The Passions (British band)

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The Passions
OriginShepherds Bush, London, England
GenresPost-punk, new wave
Years active1978–1983
LabelsSoho, Fiction, Polydor
Associated actsThe Derelicts, the 101ers, the Wall, Local Heroes SW9, Bim, Tin Machine
Past membersBarbara Gogan
Claire Bidwell
Richard Williams
Dack Dyde
Mitch Barker
Clive Timperley
David Agar
Kevin Armstrong
Jeff Smith
Stephen Wright

The Passions were a British post-punk/new wave band which formed in 1978[1] and disbanded in 1983.[2] The Passions' music was grounded mainly in Barbara Gogan's voice and Clive Timperley's delicate Echoplex guitar work. They were considered one-hit wonders due to their early 1981 single "I'm in Love with a German Film Star".[3]


Based in Shepherd's Bush in west London, the Passions formed in early 1978 as the Youngsters with a lineup of Gogan (guitar, vocals), Claire Bidwell (bass guitar), Richard Williams (drums), Dack Dyde (guitar) and Mitch Barker (vocals).[4] Williams and Gogan were previously in the punk rock outfit the Derelicts.[1] After a name change to Rivers of Passion, soon shortened to the Passions, Dyde was replaced by Timperley (formerly of the 101ers).[4]

The Passions' first single, issued in March 1979 on the Soho label, was "Needles and Pills" (written by Dyde), which assisted in gaining the band a recording contract with Fiction Records.[1] By the time the band recorded the first of three Peel sessions in November 1979, Barker had departed and Gogan took over as lead vocalist.[4]

Michael & Miranda, the band's debut album, was released 18 April 1980,[5] preceded by second single "Hunted".[1] The album was produced by Fiction head Chris Parry and engineered by Mike Hedges.[4] In May, the Passions embarked on a UK and European tour supporting labelmates the Cure.[4] Bidwell left after the tour (joining the Wall), replaced in July 1980 by David Agar,[1] and the band were dropped by Fiction.[4]

A meeting with Peter Wilson, the in-house producer for Polydor Records, led to the band signing to that label, which released their third single, "The Swimmer", on 1 October 1980.[4][5]

Their major chart hit, "I'm in Love with a German Film Star", was released as the band's fourth single on 23 January 1981.[1][4][5] The lyrics were written by Gogan about Steve Connelly, a one-time roadie for the Clash and Sex Pistols who had minor roles in several German films.[6] It was produced by Peter Wilson.[6] According to Wilson, "It was a song that almost seemed to write itself". The music weeklies declared the song "Single of the Week", and it was named "Peoples Choice" on Capital Radio.[6] This led to a Top of the Pops appearance on 5 February 1981, which was repeated on 26 February.[7]

The next single, "Skin Deep", produced by Nigel Gray, was issued on 2 July 1981.[4] "Skin Deep" and the previous two A-sides ("The Swimmer" and "I'm in Love with a German Film Star") were included, along with several brand new recordings, on the band's second album, Thirty Thousand Feet Over China, released 18 September 1981.[1][5]

Timperley left the band in Verona in December 1981, during the Italian leg of their prophetically named "Tour Till We Crack" tour, as a result of "serious political differences". The next single, "Africa Mine", released on 8 January 1982,[5] was recorded by the remaining members[4] prior to a lineup change. Gogan explained the situation: "It's the same old story. Some bands play together for 10 years and it's all very wonderful and imaginative. More often, though, you reach a point where you've done all you can do and you want to change. Whenever we've reached that point someone has always left and brought us a step further on. Any band playing their own songs to the public has a duty to change and keep being imaginative all the time".[3]

Kevin Armstrong, previously with Local Heroes SW9 and a contributor to Thomas Dolby's debut album, joined the Passions in 1982. The group also added a keyboard player, Jeff Smith, best known for his past work with Lene Lovich.[1] Armstrong and Smith took part in the recording of the band's third album, Sanctuary, produced by Mick Glossop. The first single, "Jump for Joy", was released 5 May, followed by the album and "Sanctuary" single on 18 September 1982.[5]

Stephen Wright, previously in the band Bim, then replaced Armstrong.[8] The band toured Europe and the US, and appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC 2, and Whatever You Want on Channel 4. The Passions dissolved for good in the middle of 1983, after playing their last show at London's Marquee Club that August.

A compilation, Passion Plays, was issued by Polydor on vinyl in 1985 and CD in 1995.[9] "I'm in Love with a German Film Star", was rereleased as a download in December 2006, and Thirty Thousand Feet Over China was reissued on CD with five bonus tracks on Cherry Red Records on 21 July 2008.[10][11]

Later projects[edit]

Gogan resurfaced in 1998, when she issued Made on Earth, an album she recorded with experimentalist Hector Zazou.[1]

Armstrong later served as a guitarist and songwriter for numerous artists including David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Morrissey, Steve Nieve and Sinéad O'Connor, and was a member of Tin Machine.

Cover versions[edit]

There have been numerous cover versions of "I'm in Love with a German Film Star", including Linoleum in 2000, Foo Fighters in 2005, Chris Whitley and Kish Mauve in 2006, Sam Taylor-Wood (with the Pet Shop Boys) in 2008, and Dubstar in 2010.

In popular culture[edit]

Band members[edit]

  • Barbara Gogan — guitar, vocals (1978–1983)
  • Claire Bidwell — bass guitar (1978–1980)
  • Richard Williams — drums (1978–1983)
  • Dack Dyde — guitar (1978)
  • Mitch Barker — vocals (1978–1979)
  • Clive Timperley — guitar (1978–1981)
  • David Agar — bass guitar (1980–1983)
  • Kevin Armstrong — guitar (1982)
  • Jeff Smith — keyboards (1982–1983)
  • Stephen Wright — guitar (1982–1983)


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1985: Passion Plays (Polydor)


  • 1979: "Needles and Pills" / "Body and Soul" (Soho Records SH5)
  • 1979: "Hunted" / "Oh No, It's You" (Fiction FICS 008)
  • 1980: "The Swimmer" / "War Song" (Polydor POSP 1084)
  • 1981: "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" / "(Don't Talk to Me) I'm Shy" (Polydor POSP 224 / 2059 314) — No. 25 (UK Singles Chart)
  • 1981: "Skin Deep" / "I Radiate" (Polydor POSP 256 / 2059 369)
  • 1981: "The Swimmer" (reissue) / "Some Fun" (Polydor POSP 325)
  • 1982: "Africa Mine" / "I Feel Cheap" (Polydor POSP 384) — plus free four-track live single "The Square" / "Why Me" / "Snow" / "I'm in Love with a German Film Star"
  • 1982: "Jump for Joy" / "The Story" (Polydor POSP 435)
  • 1982: "Sanctuary" / "Tempting Fate" (Polydor POSP 487 / 2059 534)
  • 1982: "Sanctuary" / "Tempting Fate" / "Stop That Man" (Polydor 12" POSPX 487)
  • 1982: "Love is Essential" / "Jump for Joy" (Polydor 2814 357) — French promo only
  • 2006: "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" (Polydor) (download only)[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Passions | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  2. ^ "22 songs you probably didn't know the Pet Shop Boys were involved with" "...I'm In Love With A German Film Star, originally a 1981 Top 40 hit by post-punk New Wave band The Passions.". Birmingham Mail. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The Mick Sinclair Archive: The Passions". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Biography". 14 November 1979. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Post Punk Diary: 1980–1982 by George Gimarc
  6. ^ a b c "Biography". 14 November 1979. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  7. ^ "The Passions". Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Passions – news, lyrics, pictures, reviews, biography, videos, best songs, discography". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  9. ^ "The Passions – Passion Plays". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 420. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  11. ^ "The Passions | Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2014.

External links[edit]