Transvision Vamp

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Transvision Vamp
Transvision Vamp.jpg
Transvision Vamp promotional photo (1991)
Background information
Origin Putney,London England
Genres Alternative Rock, rock
Years active 1986–1991
Labels Uni Records, MCA Records
Associated acts Bush, The Partisans, Racine
Past members Wendy James
Nick Christian Sayer
Dave Parsons
Anthony Doughty
Pol Burton
James Piper
Martin Hallett

Transvision Vamp were a British alternative rock group. Formed in 1986 by Nick Christian Sayer and Wendy James the band enjoyed chart success in the late 1980s. James, the lead singer and focal-point of the group, attracted media attention with her sexually charged and rebellious image.[1]

Career[edit]

The band's original line-up was James, Sayer, Dave Parsons (bass), Tex Axile (keyboards) and Pol Burton (drums).[2] Parsons and Axile had both been in punk bands prior to joining the band: Parsons in The Partisans, and Axile in various bands, most notably The Moors Murderers and X-Ray Spex offshoot Agent Orange.[3]

The band were signed by MCA in December 1986 and released their first single "Revolution Baby" the following year. It was considered a flop by their label so they released a cover single of the Holly and the Italians' song "Tell That Girl to Shut Up" in April 1988, but it only reached number forty-five on the UK Singles Chart. It did however, receive international attention in Australia where it charted at number forty-four.[4] The song also made its way over to the US where it managed to chart at number eighty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[5] A month later the follow-up single "I Want Your Love", with its pop/punk crossover appeal, entered the top ten, peaking at number five in the UK. The song was a major success in Australia where it also made the top ten, peaking at number seven and spent a total of twenty-two weeks in the top fifty.[6] Moderate success was achieved with the third single, the re-released "Revolution Baby" which peaked at number thirty in the UK and number twenty-four in Australia.[7] Fourth single "Sister Moon" had minor success reaching number forty-one on the UK Singles Chart, but proved to be unsuccessful in Australia, only peaking at number ninety-one.[5] The band went on to release the hit album Pop Art in October 1988. It was a major success in the UK where it stayed on the album chart for thirty-two weeks, peaking at number four.[8] The album was equally successful in Australia. It peaked at number thirteen and remained in the top fifty for forty-five weeks, eventually becoming the twenty-fifth most successful album of the year 1989.[9][10][11]

1989 proved to be the band's most successful year, with the release of the single "Baby I Don't Care". The song peaked at number three in both the UK and Australia, making it the band's most successful single in both countries. In Australia, the song spent twenty weeks in the top fifty and became the twenty-fifth best selling single of the year.[12][13] The hit album Velveteen was released shortly after and entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and stayed on the chart for twenty-six weeks.[8] Velveteen also reached number two on the Australian Albums Chart, spent sixteen weeks in the top fifty[14] and became the thirty-ninth best selling album of the year.[10] The second single from Velveteen was "The Only One", which peaked at number fifteen in the UK and number thirty in Australia.[15] The next two singles, "Landslide of Love" and "Born to Be Sold" were fairly successful in the UK peaking at number fourteen and twenty-two respectively. In Australia however, they both failed to make the top fifty, with "Landslide of Love" peaking at number sixty-five, and "Born to Be Sold" at number ninety-seven.

In June 1991 MCA refused to release Transvision Vamp's third album Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble in the UK, reportedly disliking the mellower direction of the music and after two heavily promoted singles stalled early. In Australia, the album was released and it peaked at number twenty-five, spending nine weeks on the ARIA Albums Chart.[16] The first single "(I Just Wanna) B with U" made the top twenty in Australia, peaking at number sixteen,[17] while in the UK, the song peaked at number thirty. Second single "If Looks Could Kill" was not successful, peaking at number forty one in the UK and fifty-one in Australia. It proved to be the band's last single release before their split. On the third album, Wendy James has stated "...it came out in America. But then we decided to split up, during which time the English record label had said they weren't convinced about this record, we're going to hold off on it and see how well it does in other countries first. By the time they were ready to release it, we'd already decided to split up, and so it never came out."[18]

The group officially disbanded in February 1992 following a statement from MCA. Wendy James launched her solo career in 1993 with the Elvis Costello-written album Now Ain't the Time for Your Tears. It was not a commercial success, only peaking at number forty-three in the UK[19] The lead single "The Nameless One" reached number thirty-four on the UK singles chart, while second single "London's Brilliant" signalled the failure of the album by only peaking at number sixty-two.[20] MCA and James parted company in August 1993. James later relaunched her solo career in 2004 as an independent.

Post-Vamp activities[edit]

Anthony Doughty (Tex Axile) joined a band called Max with Matthew Ashman, Kevin Mooney, John Reynolds and John Keogh in which he played keyboards. They released a Trevor Horn produced album "Silence Running" in 1992.[21] Keogh died soon after the release and Ashman a couple of years later. Doughty continues to release solo albums on his own label.

Dave Parsons joined Bush, a post-grunge band which went on to sell over 10 million albums.

James went on to a solo career, with very limited success. Her Elvis Costello-penned album only reached No. 43 in the charts, and none of the three singles she released made the UK Top 30. A follow-up, recorded for One Little Indian was not released.[11] In 2004 she formed a band named Racine, with whom she has released two albums. Neither charted anywhere. A single called "Grease Monkey" was released. It charted at 103 in the UK charts. They broke up and closed down their official band site in December 2008.

Band members[edit]

  • Wendy James: vocals (1986–1991)
  • Nick Christian Sayer: guitar (1986–1991)
  • Dave Parsons: bass (1986–1991)
  • Tex Axile: keyboards and drums (1986–1991)
  • Pol Burton: drums (1986–1989)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
UK[22] AUS[23] SWE[24] SWI[25] NZ[26] US[27]
1988 Pop Art 4 13 25 20 50 115
1989 Velveteen
  • Released: July 1989
  • Label: MCA
  • Format: CD, Cassette, LP, vinyl
1 2 37 16 12
1991 Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble
  • Released: August 1991
  • Label: MCA
  • Format: CD, Cassette
25 27 14

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart peak positions Album
UK[22] AUS[23][28] SWE[29] SWI[25] NL[26] NOR[30] NZ[31] US[32] US Dance[32] US Rock[32]
1987 "Revolution Baby" 77 Pop Art
1988 "Tell That Girl to Shut Up" 45 44 87 9
"I Want Your Love" 5 7 8 4 32 1 9
"Revolution Baby" (re-issue) 30 24 37
"Sister Moon" 41 95
1989 "Baby I Don't Care" 3 3 29 Velveteen
"The Only One" 15 30 22
"Landslide of Love" 14 70
"Born to Be Sold" 22
1991 "(I Just Wanna) B with U" 30 16 40 14 Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble
"If Looks Could Kill" 41 56 38

Compilations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Transvision Vamp". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  2. ^ transvisionvamp.com, unattributed. "Jazz, Mallet, Pol". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  3. ^ Doughty, Anthony. "Tex Axile Biography". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  4. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — Tell That Girl To Shut Up". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Transvision Vamp: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — I Want Your Love". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — Revolution Baby". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  8. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 564. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  9. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — Pop Art". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  10. ^ a b "Top 50 Albums 1989". End of Year Charts. ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  11. ^ a b transvisionvamp.com, unattributed. "The History of Transvision Vamp". Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — Baby I Don't Care". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  13. ^ "Top 50 Singles 1989". End of Year Charts. ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — Velveteen". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  15. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — The Only One". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp — Little Magnets Versus The Bubble of Babble". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  17. ^ Steffen Hung. "Transvision Vamp – (I Just Wanna) B With U". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  18. ^ ilikemusic.com, unattributed. "Wendy James / Racine interview February 2005". Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  19. ^ "Wendy James: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  20. ^ "Wendy James: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  21. ^ "Max (31) – Silence Running (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  22. ^ a b "Chart Stats: Transvision Vamp". ChartStats.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  23. ^ a b Vamp "Discography Transvision Vamp". Australian-Charts.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  24. ^ Vamp "Discography Transvision Vamp". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  25. ^ a b Vamp "Discography Transvision Vamp". SwissCharts.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  26. ^ a b Vamp "Discografie Transvision Vamp". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  27. ^ "Transvision Vamp > Billboard Albums". Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  28. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  29. ^ Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  30. ^ "Discography Transvision Vamp". NorwegianCharts.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  31. ^ "Discography Transvision Vamp". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  32. ^ a b c Billboard.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.

External links[edit]