The Pale Fountains

The Pale Fountains were an English sophisti-pop band that released three standalone singles and two albums on Virgin between 1982 and 1985. Members: Michael Head (guitar, vocals), John Head (guitar), Chris McCaffery (bass), Thomas Whelan (drums), Andy Diagram (trumpet) Background Formed in 1980 Liverpool, The Pale Fountains were part of that city’s post-Deaf School musical […]

Animal Nightlife

Animal Nightlife were an English sophisti-pop band from London that released a clutch of singles on Inner Vision circa 1982/83, followed by the album Shangri-la on Island in 1985. Members: Paul Waller (drums), Steve Shawley (bass), Steve “Flid” Brown (guitar), Steve Shanley (bass), Michael “Mac” McDermott (percussion), Declan John Barclay (trumpet), John Crichinson (piano), Billy […]


Weekend was a London-based art-pop trio that made the 1982 album La Varieté on Rough Trade. Bassist–singer Alison Statton fronted the earlier Welsh combo Young Marble Giants. Guitarist Simon Booth subsequently formed Working Week. Members: Alison Statton (bass, vocals), Simon Booth (guitar), Spike (guitar, viola) Weekend came together through two projects that Statton was working […]

Danny Wilson

Danny Wilson was a Scottish sophisti-pop band that charted with “Mary’s Prayer” from their 1987 Virgin debut Meet Danny Wilson. They scored another hit with “The Second Summer of Love” from their 1989 sophomore release Be Bop Mop Top. Members: Gary Clark (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Kit Clark (multi-instrumentalist), Ged Grimes (bass guitar, keyboards) Background Danny […]

Deacon Blue

Deacon Blue were a Scottish sophisti-pop band that released two albums on CBS between 1987 and 1989, followed by another pair of albums on Columbia in the early 1990s. Members: Ricky Ross (vocals), James Prime (keyboards), Graeme Kelling (guitar), Ewan Vernal (bass), Douglas Vipond (drums, percussion), Lorraine McIntosh (vocals) Discography: Raintown (1987) When the World […]


Black was an English new wave band from Liverpool that released the 1981–82 indie singles “Human Features” and “More Than the Sun.” Their frontman and songwriter Colin Vearncombe (May 26, 1962 — Jan. 26, 2016) retained the name as a solo artist, starting with the 1984 single “Hey Presto.” Black charted with “Wonderful Life” and […]

The Beautiful South

The Beautiful South were an English sophisti-pop band from Kingston upon Hull that debuted with the album Welcome to the Beautiful South on Go! Discs in 1989, followed by nine further discs during the ensuing 16-year period. Vocalist/songwriter Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemingway hailed from The Housemartins. On their sophomoric 1990 release Choke, the […]

Leisure Process

Leisure Process were an English sophisti-pop duo that released four singles on Epic between 1981 and 1983. Members: Gary Barnacle (keyboard, saxophone), Ross Middleton (vocals, guitar, bass) Discography: “Love Cascade” / “The Sun Turns Black” / “The Fluke” (1981) “A Way You’ll Never Be” / “Rachel Dreams” (1982) “Cashflow” / “The Emigre” (1982) “Anxiety” / […]

Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter were an English sophisti-pop band that released two albums on Arista-subsidiary Rockin’ Horse Records between 1985 and 1987, followed by a pair of discs on RCA in 1989 and 1990. Members: Steve Skaith (vocals, guitar), Mike Jones (backing vocals), Richard Wright (guitar), Yona Dunsford (vocals, keyboards, 1983-90), Carol Douet (vocals, 1983-88), Steve Jeffries […]


Kalima were an English jazz-pop ensemble that released one EP, three singles, and three albums between 1984 and 1990. The band comprised alumni from earlier Mancunian acts A Certain Ratio and Swamp Children. Members: Martin Moscrop (drums), Tony Quigley (bass, saxophone), Andrew Connell (piano, synthesizer, vibraphone), Jez Kerr (bass guitar), Ann Quigley (vocals), Cliff Saffer […]

Simply Red

Simply Red are an English blue-eyed soul ensemble that emerged on the mid-eighties Manchester sophisti-pop scene. The name references ginger-haired frontman Mick Hucknall, whose impassioned vocals propelled them to transatlantic stardom with their debut album Picture Book. Simply Red’s biggest hits include “Holding Back the Years,” “Money’s Too Tight (to Mention),” and their cover of […]

It’s Immaterial

It’s Immaterial was an English sophisti-pop band from Liverpool that released five 1980–85 shortplayers and the 1986 album Life’s Hard and Then You Die, which contains the UK hit “Driving Away from Home.” Their second album, Song, appeared in 1990 on Virgin–Siren. Members: John J. Campbell (vocals), Martin Dempsey (guitar, 1980-84), Henry Priestman (keyboards, 1980-84), […]

Immaculate Fools

Immaculate Fools were an English sophisti-pop band that released two albums with accompanying singles on A&M between 1985 and 1987, followed by four discs on assorted labels during the 1990s. Members: Kevin Weatherill (vocals, guitar, harmonica, mandolin), Paul Weatherill (bass, vocals), Andy Ross (guitar 1984-90), Peter Ross (drums 1984-90) Discography: Hearts of Fortune (1985) Dumb […]

The Blow Monkeys

The Blow Monkeys were an English sophisti-pop band from London that debuted with a single on small-press Parasol Records in 1982, followed by five albums on RCA between 1984 and 1990. Members: Dr. Robert (vocals, guitar, piano), Neville Henry (saxophone), Anthony Kiley (drums), Mick Anker (bass) The Blow Monkeys formed in London in 1981 after […]

The Big Sound Authority

The Big Sound Authority were an English sophisti-pop band from London that released the album An Inward Revolution with accompanying singles on MCA in 1985. Members: Tony Burke (guitar, lead vocals), Mace Carnochan (piano, organ, synthesizer), Julie Hadwen (lead vocals), Steve Martinez (drums), Martin Wilson (bass) Discography: An Inward Revolution (1985)

The Bible

The Bible was an English sophisti-pop band that charted with “Graceland” and “Mahalia” from their 1986 indie album Walking the Ghost Back Home. Steve Earle produced their acclaimed 1988 Chrysalis release Eureka, including the UK hit “Crystal Palace.” Members: Boo Hewerdine (vocals, guitar), Dave Larcombe (drums), Neill MacColl (guitar, mandolin), Tony Shepherd (keyboards, percussion), Leroy […]

The Colourfield

The Colourfield was an English sophisti-pop band that released the 1985–87 Chrysalis albums Virgins and Philistines and Deception. They featured ex-Specials and Fun Boy Three singer Terry Hall and onetime Swinging Cats guitarist–keyboardist Toby Lyons. Members: Terry Hall (vocals, guitar), Karl Shale (bass), Toby Lyons (guitar, keyboards), Gary Dwyer (drums, 1986-87) Formation Terry Hall formed […]

Everything but the Girl

Everything but the Girl was an English sophisti-pop duo from Kingston upon Hull that released four albums and assorted shortplayers on Blanco Y Negro between 1984 and 1988, followed by a string of titles on Atlantic during the early 1990s. Members: Ben Watt (vocals, guitar, piano, programming), Tracey Thorn (vocals, guitar) Everything but the Girl […]

Then Jerico

Then Jerico were an English sophisti-pop band that released a clutch of shortplayers on London Records circa 1985/86, followed by two albums on the label between 1987 and 1989. Members: Mark Shaw (vocals), Jasper Stainthorpe (bass, 1983-89), Steve Wren (drums, 1983-89), Cliff Lawrence (guitar, 1983), Mark Sanderson (keyboards, 1983), Scott Taylor (guitar, 1984-89), Ben Angwin […]

The Style Council

The Style Council was an English sophisti-pop band fronted by ex-Jam leader Paul Weller. Starting in 1983, they placed twelve songs on the UK Top 20, including “Speak Like a Child,” “Long Hot Summer,” “My Ever Changing Moods,” “Shout to the Top!,” and “The Lodgers.” Their popularity peaked with the 1984–85 Polydor albums Café Bleu […]

Swans Way

Swans Way as an English sophisti-pop trio that released the 1982 standalone single “Theme From the Balcony,” followed by the 1984 Phonogram album The Fugitive Kind. Singer–percussionist Maggie De Monde and bassist Rick P. Jones formed the subsequent dance-pop act Scarlet Fantastic. Members: Rick P. Jones (double bass), Robert Shaw (vocals), Maggie De Monde (percussion, […]

Swamp Children

The Swamp Children were an English sophisti-jazz/pop band from Manchester that released two albums on Factory circa 1981/82, followed by the album So Hot in 1982. The band morphed into Kalima for a further run of shortplayers and albums during the mid-to-late 1980s. Members: Martin Moscrop (drums), Ann Quigley (vocals), Tony Quigley (bass), John Kirkham […]


Sade are an English jazz–pop–soul band fronted by namesake Nigerian–British singer Sade Adu. They achieved fame with their 1983–85 singles “Your Love Is King,” “Hang On to Your Love,” “Smooth Operator,” and “Sweetest Taboo.” Their first two albums, Diamond Life and Promise, each topped global charts and sold ten million copies. After their 1988 release […]


Double were a Swiss sophisti-pop combo that released two albums on Polydor between 1985 and 1987, scoring a huge international hit with the ivory-laden ballad “The Captain of Her Heart.” Members:  Kurt Maloo (vocals, guitar), Felix Haug (drums, keyboards) Discography: Blue (1985) Dou3le (1987)

Prefab Sprout

Prefab Sprout was an English sophisti-pop band that released five albums between 1984 and 1990 on Kitchenware Records. Members: Paddy McAloon (vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming, bass), Martin McAloon (bass, 1978-2010), Michael Salmon (drums, percussion, 1977-83), Wendy Smith (vocals, keyboards, guitar, 1982-2000), Neil Conti (drums, percussion, 1984-92) Background Prefab Sprout evolved from The Dick Diver Band, […]

Intimate Strangers

Intimate Strangers were a Scottish sophisti-pop duo that released the album Charm in 1986 on IRS. They preceded it with the EP Deliverance, released in 1984 under the name Raise the Dragon. Musician Sean Lyons hailed from Metro. Members: Richard Spellman (vocals), Sean Lyons (guitar) Intimate Strangers formed in 1984 as Raise the Dragon. Discography: […]