The Young & Moody Band were an R&B group formed around the talents of Bob Young and Micky Moody. Young was a musician and regular collaborator with Status Quo, co-writing with Franco Rossi some of the band’s best-known hits like “Caroline,” “Paper Plane” and “Down Down.” Moody was guitarist with Whitesnake. The pair met while Quo and Whitesnake were on tour and decided one late evening to form their own sideline band together. They settled on the catchy and easy to remember name of Young & Moody and duly recorded their first album which they released in 1977. Though decent enough this self-titled debut didn’t bring home much bacon. But there was enough interest from friends and fellow musicians for Young & Moody to develop into the unlikeliest of “supergroups.”
In late 1980, Motörhead appeared on the BBC chart music show Top of the Pops. At that point in their career, Motörhead seemed to almost have booked a residency on this renowned pop show as they seemed to be on it so frequently—and were certainly one of the reasons for watching it. The thing about TOTP was its utterly baffling mix of hip, cult or heavy metal bands and rap artists with odious light entertainment trash. The likes of “The Birdie Song” or Renée and Renato could be heard warbling on the same show as say, Siouxsie and the Banshees or PiL. Watching TOTP was often self-inflicted harm, like pigging out on a box of candies just to find your one favorite soft center—to paraphrase Forrest Gump.
The night Motörhead were on the show, a popular light entertainment act was topping the bill—The Nolans.
Now you have probably never heard of The Nolans or The Nolan Sisters as they once were known, but this quintet of fresh-faced sisters was Ireland’s most famous export next to probably Guinness or St. Paddy’s Day, at least until U2 made the big time. The Nolans looked like they’d spent the whole of their childhood singing in front the bedroom mirror with a hairbrush in hand. They were the female Osmonds or the Irish Jackson Five. They were good girls. They were wholesome. They were squeaky clean.
The Nolans started out playing pubs and clubs in the north of England. They were real troupers. In 1974, they debuted on It’s Cliff Richard—the born-again Christian pop star who was once hailed as England’s Elvis.
In 1975, the Nolans supported Frank Sinatra on his European tour. From then on the saccharine sisters never seemed to be off TV singing about “Scarlet Ribbons” or whatever. Then came a record deal and their breakthrough single “I’m in the Mood for Dancing” which catapulted the girls into global fame. Well, fame everywhere save for America.
Lemmy and the Nolans—a match made in…. (photo Rama.)
When Lemmy met the Nolans he only had only one thing on his mind as he told Q magazine in 2010:
“No (there was no fling), but it wasn’t for the want of trying. They are awesome chicks. People forget those girls were onstage with Frank Sinatra at the age of 12. They’ve seen most things twice.
“We were on Top of the Pops at the same time as them and our manager was trying to chat up Linda: the one with the bouffant hair and the nice boobs. He dropped his lighter and bent down to pick it up. Linda said to him, ‘While you’re down there, why don’t you give me a…’ It blew him away. We didn’t expect that from a Nolan sister. None of us did.
“We were supposed to be the smelliest, loudest motherf**kers in the building but we more than met our match. We were in awe. You couldn’t mess with the Nolan sisters.”
Now this is how one of the sisters, Colleen Nolan recounted meeting Lemmy in an article from 2015:
Lemmy was the nicest, most intelligent, philosophical person you could ever meet - he’ll probably be turning in his grave now I’ve said that. Though, I was terrified when I met him for the first time in 1981. I was a Nolan sister and he was this scary-looking heavy metal guitarist. He was in The Young and the Moody band and The Nolans recorded the single, “Don’t Do That,” with them.
I remember how much he loved women and big boobs . He was certainly fascinated with mine. He used to say: “Great t*ts!” but he was never being lecherous, he was just saying: “Be proud of yourself.” It wasn’t creepy, Lemmy actually made me feel good about being a woman.
He did once ask me out for a drink though. I said: “Seriously, I could NOT take you home and introduce you to my mum - she’d have a heart attack!” But he found out that The Nolans weren’t that innocent either. When we did Top of the Pops he bent over to pick something up in front of us and Linda said: “While you’re down there…”
The look of shock on his face was priceless.
He thought he’d have to watch his behavior in front of the Von Trapps and there was Maria von Trapp being so crude. From that point on he realized we were ordinary people and we got along great.
Out of this meeting came the inevitable suggestion through a friend of a friend of a friend to record a single together—or at least record a single with Bob Young and Mick Moody. And lo, the supergroup of Young, Moody, Lemmy on bass, Cozy Powell on drums and Colleen and Linda Nolan on backing vocals was born—or rather assembled—in a studio to record the single “Don’t Do That.”
Now hearing Lemmy liked the Nolans might come as a surprise to some, but then again that’s exactly why everyone digs Lemmy, because he remained true to himself and was never swayed by fashion or fad or what other people thought. The Nolans’ greatest hits will be released by Cherry Red Records this April.
“Don’t Do That” charted at #65 in 1981—not bad—and even had its own video, which you can see below.
And now…ahem…nevermind the bollocks, here’s The Nolans!
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Lemmy Kilmister garden gnome
A needlepoint portrait of Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister
Ask Lemmy: Straight talk from metal’s ace life coach
Before they were famous: Hugh Cornwell, Richard Thompson, Lemmy and co.
Color me impressed: Lemmy and David Bowie-themed coloring books are here!
Lemmy Kilmister gets ambushed by three of his ex’s on TV in the late 90s
Watch and listen to Lemmy’s early bands The Rockin’ Vickers and Sam Gopal