Animotion debuted with “Obsession” and while we all were with the song, they quickly disappeared. Where?
Animotion were/are an American synth-pop group, who arrived in 1984 and stormed the top ten charts around the world with their debut single, “Obsession”. After a couple more minor hits, they faded away, made a brief return in 1989 and then split up. There have been a number of different line ups, often changing every year, but the best known combination consisted of vocalist Astrid Plane, guitarist and vocalist Bill Wadhams, keyboard player Paul Antonelli, drummer David “Frenchy” O’Brien, bassist Charles Ottavio and guitarist Don Kirkpatrick. Astrid, Bill, Paul, David and Charles formed the band in 1983 in LA with Don Kirkpatrick joining at the beginning of 1984.
They made their debut in November that year with the song, “Obsession”, written by Holly Knight (“Love Is A Battlefield”) and Michael Des Barres, who went on to work with Duran Duran. The track found its way to No.6 in the US and No.5 in the UK and charted top ten across the rest of the world. It was later recorded by British girl group, the Sugarbabes in 2005. Their self-titled debut album arrived soon after and would make it to No.28 on the US album chart although it was not a hit internationally. Only one further single was lifted from it, “Let Him Go”, which reached No.39 in their home country. Jim Blair and Greg Smith joined the group in 1985, replacing Antonelli and O’Brien with the new line up returning in 1986 with a new single, “I Engineer”.
“I Enginner” was co-written with Elton John’s long standing writer, Bernie Taupin, but flopped in America, making the top ten in Germany, Switzerland and South Africa. It served as the lead single from their second studio album, “Strange Behavior”, released in February and that too only produced one more single in the shape of “I Want You”. Founders Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams left soon after and a new, reduced line up of just four members took shape in 1988, including actress Cynthia Rhodes as the new lead vocalist. Rhodes had co-starred as Penny in the 1987 hit film, ‘Dirty Dancing’. Together, they recorded the album, “Room To Move”, from which the title track was released in February 1989. Written by Simon Climie and Rob Fisher of Climie Fisher, the song returned the band to the US top ten, reaching No.9 and No.11 in Canada, but did little to nothing elsewhere.
Following the release of “Calling It Love” and with the album itself flopping everywhere, Animotion called it a day and went their separate ways. In 2001, Plane, Wadhams, 1983 arrival Kirkpatrick and Greg Smith from the 1988 intake, regrouped and reformed Animotion and began touring again. They appeared on the US versions of the music reality show, Hit Me, Baby, One More Time in 2005, playing live in week five, but losing the heat to PM Dawn (“Set Adrift On Memory Bliss”). The following year they released a best of, “20th Century Masters: The Best of Animotion” and after a number of line up changes yet again, recorded and released a brand new album, “Raise Your Expectations”, in 2017. They still perform as a sextet today with Plane, Bill Wadhams and Don Kirkpatrick leading. Sadly, David O’Brien passed away in 2019 aged 71.
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