A collection of Flashbacks that have featured on the homepage of Showaddywaddy.net

The mid 1980s was a tricky period for the band to negotiate. The decade started with the band’s unprecedented chart success of the 1970s beginning to slow, with some singles not entering the official charts, and also the albums “Good Times” (1981) and “Living Legends” (1983) failing to achieve chart status. The band however continued to be in much demand as a live act and continued to be constantly on the road. Television was also kind to Showaddywaddy in the early 1980s with many appearances on the likes of Top Of The Pops, Cheggars Plays Pop, Emu’s Magic Musical Show, Razzmattazz and Pebble Mill, not forgetting Showaddywaddy’s very own BBC TV special in December 1980.

Showaddywaddy had also left their long associated label Bell/Arista late in 1981, and a subsequent move to RCA. During 1984, Showaddywaddy recorded a number of TV shows to promote a single, “Out On The Town”, which was to be the first ‘original’ single (rather than cover version) released by the band since 1976 - however RCA decide not to release the single after all, much to the band’s and fans disappointment.

1984 saw Malcolm Allured leave the band, followed by Russ Field in 1985, Russ being quickly replaced by Ray Martinez. Gig records from 1986 appeared to show the band have a quieter period on the road, but details have been hard to find due to the demise of the fan club and consequent lack of gig lists to add to the historical record.

However in 1987, Showaddywaddy pressed heavily for a chart comeback with a new single, compilation album, and VHS video of promo videos recorded in the 1970s and 80s. The song earmarked for a single release was a newly recorded track, “Why?” originally recorded by The Cues in 1957, released on 7” and 12” vinyl, and promoted on TV, 3-2-1 (broadcast 11/10/87), and Live from the London Palladium (broadcast 21/11/87). The b-side to the single was the aforementioned “Out On The Town” that sadly lacked the energy of the 1984 version. Notably, vocalist Bill Gask was not present at the Palladium recording, having left the band in September, the 3-2-1 show been recorded shortly before his departure.

The accompanying album, released on cassette, vinyl and CD, despite a lot of promotion, only attained the number 90 position in the charts, and stayed in the top 100 for one week. The compilation wasn’t the first Showaddywaddy release on CD, with a couple of budget compilations coming out on CD earlier in the same year. The Best Steps To Heaven video featured 10 promotional videos, but two promos recorded were not included, the originals tapes presumably missing. It has since been discovered that all the original promo video masters are missing from the archives, having been recently attempted to be found for re-release. They must be somewhere! Furthermore, all original albums from the band’s debut to 1983’s Living Legends were all re-released on vinyl under the guise of ‘Step 1’ to ‘Step 8’, the opportunity to reissue on CD at that stage not being realised.

The rest of the 1980s saw no further releases, although a song was recorded in 1988, “Old Habits Die Hard” which was intended to be a single, but was not actually released until 2006. “Old Habits…” is a fantastic song and would have surely entered the charts had it been released back in ’88. The 1980s was a busy time for the band, with an unrelenting schedule that continued into the 1990s and beyond.

Hey It’s Christmas!

Showaddywaddy’s festive hit Hey Mr. Christmas continues to receive lots of airplay, 44 years after it was originally released, including a recent broadcast on BBC 6 Music. The song is still in the band’s live set every year! Released on 15th November 1974, it reached number 13 during an 8 week chart run, reaching its peak position in the chart of 4th January 1975. It was released without a picture sleeve in the UK, it did however come in a picture sleeve in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The band performed the song on Top Of The Pops on 12th December 1974, the footage of which sadly no longer exists. The song was also promoted on Lift Off With Ayshea on 17th December 1974, and A Stocking Full Of Stars on Christmas Day 1974.

Fans should also check out two other Showaddywaddy Christmas songs, Christmas Tears Will Fall and Rock Christmas, which are a must for anyone’s festive season playlist!

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19th November 1974, Showaddywaddy gathered in London with girls from the National Children’s Home, Harpenden, to promote their new single, Hey Mr. Christmas, which was released a few days earlier on 15th November.

1976-1978 were arguably Showaddywaddy’s peak years of popularity. 1976 got off to a slow start with the single “Trocadero” and the album of the same name released during the Spring not doing particularly well in the charts. The follow up single in the Summer, “Take Me In Your Arms” did not chart at all - hardly surprising given the A and B sides were already available on the album released a couple of months earlier. Despite this, the band still kept the momentum going with numerous TV appearances, as well as being on the road touring all year. However in October, things were to take an upward turn with the release of “Under The Moon Of Love”, which was to prove to be the band’s only number 1 hit.

Showaddywaddy first performed the single on TV 4 days after it was released on the TV show ‘Arrows’, and the track was performed another dozen times over the next couple of months, culminating in the band reaching the number 1 spot in the singles charts in December. Not only that, the band’s first ‘Greatest Hits’ album reached number 4 in the album chart, featuring the aforementioned “Under The Moon Of Love”, and all but one of the singles released to date (plus select album tracks). What a way to end the year!

1977-1978 saw Showaddywaddy striking gold with every single they released, with seven consecutive top-5 hits - “When”, “You Got What It Takes”, “Dancin’ Party”, “I Wonder Why”, “A Little Bit Of Soap” and “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”. Promo videos were recorded for most singles in this period, some of which were later officially released on VHS. The guys were barely off the TV, racking up at least 54 television appearances in addition to the 19 spots on the small screen in 1976. Gig-wise, at least 100 gigs were performed in 1976, 97 gigs in 1977, and 78 gigs in 1978.

The latter stages of 1978 saw Showaddywaddy perform live on TV in November in front of the Queen Mother at the London Palladium for the Royal Variety Performance, with the band overcoming technical difficulties after their cables got pulled out of their equipment due to the rotating stage going the wrong way. However those technical problems were soon forgotten when the band met the Queen Mother after the show, a moment of which they are all very proud of. The same month also saw the release of the ‘Greatest Hits 1976-1978’ LP, an album which gave the band their only number 1 spot in the album charts. Showaddywaddy’s final gig of the year was in their home town of Leicester at the Demontfort Hall on 19th December, where it was announced on stage that the album had reached number 1 in the charts, the band playing one of their best ever gigs, and partying well into the small hours after the show, celebrating a fantastic end to the year!

1976 to 1978 proved to be a phenomenal three years for Showaddywaddy, and a period which they will never forget.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Showaddywaddy’s Red Star LP (Arista SPARTY 1023), released on 11th November 1977 - one of the band’s all time classics!
1977 was arguably one of the most successful years in the band’s career. The year followed on from the number 1 success of “Under The Moon Of Love” in December the previous year, and 1977 of course saw the Punk/New Wave movement really coming to the fore. Showaddywaddy were more popular than ever. Where punk was appealing to a disillusioned teenage youth, Showaddywaddy were pulling in audiences from all age ranges.
The year saw the band have three massive chart hits - “When” (released 25th Feb 1977) reaching number 3 in the charts, “You Got What It Takes” (released 8th July 1977) reaching number 2, and “Dancin’ Party” (released 21st October 1977) reaching number 4. The year also saw the band making at least 27 appearances on television, as well as over 100 gigs. Add the recording onto all the TV appearances and gigs and the band were certainly earning their money that year!

Despite all this, the album actually only reached number 20 in the charts, but still attained “Gold” status.The main sleeve unusually did not feature band on the front, but there were plenty of pictures on the inner sleeve (the only SWW LP to have a picture inner sleeve). 13 tracks featured - unlucky for some perhaps?

The album kicks off with “Dancin’ Party”, the band’s current single at the time of the album’s release, followed by the rocker “’68 Teenage Queen” with Buddy Gask on lead vocals, and a favourite track of Trevor Oakes.
“You Got What It Takes” came third, a smash hit during the summer of that year, with “Lucy Jane (Part 2)” coming fourth featuring both Dave and Buddy sharing lead vocals; ‘Part 2’ being stated to not confuse fans with the “Lucy Jane”, a different song that featured as a B-side to “Heartbeat” in 1975.

Hot on the heels of a Dave Bartram classic, “In Above Your Head”, came another Bartram-led “Sweet Georgia”, the story of a croupier in a casino. “Somethin’ Else”, the well known Eddie Cochran song, had lead vocals performed by Buddy and is one of my favourite SWW songs (also performed by the band on TV that year). “(You’ve Got) Personality” was a song that the band thought would have been good as a single.

Al James always contributed the odd track to LPs, and this one was no different, with the heavier-sounding “Feelin’” being a favourite of many fans over the years - perhaps a very un-Showaddywaddy song! Buddy Holly’s classic “Listen To Me” got the Showaddywaddy treatment, one of 6 cover version on the album, the other 7 being original tracks.

The album closed out with “Maybe Maybe Maybe”, one of Buddy Gask’s best vocal performances, finally the track Dave is most proud of, “Swansong”, a story of a rocker who is coming to the end of his career and feeling low, only to be greeted by thousands of people at the best gig of his life - one of the best SWW songs ever released.

If you are not familiar with Showaddywaddy’s work other than their well known singles, you won’t go far wrong in checking out “Red Star” - this is band at their best with their original line up.

The album has since been re-released with a number of bonus tracks, featuring the B-sides of the 1977 singles (ie “Superstar”, “Showboat” and “One Of These Days”), as well as 1978 singles and B-sides. It is highly recommended!

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1st October 1981 saw the release of Showaddywaddy’s “Good Times” LP on Bell Records, a label which had been revived after being dropped by owning company Arista in 1976. In fact Showaddywaddy’s 1976 number 1 hit “Under The Moon Of Love” was the last single to be released on Bell Records, until the label was briefly brought back for 1981.

The album itself was the first of the band’s album not to make the album charts, but is a strong album and as good as previous releases.

The album opens with “Multiplication”, a single which the band promoted on TV four times in the summer of ’81, including Razzmatazz and Cheggers Plays Pop, but crucially perhaps not on Top Of The Pops. It was released on 5th June 1981, four months before the album.

“Alley Oop” was an unusual choice for TV promotion in August 1981, as this was an album track not a single, and rather amusingly featured Malcolm dressing up as a gorilla and hitting members of the audience with a club (a rubber one of course!). The single release of “Multiplication” had been and gone by the time August came around, which may be why the band decided to do something a bit different, although they were probably specifically asked to play that track by the TV executives.

“Footsteps” and “Good Timing” were other singles released from the album, on 6th Nov 1981, and 19th Feb 1982 respectively, and it is perhaps not a surprise these singles didn’t do too well sales wise having being already available on the album. “Footsteps” was promoted on TV three times however (including Top Of The Pops), whereas “Good Timing” barely received any promotion at all (save for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mention on Tiswas).

“Weekend”, another album only track, was promoted on The Little And Large Show in 1985 in what turned out to be Malcolm Allured’s and Russ Field’s last TV appearances with the band. It was pleasing to see album’s title track “Good Times” featuring in the band’s live set in the early 2000s, and “Weekend” was also a regular in the band’s set at this time. Incidentally, “Weekend” was a fixture in the band’s set in their very early days in 1973-1975, but not recorded until 1981!

“I Don’t Like Rock ’n’ Roll No More” is one of the band’s classic songs and should have been a single, whereas “C’mon Everybody” is probably the weakest song on the LP.

All in all, despite it never making the album chart, this is one of the band’s classic albums, with the band featuring on TV a lot around the time of its release.

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Rod Deas, Romeo Challenger and Dave Bartram, with Leicester City’s Alan Birchenall, at the King Power Stadium, November 2011. The guys were filming a short segment for Dave to bid farewell, as he was to leave fronting the band the following month. Incidentally, the band, particularly Dave and Romeo, are big Leicester City fans and were thrilled at the club winning the Premiership Title this season, with Dave going to many games home and away.

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Showaddywaddy performing ‘King Of The Jive’ on London Weekend Telvision’s “Supersonic” on 13th September 1975. The band also performed ‘Heatbeat’ on the same episode, which was the band’s current single at the time.

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Showaddywaddy performing “A Little Bit of Soap” on Top Of The Pops. This episode was recorded at BBC Television Centre in London on 5th July 1978, and was broadcast the day after, 6th July 1978. On the night of the broadcast, the band were playing at the Golden Garter nightclub in Manchester, which incidentally was where the promotional video for the single was recorded.

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The band donned these shiny satin-type Teddy Boy suits in 1977, and wore them on their appearance on the 1977 Christmas edition of Top Of The Pops. Never popular amongst the band or fans, these suits were quickly ditched in favour of the normal material.

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Showaddywaddy in 1975 - this classic shot was used on the rear of the band’s Step Two album which was released that year.

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In 1995, Danny Willson joined Showaddywaddy as lead guitarist, remaining with the guys until 2009, achieving a total of 14 years in the band. This particular set up, was together as shown in this 1995 promo picture, with five of the original members in place. The original band started to change in 1984 having stayed together as the original 8-piece for 11 years. A classic Showaddywaddy line-up.

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On 19th November 1974, Showaddywaddy gathered in London with girls from the National Children’s Home, Harpenden, to promote their new single, Hey Mr. Christmas, which was released a few days earlier on 15th November. The single spent eight weeks in the charts, reaching the number 13 spot, and the band performed the track on TV shows including Top Of The Pops, Lift Off With Ayshea, and A Stocking Full of Stars. The single was recently featured on TV as being the 43rd best selling Christmas single of all time.

The band are known to have performed the song in their live shows around the time of release, and after a long absence it returned to the set in 2010, and is still being played live around Christmas time today.

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And if you fancy a sing-a-long this year, the lyrics are:

Hey Mr Christmas, we hope you’re having fun; Hey Mr Christmas here we come.

Throw away your troubles at Christmas and make this Christmas bright,
Carols singing, bells are ringing, Santa comes tonight.
Forget your troubles and worries, and kick them out the door,
Don't look back, come on in, we'll just play some more, more, more, more.

Old folks sit by the fire, and children play in the snow;
They've been waiting, anticipating, see their faces glow.
Forget your troubles and worries, and kick them out the door,
Don't look back, come on in, we'll just play some more, more, more, more.

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On 28th August 1973, Showaddywaddy won a £1000 prize in a national competition, the Top Town Talent Contest. The band played a set of Wipeout, Rip It Up, New Orleans, Chain Gang, Rockin’ Robin, Teenager In Love, Jailhouse Rock, It’s Only Make Believe and Weekend.

Just four days later on 1st September, the band would play their first gig as professional musicians, at Dreamland Ballroom in Margate.

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Showaddywaddy in 1975. This promo shot featured on some of the band’s recorded material, most notably a Pickwick compilation from 1981. This is my favourite photo of the “original” band.