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Music / Ash

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Ash's old line-up (L-R: Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton, Rick McMurray and Charlotte Hatherley
Do you remember the time I knew a girl from Mars?
I don't know if you knew that,
Oh we'd stay up late playing cards Henri Winterman cigars,
Though she never told me her name,
I still love you girl from Mars...
"Girl From Mars"

Ash is an Alternative Rock band started in 1992 in Northern Ireland. Its line-up consists of:

  • Tim Wheeler, guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter
  • Mark Hamilton, bassist
  • Rick McMurray, drummer
  • Charlotte Hatherley, guitarist and vocalist (joined 1997, left amicably in 2006)

Their style can be generally summed up as Britpop with elements of Grunge, Pop Punk and Power Pop, although recently they've been experimenting with New Wave and synths.

They can also be distinguished by their love of Science Fiction, especially Star Wars (their breakthrough album 1977 was named in honour of the year A New Hope was released; the first sound on that album is a TIE Fighter, and the last song ends with a choral version of the Star Wars theme) and the fact that they were in their teens when they created the band.

Not to be confused with that other Ash or Ash: A Secret History.


  • Trailer (1994) - a mini-album in the UK, fortified in the US by the addition of B-sides;
  • 1977 (1996) - their first successful album
  • Nu-Clear Sounds (1998) - the first album with Charlotte Hatherley as a bandmember
  • Free All Angels (2001)
  • Intergalactic Sonic 7''s (2003) - compilation; one CD contains their singles and the other, Cosmic Debris, has B-sides and rarities
  • Meltdown (2004) - last album with Charlotte Hatherley
  • Twilight of the Innocents (2007)
  • A-Z Series (2009-2010) - a series of single format releases somewhat similar to Teargarden by Kaleidyscope by The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Kablammo! (2015)
  • Islands (2018)
  • Race the Night (2023)

Tropes that apply to the band include:

  • Badass Boast: "World Domination" and "Meltdown" have some very badass lyrics.
  • Britpop: Mostly their early stuff.
  • Cover Version: "Punk Boy" by Helen Love (on Trailer), the aforementioned Star Wars theme and "Cantina Band" by John Williams (the latter as a B-side for "Girl from Mars"), "Gimme Some Truth" by John Lennon (as a B-side for "Angel Interceptor"), "Get Ready" by The Temptations (B-side for "Goldfinger"), "Does Your Mother Know?" by ABBA (B-side for "Oh Yeah"), "What Deaner Was Talking About" by Ween (B-side for "A Life Less Ordinary"), "Blew" by Nirvana and "Who You Drivin' Now?" by Mudhoney (both B-sides for "Numbskull"), "Teenage Kicks" by The Undertones (B-side for "Sometimes"), "Melon Farmer" by Lazer-Gun Nun (on the Cosmic Debris CD), "Warmer Than Fire" by Little Hell (B-side for "Shining Light"), "Only In Dreams" by Weezer (B-side for "Burn Baby Burn")
  • Darker and Edgier: Nu-Clear Sounds and Meltdown.
  • Hidden Track:
    • 1977 has "Darkside Lightside" as its last listed track, but some editions tack on a few minutes of silence followed by "Sick Party"... which consists of the sounds of bassist Mark Hamilton and guitar tech Leif Bodnarchuk making themselves vomit.
    • "Get Out", from Trailer, ends in a short burst of high pitched noise: over two decades after its release, it was discovered by fans that, when played backwards and slowed down digitally, the noise revealed a full song - specifically, a demo version of "Intense Thing", a track from earlier in the same release.
    • Unlisted on the B-Side of the 7" single "I Only Wanna Be With You" is a track officially titled "Devil's Haircut": Though the title is a Shout-Out to the Beck song of that name, it's an answering machine message from Weezer's Brian Bell, in which Brian gives Tim Wheeler advice on where he could get a haircut in Los Angeles. "Devil's Haircut" would be used as a hidden track again on the 2020 Greatest Hits Album Teenage Wildlife.
  • Lyrical Tic: "Woah"s and "ooh"s can be found in... Well, pretty much any Ash song.
  • Obsession Song: "Lost In You".
  • Pun-Based Title: Nu-Clear Sounds. "Skullfull of Sulphur". Also, the name of their first album, "Trailer", is a visual pun. As a matter of fact, its cover shows a toppled trailer (the other meaning of the title is that the band considered it a "trailer" for 1977)
  • Rock Trio: Since Charlotte Hatherley left the band in 2006, this applies.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Tim Wheeler sings with an American accent in many songs, especially those from "Meltdown". In interviews, though, he often switches back to his normal Northern Irish accent.
  • Something Blues: "Bad Karma Blues".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Grey Will Fade", a B-Side to "There's A Star", was written by Charlotte Hatherley and mostly performed by her alone - The only other member of the band appearing on the song is Rick McMurray on drums. A re-recorded version would become the Title Track of her first solo album.
  • Studio Chatter: At the beginning of "Meltdown". ("Ready?" "Yeah, ready!")
  • Title by Year: "1977", released in 1996 - named for the release year of A New Hope.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Shining Light", changing from D to E in the final chorus.
  • Word Salad Title: "Astral Conversations with Toulouse-Lautrec", "Message from Oscar Wilde and Patrick Brewer", "The Sweetness of Death By the Obsidian Knife", "Everywhere Is All Around", "Heroin, Vodka, White Noise."