Altered Images

Altered Images were a Scottish new wave band that released three albums between 1981 and 1983 on Epic. They debuted with the single “Dead Pop Stars,” followed by the album Happy Birthday, both produced by Siouxsie and the Banshees bassist Steve Severin.

A second Altered Images album, Pinky Blue, appeared in 1982 with production work by Martin Rushent. Their two biggest UK hits, “Happy Birthday” and “I Could Be Happy,” became staples of the US cable music-video channel MTV. After their 1983 third album Bite, Altered Images disbanded and singer Clare Grogan focused on her acting career.

Members: Clare Grogan (vocals), Johnny McElhone (guitar, bass), Tony McDaid (bass, guitar), Tich Anderson (drums, 1979-82), Caesar (guitar, 1979-81), Jim McKinven (guitar, 1981-82), Stephen Lironi (guitar, drums, 1982-83)


First Three Singles

On February 27, 1981, Altered Images debuted with the Epic single “Dead Pop Stars” backed with “Sentimental,” both group-written songs produced by Steve Severin.

A. “Dead Pop Stars” ()
B. “Sentimental” ()

On May 8, Altered Images released their second single “A Day’s Wait” backed with “Who Cares?”

A. “A Day’s Wait” ()
B. “Who Cares?” ()

On Aug 21, Altered Images previewed their upcoming album with the single “Happy Birthday,” a jovial number backed with “So We Go Whispering.” Human League soundman Martin Rushent produced the single at Genetic Sound in Berkshire.

A. “Happy Birthday” ()
B. “So We Go Whispering” ()

Happy Birthday

Altered Images released their debut album, Happy Birthday, in September 1981 on Epic. It features the spring a-side “A Days Wait” and the recently issued title-track, plus nine group-written originals produced by Steve Severin.

1. “Intro: Happy Birthday” (0:44)
2. “Love and Kisses” (2:18)
3. “Real Toys” (3:23)
4. “Idols” (2:27)
5. “Legionaire” (3:30)
6. “Faithless” (3:49)
7. “Beckoning Strings” (3:05)

8. “Happy Birthday” (3:00)
9. “Midnight” (3:39)
10. “A Days Wait” (4:20)
11. “Leave Me Alone” (4:08)
12. “Insects” (3:28)
13. “Outro: Happy Birthday” (0:44)

Studio Rockfield (Wales – Severin), Genetic Sound (Berkshire – Rushent)

Clare Grogan – vocals
Michael “Tich” Anderson – drums
Tony McDaid – guitar
Johnny McElhone – bass
Jim McKinven – guitar
Additional musicians
Gerard “Caesar” McNulty – guitar on “A Days Wait”

Steven Severin – production
Ted Sharp – engineering
Martin Rushent – production and engineering (1) (and “Insects” on US edition)

David Band – art direction
Simon Fowler – inner sleeve photography
Terry Lott – inner sleeve photography
Chris Webster – cover photography

“I Could Be Happy”

In December 1981, the re-recorded “Insects” became the b-side of Altered Image’s fourth single, “I Could Be Happy,” a preview of their upcoming second album.

A. “I Could Be Happy” ()
B. “Insects” ()


On March 26, 1982, Altered Images released “See Those Eyes,” a velocity track backed with “How About That Then (I’ve Missed My Train).”

A. “See Those Eyes”
B. “How About That Then (I’ve Missed My Train)” ()

Pinky Blue

Altered Images released their second album, Pinky Blue, on May 14, 1982, on Epic. It features a dance mix of their Christmas ’81 hit “I Could Be Happy” and the recent a-side “See Those Eyes,” plus eight new group-written originals and the Neil Diamond cover “Song Sung Blue.”

1. “Pinky Blue” (3.10)
2. “See Those Eyes” (3.10)
3. “Forgotten” (2.39)
4. “Little Brown Head” (2.42)
5. “See You Later” (3.16)
6. “Song Sung Blue” (4.14)

7. “Funny Funny Me” (3.24)
8. “Think That It Might” (2.52)
9. “I Could Be Happy” (5.38)
10. “Jump Jump” (3.11)
11. “Goodnight and I Wish” (4.06)

Clare Grogan – vocals
Michael “Tich” Anderson – drums
Tony McDaid – guitar
Johnny McElhone – bass
Jim McKinven – guitar

John Peel, Martin Rushent – backing vocals, whistling

Martin Rushent – producer, engineer
Dave Allen – assistant engineer
David Band – direction
Eric Watson, Chris Webster, Peter Anderson – photography

Altered Images released the titular “Pinky Blue” as the album’s second single, backed with a dance mix of the deep cut “Think That It Might.”

In the Netherlands, Epic issued “Song Sung Blue” as a single (b/w “See You Later”).


In March 1983, Altered Images returned with “Don’t Talk To Me About Love,” an adult-oriented ballad backed with “Last Goodbye.”

A. “Don’t Talk To Me About Love”
B. “Last Goodbye” ()


Altered Images released their second album, Bite, on June 17, 1983, on Epic. It features “Don’t Talk To Me About Love” and seven new group-written originals, including the followup singles “Bring Me Closer,” “Love to Stay,” and “Change of Heart.”

1. “Bring Me Closer” (3:17)
2. “Another Lost Look” (3:26)
3. “Love to Stay” (5:36)
4. “Now That You’re Here” (4:43)

5. “Don’t Talk to Me About Love” (4:50)
6. “Stand So Quiet” (4:23)
7. “Change of Heart” (3:43)
8. “Thinking About You” (5:02)

Recorded October & December 1982 (Chapman), March 1983 (Visconti)
Clare Grogan – lead vocals
Johnny McElhone – bass
Stephen Lironi – drums
Tony McDaid – guitar

Peter Vettese – keyboards
Holly Beth Vincent – Farfisa organ on “Change of Heart”
Andy Hamilton – saxophone
Bernie Michael, Leroy Osbourne, Morris Michael, Annie, Mark, Mo – backing vocals

Bryan Evans – engineer (1, 4, 6, 8)
Robin Black – engineer (2, 3, 5, 7)
Tony Visconti – producer and string arrangements (1, 4, 6, 8)
Mike Chapman – producer (2, 3, 5, 7)
Altered Images / Martyn Atkins – artwork and design
Neil Kirk – cover photography

Altered Images lifted “Bring Me Closer” as the second single backed with the non-album “Surprise Me.”

B. “Surprise Me” ()

“Love To Stay” became the second single, backed with the Bite deep cut “Another Lost Look.”

In September, “Change of Heart” became the fourth and final Bite single (also backed with “Another Lost Look”).


  • Happy Birthday (1981)
  • Pinky Blue (1982)
  • Bite (1983)
  • Mascara Streakz (2022)


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