City Boy (band)

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City Boy were a moderately successful English rock band in the late 1970s, characterised by complex vocal arrangements and heavy guitars. The band consisted of Lol Mason (lead vocals), Steve Broughton (guitar, lead vocals), Max Thomas (keyboards, guitar), Chris Dunn (bass, guitar), Roger Kent (drums), Mike Slamer (guitar, bass), and Roy Ward (drums, vocals). Their most popular songs were "" and "The Day the Earth Caught Fire".


In the early 1970s, Lol Mason, Steve Broughton, Max Thomas and Chris Dunn were playing original acoustic music in the Birmingham area. They toured the clubs of the Midlands and turned professional towards the end of 1975. They were offered a recording contract by Phonogram Records on the condition that they change their name from "Back In the Band" and add drums and electric guitar. This prompted them to recruit drummer Roger Kent (who was later replaced by Roy Ward) and guitarist Mike Slamer.

City Boy's first five albums were produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who was recommended to them by Polygram A&R guy Chris Peers, and are among the first albums he produced after relocating to the UK from South Africa. Lange became the seventh member of the band, helping Chris Dunn hone his bass guitar skills and assisting with City Boy's vocal harmonies. Their breakthrough came in 1978 with their hit song "" (Mutt Lange's first hit single outside of his homeland of South Africa). City Boy's first single "Shake My Head and Leave" in 1975 had received some airplay, notably in South Africa. Their subsequent album was named Book Early. The "" single reached the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart,[1] achieving also a silver award for 200,000 copies sold, although the album failed to scratch the UK Albums Chart.[1] The single also made the top 30 in the U.S., peaking at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a sizeable Top 40 hit in Australia. City Boy toured the United States in 1978, supporting Hall & Oates for a total of 66 concerts.

Their next album, 1979's The Day the Earth Caught Fire, produced a minor UK hit with the title song. This album marked an early recording appearance by Huey Lewis, who played harmonica on the second track "It's Only the End of the World".

Afterwards, Broughton and Dunn (two of the original members) left the band, and City Boy released Heads Are Rolling as a quartet in 1980. The soft rock track "Speechless" made the band briefly popular in the Philippines. Their final album, It's Personal from 1981, failed to attract any attention. Unable to secure a contract with any of the major companies, the band split up in 1982.

The first four of City Boy's albums were labelled and distributed by Vertigo Records, part of Phonogram. City Boy signed with Atlantic in 1979 and "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" was released on that label (except in Europe where it was released on Vertigo).

After City Boy[edit]

After the split, Lol Mason formed The Maisonettes and had a moderate hit in the UK with "Heartache Avenue". Mike Slamer went on to record and work as a session musician and staff composer after a stint with American band Streets fronted by Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh in the early to mid-'80s. They recorded two albums for Atlantic Records, 1st and Crimes in Mind. Later with bass player Billy Greer (ex-Streets and currently a member of Kansas) he created the band Seventh Key. Max Thomas went into teaching.

"The Day the Earth Caught Fire" has since been covered twice, once in 1999 by Swedish hard rockers Lion's Share, and again in 2000 by Jørn Lande with Ronni Le Tekrø on guitar and Sid Ringsby on bass.

In 2008, several City Boy albums, Book Early, Young Men Gone West, Dinner at the Ritz and the band's eponymous debut, were reissued. In October 2009, City Boy's last studio album, It's Personal, was released for the first time on CD.

Chris Dunn is currently the owner of Dreamhire Professional Audio Rentals in New York City.

Roy Ward was the lead session singer on the remake of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" which was a major hit by Tight Fit in 1982. He went on to release a remake of Del Shannon's "Runaway" under his band name Tokyo Charm in 1982.

Cherry Red (Lemon Recordings) 2015 reissues[edit]

Cherry Red's Lemon Recordings announced in May 2015 plans to reissue City Boy's first four album releases as double CDs with bonus tracks. Release date is set for 17 July 2015.

City Boy (disc 1) and Dinner at the Ritz (disc 2) are complemented by six bonus tracks on disc 1, while Young Men Gone West (disc 1) and Book Early (disc 2) are complemented by two bonus tracks on disc 2. New sleeve notes are provided by Malcolm Dome.

Press releases inform these releases are re-mastered from original tapes, and that this is the first official release of these albums on CD. [2]

Selected discography[edit]


  • City Boy (1976) U.S. #177
  • Dinner at the Ritz (1976) U.S. #170
  • Young Men Gone West (1977) U.S. #207
  • Book Early (1978) U.S. #115
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1979)
  • Heads Are Rolling (1980)
  • It's Personal (1981)
  • City Boy + bonus tracks / Dinner at the Ritz (2015) (2CD re-release)
  • Young Men Gone West / Book Early + bonus tracks (2015) (2CD re-release)


  • Anthology (2001)


  • "(Moonlight) Shake My Head and Leave" (1975)
  • "The Hap-ki-do kid" (1976)
  • "Surgery Hours (Doctor, Doctor)" (1976)
  • "Haymaking Time" (1976, released in the US)
  • "She's Got Style" (1977)
  • "I've Been Spun" (1977)
  • "The Violin" (1977, released in the US)
  • "Turn On to Jesus" (1977)
  • "" (1978) UK #8, U.S. #27
  • "What a Night" (1978) UK #39
  • "Summer in the Schoolyard" (1979, released in Scandinavia)
  • "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" (1979) UK #67
  • "Mr. Shoes" (1980, released in the Philippines)
  • "Speechless" (1980, released in the Philippines)
  • "Heads are Rolling" (1980)
  • "Need a Little Loving" (1980)
  • "You're Leaving Me", (1980, released in the US)
  • "Lovers" (1981)[1]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7. 
  2. ^ Cherry Red Records (May 2015). "Young Men Gone West / Book Early EXPANDED EDITION - City Boy". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  • Notes on the Heads Are Rolling CD

External links[edit]