“I don’t want your money, honey, I want your love”! Yes, it’s Transvision Vamp!
by John Savage
Transvision Vamp were a genuine pop supernova of the 1980’s. Fronted by sex siren Wendy James, the band enjoyed chart success in the late 80’s and their third single, “I Want Your Love”, from their debut album “Pop Art”, is the song that put them on the map. With its upbeat chorus and Wendy’s power vocals about wanting love and not money, this has become a pop classic that is still often played in bars today. “I Want Your Love” was their first top ten hit reaching No.5 in the UK, No.7 in Australia and topped the Norwegian singles chart.
The band were formed in 1986 in London by Nick Christian Sayer and James. They enlisted Dave Parsons and Tex Axile in the group and released “Revolution Baby” in 1987 as their debut single. It failed, reaching a lowly No.77 in the UK, but their second single “Tell That Girl To Shut Up”, a cover of Holly and The Italians 1979 hit, did a little better in getting to No.45 in the UK and No.44 in Australia, but more interestingly, it broke the US singles chart, albeit at No.87!
“I Want Your Love” was released in June 1988 and it was third time lucky for the band. The success of the single lead to “Revolution Baby” getting a re-release in September, this time managing No.30 in the UK and No.24 in Australia. “Pop Art” was released that October and would peak at No.4 in the UK, gaining a Gold certification for sales of over 100,000 copies, No.13 in Australia and peeking a look-in at No.115 in The States. A fourth single “Sister Moon” closed this era off in December, reaching No.41 in the UK.
Even before “Pop Art” had been released, the group had already been writing and recording its follow up. 1989 would prove their biggest and most successful year of all, with the release of the rocktastic “Baby I Don’t Care” in April. What would become the band’s signature tune, rocketed to No.3 in both the UK and Australia as well as charting high all over Europe.
They followed this with “The Only One” (UK No.15, Australia No.30) in June, before the second album “Velveteen” was released the following month, less than a year since “Pop Art”. “Velveteen” was a surefire hit with such a bold leading single, it topped the UK chart and made No.2 in Australia, being Platinum certified in both countries. Unlike its predecessor, it failed to do anything in America.
Two further singles came in 1989, “Landslide Of Love” (UK No.14, Australia No.70) and “Born To Be Sold” (UK No.22, Australia No.108), after which the group took a well earned break. They would emerge two years later with the comeback single “(I Just Wanna) B With U” which charted at No.30 in the UK, No.16 in Australia and No.14 on the US Rock chart. This would be their last showing there.
The third album, the interestingly titled “Little Magnets Versus The Bubble Of Babble”, was released in August but did not chart in the UK and struggled to No.25 in Australia. One further single, “If Looks Could Kill” came that Autumn, reaching No.41 in the UK and No.56 in Australia. The group were by now at loggerheads with their record company, MCA, who apparently were not happy with the ‘mellower direction’ of the album and refused to back it. The group split just three months later in early 1992.
Dave Parsons joined the grunge group Bush, who have sold over ten million records. Tex Axile joined the group Max, where he played keyboards on the 1992 Trevor Horn produced album “Silence Running”, and Nick seems to of disappeared into nowhere. So what then of Wendy? Well, She embarked on a solo career, releasing her debut album “Now Ain’t The Time For Your Tears” in 1993, which reached No.43 in the UK. A single, “The Nameless One”, broke the UK top 40 at No.34 but only got as far as No.132 down under. A follow up album “Lies In Chinatown” was begun but never completed.
She formed the group Racine and released the albums “Number One” and “Racine 2” in the early 2000’s, but neither came to any success or indeed prominence. James released her second solo album “I Came Here To Blow Minds” eighteen years after her debut, in 2011 and followed this with “The Price Of The Ticket” in 2016. In the years since, she has popped up at 80’s music festivals to great reviews and adulation.
Baby, she don’t care, but the girl’s still the only one!
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