The Alarm, in concert from London in 1984 tonight.
Starting up in 1981 and still going strong, The Alarm originally began life as a Punk band known as The Toilets. But soon they abandoned the genre and the name and re-emerged as The Alarm, embracing a combination of hard-rock, New Wave, Alternative Rock and a lot of spiky hair.
They quickly achieved popularity, via tours with U2 and Bob Dylan, and by the mid-1980s were riding high on the crest of a wave generated by their 1983 hit single, Sixty-Eight Guns along with their 1984 debut album Declaration which peaked at number 6 on the UK album charts.
This concert, recorded by the venerable BBC Radio 1 for their In Concert series, catches them during this high point in The Alarm’s career. It was also during this time they were making headway in the U.S. and were embarking on what would be a series of tours of America throughout the 80s and 90s, often as support band to U2, who they were often compared to.
During the early 90s there were several changes, including the departure of founder lead singer Mike Peters, leaving the band in a state of limbo and under something of a legal cloud (there were disputes over who owned the name and various attempts at Alarm-type bands). It would stay that way until a one-off reunion of the original members in 2005 brought everyone back together. However, later on in 2005 it was discovered that Peters was diagnosed with Leukemia and he underwent rigorous treatment and finally beat the disease and has continued recording and performing.
Although The Alarm were pretty savaged by the press as being derivative and pretentious, they had a huge following from the beginning and that support netted numerous million selling albums and singles. So even though they weren’t universally liked at the time, they’ve withstood all the brickbats and became influential to a number of bands during the formative period of the 80s, most notably Big Country and Dead Men Walking. So perhaps the press protested too much.
Crank it up and have a listen to decide for yourself if you aren’t already familiar with them.