Curiosity Killed the Cat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the proverb, see Curiosity killed the cat.
Curiosity Killed the Cat
Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot of Curiosity Killed the Cat at the Lafayette Parc Hotel, Lafayette, California – 1987
Background information
Also known as Curiosity
Origin London, England
Genres Sophisti-pop, jazz-funk, synthpop, new wave
Years active 1984–1992, 2000s
Labels Mercury, RCA
Past members Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot
Julian Godfrey Brookhouse
Nick Thorpe
Migi Drummond

Curiosity Killed the Cat was a British pop band that achieved success in the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[1]


The band played soulful, jazzy and funky pop music[2][3] and was initially signed to Phonogram Records' Mercury imprint. They first came to notice of the UK music press when they worked with Andy Warhol for the video of their 1986 single "Misfit". This featured the band in New York and at one point featured frontman Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot dancing down a side street whilst Andy Warhol referenced Bob Dylan's 1965 long-form promotional film for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by dropping pieces of white card in time to the music (the Dylan film clip and its concepts have since been popularly imitated by a number of other artists, including INXS in their video for "Mediate" in 1988).

The single was initially unsuccessful but the release of their next single, "Down To Earth", gave the band a Top 3 hit in early 1987. The band's first album, Keep Your Distance, entered the UK Albums Chart at number one in April 1987, and stayed in the Top Ten for 13 weeks. Further singles included "Ordinary Day" (UK #11) and a re-release of "Misfit" (UK #7).[1] "Misfit" was also their only U.S. chart single, peaking at number 42.

The band's second album, Getahead, was released in 1989, led by the single "Name and Number" (UK #14),[1] and its "Hey How You Doin'" refrain would find itself in the Top Ten two years later as part of the De La Soul song "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)". The album, however, was not a success in comparison to their first album and peaked at #29.

After the lacklustre performance of Getahead and its second single "First Place", the band shortened their name to "Curiosity" but found themselves dropped from Mercury Records. Bass player Nick Thorp left the band. However, in 1992, the band (now a three-piece and signed to RCA Records) returned to the UK Top 3 with a cover of Johnny Bristol's "Hang on in There Baby".[1] Despite this, the band's follow up single (covers of "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Gimme the Sunshine") flopped, which resulted in the album Back to Front only being released in Japan and selected overseas markets. The band then split up.

In the 2000s, the band reformed for an appearance on a National Lottery midweek show on BBC 1, and since then Volpeliere has toured under the name Curiosity Killed the Cat, on a number of 1980s revival packages.[citation needed]

Band members[edit]

Lead singer Ben Volpelierre-Pierrot was best known for wearing a beret in most pictures of the band. He later revealed it was in fact a peaked fisherman's hat, turned round with the peak to the rear so that it resembled a beret. Ben VP (as he was billed on a number of solo singles in the mid 1990s) was frequently referred to as Ben Vol-au-vent-Parrot in Smash Hits magazine. He also appeared as a model on the front of Mike Read's Pop Quiz board game.

In 1995, Migi Drummond and Nick Thorp set up Naked Records which was acquired a year later by software maker Eidos Plc.

Toby Anderson co-wrote all tracks and played keyboards on the album Keep Your Distance. Session guitarist/keyboard player Mike McEvoy (Michael J McEvoy) co-wrote the songs on their Getahead album and Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro played on three tracks ("Cascade", "Can't Grow Trees on Money" and "Who Are You").


Curiosity Killed the Cat[edit]


  • 1992 - Back to Front


Year Single Peak positions Album
1986 "Misfit" 76 Keep Your Distance
"Down To Earth" 3 5 12 24 32 13
1987 "Ordinary Day" 11 13 24 17 42
"Misfit" (re-release) 7 8 35 53 13 42
"Free" 56 26
1989 "Name & No." 14 16 24 11 Getahead
"First Place" 86
1992 "Hang On In There Baby" 3 10 38 42 38 25 31 32 Back To Front
(as "Curiosity")
"I Need Your Lovin'" 47 55
1993 "Work It Out" (GER only)
"Gimme The Sunshine" 73
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 130. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Keep Your Distance at AllMusic
  3. ^ Get Ahead at AllMusic
  4. ^ "Official Charts Company: Curiosity Killed the Cat". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat - Top 40". 
  6. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat - German Chart". Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat - US Hot 100 Chart". Retrieved 2014-04-23. 

External links[edit]