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Modern English


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Colchester, Essex, England (1979 – 1986, 1990 – 1991, 1995 – present)

Modern English is a band best remembered for their iconic 1982 song “I Melt with You”, a top 10 hit has appeared in various commercials and movies over the years with a popular music video that became an MTV staple. Exploring themes of loss, reflection, and devotion, the group faced changing waves of success over the and early , putting four albums into the Billboard 200 chart. They disbanded a while in 1991, but they later resurfaced in 1995 with some new members. They most recently released their seventh studio album in 2010, touring sporadically over the past recent decades.

Formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979 by Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals), Modern English was originally known as “The Lepers”. The group expanded to “Modern English” when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were subsequently added to the line-up of the band (later Ted Mason, Matthew Shippley). A debut single, “Drowning Man” was released in 1980 on the Limp Records label. The band’s full-length debut, called ‘Mesh & Lace’ and released by 4AD Records a year later, drew heavily on the gloomy sound already patented by bands such as Bauhaus and Joy Division.

The follow-up album, titled ‘After the Snow’ and recorded by the same line-up, introduced warmer sounds and strong guitar harmonies (most notably on the hit “I Melt with You”) in contrast to the tinny bleakness of the debut, although keeping the same post-punk dramatic focus. The August 1982 release was well received in the U.S., selling 500,000 units, and the band relocated to New York, New York to consolidate a popularity encouraged by college radio.


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