– Blancmange – in session for RTVE – Spain – June 7, 1983 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Early pioneers of SynthPop and Alternative Dance, Blancmange tonight. In a session they did for Spanish Radio on June 7, 1983. Formed in 1979, Blancmange were originally a three-piece in the New Wave category. When the original third member (Laurence Stevens) left, they continued on as a duo and that’s when things started to happen for them. Their very first ep, Irene and Mavis caused a stir, even as a limited edition pressing of 500. Word got around and they were included on a compilation album which also featured Soft Cell and Depeche Mode and this led to a contract with London Records.
The London association produced a string of hits for the band throughout the early 1980s with their breakthrough beginning in 1982. God’s Kitchen/I’ve Seen The World, their first single for London was a minor hit, but it was their third single, Living On The Ceiling which raced up the charts to number 7. Their debut album, Happy Families came out shortly after and went into the UK top 30.
This session, recorded in Madrid, comes in mid-1983 when they had three highly successful singles on the charts and were getting ready to issue their follow-up album, Mange Tout, which would come out early in 1984. That album would hit at Number 8 on the charts and go Gold.
But as is the case with so many bands – a peak was reached. And shortly after the release of Mange Tout, things went into a decline. By 1985 their singles weren’t performing as well as they did previously, and eventually they called it a day in June of 1986.
The individual members went their separate ways and in different directions, but in 2011 after a gap of almost 25 years, Blancmange reunited and issued their fourth album in March of 2011. However, co-founder Stephen Luscombe decided not to continue on, leaving only Neil Arthur, the original founder, to continue as Blancmange, adding members for performances.
But for the limited time they were initially around, they made waves and helped propel Synthpop into the lexicon. This session gives an idea of what they sounded like live, with additional musicians supplementing their sound. You may remember them, you may not – but give a listen and see what you think anyway. They are part of musical history.
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