Curiosity Killed the Cat

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Curiosity Killed the Cat
Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot of Curiosity Killed the Cat at the Lafayette Parc Hotel, Lafayette, California – 1987
Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot of Curiosity Killed the Cat at the Lafayette Parc Hotel, Lafayette, California – 1987
Background information
Also known asCuriosity
OriginLondon, England
GenresFunk,[1] sophisti-pop[2]
Years active1984–1994, 2000–2016
LabelsMercury, RCA, BMG
Past membersBen Volpeliere-Pierrot
Julian Brookhouse
Nick Thorpe
Migi Drummond

Curiosity Killed the Cat was a British pop band that achieved success in the UK in the late 1980s, with hit singles such as "Down to Earth", "Misfit" and "Ordinary Day", from their No. 1 debut album, Keep Your Distance. This was followed by Getahead with the accompanying hit "Name and Number", that was recreated by De La Soul in "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)". In the early 1990s, the band's bassist left, and billed as 'Curiosity' they collaborated with Simon Cowell recording "Hang On in There Baby" on the album Back to Front.[3]


The band played soulful, jazzy and funky pop music,[4][5] and was initially signed to Mercury Records. 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 City 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 single was initially unsuccessful but the release of their next single, "Down to Earth", gave the band a Top 3 hit in early 1987.[3] The band's first album, Keep Your Distance, entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1 in April 1987, and stayed in the Top Ten for 13 weeks.[3] Further singles included "Ordinary Day" (UK No. 11), "Free" (UK No. 56) and a re-release of "Misfit" (UK No. 7).[3] "Misfit" was also their only U.S. charting single, peaking at No. 42.[6]

The band's second album, Getahead, was released in 1989, led by the single "Name and Number" (UK No. 14),[3] and its "hey how you doin'" refrain found itself in the Top 10 two years later as part of the De La Soul song "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)". The album, however, was not as successful in comparison to their first album, peaking at No. 29.[3]

After the lacklustre performance of Getahead and its second single "First Place", the band shortened their name to 'Curiosity' but were dropped by Mercury Records. Bass player Nick Thorpe then 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".[3] Despite this, the band's follow up singles (covers of "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Gimme the Sunshine") were unsuccessful, which resulted in the album Back to Front only being released in Japan and selected overseas markets. The band then split up.

In 2001, 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]

In November 2015, a compilation album, called 80's Recovered featured many groups. Curiosity Killed the Cat did a cover of The Doobie Brothers track "Long Train Runnin'", with a regular version, and a remix.[7]

Band members[edit]

  • Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot – vocals (born Martin Benedict Volpeliere-Pierrot, 19 May 1965, Earls Court, London)
  • Julian Godfrey Brookhouse – guitar (born 15 May 1963, Putney, Surrey)
  • Nick Thorpe – bass guitar, keyboards (born Nicholas Bernard Thorp, 25 October 1964, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex)
  • Migi Drummond – drums (born Miguel John Drummond, 27 January 1964, Strawberry Hill, Middlesex)

Lead singer Ben Volpeliere-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,[8] with 'Bendy Ben' (or 'Boozy Ben') also used. 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").



Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
1987 Keep Your Distance 1 55
1989 Getahead 29
1992 Back to Front (credited as Curiosity)
1996 The Very Best Of (compilation album)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Single Peak positions Album
1986 "Misfit" 76 Keep Your Distance
"Down to Earth" 3 5 12 24 32 88 13
1987 "Ordinary Day" 11 13 24 17 42
"Misfit" (re-release) 7 8 35 53 97 13 42
"Free" 56 26
1989 "Name and Number" 14 16 24 131 11 Getahead
"First Place" 86
1992 "Hang On in There Baby" 3 10 38 42 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. ^ Sutton, Michael. "Curiosity Killed the Cat – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  2. ^ Inskeep, Thomas; Soto, Alfred. "The Bluffer's Guide – Sophisti-Pop". Stylus. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 130. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Mills, Ted. "Curiosity Killed the Cat - Keep Your Distance (1987): Review". AllMusic.
  5. ^ LeRoy, Dan. "Curiosity Killed the Cat - Get Ahead (1989): Review". AllMusic.
  6. ^ a b "Curiosity Killed the Cat – US Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  7. ^ "80s Recovered". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ "Seven bands from the 80s we wish would reunite". BBC News. 24 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat – US Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat - Keep Your Distance". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat - Getahead". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Official Charts Company: Curiosity Killed the Cat". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat – Top 40".
  14. ^ "Curiosity Killed the Cat – German Chart". Retrieved 23 April 2014.[dead link]
  15. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 80. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  16. ^ "Week commencing 11 December 1989". Retrieved 11 February 2022.

External links[edit]