Eighth Wonder

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Eighth Wonder

Take these dogs away from me, I’m not scared. Cross my heart, I swear it’s true! Ah, Patsy Kensit…what happened?

Remember 1988? Of course you do. A time when The Pet Shop Boys seemed to produce every song in the chart, be it their own or otherwise. And it was for this group that Chris and Neil produced their biggest hit. Eighth Wonder formed in 1983 with fifteen year old actress Patsy Kensit, her brother Jamie, Lawrence Lewis, Jake Walters and Geoff Beauchamp. Original called Spice, the band spend their first year playing any gig possible in the hope of getting a record contract.

In November 1984 they decided upon a name change and became Eighth Wonder. Patsy was soon headhunted by film maker Julien Temple for a new project he was directing called ‘Absolute Beginners’ and Patsy spend much of 1985 filming, however, in April 1985 the group got a signing to CBS Records and at the same time, began recording an album. They released “Stay With Me” as their debut single in October which would reach No.1 in Italy and No.30 in Japan, It reached No.65 in the UK. Shortly after this Lewis and Walters left the band.

‘Absolute Beginners’ was released in April 1986 but failed to find an audience. It also failed to recoup the money spent on its production. Eighth Wonder released their debut album at this time “Brilliant Dreams” which only charted in Japan and featured three further singles “Having It All”, “Will You Remember?” (No.7 Italy) and “When The Phone Stops Ringing” (No.17 Italy) in early 1987. Soon after drummer Steve Grantley joining the band as they spent 1987 writing and recording new material.

The group chiefly collaborated with legendary sound engineer Pete Hammond, who was best known for his work with Stock Aitken Waterman, save for one track, “I’m Not Scared”, which was produced by the Pet Shop Boys. This would serve as the lead single in March 1988 and would reach the top ten in fourteen countries across Europe, most notably in their home country, the UK, where it made No.7. It also became their second number one in Italy.

Eighth Wonder followed this in June with “Cross My Heart”, which had been recorded by American child singer Tracie Spencer earlier that year but not released. Produced by Pete Hammond, the single followed its predecessor into the top ten across Europe and proved a big success Stateside where it reached No.56 on the Billboard singles chart and No.10 on the dance chart. It stopped at No.13 in the UK.

The band released their second album “Fearless” the following month, but despite two big singles, it would only peak in the lower reaches of the global charts including the UK where it stalled at No.47. Nevertheless, the album has shifted over 500,000 copies worldwide to date! A third single “Baby Baby” reached No.13 in Italy, No.65 in the UK, No.84 in the US and No.17 on the US dance chart.

The group split soon after this, with Patsy Kensit focusing on her acting career. She played a leading role in the 1992 comedy ‘Blame It On The Bellboy’. Following a number of small screen projects, she joined the cast of British soap opera Emmerdale in 2004 and spent two years before moving to hospital drama Holby City where she stayed until 2010. She has since made appearances in Strictly Come Dancing (2010) and Celebrity Big Brother (2015). She has been married four times, to singers Dan Donovan, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, Liam Gallagher of Oasis and most recently to DJ Jeremy Healy.

For everything Eighth Wonder, join the official Patsy Kensit/Eighth Wonder FACEBOOK group

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!

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