Looking at some of the unfairly misjudged bands of the 70s and 80s this week.The Passions were one of the initial Post-Punk/New Wave bands to arrive on the scene in 1978.
Three albums to their credit, a string of singles but with only one to reach the charts. An inventive band, largely relegated to “one-hit-wonder” status by critics and historians. And even though they had only one hit in their albeit brief career, they were still capable of doing and being a lot more than initial impressions would indicate.
Between 1978 and their eventual demise in 1983, The Passions recorded a number of sessions at the BBC; and two for John Peel in 1980.
It’s been an age-old question why one band makes it and another doesn’t. Listening to this and their other sessions, The Passions were very much part of the burgeoning New Wave scene; a scene which took off on both sides of the Atlantic and became hugely popular, due in no small measure to the start of MTV in the States. It could be they were lost in the shuffle. I don’t recall any of their material released in the U.S. – Polydor, their label at the time, was floundering and having trouble breaking The Jam in the U.S. and many Polydor UK acts were being licensed to other labels over here. So it’s possible a successful career eluded them internationally because their label just wasn’t strong in other markets.
Whatever the issues were, the end result was the band breaking up in 1983 and going their separate ways. This session comes around the time of their third single and just before their major hit, I’m In Love With A German Film Star, which would chart at Number 25 – that wouldn’t be until 1981. In 1980 they were still setting the groundwork.
In case you “sort-of” remember them, here’s a reminder – if you missed them entirely the first time around, you can listen to this with fresh ears and come to your own conclusions. I suspect you may feel the same way I do; that they’ve been unjustly relegated to obscurity and had a lot going for them.
Either way – enjoy.
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