Real Life (band)

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Real Life
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresNew wave, synth-pop
Years active1980–present
LabelsCurb Records, A Different Drum
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersDavid Sterry
Past membersDanny Simcic
Scott Ingram
Alan Johnson
Richard Zatorski
Steve Williams
Rob Burke
George Pappas

Real Life are an Australian new wave and synth-pop[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.


1980–1984: Heartland[edit]

In 1980, David Sterry responded to an advert in a newspaper from a keyboard player looking for a guitarist with whom to write songs. The keyboardist was Richard Zatorski. The duo started doing gigs as a 3-piece with a primitive drum machine they named Gloria and soon gained a loyal following,[2] opening for bands such as INXS, Mi-Sex, The Church, Midnight Oil and others.[3]

The group signed to Whetley Records in early 1983 and released their debut single, "Send Me an Angel", in May 1983. "Send Me an Angel" became a top 10 hit in Australia,[4] and topped the chart in New Zealand[5] and Germany.[6] It also entered the top 30 in the US.[7] Follow-up single "Openhearted" was released in August 1983 and peaked at number 72. In November 1983, "Catch Me I'm Falling" was released and reaching the top 10 in Australia and Germany,[4][6] and top 40 in the US.[7] The band's debut album Heartland entered the top 40 in Australia,[4] Germany,[6] New Zealand,[5] and Switzerland,[8] and reached No. 58 in the US.[9] "Always" was released in Europe in August 1984 as the album's fourth and final single. In November 1984, the band release a remix album titled Master Mix which peaked at number 74 on the Australian charts.

1985–1989: Flame & Down Comes the Hammer[edit]

In April 1985, the group released "Let's Dance Tonight", which failed to chart. In September 1985, they released "Face to Face" as the lead single from their second studio album. "Face to Face" was a minor hit peaking at number 32 in Australia. In October 1985, the group released the album Flame which peaked at number 42 in Australia.

In 1986, they recorded the controversial[why?] song "Babies" for a North American re-issue of the album titled 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. The movie Rad featured "Send Me an Angel" on its soundtrack,[10] as one notable scene from the film featured riders on BMX cross-country bikes performing various freestyle stunts as the song played.

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.[7] 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.

1990–1999: Lifetime & Happy[edit]

In 1990, the group released their third studio album Lifetime; their first album of all-new material in five years. The album 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 1997, the band released their fourth studio album Happy and would perform at Salt Lake City's Synthstock2000 with OMD and Berlin.[11]

2000–present day: Imperfection[edit]

In 2004 the band signed to the US label A Different Drum, and released their fifth studio album Imperfection, this time featuring only David Sterry and George Pappas.[11] In 2004, the band toured the West Coast of the US to promote the album 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, performing at various 80s events such as Australia's Absolutely 80s and the US' Lost 80s Live.

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.[12] Also in 2008, George Pappas released his debut solo album Don't Open Till Doomsday under the artist name of Alien Skin. This was also under the A Different Drum label.[11][13]

On 19 May 2009, Real Life released their sixth studio 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.

Real Life returned in 2020 with a new album, Sirens.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Chart peak position
Heartland 30 12 38 10 58
  • Released: October 1985
  • Label: Wheatley Records (SFL1 0128)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record, Cassette
  • Released: October 1990
  • Label: Curb Records, RCA Records (DI-77271)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record, Compact Disc, Cassette
  • Released: 1997
  • Label: Momentum Records (MOM1001)
  • Formats: CD
  • Released: 2004
  • Label: A Different Drum (ADDCD1193)
  • Formats: CD
Send Me An Angel – '80s Synth Essentials[14]
  • Released: 2020
  • Label: Not On Label
  • Formats: Digital download

Reissue albums[edit]

Title Album details
Down Comes the Hammer
  • Non-Australian re-issue of Flame
  • Released: 1986
  • Label: Curb Records, MCA Records (MCA-5834)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record, CD, Cassette

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Chart peak position
Master Mix [EP]
  • Released: November 1984
  • Label: Wheatley Records (VAL1 0470)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record
Send Me An Angel '89
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: Curb Records (CRBD-10614)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record, CD, Cassette
Let's Fall in Love
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: Curb Records (CRB-10624)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record, CD, Cassette
So Far
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: Curb Records (SPCD 1187)
  • Formats: Vinyl Record, CD, Cassette


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 "Let's Dance Tonight" non-album single
"Face to Face" 32 52 Flame
"One Blind Love"/"Love's Not Easy"
1986 "Babies" 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
1997 "Meltdown"
"Like a Ghost" non-album single
2004 "Oblivion" Imperfection
2005 "Send Me an Angel" (Starcity with Real Life) non-album single
2015 "Way to Nowhere"/"Small World" non-album single


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Real Life | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Interview with David Sterry". Cryptic Rock. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Send Me an Angel: the 80s synth-pop anthem that took over the world". The Guardian. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Australian chart peaks:
  5. ^ a b c d " > Real Life in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e German chart peaks:
  7. ^ a b c d "Billboard > Real Life Chart History > Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b c " > Real Life in der Schweizer Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Billboard > Real Life Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Rad (1986) : Soundtracks". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  11. ^ a b c "'Click Interview' with Alien Skin: 'With A Change Of Attitude Comes The Choice Of 'Sound' Itself'". Side-Line. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  12. ^ Zafra, Jessica (25 April 2008). "Sad, sadder, saddest". Philstar. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  13. ^ Urselli, Marc (29 May 2008). "Alien Skin". Chain D.L.K. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ " > Real Life in der Österreichischen Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Item: 4253". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Billboard > Real Life Chart History > Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Billboard > Real Life Chart History > Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 22 November 2019.

External links[edit]