Amazulu (band)

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Amazulu
OriginLondon, England
GenresPop, ska, art rock, reggae
Years active1982–1988
LabelsIsland
Associated actsComing Up Roses
MembersAnne-Marie Ruddock
Margo Sagov
Clare Kenny
Nardo Bailey
Sharon Bailey
Lesley Beach

Amazulu were a British ska/pop band from the 1980s made up of: Anne-Marie Ruddock on vocals, Sharon Bailey on percussion, Lesley Beach on saxophone, Margo Sagov on guitar, Clare Kenny on bass, and John 'Nardo' Bailey (the only male member) on drums. They achieved success in the UK charts with four top-20 hits, the biggest being "Too Good to Be Forgotten" in 1986.

Career[edit]

Early days and success[edit]

The name Amazulu is taken from the Zulu language word for the Zulu people. The band was started by Sharon Bailey, the band's original manager, and Rose Minor, the original lead singer. 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 them 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.[1]

Line up changes and break up[edit]

It began as a six-piece band, eventually an unknown female member on Keyboards temporarily joined the band for three songs: "Excitable", "The Things The Lonely Do" and "Don't You Just Know It", 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 is most of the time in Buckinghamshire. 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.[2]

The band are mentioned in the song "Asbestos" by Suede, on their album Head Music.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[3]
NZ
[4]
SWE
[5]
Amazulu

[6]

97 31 37
Spellbound

[7]

  • Released: 1987
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD, Cassette, vinyl

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
UK
[8][9]
BEL
[10]
GER
[11]
IRE
[12]
NED
[13]
NZ
[14]
SA
[15]
US
[16]
1983 "Cairo" 86 Amazulu
"Smiley Stylee" Single Release Only
1984 "Moonlight Romance" Amazulu
1985 "Excitable" 12 18 29 41
"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
"Montego Bay" 16 14 16 90
"All Over the World" 78
1987 "Mony Mony" 38 9 Spellbound
"Wonderful World, Beautiful People" 97 56 28

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 21. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ Amazulu biography Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Amazulu UK Albums". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Amazulu New Zealand Albums". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Amazulu Swedish Albums" (in Swedish). swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Amazulu Album". discogs. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Spellbound Album". Groove Collector. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Amazulu UK Singles". chartstats.com. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  9. ^ "AMAZULU | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Amazulu Belgian Singles". Ultratop.be. ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Amazulu German Singles". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Amazulu Irish Singles". IRMA 2006 – 2008. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Amazulu Dutch Singles". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Amazulu New Zealand Singles". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Amazulu South African Singles". rock.co.za. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Amazulu US Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 December 2013.