The four handsome devils pictured above are the members of Frantic Elevators circa 1981. They had formed some five years earlier as a Manchester punk band, but strangely enough none of the three original founding members were around by the time some records and two John Peel sessions came about.

By 1981 the band were your classic or perhaps bog-standard four-piece with vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer with the guitarist and vocalist being the songwriters.

I don’t own any of their songs other than a short sharp number, coming in at just under two minutes long, which was recorded in February 1981 and later made available on Manchester, So Much To Answer For, a compilation CD released in 1991 and featuring a Peel session track from 20 Manchester bands:-

mp3 : Frantic Elevators – The Hunchback of Notre Dame

This had actually been planned as their second ever single back in 1979 but it never saw light of day. In the end, the band only ever got round to releasing four singles before calling it a day. The last of these was in late 1982:-

mp3 : Frantic Elevators – Holding Back The Years

I suppose its time, if you already didn’t know or haven’t yet already worked it out, to mention the name of the band’s singer. It was Mick Hucknall. His band mates were Neil Moss (guitar), Brian Turner (bass) and Kevin Williams (drums).

The continued failure of the band led to Hucknall leaving. The other three soldiered on for a bit but disbanded in mid 1983. All the while their former vocalist got another band together under the name of World Service, who later underwent changes of name to Red and the Dancing Dead, then Just Red, and finally Simply Red.

A completely different version of Holding Back the Years was re-recorded by Simply Red and provided them with their breakthrough hit. As a co-writer, Neil Moss who would later pocket around £50,000 in royalties. Nice work.