s Banquet, quickly found new members and carried on. This cycle of hiring-and-firing would soon become the norm over the band’s 35 years, 66 members and 29 albums. But if the band had imploded after Hex, they would have been hard-pressed to write a finer farewell.