The Flying Lizards
The Flying Lizards
The Flying Lizards were an experimental English new wave band, formed in 1976. They are best known for their eccentric cover version of Barrett Strong's "Money" featuring Deborah Evans-Stickland on lead vocals, which reached the UK and US record charts in 1979. They followed with their self-titled album that year, reaching number 60 in the UK albums chart.
Formed and led by record producer David Cunningham, the group was a loose collective of avant-garde and free improvising musicians, such as David Toop and Steve Beresford as instrumentalists, with Deborah Evans-Stickland, Patti Palladin and Vivien Goldman as main vocalists.
In August 1979 the band appeared twice on BBC's Top of the Pops performing their hit single "Money (That's What I Want)." They also appeared in February 1980 performing follow up single "TV." Virgin Records extended the band's recording contract after the success of "Money." The group released their début album The Flying Lizards in 1980. The album included two songs – "Her Story" and "The Window" – written and sung by Goldman. Their single issues included their postmodern cover versions of songs such as Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and "Money."
The 1981 album Fourth Wall received praise from critics but did not sell well. Top Ten (1984), with vocalist Sally Peterson, released by Statik records, consisted entirely of covers, done in a similarly deliberately emotionless, and robotic style, (described by the NME at the time as "Sloane Rap"), including two singles, James Brown's "Sex Machine" and "Dizzy, Miss Lizzy" as well as an album track of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". Cunningham and Peterson worked together on music production for film and advertising after Top Ten was released, including a re-recording of "Money."
The Flying Lizards version of Barrett Strong's "Money" remained popular, and was used in the film soundtracks for The Wedding Singer, Empire Records, Charlie's Angels and Lord of War, as well as in the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning American television medical drama Nip/Tuck and the follow-up to the UK TV drama Life on Mars, called Ashes to Ashes. It was also used in the episode "Venus Rising" of WKRP in Cincinnati, and in a commercial for Taco Bell in 2011.
An album of dub instrumentals, The Secret Dub Life of the Flying Lizards, recorded by David Cunningham mostly in 1978, was finally released in 1995. The first two albums, The Flying Lizards and Fourth Wall, were re-released by RPM in 2010, with the catalogue number RETROD883.
- David Toop
- Steve Beresford
- Michael Upton
- Julian Marshall
- Michael Nyman
- David Cunningham
- Vivien Goldman
- Robert Fripp
- Bob Black
- Deborah Evans-Stickland
- Patti Palladin
- Peter Laurence Gordon
- Sally Peterson
- Rory Allam
- The Flying Lizards (Virgin Records, 1979) (UK No. 60, US No. 99)
- Fourth Wall (Virgin, 1981)
- Top Ten (Statik, 1984)
- The Secret Dub Life of the Flying Lizards (Piano Records, 1996)
- The Flying Lizards & Fourth Wall (re-release, RPM Records, 2010)
- The Secret Dub Life of the Flying Lizards (vinyl re-release, Staubgold, 2010)
- "Summertime Blues" (Virgin VS230, 27 October 1978)
- "Money" (Virgin VS276, 27 July 1979) (AU No. 11 UK No. 5 US No. 50)
- "TV" (Virgin VS325, January 1980) (UK No. 43)
- "The Laughing Policeman" (under the pseudonym 'The Suspicions', Arista 361, 1980)
- "Move On Up" (Virgin VS381, 24 October 1980)
- "Hands 2 Take" with Michael Nyman (Virgin VS392, January 1981)
- "Lovers and Other Strangers" (Virgin VS421, 12 June 1981)
- "Sex Machine" (Statik tak19, August 1984)
- "Dizzy, Miss Lizzy" (Statik tak25, November 1984)
- "Money"/"T.V." (Old Gold, November 1988)
- Greene, Doyle (2014). The Rock Cover Song: Culture, History, Politics. McFarland & Company. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7864-7809-5.
- Deming, Mark. "The Flying Lizards – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- Cheal, David. "The Life of a Song: 'Money (That's What I Want)'". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- "Allmusic ((( The Flying Lizards > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Flying Lizards", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
- Allen, Mark (April 2001). "The Flying Lizards: A Pop Band Arranged According to the Laws of Chance". No. 6. Sound Collector. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 206. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.