Prefab Sprout

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Prefab Sprout


Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = County Durham, England
Instruments =
Genre = Pop, New Wave
Formed = 1977
Years_active = 1982 – present
Label = Kitchenware
EMI
URL = The band's official site closed in 2004
Current_members = Paddy McAloon
Martin McAloon
Past_members = Wendy Smith
Neil Conti
Fiona Attwood

Prefab Sprout are an English pop band from Witton Gilbert, County Durham, who rose to fame during the 1980s. Seven of their albums reached the UK Top 30, and one single, "The King of Rock 'N' Roll", peaked at No. 7 in the UK.

Career

They debuted in 1982 with their self-released single "Lions In My Own Garden: Exit Someone" - songwriter Paddy McAloon wanted a song title where the first letters of the words spelled out "LIMOGES" (where his former girlfriend was staying at the time). Their debut album "Swoon" was released on the Kitchenware record label in early 1984. The following album, the Thomas Dolby-produced "Steve McQueen", (released in America as "Two Wheels Good" after McQueen's estate expressed their displeasure with the title) was highly praised by critics, prompting McAloon to remark: "I'm probably the greatest songwriter in the world, you know." Their "Protest Songs" album was recorded next, but was not released until 1989. It included the song "Life of Surprises", which later became the title track for their greatest hits compilation.

Their biggest commercial success in the UK came with the 1988 single "The King of Rock 'n' Roll", taken from the album "From Langley Park to Memphis". It reached #7 in the UK Singles Chart, their only single to reach the Top 10. In 1990, "", again produced by Thomas Dolby, was nominated for a BRIT Award. Though the music was more accessible than their earlier material, the lyrics and subject matter remained characteristically oblique and suggestive (McAloon has often cited Stephen Sondheim as an influence). In addition to its religious overtones, perhaps reflecting McAloon's education in a Catholic seminary, there were several allegorical songs about a character who embodied a mix of Howard Hughes, Jesse James, and Elvis Presley. McAloon has alluded in interviews to several albums-worth of songs that he has written but are unreleased/unrecorded including amongst others, concept albums based on the life of Michael Jackson ("Behind the Veil"), the history of the world ("Earth: The Story So Far") and "Zorro the Fox" about a fictional superhero. Their greatest hits, "The Best of - A Life of Surprises", gave them their biggest U.S. hit, "If You Don't Love Me", which spent several weeks in the Top 10 on the dance charts. McAloon joked in the album liner notes about the band's lack of touring over the past decade.

Prefab Sprout released "Andromeda Heights" in the UK in 1997 and embarked on a short UK tour in 2000. This tour, and the subsequent album, did not feature Wendy Smith, who by this time had reportedly left the band. In 2001 the band released "The Gunman and Other Stories" a concept album themed on the American West. The opening track "Cowboy Dreams" was a hit for the British actor, Jimmy Nail. Though critically acclaimed, neither enjoyed major commercial success.

After being diagnosed with a medical disorder that impaired his vision, Paddy McAloon released the album "I Trawl The Megahertz" under his own name in 2003 on the EMI Liberty label. As of 2006, McAloon had suffered another setback: his hearing had deteriorated, reportedly due to Ménière's disease. In early 2007 a remastered "Steve McQueen" was released in a two-CD package, containing new versions of eight of the songs from the original album, in radically different arrangements performed by McAloon on acoustic guitar.

According to Mojo Magazine's website, the band are working on a new album with the provisional title "Let's Change the World With Music - The Blueprint" and a planned February 2009 release date. [cite web|url=http://www.mojo4music.com/blog/2008/09/prefab_sprout_in_new_album_sho_1.html|title=Prefab Sprout in New Album Shock!|publisher=Mojo4music.com|accessdate=2008-10-05]

Core members

* Paddy McAloon (born Patrick Joseph McAloon, 7 June 1957, Durham); vocals / guitars / keyboards
* Wendy Smith (born 31 May 1963, Middlesbrough); vocals / guitars / keyboards
* Martin McAloon (born 4 January 1962, Durham); bass guitar
* Neil Conti (born 12 February 1959, Luton); drums / percussion
* Michael Salmon (Durham) The bands first drummer and co-founder

Albums

* "Swoon" (UK #22, 1984)
* "Steve McQueen", released in the U.S. as "Two Wheels Good" (UK #21, U.S. #178 1985)
* "From Langley Park to Memphis" (UK #5, 1988)
* "Protest Songs" (UK #18, 1989)
* "" (UK #7, 1990)
* "The Best Of - A Life Of Surprises" (UK #3, 1992)
* "Andromeda Heights" (UK #7, 1997)
* "38 Carat Collection" (1999)
* "The Gunman and Other Stories" (UK #60, 2001)
* "Steve McQueen", re-mastered two-disc version with eight acoustic re-workings on second disc (2007)

UK Top 75 Singles

* "Don't Sing" (#62 - 1984)
* "Faron Young" (#74 - 1985)
* "When Love Breaks Down" (1985 re-Release) (#25 - 1985)
* "Johnny, Johnny" (AKA: "Goodbye Lucille #1" on the US release "Two Wheels Good" (#64 - 1986)
* "Cars and Girls" (#44 - 1988)
* "The King of Rock 'N' Roll" (#7 - 1988)
* "Hey Manhattan" (#72 - 1988)
* "Looking For Atlantis" (#51 - 1990)
* "We Let The Stars Go" (#50 - 1990)
* "Jordan - The EP" (#35 - 1991)
* "The Sound of Crying" (#23 - 1992)
* "If You Don't Love Me" (#33, U.S. #3 Hot Dance Club Play - 1992)
* "All The World Loves Lovers" (#61 - 1992)
* "Life of Surprises" (#24 - 1993)
* "A Prisoner of The Past" (#30 - 1997)
* "Electric Guitars" (#53 - 1997)

ources

* Myths, Melodies & Metaphysics: Paddy McAloon's Prefab Sprout - ISBN 978-0-9558832-0-0
* Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
* Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
* Guinness Rockopedia - ISBN 0-85112-072-5
* The Great Rock Discography - 5th Edition - ISBN 1-84195-017-3

External links

* [http://www.prefabsprout.net "sproutnet" - with media and message boards]
* [http://www.ferhiga.com/prefab/eng.htm "Life of Surprises" in English and Spanish]
* [http://www.browningmcintosh.com/plocktonwest/sprout.html Longest-running fan site, since 1996]
* [http://www.chez.com/swoon/ A French fan site]


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