The Flatmates

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The Flatmates
GenresIndie pop
Years active1985 (1985)–1989 (1989)
2013 (2013)–present (present)
LabelsThe Subway Organization
Archdeacon of Pop
MembersLisa Bouvier
Martin Whitehead
Verity Longley
Brian Price
Past membersKath Beach
Jackie Carrera
Sarah Fletcher
Debbie Haynes
Joel O'Beirne
Tim Rippington

The Flatmates, part of the mid-1980s British indie pop boom, were part of The Subway Organization, a Bristol record label formed by Martin Whitehead, who was also guitarist and main songwriter for the band.[1]


Following the band's formation in 1985, singles such as "I Could Be in Heaven", "Happy All the Time" and "Shimmer" established the band as a successful indie band, but the Flatmates disbanded in early 1989 before releasing a proper studio album.

The band's core members were Martin Whitehead (guitar) and Debbie Haynes (vocals). Initially, the band also included Kath Beach (bass guitar) and Rocker (drums). Prior to recording their first single, Beach left the band and was replaced by Sarah Fletcher.

The line-up of Haynes, Whitehead, Fletcher and Rocker recorded the first two Flatmates singles, 1986's "I Could Be in Heaven" and 1987's "Happy All the Time", both Whitehead compositions. Rocker left the band prior to their third single, November 1987's "You're Gonna Cry", and was replaced by Joel O'Beirne. Ironically, "You're Gonna Cry" was a Rocker composition, the only A-side he would pen for the band.

"Shimmer", released in March 1988 as the fourth Flatmates single, was the band's biggest hit, reaching No. 2 on the UK Indie Chart. Shortly after the single was released, Tim Rippington was added as a second guitarist. Bassist Fletcher then left The Flatmates prior to their fifth and final single "Heaven Knows". She was eventually replaced by Jackie Carrera; however it was Whitehead who played bass on "Heaven Knows", while Rippington handled all the guitar.

The band split up in 1989, with Carrera joining The Caretaker Race and Whitehead and O'Bierne forming The Sweet Young Things. Whitehead later formed the short-lived band Shrimptractor in 1992.

Two collections of Flatmates material have been released on CD, Love and Death (1989) and Potpourri (Hits, Mixes and Demos '85 - '89) (2005).

The band were reformed by Whitehead in 2013, featuring Lisa Bouvier on vocals,[2] and released a single called "You Held My Heart" on Archdeacon of Pop Records. In August 2015, Bristol-based indie label Local Underground released a second new Flatmates single, featuring covers of "When You Were Mine" by Prince, and "Comedian" (originally titled "Comedienne") by Cinerama.


Compilation albums[edit]

  • Love and Death (1989)
  • Potpourri (Hits, Mixes and Demos '85 - '89) (2005)


Year Title UK Indie Chart Position
Oct 1986 "I Could Be in Heaven" #18
Apr 1987 "Happy All the Time" #3
Nov 1987 "You're Gonna Cry" #5
Mar 1988 "Shimmer" #2
May 1988 "Janice Long Sessions" #2
Oct 1988 "Heaven Knows" #10
Sep 2013 "You Held My Heart"
Aug 2015 "When You Were Mine"/"Comedian" ("Comedienne")


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Flatmates | Biography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  2. ^ Neely, Alex (26 August 2013). "Impact Magazine » Archive » Live Review: The Flatmates / Flowers, The Miller, London (24/08/13)". Impact. Retrieved 27 August 2013.

External links[edit]