They were formed in 1977, and were originally part of the Brighton punk scene, first coming to prominence when DJ John Peel started playing their single "I Don't Want My Body" on his BBC Radio 1 programme, but achieved their biggest success with their cover version of the South African kwela song "Tom Hark". This had been an instrumental hit in 1958 for Elias & His Zig Zag Jive Flutes, and had already been covered in a ska style by Millie Small. With new lyrics written by the band's frontman "Boring" Bob Grover, it was a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1980. It was the first song to feature on BBC Television's pop music programme, Top of the Pops, when it returned in 1980 after being blacked out for several months by industrial action. Much later it also became a popular chant amongst British football fans. It is also popular at limited-overs cricket games, often being played when a boundary is hit, and the tune was also used in the novelty World Cup song "We're England", performed by the presenters of the radio station talkSPORT with adapted lyrics for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals. Two years later the band's version of Lou Busch's "Zambesi" - produced by Pete Collins - was a Top 20 hit in the UK Singles Chart.
However, the band were not involved with a song that entered the UK chart in 2005, a remake of their biggest hit entitled "Tom Hark (We Want Falmer)", recorded under the name of Seagulls Ska, featuring Brighton resident Attila the Stockbroker and members of the ska band, Too Many Crooks. This was to help raise money for a new stadium for Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. (nicknamed "The Seagulls") at Falmer.
"Boring" Bob Grover still lives in Brighton, and was gigging around the UK with his band Dates. They released their debut album, First Party, Fire and Theft on Hah! Records in March 2007. Dates split up in 2009
Guitarist Johnny Helmer went on to become a songwriter. He is best known for writing lyrics for Marillion's second incarnation with Steve Hogarth after the departure of Fish. He also published a novel entitled Mother Tongue in 1999. As a day job, he works in marketing for a Brighton company (as of 1999). The bands bassist; Reginald Frederick Hornsbury now works as a mechanic in Wiltshire and has 2 children.
Grover and Helmer reunited to co-write new material and perform together again as Piranhas 3D. The current line up is Grover, guitar and vocals, Helmer, guitar and vocals, Oweninstereo (Owen Kellett) bass and vocals and Steve Burnaby Davies, drums, percussion and vocals, with guest Dominic Dring, saxophone.
- Vaultage 78 - Various Artists (Attrix Records - RB/03/LP)
- "I Don't Want My Body"
- "Jilly / Coloured Music" (Attrix Records - RB/04/SUE)
- "Space Invaders / Cheap 'N' Nasty" (Virgin - VS314)
- "Yap Yap Yap / Happy Families" (Attrix Records - RB/06/YAP)
- "Tom Hark / Getting Beaten Up / Boyfriend" (Sire - SIR 4044) No. 6 UK
- "I Don't Want My Body" (Sire - SIR 4046)
- "Vi Gela Gela / Nobody Sings" (sometimes spelled Vi Gele Gele) (Dakota - DAK 2)
- "Zambezi" (Dakota - DAK 6) # 17 UK
- "Easy Come, Easy Go" (Dakota - DAK 9)
Original line-up (1977-1981)
- Bob Grover - guitarist, lead vocals, trumpeter
- Dick Slexia (Richard Adland) - drummer
- Johnny Helmer - guitarist, vocals
- Reginald Frederick Hornsbury - bassist
- Zoot Alors (real name Phil Collis) - saxophonist
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 427. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Jane Ridley (October 15, 1999). "Eighties hit is No.1 with soccer fans". The Mirror. Archived from the original on 2004-12-30.
- "Brighton fans single makes top 20". BBC News. 10 January 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- "Tom Hark (We Want Falmer) - The Story of a Hit!". Retrieved 2010-06-07.