IQ are an English symphonic-rock band that released the 1983 album Tales From the Lush Attic on The Major Record Company, followed by 1985’s The Wake on Sahara Records. After their 1986 single “Intelligence Quotient,” IQ released the 1987–89 Mercury albums Nomzamo and Are You Sitting Comfortably? Their 1993 comeback album Ever sparked a thirty-year run on Giant Electric Pea.

Members: Mike Holmes (guitar), Peter Nicholls (vocals, 1981-86, 1991-present), Tim Esau (bass, 1981-89, 2011-present), Mark Ridout (drums, 1981-82), Paul Cook (drums, 1982-2005, 2009-present), Martin Orford (keyboards, 1981-2007), Paul Menel (vocals, 1986-89), Les Marshall (bass, 1989-91), John Jowitt (bass, 1991-2011), Andy Edwards (drums, 2005-09), Mark Westworth (keyboards, 2007-10), Neil Durant (keyboards, 2011-present)


IQ formed in Southampton from the remnants of a band called The Lens, which featured guitarist Mike Holmes and keyboardist Martin Orford. In 1979, The Lens cut an eight-song promo demo titled No TV Tonite.

In 1981, Holmes and Orford formed IQ as a trio with bassist Tim Esau. By 1982, singer Peter Nicholls and drummer Paul Cook entered the fold. They gigged the southeast club circuit and recorded their first set of demos.

Seven Stories Into Eight

In 1982, IQ self-released the cassette album Seven Stories Into Eight, a collection of eight demos.

Tales From the Lush Attic

IQ released their first proper album, Tales From the Lush Attic, on September 15, 1983, on The Major Record Company.

The Wake

IQ released their second album, The Wake, in June 1985 on Sahara Records.

After their autumn 1985 tour with Wishbone Ash, Nicholls left IQ.

Nine in a Pond Is Here (bootleg, 1985)

“Intelligence Quotient” / “It All Stops Here”

In 1986, IQ released the standalone single “Intelligence Quotient” backed with “It All Stops Here” on a shaped picture disc.


IQ released their third album, Nomzamo, in May 1987 on Vertigo (UK), Metronome (Germany), and Mercury–Squawk (US, Netherlands).

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

IQ released their fourth album, Are You Sitting Comfortably?, in 1989 on Mercury.


  • Seven Stories Into Eight (cassette, 1982)
  • Tales From the Lush Attic (1983)
  • The Wake (1985)
  • Nine in a Pond Is Here (bootleg, 1985)
  • “Intelligence Quotient” / “It All Stops Here” (1986)
  • Nomzamo (1987)
  • Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1989)
  • Ever (1993)
  • Subterranea (1997)
  • Seven Stories Into 98 (1998)
  • The Seventh House (2000)
  • Dark Matter (2004)
  • Frequency (2009)
  • The Road of Bones (2014)


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