Monday, September 22, 2014

The Outfield - Say It Isn't So

When we started ERV in August 2011, the Outfield were one of the first bands to go in the bullpen, and they have been patiently waiting their turn ever since.  This is somewhat typical of the group -- they weren't avant-garde, or loved by critics, and they did not develop a large cult following over time.  What they did do, however, was produce a bunch of strong power pop songs, led by a #6 hit with one of the best opening lines of the decade:  "Josie's on a vacation far away..."

The Outfield's original lineup of Tony Lewis (bass and vocals), John Spinks (guitars), and Alan Jackman (drums) formed around 1983 in London.  The group was originally called The Baseball Boys, a name inspired by the Baseball Furies gang from The Warriors movie (a great flick that gets a thumbs up from ERV).  When the group signed with Columbia/CBS in 1984, their manager suggested that the name might be too campy.  After a discussion, the group renamed itself the Outfield.

Unlike most British acts, the Outfield were much more popular on this side of the Atlantic, where they had 5 top 40 hits and 4 charting albums.  (In the U.K., the group had 2 charting singles, but no top 40 hits).  I supposed that their sound, with soaring vocals and strong guitar lines, fit better into the American music scene of the time.

For the blog, we went with "Say It Isn't So," the lead single from their 1985 breakthrough, Play Deep.  While the song didn't chart, the next three singles from the LP did, and the record ultimately peaked at #9 on the album charts.  Sadly, the Outfield would never match the success of their debut album, though they continued to be moderately successful until the grunge era.

Although they never officially broke up, the Outfield took an extended break for most of the 1990's.  They have performed sporadically since then, but have been more active since 2009 (when the original lineup with drummer Alan Jackman re-formed).  Sadly, it is unclear what the current status of the band is, as guitarist (and primary songwriter) John Spinks passed away from cancer in 2014.

2 comments:

  1. What Fun!
    Ah, Please
    Nobody Thinks This Is Vital
    Yet... This Rawkz
    Ha! Ha!
    Love Your Blog
    –Sam

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  2. Thanks, Sam -- I always had a soft spot for the Outfield, helped by the fact that a girl that I liked in college gave me a mixed tape with Play Deep on one side. Ahhh, the memories.

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