Broken English (band)

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Broken English
OriginUnited Kingdom
Years active1987 - 1991
Associated actsThe Counterfeit Stones
Past membersSteve Elson
Jamie Moses
Alan Coates
Paul Fenton
Zak Starkey
Geoff Cooper

Broken English was a British band formed in 1987 by Steve Elson (singer and guitarist), who at the time performed in a Rolling Stones tribute band. He wrote a song called "Comin' On Strong", which had a Stones sound to it. A friend, Oliver Smallman, heard the song and thought it was too good to be a one-off novelty song and encouraged Elson to put together a band and record more material. The first single did reasonably well; however, the two follow-up singles did not fare so well. This is highlighted and detailed in the sleeve notes of their only album which was released in 2007, several years after the band stopped performing. There is also a Cumbrian band named Broken English, famed for playing at the Maryport Blues festival.

The second single[edit]

According to the sleeve notes included with the album The Rough and the Smooth, it was suggested that Bruno Brookes' brother wrote a track for the band, which was included on the b-Side of "Love on the Side". When word got around this had happened, and as Bruno Brookes was a DJ at Radio 1 at the time, the recording disappeared from the playlist.[1]

Band members[edit]

  • Steve Elson - guitars, vocals (now lead singer with The Counterfeit Stones)
  • Jamie Moses - guitars (has performed with Queen + Paul Rodgers, Brian May, Tom Jones and Paul Young)
  • Alan Coates - guitars (used to perform with The Hollies)
  • Paul Fenton - drums (used to perform with T.Rex)
  • Geoff Cooper - drums (used to perform with The Counterfeit Stones)



Song Title B-side
UK Singles Chart
CD Picture disc 12" 7" Information Music Video
"Comin' On Strong" "Suffer in Silence"
YES YES YES YES Originally released as a white label to add to the mystery. YES
"Love on the Side" "Deep in my Heart"
YES YES YES Music Video tilted "The return of the Sons of the Magnificent Three YES
"Do You Really Want Me Back"
Waterfront Mix
"Do You Really Want Me Back"
7" Version & "Running Out"


Broken English recorded one album which was not released until 2007, nearly 20 years after it was first recorded. It's called Platinum. The sleeve notes of the album give a detailed history of the band and reasons for them slipping into obscurity.

  • The Rough with the Smooth (2007)

Track listing

  1. "Show a Little Mercy"
  2. "Straight Lace Girls"
  3. "Don't Change"
  4. "Emotional Suicide"
  5. "You Take Me Away"
  6. "Comin' On Strong"
  7. "Casanova"
  8. "Ball 'n' Chain"
  9. "Love on the Side"
  10. "Woman of Stone"
  11. "Do You Really Want Me Back"

Bonus Tracks

  1. "Comin' On Strong (2)"
  2. "Fire Me Up"
  3. "Rough Cut Diamonds"
  4. "Running Out"

Television appearances[edit]

Broken English were one of the opening acts on the ITV programme The Roxy, which was set up as opposition to BBC Television's Top of the Pops.

Music videos[edit]

Comin on Strong features a full-length music video of the band in their Ghostbusters look, playing the song in a run down work yard. Due to the visible steam of their breath, the video gives the impression that the band is in the cold outdoors.

Love on the Side Has a desert/cowboy theme with the band performing with their guitars. The closing shot shows the band departing up hill into the sunset, where they cross paths with 3 others dressed in the bands Ghostbusters uniforms.

Do You Really Want Me Back shows the band playing in a studio and is filmed in black and white. The video consists of a woman de icing a window allowing her to observe the band performing. At the end of the video the band appears in the style of the Take on Me video by A-ha.

Popular culture[edit]

The bands only hit Comin' On Strong, appears in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. The song appears on the ingame radio station "Los Santos Rock Radio" and is used as brief cutscene soundtrack for the closing "heist complete" screen in multiplayer for the first heist "The Fleeca job" playing in a bar while the two customizable player characters drink beer.


  • Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
  1. ^ Rough with the Smooth sleeve notes 2007
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 79. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]