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Kajagoogoo

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Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire (1979 – 1986, 2008 – present)

Kajagoogoo is an English pop band best known for its first single, “Too Shy”, which reached Number 1 in the UK and Number 5 in the U.S in 1983. The single was produced by keyboardist Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran and Colin Thurston who was, at this time, Duran Duran’s in-house producer.

The band was founded in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire in 1979 as a four piece avant-garde instrumental group called Art Nouveau, with Nick Beggs on bass guitar, Steve Askew on lead guitar, Stuart Neale on keyboards and Jez Strode on drums. Art Nouveau released a track called “The Fear Machine”. The single sold a few hundred copies, and was played on the John Peel show, but the band could not get a record deal.

In 1981, they advertised for and auditioned lead singers, and finally chose Christopher Hamill. He made his profile, and therefore that of the band, catchier by using an anagram of his surname for his stage name, becoming Limahl. The name of the band was then changed to Kajagoogoo. Writing out the phonetics of a baby’s first sounds gave them “GagaGooGoo”. With a little bit of “casual” alteration it became Kajagoogoo.

The band attracted the interest of three record labels (and Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes) while performing at the Embassy Club in London. The band was signed to EMI in July of 1982, and Rhodes was signed to produce their first album, White Feathers. The debut single “Too Shy” was released in January of 1983 and went to the top of the charts (before any of Duran Duran’s singles had done so, Rhodes noted ruefully). Follow-up releases “Ooh to Be Ah” and “Hang on Now” both reached the UK top twenty as well.

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