Five ambitious teenage school mates from Glasgow – Clare Grogan (vocals), Gerard “Caesar” McInulty (guitar), Michael ‘Tich’ Anderson (drums), Tony McDaid (guitar) and Johnny McElhone (bass guitar) – formed a band called Altered Images in late 1979.
As per the norm in those days, a number of demo tapes were fired out in the hope of attracting some interest but where probably 99% of such tapes end up being binned, this time round there was enough to convince Siouxsie & The Banshees to offer a support slot on their Kaleidoscope tour of 1980 and a session for John Peel.
And without too much of an apprenticeship the band were soon signed to Epic Records and so became label mates of the likes of Michael Jackson and Shakin’ Stevens!!
The debut single was released in February 1981. It was one of the band’s best-loved songs from the live shows but given that John Lennon had been shot just a couple of months previously, and that the charts were being dominated by his music, it seemed a perverse choice all round:-
mp3 : Altered Images – Dead Pop Stars
Superbly produced by Steve Severin of the Banshees, it really did deserve a far better fate than #67 in the singles charts but then again, any daytime DJ who would have dared play it would no doubt have been put on trial by the kangaroo court of the British tabloid press…..
Epic Records probably didn’t have much hope for it, only pressing it on 7″ and making a cassette version available. This was the b-side:-
mp3 : Altered Images – Sentimental
While this was the track made available via the cassette:-
mp3 : Altered Images – Leave Me Alone
All three tracks really highlight the Banshees influence on the band. And Clare’s remarkable vocal, particularly on Leave Me Alone, was very reminiscent of Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex.