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The Lambrettas

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England in the summer of 1979 meant MOD, and it was then that the Lambrettas were formed near the south coast city of Brighton. The original members were: Jez Bird (vocals/guitar), Doug Sanders (guitar/vocals), Mark Ellis (bass), and Paul Wincer (drums). The band first performed on June 9, 1979, playing at an all-day Mod concert held in the ballroom at the end of Hastings pier.

The band played various venues around England, then in August were spotted by Elton John’s Rocket Records label. A Rocket album — named “499-2139” — featured a dozen new and unknown bands and included the Lambrettas’ first recording, Go Steady.

In November of 1979, Rocket released the Lambrettas track as a single. By the early part of 1980, Go Steady had sold modestly, but with enough interest to persuade Rocket to sign the band.

The next release was a cover of the 1950s Lieber/Stoller song, Poison Ivy, previously recorded most notably by The Coasters and The Rolling Stones. The Lambrettas version, with brass arrangements, had a decidedly upbeat “ska” feel to it. The record was a huge success, reaching #7 in the British charts, and earning the band a silver disc for sales in excess of 250,000.

The next single, Da-a-ance, was more typical of the band’s pop/rock sound, reaching #12 in the charts. Controversy occurred when they were about to release another cut from their debut album, Beat Boys In The Jet Age. At the last moment, the song Page 3, had to be re-titled for single release as Another Day (Another Girl), after a court injunction by the Sun newspaper. The record was moderately successful, reaching #49 in the charts.

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