The Higsons

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The Higsons
Origin United Kingdom
Genres Funk, punk, ska
Years active 1980–1986
Labels Romans in Britain, 2 Tone, Upright, Waap, R4
Website The Higsons - artist profile
Past members Charlie Higson
Terry Edwards
Simon Charterton
Colin Williams
Stuart McGeachin
Dave Cummings

The Higsons were an English funk-punk band in the United Kingdom in the 1980s.


Founded in 1980 at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, The Higsons' first recording was on the Norwich - A Fine City compilation album. The band signed to the 2 Tone Records label, along with bands such as The Specials, The Beat and Madness. The Higsons' first single, "I Don't Want to Live with Monkeys", was released in 1981.

The band's blend of high-energy funk and groove brought them some chart success: their most remembered track was "Conspiracy", released in 1982, with the refrain "Who stole my bongos?; Did you steal my bongos?". The band played their last gig in March 1986, disbanding by mutual consent.[1]

After the break-up[edit]

Charlie Higson found fame as a comedy writer and actor in The Fast Show. Terry Edwards joined Gallon Drunk in 1993,[2] fronted his own band and became a session musician. Simon Charterton formed the bands The Aftershave, Zook, Nitwood and Simon & the Pope. Terry and Simon play together in the Near Jazz Experience. Stuart McGeachin and Colin Williams got full-time jobs.

Robyn Hitchcock paid tribute to the band with the song "Listening to the Higsons" which acknowledged their song "Got to Let This Heat Out" in the couplet, "I thought I heard them singing "Gotta let this hen out"." Hitchcock used this mishearing as the title of his 1985 live album with the Egyptians.

Band members[edit]

  • Charlie "Switch" Higson (lead vocals / harmonica / piano)
  • Terry Edwards (guitar / saxophone / trumpet / back voices / piano)
  • Stuart McGeachin (guitar / vocals)
  • Simon Charterton (drums / vocals)
  • Colin Williams (bass / vocals)
  • David Cummings (guitar / vocals)


UK singles[edit]

Title Date UK Chart UK Indie Chart[3] Label Format Cat # Other tracks
"I Don't Want to Live With Monkeys" July 1981 5 Romans in Britain 7" HIG2 "Insect Love"
"The Lost and the Lonely" November 1981 10 Waap 7" WAAP1 "It Goes Waap"
"(Got to Let This) Heat (Out)" November 1981 10 Waap 12" 12WAAP1 "It Goes Waap" (re-recorded)
"Conspiracy" March 1982 5 Waap 7" WAAP2 "Touchdown"
"Tear the Whole Thing Down" October 1982 2 Tone 7" CHSTT21 "Ylang, Ylang"
12" white label promo CHSTT1221 "Ylang, Ylang"
"Run Me Down" February 1983 2 Tone 7" CHSTT24 "Put The Punk Back Into Funk Pts 1 & 2"
12" CHSTT1224 "Run Me Down" (Long Version)
"Run Me Down" (instrumental)
"Put The Punk Back Into Funk Pts 1 & 2"
"Push Out the Boat" November 1983 4 Waap 7" WAAP4 "Round and Round Pub Mix"
12" 12WAAP4 "Round and Round Pub Mix"
"Push Out the Boat" (extended)
"Music To Watch Girls By"
"Music To Watch Boys By"
7": 1983
12": Sep 1984
2 Upright 7" UP 9 "Music To Watch Girls By" (7" only)
"Lying On The Telephone"
12" UPT 9 "Music To Watch Boys By" (unique 12" version)
"Lying On The Telephone"
"Clanking My Bucket" (live at The Lyceum, 3.7.84)
"I Don't Want To Live With Monkeys" (live at The Lyceum, 3.7.84)
"Take It" 1985 R4 7" FOR2 "I Walk The Land"
12" 12FOR2 "I Walk The Land"
"Take It" (extended mix)
"Take It" (instrumental)
"Lost And The Lonely" December 1981 Vinyl Magazine No. 9 (released in the Netherlands) Flexidisc V 9 "Jigsaw Mentallama" (by Virgin Prunes)


  • The Curse of The Higsons (October 1984)[4]
  • Attack of the Cannibal Zombie Businessmen (Reissue, 2007)[5]


  • "The Higsons Live at the Jacquard Club, Norwich 11.2.82" (April 1982).[6]

Backs Records / Chaos Tapes (Cat No. live 008); limited edition of 4000

01. "Insect Love"
02. "It Goes Waap"
03. "Surrender"
04. "Lost and Lonely"
05. "Got To Let This Heat Out"
06. "Where Have All The Club-A-Go-Go,s Went Went"
07. "A Dash To The Shops"
08. "Touchdown"
09. "Conspiracy"
10. "Crash"
11. "I Don't Want To Live With The Monkeys"
12. "My Love Is Bent At Both Ends"
13. "We Will Never Grow Old"

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Attack of the Cannibal Zombie Businessmen (1987) - retrospective singles compilation - Waap Records
  • It's a Wonderful Life - compilation album of BBC Radio 1 sessions, on the Hux records label (1998)[7]

BBC Radio 1 In Concert[edit]

A one-hour concert was recorded and broadcast from the Paris Theatre in London on 7 September 1983. The Higsons played the first half hour whilst the Norwich-based band The Farmer's Boys played the second half.

  • Tracks played:
    • "Gangway"
    • "Where Have All The Club-A-Go-Gos Went Went?"
    • "Born Blind"
    • "Music To Watch Boys By"
    • "Heat"
    • "Run Me Down"
    • "Clanking My Bucket"
    • "Push Out The Boat"


  • Jacquard Club, Live February 1982 (released by MEI)[8] NB this is a live audio-cassette only release, not a video.
  • The Camden Palace, Live 2 November 1984 (broadcast on London Weekend Television programme 'Live In London' 19.1.85)[9]
  • I Don't Want To Live With Monkeys Live [2006] (released by Cherry Red - reissue of Camden Palace gig)[10]


External links[edit]