What does it take to be a successful 80’s band? The motive? Big Area? Ask Then Jerico…
British band Then Jerico formed in London in 1983 and clocked up half a dozen hit singles between 1987 and 1989. After just two albums, they split at the beginning of the 1990’s with the lead singer, Mark Shaw (b.1961) pursuing a solo career. Eight years later they were back and with some new material every so often, they are still playing live gigs to the delight of their fans. Shaw, Jasper Stainthorpe (b.1958), Steve Wren (b.1962) and Scott Taylor (b.1962) were the main members of the band along with many others who toured with them, including guitarist Rob Downes (b.1961), who stuck around from 1987 to the split in 1990.
Signed to London Records, they released their debut single, “The Big Sweep”, in mid-1985, although this failed to chart. As did the follow ups “Fault”, “Muscle Deep”, “Let Her Fall” and “Prairie Rose”. Things were pretty desperate by mid 1987 with their debut album, “First (The Sound Of Music)” also having flopped. Fortunately, the next single – the make or break one – “The Motive”, did not and, hoorah, it took them into the UK top 40, eventually peaking at No.18. The track also charted across mainland Europe and very briefly in Australia. The success of “The Motive” helped the album eventually peak at No.35 and it saw a re-issue of “Muscle Deep” in late 87, reaching No.48. Still better than the No.85 position it did a year earlier.
The ‘Then’ enlisted American producer Rick Nowles for their second album and it did the trick. “Big Area” was the first single in January 1989 and it made No.13, their highest yet. Rick’s influence not only extended to the production but also to the people involved. One Belinda Carlisle was roped in for the joint production “What Does It Take?” for the album. Any hopes of American success did not come with this song, however, as it went totally unnoiticed there and it wasn’t so big back home with a UK chart position of No.34 in April 89. Thankfully, the album, “The Big Area”, was and it sped to No.4. “Sugar Box” completed a trio of top 40 hits when it made No.22 in July, but while the band were doing their best ever, it all came to an abrupt end at the beginning of 1990.
Shaw continued as a solo artist releasing the albums “Almost…” in 1991 and “Electric” in 1994 until the band members reunited in 1998 for a second go, releasing a new album, “Orgasmaphobia”, that same year. A best of followed in 1999 along with a second new album, “Alive & Exposed”, in 2000, while the band members began to play live gigs and tour. After sixteen years together this time, the original members of Then Jerico called it a day in 2014, however, Shaw, once again, came back with a new line up and took to the road in 2015 and continues to do so to this very day. Sadly, original guitarist Scott Taylor died in 2020 aged 58 years of a brain tumour.
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