The Yachts – live In Boston 1979 – Past Daily Soundbooth

The Yachts

The Yachts – one of the “lost” bands of the New Wave era.

The Yachts – In Concert at The Paradise Theater, Boston – October 15, 1979 – WCOZ-FM, Boston

The Yachts. One of those bands of the New Wave era who came and went in a flash, recorded 2 albums, toured the U.S. – had a degree of promise and then, vanished.

Certainly not an unusual story, but one that is repeated more often than not. The Yachts were formed in April 1977, and played their first gig, supporting Elvis Costello at Eric’s in Liverpool. They were initially signed to Stiff Records, who released their first single, Suffice To Say in October of 1978 to good reviews and sales. However, they departed Stiff shortly after, along with label mates Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe and joined Radar Records where they went to work on their debut album, which was issued by Polydor in the U.S. as S.O.S. It was Recorded in New York and produced by the legendary Richard Gottehrer. After its release in 1979, they did a brief U.S. tour, supporting Joe Jackson.

They later did a European tour, supporting The Who and released a second album, Without Radar which was produced by Martin Rushent. Both albums were released by Polydor in the U.S. and both albums sold poorly, even though their two singles, Suffice To Say and Love, Love, Love were considered minor New Wave classics.

Sadly, the lack of success caused a strain in the band and there were defections, even early on. But by 1981 it was time to call it quits, and members of The Yachts went off to other bands and other careers.

Like I said, not an unusual story – and probably more the rule than the exception. A number of writers have rediscovered The Yachts in recent years, and the general consensus of opinion is that they were unfairly judged by the press and public at the time, and have been considered one of the lost gems of an era.

Although this concert sounds good for the time and for a live setting, the vocals are not strong – and that may have been the problem with Henry Priestman, the vocalist, rather than the mix.

But whatever the case, here is a band who were promising at the time, failed to fulfill that promise, and have gone largely ignored over the years. Maybe you remember them – maybe you saw them. If you did, here’s a reminder – if you’ve never heard of them, here’s an opportunity to familiarize yourself with yet another band which got lost in the shuffle.

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8 Responses

  1. Top band from my teenage years, saw them several times and I believe the tracks are as fresh today as ever.
    BTW Henry Priestman only sings on four of the tracks!

  2. Almostred1 says:

    “Yachting Types” and “Look Back In Love” are the tracks to own. As noted above, Priestman sings on only a few tracks here; He went on to join relatively successful UK chart act The Christians during the 80’s.

    • Almostred1 says:

      “Suffice to Say” is also a top track.

    • gordonskene says:

      Thanks for your note – I actually have a Christians In Concert that I should post soon. I was wondering if you could shed some light on why Priestman sang only a few songs on this concert. I’d be curious, as I’m sure the readers would too.

  3. Almostred1 says:

    My (limited) understanding is that the Yachts suffered (like many groups) from turnover and the lack of a clear and dynamic frontman, with various members contributing songs and vocals, resulting in a muddled and inconsistent public identity. Great pop songs, though.

    • gordonskene says:

      It sounds like an all-too frequent story with many bands. We all know the stories of the bands that made it – the fascinating stories are about the ones that didn’t. Thanks for your note and update.

  4. Edward L Buchman says:

    Sounds great! Track list anywhere?

    • gordonskene says:

      As a matter of fact . . . .
      The Yachts
      Henry Priestman: vocals, keyboards
      Martin Watson: lead guitar
      Martin Dempsey: bass, vocals
      Bob Bellis: drums, background vocals

      Paradise Theater
      Boston, Mass.
      October 15, 1979

      1: stage and radio intro, semaphore love 3:09
      2: in a second 3:08
      3: box 202 > 3:38
      4: tantamount to bribery 2:21
      5: look back in love, not in anger 2:41
      6: don’t call us 5:00
      7: love you love you 3:17
      8: heads will turn 3:20
      9: band intros, march of the moderates 3:50
      10: Mantovani’s hits 3:26
      11: yachting type 3:36
      12: suffice to say 9:31
      13: encore break 1:01
      14: 24 hours to Tulsa and radio outro 4:13