I have enjoyed looking back at the careers of some quirky 80s pop stars on this blog, and this is another enjoyable group that I think fit into that category and have a story worth telling. They are slightly different from what I usually review because they are actually a male/female duo, but they are still definitely worth featuring here.
Haysi Fantayzee were a group that consisted of Jeremy Healy (born in London in January 1962) and Kate Garner (born in Wigan in July 1954). They had a very distinctive look which included oversized headgear, dreadlocks, and excessive make-up (and that was just Jeremy etc etc), and they were described as looking like a cross between a New Romantic and a Dickensian urchin.
They also made some great songs with rather bizarre lyrics, and although they were only in the spotlight from 1982-1983 and had a brief but eventful run of success, it happened to be right in the middle of what has now been determined to be the golden era of British pop music which runs roughly from 1981-1984, so how could they possibly fail! With their look and songs they were pushing the boundaries over 35 years ago before most of today’s pop stars were born. This is a look back at some of their TV appearances that are on YouTube, along with a few magazine covers.
In July 1982 their first single “John Wayne Is Big Leggy” was released which reached no. 11. It’s their biggest hit in the UK and it remains their most famous. It was accompanied by an outrageous dance routine on their Top Of The Pops appearances that left BBC1 viewers rather shocked! Also in this month they had the first of their three Record Mirror covers (I’m fairly sure this was the only UK music magazine that they appeared on the cover of).
In November 1982 “Holy Joe” was released which reached no. 51. I’ve only been able to find the video for this online. Also in this month they appeared on the cover of Record Mirror for a second time and were also interviewed in Smash Hits.
In January 1983 “Shiny Shiny” was released which reached no. 16. This led to their final Top Of The Pops appearances. I would have to say that this is my favourite of their singles, so I pleased to find more performances of this one online than any of their other hits, including various TV shows across Europe, one memorable performance is where Kate is wearing a corset so small it’s a surprise she can breathe never mind sing. There was also a great video.
They also performed “Shiny Shiny” on TV in Australia which was accompanied by some great visual effects, and they were interviewed too. In February 1983 their first and only album “Battle Hymns For Children Singing” was released which reached no. 53.
In June 1983 “Sister Friction” was released which reached no. 62. This turned out to be their fourth and final hit single. Again I can only find the video for this one online.
Also in June 1983 they had their third and final Record Mirror cover (where’s Jeremy gone?), and they also featured in some of the earliest issues of the newly-launched weekly music magazine Number One.
But the story doesn’t end there… In 1983 Kate appeared in the video for “Who’s That Girl” by the Eurythmics which also features Bananarama and Hazel O’Connor! And after their final single, Kate had a brief solo career, and in November 1983 released “Love Me Like A Rocket” which wasn’t a hit. Although it seems that there was a video made for this I can’t find it online. Also in this month Kate spoke about her career as a fashion photographer for various magazines on BBC2’s Riverside, and she has had much success in this area.
Jeremy would later become a “superstar DJ” as they now have to be known thanks to that Chemical Brothers song, and he has had at least one more hit single as a producer under an alias, and he was also the fourth (or thereabouts) husband of Patsy Kensit. In 2007 the “Battle Hymns For Children Singing” album was re-released on CD with extra tracks, and this year it was re-released again on vinyl with even more extras, and it’s still a remarkable listen.