Purple Hearts (UK band)

Infobox musical artist
Background = group_or_band
Name = Purple Hearts

Img_capt = From Record Mirror February 1980 - "Purple People Eaters"
Years_active = 1979
Origin = Romford, England flagicon|England
Genre = Mod revival
Label = Fiction Records
Safari Records
Past_members = Jeff Shadbolt
Simon Stebbing
Bob Manton
Nick Lake
Gary Sparks
URL = [http://www.purplehearts.freeola.net/main.htm Purple Hearts]

Purple Hearts were often considered one of the best English mod revival groups. The story of mod revivalists the Purple Hearts begins in 1977 when teenagers Jeff Shadbolt, Simon Stebbing, Bob Manton, and Nicky Lake formed in Romford, Essex as The Sockets in 1978 before they even knew how to play their instruments (taking a cue from the then-prevailing DIY aesthetics of the punk rock movement). They formed for the sole purpose of getting a support slot at a Buzzcocks gig at the East London Polytechnic, to debut their tongue-in-cheek Rock Opera "Reg". The amused audience took the amateurish teenage punks to their hearts and the group decided to soldier on, even after they had accomplished their original goal. Several gigs followed, including an appearance on a float in the Romford Carnival.

In 1978, their drummer Nick Lake broke his leg and was replaced by Gary Sparks, the band switched their name to Purple Hearts, after an amphetamine-barbiturate mixture popular with the mods of 1960s. Accordingly, they changed their sound from the rough-edged punk rock which was already beginning to fall out of favour to a more mod-influenced sound, which, thanks largely to The Jam, was beginning to capture public attention.

Their biggest hit was their first single, in 1979 "Millions Like Us", which managed to peak at #57 in the UK singles chart, mainly due to lacklustre marketing from their label, Fiction Records. They following year they issued their debut album, "Beat That!" ["Beat That! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beat-That-Purple-Hearts/dp/B0000C4M52 Retrieved 05/09/07] . But the mod revival craze of 1979 was rapidly dissipating and they departed Fiction, their label over artistic differences. This precipitated an extended hiatus, with bassist "Just" Jeff Shadbolt joining The Rage with Buddy Ascott from The Chords. Simon Stebbing made records for Midnight Records as member of 'Hearts on Fire', who released two 12 inch ep's and an album 'Dreams of Leaving', Purple Hearts resurfaced to release live album 'Head on Collision time' recorded live at the 100 club, and 2nd studio effort 'Popish Frenzy' in the mid-'80s to mass market indifference, but lasting influence. They gigged intermittently through the late '80s before once again petering out. The 'Hearts re-convened for their last show at the Mods Mayday '99 show, recorded for the Detour records live compilation of that title, In 2003 Stebbing produced a rarities compilation 'Smashing Time' also released on Detour records, more recently he formed Speakeasy for an ep on Biff!Bang!Pow! records, whilst helming his bands RT4, and current line-up, RT3, along with 'Hearts drummer Gary Sparks.



* "Millions Like Us"
* "Frustration"
* "Jimmy"
* "Life's a Jigsaw"
* "Plane Crash"
* "Friends Again"


* "Beat That!"
* "Head On Collison" (Live album recorded at 100 Club in London)
* "Pop-ish Frenzy"
* "Head On Collision Time Again"


External links

* [http://www.chrishunt.biz/features08.html The Mod Revival - The story of the Mod Revival, by Chris Hunt, published in the New Musical Express Mod special edition, April 2005]
* [http://www.purplehearts.freeola.net/links.htm Links to sites relating to UK Mod band The Purple Hearts]
* [http://www.purplehearts.eu/singlespage.html Purple Hearts Artwork.]

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