BUT SOMEHOW THE VITAL CONNECTION IS MADE

I only know of The Passions via them having a one-off minor hit in the UK singles chart back in early 1981. But going by the tale on wiki, the band members knew and worked with lots of folk over many years:-

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

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.  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.

Michael & Miranda, the band’s debut album, was produced by Fiction head Chris Parry and engineered by Mike Hedges. In May 1980, the Passions embarked on a UK and European tour supporting labelmates the Cure. Bidwell left after the tour, replaced in July 1980 by David Agar, and the band were dropped by Fiction.

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.

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.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. It was produced by Peter Wilson. 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. This led to a Top of the Pops appearance on 5 February 1981, which was repeated on 26 February.

The next single, “Skin Deep”, produced by Nigel Gray, was issued on 2 July 1981.  “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.

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, was recorded by the remaining members prior to a lineup change.

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. 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.

Stephen Wright, previously in the band Bim, then replaced Armstrong. 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.

mp3 : The Passions – I’m In Love With a German Film Star
mp3 : The Passions – (Don’t Talk To Me), I’m Shy

I was sure this had been a top 10 hit but seems it stalled at #25.

Here they are performing it, and another track, live on the telly.

 

JC

6 thoughts on “BUT SOMEHOW THE VITAL CONNECTION IS MADE

  1. My, this really took me back. On reading I recognised the band name and song title but couldn’t place the song itself. I hit play and wow … I was transported back in time. Thanks to JC for stirring up some great, almost forgotten, memories.

  2. I really missed out on that track back in the day. i should have known and loved it from day one, but I only found out about it in the late 90s/early noughts. But it was the next year when I hears one of the finest sings of the 80s in the sublime “African Mine.” There was a song that got right down to political brass tacks and the crux of our problems as a society. And was gorgeously beautiful as well!

  3. Dave Grohl was a fan and the Foo Fighters covered it as the b side of ‘The best of you’ in 2004

  4. Remember this well, in Sweden they were very much a one hit wonder and never heard any of the other stuff.
    Pet Shop Boys covered the song, pretty faithful to the original if memory serves me right.

  5. Yeah… it’s a nice song and all, but I was brought up on the angular proto-Siouxsie gloom of Michael & Miranda, which I felt had a lot of interesting things going on in the background – what we’d call darkwave now perhaps (and with maybe a sprinkle of Delta 5 in there too). IILWAGF is really from another planet in those terms and it took a long time for me to accept it.
    The second song in the video, “Why Me” from M&M is more my cup of tea. Obviously not for the audience though, you can see them leaving at the end.
    I’ll get my coat.

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