The Motors

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The Motors
Origin London, England
Genres Pub rock, power pop, new wave
Years active 1977–1982
Labels Virgin Records, Atlantic Records
Associated acts Bram Tchaikovsky
Past members Nick Garvey
Andy McMaster
Ricky Slaughter
Rob Hendry
Bram Tchaikovsky
Martin Ace
Terry Williams

The Motors were a British pub rock band, formed in London in 1977 by former Ducks Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster together with guitarist Rob Hendry (who was replaced in May 1977 by Bram Tchaikovsky) and drummer Ricky Slaughter.[1] Their biggest success was with the McMaster penned song "Airport", a number 4 UK hit single in 1978.[2]


Having left Ducks Deluxe in early 1975, Garvey formed a band called The Snakes with Slaughter and vocalist Robert Gotobed, who would later form the punk band, Wire.[3] The group released only one single before splitting up. At the suggestion of his manager, Richard Ogden, Garvey formed his own band. He began recording demos with former bandmate Andy McMaster in January 1977.[3] The Motors' debut live performance was at the Marquee Club in March 1977,[3] and they recorded three songs for John Peel's weekly BBC Radio 1 show the same month (22 March 1977).[4]

By May they had been signed to Virgin Records, and recorded material for another John Peel session on 12 September of that year.[4]

Their first single was "Dancing the Night Away", which reached number 42 in the UK Singles Chart in 1977. Two other sizeable hits followed. In 1978, the band released "Airport" – which proved to be the band's biggest seller – and which peaked at number 4. The song was also a minor hit in the United States. The follow-up, "Forget About You", was released two months later.

The Motors' original recording line-up released two albums, both of which met with modest success; The Motors in 1977 and Approved by the Motors the following year.[5]

The Garvey/McMaster/Tchaikovsky/Slaughter line-up split when Tchaikovsky left in mid 1978; largely due to his frustration with being on a retainer salary, rather than a full band member like Garvey and McMaster.[citation needed] Slaughter also left the group soon afterwards. Tchaikovsky would subsequently release three solo albums, the first of which took him into the American Top 40 with the power pop song "Girl of My Dreams".

Following the departure of Tchaikovsky and Slaughter, bassist Martin Ace and drummer Terry Williams (who had been the rhythm section for 1970s progressive rockers Man, drummer with Rockpile & later a stint with Dire Straits) were recruited to fill in the Motors' studio line-up.[3] Following the release of the group's third album, 1980's Tenement Steps, which contained the minor chart hit "Love and Loneliness", Garvey and McMaster finally announced that they had dissolved the group in 1982.

After The Motors[edit]

Tchaikovsky was – if briefly – the most visible former member of the group thanks to his solo career. His band toured with The Joe Perry Project, The Cars, and Alice Cooper, and performed on Don Kirshner's syndicated Rock Concert television programme. Following the release of his final solo album – 1981's Funland, produced by Garvey – he operated a recording studio during the 1980s and occasionally played blues gigs in the early 1990s. Garvey released one solo album – 1982's Blue Skies – following the final split with McMaster, and did session work with Paul McCartney and others through the 1980s. McMaster is reported to still be recording music and living in a small town in the southeast of England, and Slaughter continued to play with a number of bands through the 1980s, including Fallen Angels, which included Knox, former lead vocalist of The Vibrators (and Slaughter's cousin).

The band's three albums were reissued on 27 March 2006 in the UK with a variety of live tracks, b-sides, and remixes. These were on the Captain Oi! label, and sleeve notes by Record Collector's Joe Geesin, featuring quotes from guitarist Nick Garvey. Following a group relationship with Donell Turner, all members of the band decided to call it a day.

Of Tchaikovsky's three solo albums, the first two Strange Man Changed Man and The Russians Are Coming were released on CD in 1998 as part of a "British Rock" reissue series, WEA Japan re-released both using original master tapes and artwork. In addition to the original artwork and liner notes, each CD contained extensive historical information, song lyrics and musical commentary (albeit in Japanese). These CDs were only available in Japan and are now out of production.

An expanded version of Stranger Man Changed Man[6] has appeared on CD, with 21 tracks and includes rare b-sides and live cuts. Buyers of this expanded version of Strange Man Changed Man CD should be aware that the audio for this particular reissue is sourced from vinyl LPs and 45s, and not the original master tapes.

In December 2007, Strange Man Changed Man was issued in the US on the "Hip-O Select" label (ASIN: B000ZIZ0ZC) in perfect digital sound and with full artwork. This CD release uses the original master tapes sequenced for the original USA (LP) release. That is, the track running order is different from the original UK LP, and different from the 1998 Japanese CD version.

Garvey's one solo album, Blue Skies, has yet to be reissued in any form. Garvey appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2001 in the Identity Parade round.

Cover versions[edit]


  • Nick Garvey (born 26 April 1951, Stoke-on-Trent[3]) – lead vocals, guitars (1977–1980)
  • Andy McMaster (born 27 July 1947, Glasgow[3]) – bass, keyboards, vocals (1977–1980)
  • Ricky Slaughter (born Richard Wernham) – drums (1977–1978)
  • Rob Hendry – guitar, vocals (1977)
  • Bram Tchaikovsky (born Peter Bramall, 10 November 1950, Lincolnshire[3]) – guitar, vocals (1977–1978)
  • Martin Ace – bass (1978–1980)
  • Terry Williams – drums (1978–1980)

Audio sample[edit]

An excerpt from Airport

Problems playing this file? See media help.


Studio albums[edit]

Date Album UK[2] US[9]
February 1977 1 46
May 1978 Approved by the Motors 60
March 1980 Tenement Steps 174


Compilation albums[edit]

Date Album
September 1981 Greatest Hits
October 2015 The Virgin Years


Date Single UK[2] US[9] CAN AUS NZ SA
1977 "Dancing the Night Away"[11] 42
1977 "Be What You Gotta Be"[12]
1977 "Cold Love"[13]
1978 "Sensation"[14]
1978 "Airport"[15] 4 31 37 19
1978 "Forget About You"[16] 13
1978 "Today"[17]
1980 "Love and Loneliness"[18] 58 78 60
1980 "That's What John Said"[19]
1980 "Tenement Steps"[20]
1980 "Metropolis"[21]
1981 "Dancing the Night Away" (reissue)[22]


  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Motors | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 381. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Motors Biography". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Radio 1 – Keeping It Peel – Sessions – 1977". BBC. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Edwards, Gavin (11 June 2015). "20 Rock Albums Rolling Stone Loved in the 1970s That You Never Heard". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Heavy Metal Kids". Heavy Metal Kids. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Next Position Please – Cheap Trick | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Love and Loneliness – Chris Thompson | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Motors | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Motors | Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Motors, The – Dancing The Night Away (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Motors, The – Be What You Gotta Be / You Beat The Hell Outta Me (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Motors, The – Cold Love (Vinyl) at Discogs". 5 September 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Motors, The – Sensation / The Day I Found A Fiver (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Motors, The – Airport (Vinyl) at Discogs". 23 December 1977. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Motors, The – Forget About You (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Motors, The – Today (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Motors, The – Love And Loneliness (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Motors, The – That's What John Said (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Motors, The – Tenement Steps (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Motors, The – Metropolis (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Motors, The – Dancing The Night Away (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 

External links[edit]