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Early photos of Boy George, Steve Strange & more at the club that launched the New Romantics

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DJ and singer Princess Julia with George O’Dowd aka Boy George.
 
Billy’s was a nightclub in Soho, London, where every Tuesday for most of 1978 two young men—Steve Strange and Rusty Egan—ran a club night playing tracks by David Bowie, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk. The club was in a basement underneath a brothel. From this small cramped space a new generation of artists, writers, performers and DJs first met up and planned the future together. Punk was dead. It was uncool. It had gone mainstream. The teenagers who came to Billy’s wanted to create their own music, their own style and make their own mark on the world.

Among this small posse of teenagers were future stars like Boy George, Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama), Marilyn, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), DJ Princess Julia, Jeremy Healy (Hasyi Fantayzee), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife) and an eighteen-year-old Nicola Tyson who would go onto become one of the world’s leading figurative painters.

It’s rare that someone is savvy enough to ever take photographs of a nascent cultural revolution. But Nicola took her camera along to Billy’s and she documented the teenagers who frequented the club that launched the New Romantics and a whole new world of pop talent.
 
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A blonde-haired Siobhan Fahey with at friend at Billy’s long before she joined Bananarama and later Shakespeare’s Sister.
 
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Club host Steve Strange (in cap) with an unknown friend.
 
See more photos of Nicola’s photos, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.20.2017
01:47 pm
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Bananarama covering the Sex Pistols might be the punkest thing ever
03.30.2015
08:37 am
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Bananarama, the ‘80s UK female pop vocal group, were famous for their hits “Venus,” “I Heard a Rumor,” “Really Saying Something,” and “Cruel Summer.” Fans of the band’s bouncy bubblegum pop, might be surprised to learn the group once recorded a (completely awesome) Sex Pistols cover on an obscure 1982 soundtrack.

Stylistically, they may have been world’s apart from the UK punk scene, but actually it’s where they got their start.  According to their Wikipedia entry:

The trio were ardent followers of the punk rock and post-punk music scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s and often performed impromptu sets or backing vocals at gigs for such bands as The Monochrome Set, Iggy Pop, The Jam, Department S and The Nipple Erectors.

Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols helped Bananarama get their first record deal. In 1981 the members of Bananarama were living above Jones and Cook’s rehearsal room, and with their help, the group recorded their first demo “Aie a Mwana.” Further Sex Pistols connection came when Malcolm McLaren offered to manage them. McLaren’s proposal of sexually suggestive material did not fit with the group’s tomboyish image, and so Bananarama passed on McLaren’s management—probably a wise decision, as their later string of top ten UK hit singles would attest.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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03.30.2015
08:37 am
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‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye’: One-hit wonders, Steam
01.02.2013
08:34 pm
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Everyone who has been to more than, say, two, major sporting events, has, of course, heard “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” the ultra catchy 1969-70 smash hit from Steam. But have you ever seen the group who sang it?

Steam were a band formed after the fact to front a throwaway b-side written and recorded by Paul Leka, Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer. Gary DeCarlo described “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” as “an embarrassing record.” When Mercury Records decided to release the number as a single, the songwriter/performers did not wish for their reputations to be sullied by this “insult” as DeCarlo put it, so they made up a fictitious band.

They called this group of Ron Swanson lookalikes, “Steam” and sent them out on the road to promote the record, which hit #1 in the US in December of 1969 for two weeks and went on to sell 6.5 million records.
 

 
Click here for the far cuter Bananarama cover version of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” from 1983.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.02.2013
08:34 pm
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