I remember as a 16-year old at school back in 1979 getting really excited about all the guitar-led New Wave bands that were springing up and wondering if there might be someone local to hook on to. That’s when I first became aware of Fingerprintz when they were mentioned in a local paper as having signed a deal with Virgin Records (which was a big thing at that time).

But I remember being disappointed to also read in the same article that while the main guys in the band were from just outside Glasgow, they were actually based in London, so there was no point in building up hopes of using a false ID to get along and see them.

One of the DJs on the local commercial radio station was also championing them on his weekly show, and I remember going out and buying their debut single the week it came out. But after that, I lost interest in the band – most certainly because I couldn’t see past The Jam for anyone else in among the football and the hope of landing the elusive serious girlfriend.

My rekindled interest in vinyl has led me, over time, to pick up second-hand copies of all three of the band’s albums released between 1979 and 1981 all of which have some very decent songs although there’s not quite enough throughout to completely hold my attention. The closing track on Distinguished Marks, released in 1980, (and whose sleeve was designed by Peter Saville), is a very much a short story:-

The metropolitan corps
Found a corpse in the middle of the night
And they wrote it down in their blackbooks
By the revolving blue light

The face has no name
The mouth doesn’t speak
He hasn’t shaved or brushed his teeth
For at least a week
Hide and seek

Another typical chore for the cops
They deserve a mention
The dirt from his nails in a plastic bag
Forensic attention

Any distinguishing marks?
Or a great physique?
Has he ever been kissed?
Is he on a missing list?
British, French Arab or Greek?
Ohhh, hide and seek.

mp3: Fingerprintz – Hide and Seek

A short story with a very inconclusive ending. I’ll admit, it’s not entirely satisfactory.




This is another one that I wasn’t sure about including, but having decided that the Scottish frontman of this English-based band was such a key factor in their songs and sound that I’m edging them in.

Jimmie O’Neill and the late Cha (Charles) Burns are best known as being part of The Silencers, a band formed in Glasgow in the 80s and still going strong today. Prior to that, they had been half of Fingerprintz, a new wave band from London who released eight singles and three albums between 1979 and 1981, all on Virgin Records. Most of the songs were written by O’Neill, including this rather splendid debut 45 (albeit it is very much of its time and place):-

mp3 : Fingerprintz – Dancing With Myself

It didn’t trouble the charts; nor indeed did any of the band’s releases.