The Associates

The Associates were a Scottish New Wave/art-pop band from Dundee that formed in the late 1970s. Between 1980 and 1982, the band released two proper albums and a compilation of non-album singles on Fiction and Beggars Banquet. During this time, the band centered on the creative team of vocalist Billy MacKenzie and multi-instrumentalist Alan Rankine. Later albums from the mid-’80s onward featured the singer alone with assorted hired guns.

Members: Billy MacKenzie (vocals), Alan Rankine (guitar, keyboards, instruments, 1976-82), John Sweeney (drums, 1979-80), Michael Dempsey (bass, 1980-82), John Murphy (drums, 1980-81), Martha Ladly (keyboards, vocals, 1982-86), Steve Reid (guitar, 1982-84), Steve Goulding (drums, 1982-83), Roberto Soave (bass, 1983-85), Howard Hughes (keyboards, 1983-90), Jim Russell (drums, 1984), Moritz von Oswald (drums, 1985-97)


The Associates evolved from the Ascorbic Ones, a cabaret duo formed in 1976 Edinburgh by Billy Mackenzie and guitarist Alan Rankine.

Mackenzie (1957–1997) was born in Dundee, where he lived until decamping to New Zealand at age 16. From there, he went to the United States, where he crossed the country and had a brief green-card marriage while singing in the New Orleans Gospel Choir.

After settling back in Scotland, Mackenzie met Bridge of Allan native Alan Rankine and the two formed the Ascorbic Ones, alternately known as Caspian. In light of punk, they renamed their project Mental Torture. In 1979, they settled on The Associates.

They recorded numerous demos but struggled to get attention until they covered David Bowie‘s then-current single, “Boys Keep Swinging,” issued on self-press Double Hip Records with the original “Mona Property Girl.” Aired by John Peel, The Associates’ cover reached No. 15 in Record Mirrors Scottish chart, one month after Bowie’s original peaked in the UK Top 10. The ensuing press and controversy netted the duo a contract with Fiction Records.

The Affectionate Punch

The Associates released their debut album, The Affectionate Punch, in August 1980 on Fiction.

“The Affectionate Punch”
Released: 1980 “You Were Young”

Released: Oct 1981 “Would I… Bounce Back”

Fourth Drawer Down

In October 1981, The Associates released Fourth Drawer Down, a compilation of singles issued that year on Situation Two.

“Tell Me Easters On Friday” – April 1981
“Straw Towels”

39 Lyon St
A: Kites
The Associates
B: A Girl Named Property

“Q Quarters” – July 3, 1981

“Kitchen Person” – September 11, 1981
“An Even Whiter Car”

“Message Oblique Speech” – October 16, 1981
“Blue Soap”

“White Car In Germany” – November 27, 1981
“The Associate”


The Associates released their debut album, Sulk, on May 14, 1982, on WEA (Europe), Sire (North America), and the ‘Associates’ imprint on Beggars Banquet (UK).

“Party Fears Two”
Released: 29 January 1982 “It’s Better This Way”

“Club Country”
Released: 30 April 1982 “A.G. It’s You Again”

“18 Carat Love Affair”

In August 1982, The Associates issued “18 Carat Love Affair,” a standalone single backed with “Love Hangover.”

“A Matter of Gender”

“A Matter of Gender” – Nov 12, 1982
“Even Dogs In the Wild” (Instrumental)


The Associates released their debut album, Perhaps, on February 8, 1985, on WEA.

“Those First Impressions”
Released: May 1984 “Thirteen Feelings”

“Waiting for the Loveboat”
Released: Aug 1984 “Schampout”

Released: 1985 “Breakfast Alone”

“Take Me to the Girl”

“Take Me to the Girl” October 1985, backed with “Perhaps”



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