Career[edit source | edit]Edit
Based in Shepherds Bush, west London, The Passions' music was grounded mainly in Barbara Gogan's voice and Clive Timperley's delicate echoplex guitar work. Before forming in 1978, most of the group's members had played in other groups. Timperley was formerly with the 101ers, while drummer Richard Williams and singer/guitarist Barbara Gogan were in the punk rock outfit The Derelicts. The Passions' first single, issued in March 1979, was "Needles and Pills" (written by Dack Dyde), which assisted in gaining the band a recording contract with Fiction Records.
Michael & Miranda, the band's debut album, was released in 1980. Singles "Hunted" and "The Swimmer" were followed by their major charting song, "I'm in Love with a German Film Star". Before "The Swimmer" was issued, Bidwell and Barker left the band, the former joining The Wall. David Agar took over bass guitar duties. The band's second album, 30,000 Feet Over China, was released in August 1981, including previously released A-sides and several brand new recordings.
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", was recorded with a new lineup. Gogan explained the situation thus: "It's the same old story. Some bands play together for 10 years and it's all very wonderful and imaginative. More often, though, you reach a point where you've done all you can do and you want to change. Whenever we've reached that point someone has always left and brought us a step further on. Any band playing their own songs to the public has a duty to change and keep being imaginative all the time".
Kevin Armstrong, previously with Local Heroes 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, which appeared in the autumn of 1982.
Stephen Wright, previously in the band Bim, joined later in 1982, replacing 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. They dissolved for good in the summer of 1983, after playing their last show at London's Marquee Club that August.
I'm in Love with a German Film StarEdit
The lyrics for "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" were written by Barbara Gogan about a one-time roadie for The Clash and Sex Pistols, Steve Connelly, who had minor roles in several German films. It was produced by Peter Wilson, who was the in-house producer for Polydor Records. According to Wilson, "It was a song that almost seemed to write itself". The music weeklies declared the song "Single of the Week" while it was named "Peoples Choice" on Capital Radio. This led to two Top of the Pops appearances. The single peaked at No. 25 in the UK Singles Chart.
Post-Passions[edit source | edit]Edit
- Gogan resurfaced in 1998, when she issued Made on Earth, an album she recorded with experimentalist Hector Zazou.
- There have been several cover versions of "I'm in Love with a German Film Star", including the Foo Fighters in 2005, Chris Whitley in 2006, and a collaboration between Sam Taylor-Wood and the Pet Shop Boys in October 2008.
- "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" was rereleased as a download in December 2006.
- In the first episode of the BBC Television cop-drama Ashes to Ashes, "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" plays in the background as DI Alex Drake walks in slow motion into Luigi's restaurant.
- Thirty Thousand Feet Over China was reissued on CD with five bonus tracks on Cherry Red Records on 21 July 2008.
- Gogan and Wright are currently playing together as The Monarchs.
- Richard "Rick" Williams appeared on the "Identity Parade" on BBC Television's programme, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, on 7 February 2007.
Band members[edit source | edit]Edit
- Barbara Gogan — guitar, vocals (1978-1983)
- Richard Williams — drums (1978-1983)
- Clive Timperley — guitar (1978-1981)
- Dack Dyde — guitar/songwriting (1978-1980)
- Claire Bidwell — bass guitar (1978-1980)
- Mitch Barker — vocals (1978-1980)
- David Agar — bass guitar (1980-1983)
- Jeff Smith — keyboards (1981-1983)
- Kevin Armstrong — guitar (1981-1982)
- Stephen Wright — guitar (1982-1983)
Discography[edit source | edit]Edit
Singles[edit source | edit]Edit
- 1979: "Needles and Pills" (Soho Records)
- 1980: "Hunted" (Fiction)
- 1980: "The Swimmer" (Polydor) — reissued 1982
- 1981: "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" (Polydor) — Number 25 (UK Singles Chart)
- 1981: "Skin Deep" (Polydor)
- 1982: "Africa Mine" (Polydor)
- 1982: "Jump for Joy" (Polydor)
- 1982: "Sanctuary" (Polydor)
- 2006: "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" (Polydor) (download only)