Transvision Vamp

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Transvision Vamp

“I don’t want your money, honey, I want your love”! Yes, it’s Transvision Vamp!

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. Wendy released a brand new album, “Queen High Straight” in May 2020, a mix of Motown meets rock and roll and will tour to support the album during the second half of 2020.

Baby, she don’t care, but the girl’s still the only one!

Wendy James 2018

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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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