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|Genres||Pop, ska, art rock, reggae|
|Associated acts||Coming Up Roses|
Amazulu were a British ska/pop band from the 1980s. Composed of five women and one man, they achieved success in the UK charts with four top twenty hits – the biggest of these being "Too Good to Be Forgotten" in 1986.
Early days and success
The name Amazulu is taken from the Zulu language word for the Zulu people. The band was started by Sharon Bailey and Rose Minor, who was the original lead singer. Bailey was also the original manager of the band. All members were female, except for the drummer, Nardo Bailey. Falcon Stuart, the former manager of X-Ray Spex and Adam and the Ants, discovered the act and helped promote their first single, "Cairo" to modest success in the UK, which included airplay from BBC Radio 1's John Peel.
The band started gaining appearances on television, including on The Young Ones (1984) and Top of the Pops (1985), which helped to widen their fame. They achieved hits that included "Excitable" and "Too Good to Be Forgotten", the latter of which was originally recorded by The Chi-Lites. The band achieved a minor success in the United States with "Montego Bay" (a cover of the 1970 song by Bobby Bloom) in 1986; early the next year, it became a surprise hit in Canada, managing to climb to No. 6 on the singles chart. That year their eponymous full length album was released on Island Records, although it failed to chart highly.
Line up changes and break up
It began as a six-piece band, but the group trimmed down to a trio of Anne-Marie Ruddock, Sharon Bailey and Lesley Beach during 1986 as they were enjoying their greatest success. In 1987 Beach left the band and Ruddock and Bailey continued as a duo for another year, scoring the minor hit "Mony Mony". Afterwards, Amazulu recorded their second album Spellbound which was released in designated Asian countries including Hong Kong in audio cassettes format under EMI records. The album contained the singles "Mony Mony", "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" and "My Heart Belongs to You" (which was released under Ruddock's name only in 1988). In early 1988 they split.
Ruddock went on to perform in the 1987 Alex Cox film Straight to Hell. After travelling the world and living in Brazil and Rome, Sharon Bailey now divides her time between Buckinghamshire and New York. She owns her own business and has worked in social services. She drums from time to time and is still involved in the music industry. The band member who achieved the greatest subsequent success in music was Clare Kenny, who joined Coming Up Roses and became a session player with Sinéad O'Connor, Shakespears Sister and Damien Dempsey.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Smiley Stylee"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Single Release Only|
|"Don't You Just Know It"||15||—||—||24||—||—||—||—|
|1986||"The Things the Lonely Do"||43||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Too Good to Be Forgotten"||5||27||31||6||26||39||—||—|
|"All Over the World"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Wonderful World, Beautiful People"||—||—||—||—||56||28||—||—|
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 21. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Amazulu biography Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
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