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Mark Reilly of Matt Bianco performing in June 2014
Popular during the mid-1980s in continental Europe, the name suggests that Matt Bianco is a person, often assumed to be an alias for the main constant member and frontman, Mark Reilly. According to the group, Matt is in fact "a made up spy, a secret agent; we loved spy TV themes and film scores".
Basia Trzetrzelewska, later a popular solo artist, was an original member of Matt Bianco.
Matt Bianco was initially formed in 1982 by Mark Reilly (vocals), Danny White (keyboards), and Kito Poncioni (bass), all of whom had just left art pop group, Blue Rondo A La Turk. Also on board from the beginning was then-unknown Polish vocalist Basia Trzetrzelewska. Initially, the band was known as "Bronze", before settling on the name Matt Bianco in 1983.
The group was pictured as a quartet for their first single ("Get Out of Your Lazy Bed"/"Big Rosie"), although Poncioni only played on the non-album B-side "Big Rosie". Poncioni then dropped out of the group before the recording of Matt Bianco's first album, 1984's Whose Side Are You On?. For the album, the group was officially a trio of Reilly, White and Trzetrzelewska. Although he does not appear on the album in any capacity, Poncioni did receive a co-writing credit on the track "Half A Minute".
Whose Side Are You On? spawned several UK and European hits, including "Get Out of Your Lazy Bed", "More Than I Can Bear", "Half a Minute" and "Sneaking Out The Back Door". As well, the title track, while not a hit in the UK, was a minor hit in Canada and Australia.
In 1984 they appeared on the BBC TV morning show Saturday Superstore and were infamously called "A bunch of wankers" by Simon Roberts during a fan 'phone-in', which could not be cut as the show was live.
Basia and Danny White, who subsequently formed a romantic relationship, left the group soon after the first album to pursue a very successful international solo career for Basia with Sony on the Epic label.
Reilly found two new musical partners: Jenni Evans became the new female singer for Matt Bianco, contributing mainly backing vocals, and lead vocals on two album tracks, and ex-Wham and Second Image keyboarder and session musician Mark Fisher became White's successor as songwriter and producer, and the band's keyboard player. This line-up recorded the (self-titled) Matt Bianco album, which was released in 1986 and contained the hit "Yeh Yeh".
Reilly-Fisher duo years
With the addition of Mark Fisher, the sound changed considerably. Fisher, a keyboardist, composer and studio wizard, contributed a more contemporary sound, compared to that of the early Matt Bianco. The use of synthesizers increased notably: Yamaha's DX-7 can be heard providing the slap bass in most songs, but the choice of noted studio musicians remained consistent with Ronnie Ross being the most prominent example. After the first album with the new line-up, they took a 13-piece band on to a European tour that saw them perform in front of an audience of more than 250,000 attendees in total. Jenni Evans left the group shortly after the recording of the group's self-titled album and was not replaced.
Matt Bianco was now a household name in Europe, and Warner Brothers sought to market them in the United States. They hired Gloria Estefan's husband and producer Emilio Estefan to produce a few songs, and recorded their third album, Indigo, with the Estefan productions being chosen as singles. 1988's "Don't Blame it on That Girl" and "Good Times" only made a moderate impact. "Wap-Bam-Boogie", an album track originally on the B-side of the first single, which did well on the dance charts, and pushed the joint single release up to Number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, making it Matt Bianco's most successful single.
Their first Greatest Hits album, entitled The Best of Matt Bianco, collecting their greatest hits from 1983 to 1990, was released in 1990 and made the UK Top 50. Another studio album was released in 1991 by Warner Brothers, the fractured Samba in Your Casa, the fourth long-playing by the group. Reilly and Fisher then split from their record company and went freelance. From then on, they recorded their albums in their own studios, and then offered them to independent distributors worldwide.
They scored contracts with ZYX Music and Intercord in Europe, and Victor Entertainment in Asia, but failed to sign on with another major label. The next albums did not sell well in Europe, but they created a loyal fan base in Japan and the rest of Asia. The albums Another Time Another Place, Gran Via, World Go Round, A/Collection (not a greatest hits album, but more of a compilation album, compiling a number of remakes of Matt Bianco's stand-out album tracks plus remixes of a few of their hits), Rico, and Echoes sold well enough for a comfortable lifestyle in the South-East of England.
After twenty years recording and touring, the two split amicably.
2003 - 2015; reunion of the original trio and beyond
Initiated by a mutual friend, Basia and Danny White joined with Mark Reilly to reform the "original" Matt Bianco, in 2003, signing to the Emarcy label. Original bassist Kito Poncioni, who only played on one Matt Bianco track before leaving the band in 1984, had died in the late 1990s.
In 2004, Matt Bianco released the album Matt's Mood, the name from one of their most popular early instrumental tracks). The album featured adult-contemporary/jazz numbers, in the spirit of their first album. The following year, they embarked on a world tour, which included stops in the UK, Japan, and the United States.
Following Matt's Mood, Basia and White left Matt Bianco again to reinvigorate the Basia brand. Reilly reunited with Fisher, and Matt Bianco were back as a duo. Three compilation albums were marketed between 2005 and 2008, including The Best of Matt Bianco – Volume 2, containing many of the Asian tracks, which were so far only available in Germany for European fans, and the re-release of the original 1990 The Best of Matt Bianco, featuring their European hits from 1983 to 1990. In May 2009 Fisher and Reilly released their first album as a duo for eight years in Europe, the UK, and Japan. With HiFi Bossanova the band secured a recording contract with Edel Music in Europe and continued their co-operation with JVC-Victor in Japan which in November 2012 bore fruit again with the release of their latest album Hideaway.
Mark Reilly (without Mark Fisher) recorded a collaborative album with New Cool Collective in 2016. The Things You Love featured nine new tracks and a re-recording of "Don't blame it on that girl" ; the collaboration was billed to "New Cool Collective/Matt Bianco (Mark Reilly)".
Mark Fisher died on 12 December 2016. The official Matt Bianco site made it clear that Reilly intended to carry on under the "Matt Bianco" banner, indicating that a new album was in the process of being recorded. This (Gravity) was released in 2017.
In October 2017 Cherry Red Records re-issued Matt Bianco in 2CD Deluxe Edition format, having re-issued a similarly packaged version of Whose Side Are You On in June 2016.
- 1984 – Whose Side Are You On? (UK Albums Chart #35)
- 1986 – Matt Bianco (UK #26)
- 1988 – Indigo (UK #23)
- 1991 – Samba in Your Casa
- 1994 – Another Time Another Place
- 1995 – Gran Via
- 1997 – World Go Round
- 2000 – Rico
- 2002 – Echoes
- 2004 – Matt's Mood
- 2009 – Hifi Bossanova
- 2012 – Hideaway
- 2016 - Whose Side Are You On? Deluxe 2CD Edition
- 2017 - Matt Bianco 2CD Deluxe Edition
- 2017 – Gravity
- 2016 – The Things You Love (collaboration billed as "New Cool Collective/Mark Reilly/Matt Bianco")
- 1990 – The Best of Matt Bianco: 1983–1990 (UK #49) (collection of best tracks from the European period 1983 to 1990)
- 1993 – Yeah Yeah
- 1998 – A/Collection (collection of post-1990 tracks, and remakes of pre-1990 hits) (Japanese edition includes 17 tracks; European edition, released in 2000, includes 16 tracks)
- 2005 – The Best of Matt Bianco: Platinum Collection (re-release of The Best of Matt Bianco)
- 2005 – Let's Dance (Matt Bianco dance hits)
- 2006 – Wap Bam Boogie
- 2008 – The Best of Matt Bianco – Volume 2 (collection of tracks from the German/Asian period 1991 to 2008 – Internet release)
- 2010 – Sunshine Days – The Official Greatest Hits (collection of re-recorded tracks and newer songs that were popular on Asian releases)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Notes||Album|
|February 1984||"Get Out of Your Lazy Bed"||15||–||8||–||Whose Side Are You On?|
|April 1984||"Sneaking Out the Back Door"
/ "Matt's Mood"
|July 1984||"Whose Side Are You On?"||83||70||–||–||North American release in March 1985.|
|November 1984||"Half a Minute"||23||–||–||–|
|February 1985||"More Than I Can Bear"||50||–||–||–|
|September 1985||"Yeh Yeh"||13||86||15||–||Matt Bianco|
|February 1986||"Just Can't Stand It"||66||–||–||–|
|June 1986||"Dancing in the Street"||64||–||–||–|
|May 1988||"Don't Blame It on That Girl"
|August 1988||"Good Times"||55||–||–||–|
/ "Wap-Bam-Boogie" (re-mix)
|April 1989||"Say It's Not Too Late"||–||–||–||–|
|September 1990||"Fire in the Blood"||–||–||–||–||The Best of Matt Bianco|
|December 1990||"Wap-Bam-Boogie 1990"||76||–||–||–|
|October 1991||"Macumba"||–||–||–||–||Samba in Your Casa|
|February 1992||"What a Fool Believes"||–||–||23||–|
|September 1993||"Our Love"||–||–||–||–||Germany/Japan single only.||Another Time Another Place|
|December 1994||"Buddy Love"||–||–||–||–||German single only.|
|August 1995||"Lost in You"||–||–||–||–||Germany/Japan single only.||Gran Via|
|July 1997||"Sunshine Day"||–||–||–||23||World Go Round|
|November 1997||"Altozano"||–||–||–||–||Japan/Europe single only.|
|September 2000||"Cha Cha Cuba"||–||–||–||–||Japanese single only.||Rico|
|January 2001||"Boogaloo"||–||–||–||–||Japanese single only.|
|June 2002||"Fire"||–||–||–||–||Japanese single only.||Echoes|
- Bartleet, Larry (13 July 2015). "15 Hilarious And Calamitous Appearances By Musicians on Kids TV Shows". NME. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Matt Bianco". Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2016.. Virgin Media.
- "Matt Bianco set to perform". People's Post. 14 November 2013. p. 12. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Widran, Jonathan. "Matt Bianco – Another Time Another Place". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Steffen Hung. "Matt Bianco – Get Out of Your Lazy Bed". Hitparade.ch. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Matt Bianco Member Mark Fisher Dies". Diffuser.fm. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "Album Review: Matt Bianco - Gravity". yorkshiretimes.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 355. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "ChartArchive – The Chart Archive". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 22 June 2004. Retrieved 19 August 2014.