Prior to getting this ‘Saturday’s Scottish Song’ series underway, I had previously pulled together an almost as equally long-running ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’ series.  Part 114 appeared in October 2014 and looked at TV21.  Here’s a repeat.

TV21 formed in 1979 in Edinburgh, comprising Ally Palmer (vocals/guitar), Norman Rodgers (guitar/vocals), Neal Baldwin (bass), Dave Hampton (trumpet) and Ian Greig (drums).

Two singles in 1980 were released on their own Powbeat label, at which point Ian Greig was replaced by former Rezillos drummer Ali Paterson. After a further one-off single in early 1981 with Demon Records, the band were signed to Deram (which was part of the multinational Decca Records conglomerate) with many comparing their material to The Teardrop Explodes (a very lazy comparison based almost solely on the fact that Reward, with its prominent trumpet part, had been a smash single).

There were great hopes for TV21 and the band were teamed up with a then unknown but much thought of producer in Ian Broudie. The first of the material to emerge from this collaboration was Snakes and Ladders, a single released in May 1981, while its b-side, Artistic License, was produced by James Honeyman-Scott and Martin Chambers of The Pretenders. The single also came with a bonus 7″ single which was co-produced by the band and Troy Tate, who of course was once part of the afore-mentioned Teardrop Explodes.

Despite so many well-kent faces working with the band, the single failed to register with the general public, as indeed was the case with its follow-up Something’s Wrong in October 1981 and the debut LP A Thin Red Line released the following month.

A change of producer followed, but the March 1982 release of All Join Hands also flopped. Later that year TV21 opened for The Rolling Stones when the latter had a mini-tour of smaller venues across Scotland (including the Glasgow Apollo where I had got myself a ticket) but instead of building on any new fans picked up from such exposure, the band broke up almost immediately after the tour was completed.

23 years later, and totally out of the blue, TV21 reformed since when they have gigged a fair bit and also recorded and released new material, including the LP Forever 22 in 2009 once again on Powbeat Records (29 years after that last release on that very label!!!)

One of their biggest fans is Mike from Manic Pop Thrills. If you click on this link you can more or less get the full story of the band since they got back together.

mp3: TV21 – Snakes and Ladders


4 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #352: TV21

  1. Magnificent stuff.
    Driven me straight ot the shelf to listen to the (first) album. That’s the way to start a grey Saturday.

  2. Plenty to chose from on the album JTFL.
    And I’d recommend Animals that Swim – Faded Glamour if we’re still adding ideas!

  3. I used to see their name on posters a lot around Edinburgh in my student days but never saw them. On the strength of the memory however I bought a copy of their LP in a 2nd hand store here in Wellington a few years ago (amazing what makes its way down here sometimes). I’m sorry to say I was distinctly underwhelmed, and the disc made its way back into the resale trade fairly soon thereafter.

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