Virginia Astley of The Ravishing Beauties
Virginia Astley of The Ravishing Beauties – ethereal, pastoral and elusive.

The Ravishing Beauties – In Session for John Peel – April 14, 1982 – BBC Radio 1

The Ravishing Beauties – okay, you haven’t heard of them – a lot of people haven’t. They are, even by their own admission, obscure. One single and one session for John Peel and off to other adventures. At the time they made an impression and got positive reaction from the press – but in fact, the band only lasted 6 months (December of 1981 – June 1982). The members, Kate St. John joined The Dream Academy, Nicky Holland wound up in Tears For Fears, while Virginia Astley went solo, releasing some 7 albums between 1984 and 2007.

They were known for their classical influences, mixing with early dreamscape and electronica to create a pastoral, other-worldly feel to their music. Early on, they were supporting The Teardrop Explodes on clubdates and their tour in late 1981 and wound up recording with Echo & the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees.

But aside from this session for John Peel, recorded in April of 1982, and the above-mentioned single, nothing has survived.

Over the years they’ve achieved a certain cult status as a band who came and went in a flash, but left an impression with people who saw them or remembered hearing this session. It’s hard to judge a band based on four tracks and a little over 12 minutes, and some of the material is strong while other material is weak. But they are a band worth listening to because they represented a change that was slowly developing in the early 1980s.

As I said, you have probably not heard of The Ravishing Beauties or of this session. But they are another element in the slowly evolving scene at the time – maybe not a pivotal or influential part, but an important and relevant part nonetheless.

Check it out and feel informed.

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