Monday, 28 July 2008

Forgotten 80s

One of the best thing about the mp3 blog world is how many tunes turn up that would just be forgotten. All those records that people had that were simply never hits. And I'm not talking about wilfully obscure indie bands either, but those artists releasing records on big labels, getting lots of radio play back in the day. And then disappearing without a trace. I always think it's a crime that some of the records I loved, that formed a major soundtrack to my life were never really heard by anybody else.

Of course sometimes there's a reason for that. Going back and listening to songs years after the fact leaves you with the impression that you had really bad taste.

Hopefully not with these two anyway...

First up is quite possibly the worst band name ever - Bonk. Bonk was a gent called Barry Flynn, who also released material under the name 'The Chant Of Barry Flynn'. "The Smile And The Kiss" was a single 82/83. It's a nice piece of typical 80s pop, landing somewhere between The Human League and Motown. It was all over the radio at the time, but probably stalled somewhere around number 67. It must have made it into the Top 75 because my local record shop would only order songs that did.

It's place in history was slightly secured by one fact though: the brilliant female backing vocals that made me go a little weak at the knees at the time were by one Toni Halliday, later of Curve, who was also on the cover of the single.

Bonk - The Smile And The Kiss

Second up today is a single I was given. The band are called Still Life and the song is called Away From This Town. Again this got a lot of airplay and the band supported Culture Club on tour and that's about all I know. I got this in a bundle of 7" singles I got when I visited Capital Radio after winning a contest in October 1982. I wrote the last chapter to a story and my prize was to read it out on air. It was all pretty exciting, and strangely dull all at once, being at a radio station. For starters, most of the rooms were no bigger than cupboards, with lots of equipment in them. I did get to meet Mick Brown the DJ, later of Pat and Mick infamy. See, exciting AND dull. All at once!

I got home with this pretty large bundle of 7"s, which later on I realised were just unwanted promos. And most of them were pretty crap to be honest. This one though just stood out, and for me, like the Bonk tune, I can't really work out why it wasn't a hit. After I heard it I played it to people and off they went and bought it themselves. Obviously I didn't play it to enough people!

Jon Newby, the singer from Still Life has a Myspace page with a nice acoustic version of this:

Still Life - Away From This Town


fiftypercent said...

Thanks for this. Love those obscure eighties gems.

Simon said...

What the 80s needs is somebody to compile the odd stuff. A lot of these kinds of bands never even released albums. It's frightening that I can track down obscure 60s garage bands more easily than I can 80s bands who were signed to major labels!!!

Simon said...

Oh and - no problem! Yours was one of the blogs I was thinking of when I posted these!

Kaisa Stenberg said...

Wow, I have been wanting to find this song "The Smile and The Kiss" for a while. I love Toni Halliday and trying to find some of her old rare stuff. I used to have a copy of "State Of Play" her collaboration with Dean Garcia before they were Curve.