The Blow Monkeys

The Blow Monkeys

Formed 1981, UK: Dr Robert (Robert Howard) – vocals; Mick Anker – bass; Angus Hines – drums; Neville Henry – saxophone. Noted for their left wing political stance, the Blow Monkeys railed against Margaret Thatcher in a variety of musical styles, from new wave through glossy mid-’80s pop and embracing house and world music before their breakup in 1990. They released their début single Live Today Love Tomorrow in 1982 before replacing Hines with Tony Kiley and signing with RCA where they released a critically acclaimed but commercially ignored album Limping For A Generation in 1984. Success finally arrived in the early weeks of 1986 when Digging Your Scene reached number 12 and album Animal Magic made number 21, but singles success remained sporadic; it would be another year before they scored a top ten hit with It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way (1987, #5). The band’s anti-Thatcher stance was made clear on next album She Was Only A Grocer’s Daughter and singles Out With Her and (Celebrate) The Day After You, the latter being banned by the BBC at the time of its release during the 1987 general election campaign. Following this the band took up house music, most successfully on the number 7 hit Wait!, credited to Robert Howard & Kym Mazelle but claimed as a Blow Monkeys track for the album Whoops! There Goes The Neighbourhood (1989, #46) and subsequent compilation Choices – The Singles Collection released a mere six months later. The group disbanded in 1990 after the failure of their fifth album Springtime For The World; Dr Robert began a solo career, working with Paul Weller and Dee C. Lee and releasing several albums in his own right. The band eventually regrouped for the 2008 album Devil‘s Tavern and remains a going concern, releasing further albums Staring At The Sea (2011), Feels Like A New Morning (2013) and If Not Now, When? (2015), although their most successful recording is still You Don’t Own Me from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack album, which has sold 32 million copies worldwide.

ESSENTIAL ’80s BLOW MONKEYS

SINGLES

Digging Your Scene sleeve

DIGGING YOUR SCENE
February 1986, #12

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It Doesn't Have To Be This Way sleeve

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY
January 1987, #5

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Wait! sleeve

Robert Howard & Kym Mazelle: WAIT!
January 1989, #7

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ALBUMS

Animal Magic sleeve

ANIMAL MAGIC
March 1986, #21

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She Was Only A Grocer's Daughter sleeve

SHE WAS ONLY A GROCER’S DAUGHTER
April 1987, #20

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Whoops! There Goes The Neighbourhood sleeve

WHOOPS! THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
February 1989, #46

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