The Blades (band)

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°The Blades
OriginRingsend, Dublin, Ireland
GenresNew wave, power pop
Years active1977–1981, 1982–1986, 2013-current
LabelsRaytown Records, Reekus Records
MembersPaul Cleary
Brian Foley
Jake Reilly
Conor Brady
Pat Fitzpatrick
Frank Duff
Paul Grimes
Past membersPat Larkin
Laurence Cleary

The Blades are an Irish new wave band who formed in the late 1970s in the South Dublin neighbourhood of Ringsend, with Paul Cleary on bass and vocals, his brother Lawrence on guitar and friend Pat Larkin on drums. The band currently consists of Paul Cleary, Brian Foley and Jake Reilly.

As uncompromising as they were gifted as pop songwriters, the original line-up released two seven inch singles: Hot For You and Ghost of a Chance, the latter of which they performed on The Late Late Show in 1981.


Origins (1977–81)[edit]

The Blades began in the summer of 1977 when five friends got together to play a gig in the Catholic Young Mens Society hall in Ringsend.[1]

The lineup was whittled down to three: Paul Cleary (born 9 September 1959) on bass and vocals, his brother Lar (born 2 June 1957) on guitar and friend Pat Larkin (born 25 November 1956) on drums. [2]

Even from that early stage, the band's unashamed working-class origins and integrity marked them out from the more elliptical art rock being pioneered by U2 and The Atrix.[3]

The band regularly played in Dublin's famous venues like The Magnet on Pearse Street, McGonagle's on South Anne Street and The Baggot Inn on Lower Baggot Street, where they did a six-week residency with U2. Many in the crowd left after The Blades set and it was The Blades rather than U2 who were tipped for stardom.

Their first single Hot For You was released on Energy Records in 1980, followed by Ghost Of A Chance in 1981 which they played on The Late Late Show. The legendary producer John Porter produced their first album Last Man in Europe but due to personnel changes at the record company never got released in England.

Reshuffle and continued success (1981–86)[edit]

Pat left the band in March 1981, to be replaced by Jake Reilly on drums, the new lineup of Paul, Larry and Jake Played first gig in The Magnet on Pearse Street on 18 July 1981, later that summer Paul switched to guitar bringing in bassist Brian Foley (ex. The Vipers) and added a brass section including Frank Duff( ex.<The Mod-ls>. Larry left in 1982.

The band signed to Irish label Reekus, and a double A-sided single, 'The Bride Wore White'/'Animation' was released in March 1982. In the Hotpress National Poll, 'The Bride Wore White' was voted best single while The Blades were voted 'the most promising act in Ireland' and Paul Cleary beat Van Morrison and Bono to the 'best Irish songwriter'

In 1985, Reekus released the album 'The Last Man In Europe'.

One of their last gestures was to shun Self Aid, a 'backslapping' concert "to highlight the chronic unemployment problem in Ireland at the time" and instead played the socialist 'Rock the System' Concert in Liberty Hall in 1986.

In 2001, Reekus records released a Double CD Boxset "Those were the Days", which includes both Albums: "The Last Man in Europe" and "Raytown Revisited".

Post break-up[edit]

Paul Cleary continued with a band The Partisans and later led an eight-piece pub rock band called The Cajun Kings. He also released solo material. In 2001, Paul released his first new material in 15 years, the 11-track album 'Crooked Town.[4]

Pat Larkin was later with The Peridots, and Brian Foley with (The Mountain Climbers, The Harvest Ministers).

Reunion And Smalltime EP (2013-present)[edit]

The Blades reformed in 2013 to play two sold out reunion gigs in Dublin's Olympia Theatre on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December.[5] Leading up to their reunion gigs they performed on The Late Late Show in November 2013.[6]

In addition to their reunion gigs in 2013, The Blades performed at The Electric Picnic in 2014 [7] and at The Olympia Theatre on 5 December 2014.[8] In November 2014 Paul Cleary released a brand new solo single 'I Still Believe.'[9]

Following their reunion onstage, the band began working on new material in the studio on the strength of new songwriting from Cleary. In November 2015, they released their first new music as The Blades since 1985 with a 4-track EP entitled Smalltime. The first single, "Harder Times" was released on The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM on 14 October 2015 and the EP has received widespread critical acclaim from the Irish media.[10][11][12]


Studio Albums[edit]

Modernised (2016)

CD - Raytown Records - RAYCD 2

LP - Raytown Records - RAYLP 1

'''The Last Man In Europe (1985)

  • LP - Reekus Records - RKLP1 - IRL - 1985 - matte B&W cover +inner; distributed by WEA Ireland
  • LP - Reekus Records - RKLP1 - UK - 1985 - slick colour front cover adds "featuring Paul Cleary"; different back cover
  • LP - Disc AZ/Reekus Records - 509 - France - 1987 - shiny textured sleeve +inner; slightly different from UK cover w/ red logo +2 bonus tracks
  • CD - Reekus Records - RK CD1 - 2000

Raytown Revisited 1980-85 (1985)

  • LP - Reekus Records - RKLP3 - IRL - 1985
  • CD - Reekus Records - RK CD2 - 2000 - with 3 bonus tracks (including two essential 1979 demos)

Compilation Albums[edit]

Those Were The Days (2000)

  • 2xCD - Reekus Records - RK BOXCD1 - 2000 - box/slipcase
  • Two-CD set in slipcase consisting of RKCD1 + RKCD2

Too Late To Stop Now: Reekus Records 30th Anniversary Compilation (2011)

  • 2xCD - Reekus Records - RKBOXCD1 - 2011 - box/slipcase

RTÉ Radio 2 Presents In Concert (1985)

  • LP - RTÉ Records - RTÉ 92 - IRL - 1985

7" Singles[edit]

Hot For You / The Reunion (1980)

  • 7" - Energy/Polygram Records - NRG-3 [2001 959] - IRL - PS paper labels
  • 7" - Energy Records - NRG-3 - UK - PS plastic labels

Ghost of a Chance / Real Emotion (1981)

  • 7" - Energy/Polygram Records - NRG-5 - IRL - PS paper labels
  • 7" - Energy Records - NRG-5 - UK - PS plastic labels

The Bride Wore White / Animation (1982)

  • 7" - Reekus Records - RKS005 - IRL - PS +insert

Revelations of Heartbreak / Rules of Love (1982)

  • 7" - Reekus Records - RKS007 - IRL - PS

Downmarket / You Never Ask(1983)

  • 7" - Reekus Records - RKS010 - IRL - PS

Last Man In Europe / Sadlands (1984)

  • 7" - Reekus Records - RKS013 - IRL - PS

Those Were The Days / Stand By Me Now (Paul Cleary) (1985)

  • 7" - Reekus Records
  • 7" - Reekus Records - picture disc

CD "Smalltime" EP-Reekus Records RKCD 157 (2015)

CD Raytown Records RAYCD1 "The Great Wall of America/ Kingfisher Blue" (2016)

CD Raytown Records RAYCD 2 "Modernised" (2016)