Tuesday, November 2, 2021

"Tell That Girl to Shut Up" by Transvision Vamp

Song#:  3662
Date:  10/01/1988
Debut:  94
Peak:  87
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This London-based band was formed in 1986 by guitarist/songwriter Nick Sayer and singer Wendy James. The pair filled out the band with three other members and quickly got signed to MCA Records thanks to Sayer's songs and James' sexy, punkish, rebellious personality. The waters were tested with a first single titled "Revolution Baby." It gained a little attention in '87 and reached #77 in the UK. Then they released "Tell That Girl to Shut Up," which did a little better making it to #45 in the spring of '88. Yet the band and their label were looking for something better. Sayer then came up with the song "I Want Your Love." Pushed out as the band's third single, it finally did the trick reaching #5 in the UK and making the Top 10 in several other countries. A debut album was immediately assembled and issued out in October of '88. Prior to its release, "Tell That Girl to Shut Up" was pushed out as a single in the US. It would do well at Alt Rock getting to #9. It crossed over to the Pop chart where it would spend a short few weeks near the bottom. It would be the band's only song to reach the US Pop chart. The album would get to #115. The band's second album, '89's Velveteen, would prove to be their biggest hit at home and in other countries. It would reach #1 in the UK and go platinum thanks to the #3 single "Baby, I Don't Care." The band would also be very popular in Australia where the LP would also go platinum and reach #2. All was great with the band until their third album, '91's Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble. The band changed up their sound and that didn't sit well with MCA. The label pushed out a couple singles in the UK, which didn't do very well and that caused them to shelve the LP in the UK. However, the album was released in a minor few countries like Australia where the band's following was still strong. In the US, the single "(I Just Wanna) B with U" got some attention reaching #14 Alt Rock and #40 Dance. MCA decided to release the album in the US, but then by early '92, the frustrated band just decided to split and go their own ways.

ReduxReview:  I remember critics hating this band. I liked their name and they seemed interesting, but in my small town, I never got to hear them. It was too bad because this punk'd up retro sounding track was something I would have dug. I'm not sure if I would have bought the album, but I would have gotten the single. However, thanks to the lack of availability in hearing them and all the bad press, I skipped over the band. I think they are looked at more favorably now and they should be. I kinda like their bubblegum punk/new wave sound and their first two albums are fun listens. I'm glad I finally got a chance to explore the band.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:   Double Shot  1) This is a remake of a song original recorded by Holly and the Italians in 1979. Chicago-born Holly Beth Vincent headed up the new wave/punk band who moved to London and began attracting attention in the pubs. They would push out their first single "Tell That Girl to Shut Up," written by Vincent, late in '79. While the single didn't chart, it did get them noticed and earned them spots on tours with The Clash and Blondie. They signed a deal with Virgin Records and work began on a debut album. However, the sessions were rife with problems and it would end up taking a year for the LP to get completed. By the time of its release in '81, the band's momentum had all but disappeared. In the US, the song "Rock Against Romance" would be a blip on the Dance chart at #75 and the album would stall at #177. By the end of '81, the band was finished.  2) After the band broke up, Wendy James set out for a solo career. She sought the guidance of Elvis Costello who then decided to write songs James' debut album, '93's Now Ain't the Time for Your Tears. Costello would write ten songs for the LP including five with his then wife Cait O'Riordan. It would spawn three minor singles and only get to #43 in the UK. James would then move away from music, but return years later for a few albums. Perhaps the most successful former member of Transvision Vamp was bassist Dave Parsons. After the band broke up, he became an original member of the UK rock band Bush. They would be highly successful with their first LP, '94's Sixteen Stone reaching #4 in the US and eventually selling over six million copies. Their second album, '96's Razorblade Suitccase, would hit #1 in the US and sell three million copies. Parsons would remain with Bush until their initial breakup in 2002.


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