1980 – 2020 (40 years)
Kingston upon Thames, Kingston upon Thames, London, England, United Kingdom
- Bob Leith (1993 – present)
- Cathy Harabaras (2000 – present)
- Christian Hayes (1989 – 1990)
- Claire Lemmon (1999 – present)
- Colvin Mayers (1980 – 1981)
- Dawn Staple (2000 – present)
- Dominic Luckman (1983 – 1993)
- Graham Simmonds (1982 – 1983)
- Jim Smith (1980 – present)
- Jon Poole (1991 – 2003)
- Kavus Torabi (2003 – present)
- Marguerite Johnson (1982 – 1983)
- Mark Cawthra (1980 – 1983)
- Melanie Woods (2000 – present)
- Sarah Jones (1980 – 1989)
- Sharron Fortnam (1999 – present)
- Tim Quy (1980 – 1990)
- Tim Smith (1980 – 2020)
- William D. Drake (1983 – 1990)
Cardiacs, originally called Cardiac Arrest, was an English band formed in 1977 and led by Tim Smith (1961-2020). Noted for their complex, varied and intense compositional style and for their eccentric, theatrical stage shows, they have been hailed as an influence by many newer groups and artists.
As well as Smith, around 23 musicians were part of the Cardiacs over the years, including Smith's brother, Jim, and multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Cutts, who married Tim Smith in 1983.
Their music combined the excitement and energy of punk with the intricacies and technical cleverness of early British progressive rock, a combination sometimes referred to as pronk, although frontman Smith disavowed this classification.
Cardiacs released eight studio albums plus a number of live albums, compilation albums and singles between 1980 and 2007, and are best known for the 1988 minor hit single "Is This the Life?" They are also noted for attracting strongly diverse responses: they have remained one of Britain's leading cult rock bands during their four-decade-spanning career, but have also attracted virulent critical attack (including a lengthy editorial ban from the British music magazine New Musical Express).
On the 30th June 1990, Cardiacs played at Salisbury Arts Centre (a former church). The show was recorded and initially the video of it was released on VHS tape under the name "All That Glitters Is A Mare's Nest". The video helped Cardiacs achieve a cult following, with pirated copies of the video, being highly sought after. The audio from the show was released on CD in 1995.
The band was on hiatus following the 2008 hospitalisation of Tim Smith after a heart attack and series of strokes which affected his speech and movement.
Commenting on his condition, in 2017, Smith wrote: “Imagine if you were wearing a skintight bodysuit made of fishnet all around you, with electrical pulses going all the time. This is what my body feels like unless I fall asleep.”
In 2018, fundraising was set up for Tim Smith, which included the comment “This condition has affected Tim’s movement, his dexterity, his ability to speak, and it has added painful muscle tone and spasms that are a permanent feature of his life these days.”
On Tuesday 21st July 2020, at around 10.30 pm, Tim Smith passed away at his home, as a result of a heart attack.
Cardiacs final album, "LSD" remained unfinished at the time of Tim Smith's death. At the time of his death, Cardiacs still remained a cult following, their recordings were not, for example, available on Spotify. For many years there were few new copies of Cardiacs albums in circulation. Later on, re-releases became available on CD and then vinyl.
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