They began as a post-punk band championed by John Peel and Siousxie Sioux but within a relatively short period of time their move into pure pop music saw them conquer the singles charts before all of a sudden they fell spectacularly out of fashion and breaking up before the lead singer had reached her 22nd birthday after which she moved into acting.
I loved Altered Images. They were great fun. And Clare Grogan was, and still is, gorgeous.
The band were mere teenagers when they formed in 1979. Their first two singles were released to almost complete indifference in early 1981 but seemingly out of nowhere Happy Birthday hit the #2 spot in the UK on its release in August 1981. Over the next nine months, they were rarely out of the singles charts thanks to the success of I Could Be Happy and See Those Eyes with Clare’s ‘little-girl on helium’ vocals and persona making them stand out just that bit more than most.
The age-old issue of failing to deliver a decent follow-up LP to the debut in 1982 was a setback and led to two-fifths of the band leaving on less than amicable terms and a whole change in direction in both sound and look. Vveteran producer Mike Chapman was brought in to bring a more polished and mature sound while Clare turned overnight into an Audrey Hepburn lookalike. It did bring initial success through the outstanding 45 Don’t Talk To Me About Love but it wasn’t sustainable and before 1983 was out the band were no more.
I am proud of the fact that I own every one of the band’s eleven singles in 7″ and 12″ form along with a couple of picture discs having picked them up as a ‘job lot’ on ebay almost ten years ago. It is tempting to put together a series featuring every single one of those 45s but I fear my love for the band won’t be as well felt among the T(n)VV readership. But here’s one song that I think will go down well. It’s the b-side to a November 1981 hit single (the afore-mentioned I Could be Happy) and it illustrates just how much in debt they were to the Banshees and their ilk with the early material:-
mp3 : Altered Images – Insects