The New Introduction

"i never never thought it ever could happen here"

This discography has been kicking about the internet longer than most of my work, and has born fruit in all sorts of ways not envisaged by me two decades ago. It has been credited in a published thesis and helped with the research for the re-issue of the Dalek I Love You album. To coincide with that release I have vastly updated and beautified this definitive document... finally!

This is still for the fans, but also for the artists. I bet you never thought we'd still be enjoying your music.

Robin Parmar, Ireland, April 2007

The Original Introduction

"nothing else I'd rather do"

When I read a review in the British music press of the first Dalek I Love You album, I just knew I had to find a copy. Their name was too perfect to resist. So I bundled myself off to the Big City (Toronto) and spent more money than I ever had before on a single piece of vinyl: $14.99. This was a fortune in 1980, when albums were regularly sold for $5 or less. After playing Compass Kumpas I remarked to a friend that it was either the best album I'd ever heard or a confused piece of junk. After a few more listens my ears became acclimatized to the sounds within and I realized I'd found one of those rare lifelong audio treasures.

Over the last decade and a half I've encountered only a few individuals who'd heard of Compass Kumpas, but they were uniform in their enthusiasm. And I came across small pieces of evidence that this record may have influenced more than was commonly recognised. Like the fact that Tears For Fears chose the producer of their debut album based on their love for this album.

Years later, as the compact disc was being introduced (to great scepticism amongst audiophiles, rabid boosterism elsewhere) I swore I would not buy a player until Compass Kumpas was issued on CD. This was my way of saying "when hell freezes over". Well, I underestimated the number of fans. Fontana issued the album on CD and I had no choice but to purchase both it and a player.

This discography is for previous fans, and for those to come.

Robin Parmar, Canada, May 1994

A Few Notes

"Mistakes you're sure to find"

Each release included the artist name and release title on the first line, followed by the release date. The second line includes the format, label and matrix number. Release formats are as follows:

7 = 7" single
12 = 12" single
10 = 10" extended player
EP = 12" extended player
LP = 12" long player
MC = music cassette
CD = compact disc

Following this are listed the tracks. For singles the first track is on the a-side and any remaining tracks are on the b-side. For other vinyl releases the division of tracks will be made explicit in the notes. After the track name is its timing.

I've put the records not in release order, but rather in sequence to best suit the narrative. For this reason there is a chronology appended in a separate section. Unproven facts or areas that I need help with are tagged with the following icon: help needed. Mouse over this to read the text specifying what help is required. In many cases more precise release dates might be obtained; I have not marked all of these.

How to spell the name of the band? For "Dalek i" the lower-case "i" was used consistently by the band, so I have kept it that way. For "Dalek I Love You" the lower-case "i" is used on their sleeve designs, but it is always capitalised in the credits. In this discography I have used a capital "I", taking the lower-case as a typographic affectation.

While on the subject, I have now chosen to denote the first album by the name Compass Kumpas, which is how it is spelled on the re-issue CD and also on the sleeve for the single "Dalek I Love You (Destiny)".

I have given each release an ID number, for ease of reference.

Some decisions needed to be made as to what side-projects to include. I believe I have erred on the generous side.

Part One: The Pre-History

"Here In Liverpool We Sing"

There was little musical happening in Liverpool in the seventies apart from Deaf School, a mannered Roxy Music-style pastiche. More than a dozen members passed through their ranks from the time they were formed, at the beginning of 1974, to their breakup in April 1978. Deaf School showed the local youth that it was possible to make music without being The Beatles. But it was punk which provided the spark for a new generation of adventurous musicians.

Most of the local punters remember 5 May 1977. That was the day The Clash played Liverpool. Their energy and DIY attitude (as well as that of The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, and others) was infectious. It seems that almost everybody at that gig went home and formed a band.

As important as the music was the fact that there was a venue in which it could be heard. Everyone who was anyone played at Eric's, a club started 1 October 1976 by Roger Eagle and closed 14 March 1980 by the police. The management's liberal attitude allowed many one-night-stand bands a chance at the stage.

Radio Blank played Eric's five times in their year-long career. This four-piece, formed in November 1976, played R&B inspired punk. The group was composed of:

Alan Gill: guitar, vocals
Dave Balfe: bass, vocals
Keith Hartley: vocals
Stephen Brick: drums

Radio Blank were famous for once stealing the gear of fellow Wirral group Equinox, a seventies cover band with future members of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, and Malcolm Holmes. We'll let Balfe continue the story:

When Radio Blank split up, Alan and I wanted to do something more adventurous -- and when we were unable to find a suitable drummer, we decided to get a drum machine. That was the real turning point: we dropped ideas of trying to copy Deaf School or being commercial and did exactly what we wanted.

The first incarnation of what was to be Dalek I Love You began in December 1977. Their name was a combination of two suggestions: The Daleks (from Balfe) and Darling I Love You (from Gill). They were the first local group to use drum machine and synthesizers, apparently obtained (again) through theft! That lineup was:

Alan Gill: guitar, vocals
Dave Balfe: bass, vocals, synthesizer
Dave Hughes: keyboards
Chris Teepee: drum machine, tapes

In July 1978, Balfe left Dalek I Love You for Big In Japan (and later The Teardrop Explodes). Gill, looking around for a front man and more people who could actually play, invited Andy McCluskey (bass, vocals), Julia Kneale (vocals) and Malcolm Holmes (drums). These three were members of The Id, a group formed by members of Equinox. As it turned out, only McCluskey accepted the invitation, creating the following DILY lineup as of August 1978:

Alan Gill: guitar, vocals
Dave Hughes: keyboards
Chris Teepee: drum machine, tapes
Martin Cooper: saxophone
Andy McCluskey: vocals, bass
Ken Peers: drums
Gordon Hon (aka The Worm): poems
Max: poems

Note: some sources have McCluskey in the group at the same time as needed

McCluskey only stayed with the group one month, realizing he could not be happy in a band as singer alone. "I loved Dalek's strange pop songs, but ultimately I was frustrated at not being involved with my own songs," he explained. He soon formed Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark with Paul Humphreys and Winston, a four-track reel-to-reel tape deck. McCluskey learned from Dalek I Love You that it was possible to "go on stage with pre-recorded tapes," as he had seen his idols Kraftwerk do.

Martin Cooper also left Dalek I Love You, and was soon to guest on OMD's debut album. By the time DILY were ready to record some demos, they had been reduced to a mere two members:

Alan Gill: guitar, vocals
Dave Hughes: keyboards

These two were slated to appear on the Inevitable label, formed by Pete Fulwell (manager of Eric's) and Jerry Lewis (owner of Amazon Studios). They recorded a demo which somehow made it to Phonogram. News came back that the label was interested, so Inevitable lost them to the major before releasing a song. Still, it is obvious by their inclusion on the following compilation that they were fondly remembered.

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Small Hits and Near Misses (1984)

LP Inevitable/RCA [INEVLP 1]
1. Freedom Fighters [demo version] 2:18

One observer of Dalek i at the time was Julian Cope, then busy being terminally embarrassed as singer of The Teardrop Explodes. He wrote of 1978 in his brilliant reminiscence Head On (1994):

The middle of June we saw a group called Dalek I Love You. They played Eric's one night, with sofas and lamps on stage, and their set was a weird mixture of uncool and brilliant. Like the guitarist had a moustache. Uncool. And the bass player was a total sissy, with a lisp and cutesy fringe. But they had organ lines like the Seeds and Doorsy bass lines. The bullshit on stage didn't work, but along with the psychedelic guitar and Suicide drum machine, it all helped to create their own thing.

Somewhere I am sure lie live recordings or the remaining demo needed (See Part Seven for Notes from the Underground which contains one such.)

Part Two: Dalek i

"We're going to change your world"

Early in 1979, Gill and Hughes went into Rockfield Studios to begin recording for Phonogram. But all was not smooth sailing in the world of corporate music, as Hughes notes:

They had really strong ideas for us -- they were going to turn us into something different. Some of the early sessions were great, arguments and everything. They'd probably have dropped us straight away, but they'd already spent the money on us and were concerned about finishing something! The actual sessions which produced the single were supposed to be demo sessions -- we were supposed to get about eight numbers done, but because of all the arguments we didn't. They even tried to change the chords on "Freedom Fighters" 'cos they're not "standard".

When their first single was released, it bore an abbreviated name. Hughes again:

It got shortened to Dalek i by Phonogram, without them telling us. I remember them suggesting it in the studio, while we were recording the single and next thing we know, we get letters back saying "Dalek i", y'know? We had to put our names down so we could cash the cheque!
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Dalek i: Freedom Fighters (16 July 1979)

7" Vertigo/Phonogram [DALEK 1]
1. Freedom Fighters [single version] 2:18
2. Two Chameleons [single version] 3:40

Sleeve by Ian Wright. Produced by the Blitz Brothers. Recorded at Amazon.

On the back sleeve "Freedom Fighters" is subtitled "A song for people not politics". The cover uses torn-out paper roughly the shape of Japan, revealing the image displayed in full on the reverse side, a caricature of a butcher.

Compared to the album version, "Freedom Fighters" has an extra two bar drum intro and about three extra bars at the end where it is cut into "You Really Got Me" on the LP. It also seems to be a rougher, more aggressive mix, but that could just be the scratchy vinyl. "Two Chameleons" has a different take of the guitar track (a much rougher attempt -- good job they re-did it!) and again seems to be a less polished mix.

Andy Gill, writing in New Musical Express, penned this review:

A prime example of living-room music construction, it features catchy, interlinking little riffs over a plodding beat formed by combining elements of both drums and drum-machines and Gill's calmly urgent vocals. Ingeniously simple but infuriatingly infectious -- rather like an adult Human League on speed -- "Freedom Fighters" is one of the year's best singles so far, and from what I heard of their other material, there's plenty more where that came from.

Indeed, "plenty more" was to come soon.

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Dalek i: The World (2 October 1979)

7" Vertigo/Phonogram [DALEK 2]
1. The World [single version] 2:58
2. We're All Actors [single version] 3:18

Sleeve by Ian Wright. Produced by the Blitz Brothers

These are again slightly longer versions than those on the album. "We're All Actors" contains some extra vocal effects. The cover collage includes a torn map of the area around Tokyo, the same shape as on the previous and subsequent releases.

On 28 December 1979 Dalek i opened for OMD at the Farewell To Winston tribute concert at Eric's. Winston, named after the character in Orwell's 1984, was the famous reel-to-reel tape recorder used by OMD for backing tracks. It was owned by Paul Collister, then OMD's manager (later performing the same duties for Dalek I Love You and Godot).

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Dalek i: Dalek I Love You (Destiny) (1 May 1980)

7" Back Door/Phonogram [DOOR 005]
1. Dalek I Love You (Destiny) [single edit] 3:27
2. Happy / This Is My Uniform 6:00

Sleeve by C.M.H. Produced by the Blitz Brothers.

The b-sides are listed as above on the label, but separated by a space (as though two different tracks) on the back sleeve. In fact they are two different songs, segued.

The a-side is a slightly shorter edit of the album version and is noted for having the title and subtitle reversed. This form of the name was to be used quite consistently whenever the single version was released.

The monochrome cover is the least interesting of the early singles, using a musical staff as a starting point.

This was the first of the Dalek i records to be released on the Back Door subsidiary, created by The Blitz Brothers. These were none other than Chris Hughes (formerly of Virgin Records) and Dave Bates (A&R manager for Phonogram). In fact, Dalek i were Bates' very first signing.

The back sleeve bears this cute notation: "Dalek I Love You is taken from the 4thcoming album 'Compass Kumpas'. Happy, This Is My Uniform are not taken from the 4thcoming album 'Compass Kumpas'". This pronouncement was soon to be made true.

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Dalek i: Compass Kumpas (24 May 1980)

LP Back Door/Phonogram [OPEN 1]
1. The World 2:27
2. 8 Track 2:21
3. Destiny (Dalek I Love You) 3:37
4. A Suicide 2:53
5. The Kiss 2:00
6. Trapped 4:00
7. Two Chameleons 3:18
8. Freedom Fighters 2:08
9. You Really Got Me 1:56
10. Mad 1:48
11. Good Times 2:07
12. We're All Actors 2:52
13. Heat 3:11
14. Missing 15 Minutes 5:36

Recorded at Rockfield, Monmouth, and Amazon Studios, Liverpool by Hugh Jones and Frazer Henry. Produced by The Blitz Brothers except "Mad" and "Missing 15 Minutes" by Dalek i for God Productions. All songs by Dalek i except "You Really Got Me" by Ray Davies.

Dave Bates: additional backing vocals
Chris Hughes: additional drums, percussion, and FX
Hugh Jones: bass on "Heat"
Ken Peers: drums on "You Really Got Me"

Initial copies supposedly included two singles, but I have yet to hear confirmation of needed

The a-side, tracks 1-8, is labelled "Topsy" and additionally says "compass" on the label. The b-side, tracks 9-14, is "Turvy" and additionally says "kum'pes,".

This was Chris Hughes' first ever production job. By 1980 he was to become famous both as "Merrick", the drummer for Adam and the Ants, and as the producer for the number one hit record Kings Of The Wild Frontier.

The cover design, also by Chris Hughes, combines disparate elements into something like an architect's sketch pad. Though the original was in black on red with a touch of white, many copies exist in simple black and white. Another notable graphic element is the timing scale for each side of the record. The song titles are positioned against this scale in order to graphically represent their durations. This same idea is repeated on the needed

The name of the album has confused some, but a glance at a dictionary (or the back sleeve) reveals that "kum'pes" is one way of representing the phonetic pronunciation of "compass". So both words in the title are pronounced identically.

Reviews in the British press were uniformly positive. NME thought it "refreshingly wry and friendly", Sounds described it as "a mad rush of desperately good songs."

However, critical reception in North America was almost completely absent. The one major review, in the New Trouser Press Record Guide, failed to give Compass Kumpas its due. Dave Schulps notes that "any group that can segue the dirgelike 'A Suicide' into a bouncy, poppy ditty like 'The Kiss' is quirky enough to warrant investigation; also, as an exercise in stereo recording, Compass Kum'pas is a gem." However, the record is ultimately written off as a clone of Brian Eno's Another Green World. This is a lazy and inaccurate critique. With the fourth edition of the Trouser Press book, the entry for Dalek i was dropped entirely.

OMD used to cover "Two Chameleons" live (I've heard versions from 1979 and 1980), and as late as the sessions for Sugar Tax in 1991 were thinking of recording a version.

Part Three: The Teardrop Explodes

"Until I learn to accept my reward"

By the time the Dalek i releases saw the light of day, Dave Hughes had left the ever-diminishing group (see Part Five for his later activities). This left only Alan Gill with the name Dalek I Love You, though his next project was also with an outside band. After Julian Cope kicked out Teardrop Explodes guitarist Mick Finkler in July 1980, Gill joined for appearances in the US and UK. Here he was reunited with his old band-mate Dave Balfe (who was playing keyboards). Gill stayed to record the group's debut album Kilimanjaro.

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The Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro (October 1980)

LP Phonogram [6359 035]
1. Ha, Ha, I'm Drowning 2:53
2. Sleeping Gas 3:45
3. Treason 3:05
4. Second Head 3:10
5. Poppies in the Field 5:03
6. Went Crazy 2:38
7. Brave Boys Keep Their Promises 2:30
8. Bouncing Babies 2:28
9. Books 2:37
10. Thief of Baghdad 3:09
11. When I Dream 5:10

Produced by The Chameleons (Dave Balfe and Bill Drummond) except "Treason" by Clive Langer & Allan Winstanley, "Books" and "When I Dream" by Mike Howlett.

Tracks 1-5 are on the a-side.

Even more significant than his guitar work on the album, Gill co-wrote the next Teardrop Explodes single, "Reward". This was the first to crack the Top 10 and make the band an undisputed success.

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The Teardrop Explodes: Reward (January 1981)

7" Phonogram [Tear 2]
1. Reward 2:53
2. Strange House in the Snow 4:41

A-side produced by Clive Langer & Allan Winstanley, b-side by The Teardrop Explodes and Hugh Jones.

Due to the single's success, Kilimanjaro was issued in Canada with "Reward" inserted into the sequencing on the a-side. For some reason "Suffocate" replaces "Second Head".

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The Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro (1981)

LP Phonogram [6359 035]
1. Ha, Ha, I'm Drowning 2:53
2. Sleeping Gas 3:45
3. Treason 3:05
4. Suffocate 3:40
5. Reward 2:53
6. Poppies in the Field 5:03
7. Went Crazy 2:38
8. Brave Boys Keep Their Promises 2:30
9. Bouncing Babies 2:28
10. Books 2:37
11. Thief of Baghdad 3:09
12. When I Dream 5:10

Julian Cope expressed displeasure with some of the mixes and so had Hugh Jones (engineer on Compass Kumpas) take a crack at them. He also hated the cover, and substituting some zebras for the psychedelic group photo. And of course "Reward" was added to the line-up for the UK re-issue album.

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The Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro (April 1981)

LP Phonogram [SRM 14016]
1. Ha, Ha, I'm Drowning 2:53
2. Sleeping Gas 3:45
3. Treason 3:05
4. Second Head 3:10 5. Reward 2:53
6. Poppies in the Field 5:03
7. Went Crazy 2:38
8. Brave Boys Keep Their Promises 2:30
9. Bouncing Babies 2:28
10. Books 2:37
11. Thief of Baghdad 3:09
12. When I Dream 5:10

1, 3, 7, 12 remixed by Hugh Jones.

Despite the success (or perhaps because of it) Alan Gill soon left The Teardrop Explodes. But then again, with Julian Cope acting ever-more erratic, so would practically everyone else.

Much later, Cope would release Zoology, a collection of assorted demos and out-takes. Included on track 4 is Alan Gill on guitar. It's one of the better tracks on the album and would have worked well on Kilimanjaro.

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The Teardrop Explodes: Zoology (2004)

Head Heritage [HH 16]
1 From Five Miles Up 2:18
2 Camera Camera 2:57
3 Brave Boys Keep Their Promises 2:11
4 Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere 4:04
5 When I Dream 4:10
6 Screaming Secrets 4:06
7 Books [A Shallow Madness] 2:10
8 The Culture Bunker 7:52
9 I'm Not The Loving Kind 2:47
10 Log Cabin 3:07
11 Tiny Children 3:10
12 You Disappear From View 3:03
13 ...And The Fighting Takes Over 4:04
14 Sleeping Gas 4:25
15 The Tunnel 3:09
16 Ritchie Blofeld 3:50
17 Untitled [Columbia Hotel] 13:35

Part Four: Dalek I Love You

"Look good, get smart, smell nice, work hard"

A month after "Reward" was issued came the first release under the full Dalek I Love You banner. In essence this was a solo release, but the full credits are as follows:

Alan Gill: vocals, synthesizer, bass
Chuca Russo: vocal harmonies
Hugh Jones: vocal harmonies
Chris Hughes: drums

This single marks a turning point for the group. The sound becomes a little more lush and a pulsing beat (not a million miles from Lori & the Chameleons' "Touch") emerges. It was the first of their singles to be issued in 12" form.

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Dalek I Love You: Heartbeat (28 February 1981)

7" Back Door/Phonogram [DOOR 10]
1. Heartbeat 3:20
2. Astronauts (Have Landed On The Moon) 3:21

12" Back Door/Phonogram [DOOR 1012]
1. Heartbeat [extended version] 4:23
2. Astronauts (Have Landed On The Moon) 3:21

Recorded at Rockfield by Alan Jones; mixed at Matrix by Chris Hughes, David Bates, and Nick Bradford (engineered by Nick Bradford); produced by Chris Hughes and Alan Gill.

Chris Hughes credited as "Merrick" for his drumming.

A-side run-out groove reads: "Energetico Blitz 81".

In 1982, Dalek I Love You expanded to a full quartet:

Alan Gill: instruments, vocals
Gordon Hon: instruments, vocals
Kenny Peers: instruments, vocals
Keith Hartley: instruments, vocals

The new band was a reunion of sorts. Peers had been in an early incarnation of Dalek I Love You and had drummed on "You Really Got Me." Keith Hartley had been the vocalist for Radio Blank. Gordon Hon was also a member of the old Dalek I Love You group, where he was known as "The Worm".

As recently as 2008 a strange obscurity from this period has been unearthed.

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SFX (12-24 June 1982)

Issue No. 15
1. The Legend Of Wild Jim (edit) 5:31

SFX was an audio periodical in cassette form which, over 19 issues, documented the UK music scene from 1981 to 1982. For detailed issue information see this site. Each C60 was produced in the manner of a radio programme or, as some would say today, a podcast. That's why there's an announcer's voice over the first part of the track.

You can download a copy of this song over on the music-isms blog. What to make of it? I think they were all stoned. Nonetheless, I'd love to hear the rest of the saga.

This group played a few live dates in preparation for recording. Penny Kiley reviewed a gig at the Pyramid Club in Liverpool for Melody Maker (6 February 1982) and wrote:

Dalek i have come back with a laugh. Once in the vanguard of Wirral-favoured synthesized pop (lightweight but solemn), never quite reaching the acclaim that once seemed close, they're now re-emerging with a stronger character (and more characters) and plenty of plans... On stage they're human, and not too disciplined -- the best way to be. The combination of variety and good humour made an evening of unexpected enjoyment.

Her review mentioned two old songs and four cover versions, but new material was soon forthcoming.

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Dalek I Love You: Holiday in Disneyland (15 July 1982)

7" Korova/WEA [KOW 25]
1. Holiday in Disneyland [single version] 2:50
2. Masks & Licenses 2:52

12" Korova/WEA [KOW 25T] (August 1982)
1. Holiday in Disneyland [extended version] 5:27
2. Masks & Licenses 2:52
3. Heaven Was Bought For Me 4:04
4. Holiday in Disneyland [single version] 2:50

Cover by Ian Wright.

"Holiday in Disneyland" is hardly comparable to the earlier Dalek i material. It is a rambunctious dancefest, particularly in the 12" version, with interlocking waves of percussion riding a funky bass groove. Gill's distinctive vocals are nowhere to be found. (Hold on! Is that him in the background?) The female backing vocals are much more prominent than on "Heartbeat." Really, this is a different band.

Well, not entirely. "Masks & Licenses" is a quirky, complex little charmer with that trademark Gill vocal style. Few can write such intricately structured songs. Rounding out the 12" is "Heaven Was Bought For Me," a third distinct direction in as many songs. The sardonic lyrics continue in the Dalek i tradition. As I said at the time: "An essential purchase".

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Dalek I Love You: Ambition (18 September 1983)

7" Korova/WEA [KOW 29]
1. Ambition 3:43
2. (I Am) Hot Person 3:18

12" Korova/WEA [KOW 29T]
1. Ambition (long) 7:37
2. (I Am) Hot Person (long) 5:06
3. Would You Still Love Me 4:01

Cover by Ian Wright.

After the previous excellence, "Ambition" is perhaps too simply "a dance song". Even if the long version does ring every change, these are remix tricks we've heard before. "(I Am) Hot Person" is a dub version of the same song. On the other hand, the bonus track is a formidable lament to lost love.

Both the singles were to be included in different versions on the forthcoming album.

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Dalek I Love You: Dalek I Love You (4 November 1983)

LP Korova/WEA [KODE 7]
1. Holiday in Disneyland [album version] 4:40
2. Horrorscope [album version] 4:03
3. Health and Happiness 3:14
4. The Mouse That Roared 2:49
5. Dad On Fire 3:39
6. Ambition [album version] 3:43
7. Lust 4:22
8. 12 Hours of Blues 5:32
9. Sons of Sahara 5:27
10. Africa Express 7:14

Released as WE361 in France, 24-0258-1 in Europe and Canada.

Tracks 1-6 comprise the a-side.

Rhythm tracks recorded at Trident (Greg Milliner, Flood, and Steve Short) except 2, 6, 8. Track 2 recorded at the Farm Yard (Chris Hughes, Ross Cullum), Marcus Music UK (Rafe McKenna, Bob Kraushaar, Tim Hunt) and Jam (Colin Fairley). Track 6 and 8 recorded at Marcus Music UK. All tracks mixed at Marcus Music UK except 2 and 6 mixed at Jam. Produced by Dalek I Love You.

Chuka Russo [sic]: backing vocals (6, 8)
Chris Hughes: drums (2, 10)
Drummie Zeb: drums (8)
Gary Barnacle: electric sax (7), sax (8)
Randy Taylor: bass (1, 6)

Lead vocal duties are as follows:
1. Gordon Hon
2. Keith Hartley
3. Gordon Hon
4. Kenny Peers
5. Gordon Hon
6. Keith Hartley, Kenny Peers
7. Alan Gill
8. Alan Gill
9. Kenny Peers
10. Alan Gill

Note: Chuca Russo (a Brazilian name) misspelled "Chuka" on sleeve. It is correct only on the "Heartbeat" single.

The cover by Geoff Halpin looks like a still from a fifties sci-fi flick (or maybe Dr. Who). The tinted photograph is of a woman, dress torn, reacting to a horrific presence. The lush colours and campy subject matter play off each other -- much like they do in Dalek I Love You's music.

Both previous singles were included on this magnificent, ignored album, albeit in different versions. "Holiday" is even more energetic; "Ambition" benefits from a tighter edit and surprise ending. Almost every track is an inventive tour-de-force with witty lyrics. One of my favourites is "Dad On Fire," which appears to be about a child's nightmare.

Keith Hartley had in fact left Dalek I Love You by this time. For the record, here are the six songs he wrote with the group: "Holiday in Disneyland", "Would You Still Love Me", "Health and Happiness", "The Mouse That Roared", "Lust" and "These Walls We Build". The seventh version of the group looked like this:

Alan Gill: instruments, vocals
Gordon Hon: instruments, vocals
Kenny Peers: instruments, vocals

This rich musical partnership was to yield one last single.

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Dalek I Love You: Horrorscope (1983)

7" Korova/WEA [KOW 31]
1. Horrorscope 4:03
2. These Walls We Build 5:05

12" Korova/WEA [KOW 31T]
1. Horrorscope [extended remix] 4:20
2. Heap Big Pow Wow 4:38
3. Horrorscope (instrumental) 5:57
4. The Angel and the Clown 3:35

The 12" single has two tracks per side. Note that the 7" has a different b-side and the album edit of "Horrorscope".

Cover by Ian Wright.

"Heap Big Pow Wow" might be Dalek I Love You's worst song, but the bright a-side remix makes up for its deficiencies. The instrumental version of "Horrorscope" is much more than the original less a vocal track; it is a complete remix with new saxophone line. "The Angel and the Clown" is a lovely instrumental. All in all a great release.

In an interview with Paul Lester in 2007, Gill speaks of this period:

It was a more pressured time than the first album, though. To a large extent, the fun had gone out of it. We were a bigger group at that point, there were more people in the band, and it was our attempt to achieve pop success, even if ultimately we never did well financially.

Part Five: Dave Hughes, Godot And Beyond

"What more to be done today?"

In January 1980 Dave Hughes left Dalek i and began rehearsals with OMD for their first headline tour of the UK. "I hadn't really left Dalek when I joined the Orchs, but I'd known both Paul and Andy since The Id -- I went to watch them a few times, because we were checking out their equipment!" The 22 dates started February 15 at Eric's.

He remained with OMD until November of that year, notably creating the backing tracks for "Souvenir" from layered tapes of a choir tuning up. This single went to number 3 in the UK charts.

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OMD: Souvenir (4 August 1981)

7" Dindisc [DIN 24]
1. Souvenir 3:37
2. Motion and Heart (Amazon version) 3:02
3. Sacred Heart 3:23

10" Dindisc [DIN 24-10]
1. Souvenir [extended] 3:59
2. Motion and Heart (Amazon version) 3:02
3. Sacred Heart 3:23

A-side produced by Mike Howlett at Wessex Studios. B-sides produced by OMD at Amazon Studios, Liverpool.

The cover is by Peter Saville & Brett Wickens and shows a Dusseldorf street scene. The 7" cover is die-cut to reveal the label.

In November of 1980 Dave Hughes left OMD, replaced by Martin Cooper. Both were to appear soon in the short-lived Godot, a duo with Dalek I Love You member Keith Hartley.

Dave Hughes: instruments
Keith Hartley: voice, instruments

Godot released only seven songs on two records. The first of these bore no label or matrix number, only a phone number for the management company.

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Godot: Extended Player (1981)

EP [no label!]
1. Wait for... 3:22
2. Teeth 3:22
3. Love? 4:30
4. Theme for Bureaucrats 2:39

Engineered by Frazer Henry at Amazon Studios, Liverpool. Produced by Frazer Henry and Godot.

Martin Cooper: sax on "Teeth"
Caroline Barker: cello on "Love?"

The music is spare and witty, the production minimal. Guitar, synth, and drums interlock in intriguing ways. This record sounds more like Compass Kumpas than any other and forces a re-evaluation of Hughes' contribution to Dalek i's music.

At about this time Alan Gill, having decided to relaunch Dalek I Love You, pulled in Keith Hartley to help him. Left without a partner, Dave Hughes recruited new musicians to form the following lineup:

Dave Hughes: instruments
Ronnie Stone: guitar
Steve Byrne: vocals
Martin Cooper: sax

Steve Byrne and Ronnie Stone played in Freeze Frame with keyboardist Mick Douglas of OMD fame.

With the addition of a drummer, this new line-up of Godot toured with Dalek I Love You in the winter of 1981. But Ronnie Stone soon left to be a side-man in China Crisis and eventual producer. The band split up, leaving only one other recording.

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Godot: Something's Missing (August 1982)

7" Pinnacle Records [PIN513]
1. Something's Missing 3:22
2. The Priory help needed

10" Pinnacle Records [PIN513 help needed]
1. Something's Missing 3:22
2. The Priory
3. Voices help needed

Recorded at Amazon Studios, Liverpool.

Dave Hughes and Martin Cooper then joined up with Freeze Frame for live work. Subsequently, Dave Hughes played live with the Lotus Eaters.

Recording work followed as part of Thomas Lang's band from 1987 to 1993. In particular, Hughes formed the company Dry Communications with Lang, using this lineup:

Thomas Lang: vocals
David A. Hughes: keyboards
Andy Redhead: drum programming
Martin Green: saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, recorder

One album and a single were issued.

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Thomas Lang: Feels So Right (1991)

CD Dry Communications [CDDRY C1]
1. Feels So Right 4:34
2. Sons Of (Live) 3:29
3. The Happy Man (Live) 3:31
4. Are You Happy Now (Live) 6:21

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Thomas Lang: The Lost Letter Z (1991)

CD Dry Communications [DRYC 10012]
1. Feels So Right 4:32
2. Are You Happy Now! 6:37
3. I Know Who You Are 3:14
4. The Lost Letter Z 2:44
5. Dry 4:31
6. Angel Wing 0:41
7. Break My Back 2:34
8. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood 3:34
9. Unfaithful 4:29
10. Ghost 4:48
11. I Will 3:34
12. Refrain 1:14

John Murphy: bass, guitar on 4. Henry Priestman: Hammond organ on 8. Andrew Price: first violin. Amanda Dillon; backing vocals.

Produced by David A. Hughes. Engineered by Mark Phythian.

This same album was made available in Japan with two extra tracks, "Opening Titles" and "Wonderful Thing".

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Thomas Lang: The Lost Letter Z (1991)

CD Japan Portazul [COCY-9179]
1. Feels So Right 4:32
2. Are You Happy Now! 6:37
3. I Know Who You Are 3:14
4. The Lost Letter Z 2:44
5. Dry 4:31
6. Angel Wing 0:41
7. Break My Back 2:34
8. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood 3:34
9. Unfaithful 4:29
10. Opening Titles 2:47
11. Ghost 4:48
12. Wonderful Thing 1:41
13. I Will 3:34
14. Refrain 1:14

Includes Japanese text biography and lyrics, plus obi-strip.

In the 1990's Dave Hughes switched his focus to film soundtracks, though he maintained a working partnership with Martin Cooper for his first two projects, Hearts And Armour (1983) and CHUD (1984), credited as Cooper Hughes.

Since then he has used the name David A. Hughes, ocassionally partering with John Murphy (whom he worked with also on the Thomas Lang album Versions), for example on the song "Zorba's Dance" from Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998).

Most recently he scored the TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather".

Part Six: The Retiring Alan Gill

"I pick the pieces up"

The Dalek I Love You album had soured Gill to the commercial music world.

Afterwards, I didn't want to be involved in commercial music again. There was a lot of stress and unhappiness with the business side of things. Put it this way: there was more pressure to be successful than to make a good record. Problem was, we were artists whereas it had become about selling records. We were a bunch of recluses who didn't really want to deal with the world.

Gill's first outing in the post Dalek I Love you days was to contribute two tracks to the soundtrack of Letter to Brezhnev (1985). This film, directed by Chris Bernard, was set in Liverpool and starred Margi Clarke.

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Letter to Brezhnev OST (1985)

LP London/MCA [MCA-6162]
1. Letter to Brezhnev Theme 3:35
2. Lockets & Stars 3:06

1 produced by Wolfgang Kafer and Alan Gill, arranged by Wolfgang Kafer, credited to Alan Gill, composed by Alan Gill. 2 produced by Kenny Woodman, credited to Margi Clarke, composed by Margi Clarke/Alan Gill.

Though both songs bear a certain trademark Gill stamp, they are confusingly arranged and hesitant. The remainder of the soundtrack is composed of dance pop songs of the day (Fine Young Cannibals, Vince Clarke).

In 1985, he formed his own label, Bopadub, to release cassette compilations. I have seen references to two of these: Birkenhead Blues (January 1986) and Blues Vol. 2 (October 1986). I assume there is one other from the catalogue number of the next entry. help needed

As I write in July 2008 the world can finally hear the cassette-only album Naive, thanks to Jim Holmes who has placed digital files on the sporadic Dalek I Love You site.

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Dalek i: Naive (1985)

MC Bopadub [BOP 04]
01. Dawn 5:38
02. Wake Up 2:23
03. Into The Lion's Cage 5:25
04. Dig For Treasure 3:47
05. Shoe Song 3:45
06. This Perfect Life 2:32
07. All Lose Blues 2:14
08. Joe The Turtle Boy 2:50
09. Before The Gong 2:43
10. Soldier Of Love 4:40
11. Dulcetta 0:57
12. Osaki Pearls 2:43
13. Ridiculous Day 3:43
14. The Retailer's Dream 3:22
15. Bad Science 5:09
16. Little Green Monsters 3:20
17. Prince Of Clowns 3:07
18. There Is A Destiny 3:10
19. African Kings 4:39
20. Ad Men 5:45
21. Dandelion 6:21
22. The Vultures Of Cordoba 3:29
23. I Could Fall 3:11
24. Joy 5:47
25. Sunset 2:34

The first 14 tracks appear on Side A. At just over 93 minutes in length, it seems that Gill did his best to fill a C90.

How can one criticise this record after it has languished so long in obscurity? Gill knew what he was doing titling it Naive, and has done us a favour releasing it despite any inadequacies. It sounds to me as though it is made up partially of home demos that might have made it to second-album greatness had they the contributions of three other band-members. And partially of better-recorded minimal guitar songs. I'll call it one-quarter of a wonderful album and leave it at that.

It is difficult to say what involvement other musicians had on this record, though "Little Green Monsters" does not sound like Gill, and some of the percussion here is very similar to the second album.

Although the cover uses the typographic affectation "DALEK I" I assume the band name is more properly "Dalek i", following previous tradition and that of the next obscure CD compilation track.

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Liverpool: All This And Heaven Too (1990)

LP Homar [HOMCD 6605]
1. Everything I Do 5:12

This delicate little ditty, credited to Dalek i, rather disappears next to its uninteresting companions on this record, but it's quite nice, in fact in a similar mold to the Naive material.

The song-writing credits for the track "Pure Blue Day" by Box 13 include the name "Gill", so perhaps he was active in more than one band. help needed

(I once wrote that this song may also have been released as a single in the same year. This rumour now seems unlikely.)

Gill continues to live a reclusive life of music-making, with some hints that we may hear more from him soon. There is also this typically bizarre anecdote from Julian Cope's "Drudical Q&A: Cope Musicians & Cohorts", found webwise. Cope mentions that Gill "was jailed for 18 months for dealing drugs, though his defence was cute and very Alan: he said he gave most of it away." Apparently, the term was commuted to nine months. And the drug was not the LSD he so famously turned Cope onto during the Kilimanjaro sessions, but rather pot.

Part Seven: Compilation Appearances Etc.

"Just to join the dots"

As a pivotal "synth-pop" group of their time, Dalek i found themselves on several emblematic compilations, despite their relative obscurity.

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Machines (1980)
LP Virgin [V2177]
1. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: Messages
2. Silicon Teens: Memphis Tennessee
3. Tubeway Army: Down In The Park
4. The Human League: Being Boiled
5. Thomas Leer: Private Plane
6. Dalek I: Dalek I Love You (Destiny)
7. John Foxx: Underpass
8. Henry Badowski: Making Love With My Wife
9. Fad Gadget: Ricky's Hand
10. Public Image Limited: Pied Piper
11. Karel Fialka: The Eyes Have It
12. Gary Numan: Aircrash Bureau
13. XTC: The Somnambulist

This is an intriguing gathering of electronic-based punk and new wave, with some idiosyncratic choices.

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Thru' The Back Door (1980)

LP Polygram/Mercury [SRM-1-3849]
1. The Donkeys: No Way 2:49
2. Dalek i: Dalek I Love You (Destiny) 3:26
3. Mark Moesgaard Kjeldsen: Are You Ready 2:50
4. Tearjerkers: Fingers 2:57
5. Dalek i: The World [single version] 3:05
6. The Blitz Brothers: Rose Tattoo 3:19
7. The Donkeys: You Jane 2:20
8. Tearjerkers: Comic Book Hero 3:30
9. Mark Moesgaard Kjeldsen: Something's Happening 2:59
10. Dalek i: Freedom Fighters 2:08
11. Tearjerkers: Murder Mystery 2:53
12. Agony Column: Love in the Head 3:38

American compilation of artists on Back Door, a label formed by The Blitz Brothers. Notably, the first two Dalek i tracks are the single versions, the only time these were issued in the USA. This album has a horrid cover and a rockist bent. Dalek i seem truly out of place.

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Notes from the Underground 6 (1981)

MC private pressing
1. Conveyor Belt (live at Eric's 1978)
2. You Make Me Feel Like a Fly (Alan Gill home demo)
3. Dad on Fire (original mix)
4. Heartbeat (original mix)

This unofficial fanzine was compiled by Kevin Leyand. I have never heard it to confirm the details. help needed

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To the Shores of Lake Placid (28 Jan 1982)

LP Zoo [ZOO 4]
1. Big In Japan: Society For Cutting Up Men
2. Those Naughty Lumps: Iggy Pop's Jacket
3. The Teardrop Explodes: When I Dream
4. Echo And The Bunnymen: Pictures On My Wall
5. Echo And The Bunnymen: Read It In Books
6. Lori And The Chameleons: Lonely Spy
7. The Turqoise Swimming Pools: The Winds
8. Whopper: Kwalo Klobinsky's Lullaby
9. Dalek (I Love You): A Suicide 2:53
10. The Turquoise Swimming Pools: Burst Balloons
11. The Teardrop Explodes: Camera, Camera
12. Big In Japan: Suicide A Go Go
13. Echo And The Bunnymen: Villiers Terrace
14. The Teardrop Explodes: Take A Chance

This compilation of artists on Zoo Records was presented as the soundtrack to the play "To the Shores of Lake Placid" (supposedly the first in a trilogy). The handsome fold-out packaging and many rare songs from the like of The Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Big in Japan make his an indispensable guide to the scene. Dalek I Love You were never signed to the Zoo label, but that same argument didn't stop them from appearing on the Inevitable compilation either!

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80's New Wave, Vol. 2: Electronic Eighties (13 July 1999)

CD US Polygram [POSM0520556]
1. Gary Numan: Cars
2. Trio: Da Da Da
3. Soft Cell: Tainted Love
4. Yello: Oh Yeah
5. Thomas Dolby: She Blinded Me With Science
6. Wang Chung: Dance Hall Days
7. Yellow Magic Orchestra: Computer Game
8. Kraftwerk: The Model
9. Dalek I Love You: Dalek I Love You (Destiny)
10. Polyrock: Your Dragging Feet

Some obvious choices combine with the unexpected inclusion of Polyrock and Dalek i themselves (who are supposedly credited as Dalek I Love You, though I have never seen this disk to confirm).

This is a confusing record, since another with the same title was released by Polygram on 26 January 1999 with catalogue number 565710, according to both Amazon and AMG. This version is quite different and does not include Dalek i (or Polyrock for that matter). Elsewhere this is referenced as Rebound Records catalogue 314 520 556-2. A lot of confusion for one cheap compilation! help needed

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Liverpool Cult Classics Unearthed Volume 3 (26 July 2004)

CD Viper [VIPER 023CD]
1. Freedom Fighters [demo version]

Alongside such classics as The ID's original version of "Electricity" and the very first Wah! Heat recording "Hey Disco Joe" comes this demo version, on CD for the first time.

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North By North West - Departure 1976 Arrival 1984 (2006)

2x CD Korova [KODE1001]
1. Dalek I Love You: Holiday In Disneyland [single version] 2:54

A very nice compilation by Paul Morley with one disk for Manchester, the other for Liverpool. Includes two tracks by Echo And The Bunnymen but none from The Wild Swans or Modern Eon. This is the first appearance of Dalek I Love You on CD, and the only place you can get this single version.

Part Eight: The Reissues

"You've never seen me this way"

With no great fanfare Fontana re-issued the debut album in 1989, appending both of the non-album b-sides and the "Heartbeat" single.

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Dalek i: Compass Kumpas (1989)

CD Fontana [836 894-2]
LP Fontana [836 894-1]
MC Fontana [836 894-4]

1. The World 2:27
2. 8 Track 2:21
3. Destiny (Dalek I Love You) 3:37
4. A Suicide 2:53
5. The Kiss 2:00
6. Trapped 4:00
7. Two Chameleons 3:18
8. Freedom Fighters 2:08
9. You Really Got Me 1:56
10. Mad 1:48
11. Good Times 2:07
12. We're All Actors 2:52
13. Heat 3:11
14. Missing 15 Minutes 5:36
15. Astronauts (Have Landed On The Moon) 3:26
16. Happy 2:33
17. This Is My Uniform 3:13
18. Heartbeat 4:01

The LP has a die-cut sleeve.

"Heartbeat" is an edit of the extended version.

The original artwork was replaced by a severe grey design somewhat reminiscent of the cover to OMD's Architecture and Morality, and obviously influenced by Peter Saville in any case. Though quite handsome in its own right, it is a shame the original cover was not maintained.

The remainder of the graphics are also disappointing. Gone is the neat graphical time scale. Gone too the dictionary definition of "Compass", rendering the title of the disk somewhat opaque. It would have been nice if Fontana had taken the opportunity to include lyrics, the original art from all of the sleeves, and/or an appreciation.

Still, the label did listeners a service by issuing all of Dalek i's music in one place. Unfortunately the CD disappeared immediately into obscurity, with copies now exchanging hands at fairly high rates.

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Dalek I Love You: Dalek I Love You (2 April 2007)

CD Korova/WB [?]
1. Holiday in Disneyland [album version] 4:40
2. Horrorscope [album version] 4:03
3. Health and Happiness 3:14
4. The Mouse That Roared 2:49
5. Dad On Fire 3:39
6. Ambition [album version] 3:43
7. Lust 4:22
8. 12 Hours of Blues 5:32
9. Sons of Sahara 5:27
10. Africa Express 7:14
11. Would You Still Love Me 4:22
12. These Walls We Build 5:05
13. Horrorscope [Instrumental Version] 6:04
14. Masks & Licenses 3:05
15. The Angel and the Clown 3:40
16. Heaven Was Bought For Me 4:08
17. 12 Hours Of Blues [Dub Version] 5:54

This re-issue of the second album does a good job of collecting up the b-side material, although there are still a good number of remixes floating around on vinyl. As a bonus we get a previously unreleased dub version of "12 Hours Of Blues" and some intriguing liner notes. A whole new generation of music lovers now have access to some of the most intriguing and fun synth-inflected pop ever recorded. Bravo!

And so on to the Godot re-issue project?


"satisfy my every need"

16 July 1979Freedom Fighters
2 October 1979The World
1 May 1980Dalek I Love You (Destiny)
24 May 1980Compass Kumpas
October 1980Kilimanjaro [UK original]
1980Thru' The Back Door
January 1981Reward
1981Kilimanjaro [Canada]
28 February 1981Heartbeat
April 1981Kilimanjaro [UK re-issue]
4 August 1981Souvenir
1981Extended Player
1981Notes from the Underground 6
28 Jan 1982To the Shores of Lake Placid
12-24 June 1982SFX Issue 15
15 July 1982Holiday in Disneyland
August 1982Something's Missing
18 September 1983Ambition
4 November 1983Dalek I Love You
1984Small Hits and Near Misses
1985Letter to Brezhnev OST
1989Compass Kumpas [CD]
1990Liverpool: All This And Heaven Too
1991Feels So Right
1991The Lost Letter Z
1991The Lost Letter Z [Japan]
13 July 1999Electronic Eighties
26 July 2004Liverpool Cult Classics Unearthed Volume 3
2006North By North West
2 April 2007Dalek I Love You [CD]

Further Readings

"Another piece of an infinite puzzle"

The soundtrack career of David A. Hughes may be traced at IMDB.

Gordon Hon works with Dave Balfe on the film club Cinema Xanadu. He edited a book on Palestinian art and helped set up an art school in Ramalla.

David Bates is still active in A&R, for db records in Bath. He runs this with Chris Hughes, and bios of both may be found on the site.

Chris Hughes' site focuses on his Reich project.

Paul Collister still owns Winston and is currently assembling a Dalek I Love You website.

Martin Cooper is an accomplished still life painter.

Ronnie Stone is a successful producer.

Hugh Jones continued a successful career as engineer and producer, with notable Liverpool groups such as Echo & The Bunnymen, The Icicle Works and The Sound.

Alan Gill is a recluse. As of 2007 he had not been on the internet.

Information on the current activities of Ian Wright, Keith Hartley, Kenny Peers or any of the other actors in this ongoing saga would be most appreciated.


"don't you wonder why?"

The research here is mostly original, based on my own collection and extensive readings of the three British music weeklies that existed in those far-off days. Many of the exact sources for the quotes from Melody Maker, Sounds, New Musical Express and other papers are lost in the depths of time.

Certain facts have been gleaned from the official OMD Discography.

Still other info has come from personal correspondence with Dave Hughes and Paul Collister.

The Lester interview I quote is from the sleeve notes to the CD issue of Dalek I Love You. Thanks to Tim Chacksfield of Korova.

Jim Holmes provided the Naive track listing and two missing cover scans.

Kevin West sent catalogue numbers for the Compass Kumpas Fontana re-issue, plus timings for the "Ambition" single.

Some of the images come from Discogs. If I was on the same continent as my collection I'd scan all the covers myself. Images for Naive and Notes from the Underground taken from The Millennium Effect.

Bits and bobs were likely taken from Mark Cooper's fun book Liverpool Explodes. I believe there is info too from the diagrams Pete Frame eventually collected as Rock Family Trees.

All quotes used with great respect for the brave music journalists of the day. Imagine: going all the way to Liverpool to see a band wrapped in sheets?


"...they go their separate ways."

This document was started over two decades ago, in preparation for a radio show. That evolved into Missing 15 Minutes, a programme which ran for over four-hundred weekly episodes and provided me with an education into music, art, literature, politics and life itself. Thanks to all who helped, then and now.