Real Life (band)

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Real Life
Origin Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genres New wave, synthpop
Years active 1980–present
Labels Curb Records, A Different Drum
Website Official website
Past members David Sterry
Danny Simcic
Scott Ingram
Alan Johnson
Richard Zatorski
Steve Williams
Rob Burke
George Pappas

Real Life are a Melbourne-based Australian new wave/synthpop[1] band that achieved international chart success with their 1983 singles "Send Me an Angel" and "Catch Me I'm Falling". Both singles appeared on the band's debut album, Heartland, released in 1983.


The band originally consisted of David Sterry (lead vocals and guitar), Richard Zatorski (violin and keyboard), Alan Johnson (bass) and Danny Simcic (drums). Steve Williams (keyboard) replaced Zatorski in 1986, who was then replaced by George Pappas in 1996 after a long hiatus of band activity.

The group's debut single, "Send Me an Angel", became a top 10 hit in Australia,[2] and topped the chart in New Zealand[3] and Germany.[4] It also entered the top 30 in the US.[5] Follow-up single "Catch Me I'm Falling" achieved similar success, reaching the top 10 in Australia and Germany,[2][4] and top 40 in the US.[5] The band's debut album Heartland entered the top 40 in Australia,[2] Germany,[4] New Zealand,[3] and Switzerland,[6] and reached No. 58 in the US.[7] The album was produced by Steve Hillage.

Real Life released their second and final album with the original line-up in 1985, titled Flame. The first single, "No Shame", failed to chart. Follow-up single "Face To Face" was a minor hit, but neither the album nor subsequent singles repeated their earlier success. Saxophonist Rob Burke toured with the band for 6 months during this period.

In 1986, they recorded the controversial[why?] song "Babies" for a new North American album, Down Comes the Hammer, but this also failed to chart. "Babies" was the first new recording by the band that was not written by David Sterry and Zatorski. There were two other new songs and a remix of "Send Me an Angel" on the album. This was to be the first of three compilation albums after the band had only recorded two studio LPs. Zatorski left the band due to management pressure and attended law school and is now a practising lawyer in Melbourne.[citation needed]

The movie Rad featured "Send Me an Angel" on its soundtrack,[8] as one notable scene from the film featured riders on BMX cross-country bikes performing various freestyle stunts as the song played.

At some stage,[when?] Zatorski formed a new band called Zatorski, and recorded an updated version of "Send Me an Angel". In 1989, Real Life released a new version of "Send Me an Angel", titled "Send Me an Angel '89", which fared slightly better than the original in the United States.[5] The video for the 1989 version was identical to the original except Zatorski was edited out of all shots. The Australian video of "Send Me An Angel '89" was filmed in Ormond College, The University of Melbourne, with Steve Williams on keyboard. In 1990, the group released Lifetime, their first album of all-new material in five years, which spawned minor hits with "God Tonight" and "Kiss the Ground".

Steve Williams (keyboard) replaced Zatorski in the band, and was later replaced by George Pappas. A falling-out occurred between Sterry and the remaining two original members Simcic and Johnson.[citation needed]

In 1998, the band released the album Happy, which was followed in 2004 by Imperfection, this time featuring only David Sterry and George Pappas. In 2004, the band toured the West Coast of the US to promote the album Imperfection with additional member Scott Ingram on drums. For this tour the band consisted of David Sterry, George Pappas and Scott Ingram. In November 2005, Pappas announced his departure from the band. Sterry has continued to carry the band name on his own.

In 2006, a new album of new mixes, Send Me an Angel, was released, bringing the total number of versions of the song to approximately 18, including:

  • 1983: the original single mix
  • 1983: the original album mix (This was replaced on subsequent pressings of the LP with the single mix starting in 1984)
  • 1983: the extended version
  • 1986: Down Comes the Hammer version
  • 1989: 4 versions in remix form on the "Send Me an Angel '89" single
  • 2006: 10 versions in remix form on the Send Me an Angel album which has the same cover as the 2004 release Send Me an Angel – Real Life's Greatest Hits, which has two 1989 versions of the song.

In spring 2008, Real Life (David Sterry) performed live for the first time in the Philippines along with When in Rome and A Flock of Seagulls as part of the Lost 80's live Tour in Manila.

Also in 2008, George Pappas released his debut solo album Don't Open Till Doomsday under the artist name of Alien Skin.

"Send Me an Angel" is often mistakenly referred to as a Pet Shop Boys song, due to it being mislabeled on a widely downloaded MP3 during the early days of Napster. Many online lyrics websites therefore erroneously credit "Send Me an Angel" to the Pet Shop Boys, when it is, of course, by Real Life.[citation needed]

On 19 May 2009, Real Life released an album of their cover versions of 1980s classics (including a new 2009 version of "Send Me an Angel") called Send Me An Angel – '80s Synth Essentials on Cleopatra Records in the US.



  • 1983 – HeartlandAUS #30,[2] GER #12,[4] NZ #38,[3] SWI #10,[6] US #58[7]
  • 1984 – Master Mix (remix album) – AUS #74[2]
  • 1985 – Flame – AUS #42[2]
  • 1986 – Down Comes the Hammer
  • 1989 – Best of Real Life: Send Me An Angel
  • 1989 – Let's Fall In Love
  • 1990 – Lifetime
  • 1997 – Happy
  • 1999 – Happier
  • 2003 – Imperfection
  • 2004 – Imperfection (US version released with additional remix CD)
  • 2009 – Send Me An Angel – '80s Synth Essentials[9]


Year Song AUS
US Dance
Modern Rock

1983 "Send Me an Angel" 6 9 18 1 1 19 2 29 54 Heartland
"Openhearted" 72
"Catch Me I'm Falling" 8 9 12 40
1984 "Always" 54
1985 "Face to Face" 32 52 Flame
"No shame"
"One Blind Love" (Love's Not Easy)
1986 "One Blind Love" Down Comes the Hammer
"Hammer of Love"
1989 "Send Me an Angel '89" 51 22 26 5 Best of Real Life
"Let's Fall in Love" 21 Let's Fall In Love
1990 "God Tonight" 83 9 15 Lifetime
"Kiss the Ground" 161 27
1996 "Deep Sleep" Happy


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Real Life | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Australian chart peaks:
  3. ^ a b c d " > Real Life in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  4. ^ a b c d e German chart peaks:
  5. ^ a b c d "Billboard > Artists / Real Life > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  6. ^ a b c " > Real Life in der Schweizer Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  7. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / Real Life > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  8. ^ "Rad (1986) : Soundtracks". Retrieved 2016-08-26. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  10. ^ " > Real Life in der Österreichischen Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  11. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Real Life > Chart History > Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  12. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Real Life > Chart History > Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 

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