Born Susan Wincup in Wibsey, Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1959, Fassbender began studying classical piano (later also playing synthesizer) at age 13. Eventually, she met up with guitarist Kay Russell who would become her songwriting partner throughout her career (writing the chords to Fassbender’s lyrics and melodies). Prior to their collaboration, Russell was with poet Nick Toczek in a Bradford based New Wave outfit called Ulterior Motives.
Soon signed to independent record label Criminal Records after impressing her future manager at an instrument shop, Fassbender and Russell wrote “Twilight Café” which was released in early 1981. Two appearances on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops followed in January 1981, with a band also consisting of drummer Gary Walsh and bassist Mike Close. By this point ownership of the single had passed from Criminal to CBS Records owing to popular demand. In March 1981 Fassbender appeared in an episode of the German television programme, Disco.
Two other singles followed soon after - “Stay” and “Merry-Go-Round”, both also collaborations between Fassbender and Russell. In January 1982, Fassbender appeared on the British television programme, Multi-Coloured Swap Shop to promote “Merry-Go-Round”.
After the release of the latter singles Fassbender retired from the music industry to marry and raise three daughters. She died in 1991 aged 32.
In 2012, Platform Records released ‘’Twilight Cafe - The Demo Collection (1981-1985)’‘, a 20 track album of previously unavailable recordings from Susan Fassbender and Kay Russell.
Available at all download stores from April 2012, the collection included the original demo version of the duo’s hit single, as well as other songs familiar to Fassbender/Russell fans, including several of those featured on the second and final of their CBS 7’’ singles. The release contained 70 minutes of music, remastered from cassette tapes preserved by Kay Russell.
Edited by whimsicalrecords on 23 May 2012, 15:48
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