The Colourfield

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The Colourfield
OriginCoventry, England
GenresNew wave, pop rock
Years active1984–1987
Past membersTerry Hall
Toby Lyons
Karl Shale

The Colourfield were an English band formed in 1984 in Manchester, England, when former Specials and Fun Boy Three frontman Terry Hall joined up with ex-Swinging Cats members Toby Lyons and Karl Shale.[1] Despite the fact that all three members were from Coventry, the band was based in Manchester.


1984 – The Beginning[edit]

In January 1984, The Colourfield released their first single, "The Colour Field", which just missed making the Top 40 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] In the summer of the same year, they released "Take" as their second single, which commercially performed less well. Their third single was "Thinking of You", released in January 1985, which reached number 12 in the UK chart,[2] and featured Katrina Phillips accompanying Hall on vocals. Their fourth single, released days before their debut album came out, was "Castles in the Air" which reached the lower reaches of the UK chart.[2]

1985 – Virgins and Philistines[edit]

When Virgins and Philistines was initially released in April 1985,[1] it contained twelve tracks in the US release and ten in the UK version – but can now be found with twenty tracks as a Japanese re-release, containing many B-sides and live tracks. It failed to gain a large audience due to difficulty in marketing an album with such a diverse sound—it mixes 1960s and early 1970s pop music with more acoustic based melodies and string arrangements. Virgins and Philistines is often regarded[by whom?] as the direct musical predecessor to the later work of other northern bands The Beautiful South and The Lightning Seeds in the 1990s; Hall later collaborated with the latter in a songwriting role and also provided occasional vocals. Virgins and Philistines reached No. 12 in the UK Albums Chart.

Virgins and Philistines contained all original material except "The Hammond Song" (a cover of The Roches song), and—in the US—"Can't Get Enough of You Baby" (written by Linzer/Randell), which was the only track that received much airplay. The album was recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport and was produced by Hugh Jones and Jeremy Green, and engineered by Chris Jones. Additional personnel featured on the album included Pete de Freitas (Echo & the Bunnymen) on drums, Paul Burgess (ex-Camel, also drums), Preston Heyman (percussion), Ian Nelson (clarinet), Katrina Phillips (background vocals).

1986 – The Colour Field (EP)[edit]

In January 1986, The Colourfield became a four-man group, adding Gary Dwyer (ex-The Teardrop Explodes) on drums. Around the same time, the band's US label compiled a six track EP entitled The Colour Field (sic) containing the new UK single and B-side "Things Could Be Beautiful" / "Frosty Morning" produced by Ian Broudie; two live tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Palais, "Pushing Up The Daisies" and "Yours Sincerely"; and two older tunes produced by Hugh Jones, "Armchair Theatre" and "Faint Hearts". "Things Could Be Beautiful" did not make the UK or US charts and it was another year before the public heard any new material.

1987 – Deception[edit]

The Colourfield returned in the spring of 1987. They were now just a duo (Hall & Lyons) augmented by Raquel Welch's band and session musicians. Hall had to hire Welch's band after Lyons departed midway through the recording sessions.[citation needed] Hall has voiced his displeasure with the recording of Deception because he did not feel he had sufficient control of the session musicians and producers to be able to preserve The Colourfield's sound.[citation needed] Deception was produced by Richard Gottehrer and Jeffrey Lesser at Wool Hall Studio, Beckington, Somerset.

The first two singles released from Deception were both covers: "Running Away", originally by Sly & the Family Stone,[1] and "She", a song composed by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. "She" was released as a 12" and contained the additional track "Monkey in Winter" with lead vocals by a pre-fame Sinéad O'Connor.

Additional personnel featured included Gregg Mangiafico (keyboards); Sammy Merendino (drum programming); Roland Orzabal (Tears for Fears) (guitar on "Running Away" and "Confession"); Dolette McDonald; Deborah Malone and Janice Pendarvis (background vocals on "Digging It Deep"). Both Hall and Lyons appear on the interior cover of the album's CD re-release by Cherry Red Records in 2010 though Hall and his sessioners recorded significant sections of the finished album.

After The Colourfield[edit]

Hall undertook many other projects since The Colourfield. In 1990, he formed Terry, Blair & Anouchka, who released the album Ultra Modern Nursery Rhymes. In 1992 he collaborated with Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) under the name Vegas. In 1995 he released his first solo album, Home. He worked with The Lightning Seeds, Stephen Duffy, Gorillaz, and Tricky. He also appeared live with The Ordinary Boys.

On 21 July 2003, Hall released his album The Hour of Two Lights which is a collaboration with Mushtaq (Fun-Da-Mental). In 2009 he embarked on a well-received reunion tour with the original line-up of The Specials, though without Jerry Dammers, and had continued touring with the band since. Hall died on 18 December 2022 from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 63.[3] Lyons is now a university lecturer/tutor of graphic design at Sheffield Hallam University in South Yorkshire. Karl Shale went on to join The Candyskins. After they broke up he started working in a record shop.


  • Terry Hall – vocals, guitar (1984-1987)
  • Toby Lyons – guitar, organ (1984-1987)
  • Karl Shale – bass (1984-1986)
  • Gary Dwyer – drums (1986)


The Colourfield discography
Studio albums2
Compilation albums2

The discography of The Colourfield consists of two studio albums, one mini-album, two compilation albums and eleven singles.

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart Positions
1985 Virgins and Philistines
  • Released: April 1985
  • Label: Chrysalis
12 28
1987 Deception
  • Released: March 1987
  • Label: Chrysalis

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Singles (Chrysalis, 1995) (compilation of Fun Boy Three and The Colourfield singles)
  • The Very Best Of (Chrysalis, 2018)



Non-UK singles are marked in brackets.

Year Title Album Chart Positions
1984 "The Colour Field" 43
"Take" Virgins and Philistines 70
1985 "Thinking of You" 12 11
"Castles in the Air" 51
"Yours Sincerely" (FR) N/R
"Can't Get Enough of You Baby" (US and CA) N/R
1986 "Things Could Be Beautiful" 83
1987 "The Windmills of Your Mind" (JP) N/R
"Running Away" Deception 84
"Goodbye Sun Valley" (FR) N/R


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 290. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 116. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Gallagher, Alex (20 December 2022). "The Specials' Horace Panter on Terry Hall's final days and cause of death".
  4. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – The Colour Field". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  5. ^ " – Discography The Colour Field". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts". IRMA 2006 – 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2009.

External links[edit]