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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


YouTubing: 10 Brit Bands That Shoulda Been Big(ger)

Growing up in the late 80's/early 90's, there were many British bands I fell in love with that never achieved enduring fame in the U.S. Thought I'd trek through memory lane, and see what used to be. Listening to it now, some of its complete crap. But some of it is really worth rediscovering...some true gems buried in my musical adolescence!

BANDERAS - "This Is Your Life"
This female duo had one shining, near-perfect album (called Ripe) and then disbanded. Sally Herbert, the songwriter of the group, collaborated extensively with Jimmy Somerville before making a mark as an orchestrator for Robbie Williams, Kylie, Travis and more.

DANNY WILSON - "Mary's Prayer"
A top 30 hit in its initial release, the song had a resurgence from its inclusion years later in the movie There's Something About Mary. Too bad more people didn't buy either of their two albums, Meet and BeBopMopTop. Both are sophisticated pop delights.

DEACON BLUE - "Real Gone Kid"
At one time, they were a superpower in world music everywhere...except America. Their song "Dignity" remains a modern classic; for many years, I thought their album When The World Knows Your Name was the best I'd ever heard, start to finish.

- "Nothing"
Lightweight, middle-of-the-road pop? Yep. Nothing wrong with it, either, as long as it is executed this well. A light nihilist streak which kept things interesting, at least for a couple of albums.

HUE AND CRY - "Labour of Love"
They are still putting out records, and I am *still* an enormous fan. Pop hooks and jazz arrangements...charming and suave and retro and modern and hot, all at once. There's nothing that sounds this unique on pop radio today.

THE KANE GANG - "Motortown"
This song shot to #1 in America almost overnight in 1987...and then the band promptly disappeared without a trace. Exquisite, accessible music that has surprising durability at full album length. A sharp political subtext to the lyrics doesn't occlude the entertaining melodies.

KING - "Love and Pride"
Never judge a band by its best single. This one was a worldwide smash, even Top 10 in America. Sadly, they shot their wad on the first record. Their follow-up and (lead singer) Paul King's solo album revealed them as the emperor's new clothes.

MATT BIANCO - "Don't Blame It On That Girl"
Still releasing music, this is one of the most entertaining bands I've ever encountered. It's about rhythm, jazz, Latin flourish, and dancefloor beats all mixed together. Fun fact: Basia was their original backup singer.

PREFAB SPROUT - "We Let The Stars Go"
Another near-miss on American fame, the band's heart and core, Paddy McAloon, is considered a genius in many music circles. I've got every CD, including their last two, which weren't released in the U.S. And they are all spectacular.

WET WET WET - "Wishing I Was Lucky"
As long as I live, I'll never understand why this band didn't conquer the world in the 80's, especially after their global smash "Love Is All Around". There's superior musicianship here, the lead singer (Marti Pellow) was gorgeous, and yet...the songs never really come all the way together. Maybe that's the problem.

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Blogger Age Appropriate said...

what a great list, it takes me back to my own 80's youth. i've been trying to find that Banderas song for ages, all i could remember about them was that they were two lesbians and one had a shaved head. didn't get me very far in the record shop!


10/10/07, 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Dirk Pilat said...


as Matt Bianco's webmaster and person keeping the contact with their thousands of fans all around the globe I can only strongly applaud you in your inclusion in this excellent list.

They truly are the soundtrack to my life.


10/14/07, 9:51 PM  

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