Breathe (British band)

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Breathe
Original lineup, 1987
Original lineup, 1987
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Years active1984–1991
Labels
Past membersDavid Glasper
Marcus Lillington
Ian "Spike" Spice
Michael "Mick" Delahunty

Breathe was an English pop band formed in London in 1984. The band enjoyed chart success in the late 1980s with hit singles "Don't Tell Me Lies" and "How Can I Fall?". The group's biggest hit was "Hands to Heaven", which reached #2 in the United States in August 1988.[1] The band's sound was a combination of light jazz with pop.

Early years[edit]

The members of Breathe were childhood friends who attended Yateley School, a comprehensive in north-east Hampshire. During 1982 they formed a five-piece jazz-infused outfit called Catch 22, performing covers and the occasional original song. The lineup consisted of David Glasper (vocals), Marcus Lillington (guitar & keyboards), Michael Delahunty (bass guitar), Phill Harrison (bass) and Ian Spice (drums). David Glasper later stated in a 1988 interview that "I was 17 when the band started, so the other guys were two years younger than myself, 15 ... we had bands that we loved, but it was so far apart in musical tastes."..."It was just this confusion of different styles. Marcus was into things like Led Zep and Floyd, that area. I was into things like the Eagles, Little Feat, some soul stuff. Spike was probably into heavier, sort of rock music. So we had all these different kind of styles, which at first was just like a terrible mixture."..."Bad mixture of all different influences. So we played around our local area quite a lot and that helped kind of formulate or create some kind of style."[2]

By the time the group graduated from Yateley, Phill Harrison had left Catch 22 to become a fireman.

Career[edit]

1984–89[edit]

In 1984, singer David Glasper, guitarist Marcus Lillington, drummer Ian "Spike" Spice, and bass guitarist Michael "Mick" Delahunty began working on some demos. These songs were introduced to personnel from Virgin Records, which led to a recording contract in 1985 with its subsidiary Siren Records.[2]

By May 1985, Breathe was in the studio with producer Bob Sargeant, and in January 1986, the band released the single "Don't Tell Me Lies" in the United Kingdom. The song was a modest success, reaching #77 on the UK Singles Chart.[3] Their second single "In All Honesty" was released in Britain in May 1986, but failed to chart.[4]

In 1987 producer-engineer Chris Porter was commissioned to take a fresh look at the project, and remixed the potential single "Hands To Heaven". In addition to remixing four of Sargeant's tracks ("Hands To Heaven", "All This I Should Have Known", "Liberties Of Love" and "Won't You Come Back?"), Porter produced four cuts of his own: "Jonah", "All That Jazz", "Monday Morning Blues", and "Any Trick".[2]

Common industry practice was to break a new artist with an up-tempo number, so an abbreviated mix of "Jonah" was chosen as Breathe's third UK single in May 1987 instead of "Hands To Heaven". Tracking and mixing for the album All That Jazz was completed in July 1987 and by August, plans were being made for a worldwide launch. During 1987 Virgin Records set up their own US operation, however Breathe were one of the last artists bound under an existing agreement to Los Angeles-based label A&M Records. A&M released the album All That Jazz in the United States on 24 August 1987,[5] also issuing "Jonah" as Breathe's first stateside single. This third single for the band did not chart in either the United States or United Kingdom.

At the end of August 1987, Siren Records released the single "All That Jazz" in Britain as a prelude to the full-length same-titled album, originally scheduled for an October UK release. Although this title track did not chart, the album would soon go on to score the group two of their best-known hits, "Hands to Heaven" and "How Can I Fall?". The former reached #2 in the US in 1988 and #4 on the UK Singles Chart, while the latter peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #3.[6] "Hands To Heaven" also ranked inside Billboard's 1988 Year-End Top 10 at #9.[7]

Meanwhile, in September 1987, Breathe embarked on their first live national tour, The Big Blow Tour, presented by Iain & Hill, in association with Spearhead Management. Between 9 and 28 September the band played seventeen dates in Norwich, Gloucester, Cardiff, Bristol, Barnsley, Bolton, Leicester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Stoke, Newcastle, Glasgow, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Leeds and London.[8]

Faced with four unsuccessful singles after "All That Jazz" failed to reach the Top 100 Singles chart, Siren released "Hands To Heaven" in October 1987, while A&M Records issued "Hands To Heaven" in January 1988 as Breathe's second American single.

Siren Records released a sixth single in Britain during March 1988 - a remix of "Any Trick" produced by Duncan Bridgman and Karl Adams. The group also experienced managerial and personnel problems that led to the departures of manager Karl Adams and, more significantly, bass player Michael Delahunty in mid-1988. David Glasper was quoted as saying, in at least one newspaper article during July 1988, that Delahunty had been fired after "a decision that had been made on purely musical terms".[9]

In America, "Hands To Heaven" debuted on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart on 20 February 1988. With repeated rotation of the music video on VH1, "Hands To Heaven" crept onto the Billboard Hot 100 at #90 on 16 April, and drifted about the lower regions of the chart for the following two months, until it finally broke into the Top-forty in June.[1]

As the next single in the United States, A&M chose "How Can I Fall?", produced by Bob Sargeant and given a final mix by Michael H. Brauer. This song cracked the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart on 3 September, and the Hot 100 one week later. In Britain, with the success of "Hands to Heaven", Siren Records decided to revamp the album All That Jazz which hadn't yet charted. A new cover was commissioned to reflect the changed band lineup, with the track listing altered by adding the US album remix of "Don't Tell Me Lies" onto the end of side one. Producer Paul Staveley O'Duffy was given the task of reworking "Jonah".[2]

In the United Kingdom, Breathe toured between 14 and 27 September as the opening act for Belinda Carlisle during her Good Heavens Tour. The band played ten dates at the Hammersmith Odeon London, Manchester Apollo, Edinburgh Playhouse, NEC Arena Birmingham, Bournemouth International Centre, and Cornwall Coliseum, St Austell.[10]

All That Jazz was re-released in the UK on 26 September 1988,[11] and debuted on the British album chart the week of 8 October 1988. That same month, Breathe performed at the Ku Club on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza as part of the Ibiza '92 music festival.[12] Also in October, the remixed "Jonah" was released as Breathe's seventh single in the UK, and found minor chart success with a peak of #60.

In the United States, "How Can I Fall?" continued to climb the charts, hitting #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for two weeks in November, and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 3 December – the same week that Siren released "How Can I fall?" as a single in Britain.

When Billboard's Top 100 Singles of 1988 were calculated, "Hands To Heaven" came in at #9, while "How Can I Fall?" was ranked #27 the following year.[13]

On 3 January 1989, A&M issued the single "Don't Tell Me Lies", in a new mix by Tom Lord-Alge, with a video directed by The Molotov Brothers. It debuted on the Hot 100 the week of 14 January, and when it hit #10 on 18 March, Breathe became the first group in A&M's 27-year history to achieve three Top 10 singles from its debut album. The song also reached #5 on the adult contemporary chart.[14] In Britain, Siren issued the Lord-Alge mix of "Don't Tell Me Lies" in early March. Unfortunately, neither of the successful US follow-ups translated to the British charts – "How Can I Fall?" peaked at #48, and "Don't Tell Me Lies" at #45.[15]

In April 1989 A&M released "All This I Should Have Known" in the US as the final single from All That Jazz. While it made a respectable #34 placing on the Adult Contemporary chart, it missed the Hot 100 completely.

In May 1989, Billboard Magazine named David Glasper and Marcus Lillington in its top 20 pop songwriters for 1988, at number 12 and 13 respectively.[16] Later in the year, the pair was honoured at the ASCAP annual pop awards, held in London on 27 September, for "Hands To Heaven" and "How Can I Fall?"[17]

1990-91[edit]

David Glasper and Marcus Lillington continued to pen songs for the band's second album Peace of Mind and by December 1989 Breathe was back in the studio with producer Bob Sargeant. This album also saw Glasper collaborate with prolific songwriter Francis "Eg" White on four tracks.[18]

Peace of Mind was released on 20 August 1990 in the UK, Europe and internationally, and issued in the United States on 4 September 1990.[19]

Three commercial singles were released from Peace of Mind - the first being "Say A Prayer", issued by A&M in the United States during August 1990. The song reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. In the United Kingdom, "Say A Prayer" was released by Siren in October 1990 as the second single from the album (after "Say Hello") where it peaked at #93 in the Top 100.

"Say Hello" was issued on 3 September 1990 as a single in the UK and Europe only, achieving a modest top placing of #88 on the UK singles chart on 15 September.[4]

"Does She Love That Man?" became the third, and final single lifted from Peace of Mind. Released in November 1990, it failed to enter the UK singles chart. In the United States, the single was issued with the artist billed as "Breathe featuring David Glasper". It peaked at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in mid-January 1991 and #17 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

During 1990, David Glasper and Marcus Lillington were again honoured amongst songwriters whose songs had achieved the greatest airplay in the US during the previous year. At the ASCAP Pop awards, held on 26 September 1990, the pair was recognised for the success of "How Can I Fall?" and "Don't Tell Me Lies".[20] Despite receiving accolades for their earlier song writing efforts, sales for Peace of Mind were underwhelming.  

In a much later 2012 interview, Marcus Lillington stated that "we kind of fell apart as a band during the making of Peace of Mind. We just weren't into promoting it in the same way as All That Jazz. ... I also don't think the songs were quite up to the standard of the first album".[21]

By 1992 Breathe had disbanded, allegedly due to their frustration with the lack of promotional support they were receiving from A&M, which had been acquired by PolyGram (now Universal Music Group) in 1989.

Members[edit]

Timeline

Musical roles adapted from album liner notes.

Member details

David Glasper: born on 4 January 1965[22] in Cardigan, Wales,[23] David John Glasper became the third child of Creswell (1928-91) and Dorothy Glasper (née Nichols, b. 1927), who had been married in 1950.[24] His two older sisters were named Susan and Jane.[25] In November 1988, Smash Hits magazine stated that David Glasper was 6'2" (187cm) tall with hazel eyes, and drove a blue Volkswagen Beetle with American number plates.[26] Producer and engineer Chris Porter, who worked with Glasper during 1987–88, later recalled that he "was a sensitive soul and very earnest".[2] Following the breakup of Breathe, David Glasper remained seemingly out of the public eye until 2006, when he resurfaced with a MySpace account[27] which included some demos of original recordings. In 2012, another few rough demos appeared on his YouTube channel, including one video showing him sporting a dragon tattoo over his right arm.[28] In 2013, Glasper established an official website, which offered some indication of his life to that point: "After a very long period away from music David is finally ready to record an album...". "After years of depression and wondering the hinterlands of South East Asia David is ready to start fresh, he is starting to show good signs of a full recovery and is enjoying his music again."[29] On 4 January 2014 (his 49th birthday), David Glasper released a 7-track, self-titled album available via digital download.[30][31] An April 2014 official website update stated that Glasper was living about 2 hours south of Bangkok near Hua Hin, and was about to become "a grandfather again, his daughter is pregnant and this has stalled his plans to go to America for a few months. He wants to be here in Thailand for the birth and be with her every step of the way".[32]

Marcus Lillington: born on 28 February 1967 in Bideford, Devon,[23] Marcus Brian John Lillington was the third child of Brian and Margaret Lillington, who had been married in 1958, and a younger brother to sisters Jane and Sarah.[24] In November 1988, Smash Hits magazine stated that Marcus was 5'10" (177cm) tall with blue eyes.[26] By the late 1990s, Marcus was working for a dot-com company. In 2002, he co-founded web design and business development firm Headscape,[33] and later became co-host of the web design podcast, Boagworld.com.[34] He was a vocalist and guitarist with the band "Stroke The Toad", which issued a 9-track self-titled album via digital download in January 2008.[35] The group included former Catch 22 member Phill Harrison (bass), along with Phil Hart (vocals, harmonica), Garreth Hicklin (keyboards, guitar, vocals), and Hugh Lawrenson (drums).[36]

Ian Spice (nicknamed "Spike"): born on 18 September 1966 in Chiswick, West London,[26] Ian Michael Spice was the first child of Michael (b. 1939) and Pamela Spice (née Hedges, b. 1941), who were married in early 1962.[37] A younger brother, Colin, was born in early 1969.[37] A magazine article in 1988 reported that "Spike" was 6'1" (185cm) tall, blue-eyed, drove an orange Volkswagen Beetle, and had once worked in a toy factory.[26] Music producer and engineer Chris Porter, who worked with the band during 1987–88, later stated that "Spike probably had the toughest job at the time: The fashion was for extremely tight drumming and drum machines had started to inflict their influence. Hours were spent honing drum takes, dropping in for the smallest of flaws until every beat passed inspection. It was cruel and unusual punishment for all involved, but there were no alternative technologies available. The age of the Synclavier and Fairlight had just arrived but these were the domain of a few specialist operators and cost as much as a studio a day to hire."[2] Ian Spice died in Thailand on 24 September 2000 of an undisclosed cause (though it is rumored to be from a car accident),[38] and his remains cremated.[39][40][41][42]

Michael Delahunty: born Michael Christopher Delahunty[43] in 1965.[44]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
UK
[45]
CAN [46] GER
[47]
SWE
[48]
US
[49]
All That Jazz
  • Release date: 24 August 1987
  • Label: A&M, Siren, Virgin
  • Formats: CD, cassette, LP
22 43 50 12 34
Peace of Mind
  • Release date: 20 August 1990
  • Label: A&M, Siren, Virgin
  • Formats: CD, cassette, LP
116
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Details Content Credits
Best of Breathe [a] Contains seven tracks from the
studio album All That Jazz (1987),
and five from Peace of Mind (1990).
  • Compiled by, Producer: Matt Fernandez
  • Executive Producer: Chris Sy
  • Remastered by Ray Ang

^a Manufactured and distributed as a regional release, Best of Breathe contains no previously unreleased or non-album material and was produced without the involvement of the original performers.

Box sets[edit]

Title Details Content
This Shining Moment. Recordings 1986 to 1990 [b]
  • Released: October 2016
  • Label: Flood Gallery Records
  • Formats: LP
Contains LPs of both studio albums All That Jazz (1987) and
Peace of Mind (1990), a seven-inch single of "In All Honesty,"
and a translucent blue vinyl twelve-inch single featuring the US extended
version of "Hands To Heaven" and a selection of B-sides and rarities.[53]
A total of 28 tracks.[54]

^b Released without the involvement of the band.

Interview cassette[edit]

An Interview and Music with Breathe's David Glasper

Promotional audio cassette featuring an interview with Glasper, inter-cut with portions of songs from Peace of Mind.


Singles[edit]

Year Month Single Peak chart positions B-Side Album
UK
[45]
AUS [55] CAN [56] GER
[57]
NOR
[58]
NZ
[59]
SWE
[60]
US
[61]
US
AC

[62]
1986 Jan "Don't Tell Me Lies" (original release) 77 x x x x x x x x "Moments" All That Jazz
May "In All Honesty" x x x x x x x x "Take a Little Time" Non-album single[a]
1987 May "Jonah" (original release) "In All Honesty" All That Jazz
Aug "All That Jazz" x x "Stay"
Oct "Hands to Heaven" 4 95 5 29 4 10 14 2 2 "Life and Times"
1988 Mar "Any Trick" x x x x x x x x "Make It Funky"
Aug "How Can I Fall?" 48 2 3 1 "Monday Morning Blues" (US)

"All This I Should Have Known" (UK)

Oct "Jonah" (re-release) 60 x x x "Liberties of Love"
1989 Jan "Don't Tell Me Lies" (re-release) 45 10 10 5 "Liberties of Love" (US)

"Monday Morning Blues" (UK)

Apr "All This I Should Have Known" x x x x x x x 34 "In All Honesty"
1990 Aug "Say a Prayer" 93 92 6 21 3 "Say a Prayer" [Save My Soul] (US)

"May Lightning Strike" (UK)

Peace of Mind
Sep "Say Hello" 87 x x x x x x x x "All That Jazz"
Nov "Does She Love That Man?" 19 34 17 "Say It" (US)

"Where Angels Fear" (UK)

"—" denotes releases that did not chart, "x" denotes releases not released in that country
  • ^a Although a non-album single, "In All Honesty" was included on the 1988 UK/European cassette re-release of the album All That Jazz.

Videography[edit]

Home videos[edit]

Title Details
All That Jazz: The Video Singles
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Siren
  • Format: VHS
All That Jazz: The Videos
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: A&M
  • Format: VHS
An Interview And Music With Breathe's David Glasper
  • All That Jazz: The Video Singles features five music videos: "Hands To Heaven", "How Can I Fall?", the original "Don't Tell Me Lies", and two versions of "Jonah".[63]
  • All That Jazz: The Videos presents four music videos throughout an interview with the band which has been edited into five short segments. Music videos shown are "Jonah", "Hands To Heaven", "How Can I Fall?" and the 1989 version of "Don't Tell Me Lies".[64]
  • An Interview And Music With Breathe's David Glasper Features an interview with David Glasper, as well as songs from their album Peace Of Mind, but not much else is known about what is on this interview. [65]

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"Don't Tell Me Lies" (1st) [66] 1985 Simon Milne
"In All Honesty" [67] 1986 -
"Jonah" (1st) [68] 1987 Mark Lebon & Nick Jones
"Jonah" (2nd) [69] 1987 Drew Carolan
"Hands To Heaven" [70] 1987 Eamon McCabe
"How Can I Fall?" [71] 1988 Greg Gold
"Jonah" (3rd) [72] 1988 Greg Gold
"Don't Tell Me Lies" (2nd) [73] 1988 The Molotov Brothers
"All This I Should Have Known" [74] 1989 -
"Say A Prayer" [75] 1990 Mike Rowles
"Say A Prayer (Save My Soul)" [76] 1990 Mike Rowles
"Say Hello" [77] 1990 -
"Does She Love That Man?" [78] 1990 Jesse Dylan

Management[edit]

At the start of its recording career, Breathe was represented by Karl Adams of Spearhead Management,[79] but after frustrations concerning the band's direction, Breathe and Adams parted ways in early 1988.[2] (Adams appeared in the credits for the original issue of the album All That Jazz, but not the 1988 re-release). David Glasper later stated, during promotion of "Hands To Heaven", that "What hurt the group was management's emphasis on a major selling point for most bands – appearance. We were four young guys. It doesn't take much business acumen to see we could have appealed to teen-age girls.... Our first manager used to scream at us about image." [80]

Following the departure of Karl Adams, Breathe employed the services of Paul King's Outlaw Management.[81]

Outlaw Management folded in 1990, and album credits for Peace Of Mind show Breathe as being managed by Paul King and Jonny Too Bad (Johnny Elichaoff). Elichaoff had been a drummer in Seventies bands 'Stark Naked And The Car Thieves' and 'Baby And The Black Spots' and later played guitar in Robert Fripp's 'League Of Gentlemen'.[citation needed]

Paul King

Paul King began his music career promoting live shows at Brunel University in 1970 whilst studying Nuclear Chemistry. Brunel became a major venue on the touring circuit with concerts by Elton John, Genesis, Humble Pie, The Kinks, The Sex Pistols and others.[82]

In 1977 King founded the Outlaw Agency, a pop promotion firm whose acts included Dire Straits, Julian Cope, Level 42 and Tears For Fears. He was also responsible for the first tours by The Stranglers, Dire Straits and The Police, and staged a record 14 consecutive nights with Dire Straits at Wembley Arena.[citation needed]

By the late 1980s, the agency had run into serious debt and financial difficulties after a Tears for Fears album was postponed and NatWest - owed more than £350,000 - called in the receivers. (This later rose to £500,000, but NatWest never tried to recover the sum). Discrepancies were discovered in King's financial management.[citation needed]

Outlaw Management folded in 1990 with debts of almost £1 million as King declared bankruptcy. In the aftermath, Tears for Fears split up, with singer Roland Orzabal increasingly concerned at bassist Curt Smith's unwillingness to drop King as their manager.[citation needed]

Attempts by King to resurrect his pop career, promoting the likes of Morrissey, ended in liquidation, with Morrissey Tours left £33,000 out of pocket. King was also involved in fashion retailing and a telecoms firm, Marlin Telecom, which was wound up by Customs & Excise in October 2000.[83]

In 2004, following fraudulent activities with his other businesses, King was prosecuted and imprisoned for three and a half years, and disqualified from being a company director again for ten years.[citation needed]

King then studied Neuro Linguistic Programming and acquired diplomas in personal and corporate coaching. He used that knowledge, along with his own experiences, to assist a number of high-profile artists and executives deal with personal issues arising from alcohol and/or drug abuse.[citation needed]

King later built up a concert management business, organising major concerts at stately homes and football stadiums, including Rod Stewart at Inverness Caledonian Football Club and Westlife at Cawdor Castle.[citation needed]

Paul King died in October 2015 following a battle with cancer. He was 63.[84]

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