Transvision Vamp promotional photo (1991)
|Origin||Putney, London, England|
|Genres||Pop punk, alternative rock, post-punk|
|Labels||Uni Records, MCA Records|
|Associated acts||Bush, The Partisans, Racine|
|Past members||Wendy James
Nick Christian Sayer
Transvision Vamp were a British alternative rock group. Formed in 1986 by Nick Christian Sayer and Wendy James, the band enjoyed chart success in the late 1980s with their pop/punk sound. James, the lead singer and focal-point of the group, attracted media attention with her sexually charged and rebellious image.
The band's original line-up was James, Sayer, Dave Parsons (bass), Tex Axile (keyboards) and Pol Burton (drums). Parsons and Axile had both been in punk bands prior to joining the band; Parsons in The Partisans, and Axile in various bands, most notably The Moors Murderers and X-Ray Spex offshoot Agent Orange.
The band were signed by MCA in December 1986 and released their first single, "Revolution Baby", the following year. It stalled at #77 in the UK in September 1987. A cover of the Holly and the Italians' song, "Tell That Girl to Shut Up", was released as the band's second single in March 1988, reaching #45 on the UK Singles Chart. The single became their only charting entry on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #87.
The band's third single, "I Want Your Love", with its pop/punk crossover appeal, became their first major hit, topping the Norwegian singles chart, and peaking within the top 10 in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. Moderate success was achieved with a re-release of "Revolution Baby", which peaked within the top 40 in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Fourth single, "Sister Moon", narrowly missed the UK top 40.
In October 1988 the band released their debut album, Pop Art. It was a major success in the UK where it stayed on the album chart for 32 weeks, peaking at #4. The album achieved a similar level of success in Australia, where it was certified platinum, and placed as the 25th highest-selling album of 1989.
1989 proved to be the band's most successful year, with the release of the single "Baby I Don't Care". The single peaked at #3 in both the UK and Australia, making it the band's most successful single in both countries. In Australia, the song spent 20 weeks in the top 50. The band's second album, Velveteen, was released shortly after, debuting at #1 on the UK Albums Chart and remaining on the chart for 26 weeks. Velveteen also reached #2 on the Australian Albums Chart, spending 25 weeks in the top 100, and becoming the 39th best selling album of the year. The other singles from Velveteen: "The Only One", "Landslide of Love" and "Born to Be Sold", all peaked within the top 30 in the UK, and the top 20 in Ireland, but fared less well in other countries.
In June 1991, MCA refused to release Transvision Vamp's third album Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble in the UK, reportedly disliking the mellower direction of the music, and after two heavily promoted singles stalled on the UK charts. In Australia, the album was released and it peaked at #25, spending 12 weeks on the ARIA top 100 albums chart. The album's first single, "(I Just Wanna) B with U", peaked at #16 in Australia, but barely entered the UK and Irish top 30. The second single released from the album, "If Looks Could Kill", only entered the top 40 in New Zealand, and became the band's final single release. On the third album, Wendy James has stated "...it came out in America. But then we decided to split up, during which time the English record label had said they weren't convinced about this record, we're going to hold off on it and see how well it does in other countries first. By the time they were ready to release it, we'd already decided to split up, and so it never came out."
The group officially disbanded in February 1992 following a statement from MCA. Wendy James launched her solo career in 1993 with the Elvis Costello-written album Now Ain't the Time for Your Tears.
Anthony Doughty (Tex Axile) joined a band called Max with Matthew Ashman, Kevin Mooney, John Reynolds and John Keogh in which he played keyboards. They released a Trevor Horn produced album "Silence Running" in 1992. Keogh died soon after the release and Ashman a couple of years later. Doughty continues to release solo albums on his own label.
Wendy James embarked on a solo career, with limited commercial success. Her Elvis Costello-penned album only reached #43 on the UK albums chart, and none of the three singles released from it entered the UK Top 30. The lead single, "The Nameless One", reached #34 on the UK singles chart, while the second single, "London's Brilliant", peaked at #62. Third single, "Do You Know What I'm Saying?", peaked at #78 in the UK. MCA and James parted company in August 1993.
A follow-up solo album, recorded for One Little Indian, was not released. In 2004, James formed a band named Racine, with whom she has released two albums. Neither album charted anywhere. A single, "Grease Monkey", charted at #114 in the UK in April 2005. Racine broke up and closed down their official band site in December 2008.
- Wendy James: vocals (1986–1991)
- Nick Christian Sayer: guitar (1986–1991)
- Dave Parsons: bass (1986–1991)
- Tex Axile: keyboards and drums (1986–1991)
- Pol Burton: drums (1986–1989)
- James Piper: guitar (1989-1991)
- Martin Hallett: drums (1989-1991)
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1991||Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.|
|Year||Title||Chart peak positions||Album|
|1987||"Revolution Baby"||77||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||Pop Art|
|1988||"Tell That Girl to Shut Up"||45||44||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||87||−||9|
|"I Want Your Love"||5||7||23||3||32||1||9||8||4||−||−||−|
|"Revolution Baby" (re-issue)||30||24||−||17||−||−||37||−||−||−||−||−|
|1989||"Baby I Don't Care"||3||3||−||6||−||−||29||−||−||−||−||−||Velveteen|
|"The Only One"||15||30||−||7||−||−||22||−||−||−||−||−|
|"Landslide of Love"||14||70||−||8||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−|
|"Born to Be Sold"||22||108||−||12||−||−||−||−||−||−||−||−|
|1991||"(I Just Wanna) B with U"||30||16||−||30||−||−||−||−||−||−||40||14||Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble|
|"If Looks Could Kill"||41||56||−||−||−||−||38||−||−||−||−||−|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.|
- The Complete 12"ers Collection Vol. 1 (1990, MCA Records)
- Mixes (1992, MCA Records)
- Kiss Their Sons (1998, Universal Records)
- Baby I Don't Care (2002, Spectrum Music)
- Huey, Steve. "Transvision Vamp". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
- transvisionvamp.com, unattributed. "Jazz, Mallet, Pol". Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
- Doughty, Anthony. "Tex Axile Biography". Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
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- "The Irish Charts - All there is to know (search results for Transvision Vamp)". Imgur.com (original source published by Fireball Media). Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- Australian (ARIA) singles chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Discography Transvision Vamp". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "Sister Moon": "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 17 January 2014". Imgur.com. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "Landslide of Love": "Chartifacts > Week Ending: 12 May 1991 – Issue No.68 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 68)". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 2016-07-19.
- Top 100 peaks from January 1990: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- "Born to Be Sold": "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 15 July 2015". Imgur.com. Archived from the original on 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "charts.org.nz > Discography Transvision Vamp". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "swedishcharts.com > Discography Transvision Vamp". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
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- "1989 ARIA Albums Chart". ARIA. Retrieved 2017-08-23. N.B. The chart published on this site is missing some certifications, including the platinum certification for Velveteen.
- Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- ilikemusic.com, unattributed. "Wendy James / Racine interview February 2005". Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Max (31) – Silence Running (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Official Charts > Wendy James". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Screen shot of UKmix > Forums > Chart Chat > Chart Analysis > The 76-100 pos. UK-Charts-Thread". UKmix.org. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- transvisionvamp.com, unattributed. "Wendy James". Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
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- "hitparade.ch > Transvision Vamp (albums)" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Billboard > Artists / Transvision Vamp > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for 'Transvision Vamp' (from bpi.co.uk)". Imgur.com (original source published by BPI). Retrieved 2017-08-23.
- "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Albums Chart – Week Ending 18 Feb 1990 (61–100)". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 2017-08-23.
- "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Transvision Vamp (singles)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Discografie Transvision Vamp". DutchCharts.nl. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "Billboard > Artists / Transvision Vamp > Chart History > Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Billboard > Artists / Transvision Vamp > Chart History > Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-12-30.