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Del Amitri formed in Glasgow in 1983.
The band was formed with the original line-up of Justin Currie (bass and vocals), Iain Harvie (lead guitar), Bryan Tolland (guitar) and Paul Tyagi (drums). Currie and Harvie were the only members of the band to remain present throughout its history. They were also the main songwriters of the group.
After becoming popular on the local music scene and having demo material played on DJ John Peel’s show on BBC Radio 1, the band broke through in 1984 when they were signed by Chrysalis Records, who released their eponymous début album in 1985. The band also appeared on the front cover of Melody Maker and supported The Smiths on tour. Despite this exposure, neither the album nor its singles were a success.
The band was dropped by Chrysalis but continued working together, touring the US in 1986 on a tour that was financed partly by themselves and partly by their small but enthusiastic fan base. The time they spent working on new material proved worthwhile, as they were eventually signed again in 1987, this time by A&M Records.
During the recording of the new album, which eventually came to be released as Waking Hours in 1989, the band’s line-up was further augmented by the arrival of keyboard player Andy Alston, who outside of Currie and Harvie has proven to be the longest-serving member of the band’s line-up.
Waking Hours proved to be Del Amitri’s breakthrough, reaching No.6 in the UK Albums Chart and also providing them with their biggest ever single chart hit at home when the song “Nothing Ever Happens”, rose to No 11 in the corresponding singles listing. They also gained some mainstream exposure abroad for the first time, as Waking Hours was a success in several territories with the single “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” flirting with the lower reaches of the US Billboard Hot 100’s Top 40. In between Waking Hours and their next album, the band released the single “Spit In the Rain” which, although it did not chart in the US, reached No. 21 in the UK.
The follow-up album Change Everything was released in 1992 and became the band’s biggest chart success, reaching No. 2 in the UK. The single “Always the Last to Know” was another Top 20 UK hit, peaking at No. 13, and again provided them with an entry into Top 40 in the US.
Next up was Twisted, released in 1995 and which peaked at No. 3 in the UK. The lead single “Roll to Me” was only a moderate hit in the UK where it reached No. 22 but did reach the Top 10 in the US charts, a noteworthy achievement during an era when British acts were finding success in the US difficult.
1997 saw the release of Some Other Sucker’s Parade, which was another Top 10 hit in the UK, reaching No. 6, but the band found it harder to consolidate on their previous successes in the US, however, and lost out on more airplay at home when their record company took the decision to withdraw the album’s planned third single “Medicine” in September 1997, putting out a false press story that the lyrics could be interpreted as a critique of the then recently deceased Diana, Princess of Wales.
Five years passed before Del Amitri released another album. In 1998, however, they recorded the official anthem for the Scottish World Cup squad, “Don’t Come Home Too Soon”. It reached No. 15 on the charts, becoming their third biggest UK hit and their last Top 20 entry to date. They also released their best of album, Hatful of Rain: The Best of Del Amitri, which was a No. 5 success in the UK Albums Chart and was accompanied by a new track, “Cry to Be Found”, which reached No. 40. The best of album had been released by Mercury, who took over the band’s contract after A&M had gone out of business.
The band’s final album to date, Can You Do Me Good?, was released in the spring of 2002, which was backed up with a successful UK tour. Despite their time away from the public eye, both the album, and the single “Just Before You Leave”, reached the Top 40. However, sales were not as high as Mercury had wanted and later in the year, the band was dropped from the label and broke up
Justin Currie then embarked on a solo career over the next decade without too much commercial success. In September 2013 the reunion of Del Amitri was announced with a UK tour undertaken in January 2014 including a hometown gig in front of 8,000 fand that was later released as the live album “Into the Mirror”.
I don’t own any Del Amitri songs other than the flop debut LP (which sounds nothing at all like anything they made afterwards) and some later songs that have come via compilation albums/CDs. My young brother is a bit of a fan though, so this one’s for him:-