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|Genres||Mod revival, power pop, soul|
|Associated acts||New Hearts|
|Past members||Dave Winthrop
Secret Affair are a mod revival band, formed in 1978 and disbanded in 1982. They reformed to perform and record in the 2000s.
In a period of a little over two years, Secret Affair posted five releases in the UK Singles Chart and released three albums. The debut single "Time For Action" sold over 200,000 copies and reached number 13 in the UK chart, putting the band at the forefront of the mod revival movement. More chart success followed with "Let Your Heart Dance", "My World" and "Sound Of Confusion".
Formed after the demise of the CBS Records signed power pop band New Hearts, singer Ian Page and guitarist David Cairns spent the second half of 1978 writing songs that would form the basis of the first two Secret Affair albums. They also drew up plans for a smart-dressing youth movement – the Glory Boys – based around the idea of 1960s gangster chic and influenced by the movie, Performance.
After spending January 1979 demoing songs, Page and Cairns enlisted the services of bassist Dennis Smith from the power pop band Advertising and Young Bucks drummer Seb Shelton. Saxophone player Dave Winthrop would join later in the year.
From their first gig, opening for The Jam at Reading University in February 1979, the band was adopted by a group of East End Mods, who readily embraced Page’s Glory Boy concept. This group of fans began referring to themselves as Glory Boys, often tattooing the name on their arms or inner lips as a badge of allegiance. Secret Affair had become so closely linked to the emerging mod revival that in March 1979 Cairns wrote what would become the youth movement's main anthem, "Time For Action".
Just a few months later, Secret Affair had signed to Arista Records and formed its own label, I-Spy Records and "Time For Action" was in the chart. It was soon followed into the charts by "Let Your Heart Dance", "My World" and "Sound Of Confusion". The first two albums, Glory Boys (December 1979) and Behind Closed Doors (September 1980), with its more complex orchestrated arrangements, proved successful and in its first year Secret Affair regularly appeared on the BBC Television show Top Of The Pops and was a cover star of many UK music magazines, including New Musical Express, Sounds and Smash Hits.
The music videos for several of the band's songs were directed by Steve Barron. The mod movement that had swept Secret Affair into the pop charts had all but evaporated by mid 1980, losing out to the rival 2 Tone fashion movement, and after the release of the band's second album, drummer Shelton quit to join the "Come On Eileen" era Dexys Midnight Runners. Secret Affair regrouped, recruiting ex-Advertising drummer Paul Bultitude and embarking on a lengthy tour of the United States, before returning in late 1981 with its final chart hit, "Do You Know".
One more single followed, "Lost In The Night", before the release of Business As Usual, an album that saw the band return to the rock-soul fusion of its earlier work. Although a spirited album, it was a commercial failure and Secret Affair split-up midway through 1982.
Cairns went on to form a band called Flag, with Archie Brown from The Bureau and signed a recording contract in the US he subsequently teamed up with Scottish singer Alan King in Walk on Fire, writing the majority of the band's material and playing keyboards on tours. Signing to MCA in the U.S., the band released the album Blind Faith in 1990 and toured supporting Foreigner, Nils Lofgren and Dan Reed Network before Cairns joined Gibson Guitars USA as Special Projects manager. Page released two solo singles before leaving the music industry.
In June 2002, Page, Cairns, Smith, Bultitude and Winthrop reformed for three gigs, including a performance at London's Shepherds Bush Empire. They returned in June the following year, playing at The Scala in Islington to promote the release of Time For Action: The Anthology (Sanctuary), a major CD retrospective of hits, rarities and previously unreleased tracks. The concert was filmed and released on DVD.
In 2006, Page and Cairns attempted to mend their sometimes fractious relationship and started work on a fourth Secret Affair album, recording five new songs for Peer Music. The album remains unfinished, but in 2010 Captain Mod Records released Secret Affair, The Singles Collection which featured two of the Peer Music tracks, "Soho Dreams" and "Land Of Hope".
Page and Cairns reformed Secret Affair as a touring band with a new line-up. In 2009 they have played regularly around the UK and further afield, having played their first ever concerts in Dublin, Madrid, Moscow and Tokyo.
In July 2011, Secret Affair re-recorded "Time For Action" for Save The Children. The latter spearheaded their campaign for health workers in poor countries, and over 42,000 people signed the petition in the UK which was taken to David Cameron in September 2011, resulting in funds for the cause endorsed and approved by the United Nations.
Secret Affair released their fourth studio album, Soho Dreams after an absence of 30 years on their label, I-SPY Records, on 10 September 2012, distributed by Code7/Plastic Head and supported by a 13-date UK tour ending at The 229 Club, London, on 24 November. The band continue to tour throughout 2013 and perform their end of year show at the Islington Assembly Hall, Dec 7th.
September 5th, 2014 Secret Affair begin their '35th Anniversary Tour of the UK in Gloucester at the Guildhall followed by Stockton on Tees and ending in Manchester at the Band on the Wall venue, December 13, 2014 celebrating the 1979 release of their debut album, 'Glory Boys'.
UK Singles Chart
- "Time For Action" – 1979 – Number 13
- "Let Your Heart Dance" – 1979 – Number 32
- "My World" – 1980 – Number 16
- "Sound Of Confusion" – 1980 – Number 45
- "Do You Know" – 1981 – Number 57
UK Albums Chart
- "Glory Boys" – 1979 – Number 41
- "Behind Closed Doors" – 1980 – Number 48
- "Business As Usual" – 1982 – Number 84
- "Soho Dreams" – 2012
- List of bands from England
- List of performances on Top of the Pops
- List of Peel sessions
- Captain Oi! Records
- Rock Goes To College
- Sleevenotes to the CD reissues of Glory Boys, Behind Closed Door and Business As Usual, by Chris Hunt