What are you memories of 80’s pop legends “Modern Romance”?
So who were they?
When Modern Romance first exploded into the charts in the summer of 1981 with their infectious rhythms and tailored glamour, you could be forgiven for thinking they were an overnight success. In fact, the roots of the group could be traced far back to the mid 70s.
The Leyton Buzzards began life in 1976 as a college band consisting of long time friends who had some chart success and attracted a lot of music industry interest. The Buzzards subsequently disbanded, but Geoffrey Deane and David Jaymes began developing a new sound and a new brand that was to become Modern Romance.
The pair were accompanied on this new journey by a versatile collective of musicians; John Du Prez (trumpet), Robbie Jaymes (keyboards), Paul Gendler (guitar) and Andy Kyriacou, whose drums and percussion became the backbone of the Modern Romance “sound”.
Success for the new group didn’t come immediately, but it would have been hard for the public not to have seized upon the fusion of faux-disco and big band that was “Everybody Salsa”. Entering the charts at number 71, the song quickly took hold and within a month was sitting comfortably in the top 20, eventually peaking at a respectable number 12. Follow-up “Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey” went two better and landed in the top 10, remaining in the charts over the festive period and no doubt graced the turntable of many an office party.
January 1982 witnessed the release of the wondrous “Queen Of The Rapping Scene (Nothing Goes The Way You Plan)”, which featured Bev Sage of the Techno Twins on guest vocal. A hugely memorable appearance on the BBC's Top Of The Pops helped the record become their third top 40 hit in less than six months.
In late 1982, Geoffrey Deane quit the group to pursue a solo career. Michael J. Mullins meanwhile was promoted from a supporting role on the sidelines and became the bands new lead singer. His arrival signalled a dramatic move towards a more pop oriented sound, clearly evident on the perennial hit, “Best Years of Our Lives”. This upbeat anthem rocketed to number 4 in the charts over Christmas 1982, and was even supported by a special Yuletide remix.
The new look Modern Romance had a blistering year in 1983, racking up three more major hit singles. “High Life” and “Don’t Stop That Crazy Rhythm” both retained the party feel of their earlier hits, whilst “Walking In The Rain”, a beautiful ballad, showed the group in a new light previously unseen on earlier recordings.
Modern Romance finally signed off in 1985 with a cover of the Baltimora hit “Tarzan Boy”. The beat wasn’t quite ready to quit however and drummer Andy Kyriacou resurrected the group in 2001. A new compilation album has just been released and a UK tour is being planned for 2007.
During their heyday, the band toured the world extensively and had top ten hits in countries across the globe. During that time, Andy kept diaries and those diaries are being turned into a book (provisionally titled “Best Years of Our Lives”).
As Andy says: “These were truly among the best years of our lives and I have such fond memories. I now want to share them with publication of my new book. Please do let me know your memories of Modern Romance and our songs. If you have some photos that we can include in the book to share with others please do send them to me! I can be contacted through my PR agency, Headline Promotions, Press & PR at email@example.com”.
But what of the band now?
Well, a re-formed band (www.modern-romance.com) led by Andy appears at venues across the UK and are planning a UK tour in 2007.
In the meantime, Warner Brothers have sensibly decided to release a compilation CD of all the original hits so expect to see some heavy duty PR for this.
Andy has appeared on a number of UK TV and radio shows shows, including The Salon, and was featured in a time management reality show – strange concept that, Andy and time management!
Talking of which, Andy, forever on the go when not writing songs, is seeking to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest drumming set to raise money for Children In Need. The current world record is 84 hours and Andy will try for 100 hours and then hopes to go on to set an unbeatable 120 hours for Pudsey Bear. This will be at The Academy in Basingstoke during the week of 11 – 18th November 2006.
Wish him luck!