The Invisible Girls

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The Invisible Girls
Durutti column.jpg
Background information
OriginSalford, Greater Manchester, England
GenresPost-punk, synthpop, gothic rock
Years active1978 – c. 1982
LabelsFactory, Illusive, Epic
Associated actsJohn Cooper Clarke, 10cc, Pauline Murray, Penetration, Dead or Alive, The Mission, The Sisters of Mercy, Buzzcocks, Wah!, Flag of Convenience, Nico, The Durutti Column
Past membersMartin Hannett
Steve Hopkins
Paul Burgess
Lyn Oakey
John Scott
Robert Blamire
Vini Reilly
Dave Rowbotham
John Maher
Dave Hassell
Wayne Hussey

The Invisible Girls were a British rock band, formed in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1978,[1] to provide a musical backdrop to the recorded output of Salford punk poet John Cooper Clarke. The band's nucleus was Joy Division and New Order producer Martin Hannett and keyboardist Steve Hopkins, with contributions from, amongst others, Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks and Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe. The band also played on the first solo album by Pauline Murray (lead singer of Penetration), the eponymous Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls and some singles, and later with Nico for the single "Procession".


The band was formed to provide backing music for punk poet John Cooper Clarke. It initially featured Factory Records producer Martin Hannett on bass guitar, Steve Hopkins on keyboards, 10cc drummer Paul Burgess and guitarist Lyn Oakey.[2] This line-up played on Cooper Clarke's debut album Où est la maison de fromage?, before they named themselves the Invisible Girls. Disguise in Love (billed as being by "John Cooper Carke with the Invisible Girls") was produced by Hannett and released in 1978, and featured collaborations with Be-Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson and Buzzcock Pete Shelley. Another guitarist who collaborated was John Scott, but he was considered a member in an interview to him and C.P. Lee about Martin Hannett.[3] A second album, Snap, Crackle & Bop, followed in 1980.

Pauline Murray[edit]

In 1980, the band began to work with Pauline Murray, who in the same year dissolved her punk band Penetration. Burgess had left The Invisible Girls by this point to dedicate more time to 10cc. During Murray's period with the band, Hannett worked as producer, being replaced on bass by Robert Blamire, also a former member of Penetration.

The band's first single, "Dream Sequences", was released in August 1980, featuring Murray, Hannett, Hopkins, Blamire, and Alan Rawlings from Cowboys International as guest guitarist. Shortly afterwards, the line-up was extended to the Durutti Column's Vini Reilly and Dave Rowbotham (then with the Mothmen) on guitar, Dave Hassell on percussion plus John Maher from Buzzcocks on drums.[4] They released an eponymous album in September, followed by a second single, "Mr X", in November 1980.

To perform live, the band recruited guitarist Wayne Hussey (ex-Walkie Talkies), who had answered an advertisement in the Melody Maker magazine. The band (comprising Murray, Blamire, Hopkins, Hannett, Maher and Hussey) recorded a final single, "Searching For Heaven", which they released in 1981: the A-side featured (but did not credit) Bernard Sumner as guest guitarist. After this, Hannett and Hopkins continued as the only remaining members, with Paul Burgess re-joining; Murray and Blamire went on to form the Storm; Hussey joined Dead or Alive; Maher (who dissolved Buzzcocks in early 1981) continued with his new band, Flag of Convenience; Reilly continued with The Durutti Column; Rowbotham continued with The Mothmen for a short time but was killed in 1991.

Later projects[edit]

In 1982, the band returned to work with John Cooper Clarke; his final album, Zip Style Method, was released the same year. At the time, Nico, former singer with the Velvet Underground, was living in Manchester, and she worked with the band. They released only one single, "Procession", produced by Hannett. The title track featured Philip "Toby" Tolman (formerly of the Nosebleeds and Ludus) on drums. The B-side, a cover of "All Tomorrow's Parties", featured Burgess on drums.[5] Shortly afterwards, Nico and Toby went to work with Blue Orchids.




  • "Dream Sequences" (Illusive, August 1980)
  • "Mr X" (Illusive, November 1980)
  • "Searching For Heaven" (Illusive, April 1981)
  • "Procession" (as Nico & The Invisible Girls) (1/2, 1982)


  1. ^ The Invisible Girls. Allmusic, Retrieved on 10 April 2009.
  2. ^ "Disguise in Love". 1978-05-08. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  3. ^ Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 352. CN 5585.
  5. ^ "Nico (3) & The Invisible Girls - Procession (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  6. ^ "Cerysmatic Factory: The Invisible Girls [FBN 65 CD]". Retrieved 2016-03-13.

External links[edit]