Blast From The Past – The Photos
The Photos were a British new wave band fronted by Wendy Wu, who had a top 5 album in the UK in 1980. Much to their displeasure they were often referred to as Britain’s own “Blondie”.
The Photos were originally a punk band named Satan’s Rats that formed in Evesham, Worcestershire in 1977, with a first stable line-up of Paul Rencher (vocals), Steve Eagles (guitar/vocals), Dave Sparrow (bass guitar), and Olly Harrison (drums). They released three singles before Rencher left, and the others deciding to expand the group with the addition of a female singer; They unsuccessfully tried to get Big in Japan’s Jayne Casey to join, but convinced Wendy Wu (born Wendy Cruise, 29 November 1959), the former manager of pub rock band City Youth to join in 1979.
The Photos signed to CBS Records but moved on to Epic Records after one single.
They released their self-titled album in 1980 and number of singles. These included “I’m so Attractive” and “Barbarellas” (concerning the closure of a Birmingham nightclub).
The album was successful, reaching number 4 in the UK Albums Chart, and Wu’s picture was briefly a regular item in the music press.
Initial copies of the vinyl release of the album came with a bonus album, The Blackmail Tapes, the additional tracks also included on the cassette release, included demos of their own songs together with a few cover versions such as this.
The album was later re-released in CD format, although only a limited number of copies were pressed. The CD was re-released in October 2007 by Cherry Red Records, the label originally due to have signed the band before they were contracted to CBS. The re-release includes some additional tracks including “I’m So Attractive”.
Their scheduled appearance on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops was cancelled due to industrial action.
A second album, Crystal Tips and Mighty Mice, was released in promotional form in 1981, but withdrawn before it reached the shops, and reissued by Cherry Red Records in 2008.
Wu left the band in 1981, to be replaced by Che, and The Photos split up later that year.
Wu went on to release some generally poorly-received solo singles during 1982 and 1983 and joined Steve Strange to form the duo Strange Cruise in 1986.
The Photos reformed without Wu, and with Angus Hines replacing Harrison, although this line-up only released one single, “There’s Always Work”, in 1983. They were joined by Wu for a one-off gig at London’s Marquee Club, before finally disbanding. Steve Eagles became guitarist in Ted Milton’s Blurt, and later formed Bang Bang Machine.
To buy the music of The Photos click HERE
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