Furniture – in session – March 7, 1986 – The Tube TV Program – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Continuing our look at lesser-known bands of the 80s, Furniture in session for the TV Program The Tube from March 7, 1986.
Furniture were active from 1979 to 1991 and are best known for the 1986 top 30 hit, “Brilliant Mind”.
The longest-serving and best-known line-up of Furniture (from 1983 to 1990), comprised founder members Jim Irvin (vocals), singer/multi-instrumentalist Tim Whelan and drummer Hamilton Lee, plus bass player/occasional singer Sally Still and keyboard player Maya Gilder. Larry N’Azone (saxophone) was an occasional member during this period and often appeared with the band live. Furniture’s chief success was in the UK but they also enjoyed a following throughout Eastern Europe where they toured in 1987 and 1988.
Furniture was formed in 1979 in the Ealing area of London, England by Jim Irvin, Tim Whelan and Hamilton Lee. Simon Beaton (guitar) and Ian Macdonald (bass) joined shortly afterwards, and together Furniture played their first gig in 1979. In 1981, the band set up their own independent record label (The Guy from Paraguay) and released their first single, “Shaking Story”/”Take a Walk Downtown”. In the same year, Tim Whelan joined the Transmitters as lead vocalist. He would remain in The Transmitters until 1989 but would continue working with Furniture at the same time. (Hamilton Lee would also divide his time between Furniture and The Transmitters during 1988 and 1989).
Shortly after the release of the debut single, Macdonald and Beaton left the band. Furniture remained a trio (with contributions by bass player Tim Beaton) until full-time bass player Sally Still and keyboard player Maya Gilder joined in 1983. Tim Whelan’s brother Larry N’Azone also joined as part-time saxophonist. In 1983, Furniture released a mini-album entitled When the Boom Was On, on the Premonition imprint of the Ealing-based Survival record label.
Since the break-up of the band, Furniture has retained a certain cult appeal, partly due to a continuing high reputation for songwriting and partly due to the nature of the band’s career. Noted for the bad luck and practical frustration that prevented them from making a long term-breakthrough, Furniture have been described as “one of the most unfortunate of bands, and a salutory lesson for any young hopefuls being courted by minor labels.”
After the band’s break-up, Whelan and Lee went on to form Transglobal Underground (which rapidly eclipsed their prior band in terms of success and recognition), while Irvin and Still became high-profile British music journalists (as well as continuing their work in music, predominantly as songwriters).
If you aren’t familiar, hit the play button for a listen and a discovery.
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