Prefab Sprout are best known for their 1988 hit “The King Of Rock’n’Roll” – the one that goes “Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque” – so was that it?

by Christopher Smith

Prefab Sprout were formed as far back as 1978 by Newcastle born Patrick ‘Paddy’ McAloon, together with his brother Martin and drummer Michael Salmon. Their name came from a line in Johnny Cash and June Carter’s 1963 hit “Jackson”: “We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout”, which a then six year old McAloon misinterpreted as “We got married in a fever, hotter than a prefab sprout”! The title stuck.

The trio performed mostly instrumental music until 1982 when vocalist Wendy Smith joined the group and they released their debut single “Lions In My Own Garden”. The following year they released “The Devil Has All The Best Tunes”, but neither song charted. 1984 would be the year that chart success would come, first with the single “Don’t Sing” (UK No.62) and their debut album “Swoon” (UK No.22).

The following year they released “Steve McQueen” which reached No.21 in the UK which included the singles “When Love Breaks Down” (UK No.25), “Johnny, Johnny” (UK No.62) and “Appetite” (UK No.92). Although no singles registered in the US, the album was released under the different title of “Two Wheels Good” and peaked at No.178 there.

Their third album “From Langley Park To Memphis” was released in early 1988, the year in which Prefab Sprout would enjoy their biggest success. While the first single “Cars And Girls” would stall at No.44 in the UK, it was the follow up “The King Of Rock’n’Roll” that brought the group to the attention of the masses when it went to No.7 in the UK. The album would reach No.5 there and feature appearances of Stevie Wonder and Pete Townshend. Three further singles were released, “Hey Manhattan”, “Nightingales” and “The Golden Calf”, although these would only briefly bother the charts.

Their 1990 album “Jordan: The Comeback” would follow its predecessor into the UK top ten and include the singles “Looking For Atlantis” (UK No.51), “We Let The Stars Go” and “Jordan the EP” (UK No.35), best known for the single “Carnival 2000”.

With fourteen years in the business, Prefab Sprout released their best of collection “A Life Of Surprises” in 1992 which made No.3 in the UK and was certified Platinum there. A number of new tracks were recorded and released including “The Sound Of Crying” (UK No.23), “All The World Loves Lovers” (UK No.61) and “If You Don’t Love Me” (UK No.33), which was later recorded by Kylie Minogue as a B side to her 1994 single “Confide In Me”.

After a break, the group returned to the charts in 1997 with the album “Andromeda Heights” (UK No.7) and the singles “A Prisoner Of The Past” (UK No.30) and “Electric Guitars”. That same year they wrote and recorded the song “Where The Heart Is” which was used for a British Television series of the same name, broadcast from 1997 to 2006. The song was released as a single in 1999 and included on a new hits package “38 Carat Collection”.

Prefab Sprout have released the albums “The Gunman And Other Stories” in 2001, “I Trawl The Megahertz” in 2003, “Let’s Change The World With Music” in 2009 and “Crimson/Red” in 2013, which peaked at No.15 in the UK and made the top ten in Sweden and Norway.

By now working on his own, Paddy McAloon recorded the song “America” in 2017 and is currently recording a new album to be titled “Femmes Mythologiques”, slated for release in late 2019.

Paddy McAloon

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Written by aylshamchris

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