Thirty years ago: Sunshine, Moonlight, Good Times, Boogie.
The rise and fall of Big Fun.
1989 was a pretty good year for Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. Seven UK number one hits as well as chart smash’s in America, Australia, all across Europe and in the far East, the hits mounted up. Kylie mania took root, Jason became the best seller of the year, disco Queen Donna Summer joined the fold and there were yet more chart successes for Sinitta, Rick Astley and a new young lady from Liverpool, Sonia. 1989 appeared to be all about the solo artists but in August of that year, a trio of lads broke out of the studio and fought for their place on that washing line of enormous success.
It was in 1988 that Phil Creswick (born 1965), Mark Gillespie (born 1966), Jason Herbert (born 1967) and Keith Davies (born 1967) came together to form Big Fun. Creswick and Herbert, who used the stage name ‘Jason John’, had previously been members of the boy band Seventh Avenue prior to joining the group whilst Davies left before they had even started! The threesome released the single “Living For Your Love” in early 1989 but it failed to chart anywhere. A planned version of Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move” was next up but this was withdrawn just before it hit the shops. The track, which was covered later that year by Martika and who took it to No.7 in the UK and No.25 in America, would make an appearance on their debut album.
It was later that Summer that the group recorded “Blame It On The Boogie”, The Jackson’s 1978 hit, with Stock Aitken Waterman that they would finally win chart glory and public recognition. The single took off and reached No.4 in the UK in the first week of September that year as well as charting across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The boys wasted no time at all in releasing a follow up, original single with “Can’t Shake The Feeling” that Autumn which would make the top ten in the UK, Ireland and Spain. At the beginning of 1990, Big Fun released their debut album “A Pocketful of Dreams” which would make No.7 in the UK and gain a Gold certification for sales of 100,000 copies, the same amount it sold in Spain, gaining their Platinum certification. The album was a moderate hit across many other parts of Europe.
A third single, “Handful Of Promises” just stopped short of the top twenty in the UK, but was appreciated greater in Ireland and in Spain, where Big Fun achieved their third consecutive top ten hit on the singles chart! In the Spring of 1990, Big Fun joined forces with Sonia for the Childline charity single “You’ve Got A Friend”, which made it to No.14 in the UK and No.12 in Ireland. A fourth single from “A Pocketful Of Dreams”, “Hey There Lonely Girl” brought their chart run to and end when it missed the top 40 that Summer. Soon after Jason John left the group and in 1994, Creswick and Gillespie released a cover of The Brothers Johnson’s 1980 hit “Stomp” under the heading of ‘Big Fun 2’. It wasn’t a success!
Creswick and Gillespie went their separate ways after that with Phil taking work as a painter and decorator. However, in September 2018, he appeared in court on a charge of drug dealing. Although found guilty, his sentence was suspended and Mr Creswick was served with a number of hours community service. Keith Davies took up an acting career appearing, most notably, in the long running British soap Coronation Street, Mark Gillespie became a DJ (allegedly) while Jason John hasn’t done too bad for himself!
He moved to New York after leaving the group to run a nightclub and later returned to England to manage Spice Girl Geri Halliwell in 2003-04. He was last known to be based in Brazil where he put together and managed the boyband P9 in 2013! But for many of us around thirty years ago, Phil, Mark and Jason were Big Fun and we danced and we danced using all the correct hand movements to the sunshine. The moonlight. The good times and the boogie! I just can’t control my feet!
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