The Outfield was an arena rock-influenced British pop rock/power pop power trio based in the East End of London, England. Its members were bassist/singer Tony Lewis, guitarist/keyboardist and songwriter John Spinks, and drummer Alan Jackman. Originally known as the 'Baseball Boys' before singing with Columbia/CBS Records in 1984, the guys were unusual for a British band in that they enjoyed commercial success in the U.S. with new wave hits such as "All of the Love" and "Your Love" but never reached the album or singles charts in their homeland.
They began recording during the mid-80s, picking up the name 'Baseball Boys' as a reference from a gang of hooligans from the cult film 'The Warriors'. Changing things around to 'The Outfield', perhaps a hint of their later American success due to their affinity for U.S. culture, they released their first album, titled 'Play Deep', in 1985 through Columbia Records. Picking up critical acclaim for their melodic rock sound, the album reached #9 on the Billboard 200 list and ended up reaching triple platinum status in America. As remarked by an Allmusic reviewer, the band had a knack for making "a harmonious chorus that is overly smooth and rock savvy." Their single "Your Love" reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as #7 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, and it soon became their 'signature song. It has went on to be featured in a number of 80s-themed compilation albums, and over a thousand covers and remixes by other artists have been released physically and/or online. Other singles "Say It Isn't So" and "Everytime You Cry" also made it into the top 20 on Mainstream Rock chart.
Though possibly peaking too early, the band continued to record and tour through the 80s and then into the early 90s as the Anglo-American pop rock and power pop scenes evolved. While their second album, titled 'Bangin'', hit the top 20 on the Billboard 200 list had both singles hit the top 40 on the Mainstream Rock chart, the group began losing their popular audience by their third album, 'Voices of Babylon', came out in 1989. Though receiving critical acclaim, the rock mainstream seemed to have shifted considerably underneath them. Drummer Alan Jackman left, and, now as a duo, they recorded 'Diamond Days' in 1991. After the disappointing response to their 1992 album 'Rockeye', which represented a shift towards progressive rock and arena rock, the group essentially disbanded for much of the 90s.
They resumed touring in 1998, and thereafter the band released two live albums via their website. The group's comeback album, 'Any Time Now', was released by Sidewinder Records in March 2006 and constituted a comeback to their traditional pop rock sound. In mid-2009, the Outfield entered a London studio to begin recording their seventh studio album. Titled 'Replay', it saw a June 28, 2011 release, with the band's cult following enjoying deliberately retro sounding songs such as "California Sun". Their music popping up in various places (from Katy Perry recording a Outfield cover titled "Use Your Love" to the 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City' video game using their music), the guys had somewhat of a resurgence of interest at the tail end of their career. Although popular interest in the band waxed and waned since their 80s musical heyday, their group maintained a devoted fan base among followers of the power pop genre for many years.
Guitarist and songwriter John Spinks sadly passed away in July 2014, succumbing to liver cancer after a long and tough battle. He was 60. The group released a statement saying: “We are relieved that his passing was peaceful and painless.” It also remarked that the future of the band appeared "unclear". With unreleased songs in the bin, the Outfield may well return in some form.
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