Curiosity Killed The Cat – in concert from Camden Palace – 1986 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Curiosity Killed The Cat – in concert from Camden Palace 1986 – recorded as well as filmed.
Diving into some 80’s UK Funk tonight with one of the bands epitomizing the movement. Curiosity Killed The Cat played soulful, jazzy and funky pop music, and was initially signed to Mercury Records. They first came to notice of the UK music press when they worked with Andy Warhol for the video of their 1986 single “Misfit”. This featured the band in New York City and at one point featured frontman Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot dancing down a side street while Andy Warhol referenced Bob Dylan’s 1965 long-form promotional film for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by dropping pieces of white card in time to the music.
The single was initially unsuccessful but the release of their next single, “Down to Earth”, gave the band a Top 3 hit in early 1987. The band’s first album, Keep Your Distance, entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1 in April 1987, and stayed in the Top Ten for 13 weeks. Further singles included “Ordinary Day” (UK No. 11), “Free” (UK No. 56) and a re-release of “Misfit” (UK No. 7). “Misfit” was also their only U.S. charting single, peaking at No. 42.
The band’s second album, Getahead, was released in 1989, led by the single “Name and Number” (UK No. 14), and its “hey how you doin'” refrain found itself in the Top 10 two years later as part of the De La Soul song “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)”. The album, however, was not as successful in comparison to their first album, peaking at No. 29.
After the lackluster performance of Getahead and its second single “First Place”, the band shortened their name to ‘Curiosity’ but were dropped by Mercury Records. Bass player Nick Thorp then left the band. However, in 1992, the band (now a three-piece and signed to RCA Records) returned to the UK Top 3 with a cover of Johnny Bristol’s “Hang On in There Baby”. Despite this, the band’s follow up singles (covers of “I Need Your Lovin'” and “Gimme the Sunshine”) were unsuccessful, which resulted in the album Back to Front only being released in Japan and selected overseas markets. The band then split up.
For a reminder of what they were up to during their formative years, here is a gig from 1986 as they were on their way up the charts. Crank it up – relax and enjoy.
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