The Prisoners

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This article is about the English band. For the play by the Roman playwright Plautus, see Captivi.
The Prisoners
Origin Rochester, Kent, England
Genres Garage rock
Mod revival
Years active 1980–1986, 1997
Labels Big Beat Records, Stiff Records
Associated acts The Solarflares, Planet, The Buff Medways, The Prime Movers, Thee Mighty Caesars , The Stabilisers, James Taylor Quartet, Graham Day and the Gaolers
Past members Graham Day[1]
James Taylor[2]
Allan Crockford
Johnny Symons
Notable instruments
Hammond Organ

The Prisoners were a band formed in 1980 in Rochester, Kent,[3] England. Their 1960s garage sound made them a regular live fixture in London's underground "psychedelic revival" and "mod revival" scene of the early 1980s, as well as a linchpin of the Medway scene.


The Prisoners line-up was: Graham Day (Vocals and Guitars), James Taylor (Hammond Organ), Allan Crockford (Bass) and Johnny Symons (Drums).[4] The band's sound combined catchy, retro-flavoured melodies, punky guitar riffs, a Steve Marriott-esque vocal style and a lead instrument of the then-unfashionable Vox Continental organ. They often toured with The Milkshakes, who included Billy Childish on guitar. The Prisoners didn't have much commercial success during their original lifespan, but were later likened to The Jam and acclaimed as an influence on the Madchester sound of bands such as The Charlatans.[4][5]

After releasing several self-financed records and spending a year with Big Beat Records, in 1985 the Prisoners moved away from the London garage band tag and instead directly into the Mod revival mainstream. They also made an under-rated final album, "In From The Cold", for the ailing Stiff Records label on their subsidiary label "Countdown". This deal was unsuccessful and the band split acrimoniously in 1986. They have however reformed for live shows several times since then, and managed to release a final one-off single in 1997.

Post Break-up[edit]

Since splitting up the members of The Prisoners have featured in a wide range of bands. James Taylor and Allan Crockford formed mainstream jazz funk band the James Taylor Quartet in 1986, although Allan Crockford is no longer part of their line-up. The Solarflares, who released four albums before splitting up in 2004, were Graham Day and Allan Crockford basically reprising The Prisoners sound along with drummer Simon "Wolf" Howard and Mr Parsley on organ. Other bands who have featured former members of The Prisoners are Planet, The Buff Medways, The Prime Movers, Thee Mighty Caesars, The Stabilisers and The Galileo 7. Day fronted Graham Day & the Gaolers, who released their first album, Soundtrack to the Daily Grind, in November 2007. Their second album Triple Distilled was released on the Damaged Goods label in 2008. In April 2013 Allan Crockford announced some European gigs with Graham Day and Wolf Howard under the name The Prime Movers; included in the set will be songs from the first Prisoners album.


Studio Albums[edit]

  • A Taste of Pink! [Own-Up - 1982]
  • The Wisermiserdemelza [Big Beat - 1983]
  • The Last Fourfathers [Own-Up - 1985]
  • In From the Cold [Countdown - 1986]

Compilation Albums[edit]

  • The Revenge of The Prisoners [Pink Dust - 1984] (U.S Compilation)
  • Rare and Unissued [Hangman - 1988]
  • Hurricane: The Best of The Prisoners CD [Big Beat - 2004]

Live Albums[edit]

  • The Last Night At The MIC [Empire Records - 1985]

Coming Home/Revenge Of The Cybermen/There's A Time/Runaway/Little Shadows/Sitting On My Sofa/Don't Call My Name.

Split live album.Side A: The Prisoners, Side B: The Milkshakes.

Thee Milkshakes vs. The Prisoners [Media Burn - 1985]

Split live album Side A: Thee Milkshakes Side B: The Prisoners

Extended Plays[edit]

  • Electric Fit [Big Beat - 1984]

Melanie/What I Want/The Last Thing On Your Mind/Revenge Of The Cybermen

  • There's A Time - 10 Inch Single [Munster Records - 1999] Spanish Release

There's a Time/Revenge Of The Cybermen/I'm Looking For You/96 Tears


  • "Hurricane"/"Tomorrow She Said" [Big Beat - 1983]
  • "There's A Time"/"Revenge Of The Cybermen" [Sky Dog - 1983] French Release
  • "Whenever I'm Gone/Promised Land" [Countdown - 1986]
  • "Whenever I'm Gone" - 12 Inch Single [Countdown - 1986]

Whenever I'm Gone/Promised Land/Grave Digger

  • "Shine On Me"/"Judgement Song" [Deceptive - 1997]
  • "Shine On Me" CD Single [Deceptive - 1997]

Shine On Me/Judgement Song/Small

Compilation EP[edit]

  • Four On 4 [Big Beat - 1984]

Includes the track "Reaching My Head"


External links[edit]