Still Bubbling With Popularity!

by Spencer Carter

If you pitched a soap opera (or serial dramas as they like to be known these days) that had fall outs, injuries, love affairs, court cases and any other sort of drama you could think of to a TV station, they would think your ideas were far-fetched.

But they don’t hold a candle to the story that is Bucks Fizz.

And for a group that is nearing it’s 40th birthday (albeit in two incarnations) the love for this band shows no sign of diminishing. In fact, it’s the opposite with a packed schedule of gigs, festivals and not to mention the last top 30 chart placing, the cracking Christmas album and the promise of new material this year from The Fizz.

But where did it all start?

Well, way back in 1981, four strangers – Bobby G, Jay Aston, Cheryl Baker and Mike Nolan formed for what they thought was a one off project specifically to enter Eurovision with a song called ‘Making Your Mind Up’ – do you know it?

Remember, those were the heady days when a) Europe liked us and b) we stood a chance of winning with catchy, fun songs.

Win they did and boy, was it the start of something nobody expected. Over 15 million records sold, three number ones and countless sell out tours, the band were as popular as Duran, Spandau and Culture Club, with the public. But never the musical elite critics, funnily enough, which in hindsight is unfair.

The Eurovision tag stayed with them despite certain songs – like ‘The Land Of Make Believe’ – being one of the top selling singles of the decade and is regarded as the group’s best song by critics.

Track after track proved to be just as popular until the end of 1983 when they started to see their chart position slip slightly – two singles failed to reach the top 30 (though by today’s chart placing would still have been number one for many weeks).

And then, of course, was the devastating road accident on 11 December 1984. While on tour and returning from a sell-out gig the group’s tour bus crashed. The band were badly injured – Bobby G was treated for whiplash, Jay Aston was hospitalised for back injuries and severe head pains, Cheryl Baker broke three vertebrae in her back and Mike Nolan’s head was badly injured, suffering internal bleeding. He subsequently fell into a coma and placed on a life support machine. The effects of the crash remain with him today, including epilepsy and a 50% loss of vision in both eyes.

The events had a profound impact on the group and Jay Aston announced her departure. This saw the band getting more media coverage than ever where the phrase “airing your dirty laundry” certainly applies.

The group went through an X Factor style audition process, which again made all the news and found their new member Shelley Preston.  Further chart success came, including tv specials and sell out tours.

Since then the group have endured MANY line-up changes with everyone – except Bobby G – officially leaving the group.

At present, Bucks Fizz has had about 15 members over the 35 odd years. Including the infamous version with David Van Day which no self-respecting Fizzer dares to mention.

So, where are they now?

Well, after too many legal battles to mention (surrounding the use of the Buck’s Fizz name, the original Bucks Fizz are enjoying a healthy performing career with Bobby G still at the helm (along with Heidi Manton, Tammy Choat and Paul Yates).

And Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston regrouped as “The Fizz” and have enjoyed recent chart success with the singles “Dancing in the Rain” & “Amen” amongst other tracks from the “F – Z of Pop” top 30 album.

All of the group’s previous back catalogue can be found on i-tunes and Amazon and 2019 sees both versions playing live extensively. While the shows are a trip down memory lane, they are also a reminder of the vocal and creative talents there have been in the band and the packed out crowds seem to confirm that they do, indeed, “want to see some more”.

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