Friday, February 22, 2008

Strawberry Switchblade

Time to travel down a less known path. This next band will be unheard of to many that visit here. But to the Big 80s team, this band is a solid example of early 80s pop dance sound. It also has great early 80's fashion. So sit back and enjoy some synth pop.

Since Yesterday

Strawberry Switchblade was a female pop rock band formed in Scotland in 1981 by Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall, best known for their song Since Yesterday in 1984.

The punk movement expanded rapidly in the United Kingdom in 1976. At the time, Rose McDowall and Jill Bryson were classic Glasgow punks. As the punk rock scene electrified Glasgow in the late '70s, they were a part of the bohemian art scene who adored the New York Dolls and who followed Scottish punk band Nu-Sonics during their career. As friends, McDowall and Bryson socialized in Glasgow pubs, catching many local bands at the time. One of these bands was Orange Juice, fronted by James Kirk. Those emerging from New Pop and Orange Juice had recorded a live version of Felicity as a flexi-disc and intended to release it. The fanzine was to be named after a James Kirk song, and was to be called Strawberry Switchblade. The fanzine never materialised, however, and the flexi eventually appeared as an addition to the debut Postcard single 'Falling and Laughing'. The name Strawberry Switchblade became Rose and Jill's moniker as they began their career to Pop stardom.

Strawberry Switchblade was originally signed to the independent record label Postcard Records; However, none of the band's recordings were ever released under this label. They were later signed to Zoo Records, another independent label.The band's first single, Trees and Flowers, was released after they met Bill Drummond, a Scottish musician. The single was released in July 1983, and sold over 10,000 copies. It was featured at number 47 in John Peel's 1983 Festive 50. Trees and Flowers was about agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces; since band member Jill suffered from it.

Drummond signed the band to Warner Music Group subsidiary Korova in 1983. David Motion began producing the band's first and only album. In early 1985, their first single release on that label, Since Yesterday, became a top 10 hit in the UK and met with success in Europe and Japan . The track's opening fanfare came from Sibelius' Symphony No.5 and had also featured on the earlier hit "Beach Baby" by The First Class. The girls' strikingly contrasting black and white wardrobe, including the polka dot rah-rah skirts worn for the sleeve of Since Yesterday, attracted some coverage at the time. Their somewhat "gothic" appearance was also of note.
However, they attained little more than the unenviable title of one-hit wonders, when all subsequent releases to "Since Yesterday", failed to reach the Top 50 in the UK singles chart. In order to pay their tax bills, the group recorded two singles solely for the Japanese market. By early 1986, the group disbanded.

Their cover version of "Sunday Morning" (originally by Velvet Underground) was released as an extra track on the 12 inch of "Since Yesterday". It was not included on any of the Strawberry Switchblade albums.

In 2005, Warner Bros. Platinum Records released a career retrospective of the band, made up of sixteen different tracks from various recordings on one compact disc.

"Trees And Flowers"
"Since Yesterday"
"Let Her Go"
"Ecstasy" (only issued in Japan)
"I Can Feel" (only issued in Japan)

Strawberry Switchblade (April 1985, reissued on cd with extra tracks in Japan in 1997) UK #25
The 12" Album (Japan only, 1985, reissued on cd in Canada in 1995)
The Platinum Collection (December 2005)

UK Chart peak
"Trees And Flowers"

"Since Yesterday"
"Let Her Go"
"Who Knows What Love Is"
"Ecstasy (Apple Of My Eye)" (Japan only)

"I Can Feel" (Japan only)

External links
Strawberry - An unofficial Strawberry Switchblade website

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