The grim visage and ominous baritone of Andrew Eldritch proved to be more influential than any chart placements would suggest.
Born on May 15, 1959, in Ely, England, as Andrew William Harvey Taylor, Eldritch began hanging around the punk rock scene in Leeds, England, after dropping out of college in the late '70s. At the time, Leeds found itself in an economic depression and job opportunities were slim. The bleak environment fueled the city's punk movement, and Eldritch decided to form a band with Mark Pairman. Eldritch started banging on drums while Pairman played guitar. Neither Eldritch nor Pairman used their real names so they could receive welfare support and still be in a group; Pairman used the pseudonym Gary Marx. In 1980, Eldritch and Marx released the single "Damage Done" as the Sisters of Mercy. The track was distributed through the band's own label, Merciful Release. In 1985, the Sisters of Mercy released their debut album, First and Last and Always. Eldritch complemented the Sisters of Mercy's sinister gothic rock by dressing in black and hiding his eyes behind dark shades; his gloomy delivery, a cross between Jim Morrison's reptilian hiss and Leonard Cohen's despondent croon, would provide the blueprint for numerous other goth vocalists. Eldritch released two more albums with the Sisters of Mercy, Floodland and Vision Thing, both with an altered lineup. ~ Michael Sutton, Rovi
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