This is a group whose career I have already covered, but because they also qualify for this series, I thought that I might as well take the opportunity to go on about them again. To briefly recap, Strawberry Switchblade were a duo from Glasgow (although their earliest line-up was a quartet), consisting of Rose McDowall and Jill Bryson that formed in the early-80s.
They attracted some interest on the radio as early as 1982, and they released their first single “Trees And Flowers” in 1983, but it was in November 1984 when they released “Since Yesterday” that they hit the big time, this was their first and only Top Ten hit single. And then they were on the cover of magazines including Smash Hits, Melody Maker, and Sounds. I only really discovered them not that long ago, but I was pleased that they did have some success.
This makes it even more of a surprise that none of their follow-up singles made the Top 50. Barely a year on from their breakthrough success, what turned out to be their final single “Jolene” was released in September 1985. Now did the world really need an electropop cover of the song made famous by Dolly Parton? Well it’s always interesting when a song is interpreted in a totally different genre.
It was definitely an attempt at doing something a little different. They also changed their image around this time slightly, having dropped the famous polkadots but still looking rather distinctive, put it this way, there was a lot of rubber involved. There was a video, they performed this on various shows including Bliss, Cheggers Plays Pop, and they were also interviewed on TV-am.
However, “Jolene” reached only no. 53 (but did spend four weeks on the chart). They had also managed to build up something of a fanbase in Japan, but it was around this point that Jill seemed to have become disillusioned with fame, and in 1986 she left Strawberry Switchblade and the music scene all together, and as far as I know she has never built her bridges with Rose which is a shame. They only made one album, we’ll just have to guess what any further songs would’ve sounded like. Rose has gone on to work in various musical projects since the late-80s including Current 93.